Questions about Emergence of Islam

Discussion about the Quran, hadith, the history of Islam, etc.
User avatar
Peter Kirby
Site Admin
Posts: 5377
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:13 pm
Location: Santa Clara
Contact:

Re: Questions about Emergence of Islam

Post by Peter Kirby » Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:35 pm

DuvDuv wrote:1) Why is there no biography among the Arabs at all of Muhammad for some 200 years after he allegedly died?

2) How could there have been an Islamic caliphate in Damascus under Muawiyya so soon after Muhammed had died?

3) What actual evidence exists supporting the idea of a massive Islamic (as opposed to Arab) conquest of North Africa??

4) Why are so many figures associated with Muhammad never mentioned in the Quran, i.e. Ali??

5) How could Ali and then Hussein have engaged in a "war" with the Damascus Islamic caliphate in Kufa, Iraq which is so far away from Damascus?

6) Why are so many suras in the Quran taken from Jewish midrashic sources such as Midrash Rabba and Pirkei de Rabbi Eliezer though often out of context?

7) Why does the Quran appear to be a cut and paste job involving pre-existing stories from among Jewish-friendly or Christian-friendly sources?

8) Why is there no actual evidence for the existence of any Shia regimes in Islamic history before the Safavvid dynasty of Iran, and why does Shia Islam appear to be a syncretic religion combining elements of historical Islam with Ali veneration and Imamism, which would appear to have been similar but distinct religious movements?
No comment, I don't know enough about this to answer.
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

Roger Pearse
Posts: 383
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:26 am

Re: Questions about Emergence of Islam

Post by Roger Pearse » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:34 pm

I thought that I replied to some of this?
Peter Kirby wrote:
DuvDuv wrote:1) Why is there no biography among the Arabs at all of Muhammad for some 200 years after he allegedly died?
Are we sure this is the case?
2) How could there have been an Islamic caliphate in Damascus under Muawiyya so soon after Muhammed had died?
Um ... why not?
3) What actual evidence exists supporting the idea of a massive Islamic (as opposed to Arab) conquest of North Africa??
Lots of minarets on top of other people's churches?
4) Why are so many figures associated with Muhammad never mentioned in the Quran, i.e. Ali??
Why must they be?
5) How could Ali and then Hussein have engaged in a "war" with the Damascus Islamic caliphate in Kufa, Iraq which is so far away from Damascus?
It's not far away.

etc.

Huon
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Questions about Emergence of Islam

Post by Huon » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:18 am

DuvDuv wrote:1) Why is there no biography among the Arabs at all of Muhammad for some 200 years after he allegedly died?
1bis) Why is there no biography among the Jews at all of Moses for more than 400 years after he allegedly died?

Possible answer :
- The believers did not care. They were interested in the beliefs of these prophets, not in the détails of their lifes.
- The non-believers did not care, before the XVIIIth century CE.

Huon
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Questions about Emergence of Islam

Post by Huon » Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:00 am

DuvDuv wrote: 2) How could there have been an Islamic caliphate in Damascus under Muawiyya so soon after Muhammed had died?
The siege of Damascus, from wikipedia :

In 611, during the Byzantine-Sassanid War of 602-628, Heraclius became the emperor of the Byzantine Empire after overthrowing Phocas. While Heraclius focused his attention on the internal affairs of his empire, the Sassanid Persians conquered Mesopotamia, overran Syria in 611 AD, and entered Anatolia to occupy Caesarea Mazaca. In 612, Heraclius expelled the Persians from Anatolia. In 613, he launched a counter offensive against Syria, but was decisively defeated.

Over the next decade, the Persians conquered Palestine and Egypt and Heraclius rebuilt his army, preparing for a new offensive, which he launched in 622. He achieved substantial victories over the Persians and their allies in the Caucasus and Armenia. In 627, he launched a daring winter offensive against Persia in Mesopotamia, and won a decisive victory at the Battle of Nineveh. This victory threatened the Persian capital city of Ctesiphon.
Discredited by this series of disasters, Khosrau II was killed in a coup led by his son Kavadh II, who at once sued for peace, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territories of the Byzantine empire. Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem with an elaborate ceremony in 629.

In Arabia, the Prophet Mohammad had united most of Arabia under a single religious and political authority. When Mohammed died in June 632, Abu Bakr was elected to the newly-formed office of Caliph, becoming Mohammad's political and religious successor. Several Arabic tribes revolted against Abu Bakr. In the Ridda wars (Arabic for the Wars of Apostasy), Abu Bakr quelled the revolt. By 633, Arabia was firmly united under the central authority of the Caliph in Medina. In 633, Abu Bakr initiated a war of conquest against the neighboring Sassanian and Byzantine empires. After a successful conquest of the Persian province of Iraq, Abu Bakr's confidence grew and in April 634 his armies invaded the Byzantine Levant from four different routes. These armies proved to be too small for the task, necessitating reinforcements from Iraq, led by Abu Bakr's capable general Khalid ibn Walid. Crossing the desert, Khalid ibn Walid entered Syria from an unexpected route in a bold move. He attacked and overthrew the Byzantine defenses of Levant and quickly captured the Ghassanid capital city of Bosra. In July 634, the Muslim army under Khalid's command defeated another Byzantine army in the Battle of Ajnadayn. After clearing their southern flank, the Muslims laid siege to Damascus.

The city was taken after a monophysite bishop informed Khalid ibn al-Walid, the Muslim commander in chief, that it was possible to breach city walls by attacking a position only lightly defended at night. While Khalid entered the city by assault from the Eastern gate, Thomas, commander of the Byzantine garrison, negotiated a peaceful surrender at the Jabiyah gate with Abu Ubaidah, Khalid's second in command. After the surrender of the city, the commanders disputed the terms of the peace agreement. The commanders finally agreed that the peace terms given by Abu Ubaidah would be met. Although he acquiesced to the peace terms, three days after the surrender of the city Khalid chased after the Damascan refugees towards Antioch and defeated them in battle six days later, near present day Al Jayyad.

My remarks :
1. There are Byzantine reports for the siege of Damascus.
2. The monophysite bishop was not very happy with the power of Heraclius.

Huon
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Questions about Emergence of Islam

Post by Huon » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:35 am

DuvDuv wrote: 3) What actual evidence exists supporting the idea of a massive Islamic (as opposed to Arab) conquest of North Africa??
There is a description of the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb here :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_con ... he_Maghreb

The earliest Arab accounts that have come down to us are those of Ibn Abd-el-Hakem, Al-Baladhuri and Ibn Khayyat, all of which were written in the 9th century some 200 years after the first invasions. These are not very detailed. In the case of the most informative, the History of the Conquest of Egypt and North Africa and Spain by Ibn Abd-el-Hakem, Brunschvig has shown that it was written with a view to illustrating points of Maliki law rather than documenting a history, and that some of the events it describes are probably historical.

probably = not necessarily.

Huon
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Questions about Emergence of Islam

Post by Huon » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:42 am

DuvDuv wrote: 6) Why are so many suras in the Quran taken from Jewish midrashic sources such as Midrash Rabba and Pirkei de Rabbi Eliezer though often out of context?

7) Why does the Quran appear to be a cut and paste job involving pre-existing stories from among Jewish-friendly or Christian-friendly sources?
Why not ? There were Jewish minorities and Christian minorities in Arabia, and Syria during the 7th century.

Huon
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Questions about Emergence of Islam

Post by Huon » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:59 am

DuvDuv wrote:
8) Why is there no actual evidence for the existence of any Shia regimes in Islamic history before the Safavvid dynasty of Iran, and why does Shia Islam appear to be a syncretic religion combining elements of historical Islam with Ali veneration and Imamism, which would appear to have been similar but distinct religious movements?
Could look at :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divisions_of_Islam

The protestant movements did not begin very early in the history of Christianity, and were not powerful everywhere in Europe.

Duvduv
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:07 pm

Re: Questions about Emergence of Islam

Post by Duvduv » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:28 am

I think it is worth noting that traditional western scholarship usually accepts the traditional Muslim narrative, encompassing both the Sunni and Shia narratives. However, as I have pointed out from the books of Al Warraq and others, that in addition to the fact that aside from the fact that there is no actual evidence of Shiism going back to the beginning, the existence of the Quran and and Muhammed is questionable at the beginning. Shiism apparently existed as a separate sect prior to Islam itself as Ali Veneration and grafted onto Sunni Islam along the way syncretically.

Huon
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Questions about Emergence of Islam

Post by Huon » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:18 am

I suppose that you are speaking of Ibn Warrak's "The Quest for the Historical Muhammad", and possibly Patricia Crone's "Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam".
Please give us some exact quotes.

Duvduv
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:07 pm

Re: Questions about Emergence of Islam

Post by Duvduv » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:43 am

Robert Price's writing is less dense than that of Ibn Warraq, but the points always stand as clear as day:
1) Mecca was not an important trade town at the time Muhammad allegedly existed.
2) There is no record of the life of Muhammad until about 200 years years after he allegedly died, in the writings attributed to Ibn Ishaq found in the writings of Al Tabari later on.
3) It is reasonable to suppose that the Quran was assembled as a text for a doctrine to unite Arab sects AFTER the emergence of the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad and not before that.
Huon wrote:I suppose that you are speaking of Ibn Warrak's "The Quest for the Historical Muhammad", and possibly Patricia Crone's "Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam".
Please give us some exact quotes.

Post Reply