Ibn Warraq: The Judeo-Christian Origins of Islam (Part 9)

The Judeo-Christian Origins of Islam
by Ibn Warraq
Part 9
Part 1 here; part 2 here; part 3 here; part 4 here; part 5 here, part 6 here, part 7 here, part 8 here.

CC go on to argue that the town we now know as Mecca in central Arabia (Hijaz) could not have been the theater of the momentous events so beloved of Muslim tradition. Apart from the lack of any early non- Muslim references to Mecca, we do have the startling fact that the direction in which the early Muslims prayed (the qibla) was northwest Arabia. The evidence comes from the alignment of certain early mosques, and the literary evidence of Christian sources. In other words, Mecca, as the Muslim sanctuary, was only chosen much later, by the Muslims, in order to relocate their early history within Arabia, to complete their break with Judaism, and finally establish their separate religious identity.

There are many obscure passages in the Koran that can only be elucidated by reference to the Pentateuch or Psalms. Without going into the recondite philology of his arguments [for the details, see Michael Schub, The Secret Identity of Dhu l”Kifl, in ed Ibn Warraq, What the Koran Really Says, pp. 394-395], we can mention Michael Schub’s identification of the term “Dhu l”Kif”, which has puzzled commentators for centuries, with Melchizedeq mentioned in Genesis 14:16, Hebrews [NT] Chapters V and VII, Psalms CX. Melchizedeq is the one of who gets his share, who receives one-tenth of Abraham’s spoils, and who is to be ranked above the Levites, whose primary function under the Law was to collect the tithes, and that is precisely the sense of the Arabic Dhu l”Kifl.

Even more startling is the following example:

Surah III. 95-96; “Certainly the first house appointed for men is the one at Bakkah, blessed and a guidance for the nations. In it are clear signs: (it is) the Place of Abraham; and whoever enters it is safe; and pilgrimage to the House is a duty which men owe to Allah — whoever can find a way to it. And whoever disbelieves, surely Allah is above the need of the worlds.”

Many translations simply add in brackets after Bakkah (Mecca), without a word of explanation. Modern Western commentators may add a footnote saying Bakkah was an alternative spelling of Mecca, as does the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. The classical Arabic commentary known as Tafsir al-Jalalayn completed approximately in 1467 C.E says, “The use of Bakkah rather than Mecca reflects a Meccan dialect; it is called that because it bears down (bakka) on the neck of tyrants. The angels built it before the creation of Adam whereas al-Aqsa in Jerusalem was built after that.” Here is one Muslim translator’s comments, “Bakkah is the same as Makkah [Mecca] [referrring the reader to Al-Isfahani’s Dictionary of the Qur’an] from tabakk meaning the crowding together of men [ Commentary of Fakhr al-Din Razi]. Others say it is from a root meaning the breaking of the neck, and the name is given to it because whenever a tyrant forced his way to it, his neck was broken [Razi]. Some think that Bakkah is the name of the mosque or the House itself that is in Makkah [Mecca]. The Jews and Christians are told that the Temple at Jerusalem was erected long after Abraham, while the Holy House at Makkah [Mecca] was there even before Abraham, and was in fact, the first House on earth for the worship of the Divine Being.” In other words, the Muslim commentators really do not have a clue as to its meaning.

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Comments

  1. says

    While a lot of the specifics have been lost”both in the haze of history of a largely illiterate people, and in deliberate later rewriting by Muslim revisionists”it seems clear that the initial focus by Muhammed was on Jerusalem.

    Early Muslims prayed toward Jerusalem rather than Mecca and the Kaba’a. It was only after most Jews failed to show much enthusiasm for Islam”or, especially, to acknowledge Muhammed as a prophet”and the conquest of Mecca, and the growing arrogance and sense of supremacy by Muslims that Arabia became the focus.

    Later, Muhammed not only stopped “courting” the Jews, he began ousting, exiling, and massacring them outright. Finally, he declared that the Arabian peninsula was to be”to borrow an anachronistic but eerily apt phrase””Judenrein”.

  2. says

    I think it was a brilliant idea to break up this astounding essay into bite-size chunks. Because of that many more people will read it. Perhaps the chunks should even be slightly smaller, since Ibn Warraq packs his essay so full.

  3. says

    Can any native German speakers out there tell me how one would say the equivalent of “Judenrein” for Christians? Christianrein?

  4. says

    @traeh

    judenrein
    christenrein,

    “rein” means clean, so it basically means cleansed of jews and/or christians. It’s spelled with a small letter because it’s an adjective. Only nouns are spelled with capital letters in the beginning.

    You can create more words of the like:

    buddistenrein,
    animistenrein,
    polytheistenrein,
    ungläubigenrein, …

    The latter means cleansed of unbelievers (Ungläubige), the ultimate goal of Islam.

  5. says

    Having just finished reading through the Psalter,I’d be curious to see a study of portions of the Qur’an that reflect the Psalms.

    As for Melchizedek–King of Righteousness–in Christian comment, he’s used as proof that in Abraham’s days, the sins of the Amorites were not yet full(Gen. 15:16); and the letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament also makes much of Abraham giving a tithe to him.

  6. says

    Does anyone here with a GOOD knowledge of Hebrew and/or Syriac (I can only hunt and peck in these languages) know of titles or euphemisms for Melchizedek used by pre-Islamic Jewish and Syriac Christian writers?

  7. says

    SPENCER: you are weak on ahl-kitab.

    Tariq Ramadan – ikhwan rear base terrorist – likes to say: “the people of the book are our brothers.” Okay, but what book? Slaves-of-allah (arab tribal deity concoction)are forced to at least feign belief for the notion that the Judeo-Christian Testaments, are “satanic” distortions. In fact, few carpet humpers are authorized to touch a Bible.

    At best, Ramadan loves only the Abrahamic followers up to the supposed later foundation of Judaism. The kitab was supposedly distorted in order to deny Abraham’s “hanif” origins (muslims won’t clarify that concoction0. And the distortion is satanic in origin; the “satanic verse” incident resulted in excision of an arab-quran reference that was said to have been included while Muhammad was under satanic possession. Current muslim savages reject the historicity of the incident, because their false-prophet is worshipped as so strong-willed, as to have been able to resist possession. Informed muslims despise Jews and Christians and other religions.

    Of course, the New Testament is also anathemized as “satanic.” Jesus of Nazareth is degraded to an interim prophet, who muslim prophecy declares will return to earth and father children, at the end of days, when muslims exterminate billions of non-muslims and apostates. (ismaelis believe that all but 3% of existing persons who claim belief in islam-fictions, will be sent to Hell. Why wouldn’t 99.99% of humanity crush our would be murderers?

    We share no common faith with the beast-from-the-east. To the contrary. After their false-prophet failed in his attempt for recognition as a Jewish-prophet, at Yethrib, he changed the qibla (direction of worthless prayer) from el-Kadish to Mecca. It was then that he concocted the non-Jewish origins of Abraham. Bruce Chilton and other dhimmis are too blinded by “abrahamic” fictions of communality, to admit that ahl-kitab offend islam.

    The “book” is: the supposed original Judeo Christian testaments. And that “kitab” doesn’t exist. The people are: pre-Jewish peoples who were “muslim” until the “shaytanic” distortions. We aren’t the “ahl.” We are the enemy to the muslims, and they are our enemy. We need to completely disempower and disarm every muslim on the face of the earth.

    Tariq Ramadan and his vulgar, seditious kind, are ahl-terror. And their “kitab” is pure concoction from the perverse mind of a demon possessed pedophile, who sought revenge against his fellow incest spawn after they humiliated him for his boy-toy status, taken from that son of an idol-polisher’s booty marriage to a rich woman, 15 years his senior. The kitab issued by that pig, is nothing but a terror-manual, and booty-division rules. Islam is terror; muslims are terrorists.

  8. says

    O.K. the internet has all the information one needs. Here is the grammar of the sentence:

    http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=3&verse=96

    (3:96:7)
    bibakkata
    (is) at Bakkah, P – prefixed preposition bi
    PN – genitive proper noun → Bakkah

    A genitive proper noun? Genitive noun is like Ibn Warraq’s house. In this case “Ibn Warraq” is in the genitive form. So it should be the house of bakkah! This means the house of the weeper!, that is christ!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genitive_case

    The only remaining problem is the prefix bi, but this could be a later addition.

    Is this crazy? The more I think about it, the more it makes sense!

  9. says

    Last post:

    (3:96:1)
    inna
    Indeed, ACC – accusative particle
    حر� نصب
    (3:96:2)
    awwala
    (the) First N – accusative masculine singular noun
    اسم منصوب
    (3:96:3)
    baytin
    House N – genitive masculine indefinite noun → Kaaba
    اسم مجرور
    (3:96:4)
    wu�iʿa
    set up V – 3rd person masculine singular passive perfect verb
    �عل ماض مبني للمجهول
    (3:96:5)
    lilnn�si
    for the mankind P – prefixed preposition lÄ�m
    N – genitive masculine plural noun
    جار ومجرور
    (3:96:6)
    lalladhī
    (is) the one which EMPH – emphatic prefix lÄ�m
    REL – masculine singular relative pronoun
    اللام لام التوكيد
    اسم موصول
    (3:96:7)
    bibakkata
    (is) at Bakkah, P – prefixed preposition bi
    PN – genitive proper noun → Bakkah
    جار ومجرور
    (3:96:8)
    mub�rakan
    blessed N – accusative masculine indefinite (form III) passive participle
    اسم منصوب
    (3:96:9)
    wahudan
    and a guidance CONJ – prefixed conjunction wa (and)
    N – accusative masculine indefinite noun
    الواو عاط�ة
    اسم منصوب
    (3:96:10)
    lil’Ê¿Ä�lamÄ«na
    for the worlds. P – prefixed preposition lÄ�m
    N – genitive masculine plural noun(3:96:1)
    inna
    Indeed, ACC – accusative particle
    حر� نصب
    (3:96:2)
    awwala
    (the) First N – accusative masculine singular noun
    اسم منصوب
    (3:96:3)
    baytin
    House N – genitive masculine indefinite noun → Kaaba
    اسم مجرور
    (3:96:4)
    wu�iʿa
    set up V – 3rd person masculine singular passive perfect verb
    �عل ماض مبني للمجهول
    (3:96:5)
    lilnn�si
    for the mankind P – prefixed preposition lÄ�m
    N – genitive masculine plural noun
    جار ومجرور
    (3:96:6)
    lalladhī
    (is) the one which EMPH – emphatic prefix lÄ�m
    REL – masculine singular relative pronoun
    اللام لام التوكيد
    اسم موصول
    (3:96:7)
    bibakkata
    (is) at Bakkah, P – prefixed preposition bi
    PN – genitive proper noun → Bakkah
    جار ومجرور
    (3:96:8)
    mub�rakan
    blessed N – accusative masculine indefinite (form III) passive participle
    اسم منصوب
    (3:96:9)
    wahudan
    and a guidance CONJ – prefixed conjunction wa (and)
    N – accusative masculine indefinite noun
    الواو عاط�ة
    اسم منصوب
    (3:96:10)
    lil’Ê¿Ä�lamÄ«na
    for the worlds. P – prefixed preposition lÄ�m
    N – genitive masculine plural noun

    Given the above grammar, the sentence is incomplete. At least one noun must be in the nominative form, i.e. the subject of the sentence. We have either accusative (direct object form) or genitive form (possessive form). I suspect that the nominative and accusative are interchangeable like in German is often the case so that the first of houses is the subject of the sentence and the one of mankind is the object. Mankind has been mistranslated in the accusative singular form, but it is in the genitive plural form. So the object of the sentence is the one of men. This is how it has to be translated.

    In German: Wahrlich, das Erste der Häuser ist errichtet für den Einen der Menschen, der ist des Leidens, (für) den Gesegneten und Fürsten der Welten.

    In English: Indeed, the first of houses (the premier, the foremost house) is set up for the one of men (said man) who (is) of the weepers (belongs to the people who suffer), (for) the blessed one and leader (lord) of the worlds.

    The one of men sounds to me like the sun of man (title of jesus), he is the man of suffering (the passion of the christ), he is blessed (Jesus) and the lord (leader) of the worlds (Jesus).

    This is getting creepier and creepier?!

  10. says

    This translation appears to be heretical to muslims, because the “lord of the worlds” is a title for god. So if my translation and interpretation is right, then this passage confirms the deity of Jesus Christ.

    How could this happen? Well, the quran is a hodge podge of older scriptures. So here something passed the strict eye of the sensors who edited the quran.

    But maybe, this is supposed to mean that the house was erect for the sun of man, the sufferer, the blessed one (Jesus) and for the lord of the worlds (god). It was built for both Jesus and Yahweh. The latter interpretation is more probable given the overall teaching of the quran, the teachings of a unitary christian sect.

  11. says

    O.K. let’s go on:

    In it are clear signs: (it is) the Place of Abraham.

    In what? In the wholy temple on the temple mount. What is in the temple mount? The ark of the covenant, which contains the table of stone with the ten commandments. These are the clear signs. The clear commandments of god.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ark_of_the_Covenant

    Revelation 11:19 says the prophet saw God’s temple in heaven opened, “and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple.”

    What is the place of Abraham? It is the place, where Abraham offered his son Isaac to god.

    “Genesis 22:14 states that it occurred at “the mount of the LORD”: in 2 Chronicles 3:1; Psalm 24:3; Isaiah 2:3 & 30:29; and Zechariah 8:3, the Bible seems to identify the location of this event as the hill on which Solomon was said to later build the Temple, now known as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binding_of_Isaac

    “…and whoever enters it is safe; and pilgrimage to the House is a duty which men owe to Allah… ”

    The temple is a place of pilgrimage for both jews and christians. The house is not Mekka, it is the holy temple in Jerusalem. Which temple are they talking about? The first or the second temple? No, those temples were not erect for Jesus. They were built prior to Jesus birth. It is the dome of the rock, erected by Abd Al Malik. The dome of the rock is dedicated to Jesus and Allah. Abd al Malik was a unitary christian, he rejected the deity of christ, but he believed that Jesus was the Messiah.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dome_of_the_rock

    Read the translation of the inscription in the dome of the rock by Luxenberg.

  12. says

    I wrote:

    Later, Muhammed not only stopped “courting” the Jews, he began ousting, exiling, and massacring them outright. Finally, he declared that the Arabian peninsula was to be”to borrow an anachronistic but eerily apt phrase””Judenrein”.

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1316911171 wrote:

    “rein” means clean, so it basically means cleansed of jews and/or christians. It’s spelled with a small letter because it’s an adjective. Only nouns are spelled with capital letters in the beginning.
    ………………………….

    Right you are. I’ve studied enough German to know this”it’s one of the few cases where I’ve gone against correct grammar intentionally lest some reader assumed I was not capitalizing the “Juden” of “judenrein” out of antisemitism. It seemed easier to capitalize the term than explain why it”quite properly, as you note”is not capitalized.

  13. says

    In Hebrew, there’s a word Baca which means “weeping”; in Japanese, Baka means “stupid”. As for Arabic, I’m as much at sea as anyone else.

  14. says

    Let’s look at the sentence a little closer:

    Certainly the first house appointed for men is the one at Bakkah, blessed and a guidance for the nations.

    The house is a guidance for the nations? That doesn’t make any sense. Bakkah must refer to a person who may guide nations. Weeping? Weeping does play a role in christian legend. The mater dolorosa, the weeping mother of christ. Could it be that the house of the weeping (person), i.e. the house of jesus is meant, who died on the cross? He, the weeper (Jesus on the cross), is blessed and a guidance for the nations! Where is his house? It is the dome of the rock, the same place where the Jewish temple was built. It is the place of Abraham and moses. It contains the ark of the covenant, i.e. the ten commandments. These are the clear signs.

    “In it are clear signs: (it is) the Place of Abraham; and whoever enters it is safe; and pilgrimage to the House is a duty which men owe to Allah — whoever can find a way to it. And whoever disbelieves, surely Allah is above the need of the worlds.”

    O.K. this is a wild guess on my part. But it kind of makes sense.

  15. says

    Hi Kepha I can’t help you with your question on Melchizedek directly but I can tell you something regarding him with respect to Gnosticism.

    There actually is in the Nag Hammadi library a tractate called Melchizedek. This is another of the Gnostic books into which I was looking because I believe it shows a precursor to the story of Muhammad and Gabriel.

    In this tractate, Melchizedek refers to himself as follows: For I have a name: I am [Melch]izedek the priest of [God] Most High. I [know] that I am [the image of] the true high priest of God Most High . . .

    I take this self-description to be a slight echo from Hebrews 7:1 to 7:3 “For this Melchizedec,. . . priest of the most high God … but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.”

    So that is about as much help as I can give you which I admit is only tangentially related to your question.

    By the way, the Gnostic tractate “Melchizedek” is important to me because I think it is another piece from that literature that shows the Gnostic origins of Islam.

    In this tractate, “Melchizedek is visited by the Archangel Gamaliel.

    The purpose of the visit is to reveal God’s message or truth to Melchizedek. Gamaliel leaves Melchizedek with the following warning:

    “[These things] of which I was commanded to reveal to you, reveal also to others … [but] that which is secret reveal do not reveal to anyone unless [it is revealed] to you to do so.

    To me, this was too parallel a story to Muhammad’s to ignore. It also hints at the abrogation concept in Islam. In the gnostic version of the story, God isn’t exactly abrogating his revelation (to Melchizedek) he is refining it by allowing this priest to reveal more of the story when told to do so.

    The difference in the two stories regarding the archangel’s name is explainable. In Sethian Gnosticism, Gamaliel and Gabriel are of the same aeon or emanation from God. The names are also phonetically similar so a confusion, due to the passage of time is not that unlikely.

    The Gnostic tractate Melchizedek is of late authorship, believed to have been written at the end of the 2nd Century AD or possibly some time in the early 3rd century AD. It is assumed to be based on a Greek original but as far as I can find out it is only known from its Coptic version which was preserved (very badly) in the Nag Hammadi library.

    The late authorship of this tractate combined with its likely restriction to the areas surrounding Egypt, increase the chances that the contents may have been available in Arabia either in written or oral form.

    As I don’t believe Muhammad existed; I find it easy (too easy?) to accept that the Melchizedek ‘tradition’ may have survived to the time when Muhammad was supposed to have lived and been incorporated, as a twisted variant, into the Muhammad myth.

    I recently came across an article on Sufism in Wikipedia recently that noted the following:

    “From the traditional Sufi point of view, the esoteric teachings of Sufism were transmitted from Muhammad to those who had the capacity to acquire the direct experiential gnosis of God, which was passed on from teacher to student through the centuries.”

    Similarly at a site dedicated to Shia Islam I found the following passage:

    “Among the companions of the Prophet, ‘All is known particularly for his eloquent exposition of gnostic truths and the stages of the spiritual life.”

    Tenuous, I suppose but I think I will persue this angle anyway.

    So far, I have enjoyed Warraq’a articles but I think he is off track by asserting that Christianity (in the mainstream sense) helped create Islam.

    It still looks to me like the heretical Gnostics were Islam’s precursors. Any textual similarities between canonical Christian text and Islamic texts are easily explained by the fact that almost all mainstream Christian text was also incorporated somewhere within the gnostic corpus.