Saturday, 5 April 2014

Allah is a Member of the (Arab) Quraysh Tribe

Recently I posted a piece on someone called Iftikhar Ahmad and his fight for what he calls “bilingualism” in British non-Islamic schools. (That fight, actually, only amounts to him demanding that Muslims be allowed to learn Arabic in non-Islamic schools. He also demands that the English teachers of Muslims learn Arabic and Urdu; as well as become Muslims; or, if they don’t do that, to stop teaching Muslims.)

I included this quote from Peter Watson’s book Ideas:  A History from Fire to Freud:

“Muslims believe that Arabic is the language of God and is the tongue spoken in Paradise. They believe that Adam originally spoke Arabic but forgot it and was punished by being made to learn other – inferior – languages… Muslims, even modern grammarians, philologists and literary critics, often insist that Arabic is superior to other tongues, and that the Arabic of the Qur’an is of surpassing beauty that cannot be improved. This is why Muslims the world over must read the Qur’an in the original Arabic and why only one translation (into Turkish) has ever been authorised.”

I received a comment from someone called Amjad Lostboy. I’m not sure if the comment was a direct response to that quote from Peter Watson or to my piece on Iftikhar Ahmad . Anyway, this is what he said:

 “The Qur'an is not translated because words are lost in translation (fact) - you can study it in any language but must be originally read in Arabic - I am of Pakistani decent but I had to learn Arabic to read it.”

The Arabocentrism (or, basically, the Arab racism) of Islam goes way beyond the Koran “losing words in translation” when translated into a non-Arabic language. Way beyond that! For a start, no one would make that much of a fuss about a few lost words or mistranslations here and there. After all, Christians worldwide have survived off translations of the Old Testament and New Testament for 1,700 years. Even in the domain of poetry translations are read without too many misgivings (though certainly with some misgivings). And, of course, content or meaning can be divorced from expression – more so in religious or theological works but less so when it comes to poetry and perhaps prose literature.

Allah is a monoglot – he only speaks Arabic; according to Muslims. Now why would Allah only speak only one language? More to the point: why is it deemed so important, to Muslims, that Allah only speaks one language? Why does it matter which language he speaks?

In addition, Muslims always stress the tone and texture of the Arabic Koran and say that these things are vitally important. Why? Are they important in the sense of their being important to Arabs and their Arabocentric view of the Koran (as well as of Islam itself)? Many nationalities and ethnic groups have also stressed the superior nature of their own language. That’s fine. However, Muslims also tell us that “Islam is a universal religion” that applies equally to all colours and ethnic groups. So why, again, does Allah only speak Arabic and why is the Arabic Koran the only “completely acceptable” Koran to all Muslims?

Muslims also believe Adam, as in Adam and Eve, once only spoke Arabic; though latter he was corrupted into other languages.

Let’s get some facts straight here about this superior Arabic language and how it seems intimately related to Islam.

Allah speaks only Arabic? That’s strange because Arabic is a fairly new language; compared with many other more ancient languages.  Allah is presumably meant to be an “eternal” being or a being “out of time”. So what did he speak before some people starting speaking Arabic?

Arabic is a Semitic language. The Semitic language included and includes Akkadian, Hebrew, Phoenician, Aramaic (which Jesus spoke), Syriac and Ethiopic. Some of these languages date back to the third millennium BC. However, Arabic only dates back to the eighth century BC.

More precisely, Arabic and Aramaic are from two different branches of the Semitic language. Aramaic, like Hebrew, is west Semitic, whereas Arabic is south Semitic. Arabic at the beginning of Islam wasn’t a single language. It was a series of related dialects, none of which was dominant. It was the Koran itself which made a single dialect the dominant Arabic. That was the dialect spoken by Muhammad and the Quraysh tribe.

At the most basic level, Arabic was a dialect spoken in the north-western region of the Arabian peninsula. It was specifically spoken by the Quraysh tribe. Now we can see how everything fits into place. What I mean is that no other than the Prophet Muhammad belonged to that Arab tribe – the Quraysh! So not only is the Arabic language “the language of Islam”. It’s even more specific than that. The language of Islam, as well as the language of Allah Himself, just happens to be the language of Muhammad’s tribe – the Quraysh. Does that mean, then, that Allah Himself was a member of the Quraysh Arab tribe or was it the case that this tribe was a member of Allah’s eternal tribe? Or do the two alternatives really amount to the same thing?

Regardless of all that, Islam is still obsessed with all things Arabic. All Muslims have – or should have – Arabic names. All Muslims wear – or should wear – Arabic clothes. And we know the Arabs hate Pakistanis (such as Amjad Lostboy) and all other non-Arab Muslims. Nonetheless, most Pakistani Muslims are still Arab-wannabes.

This racism, indeed, was part of the reason for the ancient Islamic slave trade; which both pre-dates British and American slavery and still exists today. In fact many Arabs, specifically Saudis, even treat Muslims (such as Pakistanis) as near-slaves. They treat black Africans as full-slaves.

There appears to be a Muslim exception to all this Arabocentrism in the Muslim world. The Malaysians, specifically, don’t seem to like the Arabocentrism of Islam. Or is it that they don’t like the Arabocentrism of Muslims (not just Arab Muslims)?

In addition, Muslims often – very often – tell us that Muhammad “ended Arab tribalism and created a universal religion”. Did he? Or did he actually create the biggest and most important tribe in history – the Tribe of all Arab (Sunni) Muslims? This is the tribe which all other Muslims would love to belong to - but they never will!

In the end, then, it can safely be said that Arab racism is perhaps the longest-lasting racism of all racisms. And this is primarily so because Arabic racism is intimately tied into Islam itself. The Arabocentrism of Islam has made that racism possible as well long-lasting and ubiquitous.

*) Note: If Allah just happens to speak the same language – and even dialect – as Muhammad, does that mean that God speaks Aramaic because Jesus spoke Aramaic? Of course not. No Christian has ever claimed that God only speaks Aramaic. And no Christian I know has even made a big deal over the fact that Jesus spoke Aramaic. That is, no Christian has made the Aramaic language a theological/religious part of Christianity; as Muslims have made the Arabic language theological/religious part of Islam.

So much for the “universal religion” that is Islam.



    Ben Abrahamson

    Not in the sense of “Jewish” as the word is used today. However, I propose, based on a reconstruction of events, that the progenitor of the Quraysh – Adnan – was identical with Onias IV (Anan in Hellenized Hebrew). This would make the Quraysh one of the last remaining descendants of the Zadokite priesthood which was expelled from Jerusalem when the Hasmoneans took over the priesthood. This is supported by alternative versions of the name Adnan being spelled as Anan. I also offer it as an explanation for why the Ka’aba, at a certain point in its history, was structurally similar to the Temple of Onias in Heliopolis. It is apparently also referred to in Tractate Menuchos, as a place which had fallen into idolatry in the first centuries of the Common Era. Abu ‘Ubayda Ma’mar b. al-Muthanna (d. 825CE) book called Kitab al-mathalib and another work Kitab al-munammaq and also Ibn al-Kalbi’s (d. 819CE) book Kitab mathalib al-‘arab document the numerous marriages between the Quraish and Jewish women, including members of the “noble house” of the Jewish Exilarch. It is related there that Abd al-Muttalib (ra) married a noble Jewish woman, and this was the maternal grandmother of ‘Ali (ra). ‘Ali (ra) descent and his relationship to the Exilarch is also mentioned in Geniza fragments. Some of this is also discussed in Graetz, Geschichte der Juden von den ltesten Zeiten bis auf die Gegenwart. (History of the Jews) His positive relationship with the academies in Babylon is described in Iggeres Sherira Gaon. The Prophet (pbuh), however, was from a different marriage. His great grandmother was from the tribe of Hind. The “Judaism” of the Oniads was similar to what we know today. Qussai (ra) married the daughter of the Jurham King named “Hillel”. He formed a Sanhedrin in Mecca, called the Dar Al Nadwa, within a generation after it was forcibly disbanded in Tiberias. He announced the New Moons in an office called the Nasa (Nasi). Even so, the “Judaism” practiced in Arabia was a syncretic mixture of Sadducean, proto-Christian, and even Rabbinic influences. Though certain families among the Quraysh were “Jewish” enough to intermarry with the family of the Exilarch, it is uncertain how widely this applied.

    Zuraini Nordin

    Interesting. Rabbi, I need to know about the Jewishness of Khadijah’s cousin Waraqah who was an Ebionite Christian? The Ebionites that time, generally were Jews who believed in Jesus but at the same time kept and practiced the teachings of the Torah?

    Ben Abrahamson
    I don’t know. Ibn Hisham says that Waraqah was a Jewish priest, who knew Hebrew. We learn from Sahih Bukhari that Waraqah used to read the Gospel in Arabic. I think all the “People of the Book” were descended from Jews and Jordanian Jewish converts (from the Second Temple period). It is said that all the “People of the Book” kept Ashura (Yom Kippur), ritual purity (negas) of vessels, and offered sacrifices at the Ka’aba.

    Zuraini Nordin

    Thank you.

  2. Hebrew years 4320 to 4440 (560- 680 CE)

    Year 4330 – 570 CE – Birth of Muhammad

    Muhammad, who became the prophet of a new religion, Islam, was born in 570 CE in Mecca.[8]
    [8] According to Christian sources, Muhammad's mother, Aminah, was Jewish thus making Muhammad a Jew in the sense of Jewish tradition; Rev. John Alzog mentioned in his Manual of Universal Church History, 1900, vol. 2, page 192 (without indicating his source): Mohammed, who was the only son of Abdallah, a Pagan, and Amina, a Jewess, and was descended from the noble but impoverished family of Hashim, of the priestly tribe of Koreish, who were the chiefs and keepers of the national sanctuary of the Kaaba, and pretended to trace their origin to Ismael, the son of Abraham and Hagar, was born at Mecca, August 20, A.D. 570.
    His parents died when he was young so he never had a scholastic education. He is said to be of the Quraysh tribe and to descend from from Ishmael, son of Abraham. Modern genetics have explored the Y-DNA pool of the Quraysh tribe, which features today the following haplogroups: about 50% of J (80% of the Jewish people are also J, and J is also preponderant in the Arabian peninsula in the same proportion as the Quraysh tribe), 25% of E (it is an haplogroup commonly found in the Middle-East and in Mediterranean, from the ex Canaanite peoples or Phoenicians who exported it over the sea) and 25% of R (which is majoritarily of European peoples).[1] Yet, there is no haplogroup Q, which is of Asian/Mesopotamian origin, which would have been the Y-DNA haplogroup of a person like Abraham (who was from Ur in Chaldea) and of his son Ishmael.

    There was also a Jewish tribe in Arabia called the Qurayza who had settled in Medina. It may be possible that, in earliest times, the Arab Quraysh and the Jewish Qurayza formed one single entity, with the Quraysh splitting from their Jewish ancestry and adopting paganism at some point of time of their History. This would explain the similarity between the two names of tribes, one Arab and the other Jewish.

    Contemporary witness accounts record Muhammad's striking physical complexion:
    [He] was neither tall nor lanky nor short and stocky, but of medium height. His hair was neither crispy curled nor straight but moderately wavy. He was not overweight and his face was not plump. He had a round face. His complexion was white tinged with redness. He had big black eyes with long lashes. His brows were heavy and his shoulders broad. He had soft skin, with fine hair covering the line from mid chest to navel. The palms of his hands and the soles of his feet were firmly padded. He walked with a firm gait, as if striding downhill.
    --- Bayrak, Tosun, The Name & the Named: The Divine Attributes of God, 2000, citing Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad
    It is striking to read about the whiteness of his skin and redness, which is barely a typical Arab feature. This may induce people to believe that his ancestry was of mixed Arab descent. Or more appropriately we could say that there is some mystery about the origin of Muhammad, if the descriptions such as the above one have been correct.


    “Mohammed, who was the only son of Abdallah, a Pagan, and Amina, a Jewess, and was descended from the noble but impoverished family of Hashim, of the priestly tribe of Koreish, who were the chiefs and keepers of the national sanctuary of the Kaaba, and pretended to trace their origin to Ismael, the son of Abraham and Hagar, was born at Mecca, August 20, A.D. 570 …’

    At that period, there were many “Jews’ in that area. Again from The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon, volume 5, page 202:
    “Seven hundred years before the death of Mahomet the Jews were settled in Arabia; and a far greater multitude was expelled from the Holy Land in the wars of Titus and Hadrian. The industrious exiles aspired to liberty and power: they erected synagogues in the cities, and castles in the wilderness; and their Gentile converts were confounded with the children of Israel [Jews] …”
    Waves of Israelites to Arabia bringing Judaism in various stages of development
    The traditional view of Arabian history centers on Yemen. It is assumed that a fairly developed civilization grew in the south of the Arabian Peninsula. For several hundred years it grew rich by exporting gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Roman Empire; as well as controlling the overland routes to India and the East. The first collapse of the Marib dam around 450 CE; the decline of the use of frankincense due to the Christianization of Rome; and the Rome success bypassing the desert by using a sea route led to the collapse of southern Arabian society. This in turn led to waves of immigration from the South to North, from the city to the desert.
    Dr. Günter Lüling proposes an alternative paradigm.[1] He proposes a “more historical picture of Central Arabia, inundated throughout a millennium by heretical Israelites”. He envisions waves of Israelite refugees headed, North to South, to Arabia bringing with them Judaism in various stages of development. Linguistic and literary-historical research in the Qur’an tends to support the notion of a more northerly origin for linguistic development of Arabic.[2] Here is a brief summary of three of these waves of Judaic immigration: Herodian, Sadducean and Zealot (explained in more detail elsewhere).[3]

    PART 2


    During the time of Ptolemy, the native population of Cush originally inhabited both sides of the Red Sea: on the east, southern and eastern Arabia; and on the west, Abyssinia (Ethiopia-Eritrea). During the reign of Ptolemy VI Philometor (r 181–145 BCE), the Jewish High Priest Onias IV built a Jewish Temple in Heliopolis, Egypt and also one in Mecca, Arabia. He did this to fulfill his understanding of the prophecy of Isaiah 19:19, “In that day shall there be an altar to the Lord (Heliopolis) in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border (Mecca) thereof to the Lord.” The border of Ptolemy’s empire was in Arabia.

    The first wave of immigrants came with the success of the Maccabean, later Herodian, Judeo-Arab kingdom. Romanized Arabs (and Jews) from the trans-Jordan began migrating southward. The Tobiads which briefly had controlled Jerusalem extended their power southward from Petra and established the “Tubba” dynasty of kings of Himyar. Yathrib was settled during this period.

    The second wave of immigrants came before the destruction of the Temple, when refugees fleeing the war, as well as the Sadducean leadership, fled to Arabia. Khaibar was established as a city of Sadducean Cohen-Priests at this time.
    The third wave of immigrants were mostly refugees and soldiers from Bar Kochba’s revolt – fighters trained in the art of war and zealously nationalistic – sought refugee in Arabia.

    This last wave of immigrants included people who are known in Islamic literature as the Aus and the Khazraj. Around 300 CE, they were forced out of Syria by the rising strength of Christian Rome, and the adoption of the Ghassan leader, Harith I, of Christianity. At first the Aus and Khazraj lived on the outskirts of Yathrib. According to Islamic sources, the Khazraj, headed by Malik ibn Ajlan, sought and obtained military assistance from the Bani Ghasaan; and having enticed the principal chiefs of Yathrib into an enclosed tent, massacred them.[4] Then the citizens of Yathrib, beguiled into security by a treacherous peace, attended a feast given by their unprincipled foes; and there a second butchery took place, in which they lost the whole of their leaders.[5]
    1.”A new Paradigm for the Rise of Islam and its Consequences for a New Paradigm of the History of Israel” by Dr. Günter Lüling; Originally appeared in The Journal of Higher Criticism Nr. 7/1, Spring 2000, pp. 23-53.
    2.Hagarism, Crone and Cook
    3.See the authors essays “The Prophet Muhammed as a descendant of Onias III” and “From Bar Kochba to the Prophet Muhammed”
    4.See Katib at Wackidi, p. 287.
    5. “Life of Mohamet I”, by Sir Walter Muir, Chapter III, Section 6


    Onias IV described in Jewish history as someone trying to fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah 19. He was son of high priest Onias III in the Jerusalem temple, who was humiliated and booted out by the Hasmonean Jews. Josephus says about his establishing a temple in Egypt:
    “Yet did not Onias do this out of a sober disposition, but he had a mind to contend with the Jews at Jerusalem, and could not forget the indignation he had for being banished thence. Accordingly, he thought that by building this temple he should draw away a great number from them to himself.”
    “LEONTOPOLIS: Place in the nome of Heliopolis, Egypt, situated 180 stadia from Memphis; famous as containing a Jewish sanctuary, the only one outside of Jerusalem where sacrifices were offered….According to Josephus, the temple of Leontopolis existed for 343 years, though the general opinion is that this number must be changed to 243. It was closed either by the governor of Egypt, Lupus, or by his successor, Paulinus, about three years after the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem; and the sacrificial gifts, or rather the interior furnishings, were confiscated for the treasury of Vespasian (“B. J.” vii. 10, § 4), the emperor fearing that through this temple Egypt might become a new center for Jewish rebellion.
    Josephus’ account in the “Antiquities” is therefore more probable, namely, that the builder of the temple was a son of the murdered Onias III., and that, a mere youth at the time of his father’s death, he had fled to the court of Alexandria in consequence of the Syrian persecutions, perhaps because he thought that salvation would come to his people from Egypt (“Ant.” xii. 5, § 1; ib. 9, § 7). Ptolemy VI. Philometor was King of Egypt at that time. He probably had not yet given up his claims to Cœle-Syria and Judea, and gladly gave refuge to such a prominent personage of the neighboring country. Onias now requested the king and his sister and wife, Cleopatra, to allow him to build a sanctuary in Egypt similar to the one at Jerusalem, where he would employ Levites and priests of his own race (ib. xiii. 3, § 1); and he referred to the prediction of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah. xix. 19) that a Jewish temple would be erected in Egypt (“Ant.” l.c.). The Onias temple was not exactly similar to the Temple at Jerusalem, being more in the form of a high tower; and as regards the interior arrangement, it had not a candelabrum, but a hanging lamp.

    PART 2

    In the Talmud the origin of the temple of Onias is narrated with legendary additions, there being two versions of the account (Men. 109b). It must be noted that here also Onias is mentioned as the son of Simon, and that Isaiah’s prophecy is referred to.
    In regard to the Law the temple of Onias (…, handed down in the name of Saadia Gaon as … ) was looked upon as neither legitimate nor illegitimate, but as standing midway between the worship of Yhwh and idolatry (Men. 109a; Tosef., Men. xiii. 12-14);”
    As you can see from the description above, this rogue high priest, Onias IV, who felt abandoned by Hasmonean Jews, constructed a temple on the border of Egypt, with a tower (pillar/ minaret), where he and his descendants performed sacrifices and dreamed of uniting his family with Egyptians and Assyrians, for the purpose of fulfilling the prophecy in ISAIAH 19. His temple was closed three years after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (the Romans fearing it could become the center for a Jewish revolt). After that, there is no mention of the whereabouts of this family among Jews.
    On the other end, we have Muhammad, claiming to be described in the Bible, leads a revolt against the Romans, fulfills Isaiah 19, worships a Jewish form of God, with an altar and a high tower, no candlebrums, lamps hanging, performing sacrifices, circling the Kabaa etc like a Jewish priest, on the border of Egypt, ministering to non Jews (as prophesised in Isaiah 19) and belonging to a tribe that was founded by a man whose DNA is identical to the Cohens and who lived at the time when Onias Temple was shut down! I don’t think it is that hard to see the connection here. All it would have taken is for the Romans to bear down on the Jews, and this Jewish family, like so many others, would have moved south, but stayed along the border of Egypt and settled down in Mecca, where they could minister to the locals, as they had in Leontopolis and fulfill Isaiah 19. It does not seem that difficult to imagine.