Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Islam Upside-Down and Inside-Out

There can’t be too many books like this one. The Impact of Islam, by Emmet Scott, is one of many books that deflate the whole history, provenance, and character of Islam.  At first glance, as an atheist, I thought that reviewing a book written by a Christian with an obvious Christian bias against Islam would be difficult, mainly in segregating the bias from the truth-telling and facts. But Scott’s book, while it has a demonstrable bias in favor of Christianity, doesn’t lay it on too thickly. Scott’s arguments are very well structured and made, and he doesn’t beat one over the head. There is history and information in it that I have not encountered elsewhere, not even in Robert Spencer’s masterful and comprehensive Did Muhammad Exist? An Enquiry into Islam’s Origins, in which little or no Christian bias is evident.

For starters, Scott visits the rather shocking argument that the Islamic Koran was probably an early Jewish-Christian (or Ebionite) devotional manual (Scott labels Ebionitism as a “proto-Islamic creed”) because so much in it was cadged or plagiarized by Islamic “scholars” over the centuries (Having had a nose or sixth sense for fakery, I’ve always contended that both the Koran and the Hadith were works in progress with numerous editors and compilers over the centuries adding to them or redacting portions from them to make the works consistent and complementary and too “holy” for later scholars and believers to correct or question.) There are just too many similarities in the texts, argues Scott, and the Jewish-Christian work, if Islamic history is to be accorded any credibility, predated the birth of Mohammad by centuries. Christians of various sects existed long before Islam. When Christianity first appeared, it would be nearly half a millennium before the Islam we're familiar with allegedly made its destructive appearance.

The Koran itself, writes Scott,  is an incomprehensible mess. Written and read in its “original” Arabic, and translated into modern non-Arabic languages, it often makes no sense, not even to Islamic scholars charged with the task of interpretation. There seems to be more rhyme and reason in a chimpanzee’s random hunt-and-peck on a typewriter keyboard . In his compelling Appendix, he notes:

Among the numerous titles which have appeared recently we may cite in particular The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A Contribution to the Decoding of the Language of the Koran, by Christoph Luxenberg (2007)and The Hidden Origins of Islam: New Research into its Early History, a series of essays edited by Karl-Heinz Ohlig and Gerd-R Puin (2009). Upon the publication of Luxenberg’s book, the popular media…focused on his claim that the 72 virgins promised to Islamic martyrs was a mistranslation, and that what was actually an offer of 72 raisins, or grapes. Yet this was the very least of what Luxenberg was saying, , the full import of which was ignored in the newspapers. In fact, he was claiming that the original language of the Qur'an was not Arabic (where the questionable word is read as “virgins”) but Syriac or Aramaic, where the same word would translate as “grapes.” He was furthermore claiming, sensationally enough, that the Qur'an was originally a Syriac Christian devotional text and had nothing to do with Muhammad or Islam. (p. 174)

A fanciful rendition of probably a fictive person
And what must be a stunning revelation to Muslims is that the Muhammad of the Hadith was actually Jesus, whose name also might have been Joshua. Discussing some ancient coins that bear the likeness of what has been assumed to be Muhammad but of Muhammad holding a cross.

Evidently, when these coins were minted, in the middle of the seventh century, the Islamic theology with which we are now familiar  had not yet evolved. It would appear that the figure holding the cross, beside which sometimes appears the name “Muhammad,” may not represent the word “Muhammad” in Arabic and Syriac implies the “praised one” or “chosen one,” and may be a title or epithet as much as a real name. As a personal name Muhammad is in fact unattested before the seventh century, and indeed, considering the word’s meaning it is unlikely that anyone name Muhammad ever existed in Arabia before this time….In short, even if an Arab prophet and war-leader called Muhammad existed, it is highly likely that this name was only given to him after his death [632], or at least late in his life.  But the fact that the figure on the coins is holding a cross would indicate very strongly that the “praised one” in question was not the prophet of Islam, but Jesus of Nazareth! And this is made all the more likely when we consider the strong  links between Jesus and Muhammad in Islamic tradition.(p. 175)

Called Isa ibn Maryam (“Jesus, son of Mary” in Islamic tradition), Jesus was a prophet foretelling the coming of Muhammad. He was not pacific or peaceful. He joined battle with infidels, apostates, and unbelievers and slew an unknown number of them. No Sermons on the Mount in that literature. In one of my columns, “The Great Pumpkin of Islam,” among other blasphemous things I say, I note at the end that,

Of course, I don’t take any of it literally, the Koran and its companion texts too likely having been works-in-progress over centuries, cadging from the Christian, Judaic, Zoroastrian, and pagan religions and liturgies. Robert Spencer torpedoes the existence of Mohammad himself in his rigorously researched book, Did Muhammad Exist?:  An Enquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origns. 

In short, Allah was Mohammad’s Great Pumpkin. Or, if you prefer, his dancing, grand pink elephant, a deity greater than the Hindu Ganesha. Allah, who shares the metaphysical impossibility of all deities, together with the contradictory attributes of omniscience and omnipotence, has never manifested himself to Muslims or infidels, either. He is, to put it tactfully, reality-shy. He exists only in the delusional minds of those who wish to believe in such an entity. A figment of one’s mysticism-inebriated imagination can't be conjured into spatial existence no matter how earnestly or often one prays, hopes, or wishes.

The Great Pumpkin of Islam was carved out of the hallucinatory imagination of a certified imbecile, illiterate, brigand, rapist, murderer, and tyrant.

Harpo Marx as Allah, the Great Pumpkin
Furthermore, Scott writes:

The original  bearer of the title “praised one,” says [Alfred] Guillaume [“The Version of the Gospel Used in Medina Circa 700 AD" Al –Andalus 15 (1950)], was Jesus, and this title and the accompanying  prophecy were “skillfully manipulated to provide the reading we have in Ibn Ishaq’s biography [his biography of Muhammad, or the Sira] (pp. 289-96).

As Spencer notes, none of the early texts or inscriptions of the seventh century which refer to Islam mention either Muhammad, the Qur'an, or even the word Islam. Indeed, inscriptions – both on coins and elsewhere – of the early Islamic authorities use terms and expressions not found in the Qur'an.  [Did Muhammad Exist?] (p. 175.)

It’s interesting also to learn that the purported conquest of the Arabian Peninsula by Muhummad’s followers cannot be credited to Muslims on camels, but more likely to Persian cavalry. Scott noted:

…The astonishing narrative of the Arab conquest, which supposedly saw a few nomads on camels simultaneously attack and conquer the mighty Persian and Byzantine empires, is revealed as a fiction: it  was the heavy cavalry of the Sassanid Persians which created  the “Islamic Empire,” an empire which appeared quite suddenly in the middle of the seventh century and stretched from Libya to the borders of India. (p. 187)

Scott’s  The Impact of Islam is yet another treasure trove of mounting evidence and incontrovertible   argumentation that Islam and Muhammad were fabrications made of whole cloth – of other cultures’ and religions’ cloth. In the Introduction to his book Scott emphasizes that:

That he [Muhammad] was definitely not a man of peace is therefore fairly clear – and underlines a dramatic difference between Christianity and Islam: Whilst early Christianity was pacifist to the core, the early spread of Islam was due entirely to military conquest. No one denies this, and it is even conceded that Islamic law [Sharia] and custom sanctifies [sic] warfare in the cause of the faith. Indeed, the waging of jihad or holy war is fundamental to Islamic custom and belief. Since the first flush of victories in the seventh century, conquered infidels have been presented with a simple choice; either convert or  pay a poll tax, known as jizya. But the important thing has always been to establish political control . This being the case, it is clear that Islam is not a religion at all in the ordinary sense, but a totalitarian ideology with religious pretensions….(Italics mine; pp. 12-13)

Islam is most assuredly a flawlessly irrational, Alice in Wonderland-caliber, topsy-turvy, off-with-his-head!  “faith” that wants to become the “New World Order.” Emmett Scott provides an elucidating map of many of the major blind alleys and rabbit holes.

The Impact of Islam, by Emmet Scott. Nashville/London (New English Review Press), 2014. 200 pp. 

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