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A Startling Thesis on Islam's Origins
The Wall Street Journal ^ | 5/11/12 | Malise Ruthven

Posted on 05/18/2012 7:36:38 AM PDT by marshmallow

Until recently, it was generally considered that Islam, the youngest of the great world religions, was born "not amidst the mystery which cradles the origin of other religions, but rather in the full light of history," as Ernest Renan, the French scholar of Middle East civilizations, put it in 1883. Most textbooks and popular biographies still take Renan's line: Islam originated among the tribal Arabs of the Hijaz (the coastal region of western Arabia that includes both Mecca and Medina) who heeded the divine messages of Muhammad. Fired by religious enthusiasm, they conquered much of the world of late antiquity, from Spain to the Indus valley and beyond, in the decades that followed Muhammad's death in 632 A.D. Modern scholarship, however, has challenged this view, which is based exclusively on Muslim sources dating some two centuries after the events they purport to describe.

As Tom Holland notes in "In the Shadow of the Sword": "The great innovation of late antiquity was to fashion, out of what might otherwise have been an inchoate blur of beliefs and doctrines, individual templates for individual religions, and then to establish them as definitive." Biographies of Muhammad, like those of other religious founders, contain many allusions to numinous forces and supernatural actors. His first biographer, Ibn Hisham, describes how during the Battle of Badr (in 624), Muhammad's first great victory against his Meccan enemies, the Qurayshites, the outnumbered Muslims were supported by angels. Yet this battle, Mr. Holland observes, is often treated as though it were as rooted in history as, say, the Battle of Waterloo, with writers analyzing Muhammad's strategy, calculating the size of his forces, and illustrating his tactics with arrows and maps.

For a sober historian, Mr. Holland argues, this traditional approach to some of Islam's founding events involves a spectacular misreading......

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: History; Islam
KEYWORDS: islam; muhammad; muslim; quran; rop; sharia; trop

1 posted on 05/18/2012 7:36:42 AM PDT by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow
Islam, the youngest of the great world religions

I guess the writer never heard of a guy named "Joe Smith".

2 posted on 05/18/2012 7:56:02 AM PDT by Blado (this is not America)
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To: marshmallow

Cool. But I see he doesn’t mention Spencer’s book. making him a little late to the table.

Also, there is another - earlier - scholar, who hid his name out of fear, arguing the wrong interpretation of the Koran because the original language was likely to be Aramaic, throwing the whole scripture into disarray.

3 posted on 05/18/2012 7:56:24 AM PDT by Hardraade ( (nobody gives me warheads anyway))
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To: marshmallow

Can you say, “Instant Fatwa on Mr. Holland”?

4 posted on 05/18/2012 8:03:17 AM PDT by BwanaNdege (Man has often lost his way, but modern man has lost his address - Gilbert K. Chesterton)
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To: marshmallow

Islam is a fake.
Obama is a fake.

5 posted on 05/18/2012 8:25:55 AM PDT by vanilla swirl (searching for something meaningfull to say)
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To: marshmallow; zot; Interesting Times; SeraphimApprentice

There is also this article on today’s American Spectator website: How Islam Killed Greco-Roman Civilization

And last week there was an article about Robert Spencer’s new book: Did Muhammad Exist?

6 posted on 05/18/2012 8:48:54 AM PDT by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: Blado

I guess the writer never heard of a guy named “Joe Smith”.


In most places apart from FR threads, Mormonism is seen as a denomination of Christianity.

7 posted on 05/18/2012 9:13:45 AM PDT by dmz
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To: GreyFriar

Thanks for the links. Despite the legends of its origin, two facts remain: Islam spread by the sword, and is devoted to world conquest.

8 posted on 05/18/2012 9:14:41 AM PDT by zot
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To: marshmallow

Quote from the article:

The epic themes of loyalty and heroism that appear in the prophet’s biographies, and in the Quran, are strikingly similar to those celebrated by Homer in the Iliad: “The one features angels; the other gods. Why, then, should we believe that the account of the Prophet’s first great victory is any more authentic than the legend of the siege of Troy?”

Wouldn’t the more logical question be, “Why do we assume that the Iliad is all legend rather than a factual story embued with legendary elements?”

9 posted on 05/18/2012 2:42:37 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: dmz; Blado

Also in most places other than the USA Intermountain West, Mormonism is not seen as one of the “great world religions.”

10 posted on 05/19/2012 9:09:18 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts.)
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