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Thursday, October 15, 2009

YA on David Powers - Muhammad Is Not the Father of any of Your Men: The Making of the Last Prophet

In Medieval News I came across this: New Book provides controversial insights into Quran and Early Islam. In there is a link to Rorotoko that carried the full post.
I forwarded the first link to YA who is finishing her Masters in Islamic Studies for comments. They were interesting and insightful and I would like to share them with the readers of Baithak ~~t

1: I don't know, I haven't read the book yet, but when I do I will let you know, further, this blog post is a bit strange because neither kalla nor kalala is an Arabic word meaning what he suggests in this post. [click on the second link to see the reproduction photo - t]

The Quran itself provides an explanation for the word kalala and in that very same sure he mentions, 4:12, in Arabic that is, I checked a few translations but they don't really give the same tone of the Arabic despite giving the meaning, kalala means someone who does not have any children nor parents, kind of a stand alone person from top and bottom, yet she or he may have sisters and or brothers. The dictionary defines it as someone who lost his parents at some point, and has no children either because he or she cannot have any or because they did not marry or the children died before the person. So that is the Arabic definition and it relates solely to this inheritance bits

2: As for Zayd, he was not a marginal figure at all, he played a very big role, but not like alleged here, but in any case he did, specially in connection with Zainab, his marriage to Zainab was a big deal, because he was (a) a slave, even if freed, and (b) poor and she was from the nobility if you want to call them that. So this was an example – so to speak of inter-class marriage, to stress the egalitarian view of Islam.

3: I also read the entire interview now, following the link on the page and it has a picture of the Quran that has been - according to him - tampered with - I am not sure about all of this, I am uncomfortable because of a lot of things, it could be simply an error from the scribe while writing it down and later corrected instead of burning the whole thing, if he says 3rd century, then that is plausible, because paper wasn't the norm and was difficult to come by, and if anyone wanted to tamper with the Quran, they would not have waited till the 3rd century, they would have already changed it in the Uthman codex, more so if Powers claims that Umar said this and Abu Bakr said that about kalala, then Uthman would have had it changed, specially that he was close to them all and their successor as third caliph.

4: I think that another interesting thing in this interview is that it kind of echoes a lot of other ideas:

-for one you have Luxembourg’s idea of having non-Arabic words used in the Quran, specially if one considers the words and Power's derivation from the Akkadian

-It should also be interesting if the Yemeni cache texts and their analysis corroborates or refutes Powers in any way or not. I wish the Germans would publish their findings, or at least a list of the changes they said to have found in the different copies of texts comparing the versions, which might have been errors of scribes or sloppy copying, and meant the texts landed in the Quran grave.

-This part about Zayd being the personification of all sorts of biblical characters and comparison about fatherhood in all three 'divine' books, echoes Crone's Hagarism kind of, but until I read the book, I can't really say much. One needs to look at his research, his sources, his arguments and anything else he provides and then see.

5: Then there is this:

I spent two years (1973-75) at the Hebrew University in the Department of Arabic Language and Literature, where I was introduced to the Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (Hadith). It was in Jerusalem that I developed an interest in Islamic law.

Some of the very good scholars whom I admire are Jewish, but the Islamists and Salafis will have a field-day with this, conspiracy theories and all.


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