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Islam: The Untold Story On Channel 4: Did Anyone Watch This Documentary? a revisionist historical approach to the origins of Islam

Posted 29 August 2012 - 02:28 AM (#1) User is offline   naqshbandihaqqani 

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Quote

. If we wish to go down the route of applying modern scientific historical research methodology to the early history of Islam then
we have to be prepared to face the results. It is something I am sure Muslims will not accept.

It is called In the Shadow of the Sword by Tom Holland.
Here is the link to the Guardian's review of it: http://www.guardian....ord-tom-holland

and here is the response of Tom Holland to the review:
http://www.guardian....-glen-bowersock


In another review (the Telegraph this time) we find a concise summary of the aim of Tom Holland. I quote,
Quote
"In that context, Holland focuses on the birth of Islam through the prophet Mohammed in Mecca and Medina (modern-day Saudi Arabia) during the course of the seventh century, as it is told to us by one of Mohammed’s biographers, Ibn Hisham, in the ninth century. The faith of Islam, as Holland points out, is centred on the study and strict observation of both the divine revelations to Mohammed (the Koran), and how Mohammed acted during his lifetime (the Hadith and the Sunna).Yet, echoing what many (mostly non-Muslim) scholars have queried before, Holland points to the historical problem of the evidence: before 800AD, almost 200 years after Mohammed’s death in 632AD, the only “traces we possess” for the development of Islam “are either the barest shreds of shreds, or else the delusory shimmering of mirages”.

The task Holland sets himself is to ask what can be done about that gap. His answer is to approach it from the opposite direction: to approach the origins of Islam from its recent past, from the world of fifth to seventh century late antiquity. “Is it possible,” he asks, “that Islam, far from originating outside the mainstream of ancient civilisation, was in truth a religion in the grand tradition of Judaism and Christianity – one bred of the very marrow of late antiquity?”




Beware! Makes fascinating but disturbing reading. Those who wish to open the can of worms of understanding Islam only vis-a-vis Tarikh beware!

Actually, what is required is for an academic Muslim historian or scholar to answer these latest, bold, claims in an academic manner (if they can).




Here is the link:
http://www.channel4....ntold-story/4od


Any comments? Will our scholars be able to respond in an academic manner
"My intercession is for my sinful followers" - hadith of Sayyidina Rasool Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam
Shay'an Lillah Ya Shaykh Abd al Qadir! (q)
"Ana'l Haqq!" - Husayn ibn Mansoor al Hallaj (q)
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Posted 29 August 2012 - 10:18 AM (#2) User is offline   YaNabi-Chemist 

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Critical analyses are good for Islam as they help ascertain the truth. Moreover, the Qur'an itself asks us to disprove it so it's in the spirit of Islam to try to challenge it! It is after all, a living book.

With regards to the veracity of these claims, they have already been discredited and rubbished by non-Muslims in the Guardian and the Telegraph.

The links you have posted above are not working, so here is an example of a review of his book upon which the documentary is based;

http://www.guardian....ord-tom-holland

Hopefully scholars like Shaykh Hamzah Yousaf can come up with another response. However, it’s better to see non-Muslims discredit his work as it gives the impression of being unbiased in the eyes of Non-Muslims.

Overall, his attempts to establish that Islam as we know it today developed several hundred years after the earthly passing of the beloved prophet PBUH are unfounded and embarrassing to say the least. It is indeed possible to emulate the prophet PBUH through the guidance of our shaykhs and saints.


This post has been edited by YaNabi-Chemist: 30 August 2012 - 05:03 PM

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 01:13 PM (#3) User is offline   Qadri-Jilani 

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I did not watch the programme but a friend provided me with a synopsis, and it seems it was just old-fashioned Orientalism hogwash and Crone-Cook's Hagarism regurgitated. Even the authors themselves have distanced themselves from Hagarism calling it a tentative experiment. That's probably because of the number of academic reviews (from western scholars) that denounced their work on a number of fronts (including on the grounds of using dubious historical sources), so embarrassed and ashamed, they referred to it as an experiment (although that's not apparent from the book).

Here are just a couple of quotes:

"Unsurprisingly, the Crone-Cook interpretation has failed to win general acceptance among Western Orientalists, let alone Muslim scholars . . . The rhetoric of these authors may be an obstacle for many readers, for their argument is conveyed through a dizzying and unrelenting array of allusions, metaphors, and analogies. More substantively, their use (or abuse) of the Greek and Syriac sources has been sharply criticised. In the end, perhaps we ought to use Hagarism more as a 'what-if' exercise than as a research monograph." - Stephen Humphreys, Islamic History, (Princeton, 1991) pp. 84-85.

"The reconstructable past as presented in Hagarism relies only on sources outside of Islâm, and constructs a view of a past so as odds with conventional views that it has been almost universally rejected. This has been particularly so because the authors' criticisms of the possibilities of understanding the earliest periods of Islâm would seem, if applied as a general method to the sources used by historians of religion, to lead toward a kind of historical solipsism." - Gordon Newby (1988). A History of the Jews of Arabia. Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. p. 110.


Considering Crone and Cook and have themselves rejected the findings of their own book, I am applauded to hear that Patricia Crone featured on the programme herself propagating the same ideas?

The premise of the argument is to use non-Islamic sources to study the history and origins of Islam (historical revisionism), complete prejudice and blatant racism (that the words and sources of a people cannot be trusted or considered reliable to tell their own history), and such a method is not used in its entirety for any other religion or historical event(s).

R. B. Serjeant said: "Hagarism…is not only bitterly anti-Islamic in tone, but anti-Arabian. Its superficial fancies are so ridiculous that at first one wonders if it is just a ‘leg pull’, pure ’spoof’."

John Wansbrough (PhD supervisor of both authors) said: "...most, if not all, [of the sources] have been or can be challenged on suspicion of inauthenticity" and that "the material is upon occasion misleadingly represented..."


Crone's other works have been rejected in similar fashion. A good book on the origins and history of Islam from a non-Muslim western academic perspective is Fred Donner's Narratives of Islamic Origins: The Beginnings of Islamic Historical Writing (1998). On the whole, I don't recommend anyone to read this type of material and get into these orientalist type discussions as there are much more fruitful things to be learning and engaging in.

Maslak-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat

jarahat al-sinani laha'l-tiyamu ma yaltamu jarahat al-lisani
ei biradar chu 'aqibat khakast, khaak shawesh az ankei khaak shawee
apni millat par qiyas aqwam-e-maghrib sei na kar, khas hei tarkeeb mein qawm-e-Rasool-e-Hashmi
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Posted 29 August 2012 - 05:18 PM (#4) User is offline   naqshbandihaqqani 

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Excellent post QJ.
I watched it and a lot of his theory is predicated with, 'if we ignore the oral tradition...' Seyyed Hossein Nasr makes some good points in the video too.

However, I think this kind of revisionism is set to continue so it will be good for our scholars/academics to provide a detailed refutation of the theories.
"My intercession is for my sinful followers" - hadith of Sayyidina Rasool Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam
Shay'an Lillah Ya Shaykh Abd al Qadir! (q)
"Ana'l Haqq!" - Husayn ibn Mansoor al Hallaj (q)
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Posted 29 August 2012 - 09:00 PM (#5) User is offline   Perseveranze 

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Asalaamu Alaikum,

1. His show gets completly and utterly refuted here - http://www.iera.org...._29aug2012.html

2. His reply to the criticisms for his book are extremely weak, as he tries to assert that he only "suggested these theories, not believed them". He also avoids the biggest criticism which is that he "doesn't know arabic".

You can't even be a Fuqaha without knowing deep Arabic, forget being the one to "uncover the origins of Islam"
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Posted 29 August 2012 - 11:10 PM (#6) User is online   Mudassar-Rana 

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Amazing how non muslim intellectuals are working so hard to disprove islam and muslim scholars are discussing/debating....?

Haq Chaar Yaar anyone?
my brothers are those who will believe in me, without having seen me.” [Ahmad, Musnad]

Jaag Muslmaan Jaag Muslmaan ... kitna naacho gai ghairon ki dhun par?Jis ummat mein rab ne sher paida kiye aaj wohi gheedar ka libaas apna muqaddar samjh bethi
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Posted 29 August 2012 - 11:41 PM (#7) User is offline   The-Mughal-Sister 

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It was a biased programme, only a fool would say otherwise.

Where was the Islamic Perspective from our umpteenth International Scholars?

If the likes of Shaykh Hamza or Abdul Hakim Murad were interviewed the entire programme would prove null and void, so best to stick to anti Islamic views and follow the yellow brick road to nowhere!

Joke!

“Your knowledge must improve your heart, and purge your ego.”

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 04:58 PM (#8) User is offline   YaNabi-Chemist 

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sorry i gave the wrong link earlier, I've edited it now with the correct link to the Guardian review;

http://www.guardian....ord-tom-holland

Much of the documentary is based on his book.

This post has been edited by YaNabi-Chemist: 30 August 2012 - 05:03 PM

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:22 PM (#9) User is offline   The-Mughal-Sister 

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IERA's response:

9pm - 29th August 2012

This paper is a response to the Channel 4 Programme "Islam: The Untold Story", which was shown on Tuesday 28 August 2012 and presented by Tom Holland. The paper will address each of the main claims made by Holland.
1. The claim that there is no historical evidence in the seventh century on the origins of Islam:

Tom Holland's assertion that there is no historical evidence for the seventh century origins of Islam is historically inaccurate. This notion cannot be sustained in light of the contemporary non-Islamic as well as material evidence. For instance, early Christian chronicles in the seventh century elaborate on the origins of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and some of the laws practised by the early Muslims. Below are some examples of these chronicles:

Doctrina Jacobi written in 635 CE

A document called Doctrina Jacobi written only two years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) clearly mentions that a prophet had appeared amongst the Arabs:

"I, Abraham, went off to Sykamina and referred the matter to an old man very well-versed in the Scriptures. I asked him: “What is your view, master and teacher, of the prophet who has appeared among the Saracens”.(1)

Here it can be clearly seen that a prophet among Saracens [i.e. the Arabs] is mentioned. The questions is: who was this prophet among Arabs? And what does a prophet do? The Prophet of Arabs was non other than Muhammad (peace be upon him) and it appears that the meaning of the term “prophet” was clearly understood by the author of this narrative. A prophet, in a Judeo-Christian sense, leads his people and teaches them about God and this is exactly what the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did. A Christian chronicler couldn't have understood the term differently. Holland’s claim that there is no evidence of Islam before the early Islamic conquests is anachronistic. If there is evidence of a prophet among Arabs, why then one should doubt the existence of the teachings of that prophet?

A record of the Arab conquest of Syria written in 637 CE

A record of the Arab conquest of Syria written in 637 CE, just 5 years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), clearly mentions him by name. Interestingly, the date of the document agrees with the best Arab date for the battle of Yarmuk:

"...and in January, they took the word for their lives did the sons of Emesa, and many villages were ruined with killing by the Arabs of Mụhammad and a great number of people were killed and captives were taken from Galilee as far as Bēth." (2)

In this record, the name of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is clearly mentioned. Holland’s claim that the Prophet does not appear in records until 60 years after his death is historically obnoxious.

Sebeos, Bishop of the Bagratunis (Writing c.660 CE)

A mid seventh century account of Islam comes from Sebeos who was a bishop of the House of Bagratunis. This chronicle suggests that he lived through many of the events he relates. As for Muhammad (peace be upon him), he had the following to say:

"At that time a certain man from along those same sons of Ishmael, whose name was Mahmet [i.e., Mụhammad], a merchant, as if by God's command appeared to them as a preacher [and] the path of truth. He taught them to recognize the God of Abraham, especially because he was learned and informed in the history of Moses. Now because the command was from on high, at a single order they all came together in unity of religion. Abandoning their vain cults, they turned to the living God who had appeared to their father, Abraham. So, Mahmet legislated for them: not to eat carrion, not to drink wine, not to speak falsely, and not to engage in fornication. He said: with an oath God promised this land to Abraham and his seed after him forever. And he brought about as he promised during that time while he loved Ishmael. But now you are the sons of Abraham and God is accomplishing his promise to Abraham and his seed for you. Love sincerely only the God of Abraham, and go and seize the land which God gave to your father Abraham. No one will be able to resist you in battle, because God is with you." (3)

This narrative by Sebeos clearly undermines Holland's assertion that there are no historical records elaborating on the life, teachings and mission of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In fact this particular narrative suggests that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had taught his companions about Islam and the tenets of this faith were well established and understood by the time Sebeos was writing his chronicle. Holland, for some reason, failed to notice these important non-Muslim testimonies as to the established existence of Islam as a way of life in the mid seventh century. Some more evidence of the early mention of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) can be seen here:

http://www.islamic-a.../earlysaw.html.

Holland appears to have turned a blind eye to the rich Islamic historical tradition. There are no “black holes” and there is no missing information. There is plenty of material evidence available to substantiate the accuracy of the Islamic narrative on the early history of Islam. For instance, there are thousands of inscriptions on rocks in Saudi Arabia confirming the chronological accuracy of the Islamic historical records such as Hadith and Sira/Maghazi literature. One such inscription can be found here:

http://www.islamic-a...kuficsaud.html.

This inscription states ‘In the name of Allah, I, Zuhayr, wrote [this] at the time Umar died in the year four and twenty (i.e. 24 AH)’. This dated early text confirms the established existence of the Islamic Hijri calendar, the truth of the event of Hijrah (migration) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the existence of Umar bin Khattab (the second Caliph of Islam), and the accuracy of the Islamic chronology, as according the Islamic historical records, the second Caliph of Islam died in the year 24 AH (644 CE). Also, there is an undated early seventh century inscription, which documents the Islamic Shahadah proclamation. It can be found here:

http://www.islamic-a...ns/hamid3.html.

There is also plenty of Papyri evidence available to confirm the chronological as well as the factual accuracy of the Islamic narrative. Some of this papyri evidence can be witnessed here: http://www.islamic-a.../Islam/Papyri/.

Why would Holland ignore all of this visible evidence and turn a blind eye to it?

Read more

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Imam Ghazzali RA
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Posted 30 August 2012 - 09:10 PM (#10) User is online   Mudassar-Rana 

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On a side note the work of IERA is very different to the way other groups work and its quite refreshing. I think they had over 60 converts just during the olympics simply through chatting to people. Though for some Green is a bit of persona non grata, Hamza Tsortzis is one of the best dai's in the UK.
my brothers are those who will believe in me, without having seen me.” [Ahmad, Musnad]

Jaag Muslmaan Jaag Muslmaan ... kitna naacho gai ghairon ki dhun par?Jis ummat mein rab ne sher paida kiye aaj wohi gheedar ka libaas apna muqaddar samjh bethi
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Posted 05 September 2012 - 09:29 PM (#11) User is offline   qadrimuslim 

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This topic is being discussed tonight on Ummah Channel on their Debate Night program with br Shafiq

Surely these are the types of issues our TV stations were set up for? Why are our channels so impotent in responding to the anti Islamic programming that is becoming more evident every day?

Hopefully we will see the Muslim response to their allegations tonight


The producers of the controversial Channel 4 programme are watching


"The Sufi Must Submit to the Faqih" - Shaykh Ahmad Zurruq (RA)

Wa-la Ghalib Il-Allah "There is no Conqueror but Allah"
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Posted 06 September 2012 - 12:23 AM (#12) User is offline   Tahir-Riaz 

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View Postqadrimuslim, on 05 September 2012 - 09:29 PM, said:


The producers of the controversial Channel 4 programme are watching





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Posted 13 September 2012 - 03:44 PM (#13) User is offline   A-New-Hope 

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Apparently the second airing of the documentary has been canceled.

Either the Ummah Channel panel did a super job or events of recent days (Libya and co.) have caused nervousness at Ch4.

The story behind canceled UK documentary suggesting Islam ‘made up’ religion

Thursday, 13 September 2012

UK-based television broadcaster Channel 4 has decided to pull the plug on airing a controversial documentary which suggested that Islam was a “made up religion,” sparking a backlash from the Muslim community in Britain.

The second airing of “Islam: The untold story” was canceled after a 1,200 complaints were made against the documentary after its first show.

Read more:

http://english.alara.../13/237818.html
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....
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