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For Reema: I know that you meant well!

Reader comment on item: Female Desire and Islamic Trauma
in response to reader comment: Well...

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Aug 9, 2006 at 18:20

Hi Reema:

I very much appreciate your remarks. And I'm glad that you realize that the sentence "one of my best friends is a Christian" (it can also be "one of my best friends is a jew or a woman or a black or an Arab or an Asian" is a very patronizing statement and speakes volumes of the mind set of the person who utters such sentence.

You should tell your Christian friend that she is very special and shake her hand and may be give her a hug, I'm sure she needs your friendship as much as you need hers. Just do not believe the rantings of Abul Qasim AKA Muhammad or his Allah against non-Muslims.

Take your time and respond to my points. This does not mean that I cannot learn more, and I can also be wrong at times.

Now let me give a few tools that can help you to understand how Islam came about:

1. You really need to read the Qur'an in Arabic. I know that you can do that. I urge you that you do not read any commentaries. Just see for yourself what it really says. And rememeber the old Arabic saying: "al-tafseer lel sahaba wa al-wa'weel lel 3Ulama (I like to say instead of the word 3Ulama to us the word: al-jami3 or that you or I can think for oursleves) You do not need a tendentious ta'weel to tell you what the Qur'an is saying. If you do not understand it, it would mean that others do not understand it but they have the audacity to guess and in most cases their guess would be very wrong. Good luck.

2. You being a Palestinian you might be familiar with the work of the great historian the late Dr. Suliman Bashear. He was a professor at the University of Nablus. You can read his work on the history of early islam in his ground breaking book: "Muqaddima Fi al-Tarikh al-Akhar" which is available in Arabic and also see his book "Arabs and others in Early islam"

3. But the gold standard now in understanding the history of early Islam are Wansbrough's two books that I just mentioned in my last post. They must be the most difficult books that I came across.

4. I also suggest that you read Patricia Crone's "Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam"

5. You can now have access to a tafseer of the Qur'an and the best is Tabari's exegesis. You can find it now on the web. read the original Arabic and do not use translations. I'm sure they taught you in journalism 101 that you must read the primary source in its primary language.

5. Pick up a good dictionary. Your English is very good, so I would suggest that you use Hans Wehr Arabic dictionary,. And remember to use the root system when looking up for words. eg: Yaktub look up under KTB or the root of the word so you look under the letter kaf. I do not think that you will need a grammar book if your Arabic is good. You can also pick up Elias' dictionary (it is one of my favorites. This is indeed the gift of the Christian Arabs to the Arabic language).

6. Kees Versteegh's "The Arabic Language" This is a must reading to understand the origin and the evolution of the Arabic language.

7. Hoyland Survey of the Muslim as well as non-muslim literary source in early Islam. I also suggest his book "Arabia And the Arabs from the bronze age to the coming of Islam"

8. Ibn Hisham's (the redaction of Ibn Ishaq"s) sira. For a more sceptical examination of the life of Muhammad I suggest 3Ali Dashti's "23 years."

9. As for the issue of gential mutialtion in both men and women I suggest Gollaher's "Circumcision" and for a more detailed examination of female genital mutilation I suggest Hanny Lightfoot-Klein's book "Prisoners of Ritual."

Good Luck

PS: I have great admiration for the palestinian people and I feel so bad for their suffering.

Submitting....

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