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Karen Armstrong the wannabe historian part seven

Reader comment on item: Bolstering Moderate Muslims
in response to reader comment: Karen Armstrong the wannabe historian part five

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), May 6, 2007 at 16:12

Now Ms Armstrong decides to review a book by a Barnaby Rogerson! Why? we will never know, and she writes

>It is therefore a relief to turn to Barnaby Rogerson's more balanced and nuanced account of early Muslim history in "The Heirs of the Prophet Muhammad". Rogerson is a travel writer by trade


Just amazing. She is reviewing a travel writer who is writing about the history on early Islam. Let me see a student of early Islam must be fluent in Arabic and should have great command of Syriac and Greek and Hebrew and if Egypt is invloved in his/her work a knowledge of Coptic will be needed, and this student must be fluent in English and must know some German (much of the great wrok about Islam in the past 100 years comes from Germany and a good historian should be able to read sources in their primary language)

I suspect that Mr Rogerson's command of the above languages is non existent. So much for scholarship.

And notice that The Financial Times did not ask Ms Armstrong to let us say review for them Wansbrough's Quranic studies or Ignaz Goldziher Muslim studies. These two books are real scholarship about the history of early islam. This speaks volumes for the way the Financial Times view Ms Armstrong and that she is not a real scholar! Do I need to say more?

>his explanation of the Sunni/Shia divide is theologically simplistic

Notice that Ms Armstrong never tells us what is Rogerson's "explanation of the Sunni/Shi3a divide" and never explains why is it "simplistic" Typical of this poor wannabe historian.

>but his account of the rashidun (sic)

No they are called al-khulafa' al-rashiduun. If she wants to use Arabic transliteration it must be correct

>the first four "rightly guided" caliphs who succeeded the Prophet is historically sound accessible and clears up many western misconceptions about this crucial period

Wow. Now we do not hear about al-khulafa' al-rashiduun until the 3rd century of Islam. The first real historical character in the saga of islam where he appears in the extant sources external as well as internal to the Islamic historical tradition is Mu3awyia. Even the name of Muhammad does not apear in the extant Muslim sources until 72 years after his death. So where was Muhammad's name and why did it not appear for 72 years after his death in the extant literay sources? (see Holyland survey)

This does not mean that I'm saying that Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and 3Ali never existed but it means that the literary sources about the lives of these 4 characters are very late and more likely than not we do not know very much about their lives! And to explain this point more let us examine the following examples:

1. The story of 3Umar (al-farooq) and his entry in Jerusalem is of dubious origin. I urge the readers to read Noth's review of the literary sources in regard to such fable (page 180-181) and to read Heribert Busse "Omar b. al-Khattab in Jerusalem" and "Omar's image as the conquerer of Jerusalem" and the conclusion is this story is and to be blunt: bogus.

2. The accounts of the Uthmanic recension of the Qur'an are confusing and historically unsound.

So much for a "historically sound" information about al-khulafa' al-rashiduun!

Most disturbing is that this woman is celebrating Arabian imperialism and the Arab invasion of the Middle East and the suffering and the destruction that followed.

>Rogerson makes it clear for example that the wars of conquest (sic0

No it is called invasion and imperialism!

>and the establishment of the Islamic empire after Muhammad's death were not inspired by religious ideology but by pragmatic politics

Let us see Ms Armstrong is trying to say that the purpose of the invasion of the Middle east by the Arabs was looting period (see Crones' Meccan Trade) and it was inspired by a deity that demanded 1/5 of the loot collected from infidels (Q8:41)!

And what on earth were those "pragmatic politics"?

Let me guess again: How to split the loot? But on a more serious notice there is evidence that islam as we know it did indeed exist in 633CE and this only means that Islam as we know was posterior to Muhammad!

>the idea that Islam should conquer the world was alien to the Koran

Bogus (see Q9:29). But if she is really correct then why did the Arabs invade the Middle East? Oh let me guess the "pragmatic politics"! This is just amazing

>and there was no attempt to convert Jews and Christians

Could it be because Jews and Christians were the source of this mafia tax al-jizya and as we know now the so called mawali (those who wanted to convert tio islam) had to pay the jizya. Could it also mean that Islam really did not exist as we know it now for may 200 more hundered years?

>Islam was for the Arabs

I must admit: She is correct here, and for this see Q14:4

>the sons of Ismael as Judaism was for the Jews and Christianity for the followers of Jesus

And what is really here point here?

>Rogerson also shows that Muslim tradition is multi-layered and and many faceted

Well, as Patrica Crone once wrote, " religions do not spring fully fledged from the heads of prophets, old civilizations are not conjured away." So why is she that surprised about her claim that the islamic tradition is multi layered and multi faceted and very much posterior to Muhammad?

>The early historians regularly gave two or three variant accounts of an incident in the life of the prophet readers were expected to make up their own minds

ROTFL. The 3Ulama gave us different stories because they had no clue about what the Qur'an is really saying and they were making things up because thay had no idea what the Qur'an is really saying (for great reading about the reliability of the Muslim sources see Noth's "Quellenkritische".

Take the case of the word Ilaf is Surat Quraish. No one had any idea of what this word really means not back then and not now, but this did not stop the 3Ulama from making things up

More damaging to her silly assertion is that the likes of Bukhari early on realized that most of the hadith material he was collecting was bogus and this is why we have the isnad! And it only means that the 3Ulama realized that other 3Ulama as well as themselves were making things up! No one has the courage to say we really do not know what the Qur'an is really saying but this also means that the Quranic materail either pre-date muhammad or the Qur'an was canonized in the 3rd century of islam and this detaches Muhammad from the Qur'an and Arabia from islam (see Cook).

So this question for Ms Armstrong is: In Q66 Do we indeed have an historical character by the name of Mariya al-Qibtiya or did Muhammad eat some bad 3Asl nahl (honey) as it cannot be both? Or are we mature adults and admit that we really do not know what the Quranic allusion in Q66 really means? And is the rasm of the word MLK in Surat al-Fatiha means Maaliki (see Cairo edition of the Qur'an 1923-1924) or Maliki (Tunisian edition of the Qur'an 1969) as Muhammad must have heard it as either one and it cannot be both?

>similarly there are at least 4 contasting and sometimes conflicting versions of the Exodus story in the Hebrew Bible

Bogus argument as she is saying if there are 4 versions of the Exodus so why do we give Muslims a hard time? It seems that this wannabe historian never heard of Wellhausen and his Prolegomena and the realization that the Hebrew Bible was written by human beings over a very long period of time (eg: the P tradition) and nothing drops from the sky, not the Bible and for sure not the Qur'an. I call this lame excuse the "Joshua excuse" where stupid tablighees tell us if Joshua fought and killed then why not Muhammad?

>and the New Testament the four evangelists interpret the life of Jesus quite differently

And what does the NT have to do with the fact that the islamic historical tradition is late and tendentious and to be blunt bogus most of the time?

Stay tuned for more and as a bonus we will be talking about no other than Tariq Ramadan!


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