|1 War and Peace in the World's Religions||1993-2002|
|2 San Diego [California] Union [newspaper]||2003-2006|
|3 The Atlas of Jewish History||2007-2009|
|4 The Great Deception of Christianity||2010-2013|
|5 Jihad in the West||2014-2021|
|6 The Jesus Mysteries||2022-2023|
|7 Deism: An Anthology||2024-2024|
|9 Why I Am Not A Muslim||2028-2048|
|10 The Origins of the Koran||2049-2069|
|11 National Public Radio||2070-2071|
|12 Islam, A Very Short Introduction||2072-2072|
|14 Additional References||2075-2075|
from: War and Peace in the World's Religions, John Ferguson, Oxford, Pb. 1978 (1977). [found serendipitously, lunch hour, September 17, 2001].
1. Tribal Religion 1
2. Zoroastrianism 19
3. Hinduism and Jainism 28
4. Buddhism 41
5. Religions of the Far East 62
6. Judaism 78
7. Christianity 99
8. Islam 124
9. Sikhism 138
10. The Baha'i 149
11. Conclusion 156
[at the end of Chapters 1 to 10: "For Further Reading"].
"I [John Ferguson] am myself a Christian and a pacifist, and a pacifist [see 2001] because a Christian [non sequitur!]." [ix].
Tribal Religion" 
"Religion is social, communal. The basic unit is the family. But the family is a part of the tribe, and a family which neglects its religious observances is not a law to itself, but may endanger the whole tribe. RELIGION IS thus POLITICAL. Its sphere is everything that concerns the life of the community; its most prominent concerns are those which are most prominent in the life of the community—birth and death, food, health, security, counsel. War and peace are among these." .
"Different tribes have different religious systems. Expansion and conquest may sometimes mean that conquered people adopt the gods of their conquerors. Sometimes also there is assimilation: a people as it expands encounters unfamiliar gods, and may take them into its own pantheon or identify them with its own deities; the Romans were adept at this last. Graeco-Roman religion was tribal in origin, but took on some of the characteristics of a universal or world religion.
Fundamentally, religion involves acceptance. Nonconformity, free thinking, atheism and the like are found only when the social [tribal] bonds have weakened. Religion itself is what is, rather than what ought to be.
The aim of religion is to be right with the divine powers, to attain what the ancient Romans called the pax deorum, the favour of the gods." .
In tribal religion, religion is as wide as life, and all of life is religious. War has throughout human history been an integral part of the life of most societies; as such it has been regarded as a religious activity, to be surrounded with prayer, ritual, sacrifice and purification. Polytheistic societies have often, though not always, believed in a special god of war who has to be honoured and propitiated. Gods (or goddesses) of peace as such are less widely found, but naturally the powers who preside over agriculture and over domestic life are powers who make for peace." [17-18] [End of Chapter 1].
Hinduism and Jainism" 
'....Gandhi [Mahatma Gandhi 1869 - 1948] claimed that the light of which Krishna speaks in The Gita [Bhagavad Gita] was a spiritual battle, and that the battlefield lay inside Arjuna. He said of The Gita that under the guise of physical warfare it described the duel that perpetually went on in the hearts of mankind, and that physical warfare was brought in merely to make the description of the internal duel more alluring. He [Gandhi] used to assert that the central teaching of The Gita was selfless action (anasakti). There are certainly grounds for stressing the importance of anasakti in The Gita, but Gandhi's exclusive emphasis on it is not the natural interpretation, and a more natural reading would suggest that the man who frees himself from self-centeredness and is totally devoted to the divine can enter fully even into war in the confidence that he is acting in accordance with dharma. Further Gandhi insisted that anasakti necessarily embraced ahimsa, non-violence, and that the man who is free from self cannot do violence to another. Selfless action and violent action are incompatible with one another. True dharma, even the dharma of a kshatriya or member of the warrior-class, must always be non-violence. Gandhi, however, said:
[Gandhi] Everyone who has studied the Gita must needs find out his own solution. And although I am going now to offer mine, I know that ultimately one is guided not by the intellect but by the heart.
THE HEART ACCEPTS A CONCLUSION FOR WHICH THE INTELLECT SUBSEQUENTLY FINDS THE REASONING. ARGUMENT FOLLOWS CONVICTION. MAN OFTEN FINDS REASONS IN SUPPORT OF WHATEVER HE DOES OR WANTS TO DO [see 1644].
Gandhi's position sometimes seems ambiguous, because he encouraged people to follow the highest light they had received. It was better to be a sincere soldier than an insincere pacifist, and he told the Pathans of the north-west province in 1938 that they would do better to stick to violence, unless they were sincerely convinced that non-violence was the superior method of overcoming evil. Such a position was not really ambiguous. Gandhi's own commitment was clear, and his certainty that in the end non-violence alone was right.' [38-39].
'The Three Jewels of Buddhism are:
I go to the Buddha for refuge.
I go to the Doctrine for refuge.
I go to the Community for refuge.
Buddhism does not believe in a God as do, say, Judaism [Christianism ("Christianity")] or Islam. There is no original creator-god. There is nothing permanent in the world, and there is no eternal permanent god. All beings are subject to coming-to-be and passing-away. There are gods, and much popular Buddhism depends on them. They are impermanent beings, subject to natural law, with a beginning and an ending. They are not creators: they are not almighty, and they have no power to liberate. Nagarjuna actually said:
We know the gods are false and have no concrete being;
Therefore the wise man does not believe them.
The fate of the world depends on causes and conditions;
Therefore the wise man does not rely on gods.
Beyond the gods stand the Enlightened Ones, and especially the Buddha himself, who is called 'the god beyond the gods'. But he is not the creator; he is not almighty; he did not determine the laws of the universe and cannot alter them. He [Buddha (see #35, 1731)] is the Enlightened One who enlightens others. He thus receives veneration; his familiar image stands in the temples and flowers are offered before it but he himself is in the blissful non-being of Nirvana.
His instrument of redemption is the Doctrine of Teaching (Dharma). This consists in the Four Noble Truths:
1 The Noble Truth about suffering, that all life is suffering.
2 The Noble Truth about the origin of suffering, that it comes from tanha, desire, attachment to this world, the will to live.
3 The Noble Truth about the destruction of suffering, that it comes from the extirpation of desire.
4 The Noble Truth about the way to this ["destruction of suffering"], that it is in an Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path [→ "extirpation of desire" → "destruction of suffering"] is thus the guide to life. It consists in: ....' [42-43].
Religions of the Far East" 
'TAO-TE-CHING ["now considered to be the work of many authors." (Webster's Bio. Dict.)]
Tao-te-ching (The Way-Power Book) is attributed to a shadowy figure called Lao-tzu, an older contemporary of K'ung [K'ung Ch'iu, 551 - 479 B.C.E., "i.e., Master K'ung, Latinized as Confucius" (Webster's Bio. Dict.)], who thought him as mysterious and ineluctable as a dragon, and who was charged by him with being obsequious and ambitious. Some scholars think that there was no such person; certainly we know little enough about him.
But we have the book. The right life is one in accord or harmony with the Tao. He who follows the Tao has te, power or virtue. But how to find and follow the Tao? Through wu-wei, non-effort, not striving, receptivity. 'The highest excellence is like water. Because the excellence of water lies in benefiting all things without striving against them, and in settling in the lowest place which no one wants to take, it comes close to the Tao' (8).
follows for a number of reasons that mystical Taoism places its weight in the scale of pacifism.
 In the first place, Lao-tzu opposes ambition, political power, worldly
authority; these are the products of striving. He who delights in slaughter
is no use as a ruler (31).  In
the second place the Taoists hold to something like an anarchist philosophy
of government: the less the better (17). The more laws, the more law-breakers.
Capital punishment is not so much immoral as futile; a person whose life is
lived face to face with death will not fear the death penalty, and no one is
qualified to pronounce it on another. Weapons are instruments of evil (31).
Only when a people have fallen away from the Tao are war horses found on the frontiers; when
Tao prevails the horses are dunging the
fields (46). Anyone who serves the government with Tao does not dominate the world by violence (30).
 Thirdly, there is a strong element of pragmatism
buttressing the high principle of wu-wei, and an awareness, for example,
of the escalation of violence, and of the destructive power of war. 'The use
of force usually brings requital. Wherever armies are stationed, briars and
thorns grow. Great wars are always followed by famines' (30). Violent people
do not die a natural death (42). 
Fourthly, there is a strong element of compassion,
especially for the suffering of the common people. 'For the slaughter of the multitude, let us weep with sorrow and grief. For a victory, let us observe the occasion with funeral ceremonies' (31).  Fifthly, behind this is a sense of the relativity of earthly judgements. For if all is of the Tao then all is part of the all-embracing harmony of the universe. We cannot ever say that we are right to the exclusion of other views. The pattern of the world is compounded of opposites (2).  Sixthly, there is a philosophy of victory through suffering. 'To yield is to be preserved whole. To be bent is to become straight' (22). One saying, though the meaning is a shade uncertain, seems to run 'When two armies face one another victory lies with the man of sorrows' (or possibly 'the one which yields') (69).  Finally there is a distinct sense that peace is the natural state of mankind, and if people would not interfere, and would let Tao have its way, the world would be at peace of its own accord (37).
It is interesting to reflect that according to a story traceable back to the second century C.E. Lao-tzu, his work in China completed, travelled to the West and appeared in India as the Buddha.' [64-66].
A third great initiative towards a social philosophy was taken in the fifth century by Mo Ti (c. 480-390 B.C.)....
Mo Ti was a relentless opponent of war. Perhaps because of the sufferings of his own state of Sung, he had a direct awareness of the evils of war. He was not a pacifist; on the contrary he trained a dedicated company of his disciples in defensive warfare. Aggressive warfare was ruled out. Much of Mo Ti's argument against war was utilitarian. He argued that war was not profitable. If you fight in winter it is too cold, in summer too hot, in spring or autumn it takes the workers away from agriculture. If you fight at any time you lose weapons and tents and transport and horses and oxen and human lives. But, they said, look at the four states which have grown powerful by war. Well, he answered, what of the ten thousand which have gone under? Would you call useful a medicine which cured four patients out of ten thousand? This argument would hardly persuade those in power, and he argued further that the attack on a small state by a large state in fact injured both, and that injustice never paid. War is destructive; conquered territories are devastated; conquerors are no better than kleptomaniacs. Justice and virtue alone, not the sword, could conquer the world.
But Mo Ti was prepared to fight, and was a defensive strategist. One famous story tells how he went to the ruler of Ch'u when he was about to attack Sung, and invited him to discuss the assault and defence. Every plan of attack produced was countered. There was one left. Mo Ti knew what it was—to murder him. But he had three hundred trained followers on the walls who could operate without him. The attack was called off.
All this seems to have little to do with religion. But the real force of Mo Ti's rejection of war lay in his doctrine of universal love. If everyone in the world would practise universal love, then the whole world would enjoy peace and order. Mo Ti did not in fact believe that men naturally love one another, and appealed to arguments which established the will of Heaven or God. So that in another saying he declared that obedience to the will of Heaven would bring peace and order." [66-67]
[End of entry on Mo Ti].
"The Modern Era in China
The later centuries saw western interference in the affairs of China. This had cataclysmic historical results, but there has been in religion and thought generally a preference for maintaining indigenous traditions. Yen Fu (1854-1921), who did more than anyone else to introduce western thought into China, in the end rejected it with significant words: 'It seems to me that in three centuries of progress the peoples of the west have achieved four principles: to be selfish, to kill others, to have little integrity, and to feel little shame. How different are the principles of Confucius and Mencius, as broad and deep as Heaven and Earth, designed to benefit all men everywhere.'
So Confucian principles remained and still remain strong, and even the Communists have been divided as to whether they are to be rejected as a straitjacket preventing change and destroying the human spirit, or embraced as part of the distinctive traditions of China.
So the father of the Chinese-Republic, Sun Yat-sen [1866 - 1925], a military revolutionary, could declare in 1912 that the Chinese people were 'continuing the historic struggle of the French and American peoples for republican institutions'. But later he declared, "What we need to learn from Europe is science, not political philosophy. As for the true principles of political philosophy, the Europeans need to learn them from China.' Characteristically he described saving mankind from injustice as his 'Heaven-appointed task'.
Right into the twentieth century Taoism carried reverence for life among its central tenets. In three hundred commandments laid on Taoist monks, the first was 'Thou shalt kill no living thing, or damage its life', the second 'Thou shall not eat the flesh and blood of any living thing'. The great commandments of the Kan-Ying-P'ien are also incorporated. Taoism has also retained many elements which seem superstitious. For this reason it has come under attack. It lacks leadership and organization. But it [Taoism] is very deeply rooted in Chinese tradition, and may in the long run prove more resistant than Confucianism or Buddhism.
With the Communist revolution Maoism has become the dominant philosophy of China. As a philosophy it is non-religious and indeed anti-religious, but, as Ninian Smart has shown, it has many features which are also found in religion; I.C.K. Yang has called Chinese Communism 'a non-theistic faith'. Mao was an advocate and practitioner of revolutionary violence, as in his celebrated dictum that 'political power grows out of the barrel of a gun'. He saw war as the continuation of politics, the highest form of struggle for resolving contradictions. Without armed struggle the revolution could not triumph. Wars are divided into two kinds, just and unjust. 'All wars that are progressive are just, and all wars that impede progress are unjust.' Revolutionary war is an antitoxin eliminating the enemy's poison and at the same time purging the revolutionary party. The ultimate aim is the abolition of war, 'but war can be abolished only through war'. Mao calls war 'a monster of mutual slaughter among men', and believes that it can and will be eliminated, but only by opposing war with war." [72-73] [End of Chapter 5].
Christianity has shown three principal attitudes to war, three historic positions.
 Pacifism [no choice, at the time (see 2001, 2010-2013; etc.)] was the dominant position up to the reign of Constantine, and has been viewed with increasing sympathy in the twentieth century. But within this position there are many variations....
It would be possible to compile an even more complex list of non-pacifist positions. Two have predominated.
 In the fourth century Christian theologians took over from Cicero the doctrine of the Just War, that is the position that Christians may legitimately take part in war provided that it is declared by a properly constituted authority and that certain ethical conditions are maintained in the conduct of the war.
 In the Middle Ages the idea of the crusade [see 2010-2011, 2032] emerged, partly to save Christendom from internecine fighting; it was closely linked to the Old Testament concept of the holy war. At all times, however, there as been uneasiness about ministers of the Christian gospel, priests, monks and nuns, themselves participating in the fighting, though they have generally been PREPARED TO BLESS OTHERS. For the majority of the Christian laity at all times, the claims of their nation have been paramount, even when called to fight against their fellow-Christians: often they have gone to war because they could see no realistic alternative. The historic association of the Christian faith with nations of commercial enterprise, imperialistic expansion and technological advancement has meant that CHRISTIAN PEOPLES, although their faith is one of the most pacifistic [no choice, at the time (see 2001, 2010-2013; etc.)] in its origins, HAVE A RECORD OF MILITARY ACTIVITY SECOND TO NONE." [121-122] [End of Chapter 7].
"there is no real doubt that the essential view of the Qur'an [Koran] is of a single worldwide community: one God, one mankind, one law, one ruler. 'If there were two gods, the universe would be ruined' (Qur'an 21, 23)." .
"The Philosophy of the Jihad
The chief instrument for the spreading of Islam and for the establishment of a world-state was the jihad. The word means 'striving', and not necessarily war. There is a jihad of preaching and persuasion; one traditional saying has it that the monasticism of Islam is the jihad. The Muslim jurists in fact distinguished four different types of jihad, performed with heart, tongue, hands and sword. The first is exercised by the individual in his personal fight against evil. The second and third are largely exercised in support of the right and correction of the wrong. The fourth means war against unbelievers and enemies of the faith. It is part of the obligation of the faithful to offer their wealth and lives in this war (Qur'an [Koran] 61, 11)." .
"It is an important aspect of the jihad that it maintained and encouraged the traditional belligerence of the Arabs, which, Ibn Khaldun maintained, was responsible for courage, self-reliance, and tribal unity, while ending the internecine strife between the tribes. Within the brotherhood of Islam war was strictly outlawed. Belligerence was diverted against the unbeliever. The doctrine of the jihad was in its own way the definition of a just war, directed against polytheists, apostates and enemies of Islam, and positively towards the establishment of the universal theocratic state." .
"the jihad is the responsibility of the state [tribe]; an individual believer cannot wage his own jihad. But participation in the communal duty leading to death in Allah's path is a sure guarantee of immediate paradise and exemption from trial on the Day of Judgement. 'Count not those who are killed in the path of Allah as dead; they are alive with their Lord' (Qur'an 3, 163), or, as one traditional saying puts it, 'There are one hundred stages in Paradise that are provided by Allah for those who fight in His path.' In one story Muhammad comforts a mother who has lost her son in battle: 'Your son is in the higher Paradise!' Such martyrs of the faith are not ceremonially prepared for burial, but buried on the battlefield." [131-132].
[compare: September 11, 2001 (New York World Trade Center, and the Pentagon)].
"The jihad against the People of a Book. Jews, Christians, and (less certainly) Zoroastrians were regarded as different from polytheists. They believed in Allah, and they possessed Holy Scriptures. But they rejected Allah's Apostle. Therefore they should be given a choice. They might embrace Islam and become full citizens. They might retain their present beliefs on condition that they accepted the authority of the imam [also, Imam] and paid their taxes; in which event they were tolerated and granted partial rights. If they rejected both these, they became subject to the jihad." .
"Of the great religions Christianity and Buddhism have been the most clearly pacifist in their origins and essence
[Pacifism in the origins of Christianity, is the classic Christian tradition. This tradition is crap! Note the Christian militanism of the fourth century. Their progenitors (dating to the second century?), simply, did not have enough political power—hence, the reputation for Pacifism, of the early Christians. See the bruising, bloody, record (see 1999, 2010-2013; etc.)].
Yet both ["Christianity and Buddhism"] have been deeply involved with militarism from a fairly early stage in their history, and Christianity, in particular, has an appalling record of bloodshed, and has been the religion of the militant nationalisms of Europe. Taoism similarly produced the bloody uprising of the Yellow Turbans. Zoroastrianism, Islam and Shinto have been the most clearly militarist in their origins and essence. Yet Islam produced Abdul Ghaffar Khan [1889 - 1986] and Shinto produced Bunjiro [1814 - 1883].
Does religion matter then? The answer in cold historical fact is that surely it does. Not just as a comfort to the consciences of large-scale kleptomaniacs and as an instrument for maintaining their power. Religions have been so used, often in the history of mankind. But we can see the pressures to social conformity and readily understand how they come about. These are the pressures of society on religion. It is the other call that is less easy to explain away, the challenge of the prophet to society to change in the name of a higher morality and an ultimate truth. This has mostly been proclaimed in the name of God or Heaven or the Way. It ["the challenge...truth."] still comes today."  [End of Chapter 11] [End of text].
The (tribal) routine is similar:
1. What does the Old Testament, New Testament, Koran, etc., say?
2. Then, all the subjective interpretations of what the Old Testament, New Testament, Koran, etc., say.
The "authority card" is played, and, yelps of: "out of context!", etc.
3. Then, all the Traditions, that may be assumed by the multitudes to be quotations (or near enough quotations, or should have been quotations) from the Old Testament, New Testament, Koran, etc.
4. Extremely important, the situational politics.
Religion is commonly used to spearhead the enterprise.
If Holy Book quotes are not available, or appropriate, Traditions can be employed.
Paramount: "It is the will of God [Me! (Primate Ego!)], Allah [Me! (Primate Ego!)], etc. Punishment to the Jews, Christians, Muslims, Heretics, Infidels, Homosexuals, et al.!
5. Adherents say: "we are Peace Loving, those terrorists (etc.) are fanatics [much subterfuge! Etc.!]!"
'"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in
rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose
it to mean—neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can
make words mean different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty,
"which is to be master—that's all."' [from #4, 141].
7. [from: Appendix I, 682] '....And his ["the average man"] idealism may be said to be based on his realism. Realistically, he feels that he amounts to little. Idealistically, by associating himself with God and race and country, he increases his self-esteem.'
Comment: then, "the average man", uses the associations ["with God and race and country"], to forge a hammer, to pound on everyone, and everything.
[The Malleus Maleficarum ("The Witches Hammer"), is a classic, heinous, etc., example].
8. Similar Scenario [colloquially: "Same Shit!"]! Different Century, Day, Country, etc. Homo sapiens!
● ● ● ● ●
from: San Diego [California] Union [newspaper], September 28, 2001:
[photo caption] 'Protesters shouted "Jihad!" outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta yesterday. Demonstrators burned U.S. flags and an effigy of President Bush. Dita Alangkara/Associated Press' [A30].
"Religion & Ethics
In Pakistan, schoolchildren brace for holy war with U.S." [E4]
[photo caption] "Students head to classes at the Haqqania school in Pakistan (left) and touch the Koran as they leave a class (above). There are some 3,500 students at the school, which traditionally has been a breeding ground for militants who support [options?] the Taliban regime. John McConnico/Associated Press photos" [E4].
'[title of article] Islamic jihad has several meanings
Washington—While Islamic jihad primarily refers to the inner struggle of being a person of virtue and godliness, there is another interpretation known as "jihad of the sword."
And it's that interpretation that Osama bin Laden, the Islamic extremist considered the key player behind the Sept. 11 attacks, has capitalized on in his deadly, spiritual campaign of terror.
"When he [Osama bin Laden] formulates his declarations, he makes every effort to justify his means through Islamic law, and adheres to his own conception of what the laws of jihad entail [see 2001-2002 (Comments)]," said David Cook, associate professor of Islamic studies at Rice University in Houston.
Bin Laden described his theological position in 1996, when he issued his "Declaration of War Against the Americans Who Occupy the Land of the Two Holy Mosques." He argued that the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia and other countries threatened Islam and warranted jihad.
In 1998, bin Laden elaborated: "The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it."
According to bin Laden and his followers, suicide for the cause guarantees an eternal life of pleasure in the hereafter.
"It's an act of worship, literally," said Peter Bergen, a free-lance journalist and terrorism expert currently completing a book about bin Laden and militant groups. Taking part in a jihad, he said, "gives you a ticket to paradise if you're martyred."
Newhouse News Service' [E5].
_____ _____ _____
from: San Diego [California] Union [newspaper], October 3, 2001:
[photo caption] 'A man held a poster of Osama bin Laden at an anti-American rally yesterday led by Pakistan's radical Jamiat Ulema Islam political party in Quetta, Pakistan. "Are you ready for a holy war?" a party leader asked the crowd. Nelvin Cepeda/Union-Tribune photos'. ["A1"]
[photo caption] 'A young boy joined an emotional crowd cheering, "We are ready for jihad," and "Pakistan will be America's graveyard," at a rally yesterday in Quetta, Pakistan. The rally welcomed Maulana Fazal ur Rehman, one of the top leaders of the Jamiat Ulema Islam party. Nelvin Cepeda/Union- Tribune'. [A4].
_____ _____ _____
from: San Diego [California] Union [newspaper], October 4, 2001:
"[title of article] WILL SHOWS HIJACKER'S DESIRE TO DIE FOR GOD
ATTA WANTED BURIAL 'NEXT TO GOOD MUSLIMS'
New York Times Service
Washington—Mohamed Atta, described by law enforcement officials as the ringleader of the Sept. 11 hijackers, left behind a will in which he said he wanted to be buried "next to good Muslims," with his corpse pointed east toward Mecca, the officials said.
They said the will was found [why left?] in a suitcase that Atta, a 33-year-old Egyptian, left at Logan Airport in Boston, where he boarded an American Airlines jet that later slammed into the north tower of World Trade Center in New York.
The will was dated April 1996, which would suggest that Atta had been planning for years to die for Islam, and that he wanted his final actions to be understood as an effort to serve God.
The will was written in broken English [why?]. Details of its contents were first [why?] reported by the German magazine Der Spiegel...." [A3].
_____ _____ _____
from: San Diego [California] Union [newspaper], October 5, 2001:
[title of article] 'SPEAKERS FAN FLAMES OF CONFLICT DURING INTERFAITH CONFERENCE
By Melinda Henneberger, New York Times News Service
Rome—A two-day conference of Muslim and Christian leaders was supposed to highlight cooperation, not conflict.
A lineup of clerics, brought together by the left-leaning Catholic group that won this year's UNESCO peace prize, was expected to offer some well-chosen, hopeful words—a little preaching from the converted.
But then, the first religious speaker at the conference began by loudly excoriating "arrogant Zionists."
By the end of the morning, several others had explicitly tied terrorism to the treatment of Palestinians in Israel, expressed strong anti-American feelings and shown how hard it was even for some relatively moderate religious leaders to moderate their language when it came to recent events.
The first speaker, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a theologian and director of the Sunna Research Center in Qatar, denounced the attacks [apparently, of September 11, 2001], but added: "We Arabs are among the most sensitive to this because of the evil inflicted on us by arrogant Zionists. We go to sleep at night and get up in the morning in a Palestine transformed into a continuous funeral. We refuse terrorism but don't consider it terrorism to defend one's own home."
No Jews were invited to speak here at the meeting that ended yesterday and was organized by the Sant'Egidio Community, a Catholic lay group with a history of mediating international conflicts.
The community, which meets nightly for prayer and has smaller groups in at least 40 other countries, has been honored for brokering a 1992 peace accord in Mozambique. It has tried similar initiatives, with varying degrees of success, in Albania, Angola, Guatemala, Kosovo, Lebanon, Somalia and Burundi.
When asked why no Jews were at the table, the group's founder, Andrea Riccardi, said: "We are not building an alliance against the Jewish world. We aren't excluding, but concentrating on one problem."
He mentioned Sant'Egidio's long history of dialogue with Jewish groups, and said that in two weeks his group would commemorate the killing of the Jews in Rome during World War II.
Not everyone used fighting words. After Qaradawi came Cardinal Carlo Martini, archbishop of Milan, who many moderate Catholics hope will be the next pope.
"The believer knows that darkness and death will never have the last word," he said, paraphrasing Pope John Paul II, "but that's only if every one of us will banish violence from our own words and feelings."
After the cardinal spoke, Qaradawi, seated next to him, leaned toward him, smiled and pointed to his heart, indicating Martini's words had touched him.
Abdullah Omar Nasseef, the Saudi president of the World Muslim Conference, was also among the more conciliatory speakers, saying: "Violence happens only in environments that are not religious. The mass media insist on a conflict between religions, while the Koran insists on the contrary."
One point of agreement among speakers was a dim view of recent comments by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy on the superiority of Western civilization.
"There is no one civilization superior to the other, because every civilization has its particular character," said Mar Gregorios Iohanna Ibrahim of the Syrian Orthodox Church.' [A23].
● ● ● ● ●
from: The Atlas of Jewish History, Completely Revised and Updated, Martin Gilbert ["Official Biographer of Sir Winston Churchill." (dust jacket, 1977 edition)]; Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, Cartography by Arthur Banks, Terry Bicknell and Tim Aspden, William Morrow, 1993 (c1969). [123 Maps]. [Biases? Research to corroborate].
"Other Atlases [by Martin Gilbert]
Recent History Atlas, 1860–1960
British History Atlas
American History Atlas
First World War Atlas
The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Its History in Maps
The Jews of Arab Lands: Their History in Maps
The Jews of Russia: Their History in Maps
Jerusalem: Illustrated History Atlas
Imperial Russian History Atlas
Soviet History Atlas
Children's Illustrated Bible Atlas
Atlas of the Holocaust"
[opposite title page].
This atlas traces the world-wide Jewish migrations from ancient Mesopotamia to modern Israel. It seeks to follow the diverse—and sometimes obscure—path of a far-ranging people, and to map their strange experiences in good times and bad.
My original concern was to avoid undue emphasis upon the many horrific aspects of Jewish history. I wished to portray with equal force the construction, achievements and normalities of Jewish life through almost four thousand years. In part I believe that I have succeeded; for there are many maps of traders, philosophers, financiers, settlers and sages. But as my research into Jewish history progressed, I was surprised, depressed, and to some extent overwhelmed by the perpetual and irrational violence which pursued the Jews in every century and to almost every corner of the globe. If, therefore, persecution, expulsion, torture, humiliation, and mass murder haunt these pages, it is because they also haunt the Jewish story...." [no page number].
"The First Dispersions 722–586 BC" .
"The Imperial Powers 586–165 BC" .
"The Jews of the Eastern Mediterranean Both Before and After the Arab Conquest [636 C.E. (World Jewish Congress (Internet))]" .
"For more than three thousand years Jews lived in the principal towns of the Eastern Mediterranean. The longest single overlordship of the area was that of Rome (677 years). Jewish rule in Judaea and Samaria in ancient times lasted a total of 641 years. Other rulers of the area included the Arabs (447 years), the Ottoman Turks (401 years) and the Crusaders (192 years)" .
In Roman times, a center of Jewish settlement, whose Jews were granted equal citizenship rights with Greeks. In 600 AD, after attempts to forcible conversion, the Jews rebelled, and many were killed. In 1171 only 10 Jewish families still remained; in 1750 about 40; in 1894 about 80; in 1928 about 10" .
"Make war upon those who have been given scripture...until they pay the tribute readily, having been brought low
Koran, Sura No. 9,29" .
"The Jews of North Africa Before the Arab Conquest 500 BC–750 AD" .
"For more than a thousand years before the Arab conquest, Jews lived in flourishing communities throughout the North African coastal area. Sometimes welcomed, sometimes merely tolerated, sometimes savagely persecuted, they created vigorous trading communities, and contributed substantially to the commercial, economic and cultural life of the towns in which they lived" .
"In the first century AD, the Jewish population of the Roman Empire west of Palestine has been put at over six million, of whom a million lived in Egypt, mostly in Alexandria" .
"73 AD 3,000 Jews executed following their revolt against Rome. 115 AD Further Jewish revolts, hundreds of thousands killed" .
"320 BC Pharaoh settles 30,000 Jews on the Sinai, Cyrenaican, and Cyprus frontiers to protect Egypt from attack" .
"The Jews of the Roman Empire 100–300 AD"
"By 300 AD, the Jews had settled in every part of the Roman Empire except Britain. They were guaranteed freedom of religion and were allowed to practice Jewish law in disputes between Jews. They were exempt from military service.
There were probably at least three million Jews in 300 AD, a million of whom lived west of Macedonia" .
"The Jews and Islam 750 AD" .
"Under Muslim rule the Jews found greater toleration than under Christianity. Thus the Jews of Toledo opened the gates of the city to welcome their Muslim liberators.
THERE WERE NOTHING LIKE THE FREQUENT MASSACRES AND EXPULSION WHICH WERE THE CURSE OF JEWS LIVING IN CHRISTENDOM" .
"The Jews of Arabia, 722 BC–1948 AD" .
"....Only after Mohammed's hopes of converting the Jews of Medina to Islam were disappointed did his relations with them deteriorate [typical aggressive behavior of proselytizers]" .
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from: The Great Deception of Christianity, A Sceptic's Look at the Bible, James J. Edwards, Vantage, c1992.
"James J. Edwards, born in Minyip, Australia, currently resides in Melborne. A retired newspaper machinest, the author is also a veteran of World War II and the Korean War. After living nearly a lifetime in a Christian Community, the author decided to study the Bible for himself. The Great Deception of Christianity: A Sceptic's Look at the Bible is the result." [dust jacket].
CHRISTIAN INVOLVEMENT IN WAR
"Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him, and if he thirst, give him drink."
This saying, attributed to Paul, is very familiar to Christians, but sadly to say, they have never abided by it. Nor have they abided by a lot of similar quotes in the Bible.
But of course there are quotes in this same book that are directly opposite to the one mentioned. We are to read in the Old Testament how God was a great supporter of war and the atrocities that always accompany warfare. He urged on Moses, Joshua, Saul, David, and others in their killing spree against innocent people, whose land and possessions they intended stealing.
Later on, Christ was to utter words in a rather warlike way, when he informed his disciples that he had not come to send peace on earth, but a sword (Matthew 10:34).
Apart from Christians, other religions have also become engaged in murder and war against each other. It is still going on. However,
ALL THE WARFARE AND MURDER INVOLVING NON-CHRISTIAN COUNTRIES, PALES INTO INSIGNIFICANCE, WHEN COMPARED TO THAT OF THE CHRISTIAN COUNTRIES.
Apart from the numerous war between themselves, these same countries who follow the banner of Jesus Christ, have during the last few centuries, sent armed forces and settlers into all the so-called uncivilized countries in the world to conquer them. In so doing, they have wiped out vast numbers of the local inhabitants, whose only means of defence was a wooden spear or bow and arrow.
THE MURDEROUS AND THIEVING "CRUSADERS [see 1999]," on their several marches through Europe on the way to the "Holy Land," left a devastating trail of murder, theft, and rape, with the Jewish people being the worst sufferers [see: Jewish History Atlas].
A lot of these so-called holy soldiers, with their clothing and banner picturing the "holy cross" of Christ, were nothing more than armies mostly made up of cruel
and illiterate bandits, whose main purpose was not the rescue of the nonsensical tomb of Jesus Christ, but the spoils of murder, rape, and theft along the way.
After the first Crusade and capture of Jerusalem in 1099, thousands of the local inhabitants were butchered and everything of value stolen. The tomb of Jesus Christ became something of secondary importance.
In all, eight crusades were made against the armies of Islam, with very few victories of importance registered. The Islam soldiers proved to be not only better fighting men than their enemies, but they were not afflicted with the Crusaders' lack of discipline and honour. The Crusaders' battle cry of "God wills it," would certainly have gone unheeded.
Even young children were encouraged by their religious leaders to form a crusade in the year 1212. They were assured that God and his son Jesus Christ would protect them on their travels. The unfortunate young ones received no heavenly help at all and were preyed on by horrible types of people all along the way. A lot of them were captured and sold into slavery.
Richard I [King 1189 - 1199 (1157 - 1199)] was England's most well-known Crusader, and to finance his crusade, he robbed and heavily taxed everyone living in England, with most of the money coming from the Jewish citizens. Later when returning to England, he was captured and held for ransom in Germany. England had to pay over a quarter of its income for one year to secure his freedom. He was reputed to be a great and brave soldier, who fought for Christianity. It should not be forgotten that he was also reputed to be a murderer of prisoners, as at one time he [Richard I] had three thousand of them massacred.
Crusades were also directed against bands of Christians who were described as heretics, with great slaughter of these people taking place.
The most infamous and murderous of these Crusades was directed against the Albigenses sect, in southern France, early in the thirteenth century. In the short time the sect existed, nearly 400,000 adherents were killed.
By the time the fifteenth century came along, the Crusade movement had ceased to exist, but PERSECUTION AND KILLING WENT ON UNABATED. Only NOW IT BECAME AN OFFENSIVE BY THE FOLLOWERS OF THE DOMINANT CATHOLIC CHURCH, AGAINST ANYONE NOT OF THEIR FAITH.
In the sixteenth century, a French Protestant sect called Huguenots, who had incurred the wrath of the Catholics, were continually on the defensive against attacks. Unlike the Albigenses, who made little attempt to defend themselves, the Huguenots tried very desperately to ward off the attacking Catholic army.
In 1572, the "Massacre of St Bartholomew" occurred, with countless thousands of Huguenots slaughtered, and very few of their sect shown any mercy if captured. After this massacre, a medal was struck to celebrate the murderous victory!
Even though the Protestant religion was officially granted religious freedom in France in 1598, it did not stop the persecution and caused thousands of Huguenots to flee to other countries for refuge.
The hatred between Catholics and Protestant as to which sect was to be the dominant ruling force in some European countries, often finished up in open warfare. The "Thirty Years War," which raged in Europe in the seventeenth century, is an example of this. It is estimated that over 15 million people lost their lives in the [horrendous] conflict. The war was also accompanied by unbelievable atrocities and devastation of the German countryside.
Another country that was to suffer from a purely religious war was Ireland, whose Catholic population was to suffer defeat and occupation by English Protestants. In Northern Ireland, religious murders are still going on, with no end in sight.
Even the Crimean War originated as a "holy war." It began in 1853 when Russia invaded the Turkish Empire to protect the Christian sect that was under domination by the Turks. Disagreement between France and Russia over each country's rights to supervise the holy places in Palestine, was also another cause of this war breaking out. England was to enter the war, but not for religious reasons, though.
In South Africa, a holy day is still commemorated to thank God for blessing and assisting the Boer settlers in the slaughter of the local black population, who had tried to stop the Boers from stealing their land. And why shouldn't God assist them? After all, hadn't he assisted Joshua to wipe out the local population in the land of Canaan?
The Spanish Civil War also had heavy undertones of Christian involvement. General Franco [1892 - 1975], a devout Catholic, led a revolt against the ruling government, with one of his main objects being to restore the Catholic Church to its former dominating power. After the war he made every effort to completely suppress the Protestant religion. When Germany was to later on suffer defeat in the Second World War, Franco is recorded as saying, "Adolf Hitler [1889 - 1945], son of the Catholic church, died while defending Christianity!"
It would be wrong to state that the Second World War started because of any religious matters, but before it ended, it was to demonstrate the hatred that still existed between Christian and Jew. Hatred by Christians against Russians, who were branded as atheists. Hatred by Roman Catholics against the Greek Orthodox church.
Most of the leaders of Germany were acknowledged Christians, and they had revived the outdated belief of Christians to wipe out the entire race of the Jews. Read what Hitler wrote in his book Mein Kampf: "I believe that I am today acting according to the purpose of the Almighty Creator. In resisting the Jew, I am fighting the Lord's battles." Himmler [1900 - 1945], leader of the German police forces, was also a so-called Christian, having grown up in a very religious family. He, [Himmler] along with Hitler, Goebbels [1897 - 1945], and other German leaders were never excommunicated from their church either.
Some of the worst atrocities of the war were to occur in Yugoslavia, where the Catholic Croats, who supported the Germans, took advantage of the war to vent their hatred against the Greek Orthodox Serbs. Hundreds of thousands of Serbs were killed, with many of them under extreme torture. To save themselves from death,
After the Second World War ended, the powerful countries of the world had a chance to live in peace together, but this was thwarted by the hatred and threats made by the Christian countries against the unchristian Russia. These threats had been made by both Protestant and Catholic leaders, who considered that the Allied Army should have continued on with the war after the defeat of Germany, and invaded Russia. It is no wonder that Russia, acting on these threats, tried to secure their own safety by making a buffer zone of other countries on their border.
If anyone thinks the cause of the Vietnam War had nothing to do with religion, they are well mistaken.
South Vietnam, a predominant Buddhist country, finished up with most of the positions of authority in the land, held by the minority Christians. The premier, Ngo Dinh Diem, was described as being a fanatical Catholic, and it was he who appointed other Catholics to their top positions. These Christian leaders were to severely oppress the Buddhists, some of whom burnt themselves to death as a form of protest.
Naturally when the Northern army invaded, they struck very little resistance from the South. Had the unwarranted invasion by Christian America not occurred, very few people would have been killed, and any hatred that existed between the North and South, would have soon been forgotten. Because of the American invasion, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese men and women were killed. The country was flattened by bombing and enormous areas of forest defoliated.
The war in Vietnam, when it spilled over the border into Kampuchea, gave the evil Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge forces a chance to grab leadership in the country and devastate it with wholesale murder of its people. This could never have happened without the American invasion next door.
After the Vietnam war ended, any respect and goodwill the countries of Southeast Asia had for America was lost, along with a lot of potential Christians also.' [End of chapter 19] [94-99]. [See: 1999, 2001; etc.].
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from: Jihad in the West, Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 21st Centuries, Paul Fregosi, Prometheus, 1998. [keep in mind, the attacks of September 11, 2001, and, prior attacks].
[dust jacket] 'The Jihad, the Muslim Holy War against Christians and other faiths, has raged in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia for over 1,300 years, and has now reached the Americas. The Muslim military conquests of former centuries and the terrorist campaigns of recent decades share more than just the name Jihad. They are both expressions of the Muslim distaste for and basic antagonism to the entire non-Muslim world, which it shows by doing battle against those it perceives as blasphemers and infidels. For over a century and a half the world had forgotten this fact, since most Muslim countries were politically impotent and ruled mainly as the colonies of protectorates of European powers. But recent events in Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere have reminded us of the Muslims' existence and newly won power. Jihad is back.
Even though the Jihad has been a fact of life in much of the world for more than a millennium, it remains the most unrecorded and disregarded major event in history. Jihad in the West seeks to redress this oversight. It is the first and only general history of the Jihad, with a concentration on Europe. In a lively, readable style that often recalls the mordant satire of Juvenal and Evelyn Waugh, historian
Paul Fregosi gives an engrossing account of the universal and little-known Islamic military invasions of Europe and the major players who led them, as well as the mighty warriors who opposed them. The story begins around 650 C.E. with the first, unsuccessful siege of Constantinople, and continues with the invasion and occupation, sometimes for hundreds of years, of many European countries. Italy, Sicily, Portugal, France, Spain, Austria, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Rumania, Wallachia, Albania, Moldavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Armenia, Georgia, Poland, the Ukraine, and eastern and southern Russia were all battlefields where Islam conquered or was conquered in violent conflicts marked by cruelty, bloodlust, and a fearful loss of life, spread over considerably more than a thousand years.
While European history has remained transfixed on the Christian Crusades of the eleventh to the thirteenth century, it has largely ignored these Muslim attacks and invasions. Fregosi's powerful study realigns this skewed historical vision to correct a perception of the Crusades and of later colonialism that has greatly affected the modern political thinking of Muslims (particularly those in the Middle East) toward the West. When accusing the West of imperialism, Muslims are obsessed with the Crusades, but have forgotten their own longer and more gruesome Jihad.
A writer befriended and greatly admired by the novelist Graham Greene, Fregosi faced a wall of opposition to Jihad in the West; the release of this controversial book was abruptly canceled by a publisher in Britain due to what some believe to have been fear of Muslim reprisals. "There's an intention to censor what's going on about Islam, more so than for any other religion," Fregosi recently told the London press.
But with increasing Islamic extremist violence around the world, from the downing of Pan Am 103 to the bombing of the World Trade Center, the full story needs at last to be told, since the terrorism of today finds its direct antecedent in the holy wars of the past. Jihad in the West will shock and enlighten all those interested in gaining an understanding of Islam's impact on Western history and the Muslim holy war that continues to be a threat to peace today.
Paul Fregosi, born in Marseille and educated in France and Britain, is a world traveler who has lived and worked in Australia, Tahiti, Italy, North Africa, Switzerland, France, Brazil, Canada, the United States, and elsewhere. He is the author of the highly praised Dreams of Empire: Napoleon and the First World War 1792-1815. He is currently residing in London.' [dust jacket].
'Bin Laden, whose headquarters are located in Afghanistan, is the founder and funder of the extremist Islamic International Front for Fighting Jews and Crusaders, who, in February 1998, issued the order: "Kill Americans." The United States retaliated promptly by sending seventy-five Tomahawk cruise missiles to bomb the movement's training base in Afghanistan and also what President Clinton claimed was a chemical weapons facility near Khartoum in Sudan. So the United States has found itself propelled to the front rank of the Jihad targets. The hunting season against America is now open. A NEW JIHAD MAY BE IN THE OFFING, a prospect which is causing considerable international concern, very understandable in light of the 1,300 years of Jihad activity which the West has already experienced and which is described in this book. Americans will note that bin Laden has chosen the most disparaging term in the devout Muslim's vocabulary to describe his American and other foes, and has gone back hundreds of years to find it. That term is: Crusader.
Devout followers of Muhammad believe the Crusades responsible for the confrontation between Christendom and Islam. They believe it was the Crusaders who forced Islam to create the Jihad's self-defense. In fact, they have their facts the wrong way round. When, in 1096, the Crusades were launched, the Jihad had already been in action against Christendom for nearly five hundred years. It was the Jihad's recent successes in Spain that inspired, so to speak, the pope to create the Crusades and to order the Crusaders to march to the Holy Land.
For the world at large these latest bombings in Africa were simply modern-day terrorism in action; but some non-Muslims saw in these bomb plots a possible connection with the old, historic Jihad that goes right back to the 600s, to the Arabian peninsula and to the founder of Islam who, at the same time, created the Jihad in defense of his creed. Many modern-day Muslims condemn this new fanatical Jihad even more strongly than do Westerners. The Jihad of today for them is a political Jihad with no connection with the religious Jihads of the past. They do not recognize themselves in this new Jihad, nor their religion, nor the preachings of their Prophet. Non-Muslims, however, have other thoughts. They wonder, question, and fear. The problem is that the practitioners of this new, fanatical, and murderous Jihad see themselves as the heirs of the warriors of old. One Muslim extremist of the
Islamic Liberation party reminded his interlocutors just before the scheduled opening of the party's international rally in London in August, 1994, that "there are 123 verses in the Koran about killing and fighting." And he added, quite unnecessarily, "Ours is not a passive religion."' [17-18] [End of Preface].
THE HOLY WAR THAT ISN'T"
'There are still many Muslims who believe that it is Islam's manifest destiny to conquer the whole world. Obliged to face the realities of the modern world, many more may not be too sure about this article of their faith. But, just the same, many still ardently cling to it, even among the millions of immigrants who have made their home in France and Britain [and, the United States of America]. The fundamentalists and those who have faith in the message of Ayatollah Khomeini do. So do those we can call Muslim revivalists, devout and sincere followers of the Prophet but unwilling to take part in the militant postures and actions of the fundamentalists. Profoundly disturbed by the moral degradation of Western society today, they are convinced the future belongs to Islam.
In the past, individual Muslims fought in wars against the Infidels in a supposed gesture of piety and loyalty. Yet the wars themselves were—and still are—usually essentially territorial and political. No change is visible in the offing. The Encyclopedia of Islam, published in Leyden in 1913, is quite explicit: "Islam must be completely made over before the Jihad is eliminated." But the elimination of the Jihad seems nowhere in sight. On the contrary, it ["the Jihad"] is probably more deeply imbedded in the Muslim mind than at any time in the past two centuries, and its elimination seems very far off indeed.
The Jihad appears more and more as an interminable fact of life, almost a freak of nature. Like the earth going around the sun, the Jihad seems to have a power, if not of perpetual motion, at least of perpetual continuity. In this domain of the stars and planets, a friend of mine once compared it to Halley's Comet. "It streaks across the sky, then vanishes. But it's always there. It reappears, streaks across the sky and then vanishes again." The comparison is not quite true. Halley's Comet appears very rarely and does no damage. The Jihad appears frequently and does a lot of damage. So does its modern terrorist version.' .
OF BONES AND STONES
Muslims [Jews, Christians, et al.] have a natural tendency to attribute their victories to divine guidance, sometimes even to the support given by thousands of unseen angels who fought on their behalf on the battlefields; and also, of course, the righteousness of their cause. Others are now more skeptical. According to the Islamic expert, Italian Professor Francisco Gabrieli, the Arabs were anxious to prove to the Persians and the Byzantines, who had always despised them, that the Arabs were as good as they were, better in fact; and, Gabrieli maintains, love of loot rather than the love of God was their main motivation. Indeed, many Arab tribes who were not Muslims also took part in these first assaults. Later, seeing how lucrative Islam could be, they became Muslims themselves, much as a person today may join a political party, or perhaps the Freemasons or the Rotary, for the advantages it may bring him.
When the Muslim Arabs erupted from their peninsula of sand, stone, and oil (underground, and then still unknown), other Arab clans who had migrated north generations before joined them in their attack on the Byzantine and Persian empires, which had been greatly weakened by their recent war. These were the Arab Christian tribes south of the Dead Sea and the Arab pagan tribes on the Euphrates. These Arabs were certainly not interested in Allah or Muhammad. They were after plunder. The same urgency, whatever the demands of their faith, spurred the tribesmen from the peninsula. Those from the Hejaz, the sandy and stony wasteland of western Arabia, Muhammad's birthplace, were probably the most motivated for Allah, since the Prophet came from their midst; but for the majority, the first priority was winning loot, slaves, and women. In fact, when the second of Muhammad's successors, the caliph Omar (634—644), was first asked by his governor at Damascus for permission to cross the sea and attack the islands of Greece, Omar forbade the expedition as he feared the dangers of the deep. "The safety of my people is dearer to me than all the treasures of Greece," he explained. "Treasure" in this instance did not mean infidels to be converted to Islam, but loot to be plundered. It meant gold, jewels, and beautiful things. The caliph's order of priorities was quite clear: treasure, not Islam, was uppermost in his mind. The cancellation of the religious mission of his troops was not even mentioned. Omar's Jihad was, at least in part, a front for treasure hunting and looting.
For most, the Jihad was no fraud; the majority simply accepted the Koran as the direct word of God. No one had any difficulty in reconciling religiosity and rapacity. Muhammad had not only made it easy for them to do so, he had made it a virtue by presenting plunder and war as righteous paths to Paradise. In his ten years in Medina he organized no fewer than 65 military campaigns, and personally led 27, although we should note that the traditionalist al-Bukhari placed the number at between 15 and 19. Even Napoleon Bonaparte could not better that numerical record, although his battles were, of course, of greater eminence. The Koran, anyway, urges the Muslims always to battle.
The Muslim must accept every word of the Koran as coming from God in person, in fact, as being part of God and therefore beyond query. It was God who spoke the words of the Koran through Gabriel to Muhammad. After receiving the message, Muhammad dictated it to various friends, mainly his secretary, the fifteen-year old Zeid ibn Thabit, who wrote it all down (it [the Koran] represents 120,000 words, the equivalent of a book of about three hundred pages) on bones and stones that lay around the living quarters of Muhammad and his wives.
Although Muhammad supposedly could neither read nor write, he could listen and he could talk and shortly before his death he told his followers he would dictate an addition to the Koran before he died—presumably Allah had told him he would come round again to bring him the new message—to prevent his disciples from lapsing into error. But that final message was never given. What errors had he in mind? That is a question that has long troubled some Muslims.
The final version of the Koran (in ancient times four different transcriptions of it were in circulation), accepted and revered by the Muslims as the uncreated and eternal truth, may in fact contain a number of inaccuracies. Unscrupulous scribes inserted their own verses into the suras. One of the more famous Koran falsifiers, Abdallah ibn Saad, who later became an admiral and commanded the Muslim expedition to Cyprus in 649, when a young man wrote his own verses into the revelations that Muhammad was dictating to him, perhaps to enliven the text. Muhammad didn't even notice the changes and Abdallah was unwise enough to tell his friends in Medina the story of his misdeed as if it were a great joke. The story of his indiscretion was repeated to an enraged Muhammad and the Prophet, who was not a man to forgive an offense lightly, particularly if it made him look ridiculous, tried to have the indiscreet young man murdered. A very sacred Abdallah moved faster than his employer and fled to Mecca, where he remained in hiding for a considerable time until his foster-brother, Othman, Muhammad's son-in-law, managed to win him a pardon.
Much of the Koran is meaningless anyway to Westerners. Some of the verses, apparently beautiful and very inspiring when chanted in Arabic, do not make sense in any other language....' [60-62].
"The Koran is the most authoritative source on Muhammad, but it is actually very sketchy on details about the Prophet's life. There is much more information to be found in the Hadiths, or Traditions, information gathered a hundred or so years after his death by a special group of collectors who traveled around talking to people who had known people who, at some time, had known people who knew the Prophet. It was a lifetime job for several of them. Al-Bukhari, the most famous of these researchers, more than two hundred years after Muhammad's death, studied no less than 600,000 stories concerning the Prophet and threw out some 593,000 of them. The surviving 7,275 anecdotes were gathered in a book which he called The Correct Book. Other collectors were less scrupulous or demanding than al-Bukhari. Although they disregarded as frauds most of the stories told to them, there are probably thousands of dubious entries that made their way into the collectors' books. One gentleman called Ibn Abi al-Awja, who was put to death in Iraq in 772, confessed before his execution that he had made up no fewer than four thousand Traditions.
How many ["Hadiths, or Traditions"] were inscribed in the collectors' volumes and are now venerated as part of the Islamic truth was not made clear, but for the last 1,300 years most accounts of Muhammad's life and deeds—and even misdeeds—have depended largely on these Hadiths [", or Traditions"]."  [End of chapter 7].
A PARADISE FOR WARRIORS"
'Prophets, like martyrs, also have priority for entry into Paradise. Abraham, Enoch, Moses, Joseph, and Jesus, all considered to be prophets in Muslim theology, are also in the Muslim Paradise. In fact, Muhammad met them there when he visited Heaven on the famous Night Journey he took on the twelfth year of his mission, after the Angel Gabriel had cut him open from his chest to his navel to take out his heart and wash it in the local Zam Zam well water.
Muhammad's journey to Paradise and back took only one night. He rode all the way on a buraq, the only animal of its kind in the world, with the head of a woman, the body of a mule, the tail of a peacock, and two wings. The journey, which is mentioned briefly in the seventeenth sura of the Koran, started in Mecca and included a stopover in Jerusalem, a Muslim holy place since then. The first person Muhammad met on arrival in Paradise was Adam. Muhammad did not recognize him and it was Gabriel who introduced Adam to the visitor. He met a number of prophets, including Jesus, who said to him, "Welcome, good brother," and Moses, who wept because, thanks to Muhammad, more Muslims would now go to Paradise than Jews. On earth, no one had noticed Muhammad's absence (he was staying at his cousin's at Mecca at the time) and he was back in his bed by early morning. Christians, as could be expected, have derided these teachings. Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, commented in his Pensées that "Paradise and such like scenes" in the Koran made the Prophet "appear ridiculous."
The stopover in Jerusalem was probably the only occasion during his life that Muhammad ever visited the city, previously sacred only to Christians and Jews. After the Night Journey it also joined Mecca and Medina as holy cities of Islam. The Dome of the Rock mosque stands on the spot from where the buraq, with Muhammad and the Angel Gabriel astride, took off for the direct flight to Paradise. Some Muslim theologians believe, however, that Muhammad changed there from the buraq to a very long ladder for the final lap to Paradise.
PARADISE IS RESERVED FOR MUSLIMS. CHRISTIANS, JEWS, BUDDHISTS, HINDUS AND OTHER NON-MUSLIMS DON'T GO TO PARADISE. THEY PRESUMABLY GO TO HELL.
From Paradise there is a splendid view of hell, and the dwellers in the heavens (there are seven heavens) can watch the people down there being roasted in eternal fires and drinking boiling water to quench their thirst. In Paradise only vintage wines are served and fine liqueurs that have the additional distinction of never intoxicating the drinker, for eating and drinking are also among the pleasures of Paradise. Each resident in Paradise has three hundred servants to wait on him at table, each bearing on a gold plate a different dish for his meal. They must be very different from the usual Bedouin diet of dates, barley bread, and camel milk, broken occasionally by a snack of dried camel meat. Three hundred dishes a day per person normally would represent a big problem of human waste disposal, but no toilets are necessary in Paradise. Meals once digested are vaporized through the pores as musk-scented perfume. The Muslim mystic and poet Jalal al Din al-Suya, who lived in Persia in medieval times, was quite explicit. "DWELLERS IN PARADISE DO NOT HAVE AN ANUS. ANUSES WERE MADE FOR DEFECATING AND IN PARADISE THERE IS NO DEFECATION," he wrote in his poem "Kitabal Anwar."
The anticipated presence of the houris
["In Islam, beautiful celestial black-eyed damsels of the Muslim paradise. They possess perpetual youth and beauty and their virginity is renewable at pleasure. They are the reward of every believer [males, and, females?]." (Internet)]
[houri: "A nymph of the Mohammedan Paradise" (O.E.D.). "one of the dark-eyed virgins of perfect beauty that in Muslim belief live with the blessed in paradise" (Webster's Third). Complex, via Muslim interpreters]
in Paradise naturally had a very stimulating effect on Muslim warriors. Their commanders used to shout at them before they went into battle. "THE HOURIS ARE WAITING FOR YOU!" and the warriors of Islam, eager to die, would rush into the fray determined to earn immediate entry into Paradise. The expectancy of the delights ahead drove them to prodigies of valor. But let us not scoff at what appears to Westerners as the bizarre inspirations of the Muslim warriors. It helped them to conquer half the known world in less than one hundred years. Once again it's a case of cherchez la femme to explain their victories. Or rather cherchez les femmes, except that in this case the "femmes" didn't exist. At least, not on earth.' [67-68] [End of chapter 8].
The West 1980S—1990S"
'It needs to be said: Islam considers itself doctrinally a religion whose destiny it is to dominate and to rule the world. In the spiritual sphere it believes that it has taken over from the older Jewish and Christian religions. It considers them outdated and itself therefore entitled to the recognition of its true and superior status, and to their deference. Politically others see Islam and it sees itself as the would-be successors of the Russians and now, strangely enough, of the Americans. Let us never forget the ideological dimension of Islam.
In Muslim countries which are far from the West and its protective mantle—Pakistan, the Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, among others—Islam requires religious submission from its own people. Prison or death can be the penalty for those who do not acquiesce.
After the past 150 years or so of political eclipse, Muslim countries are no longer under colonial tutelage, and thanks to their oil deposits, they are now rich and powerful. They intend to make full use of these advantages and, in fact, are already doing that. Hopefully, some will draw their inspiration from tenth-century Cordova, where a gracious and highly cultured mixed civilization of Muslims, Jews, and Christians flourished. But I fear that an anti-Christian miscalculation may take over, inspired by the overconfidence that the presence of a few million Muslims in Europe may give. A Muslim friend in Paris told me a couple of years ago, "Our great strength is that people are afraid of us." That type of thinking is also likely to lead to a major miscalculation in the way Islam approaches the West. Similarly, a British publisher who rejected this book, because it feared reprisals, told me, "We have to play the game according to Muslim rules." Obviously I have failed to do so.
They were both wrong.
Let us end with an epilogue that should serve as a model for the future, or at least as a guide.' [411-412] [End of chapter 61].
AN ACTION IN ALL ITS LUSTER
The friendship between the eighteenth-century Turkish Grand Vizier Topal Osman and the French harbor master Vincent Arnaud shows us what the relationship between men of good faith can be, however wide apart their religious, or for that matter, their political beliefs may be. I end with a passage from Creasy's History of the Ottoman Turks: ....[story, not presented]
If history has a lesson for us all, Christians and Muslims, it is here."
[413, 415] [End of Epilogue] [End of text].
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from: The Jesus Mysteries, Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God?, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, c1999.
'THE DESTRUCTION OF PAGANISM
In the second century Tertullian, who claimed to have been converted to Christianity by witnessing Christians going to their death as martyrs, admitted he too had once enjoyed watching "the ludicrous cruelties" of Roman public persecutions.243 This love of gore and suffering does not seem to have deserted him after he became a Christian. With obvious relish he paints a grim and violent picture of the fate awaiting Pagans at the "Final Judgment":
[Tertullian] You are fond of spectacles, expect the greatest of all spectacles, the last and eternal judgment of the universe. How shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs, and fancied gods, groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness; so many magistrates who persecuted the name of the Lord, liquefying in fiercer fires than they ever kindled against the Christians; so many sage philosophers blushing in red hot flames with their deluded scholars; so many celebrated poets trembling before the tribunal, not of Minos, but of Christ; so many tragedians, more tuneful in the expression of their own sufferings; so many dancers...244
AND ON HE [TERTULLIAN] GOES, DELIGHTING IN THE GRUESOME TERRORS HIS OPPONENTS WILL ENDURE FOR ALL ETERNITY.
Little did he know that within a few generations such terrors would indeed afflict many Pagans, not at the Final Judgment, but in the FOURTH CENTURY at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church.' .
'Finally, on June 16, 391 Emperor Theodosius issued an edict that closed down all Pagan temples.256 A Christian mob immediately took the opportunity to destroy the wondrous temple of Serapis in Alexandria, leaving only its foundations.257 An imperial decree demanded: "Burn all books hostile to Christianity lest they cause God anger and scandalize the pious,"258 and in response illiterate monks destroyed thousands of years of accumulated wisdom and scientific knowledge as so much Pagan superstition.
The Pagan writer Eunapius, who describes "monks who resemble men but live like pigs," writes despairingly that "Anyone who had a black robe had despotic power."259 In 415 Archbishop Cyril of Alexandria had his monks incite a Christian mob to murder the last Pagan scientist of the Alexandrian Library, a remarkable woman called Hypatia.260 She was torn limb from limb, and Cyril was made a saint.261
In the reign of Constantine Christianity had been accorded equal status with the Pagan religions of the Empire. Half a century later, in the reign of Theodosius, it was declared to be the only religion that a person was permitted to practice.262 Theodosius died in 395. Exactly 15 years later the Visigoths ravaged Rome.
This proud city [Rome], the center of the greatest empire of the ancient world, had flourished for a millennium under its own gods. Within a few decades of turning to Christianity, it had destroyed all the wonders and achievements of antiquity and then perished itself.263 Christianity did not succeed as the one religion of the Roman Empire where Mithraism and the other Pagan cults had failed. In fact, Christianity was the religion that accompanied its ["Roman Empire"] downfall.' [245-246].
"THE DESTRUCTION OF GNOSTICISM"
'IN RESPONSE TO THE CONTINUING POPULARITY OF GNOSTICISM THE ROMAN CHURCH SET OUT TO UNIFY CHRISTIANITY BY FORCE—AN INTENTION IT CARRIED OUT WITH RUTHLESS EFFICIENCY. Theodosius passed over 100 laws against Gnostics, declaring illegal their beliefs, meetings, proselytizing, ownership of property, and eventually their very existence!270 One decree reads:
Understand now by this present statute; Novatians, Valentinians, Marcionites, Paulicians, with what a tissue of lies and vanities, with what destructive and venomous errors, your doctrines are inextricably woven! We give you warning: Let none of you presume, from this time forward to meet in congregations. To prevent this we command you be deprived of all the houses in which you have been accustomed to meet and that these should be handed over immediately to the Catholic Church.271
In 381 Theodosius finally made heresy a crime against the state. Gnostic writings were condemned as a "hotbed of manifold perversity" which "should not only be forbidden, but entirely destroyed and burned with fire."272 All philosophical debate was entirely suppressed. A proclamation declares:
There shall be no opportunity for any man to go out to the public and to argue about religion or to discuss it or give any counsel.273
Early in the fifth century an abbot, working as a "heavy" for Cyril, the powerful Archbishop of Alexandria, led attacks on heretical Christian communities, threatening,
I shall make you acknowledge the Archbishop Cyril, or else the sword will wipe out most of you, and moreover those of you who are spared will go into exile.274
Augustine, the great spokesman for Catholic Christianity, expressed the mood of the times perfectly when he explained that coercion was necessary since many people respond only to fear.275 Military force was "indispensable" to suppress heretics—for their own good, of course. Augustine proclaims: "Filled with fear myself, I fill you with fear."276 St. Paul's spirituality of love and Gnosis ['direct experiential "knowledge of God"' ] had become THE ROMAN CHURCH'S RELIGION OF OBEDIENCE AND TERROR.277' [247-248].
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from: Deism: An Anthology, Peter Gay, Professor of History Columbia University, Van Nostrand, Pb. c1968.
"Reading No. 7
Sermon of the Fifty*
Voltaire [1694 - 1778]....
Born in 1694 to a prominent middle-class family in Paris, Voltaire was educated by the Jesuits and early showed passion and talent for letters....
Through the 1730s and 1740s, Voltaire spent much of his time at the château of Cirey with his bluestocking mistress, the Madame du Châtelet, with whom he studied the Bible and commentaries on the Bible from many points of view. It was not until the 1750s, probably in 1750-2, when Voltaire was a guest of Frederick II of Prussia, that he finally wrote down in polemical form what he believed about God, eternal justic [justice], tolerance, persecution, and fanaticism. It was probably at the court of Frederick the Great that he wrote his Sermon of the Fifty, and the first articles of the Philosophical Dictionary, but it was not until the 1760s, when he was rather safely settled on his property at Ferney, just a short ride away from Genevan territory, that he began to publish what he had thought for forty, and written down for twenty years.
The last decades of Voltaire's life are a deluge of deist propaganda, connected closely with his humanitarian causes, and demands for all kinds of reform—especially legal reform. He wrote literally scores of deist pamphlets, using many different names and many different devices. But the arguments are always the same; critically:
THE JEWISH RELIGION IS THE DESPICABLE MOTHER OF THE DESPICABLE CHRISTIAN RELIGION; THE BIBLE IS A COMPILATION OF INCREDIBLE AND UNWORTHY TALES; CHURCHES IN ALL AGES AND COUNTRIES ARE FILLED WITH VICIOUS AND RAPACIOUS PRIESTS; MIRACLES ARE FAIRY TALES INVENTED BY FOOLS AND EMBROIDERED BY POLITICIANS.
And constructively: there is a God who made the world with justice, enjoins men to respect Him and respect Him by following his simple and rational laws; the laws of God and nature can be discovered with ease—here Voltaire respectfully disagrees with David Hume—and followed by all men not corrupted by the priest-ridden world in which they live. There is only one thing men must know: be just." [143, 144, 145].
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from: Voltaire [1694 - 1778], The Incomparable Infidel, by Joseph Lewis [friend of Joseph Wheless (from Robb Marks, Bookseller, Catalog, Fall, 2001, 15)], Author, The Tyranny of God, The Bible Unmasked, Lincoln, the Freethinker, Burbank, the Infidel, Jefferson, the Freethinker, Franklin, the Freethinker, etc., The Freethought Press Association: New York, 4th edition 1935 (c1929).
To my Darling Daughter
with hope that she will be inspired by Voltaire to "carry on" the work that he so nobly did towards emancipating the human race from the demoralizing influence of creeds based upon ignorance, superstition and fraud.' ["5"].
"Voltaire! a name that excites the admiration of men, the malignity of priests. Pronounced that name in the presence of a clergyman, and you will find that you have made a declaration of war. Pronounce that name, and from the face of the priest the mask of meekness will fall, and from the mouth of forgiveness will pour a Niagara of vituperation and calumny. And yet Voltaire was the greatest man of his century, and did more to free the human race than any other of the sons of men.
Robert G. Ingersoll [1833 - 1899]." ["7"].
'IT WAS AN ALTOGETHER DANGEROUS THING TO BE A PROTESTANT IN THOSE DAYS [OF VOLTAIRE]. When M. Espinasse took a Protestant clergyman into his home and gave him supper and lodging, he was pounced upon by the ravenous jackals of Catholicism, and for his monstrous crime was tried, convicted and sentenced to the galleys for the rest of his life. After having passed twenty-three long years in a dungeon for this "crime," Voltaire interceded in his behalf and secured his release. But how many thousands of poor, unknown, friendless men and women suffered at the hands of these brutally insane people, with no Voltaire to help them?' [50-51]. [End of chapter Seven].
And to those who think we are unduly cautious and watchful, and who say that the church has learned its lesson and is no longer to be feared, how important are these words of Voltaire uttered in answer to one who reproached him for continuing his attacks upon the church.
"You are in error," he said; "It is the fire that is covered, not extinguished. Those fanatics, those impostors, are mad dogs. They are muzzled, but they have not lost their teeth. It is true they bite no more; but on the first opportunity, if their teeth are not drawn, you will see if they will not bite."
The Inquisition was merely asleep, and Voltaire by his watchfulness smothered it as it struggled to awake. "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," is as true today as it ever was. The Beast merely sleeps, and some believe it dead; a most dangerous state of mind.
Voltaire was not to be so easily fooled and again shouted: "I shall never cease to preach tolerance from the house-tops—despite the groans of your priests...until persecution is no more. The progress of reason is slow, the roots of prejudice are deep. Doubtless, I shall never see the fruits of my efforts, but they are seeds which may some day germinate."
And although THE CHURCH now pleads and begs for some of its long prestige and privileges, it has not changed its attitude and WOULD COMMIT THE SAME ATROCITIES TODAY IF IT HAD THE POWER.
With what deep insight does Voltaire express this thought.
"....does not experience prove that influence over men's minds is only gained by offering them the difficult, nay the impossible, to perform and believe?"
No wonder the church created a heaven and a hell—gave man a soul and pictured the frightful torments that disobedience to her edicts would provoke her revengeful and jealous God to inflict. When man no longer fears the church and its teaching, the church will no longer be able to exploit and subjugate him. Voltaire called the church a quack "who would fain have us believe we are ill, in order to sell us its pills." "Keep thy drugs," he said, "and leave me my health." What a perfect characterization is that of the church! Man has not sinned, therefore, he does not have to repent. He has no soul to save. He has but a life to live.
If the church had no heaven, it could not sell man a front seat on the right hand of God. If it had no hell, it could not save him from its torments. The church is practicing fraud and should be punished, under the law like any other criminal.
The church has hypnotized man into guilt in order to free him from his crime. What a great thing it was to convince man that his legs were sound and that he needed no crutches; that it was not necessary for the church to save him from something that did not exist!
Voltaire placed the church in the same category as those fakirs who sell rain to the savages.
"The church will not cease to be persecutors," he said, "until it ceases to be absurd." "Only the foolish and the ridiculous need force in order to secure respect."' [80-83] [End of chapter Eleven].
No summary of Voltaire can be complete without some mention of his hatred of war and his efforts to abolish it. "What concern to me," he cries, "are humanity, benevolence, modesty, temperance, gentleness, wisdom, piety, so long as half an ounce of lead shatters my body, and I die at twenty in torments unspeakable, surrounded by five or six thousand dead and dying while my eyes, opening for the last time, see the town I was born in delivered to fire and sword, and the last sounds that reach my ears are the shrieks of women and children expiring in the ruins—and the whole for the pretended interest of men that we do not know?"
The Freethinker distinguishes himself from the religionist because he refuses to accept the conditions of life as specially ordained. "Whatever is, is best" is a doctrine that he cannot subscribe to. The murdering of our fellow man is a crime no matter for what purpose it is accomplished [see 1623 (Seneca)].
"GO OVER THE WHOLE HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN ASSASSINS," exclaims Voltaire, "—and it is very long—and you will see that they all had the Bible in their pockets with their daggers...!"
Voltaire treated war as the most depraved of human acts, and in this he was vastly different from the church. War is another doctrine separating the Freethinker from the Religionist. Voltaire was the first historian of modern times who placed war at the bottom of the list of human events that should attract the attention of men, whereas the clergy from time immemorial have extolled war, in their most eloquent tongues. And with what solemn piety they ["clergy"] have blessed the sword and asked their God that he destroy wantonly the enemy in order that victory might be theirs.' [84-86] [End of chapter Twelve].
"Of all the intellectual weapons that have been wielded by man, the most terrible was the mockery of Voltaire. Bigots and tyrants who had never been moved by the wailings and cursing of millions, turned pale at his name," said Lord Macaulay.
And the magnificent Ingersoll, who carried the torch so brilliantly lighted by this courageous warrior, said that at the mention of Voltaire's name, the mask of hypocrisy would fall from the face of every priest and hypocrite.
Since priests still practice hypocrisy and fraud, and prey upon the ignorant and the credulous; since religion still teaches us to hate one another, and by the use of force prevents the acquisition of knowledge and retards the material progress of man—let us resolve now, as a debt of gratitude to the memory of this great humanitarian and lover of mankind—this great Freethinker—this incomparable Infidel—never to cease mentioning the name of Voltaire and so help to "Crush the Infamous ["Ecrasez l'infame!" ("Crush" Superstition (per Voltaire. Intended? Probably, "crush": clericalism; organized religion (Catholicism; Judaism; Protestantism))]."' [90-91].
[End of chapter Fourteen] [End of text (references, and advertisements, follow)].
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from: Why I Am Not A Muslim, Foreword by R. Joseph Hoffmann, Ibn Warraq, Prometheus, 1995. [first seen 12/8/2001]. [Must See!].
'In a conversation with Eckermann, Goethe advised an author accused of plagiarism to say "what is there is mine, and whether I got it from a book or from life is of no consequence. The only point is, whether I have made a right use of it." I doubt whether many Islamic scholars would openly approve of the use I have made of their research and scholarship; thus it is no formality to emphasize that all responsibility for the harsh, final judgments on Islam in this book is mine.' [xvi].
[1.] 'Margaret Mead [saw her, U.C. Davis, 1964; print dress plus staff] found "confirmation" for her theories of human nature in Samoa. What she wrote in Coming of Age in Samoa, "was true to our hopes and fears for the future of the world."48 True to our hopes, maybe, but not true to the facts.
As [Bertrand] Russell said, "One of the persistent delusions of mankind is that some sections of the human race are morally better or worse than others....[Some writers] tend to think ill of their neighbors and acquaintances, and therefore to think well of the sections of mankind to which they themselves do not belong."49
2. Despite appearances to the contrary, the majority of the people of Western Europe and the United States retain religious beliefs, even if they are vestigial. According to a Gallup poll, only 9 percent of Americans identify themselves as either atheist, agnostic, or of no religion at all. In France, only 12 percent of all those interviewed declared themselves atheist. It is not surprising that
for the sake of comfort and security there pours out daily, from pulpit and press, a sort of propaganda which, if it were put out for a nonreligious purpose, would be seen by everyone to be cynical and immoral. We are perpetually being urged to adopt the Christian creed not because it is true but because it is beneficial, or to hold that it must be true just because belief in it is beneficial....Religion is gravely infected with intellectual dishonesty....In religion it is particularly easy to escape notice, because of the common assumption that all honesty flows from religion and religion is necessarily honest whatever it does.50
On the whole, Western society in general and the media in particular are totally uncritical of religion. To quote Richard Dawkins, there is the widespread belief that
religious sensitivities are somehow especially deserving of consideration—a consideration not accorded to ordinary prejudice....EVEN SECULAR ACTIVISTS ARE INCOMPREHENSIBLY SOFT WHEN IT COMES TO RELIGION. We join feminists in condemning a work of pornography because it degrades women. But hands off a holy book that advocates stoning adultresses to death (having been convicted in courts where females are decreed unfit to give evidence)! Animal liberationists attack laboratories that scrupulously use anesthetics for all operations. But what about ritual slaughter houses in which animals have to be fully conscious when their throats are cut [(Jewish) Kosher!]?...The rest of us are expected to defend our prejudices. But ask a religious person to justify his faith and you infringe "religious liberty."51' .
'In his "The Sermon of the Fifty" (1762), Voltaire attacks Christian mysteries like transubstantiation as absurd, Christian miracles as incredible, and the Bible as "full of contradictions." The God of Christianity was a "cruel and hateful tyrant." The true God, the sermon continues, "surely cannot have been born of a girl, nor died on the gibbet, not be eaten in a piece of dough." Nor could he have inspired "books filled with contradictions, madness and horror."62
By contrast, Voltaire finds the dogmas of Islam simplicity itself: there is but one God, and Muhammad is his Prophet. For all deists, the superficial rationality of Islam was appealing: no priests, no miracles, no mysteries. To this was added other false beliefs such as Islam's absolute tolerance of other religions, in contrast to Christian intolerance.' .
'Gibbon was much influenced by Boulainvilliers in particular, but also by the eighteenth-century Weltanschauung with its myths and preoccupations, in short, what we have been examining throughout this chapter. By the time Gibbon came round to writing his History (the first volume of Decline and Fall came out in 1776), there was, as Bernard Lewis puts it, "a vacancy for an Oriental myth. Islam was in many ways suitable." But what happened to the previously mentioned Chinese, who also managed to fascinate Europeans? Here is how Lewis sums up the situation in the latter half of the eighteenth century:
Europe, it seems, has always needed a myth for purposes of comparison and castigation....The eighteenth-century Enlightenment had two ideal prototypes, the noble savage and the wise and urbane Oriental. There was some competition for the latter role. For a while the Chinese, held up as a model of moral virtue by the Jesuits and of secular tolerance by the philosophers, filled it to perfection in the Western intellectual shadowplay. Then disillusionment set in, and was worsened by the reports of returning travellers whose perceptions of China were shaped by neither Jesuitry nor philosophy, but by experience. By the time Gibbon began to write, there was a vacancy for an Oriental myth. Islam was in many ways suitable.63
What Bernard Lewis tells us about Gibbon is applicable to almost all the writers on Islam in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: "[Gibbon's] own imperfect knowledge and the defective state of European scholarship at the time hampered his work and sometimes blunted the skepticism which he usually brought to the sources and subjects of his historical inquiries....The Muslim religious myths enshrined in the traditional biographical literature on which all his sources ultimately rest were more difficult for him to detect, and there are failures of perception and analysis excusable in a historian of the time."64
Gibbon, like Voltaire, painted Islam in as favorable a light as possible to better contrast it with Christianity. The English historian emphasized Muhammad's humanity as a means of indirectly criticizing the Christian doctrine of the divinity of Christ. Gibbon's anticlericalism led him to underline Islam's supposed freedom from that accursed class, the priesthood. Indeed, the familiar pattern is reemerging—Islam is being used as a weapon against Christianity.
Gibbon's deistic view of Islam as a rational, priest-free religion, with Muhammad as a wise and tolerant lawgiver, enormously influenced the way all Europeans perceived their sister religion for years to come. Indeed, it established myths that are still accepted totally uncritically by scholars and laymen alike.'
'Both Voltaire and Gibbon subscribed to the myth of Muslim tolerance, which to them meant Turkish tolerance. But eighteenth-century Turkey was far from being an inter-faith utopia. The traveler Carsten Niebuhr recalls that Jews were treated contemptuously. Another British ambassador describes the situation in Constantinople in 1758: "The Great Sultan himself has shown us that he is determined to maintain and enforce his laws, those concerning clothes have often been repeated and with remarkable solemnity....A Jew during his sabbath was the first victim; the Great Sultan, who was walking around incognito, met him,...and had him executed, his throat was cut on the spot. The next day, it was the turn of an Armenian, he was sent to the vizier ["a high official in certain Muslim countries" (Random House)]....A universal terror has struck everyone."65 ....' .
'Abrogation of Passages in the Koran
William Henry Burr, the author of Self-Contradictions of the Bible [; Revelations of Antichrist (see #35, 1670-1690)], would have a field day with the Koran, for the Koran abounds in contradictions. But Burr's euphoria would be short-lived; for Muslim theologians have a rather convenient doctrine, which, as Hughes247 puts it, "fell in with that law of expediency which appears to be the salient feature in Muhammad's prophetical career." According to this doctrine, certain passages of the Koran are abrogated by verses with a different or contrary meaning revealed afterwards. This was taught by Muhammad at sura 2.105: "whatever verses we [i.e., God] cancel or cause you to forget, we bring a better or its like." According to al-Suyuti, the number of abrogated verses has been estimated at from five to five hundred. As Margoliouth248 remarked,
To do this, withdraw a revelation and substitute another for it, was [Muhammad] asserted, well within the power of God [Oneself]. Doubtless it was, but so obviously within the power of man that it is to us astonishing how so compromising a procedure can have been permitted to be introduced into the system by friends and foes.
Al-Suyuti gives the example of sura [chapter] 2,240 as a verse abrogated (superseded) by verse 234, which is the abrogating verse. How can an earlier verse abrogate a later verse? The answer lies in the fact that the traditional Muslim order of the suras [chapters] and verses is not chronological, the compilers simply having placed the longer chapters at the beginning. The commentators have to decide the chronological order for doctrinal reasons; Western scholars have also worked out a chronological scheme. Though there are many differences of detail, there seems to be broad agreement about which suras belong to the Meccan (i.e., early) period of Muhammad's life and which belong to the Medinan (i.e., later) period. It is worth
noting how time-bound the "eternal" word of God is....
The doctrine of abrogation also makes a mockery of the Muslim dogma that the Koran is a faithful and unalterable reproduction of the original scriptures that are preserved in heaven. If God's words are eternal, uncreated, and of universal significance, then how can we talk of God's words being superseded or becoming obsolete? Are some words of God to be preferred to other words of God? Apparently yes. According to Muir, some 200 verses have been canceled by later ones. Thus we have the strange situation where the entire Koran is recited as the word of God, and yet there are passages that can be considered not "true"; in other words, 3 percent of the Koran is acknowledged as falsehood.
Let us take an example. Everyone knows that Muslims are not allowed to drink wine in virtue of the prohibition found in the Koran sura 2.219; yet many would no doubt be surprised to read in the Koran at sura 16.67, "And among fruits you have the palm and the vine, from which you get wine and healthful nutriment: in this, truly, are signs for those who reflect" (Rodwell). Dawood has "intoxicants" and Pickthall, "strong drink," and Sale, with eighteenth-century charm, has "inebriating liquor" in place of "wine." Yusuf Ali pretends that the Arabic word concerned, "sakar," means "wholesome drink," and in a footnote insists that nonalcoholic drinks are being referred to; but then, at the last moment, he concedes that if "sakar must be taken in the sense of fermented wine, it refers to the time before intoxicants were prohibited: this is a Meccan sura and the prohibition came in Medina."
Now we can see how useful and convenient the doctrine of abrogation is in bailing scholars out of difficulties. Of course, it does pose problems for apologists of Islam, since all the passages preaching tolerance are found in Meccan, i.e., early suras, and all the passages recommending killing, decapitating, and maiming are Medinan, i.e., later: "tolerance" has been abrogated by "intolerance." For example, the famous verse at sura 9.5, "Slay the idolaters wherever you find them," is said to have canceled 124 verses that dictate toleration and patience....' [114-115].
'There is no deity but God ("la ilaha illa llahu"). Islam is uncompromisingly monotheistic—it is one of the greatest sins to ascribe partners to God. Polytheism, idolatry, paganism, and ascribing plurality to the deity are all understood under the Arabic term "shirk." Theological apologists and perhaps nineteenth-century cultural evolutionists have all uncritically assumed that monotheism is somehow a "higher" form of belief than "polytheism." It seems to me that philosophers have paid little attention to polytheism until very recently. Is it so obvious that monotheism is philosophically or metaphysically "superior" to polytheism? In what way is it superior? If there is a natural evolution from polytheism to monotheism, then is there not a natural development from monotheism to atheism? Is monotheism doomed to be superseded by a higher form of belief, that is, atheism—via agnosticism, perhaps? In this section I wish to argue at:
1. Monotheism is not necessarily philosophically or metaphysically superior to polytheism, given that no proof for the existence of one and only one God is valid.
2. Historically speaking, monotheistic creeds often secretly harbor at the popular level a de facto polytheism, despite the official dogma.
3. Superstitions are not reduced in monotheism but concentrated into the one god or his apostle.
4. Historically speaking, monotheism has often shown itself to be ferociously intolerant, in contrast to polytheism on behalf of which religious wars have never [?] been waged. This intolerance follows logically from monotheistic ideology. Monotheism has a lot to answer for. As Gore Vidal250 says
THE GREAT UNMENTIONABLE EVIL AT THE CENTRE OF OUR CULTURE IS MONOTHEISM. FROM A BARBARIC BRONZE AGE TEXT KNOWN AS THE OLD TESTAMENT, THREE ANTI-HUMAN RELIGIONS HAVE EVOLVED—JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM. THESE ARE SKY-GOD RELIGIONS. THEY ARE PATRIARCHAL—GOD IS THE OMNIPOTENT FATHER—HENCE THE LOATHING OF WOMEN FOR 2,000 YEARS IN THOSE COUNTRIES AFFLICTED BY THE SKY-GOD AND HIS MALE DELEGATES. THE SKY-GOD IS JEALOUS. HE REQUIRES TOTAL OBEDIENCE. THOSE WHO WOULD REJECT HIM MUST BE CONVERTED OR KILLED. TOTALITARIANISM IS THE ONLY POLITICS THAT CAN TRULY SERVE THE SKY-GOD'S PURPOSE. ANY MOVEMENT OF A LIBERAL NATURE ENDANGERS HIS AUTHORITY. ONE GOD, ONE KING, ONE POPE, ONE MASTER IN THE FACTORY, ONE FATHER-LEADER IN THE FAMILY.' .
'Schopenhauer259 asks us to reflect on the "cruelties to which religions, especially the Christian and Mohammedan, have given rise" and "the misery they have brought on the world."
Think of the fanaticism, the endless persecutions, then the religious wars, that bloody madness of which the ancients had no conception. Think of the crusades which were a quite inexcusable butchery and lasted for two hundred years, their battle cry being: "It is the will of God." Christianity is no more spared than Islam in Schopenhauer's indictment. The object [plunder, etc.] of the Crusades [see 1999, 2010-2011] was
[Schopenhauer] to capture the grave of him who preached love, tolerance, and indulgence. Think of the cruel expulsion and extermination of the Moors and Jews from Spain; of the blood baths, inquisitions, and other courts for heretics; and also of the bloody and terrible conquests of the Mohammedans in three continents....In particular, let us not forget India...where first Mohammedans and then Christians furiously and most cruelly attacked the followers of mankind's sacred and original faith. the ever-deplorable, wanton, and ruthless
destruction and disfigurement of ancient temples and images reveal to us even to this day traces of the monotheistic fury [my [author's (Ibn Warraq)] emphasis] of the Mohammedans which was pursued from Mahmud of Ghazni of accursed memory down to Aurangzeb the fratricide.
Schopenhauer contrasts the peaceable historical record of the Hindus and the Buddhists with the wickedness and cruelty of the monotheists, and then concludes:
[Schopenhauer] Indeed, intolerance is essential only to monotheism; an only God is by nature a jealous God who will not allow another to live. On the other hand, polytheistic gods are naturally tolerant; they live and let live. In the first place, they gladly tolerate their colleagues, the gods of the same religion, and this tolerance is afterwards extended even to foreign gods who are accordingly, hospitably received and later admitted, in some cases, even to an equality of rights. An instance of this is seen in the Romans who willingly admitted and respected Phrygian, Egyptian and other foreign gods. Thus it is only the monotheistic religions that furnish us with the spectacle of religious wars, religious persecutions, courts for trying heretics, and also with that of iconoclasm, the destruction of the images of foreign gods, the demolition of Indian temples and Egyptian colossi that had looked at the sun for three thousand years; all this because their jealous God had said: "Thou shalt make no graven image" and so on.
Nearly a hundred years earlier than Schopenhauer [Arthur Schopenhauer 1788 - 1860], Hume [David Hume 1711 - 1776]260 with his customary genius saw the same advantages of polytheism:
[David Hume] Idolatry is attended with this evident advantage, that, by limiting the powers and functions of its deities, it naturally admits the gods of other sects and nations to a share of divinity, and renders all the various deities, as well as rites, ceremonies, or traditions, compatible with each other....While one sole object of devotion is acknowledged [by monotheists], the worship of other deities is regarded as absurd and impious. Nay, this unity of object seems naturally to require the unity of faith and ceremonies, and furnishes designing men with a pretext for representing their adversaries as prophane [profane], and the subjects of divine as well as human vengeance. For as each sect is positive that its own faith and worship are entirely acceptable to the deity, and as no one can conceive that the same being should be pleased with different and opposite rites and principles; the several sects fall naturally into animosity, and mutually discharge on each other, that sacred zeal and rancor, the most furious and implacable of all human passions.
The tolerating spirit of idolaters both in ancient and modern times, is very obvious to any one, who is the least conversant in the writings of historians or travelers....The intolerance of almost all religious, which have maintained the unity of god, is as remarkable as the contrary principle in polytheists. The implacable, narrow spirit of the Jews is well-known. Mahometanism set out with still more bloody principles, and even to this day, deals out damnation, tho' not fire and faggot, to all other sects.' [120-121].
'Every national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet, as if the way to God was not open to every man alike. Each of those churches show certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses, face to face; the Christians that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. EACH OF THOSE CHURCHES ACCUSES THE OTHER OF UNBELIEF; AND FOR MY OWN PART, I DISBELIEVE THEM ALL.
—Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason274' .
'Robin Lane Fox282 takes up our story:
In the Bible the four earlier sources were combined by a fifth person, an unknown author who must have worked on them at some point between c. 520 and 400 B.C., in my view, nearer to 400 B.C. As he interwove these sources, he tried to save their contents and have the best of several worlds (and Creations). He was a natural sub-editor...he was not, in my view, a historian, but I think he would be amazed if somebody told him that nothing in his amalgamated work was true....Its chances of being historically true were minimal because none of those sources was written from primary evidence or within centuries, perhaps a millennium of what they tried to describe. How could an oral tradition have preserved true details across such a gap?...As for the "giants on earth," the Tower of Babel or the exploits of Jacob or Abraham, there is no good reason to believe any of them: the most detailed story in Genesis is the story of Joseph, a marvelous tale, woven from two separate sources, neither of which needs to rest on any historical truth.
The Torah was not written by, nor "given" to, Moses, and there is no good reason to believe any of the exploits of Abraham and others to be true. Certainly no historian would dream of going to the Muslim sources for the historical verification of any biblical material; the Muslim accounts of Abraham, Moses, and others are, as we saw earlier, taken from rabbinical Jewish scriptures or are nothing more than legends (the building of the Kaaba, etc.) invented several thousand years after the events they purport to describe.
Historians have gone even farther. There seems to be a distinct possibility that Abraham never existed: "The J tradition about the wandering of Abraham is largely unhistorical in character....
"the quest for the historical Abraham is a basically fruitless occupation both for the historian and the student of the Bible."283
And Lane Fox observes: "Historians no longer believe the stories of Abraham as if they are history: like Aeneaas or Heracles, ABRAHAM IS A FIGURE OF LEGEND."284' [132-133].
'Noah and the Flood
The building of the ark by Noah, the saving of all the animals, the universal deluge are all taken over into the Koran from Genesis. As the manifest absurdities of the tale were pointed out, Christians were no longer prone to take the fable literally; except, of course, the literal minded fundamentalists, many of whom still set out every year to look for the remnants of the lost ark [fun outing!]. Muslims, on the other hand, seem immune to rational thought, and refuse to look the evidence in the face. I shall set out the arguments to show the absurdities in the legend, even though it may seem I am belaboring the obvious. I WISH MORE PEOPLE WOULD BELABOR THE OBVIOUS AND MORE OFTEN.
Noah was asked to take into the ark a pair from every species (sura 11.36–41). Some zoologists285 estimate that there are perhaps ten million living species of insects; would they all fit into the ark? It is true they do not take up much room, so let us concentrate on the larger animals: reptiles, 5,000 species; birds, 9,000 species; and 4,500 species of class Mammalia (p. 239). In all, in the phylum Chordata, there are 45,000 species (p. 236). What sized ark would hold nearly 45,000 species of animals? A pair from each species makes nearly 90,000 individual animals, from snakes to elephants, from birds to horses, from hippopotamuses to rhinoceroses. How did Noah get them all together so quickly? How long did he wait for the sloth to make his slothful way from the Amazon? How did the kangaroo get out of Australia, which is an island? How did the polar bear know where to find Noah? As Robert Ingersoll asks,286 "Can absurdities go farther than this?" Either we conclude that this fantastic tale is not to be taken literally, or we have recourse to some rather feeble answer, such as, for God all is possible. Why, in that case, did God go through all this rather complicated, time-consuming (at least for Noah) procedure? Why not save Noah and other righteous people with a rapid miracle rather than a protracted one?
No geological evidence indicates a universal flood. There is indeed evidence of local floods but not one that covered the entire world, not even the entire Middle East. We now know that the biblical accounts of the Flood, on which the Koranic account is based, are derived from Mesopotamian legends: "There is no reason to trace the Mesopotamian and Hebrew stories back to any one flood in particular; the HEBREW FICTION is most likely to have developed from the Mesopotamians' legends. THE STORIES ARE FICTIONS, NOT HISTORY."287' [133-134].
'Has the famous story that stands at the beginning of the Bible really been understood? the story of God's hellish fear of science?...Man himself had turned out to be [God's] greatest mistake; he had created a rival for himself; science makes godlike—it is all over with priests and gods when man becomes scientific....Knowledge, the emancipation from the priest, continues to grow.
Nietzsche, The Antichrist [see #23, 484-487]297' .
'The Koran tells us that Jesus was miraculously born of the Virgin Mary. The Annunciation of the Virgin is recounted at sura [one of "114" chapters in the Koran] 19.16–21 [below quotation] and sura 3.45–48:
Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! God gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the hereafter and of those nearest to God; he shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be of the righteous." "How, O my Lord, shall I have a son, when no man has touched me?" asked Mary. He said, "Thus: God creates whatever He wants, when He decrees a thing He only has to say, 'Be,' and it is. And God will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Torah ["Law" (The Holy Qur-an, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, 2 Volumes, Pakistan, 1938] and the Gospel."
Although it remains a tenet of orthodox Christian theology, liberal Christian theologians and many Christians now, and even the Bishop of Durham (England), no longer accept the story as literally true, preferring to interpret "virgin" as "pure" or morally without reproach, in other words, symbolically. Martin Luther (1483–1546), writing in the sixteenth century, conceded that "We Christians seem fools to the world for believing that Mary was the true mother of this child, and nevertheless a pure virgin. For this is not only against all reason, but also against the creation of God, who said to Adam and Eve, 'Be fruitful and multiply.'"305
The treatment of the Virgin Birth by Christian biblical scholars is a good example of how Muslims cannot hide from their conclusions, for these conclusions have a direct bearing on the veracity or at least the literal truth of the Koran. Charles Guignebert (1867–1939)306 has made a detailed examination of the legend of the Virgin birth. Guignebert points out the striking parallels to the Virgin birth legend in the Greco-Roman world:
It is here that we find the legend of Perseus, born of Danae, a virgin who was impregnated by a shower of gold, [and] the story of Attis whose mother Nana, became pregnant as a result of eating a pomegranate. It was here especially that the birth of notable men—Pythagoras, Plato, Augustus himself—tended to be explained by some kind of parthenogenesis [see #3, 98, 403.], or by the mysterious intervention of a god. It is quite conceivable that, in a community in which so many stories of this kind were current, the Christians, desirous of adducing conclusive vindication of their faith in the divinity of Jesus, naturally turned to the sign by which men bearing the divine stamp were commonly identified. There was no question, of course, of a conscious imitation of any particular story, but simply of THE INFLUENCE OF A CERTAIN ATMOSPHERE OF BELIEF [see #3, 57, 289.].' [144-145].
'DID JESUS EXIST?
IT MAY COME AS A SURPRISE TO MUSLIMS THAT THERE WERE, AND ARE STILL, SCHOLARS WHO DOUBT THE HISTORICITY OF JESUS, TO WHOSE EXISTENCE MUSLIMS ARE TOTALLY COMMITTED [see 2075].
Bruno Bauer (1809–1882), J.M. Robertson (1856–1933), Arthur Drews (1865–1935), van den Bergh van Eysinga, Albert Kalthoff, and in recent years, Guy Fau (Le Fable de Jesus Christ, Paris, 1967), Prosper Alfaric (Origines Sociales du Christianisme, Paris, 1959), W.B. Smith (The Birth of the Gospel, New York, 1957), and Professor G.A. Wells of Birkbeck College, University of London, have all developed the "Christ-Myth" theory [fact!].307' .
"[1.]....None of the stories of Jesus in the Koran is accepted as true; most of them contain gross superstitions and "miracles" that only the most credulous would deem worthy of attention. It is worth remarking that if the Koran is absolutely true and the literal word of God, WHY IS IT THAT NO CHRISTIAN THEOLOGIAN ADDUCES IT [KORAN] AS PROOF OF JESUS' EXISTENCE? No historian has ever looked at the Koran for historical enlightenment, for the simple reason that no historian will look at a document, which he will presume to be of human origin, written some six hundred years after the events it purports to describe when there are documents written some fifty or sixty years after the same events. We also know the source of the Koran stories, namely, heretical Gnostic gospels such as the Gospel of St. Thomas, which in turn have been dismissed as unhistorical.
Even if we do not accept the thesis that Jesus never existed, the conclusions of the New Testament historians throw a very illuminating light on the growth of religions and religious mythology; furthermore, they point to the striking similarities to the recent theories put forward by Islamicist scholars on the rise of Islam and the Muhammad legend of the Muslim traditions.
2. Many of the criticisms of Christianity to be found in the works to be discussed apply, mutatis mutandis, to all religions, including Islam...." [148-149].
'In his Life of Jesus Critically Examined (1835), David Strauss [1808 - 1874] pointed out that we could not take the gospels as historical biographies; that was not their primary function. The early Christians wanted to win converts to their cause "through the propagation of a synthetic religious myth."312
Strauss's main thesis is that the stories in the New Testament were the result of the messianic expectations of the Jewish people.
The evangelists made Jesus say and do what they expected—from their knowledge of the Old Testament—that the Messiah would say and do; and many passages that in fact make no reference to the Messiah were nevertheless taken as messianic prophecies. Thus, "then shall the eyes of the blind be opened" (Isa. 35) expresses the joy of Jewish exiles in Babylon at the prospect of release from captivity, but was understood by the evangelists as prophesying that the Messiah would cure blindness, which they accordingly make Jesus do.313
Bauer [Bruno Bauer 1809 - 1882]
Bauer went a step further and contended that the early Christians fashioned Jesus Christ from the portraits of the prophets found in the Old Testament. JESUS NEVER EXISTED, and Christianity arose in the middle of the first century from a fusion of Judaic and Greco-Roman ideas. Bauer argues, for example, that the Christian use of the Greek term "Logos" ultimately derives from Philo, the Stoics, and Heraclitus. For Philo, the Logos was the creative power that orders the world and the intermediary through whom men knew God. Of course, in St. John's Gospel, the Logos is equated with God, who becomes incarnate in Jesus Christ.' .
"Despite the fact that there were approximately sixty historians active during the first century in the Roman world, there is remarkably little [no] corroboration of the Christian story of Jesus outside the Christian traditions. What there is, is very inconclusive and unhelpful—Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, the Younger Pliny.317" .
'It is now recognized that the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) were not written by the disciples of Jesus. They are not eyewitness accounts, and they were written by unknown authors some forty to eighty years after the supposed crucifixion of Christ. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are usually called the synoptic Gospels because of the common subject matter and similarity of phrasing to be found in them. Mark is considered the earliest of the three and was probably used by the other two as their source. It now seems highly unlikely that any of the savings attributed to Jesus in the Gospels were ever spoken by a historical figure. As Hoffmann [R. Joseph Hoffmann] concludes,
it is difficult even to speak of an "historical" Jesus, given the proportions and immediacy of the myth-making process that characterises the earliest days of the Jesus-cult. Whether or not there was an historical founder (and such is not needed, as the mystery religions testify, for the success of a cult and a coherent story about its "founder"), scholars now count it a certainty that the Gospels are compilations of "traditions" cherished by the early Christians rather than historical annals.318' .
"Just as we find that the early Christians fabricated details of the life of Jesus in order to answer doctrinal points, so we find that Arab storytellers invented biographical material about Muhammad in order to explain difficult passages in the Koran." .
'What was the one thing that Mohammed later borrowed from Christianity? Paul's invention, his means to priestly tyranny, to herd formation: the faith in immortality—that is, the doctrine of the "judgment."
—Nietzsche [Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 1844 - 1900], The Anti Christ [see #23, 484-487]328
Apart from the empirical and logical objections to the doctrine of resurrection of the body, there are some powerful moral objections to the whole Islamic notion of the afterlife. Nietzsche has argued in the Twilight of the Idols and the AntiChrist that to talk of an afterlife is to do dirt on, to denigrate and besmirch this life. Far from making this life meaningful, the doctrine of an afterlife makes this life meaningless.
[Nietzsche] To invent fables about a world "other" than this one has no meaning at all, unless an instinct of slander, detraction, and suspicion against life has gained the upper hand in us: in that case, we avenge ourselves against life with a phantasmagoria of "another," a "better" life.329
[Nietzsche] The "Last judgment" is the sweet comfort of revenge....The "beyond"—why a beyond, if not as a means for besmirching this world?330
Furthermore, the beyond is a way for the self-proclaimed prophets and priests to retain control, to terrorize the people with the tortures of hell, and equally to seduce them with the licentious pleasures of paradise. "The concepts 'beyond,' 'Last Judgment,' 'immortality of the soul,' and 'soul' itself are instruments of torture, systems of cruelties by virtue of which the priest became master, remained master.["]331' [155-156].
'Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown, and partly...the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing—fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand-in-hand.
—Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not A Christian335
We have already referred to the fact that the Koranic ethical system is based entirely on fear. Muhammad uses God's wrath-to-come as a weapon with which to threaten his opponents, and to terrorize his own followers into pious acts and total obedience to himself. As Sir Hamilton Gibb put it, "That God is the omnipotent master and man His creature who is ever in danger of incurring His wrath—this is the basis of all Muslim theology and ethics."336 ....
fear corrupts all true morality—under its yoke humans act out of prudent self-interest, to avoid the tortures of hell, which are no less real to the believers than the delights of the cosmic bordello that goes by the name of paradise.' .
[Bertrand Russell] 'You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and worse has been the state of affairs. In the so called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burnt as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.
We are all familiar with the wars perpetrated by Christianity, but less familiar are the ones waged by Muslims [see: 2014-2021 (Jihad in the West)]. I discuss the intolerance and cruelty of Islam in chapter 9. I shall only point to some of the atrocities committed in the name of Allah in the twentieth century. For the past few years, the self-righteous and sanctimonious leaders of various Islamic groups in Afghanistan have been waging a bitter civil war to gain total power. In between their five prayers to the most compassionate and merciful God, they have managed to kill hundreds of innocent civilians. Many thousands of these civilians have fled to neighboring Pakistan, where they have expressed a distinct nostalgia for the halcyon days of the godless Communists. According to a report in the International Herald Tribune (26 April 1994, the civil war, now entering its third year, has claimed more than ten thousand lives. In Kabul alone, fifteen hundred people were killed between January and April 1994.' [159-160]. [Note: this book was published 1995].
'The pragmatic suggestion, that we had better teach the Christian religion whether it is true or not, because people will be much less criminal if they believe it, is disgusting and degrading; ...and it is a natural consequence of the fundamental religious attitude that comfort and security must always prevail over rational inquiry.
The argument that though religion might be false we must keep it for moral guidance, is also morally reprehensible, since it perverts man's reason and encourages hypocrisy, but above all, it leads to the abandonment of the ideal of truth. As Russell pointed out,
As soon as it is held that any belief, no matter what, is important for some other reason than that it is true, a whole host of evils is ready to spring up. Discouragement of inquiry,...is the first of these, but others are pretty sure to follow. Positions of authority will be open to the orthodox. Historical records must be falsified if they throw doubt on received opinion. Sooner or later unorthodoxy will come to be considered a crime to be dealt with by the stake, the purge, or the concentration camp. I [Bertrand Russell] can [(2001, United States) I [Lino Sanchez] cannot] respect the men who argue that religion is true and therefore ought to be believed, but I can only feel profound moral reprobation for those who say that religion ought to be believed because it is useful, and that to ask whether it is true is a waste of time.342' .
'Western ideas of individualism, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, equality, liberty, the rule of law, democracy, free markets, the separation of church and state often have little resonance in Islamic, Confucian, Japanese, Hindu, Buddhist or Orthodox cultures.
Samuel P. Huntington [see 2072], The Clash of Civilizations?364' .
'....Once the principle of the separation of church and state is admitted, a free discussion of religion should follow without fear of torture. However, this is precisely what theocratic governments or religious autocrats fear—freethought. As Paine367 put it,
The adulterous connection of church and state, wherever it has taken place, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish [Muslim], has so effectually prohibited by pains and penalties every discussion upon established creeds, and upon first principles of religion, that until the system of government should be changed, those subjects could not be brought fairly and openly before the world; but that whenever this should be done, a revolution in the system of religion would follow. Human inventions and priestcraft would be detected; and man would return to the pure, unmixed and unadulterated belief of one God, and no more.' [178-179].
The totalitarian nature of Islam is nowhere more apparent than in the concept of jihad, the holy war, whose ultimate aim is to conquer the entire world and submit it to the one true faith, to the law of Allah. To Islam alone has been granted the truth: there is no possibility of salvation outside it. It is the sacred duty—an incumbent religious duty established in the Koran and the traditions—of all Muslims to bring Islam to all humanity. Jihad is a divine institution, enjoined specially for the purpose of advancing Islam. Muslims must strive, fight, and kill in the name of God.
9.5–6: "Kill those who join other gods with God wherever you may find them."
4.76: "Those who believe fight in the cause of God."
8.12: "I will instill terror into the hearts of the Infidels, strike off their heads then, and strike off from them every fingertip."
8.39–42: "Say to the Infidels: If they desist from their unbelief, what is now past shall be forgiven them; but if they return to it, they have already before them the doom of the ancients! Fight then against them till strife be at an end, and the religion be all of it God's."
2.256: "But they who believe, and who fly their country, and fight in the cause of God may hope for God's mercy: and God is Gracious, Merciful."
It is a grave sin for a Muslim to shirk the battle against the unbelievers—those who do will roast in hell.
8.15, 16: "Believers, when you meet the unbelievers preparing for battle do not turn your backs to them. [Anyone who does] shall incur the wrath of God and hell shall be his home: an evil dwelling indeed."
9.39: "If you do not fight, He will punish you severely, and put others in your place."
Those who die fighting for the only true religion, Islam, will be amply rewarded in the life to come.
4.74: "Let those fight in the cause of God who barter the life of this world for that which is to come; for whoever fights on God's path, whether he is killed or triumphs, We will give him a handsome reward."
It is abundantly clear from many of the above verses that the Koran is not talking of metaphorical battles or of moral crusades: it is talking of the battlefield. To read such blood thirsty injunctions in a holy book is shocking.
MANKIND IS DIVIDED INTO TWO GROUPS, MUSLIMS AND NON-MUSLIMS.' [217-218].
'Here, I shall refer to the thesis put forward by the economist Joseph Schumpeter440 (1883–1950), a thesis that Bousquet found convincing and important enough to translate into French. My summary is based on Bousquet's French version.
ACCORDING TO SCHUMPETER (1950), THE ARABS HAD ALWAYS BEEN A RACE OF WARRIORS WHO LIVED BY PILLAGE AND THE EXPLOITATION OF SETTLED POPULATIONS.
Islam was a war machine that did not stop at anything once it had been set going. War is a normal activity in such a military theocracy. The Arabs did not even search for a motive to conduct their wars; their social organization needed war, and without victories it would have collapsed. Here we have expansionism denuded of any concrete objective, brutal, and born of a necessity in its past. The Arab conquests would have existed without Islam. Certain particular details of Arab imperialism can be explained by the words of the Prophet but its force lay elsewhere. Muhammad would not have succeeded had he preached humility and submission. For the Arab warriors, "true" meant successful, and "false" meant unsuccessful. Thus religion was not the prime cause for the conquests, but rather an ancient warrior instinct.' .
"Heretics and Heterodoxy, Atheism and Freethought"
'Pagan Arabs lacked any deep religious sense; they were not inclined to thank superior powers for their worldly successes. Thus it is not surprising that these pagan attitudes prevailed in the early years of Islam. Arabs converted out of cupidity and hope of booty and success in this world. Thus many outwardly confessed their belief but in fact had no inclination toward Islam and its dogma and ritual. Sprenger estimates that at the death of Muhammad the number who really converted to Muhammad's doctrine did not exceed a thousand. If things went wrong, the Bedouins were ready to drop Islam as quickly as they had adopted it. The fact that Islam restricted wine drinking and sexual intercourse, "the two delicious things," did not endear Muhammad to them, either.' .
'Greek Science and Islamic Civilization
Here in the domain of science, we come at last to the true greatness of Islamic civilization, its true universal nature. A brief glance at the words of Arabic origin that have entered European languages will reveal the extent of the influence of Islamic civilization on European science: alkali; zircon; alembic; sherbet; camphor; borax; elixir; talc; the stars Aldebaran, Altair, and Betelgeuse; nadir; zenith; azure; zero; cipher; algebra; algorism; lute; rebeck; artichoke; coffee; jasmine; saffron; and taraxacum. But of course Islamic science was founded on the works of the ancient Greeks, and the Muslims are important as the preservers and transmitters of Greek (and Hindu) learning that may well have been lost otherwise. Although the Islamic scientists did not often improve substantially on the works of the Greeks, they did make original contributions to trigonometry; indeed they are seen as the inventors of plane and spherical trigonometry; which did not exist among the Greeks. Original work was also done in optics by al-Haitham (Alhazen) (d. 1039) and al-Farisi (d. 1320). Islamic work on alchemy, magic, and astrology also played an important part in the development of European science—the idea of power over nature stimulated research and experimentation. Much work was also done in medicine, algebra, arithmetic, geometry, mechanics, and astronomy.
As Ibn Khaldun reminds us, Arabs did not play a great part in the original development of Islamic science: "It is strange that most of the learned among the Muslims who have excelled in the religious or intellectual sciences are non-Arabs with rare exceptions; and even those savants who claimed Arabian descent spoke a foreign language, grew up in foreign lands, and studied under foreign masters." As Martin Plessner says, emphasizing the internationality and inter-religiousness of Islamic science, most of the credit must go to Persians, Christians, and Jews:
Islamic science did not remain exclusively in the hands of Muslims, even after its "Arabization." Christians and Jews continued to make so active a contribution that the Fons vitae of Ibn Gabirol (Avicebron) could pass for the work of a Muslim until the nineteenth century when S. Munk identified the author as Jewish. The medical works of Isaac Israeli and Maimonides are in no way different from the works of Islamic authors; the same is true of the scientific writings of the Christian bishop Barhebraeus. The very fact that the books of Islamic authors could be translated into Hebrew and Latin without significant changes demonstrates the "interreligiousness" no less than the internationality of Islamic science.547
Plessner goes on to make two important points that are the main thrust of my arguments on Islamic science:
[Plessner] Science was perhaps the one cultural area that was least accessible to "Islamization." Moreover, the continued and undiminished hostility of official orthodoxy against the ancient sciences remained as characteristic of Islam as it was of Christianity until deep into the Middle Ages, and of orthodox Jewry to the very threshold of our present time. Knowledge not founded on revelation and tradition was deemed not only to be irrelevant but to be the first step on the path to heresy.548
THERE IS A PERSISTENT MYTH THAT ISLAM ENCOURAGED SCIENCE. Adherents of this view quote the Koran and hadith to prove their point: "Say, shall those who have knowledge and those have it not be deemed equal?" (Koran 39.12); "Seek knowledge, in China if necessary", "The search after knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim." This is nonsense, because the knowledge advocated in the preceding quotes is religious knowledge. Orthodoxy has always been suspicious of "knowledge for its own sake," and unfettered intellectual inquiry is deemed dangerous to the faith.' [272-273].
Abu 'L-ala Ahmad b. Abdallah al-Ma'arri (973–1057),562 sometimes known as the Eastern Lucretius, is the third of the great zindiqs ["...heretics" (Encyc. Rel. Ethics, V. 2, 105)] of Islam. No true Muslim feels comfortable in his poetic presence because of his skepticism toward positive religion in general and Islam in particular...." .
"As for religion, all men unquestioningly accept the creed of their fathers out of habit, incapable of distinguishing the true from the false...." .
'FOR AL-MA'ARRI, RELIGION IS A "FABLE INVENTED BY THE ANCIENTS," worthless except for those who exploit the credulous masses:
So, too, the creeds of man: the one prevails
Until the other comes; and this one fails
When that one triumphs; ay, the lonesome world
Will always want the latest fairy-tales.' .
'He [AL-MA'ARRI] CLEARLY PUTS ISLAM ON THE SAME LEVEL AS ALL OTHER CREEDS, AND DOES NOT BELIEVE A WORD OF ANY OF THEM:
Hanifs [= Muslims] are stumbling, Christians all astray
Jews wildered, Magians far on error's way.
We mortals are composed of two great schools
Enlightened knaves or else religious fools.' [283-284].
O fools, awake! The rites ye sacred hold
Are but a cheat contrived by men of old
Who lusted after wealth and gained their lust
And died in baseness—and their law is dust.' .
"Religions have only resulted in bigotry and bloodshed, with sect fighting sect, and fanatics forcing their beliefs onto people at the point of a sword. All religions are contrary to reason and sanity: ...." .
"Space forbids us from giving further examples of his [al-Ma'arri] merciless attacks on every kind of superstition—astrology, augury, belief in omens; the custom of exclaiming "God be praised" when anyone sneezes; myths such as the patriarchs lived to be hundreds of years old, holy men walked on water or performed miracles, etc." .
"Another remarkable feature of al-Ma'arri's thought was the belief that no living creature should be injured or harmed in any way. He adopted vegetarianism in his thirtieth year and held in abhorrence all killing of animals, whether for food or sport. Von Kremer has suggested that al-Ma'arri was influenced by the Jains of India in his attitude to the sanctity of all living things. In his poetry, al-Ma'arri firmly advocates abstinence from meat, fish, milk, eggs, and honey on the ground that it is an injustice to the animals concerned. Animals are capable of feeling pain, and it is immoral to inflict unnecessary harm on our fellow creatures. Even more remarkably, al-Ma'arri protests against the use of animal skins for clothing, suggests wooden shoes, and reproaches court ladies for wearing furs. Von Kremer has justly said that al-Ma'arri was centuries ahead of his time." .
Islam in the West
In Europe, the riots, demonstrations, and book burnings carried out by fanatical Muslims subsequent to the Rushdie affair woke Europeans up to the consequences of the presence, in their midst, of several million people who did not espouse secular values, who even explicitly set out to defy those values. Since 1989, France and Great Britain have taken different positions on the Muslim spokesmen's increasingly shrill demand for greater freedom in following their own customs, sometimes in defiance of the secular laws of the two countries. Muslims were urged to murder a British citizen. Scandalously, the British police did not take a single step to arrest the people concerned, those who had publicly incited Muslims to murder Rushdie. During the same period in France, the then-prime minister, Michel Rocard, clearly and firmly told the Muslims that anyone advocating murder would be arrested immediately. The British police showed themselves unresolved and feeble when Dr. Siddiqui of the Muslim Institute, in London, urged a crowd of Muslims at a public meeting not to obey British laws if they went against the sharia, the Islamic law. In France, on the other hand, a Turkish imam who had claimed that the sharia had precedence over French laws was deported within forty-eight hours! ...." .
'Muslims in Britain and What They Want
Britain is said to have approximately one-and-a-half million Muslims, a majority from the Indian subcontinent. Most, if not all, are there of their own free will, seeking to better their economic situation. In the last fifteen years, many Muslims have made it clear that they have no intention of being assimilated into the host society; instead, it is up to the host society to change, to accord them separate rights, and separate privileges. Some of their most articulate spokesmen have spelled out what they hope to achieve. Dr. Zaki Badawi,673 former Director of the Islamic Cultural Center, London, wrote: "A proselytizing [see 2009] religion cannot stand still. It can either expand or contract. Islam endeavors to expand in Britain. Islam is a universal religion. It aims at bringing its message to all corners of the earth. It hopes that one day the whole of humanity will be one Muslim community, the Umma."' .
'An imam, a prayer leader of Muslims, in Bradford, England, rejected all Gods other than Allah and dismissed the Christian doctrine of the Trinity as "an extreme and absurd example of the false divination of humans." As for Britain, "it is a sick and divided nation," and only the imposition of Islam can heal it....' .
'As Hiskett points out:
As is so often the case when considering Islam, one has to concede the power of certain of its ideas. But when it comes to having these ideas advocated within our own shores, and as alternatives to our own institutions, one must then ask oneself: Which does one prefer? Western secular, pluralist institutions, imperfect as these are? Or the Islamic theocratic alternative? And if one decides in favor of one's own institutions, warts and all, one then has to ask again: How far may the advocacy of Islamic alternatives go, before this becomes downright subversive? And at that point, what should then be done about it? Finally, do liberal, democratic politicians have the political and moral guts to do what is needed? Or will they simply give way, bit by bit and point by point, to insistent and sustained pressure from the Muslim "Parliament" and other Muslim special-interest lobbies like it?678' [This immigration (Liberal (Stupid!)) = self Destruction!] [355-356].
"The Betrayal by the Politicians...." .
"The Betrayal by the Intellectuals
I began the book with the betrayal of the intellectuals, and I shall end with it.
Here I shall concentrate on the undermining of confidence in Western secular values by certain Western intellectuals. Self-denigration is said to be a peculiarly English vice; but, it is in fact far more prevalent throughout the Western world than one would imagine...." .
'....On the world stage, too, we need to have far more confidence in our values. Judith Miller, writing in Foreign Affairs, makes the same point:
Ultimately, the triumph of militant Islam in the Middle East may say as much about the West as about the Arabs and the failure of their existing systems. Islamists, by and large, have come to power when no one is willing to oppose them at home and abroad. In any world order, Americans should not be ashamed to say that they favor pluralism, tolerance and diversity, and that they reject the notion that God is on anyone's side....Islamic militancy presents the West with a paradox. While liberals speak of the need for diversity with equality, Islamists see this as a sign of weakness. Liberalism tends not to teach its proponents to fight effectively. What is needed, rather, is almost a contradiction in terms: a liberal militancy, or a militant liberalism that is unapologetic [etc.] and unabashed.633
The West needs to be serious about democracy, and should eschew policies that compromise principles for short-term gains at home and abroad. The rise of fascism and racism in the West is proof that not everyone in the West is enamored of democracy. Therefore, the final battle will not necessarily be between Islam and the West, but BETWEEN THOSE WHO VALUE FREEDOM AND THOSE WHO DO NOT.' [End of text] .
"DHIMMI. A member of one of the protected religions, i.e., the non-Muslim religions tolerated by the Muslim state in accordance with the sharia, on payment of certain taxes and on acceptance of an inferior social status." .
"FATWA. The formal opinion of a canon lawyer (mufti)" .
"IMAM. Leader in prayer, leader of the whole community of Islam." .
"JIHAD. The duty of Muslims to fight all unbelievers." .
"KAFIR. An infidel, i.e., a non-Muslim." .
"RAMADAN. The ninth month of the Muslim calendar, during which Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset." .
"SUNNI. A member of the majority group of Muslims, usually called orthodox." .
● ● ● ● ●
from: The Origins of the Koran, Classic Essays on Islam's Holy Book, Edited by Ibn Warraq, Prometheus, 1998.
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
Ibn Warraq 9
2. The Koran
Theodor Nöldeke 36
PART TWO: THE COLLECTION AND THE VARIANTS OF THE KORAN
3. 'Uthman and the Recension of the Koran
Leone Caetani 67
4. Three Ancient Korans
Alphonse Mingana 76
5. The Transmissions of the Koran
Alphonse Mingana 97
6. Materials for the History of the Text of the Koran
Arthur Jeffery 114
7. Progress in the Study of the Koran Text
Arthur Jeffery 135
8. A Variant Text of the Fatiha
Arthur Jeffery 145
9. Abu 'Ubaid on the Verses Missing from the Koran
Arthur Jeffery 150
10. Textual Variations of the Koran
David Margoliouth 154
PART THREE: THE SOURCES OF THE KORAN
11. What Did Muhammad Borrow from Judaism?
Abraham Geiger 165
12. The Sources of Islam
W. St. Clair-Tisdall 227
13. The Jewish Foundation of Islam
Charles Cutler Torrey 293
PART FOUR: MODERN TEXTUAL CRITICISM OF THE KORAN
14. Literary Analysis of Koran, Tafsir, and Sira:
The Methodologies of John Wansbrough
Andrew Rippin 351
The stereotypic image of the Muslim holy warrior with a sword in one hand and the Koran in the other would only be plausible if he was left-handed, since no devout Muslim should or would touch a Koran with his left hand which is reserved for dirty chores. All Muslims revere the Koran with a reverence that borders on bibliolatry and superstition. "It is," as Guillaume remarked, "the holy of holies. It must never rest beneath other books, but always on top of them, one must never drink or smoke when it is being read aloud, and it must be listened to in silence. It is a talisman against disease and disaster."
In some Westerners it engenders other emotions. For Gibbon it was an "incoherent rhapsody of fable,"2 for Carlyle an "insupportable stupidity,"3 while here is what the German scholar Salomon Reinach thought: "From the literary point of view, the Koran has little merit. Declamation, repetition, puerility, a lack of logic and coherence strike the unprepared reader at every turn. It is humiliating to the human intellect to think that this mediocre literature has been the subject of innumerable commentaries, and that millions of men are still wasting time absorbing it."4 ["4 S. Reinach, Orpheus [see #24, 488-490; etc.]: A History of Religion (New York, 1932), p. 176." (365)]
For us in studying the Koran it is necessary to distinguish the historical from the theological attitude. Here we are only concerned with those truths that are yielded by a process of rational enquiry, by scientific examination. "Critical investigation of the text of the Qur'an is a study which is still in its infancy,"5 wrote the Islamic scholar Arthur Jeffery in 1937. In 1977 John Wansbrough noted that "as a document susceptible of analysis by the instruments and techniques of Biblic criticism [the Koran] is virtually unknown."6 By 1990, more than fifty years after Jeffery's lament, we still have the scandalous situation described by Andrew Rippin:
I have often encountered individuals who come to the study of Islam with a background in the historical study of the Hebrew Bible or early Christianity, and who express surprise at the lack of critical thought that appears in introductory textbooks on Islam. The notion that "Islam was born in the clear light of history" still seems to be assumed by a great many writers of such texts. While the need to reconcile varying historical traditions is generally recognized, usually this seems to pose no greater problem to the authors than having to determine "what makes sense" in a given situation. To students acquainted with approaches such as source criticism, oral formulaic compositions, literary analysis and structuralism, all quite commonly employed in the study of Judaism and Christianity, such naive historical study seems to suggest that Islam is being approached with less than academic candor.7
The questions any critical investigation of the Koran hopes to answer are:
1. How did the Koran come to us?—That is the compilation and the transmission of the Koran.
2. When was it written, and who wrote it?
3. What are the sources of the Koran? Where were the stories, legends, and principles that abound in the Koran acquired?
4. What is the Koran? Since there never was a textus receptus ne varietur of the Koran, we need to decide its authenticity.
I shall begin with the traditional account that is more or less accepted by most Western scholars, and then move on to the views of a small but very formidable, influential, and growing group of scholars inspired by the work of John Wansbrough.
According to the traditional account the Koran was revealed to Muhammad, usually by an angel, gradually over a period of years until his death in 632 C.E. It is not clear how much of the Koran had been written down by the time of Muhammad's death, but it seems probable that there was no single manuscript in which the Prophet himself had collected all the revelations. Nonetheless, there are traditions which describe how the Prophet dictated this or that portion of the Koran to his secretaries.' [9-10].
THEODORE NÖLDEKE (1836–1930). The growing interest in Islamic studies in Europe led the Parisian Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 1857 to propose as the subject for a prize monography "a critical history of the text of the Coran." The subject attracted the young German scholar Nöldeke, who had already published the year before a Latin disquisition on the origin and composition of the Koran. Nöldeke won the prize, and an enlarged German version of the prize-winning work was published in Göttingen in 1860 as Geschichte des Qorâns. It became the foundation of all later Koranic studies. It is still referred to and is considered an indispensable tool for further research on the Koran. Some of his essays were gathered and published as Sketches from Eastern History.
LEONE CAETANI (1869–1935). Caetani was born into one of the most illustrious families in Italy. His father was the Prince of Teano, and Duke of Sermoneta. Many members of the family distinguished themselves in politics and the world of scholarship. Leone was largely self-taught in Oriental languages. The first volume of his monumental work, Annali dell' Islam appeared in 1904 in Milan, and the tenth and final volume came out in 1926. Caetani brought a highly critical mind to the study of Islam; indeed his radical criticism of the sources led him to dismiss the authenticity of a large part of the traditions for the first part of the life of Muhammad.
Caetani also served as a deputy in Parliament between 1909 and 1913.
ALPHONSE MINGANA (1881–1937). Mingana was a great scholar of Arabic, especially Syriac. He was a member of the Chaldaean Church in Iraq, where he was also professor of Semitic Languages and Literature in the Syro-Chaldaean Seminary at Mosul. He collected invaluable Arabic and Syriac manuscripts that became the foundation for the famous Mingana Collection, now housed in Birmingham, U.K. The last twenty years of his life were spent in England where he taught Semitic Languages. His essays were collected in Woodbrooke Studies: Christian Documents in Syriac, Arabic, Garshuni (1927).
ARTHUR JEFFERY (18??–1952). Arthur Jeffery, professor of Semitic Languages at Columbia University and at Union Theological Seminary, was one of the great scholars of Islamic Studies.
Apart from numerous articles in learned journals, Jeffery wrote two works that are considered definitive in their respective domain, in 1937 Materials for the History of the Text of the Qur'ān: The Old Codices, and in 1938 The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur'ān. The latter was a tour de force that reviewed about 275 words in the Koran that were regarded as foreign. This survey led Jeffery to examine texts in Ethiopic, Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac, Greek, Latin, and Middle Persian, among other languages. His research led him to look for and at manuscripts in the Middle East, including Cairo. Other works include The Qur'ān as Scripture (1952).
DAVID S. MARGOLIOUTH (1858–1940). Margoliouth was professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford, and a member of the Council of the Royal Asiatic Society. He was the author of numerous artiles [articles] and books on Islam, including Muhammad and the Rise of Islam (London 1905) and The Early Development of Mohammedanism (London, 1914). His research into the history of early Islam led him to compare the life of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, to that of the Prophet of Islam [Muhammad], and forced him to conclude that human beings with unusual powers fall easily into dishonesty.
ABRAHAM GEIGER (1810–1874). Geiger's study on the Jewish foundations of Islam was originally composed in Latin and submitted to the University of Bonn in 1832, in response to a contest set by the philosophy faculty. He won, and the University of Marburg later accepted his essay as a thesis and awarded him a doctorate. Geiger was but twenty-two years old when he wrote this little masterpiece. He later distinguished himself in the rabbinate as one of the founders of Reform Judaism, and as a Judaic scholar and theologian of great perception and power. Geiger was born into a very strict orthodox family in Frankfurt, and by the age of three was already receiving instruction on the Bible, and studying the Talmud by the age of six. He began his career as a rabbi in 1833, serving in Wiesbaden, Breslau, Frankfurt, and Berlin. He wrote numerous works, edited a journal, and taught until his death in Berlin in 1874.
W. ST. CLAIR-TISDALL (1859–1928). The Reverend W. St. Clair-Tisdall was the secretary of the Church Missionary Society, an organ of the Church of England for missions, in Isfahan, Persia. A brilliant linguist, he spent much time researching the sources of Islam in their original languages. He wrote, among other works, The Religion of the Crescent, The Noble Eightfold Path, and The Original Sources of the Qur'ān (1905).
C.C. TORREY (1863–1956). Torrey was professor of Semitic Languages at Yale University. He worked with the American Schools of Oriental Research in the Near East, helping to excavate a Phoenician necropolis at Sidon. He was an expert on Palestinian antiquities in general and a formidable biblical scholar with more than fifteen works to his credit, such as The Four Gospels (1947), The Apocryphal Literature (1945), and The Second Isaiah (1928).
A. RIPPIN (1950– ). Andrew Rippin is associate professor of Religious Studies, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has written numerous articles, and coedited with Jan Knappert a work that has become a standard textbook, Textual Sources of the Study of Islam (1986).' [409-411].
"Skepticism of the Sources
The traditional accounts of the life of Muhammad and the story of the origin and rise of Islam, including the compilation of the Koran are based exclusively on Muslim sources, particularly the Muslim biographies of Muhammad, and the Hadith, that is the Muslim traditions.
The Prophet Muhammad died in 632 C.E. The earliest material on his life that we possess was written by Ibn Ishaq in 750 C.E., in other words, a hundred twenty years after Muhammad's death. The question of authenticity becomes even more critical, because the original form of the Ibn Ishaq's work is lost and is only available in parts in a later recension by Ibn Hisham who died in 834 C.E., two hundred years after the death of the Prophet." .
"The Hadith are a collection of sayings and doings attributed to the Prophet and traced back to him through a series of putatively trustworthy witnesses (any particular chain of transmitters is called an isnad). These Hadith include the story of the compilation of the Koran, and the sayings of the companions of the Prophet. There are said to be six correct or authentic collections of traditions accepted by Sunni Muslims, namely, the compilations of Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Maja, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, and al-Nisai. Again it is worth noting that all these sources are very late indeed. Bukhari died 238 years after the death of the Prophet, while al-Nisai died over 280 years after." .
'In his classic paper, "On the Development of Hadith," Goldziher "demonstrated that a vast number of Hadith accepted even in the most rigorously critical Muslim collections were outright forgeries from the late 8th and 9th centuries—and as a consequence, that the meticulous isnads [chains of transmitters] which supported them were utterly fictitious."22' . [See: Addition 36 ("Thirty Centuries of Forgeries")].
"Hadiths were liable to be fabricated even for the most trivial ritualistic details." .
"Of course many Muslims were aware that forgeries abounded. But even the so-called six authentic collections of Hadiths compiled by Bukhari and others were not as rigorous as might have been hoped. The six had varying criteria for including a Hadith as genuine or not—some were rather liberal in their choice, others rather arbitrary. Then there was the problem of the authenticity of the texts of these compilers. For example, at one point there were a dozen different Bukhari texts; and apart from these variants, there were deliberate interpolations...." .
"....The Koran was said to be handed down by God in pure Arabic...." .
'....The Arabs soon quarreled with the Jews, and their attitude to Christians softened; the Christians posed less of a political threat. There still remained a need to develop a positive religious identity, which they proceeded to do by elaborating a full-scale religion of Abraham, incorporating many pagan practices but under a new Abrahamic aegis. But they still lacked the basic religious structures to be able to stand on their own two feet, as an independent religious community. Here they were enormously influenced by the Samaritans.
The origins of the Samaritans are rather obscure. They are Israelites of central Palestine, generally considered the descendants of those who were planted in Samaria by the Assyrian kings, in about 722 B.C.E. The faith of the Samaritans was Jewish monotheism, but they had shaken off the influence of Judaism by developing their own religious identity, rather in the way the Arabs were to do later on. The Samaritan canon included only the Pentateuch, which was considered the sole source and standard for faith and conduct.
The formula "There is no God but the One" is an ever-recurring refrain in Samaritan liturgies. A constant theme in their literature is the unity of God and His absolute holiness and righteousness. We can immediately notice the similarity of the Muslim proclamation of faith: "There is no God but Allah." ....
The sacred book of the Samaritans was the Pentateuch, which embodied the supreme revelation of the divine will, and was accordingly highly venerated. Muhammad also seem to know the Pentateuch and Psalms only, and shows no knowledge of the prophetic or historical writings.
The Samaritans held Moses in high regard, Moses being the prophet through whom the Law was revealed. For the Samaritans, Mt. Gerizim was the rightful center for the worship of Yahweh; and it was further associated with Adam, Seth, and Noah, and Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. The expectation of a coming Messiah was also an article of faith; the name given to their Messiah was the Restorer. Here we can also notice the similarity of the Muslim notion of the Mahdi.
We can tabulate the close parallels between the doctrines of the SAMARITANS and the MUSLIMS in this way:
MT. SINAI/MT. GERIZIM,
Theodor Nöldeke [see 2052]
The Koran (QUR'ĀN) is the foundation of Islam. It is the sacred book of more than a hundred millions of men, some of them nations of immemorial civilization, by all whom it is regarded as the immediate word of God. And since the use of the Koran in
public worship, in schools, and otherwise is much more extensive than, for example, the reading of the Bible in most Christian countries, it has been truly described as the most widely read book in existence. This circumstance alone is sufficient to give it an urgent claim on our attention, whether it suit our taste and fall in with our religious and philosophical views or not. Besides, it is the work of Muhammad, and as such is fitted to afford a clue to the spiritual development of that most successful of all prophets and religious personalities. It must be owned that the first perusal leaves on a European an impression of chaotic confusion—not that the book [Koran] is so very extensive, for it is not quite so large as the New Testament. This impression can in some degree be modified only by the application of a critical analysis with the assistance of Arabian tradition.
To the faith of the Muslims, as has been said, the Koran is the word of God, and such also is the claim which the book itself advances. For except in sura i.—which is a prayer for men—and some few passages where Muhammad (vi. 104, 114, xxvii. 93, xlii. 8), or the angels (xix. 65, xxxvii. 164 sqq.), speak in the first person without the intervention of the usual imperative "say" (sing. or pl.), the speaker throughout is God, either in the first person singular, or more commonly the plural of majesty "we." The same mode of address is familiar to us from the prophets of the Old Testament; the human personality disappears, in the moment of inspiration, behind the God by whom it is filled. But all the greatest of the Hebrew prophets fall back speedily upon the unassuming human "I"; while in the Koran the divine "I" is the stereotyped form of address. Muhammad, however, really felt himself to be the instrument of God; this consciousness was no doubt brighter at his first appearance than it afterward became, but it never entirely forsook him. We might therefore readily pardon him for giving out, not only the results of imaginative and emotional excitement, but also many expositions or decrees which were the outcome of cool calculation, as the word of God, if he had only attained the pure moral altitude which in an Isaiah or a Jeremiah fills us with admiration after the lapse of ages...." [36-37].
'It is an explicit statement of the Koran that the sacred book was revealed ("sent down") by God, not all at once, but piecemeal and gradually (xxv. 34). This is evident from the actual composition of the book, and is confirmed by Muslim tradition. That is to say, Muhammad issued his revelations in flyleaves of greater or less extent....' [37-38].
"How the various pieces of the Koran took literary form is uncertain. Muhammad himself, so far as we can discover, never wrote down anything. The question whether he could read and write has been much debated among Muslims, unfortunately more with dogmatic arguments and spurious traditions than authentic proofs. At present, one is inclined to say that he was not altogether ignorant of these arts, but that from want of practice he found it convenient to employ someone else whenever he had anything to write [very diplomatic sentence]...." .
'Muhammad repeatedly calls attention to the fact that the Koran is not written, like other sacred books, in a strange language, but in Arabic, and therefore is intelligible to all. At that time, along with foreign ideas, many foreign words had crept into the language, especially Aramaic terms for religious conceptions of Jewish or Christian origin. Some of these had already passed into general use, while others
were confined to a more limited circle. Muhammad, who could not fully express his new ideas in the common language of his countrymen, but had frequently to find out new terms for himself, made free use of such Jewish and Christian words, as was done, though perhaps to a smaller extent, by certain thinkers and poets of that age who had more or less risen above the level of heathenism. In Muhammad's case this is the less wonderful, because he was indebted to the instruction of Jews and Christians whose Arabic—as the Koran pretty clearly intimates with regard to one of them—was very defective. Nor is it very surprising to find that his use of these words is sometimes as much at fault as his comprehension of the histories which he learned from the same people—that he applies Aramaic expressions as incorrectly as many uneducated persons now employ words derived from the French. Thus, furqan means really "redemption," but Muhammad [?] (misled by the Arabic meaning of the root frq, "sever," "decide") uses it for "revelation." Milla is properly "Word," but in the Koran "religion." ....' [47-48].
"The constituents of our present Koran belong partly to the Mecca period (before 622 C.E.), partly to the period commencing with the emigration to Medina (from the autumn of 622 to 8th June 632). Muhammad's position in Medina was entirely different from that which he had occupied in his native town. In the former [Medina] he was from the first the leader of a powerful party, and gradually became the autocratic ruler of Arabia; in the latter [Mecca] he was only the despised preacher of a small congregation...." .
"The following works may be specially consulted: Weil, Einleitung in den Koran [Introduction to the Koran], 2nd ed. 1878; Th. Nöldeke, Geschichte des Qorâns [History of the Koran], Göttingen, 1860; and the Lives of Muhammad by Muir and Sprenger." [End of article] .
'Uthman and the Recension of the Koran
Leone Caetani" [see 2052] .
"Originally published in The Muslim World 5 (1915): 380–90." .
"The Koran was not collected during the Prophet's lifetime, this is clearly stated by good authorities. Those who are enumerated as collectors can certainly have collected only a part, for otherwise there is no explanation of the great pains to which the three caliphs, Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman, put themselves after Muhammad's death to produce the single official text of the Prophet's revelations.
The tradition of the first compilation in the reign of Abu Bakr is usually accepted without questioning, but an examination of the account quickly betrays certain contradictions. Thus, if the death of so many Muslims at al-Yamamah endangered the preservation of the text, why did Abu Bakr, after making his copy, practically conceal it, entrusting it to the guardianship of a woman? Hafsah's copy seems, in fact, to be an invention to justify the corrections of that subsequently compiled under 'Uthman. I allow, however, the probability that in the time of Abu Bakr and 'Umar, quite
independently of the battle of al-Yamamah, a copy of the Koran was prepared at Medina, perhaps at 'Umar's suggestion, exactly as others were compiled in the provinces, those, namely which were afterwards destroyed by order of 'Uthman. It may be that the copy in Medina had a better guarantee of authenticity; while the statement that in the text prepared by Abu Bakr and 'Umar no verse was accepted which was not authenticated by at least two witnesses, who declared that they had themselves heard it from the Prophet, leads us to suppose that already in the first Koranic compilation other verses were suppressed which had not the required support.
If this statement can be accepted as authentic, it would indicate—as is perfectly natural and possible—that even while Muhammad lived, or at least immediately after his death, there were in circulation verses either apocryphal or erroneously attributed to the Prophet. It seems to me equally likely that in the texts made in the provinces (those, that is to say, that were destroyed by 'Uthman) there should have crept in apocryphal or insufficiently authenticated verses, or others which the Prophet and his most interested friends and Companions did not want to see preserved. Muslim traditionists for obvious reasons have tried to eliminate every kind of suspicion in this direction, for that would open an enormous field for dangerous insinuations and conjectures in countries so fertile in invention as the East. They try, accordingly, to make out that the divergences were solely in minutiae of the text or in single letters, so as not to compromise the text as it stands today or admit the existence of other verses either lost or suppressed. The small number of verses which tradition will allow to be doubtful seem to me little pieces of traditionist fraud, adduced to show the scrupulous exactness of the first compiler and the absolute security of the official text." [68-69].
Three Ancient Korans
Alphonse Mingana" [see 2052] .
"Originally published as the Introduction of Leaves from Three Ancient Qurâns Possibly Pre-'Othmânic with a List of their Variants, edited by Rev. Alphonse Mingana and Agnes Smith Lewis (Cambridge, UK: 1914), pp. xi-xxxii." .
'"The Muhammadan writers, in acknowledging the claims of the Koran to be the direct utterance of the divinity, have made it possible for any Muslim to criticise the work, and it became, on the contrary, the standard by which other literary compositions had to be judged. Grammarians, lexicographers, and rhetorians, started with the presumption that the Koran could not be wrong, and that all works only approached excellence in proportion as they more or less successfully imitated its style."2
Before we examine the truth of these assertions, we would wish to direct the attention of every reader of the Koran to the following points: (1) The sources of the Koran. (2) If we strip from its text the historical events and the circumstances in which it was written, it becomes an inexplicable composition. (3) How were the verses of the Koran preserved from 612 to 632? (4) Who is the compiler of the standard text that we have today, and is this compilation authentic?
The first point is very easily treated, and since the Prophet could probably neither read nor write,3 the details which deal with the unity of God, and with the various forms of the eastern conceptions of religious obligations, viz. prayer, alms, fasting, etc. must have been inspired chiefly by oral information drawn from Christians, and specially from the strong Jewish colony of Mecca and the neighboring districts.' .
"In any case, whatever view we may take of the claims of Muhammad, no one can deny that he was a great man, ranking with men of the highest genius, as a skillful administrator after the Eastern fashion, and wielding every kind of spiritual weapon to attract and captivate his hearers and his countrymen. His legislation, though perhaps too theocratic for the democratic spirit of our day, was perfection at the time when he lived; Exitus acta probat. A man who put an end, in less than ten years, to two formidable kingdoms, the kingdom of the old Achemenides represented by the classic Sassanids, and that of the Roman Caesars of Eastern countries, by means of some camel-drivers of Arabia, must be, at any rate, taken into consideration.26 A controller of conscience and soul to so many millions, and in the plain light of civilization, is indeed greater than Alexander and Bonaparte known only today in historical books. The proclamations of a semi-nomad Arab of the obscure town of Mecca have been recited by the wide Islamic world thirteen centuries ago, and are recited today; even the cross of the Messiah has been for many years nearly eclipsed by the Crescent, and the name of the Praised One of Arabia has been on many occasions on the point of overrunning the last refuge of Christianity. What history is unable to find, even in the twentieth century, is a name more terrible than that of Muhammad." .
The Transmission of the Koran
Alphonse Mingana" [see 2052] .
"Originally published in The Journal of the Manchester Egyptian and Oriental Society (1916) and subsequently reprinted in The Muslim World 7 (1917): 223–32; 402–14." .
"In considering the question of the transmission of the Koran according to Christian writers, the reader will feel that he is more in the domain of historical facts than in that of the precarious Hadith; unfortunately, any information found in books written at the very beginning of Islam is naturally scanty. In face of the conflagration which in a few years shook the political foundations of the near East, Christian writers were more anxious to save their skin from the onslaughts of the Ishmaelites and Hagarians—as they used to call the early Arabs—than to study the kind of religion they professed. Syriac books, however, contain important data which throw great light upon our subject, and overshadow by their antiquity the tardy Muslim Hadith of the ninth century." .
From all the above facts and documents, any impartial critic, interested in the Koranic literature of the Muslim world, can draw his own conclusions. If we may express our opinion, we would be tempted to say:
(1) If all signs do not mislead us, very few oracular [Syn. "authoritative, dogmatic"; etc.] sentences, if any, were written in the time of the Prophet. The kind of life that he led, and the rudimentary character of reading and writing in that part of the world in which he appeared, are sufficient witnesses in favor of this view. Our ignorance of the Arabic language in that early period of its evolution is such that we cannot even know with certainty whether it ["Arabic language"] had any writing of its own in Mecca and Medina. If a kind of writing existed in these two localities, it must have been something very similar to the Estrangelo or the Hebraic characters. Ibn Khaldun66 informs us that the people of Taif and Quraish learnt the "art of writing" from the Christians of the town of Hirah, and the first Quraishite who learned it was Sufyan b. Umayyah.67 Further, Hirschfeld68 has already noted that "The Qoran, the text-book of Islam, is in reality nothing but a counterfeit of the Bible"; this verdict applies in a more accentuated manner to the compilation of the Koran. No disciple of Moses or of Christ wrote the respective oracles of these two religious leaders in their lifetime, and probably no such disciple did so in the case of the Prophet. A man did not become an acknowledged prophet in a short time; years elapsed before his teaching was considered worth preserving on parchment. Lammens69 has observed, "Le Prophète s'était fait intimer par Allah (Qoran, lxxv. 16–17) l'ordre de ne pas se presser pour éditer le Qoran, comme recueil séparé. La précaution était prudente, étant donné le caractère inconsistant de certaines révélations."
(2) Some years after the Prophet's death many of his companions, seeing that his cause was really flourishing and gathering considerable momentum by means of able generals, vied in writing down, each one in his own sphere, the oracles of their master. This work gave them prestige, and sometimes high posts which they could scarcely have obtained otherwise; in this series is to be included the compilation of Ubai b. Ka'b, Ibn Mas'ud, 'Uthman b. 'Affan, and probably 'Ali b. Abi Talib. When 'Uthman obtained the caliphate, his version was naturally given a royal sanction, to the detriment of the three other recensions. The story of the Quaraishite scribes who were told by 'Uthman to write down the Revelation in the dialect of Quarish, ought to be discarded as half legendary. We all know how ill adapted was the Arabic writing even of the eighth century to express all the phonetic niceties of the new philological schools; it is highly improbable, therefore, that it could express them in the first years of the Hijrah. Moreover, a very legitimate doubt can be entertained about the literary proficiency of all the collectors mentioned in the tardy Hadith of the ninth century. Most of them were more tribal chieftains than men of literature, and probably very few of them could even read or write; for this reason the greater part of their work must have been accomplished by some skilled Christian or Jewish amanuensis, converted to Islam.
(3) This last work of Companions and Helpers does not seem to have been put into book form by 'Uthman, but was written on rolls of parchment, on suhufs, and it remained in that state till the time of 'Abdul-Malik and Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. At this time,
being more familiar with writing by their intercourse with the Jews and Christians of the enlightened capital of Syria, and feeling more acutely the necessity of competing on even terms with them, the caliph and his powerful lieutenant gave to those rolls the character and the continuity of a book, and very possibly, added new material from some oral reciters of the Prophet's oracular sentences. At any rate, the incident of both Hajjaj and 'Uthman writing copies of the Koran and sending them to the head-provinces is very curious. We will conclude the first chapter of this enquiry with the following sentences by Professor Casanova70 to which we fully adhere: ....
[French paragraph] [See Note 70 (below) for translation]' [111-113].
[Note] '70. "But as to the fragments of bone, palm leaves, etc., on which were written, by the secretaries, the verses dictated by the Prophet, and which were used for the first recension under Abu Bakr, what happened to them? I refuse to believe that they would have been destroyed. What extraordinary sacrilege! How could one have treated in such a manner these witnesses, the most direct, of the revelation? In fact if they had existed, how does one explain the fear that 'Umar and Abu Bakr showed in seeing the Koran disappearing with the death of the reciters [of the Koran]? If they had not existed, all the passages (so numerous) where the Koran is designated (by the word kitab—a book or scriptures) must have been introduced after the event!
"Well, there you have the inherent contradictions in the traditional account, and all are resolved by the conclusion that I adopt: the Koran was put in written form for the first time thanks to al-Hajjaj who was probably relying on the legendary prototype due to 'Uthman. It is possible that there had been earlier transcriptions, but without any official character and consequently without unity."' .
Materials for the History
of the Text of the Koran
Arthur Jeffery" [see 2053] .
"Originally published as the Introduction (pp. 1–18) and pp. 20–24, 114–116, 182–84 of Materials for the History of the Text of the Qur'ān: The Old Codices, edited by Arthur Jeffery (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1973)." .
"The orthodox Muslim theory of the text ["of the Koran"] is well known. According to this theory the Prophet arranged to have the revelations written down immediately they were revealed and used to collate once every year with the Angel Gabriel the material that had thus far been revealed. In the last year of his life they so collated it twice.21 When the Prophet died the text of the Koran was thus already fixed, and all the material gathered in an orderly fashion though it had not yet been written out, at least not in book form. Under the caliphate of Abu Bakr took place the writing of it out in a first official recension. Later, in the caliphate of 'Uthman it was discovered that all sorts of dialectal peculiarities had crept into the recitation of the text, so 'Uthman formed a committee, borrowed from Hafsa the copy made by Abu
Bakr, and on its basis had a standard codex written out in the pure dialect of Quraish. Copies of this were made and sent to the chief centers of the Muslim empire where they became metropolitan codices, and all other codices that had been formed were ordered to be burned. This was the second recension and all modern editions produced in the East are supposed to be exact reproductions of the text (though not of the form) of this 'Uthmanic recension.22
Very little examination is needed to reveal the fact that this account is largely fictitious. Nothing is more certain than that when the Prophet died there was no collected, arranged, collated body of revelations. Recent research by Dr. Bell of Edinburgh and Prof. Torrey of Yale has suggested that there is internal evidence in the Koran itself that the Prophet kept in his own care a considerable mass of revelation material belonging to various periods of his activity, some of it in revised and some of it in unrevised form, and that this material was to form the basis of the Kitab he wished to give his community before he died. Death, however, overtook him before anything was done about the matter. If this is so we are at a loss to know what became of this material, which obviously would have been the community's most precious legacy?23 The earliest strata of tradition available to us make it quite certain that there was no Koran left ready as a heritage for the community. The Prophet had proclaimed his messages orally, and, except in the latter period of his ministry, whether they were recorded or not was often a matter of chance. Some pieces of revelation material seem to have been used liturgically and so probably would have been written. Some pieces he himself caused to be written down in permanent form as they were of a definite legislative character.24 Besides these there were numerous portions, generally small pieces, though sometimes pieces of considerable extent, that were in the possession of different members of the community, either memorized or written down on scraps of writing material that happened to be handy. Certain individuals among the early Muslims, perhaps even a little before the Prophet's death, had specialized in collecting or memorizing this revelation material. They and their successors became known as the Qurra'—the Reciters, later the Readers, who constituted as it were the depository of revelation. Tradition says that it was the slaughter of a great number of these ["Qurrá"] at the Battle of Yamama in 12 A.H. that caused interest to be aroused in getting all the revelation material set down in permanent written form, lest with the passing away of the Qurra' much of it should be lost.25" [116-117].
Progress in the Study of the Koran Text
Arthur Jeffery" [see 2053] .
"Originally published in The Muslim World 25 (1935): 4–16. Reprinted with permission." .
"In the summer of 1933 while I [Arthur Jeffery] was in Oxford, working in the Bodleian Library on one little item of our plan, Bergsträsser was lost in a mountaineering accident in the Bavarian Alps during his summer vacation. His death is a tremendous loss to Islamic studies in general, and to Koranic studies the loss is
irreparable. On my way back to Cairo in the winter I stopped at Munich to spend some time with Dr. Pretzl, who is at present carrying on Bergsträsser's work, and we have made the best arrangements we can for carrying out the plan. Dr. Pretzl is finishing the third fascicule [French: instalment] of the Geschichte des Qoran-texts. The edition of Ibn Khalawaih is finished, and my annotations thereto, which were originally to have been a Nachtrag [appendix] to the volume, will now appear separately in one of the journals, possibly in Islamica. Dr. Pretzl will continue to gather the material for the archive of Kufic codices and other material for the history of the text.23 I shall produce the text with apparatus criticus and also attempt the volume of notes on the variant readings, though how this latter can ever be adequately done without the assistance of the massive learning and critical acumen of Professor Bergsträsser is more than I can see.
This, then, is how the plan stands...." [142-143].
Textual Variations of the Koran
David Margoliouth" [see 2053] .
"Originally printed in The Muslim World 15 (1925: 334–44." .
"If uniformity of text be required in a sacred book, the Hebrew Bible would seem to fulfill the demand better than either the Greek New Testament or the Arabic Koran. The varieties which have been collected from manuscripts of the first are almost negligible; important differences are found either in alternate copies of the same documents which are incorporated in the Old Testament, or in ancient versions, the use of which for textual criticism is hazardous. In the criticism of the New Testament the ancient versions play an important part; but the manuscripts also are far from uniform, and in some parts exhibit widely differing recensions. Until January of this year [apparently, 1925 (see above)] no ancient version of the Koran had been introduced into the criticism of that book; Dr. Mingana, who has discovered a Syriac version of high antiquity, and described it in the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, is the pioneer in this matter. The same scholar in his Leaves from Three Ancient Korans (Cambridge, 1914) called attention to noteworthy variants in old manuscripts. But orthodox Islam does not assume uniformity of text for its sacred book; it admits seven or even ten canonical recensions, differing ordinarily, but not always, in minutiae; and in addition to these there are a great number of uncanonical readings, attested by distinguished personages. Ahmad b. Musa b. Mujahid (ob. 324 A.H.) composed nine works embodying the readings of different authorities, one of them the Prophet himself! These by no means exhausted his activities in the collection of various readings. We may endeavor to classify these varieties and account for their existence.
The Koran (ii. 100) assumes that it is perpetuated partly in the memory and partly in writing, and asserts that Allah at times commits texts to oblivion or causes them to be erased, to substitute something better or not inferior. This process was regarded by some of the Prophet's contemporaries as clear evidence of imposture (xvi. 103)...." [154-155].
What Did Muhammad Borrow from Judaism?
Abraham Geiger [see 2053]
["Originally published as part of Judaism and Islam (Madras, 1898)." ].
In the case of any single instance of borrowing, the proof that the passage is really of Jewish origin must rest on two grounds. First, it must be shown to exist in Judaism, and to prove this we have every facility. Secondly, in order to attain to certainty we must prove that it is really borrowed, i.e., that it is not founded on anything in old Arabian tradition, which Muhammad used largely as a foundation though he disputed some points. Then again we must show that it had its origin in Judaism and not in Christianity. For the complete discussion of the last two points it would be necessary to write two treatises similar to the one on which I am now engaged, of which the respective subjects would be—(1) the points of contact between Islam and the ancient tradition of the Arabs, and (2) the points of contact between Islam and Christianity; and only in this way could certainty on these points be attained. But these investigations would, on the one hand, lead us too far away from our particular subject, and, on the other, they would require a much more exact treatment than could be given while handling our main subject. Then, too, they are made unnecessary by the means which we use in each individual case, and which will be shown in the different divisions of the work; so that on most points we can without them attain to a high degree of probability, practically sufficient for all scientific purposes. For the sake of clearness, it may be well to divide the material borrowed from Judaism into thoughts belonging to it, and narratives taken from it, and later we shall have to subdivide again." [165-166].
"Judaism is known to be very rich in single precepts, and Muhammad has borrowed from it much that seemed to him suitable...." .
"Stories Borrowed from Judaism
This division will prove to be the largest, partly because these narratives, draped in the most marvelous garb of fiction, lived mostly in the mouth of the people; partly, because this fairy-tale form appealed to the poetic fancy of Muhammad, and suited the childish level of his contemporaries...." .
'Appendix: Statements in the Koran Hostile to Judaism
Just as we tried before to show from the personality of Muhammad and from the spirit of his time that borrowing from Judaism had taken place, even so we wish here to show that statements hostile to Judaism are to be found in the Koran [compare: hostility to Judaism in the New Testament]. Muhammad's aim was to bring about a union of all creeds, and no religious community stood more in the way off the attainment of this end than the Jews with their many cumbersome laws, unknown to
other religions. Further, Muhammad's aim was to establish in and through this union such religious doctrines only as were in his opinion purified. The observance of individual laws did not seem to him of great importance, except in so far as such laws resulted immediately from those special doctrines; moreover, he loved the old Arabian customs and kept to them. The Jews on the contrary laid the greatest stress upon the punctilious fulfillment of the revealed law, and showed not the slightest desire to depart from it. While these two causes of mutual separation were founded upon the difference in the fundamental opinions of Muhammad, and the Jews, another may be added which arose more from an external difference. As we have already remarked, the Jews pressed Muhammad very hard, and often annoyed him with repartee and evasions, thus rousing in him an inextinguishable hatred. Governed by this he misunderstood their religions doctrines, putting false constructions upon them, and so justifying his own deviation from them. He [Muhammad] wished therefore to make a final separation from these hateful Jews, and to this end he established entirely different customs. Later Arabians confess that he made changes "from the necessity of abolishing resemblances to the Jews."550 Thus, Muhammad asserts that the Jews are the enemies of the Muslims,551 that they slew prophets,552 a probable reference to Jesus; further, that they in common with Christians thought themselves specially favored by God,553 that they believed that they alone should possess paradise,554 that they [Jews] held Ezra to be the son of God,555 that they trusted in the intercession of their self-pious predecessors, 556 that they had perverted the Bible557 because in its existing form that book contained no allusions to him [Muhammad], and that the Jews built temples on the graves of the prophets.558 Such accusations and the reasons given earlier supplied Muhammad with grounds on which to justify his departure from Jewish laws.' [223-224].
The Sources of Islam
W. St. Clair-Tisdall [see 2053]
["Originally published c. 1901 in London by S.P.C.K." ]
This remarkable book has been written by the Rev. W.T. St. Clair-Tisdall, Missionary, C.M.S., Julfa, Persia. It takes up a subject never as yet brought properly under discussion either by Muslims or Christians—namely, the origin of the Koran, and the sources from which both it and tradition have been derived. By the teaching of Muhammad the Koran is of divine origin, and was brought down, as tradition tells us, word by word by Gabriel to the Prophet's ear. The original is "written on a Tablet, kept in Heaven,"1 sent down on the night of al-Qadr"2 by the Almighty. Thus the Koran comes from God alone, heavenly, divine, and uncreate from all eternity. Now if it can be shown that much of this grand book [Koran] can be traced to human sources existing daily around the Prophet, then Islam falls to the ground. And this is what the author proves with marvellous power and erudition.' .
'Chapter III explains the influence of Judaism. And first we are told that the five times of prayer were borrowed from the Sabeans. The Jews were numerous and powerful throughout Arabia, and Muhammad, having sought their conversion in vain, at last fought against them and banished them from the country. But in the meantime he had taken much of his teaching from their books, the Talmud, their commentaries, etc. The first qibla was Jerusalem, and the marvellous tales thus derived cannot be read without astonishment. Thus there is the story of Cain and Abel, and of their parents weeping while the raven showed how to bury the dead; Abraham cast by Nimrod into the fire unhurt;4 the Queen of Sheba uncovering her legs as she walked before Solomon over the glass floor, which she takes for a sheet of water; the descent of Harut and Marut and other spirits from above to tempt mankind; Sammael, the Angel of Death, speaking out of the golden calf—and other fictitious tales too numerous to mention. It is strange that though the Jewish and Christian Scriptures are spoken of throughout the Koran with the utmost devotion, only one passage is quoted from them, namely, "The meek shall inherit the earth [what is left of the earth, after centuries of overbreeding, in large part, due to Judaism, Christianism ("Christianity"), Islamism, etc.] ." In respect also of the Tables of the Testimony put by Moses into the ark, the Muslims, following the extravagant notions of the Jews who fancied that all their sacred books with the Talmud were also in the ark, place on the "Preserved Table" their own Koran! A vast emerald mountain has also arisen out of the word Cau in the Talmudic explanation of Thohu, Genesis i. 2; of which it takes 2000 years to make the circuit, and 500 the assent. Such are the wild vagaries of Muslim tradition and the sources whence they come.
Chapter IV next shows the apocryphal Christian sources from which Islam has so largely borrowed. There were many Christian tribes in Arabia belonging to heretical sects who had sought refuge there from persecution in Roman lands. Little versed in their own Scriptures ["imaginary and childish fables"], they spent the time in imaginary and childish fables. The Prophet, longing for a universal faith, listened gladly to such stories, which thus became the source of much we find in the Koran.
First we have the fairy tale of the cave wherein the seven sleepers slumbered for ages, fearing persecution.5 Next we have endless stories of the Virgin Mary, both in the Koran and with vast detail also in tradition; her mother Hannah, her childhood as fed by angels in the temple, Joseph chosen by a miraculous rod, etc., much as in the Proto-Evangelium and other Egyptian and Coptic writings.6 Then there are the tales of Jesus, as of his speaking in the cradle, breathing life into birds of clay, etc.7 These the Prophet learned probably from Mary, his Coptic concubine, as they are all contained in such Coptic books as the Gospel of St. Thomas.8 Thus we have the descent of the Table from Heaven (derived no doubt from the table of the Lord's Supper); the promise by Jesus of a prophet to come, called Ahmed,9 which was apparently caused by the mistake of...[Greek word] for...[Greek word]; the notion that the resemblance only, and not the real person, of Christ was slain,10 derived from the heretic Basilides, etc. Passing over much of interest, we may close our review of Christian sources by notice of the balance, briefly mentioned in the Koran,11 but surrounded by a vast variety of Coptic tales. Two Egyptian books (one of ancient date placed in the tombs to be read by the dead) are quoted at length;...and strange sights are given of Adam and Abraham in the heavens beyond.
Chapter V relates many things from ancient Zoroastrian and even Hindu writings. Persia, far ahead of Arabia, had a sensible influence upon it, and much of what is Oriental in the Koran and tradition is evidently derived from Pahlavi and other Eastern sources. Thus we have the marvels of the SEVEN HEAVENS, seen by the Prophet on his ascent from Jerusalem; the HOURIS [see 2020]; Azazil and other spirits coming up from Hades; the light of Muhammad, the bridge of Sirat, etc.—all illustrated by the author's marvellous knowledge of Eastern literature, beliefs, and history. The Prophet must have learned all these things from the foreigners who frequented Medina. Suspected of this, he indignantly replied that his tongue was not foreign, but pure Arabic alone.12' [228-229].
"The sources of Islam, our author in conclusion shows, have been altogether human and misleading. They all passed through the Prophet's mind as he composed the Koran, which thus bears throughout the impress of his own heart and character. One good thing there is in it, namely, a thorough testimony to the Gospel and Torah; all true Muslims are accordingly invited to study both, and thus through our Savior Christ obtain the true promises of their father Abraham.
The Sources is a noble work, and reflects high distinction on the writer. Hitherto much labor has been spent in showing the falsity and errors of Islam, as has been ably done by Pfander and others. It has remained for our author not only to conceive a new, and perhaps more thorough and effective, mode of treating the so-called divine and eternal faith, but also in doing so to prove its sources to be of purely human origin; and that in so masterly and effective a way that it seems impossible for good Muslims to resist the conclusion drawn. And for all this the thanks of the Christian world are eminently due to the Rev. W. St. Clair-Tisdall.W. Muir" .
Since every religion must have had a source from which it sprung, so this last faith, Islam, must like all others have had its originating cause. Accepted neither by Jews nor Christians, many treatises have been written to controvert it. These have been answered by Muslims in such works as the Mizan ool Mavazin; but unfortunately the learning of the authors of these defenses of Islam has not been equal to their zeal. The object of the present work is to investigate the various theories which have been put forward as to the origin of Islam. The author first states briefly the Muslim view, and then examines the claim of those who hold that Islam has a human and not a divine origin.
In this new endeavor, it has been the author's object, by God's [Allah's?] help, to show from whence the Muslim faith has risen, its foundation and origin, in other words, its source. And he trusts that those who study the following pages, having learned the origin of the faith, may not lose sight of those sources [pause] whence has arisen the vast stream which has overflowed so many nations of the East."
[End of Introduction] .
[Presently (12/23/2001), Islamism is reportedly the fastest growing religion in the United States. Mormonism, reportedly, is second].
The Jewish Foundation of Islam
Charles Cutler Torrey [see 2053]
["Originally published as the third and fourth lecture in The Jewish Foundation of Islam (New York: Jewish Institute of Religion Press, Bloch Publishing Co., 1933), pp. 62–126." .
Allah and Islam
The lessons which Muhammad learned, in one way or another, from the Israelites of Mecca gave him a new horizon. The idea of the Prophet and his mission and authority, and the picture of the chosen people holding the religious leadership of the nations of the earth, illustrated in the written records of the past from the very beginning, meant more to the Meccan tradesman than any other of his acquisitions. He not only gained a new conception of human history, but began to see that it is all religious history, directed in its successive periods by Allah and his prophets. The choice of the Arabs was one link in a continuous chain, and the revelation given to them through their Prophet was the last stage in a process which began with Adam. Moreover, the thought of "Islam" (whenever this took shape in Muhammad's mind) must take in not only the Arabs, but also the other peoples of the earth. Allah had not simply transferred his interest from the children of Israel (i.e., the Jews and Christians) to the children of Ishmael; he was the "Lord of the Worlds," holding all races in his hand. The preferred people [Muslims] has a certain responsibility for its fellows....' [293-294].
'The "history" contained in the Koran consists mainly of bits of narration taken from the Old Testament and the Jewish Midrash. This fragmentary material, usually scattered along in the most casual way, occupies a large portion of the growing volume, especially the part produced in the middle years of the Prophet's public career. The earliest suras, prevailingly brief, consist chiefly of impassioned exhortation. Muhammad is here the preacher, proclaiming, warning, and promising. In the last years of his life, at Medina, he is so occupied with legislation and other practical matters as to leave little room for storytelling, even if that which he regarded as essential had not already been provided. It is during the latter years of his Meccan ministry, especially, that he gives a large amount of space to the "old stories" (as his skeptical countrymen impolitely termed them). He himself was highly interested in the tales of the ancients, the wonders which Allah wrought among them, the deeds and experiences of their famous men, from Adam and his family down to the seven sleepers of Ephesus and the martyrs of Nejran. The Arabs must now be told all this, and learn it as the preliminary stage of their own religious history. Moreover, the stories would help him to gain a hearing. Thus he says at the beginning of the twelfth sura, dealing with Joseph and his fortunes, "We now narrate to you a most beautiful tale."1 And in fact, these little anecdotes of prophets and heroes undoubtedly led many to listen who otherwise would have paid no attention to the new teacher.' [294-295].
'Muhammad was both sincere and wise in his efforts to give the new religion of the Arabs its secure foundation in the past, and to claim its affiliation with the great religions which had preceded. And he had in mind, in his constant reference to biblical personages and incidents, not merely the instruction and inspiration of his countrymen, but also the effect on another audience. The ideas which had awakened him and changed his whole view of life were not his own discovery, but were the fruits of his intercourse with the Jews of Mecca, possibly (though not probably) also with Christians, either at home or abroad. These counselors should hear the revelation now given by Allah to his Arabian Prophet. In Muhammad's thought, Islam was not at all a new religion, but merely a continuation. The Koran, he declares many times over, "confirms" the scriptures already existing. Jews and Christians (he hardly distinguished between them at first) would be glad to hear more about Moses and Solomon and Jesus. He felt that he was giving them support, and expected them to support him in return.' .
"He [Muhammad] knew the Jews to be a minority, and on the other hand was profoundly conscious of the religion of the Abyssinians and of the great Christian empire whose center was at Byzantium.6 He [Muhammad] was bound to make Christian allies, not enemies." .
"....When to the longer narratives which have been described [pause] are added the many brief bits mentioned in the preceding lecture, and the fact is borne in the mind that Muhammad's purpose is to give only a selection, or occasionally mere fragments, it is evident that he had imbibed a great amount of material of this nature. It included (1) biblical narrative more or less altered; (2) Jewish Haggada, in already fixed form; (3) a small amount of material of ultimately Christian origin; and (4) legends belonging to world literature, available at Mecca in the Aramaic language. The treatment is Muhammad's own, with abridgment in his characteristic manner, and embellishment mainly homiletic. For the chronological and other blunders he alone is responsible. Finally, it is to be borne in mind that the Prophet knew, better than we know, what he was trying to do. In the case of some habitual traits which we find amusing, such as the grasshopperlike mode of progressing, and the omission of essential features, we may well question to what extent they show shrewd calculation rather than childlike inconsequence. Since his purpose was not to reproduce the Jewish scriptures, but to give the Arabs a share in them, his method may be judged by the result. His bearers were not troubled by the violation of literary canons, for they felt themselves in the presence of a divine message intended for them especially. If they were mystified, they were also profoundly stirred and stimulated. Around all these Koranic narratives there is, and was from the first, the atmosphere of an Arabian revelation, and they form a very characteristic and important part of the Prophet's great achievement." [End of article] .
● ● ● ● ●
from: National Public Radio. January 4, 2002, Hour 2, Transcript.
'JULIE McCARTHY reporting: Here at the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, a guard at the door ensures that only worshippers gain entry to the modern red brick building. He is suspicious of questions about Friday prayers and Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri, the one-eyed prayer leader. In this predominantly Muslim neighborhood, women wear chadors and men assemble at the corner cafe. Come prayer time, they head for the mosque to hear Abu Hamza, a firebrand cleric from Egypt on Britain's watch list.
Sheikh ABU HAMZA AL-MASRI: America wants to Americanize the whole world, the whole globe. They said we're going for 10 years war. Ten years war means what? It means to colonialize the whole world. In 10 year's time, it will be one power only I think in power. It said it's time to make the whole planet Islamic free.
McCARTHY: Hamza's sermons are on the Internet in a Web site identified with the Finsbury Park Mosque. He glorifies Osama bin Laden, calls the World Trade Center attack an American plot and the hijackers dutiful to Allah. At one point, Hamza remarks that the rest of the believers are still waiting, a chilling reference to possible sleeper cells. The cleric who says he lost his hands fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan exhorts his followers to join a holy war against non-Muslims. Since 1998, Britain's Charities Commission has been investigating the trust that runs Hamza's mosque. The probe began with a dispute of the way in which some trustees were muscled aside. Imam Abdul Jalil Sajid had an injunction against associates of Hamza, barring them from his mosque in Brighton.
Mr. IMAM ABDUL JALIL SAJID: And we have to be naming and shaming these people who are obnoxious and who are not from the mainstream, and from the outside body, there has to be some better understanding to recognize that Muslims should not be put in slums and vulnerable areas where they are easy to be recruited by these extremists and then become disaster for their own future.
McCARTHY: There are several prominent clerics here with a talent for propaganda and producing zealous recruits. Suspected terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui embraced extremist Islam meetings at the Finsbury Park Mosque. The alleged 20th September 11th hijacker and the alleged shoe bomber Richard Reid went to the same Brixton Mosque in south London.
(Soundbite of praying)
McCARTHY: An hour outside London in Maidenhead Mosque, where the Muslim community is tightly knit and traditional. There was a punch-up here when an extremist recently tried to distribute leaflets, but mosque leader Fazal Alwan(ph) downplays the threat from radical clerics and the Muslim community's own role in banning them.
Mr. FAZAL ALWAN: We are not the intelligence service, so we don't know who does what. So the government should do something. The government has got options to arrest them, to prosecute them, and if they are convicted, imprison them.
McCARTHY: There's no sympathy here for the methods of terror preaching clerics who have lured at least 37 Britons to al-Qaeda training camps, but there is a discernable empathy for their grievances, especially those aimed at the United States. Twenty-year old Said Egbul(ph).
Mr. SAID EGBUL: This idea that America somehow has the right to be president of the world, the American life are worth more, but their value system is such that no one, you know, has a right to actually argue with them over anything, and they hold a monopoly on every single human characteristic. The arrogance is breathtaking in some places, but Muslims are being made a scapegoat for this kind of thing.
McCARTHY: Many worshippers believe Osama bin Laden is on the CIA payroll advancing a US agenda for more oil and gas. These men are just as skeptical about the video showing bin Laden all but admitting to the World Trade Center attack. Again, Said Egbul.
Mr. EGBUL: The bone structure of the man's face is completely different. That can't change in a couple of months.
McCARTHY: So you think it was doctored?
Mr. EGBUL: On that tape, definitely without a doubt.
McCARTHY: It's not all conspiracy theories. These young men who call themselves moderates say radicals will flourish in Britain as long as the Kashmir conflict rages and the Palestinians have no state. Julie McCarthy, NPR News, London.' [10-12].
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from: Islam, A Very Short Introduction, Malise Ruthven, Oxford, Pb. 1997.
[I thank my old friend, D.A., San Diego, for this book reference].
"Samuel Huntington [see 2041], an influential Harvard professor, states that 'Islam has bloody borders'. He predicts a 'clash of civilizations' between 'Islam', the 'West', and a revitalized Confucian China as the most likely scenario of global conflict following the collapse of Marxism-Leninism...." .
"the Quranic Jesus is a prophet, born of a Virgin, but he is not the deity incarnate." .
"There are no detailed prescriptions in the New Testament about how Jesus dressed, ate, walked, cleaned his teeth, or generally comported himself, although it may be true that a composite image of his appearance eventually transmits itself through Christian iconography, as does that of the Buddha and numerous Hindu deities." .
"In popular tradition as in mystical poetry the 'splitting of the moon' becomes one of Muhammad's greatest miracles, celebrated in Sindhi, Punjabi, Swahili, and other Muslim languages. In other miracle stories the Prophet emulates the Quranic Jesus by breathing life into a bird of stone, produces rain after drought or water from between his fingers, and causes a solitary barren sheep to provide enough milk for his thirsty companions and himself. Another food miracle in which 1,000 people are fed from a single sheep recalls the feeding of the 5,000 in the New Testament...." .
"Operation Desert Storm (in which the Muslim armies of Egypt, Pakistan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia took part alongside those of the United States and Britain) demonstrated conclusively [?] that where major economic and political interests are at stake, the status quo wins." .
In the long term the globalization of culture through the revolution in communications technology must lead to a form of secularization in Muslim societies, not least because of the increasing availability of religious and cultural choice. A significant factor will be the presence of a large and growing Muslim diaspora educated in the West and able to rediscover in Islam a voluntary faith freed from the imperatives of enforcement while finding an outlet for Islamic values through voluntary activity....
It is my own belief that, despite historical differences in the relations between the state and civil society, the Muslim world will develop along the lines previously travelled by the post-Christian West. For all the protestations to the contrary, the faith will be internalized, becoming private and voluntary. In an era when individuals are ever less bound by ties of kinship and increasingly exposed to urban anomie, Muslim souls are likely to find the Sufi path of inner exploration and voluntary association more rewarding than revolutionary politics. Sadly, more blood can be expected to be split along the way." [End of text] [144, 145-146].
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from: Consilience, The Unity of Knowledge, Edward O. Wilson, Knopf, 1998.
'Consilience is the key to unification. I prefer this word over "coherence" because its rarity has preserved its precision, whereas coherence has several possible meanings, only one of which is consilience. William Whewell, in his 1840 synthesis The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, was the first to speak of consilience, literally a "jumping together" of knowledge by the linking of facts and fact-based theory across disciplines to create a common groundwork of explanation.' .
"The Empiricist" [note: each paragraph begins with "]
'...."But RELIGIOUS BELIEF has another, destructive side, equaling the worst excesses of materialism.
AN ESTIMATED ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND BELIEF SYSTEMS HAVE EXISTED IN HISTORY [from Anthony F.C. Wallace, Religion: An Anthropological View, 1966 ], AND MANY HAVE FOSTERED ETHNIC AND TRIBAL WARS.
Each of the three Great Western religions in particular expanded at one time or another in symbiosis with military [see #6, 179; etc.] aggression. Islam, which means "submission," was imposed by force of arms on large portions of the Middle East, Mediterranean perimeter, and southern Asia. Christianity dominated the New World as much by colonial expansion as by spiritual grace. It benefited from a historical accident: Europe, having been blocked to the East by the Muslim Arabs, turned west to occupy the Americas, whereupon the cross accompanied the sword in one campaign of enslavement and genocide after another.
"The Christian rulers had an instructive example to follow in the early history of Judaism. If we are to believe the Old Testament, the Israelites were ordered by God to wipe the promised land clean of heathen. 'Of these peoples which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the LORD your God has commanded you,' thus reports Deuteronomy, 20:16–17. Over a hundred cities were consumed by fire and death, beginning with Joshua's campaign against Jericho and ending with David's assault on the ancient Jebusite stronghold of Jerusalem.
"I bring up these historical facts not to cast aspersions on present-day faiths but rather to cast light on their material origins and those of the ethical systems they sponsor. All great civilizations were spread by conquest, and among their chief beneficiaries were the religions validating them. No doubt membership in state-sponsored religions has always been deeply satisfying in many psychological dimensions, and spiritual wisdom has evolved to moderate the more barbaric tenets obeyed in the days of conquest. But every major religion today is a winner in the Darwinian struggle waged among cultures, and none ever flourished by tolerating its rivals. The swiftest road to success has always been sponsorship by a conquering state [see #6, 179; etc.].
"To be fair, let me now put the matter of cause and effect straight. RELIGIOUS EXCLUSION AND BIGOTRY ARISE FROM TRIBALISM, THE BELIEF IN THE INNATE SUPERIORITY AND SPECIAL STATUS OF THE IN-GROUP. Tribalism cannot be blamed on religion. The same causal sequence gave rise to totalitarian ideologies. The pagan corpus mysticum of Nazism and the class-warfare doctrine of Marxism-Leninism, both essentially dogmas of religions without God, were put to the service of tribalism, not the reverse. Neither would have been so fervently embraced if their devotees had not thought themselves chosen people, virtuous in their mission, surrounded by wicked enemies, and conquerors by right of blood and destiny. Mary Wollstonecraft correctly said, of male domination but extensible to all human behavior, 'No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, which is the good he seeks[?].'
"Conquest by a tribe requires that its members make sacrifices to the interests of the group, especially during conflict with competing groups. THAT IS SIMPLY THE EXPRESSION OF A PRIMAL RULE OF SOCIAL LIFE THROUGHOUT THE ANIMAL KINGDOM. It arises when loss of personal advantage by submission to the needs of the group is more than offset by gain in personal advantage due to the resulting success of the group. The human corollary is that selfish, prosperous people belonging to losing religions and ideologies are replaced by selfless, poor members of winning religions and ideologies.
A better life later on, either an earthly paradise or resurrection in heaven, is the promised reward that CULTURES INVENT
to justify the subordinating imperative [?] of social existence. Repeated from one generation to the next, submission to the group and its moral codes is solidified in official doctrine and personal belief. But it is not ordained by God or plucked from the air as self-evident truth. It evolves as a necessary device of survival in social organisms.
"The most dangerous of devotions, in my opinion, is the one endemic to Christianity: I was not born to be of this world.
With a second life waiting, suffering can be endured—ESPECIALLY IN OTHER PEOPLE. The natural environment can be used up. Enemies of the faith can be savaged and suicidal martyrdom praised.
"Is it [apparently, "religious belief" (see 2073)] all an illusion? Well, I hesitate to call it that or, worse, a noble lie, the harsh phrase sometimes used by skeptics, but one has to admit that the objective evidence supporting it is not strong. No statistical proofs exist that prayer reduces illness and mortality, except perhaps through a psychogenic enhancement of the immune system; if it were otherwise the whole world would pray continuously. When two armies blessed by priests clash, one still loses [see #6, 179]....' [244-245].
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Islam in Modern History, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Princeton, 1957.
The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Prepared by a Number of Leading Orientalists, Under the Patronage of The International Union of Academies, 10 Volumes: (1960) 1986 - 2000, E.J. Brill.
Atlas of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Martin Gilbert, Fellow of Merton College, Oxford; Oxford, 1993. [See: 2007].
Women and the Koran, The Status of Women in Islam, Anwar Hekmat, Prometheus, 1997.
The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, Edited and Translated by Ibn Warraq, Prometheus, 2000.
See: Addition 47, 2633 (Dean Inge, 1922).
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from: The San Diego Union-Tribune, Sunday, April 4, 2004, A17.
'As 'Passion' goes global, controversy follows
By Brian Murphy
An Islamic leader says it reveals Jewish "crimes." European Jewish leaders are troubled by it. Israeli theaters don't plan to show it.
"The Passion of the Christ [see 2564-2565]," Mel Gibson's crucifixion epic, is moving into cinemas around the world and into the international tempests whipped up by terrorism, war and clashing religions....
The film has opened to packed houses in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat watched the film at his West Bank compound with a group of local Muslim clerics and Christians from the United States, Canada and Britain.... [see: The Crowd, Gustave Le Bon [1841 - 1931], 1995 (1895 France)]
Muslims revere Jesus as a prophet, not as the messiah, and some Arab countries have banned the film because a strict interpretation of Islam frowns on portraying its prophets as flesh-and-blood characters. But pirated DVD versions are circulating widely.
Morevover, THE QURAN [also, commonly: Koran] INSISTS THAT, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE NEW TESTAMENT SAYS, JESUS DID NOT DIE ON THE CROSS AND THUS DID NOT SAVE HUMANITY.' [See: 2037-2038].