Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Aryanization of Islam

(Excerpt from Dr Wesley Muhammad, "God's Black Prophets: Deconstructing the Myth of the White Muhammad of Arabia and Jesus of Jerusalem")

1.  
 
It has been demonstrated here that the Hellenization process which transformed the small, black skinned Jesus of history into the tall, ruddy white skinned Christ of the orthodox iconographic tradition is directly paralleled by an Aryanization process which transformed a black skinned Prophet of Arabia named Muhammad into the ruddy white skinned Muhammad of the orthodox Islamic iconographic tradition.

This Aryanization of Islam involved a massive Persian influence on Islamic tradition consequent to the misnomered Abbasid Revolution which toppled the Umayyads, Islam’s first historical dynasty. This process changed the demographic face of the Muslim world in general from black to mainly white.

As a consequence the black Arab Muhammad, like the black Hebrew Jesus was found offensive in and to the new order. His image too was thus ‘corrected’ giving us the ‘white’ Prophet of Makka so adored by most of the Muslim world today.

     2. From Black Sheep to White Sheep

The Egyptian polymath Jalal aI-DIn al-Suyuti (d. 1505), In his Tarikh al-khulifa' ("History of the Caliphs"), reports one of several variants of an important hadith, which variants are here combined:

Zayd b. Aslam related that the Prophet (s) saw a vision and told his companions about it. He said: "I saw a group of black sheep and a group of white sheep then mixed with them until the white sheep became so numerous that the black sheep could no longer be seen in the herd of sheep. I interpreted it to mean that the black sheep are the Arabs. They will accept Islam and become many. As for the white sheep, they are the non-Arabs (i.e. Persians, Turks, Byzantines, ect.) They will enter Islam and then share with you your wealth and your genealogy and become so numerous that the Arabs will not be noticed amongst them." The Companions became surprised by what he (s) said. Then one said, "The non-Arab Persians will enter our land, 0' Messenger of Allah?!" The Prophet (s) then said, "Yes. By He Who Has my soul in His Hand, if the religion was hanging on the distant star, men from the non-Arab Persians would reach it and the luckiest of them would be the people of Faris.”

The fact that the original Arabs and Arab followers of Muhammad were black-skinned is well-documented. So too is the fact that these original Muslims have been lost within an influx of non-Arab converts to Islam. The face of Islam went from black to white. By the 11th century, as Robert Goldston (1979: 87) observes:

“although both Abbasid and Fatimid caliphs continued to maintain their titles, between the Mamelukes in Egypt and the Seljuks in the East real power in the Arab world (except North Africa and Spain, where the Seljuks never penetrated) had passed into Turkish hands. There it was to remain until our own day. And what of the original Arabs, those lords of the desert who had formed the vanguard of Islam and presided over its golden age? Almost all had long since become so submerged into the cosmopolitan empire that they were indistinguishable from their neighbours.”

This demographic shift is part of what I have called the Aryanizatum of Islam: the transformation of Islam's culture, ideology, spirit, and face from Semitic (black Arab) to Indo- Aryan (largely Iranian but also Turkic and Byzantine). Dana Reynolds-Marniche notes:

“The black nationalistic views and horrifying racism of the original Arabs towards fair skinned peoples settling in Arabia is aptly illustrated by early writings and expressions from individuals of Mohammed's own tribe in Arabia.”

This Arab black nationalism was that of the Umayyad (661-750 CE), Islam's first political dynasty which was a black Arab dynasty." It was toppled in 750 by what has been called, erroneously, the "Abbasid revolution.' It is true that the Banu 'Abbas, after which the second dynasty took its name, was a black Arab tribal family like its rival the Banu Umayya. But as Saleh Said Agha (2003) has clearly demonstrated, the "revolution which toppled the Umayyads was neither Arab nor 'Abbasid," it was Iranian. J an Resto (2003: 24) says also:

“the Abbasid revolution in 750 was, to a large extent, the final revolt of the non-'arab Muslims against the 'arab and their taking power. This revolt was dominated by the Iranian 'agam (non-Arabs), and the outcome was the establishment of at least formal equality between the two groups.”

The Iranians/Persians, who were a very proud Indo-Aryan groups, resented the black Arabs who conquered their land in 651 CE and brought to a close their eleven-hundred-year-old civilization. These resentful Persian masses were the mainstay of the revolution, whose conversion to Islam, according to Agha, was only, a revolutionary expedient:

“the [Arab] Establishment (under the Umayyads) did not simply self-destruct ... Rather, there existed an alien antagonist, whose intrinsic interest it was to destroy it. This antagonist was the Iranian subjects ... The Iranians were taught and then they learnt that, by adopting Islam, they should earn the right and the enabling claim to neutralize the Establishment's superior edge ... The resulting mass conversion should not be viewed as spontaneous or haphazard. The Iranian uprising was streamlined and conducted within the frame-work of Islam, in whose moralistic, egalitarian and inclusive aspects the Iranian activists and intellectuals, like a cunning Odysseus, found the natural and appropriate weapon to wield against the worldly Establishment which claimed to represent Islam. The Trojan horse was planted right at the heart of the historic paradox of Umayyad Islam."

     3. Inventing New Arabs and Reshaping Islam

The 'Abbasid, or better 'Persian' Revolution was much more than a political revolution, but a cultural, ideological and spiritual one as well. As Asma Afsaruddin (2008: 106-107) observes:

“The third generation of Muslims, called the 'Successors to the Successors' (atba' al-tabi'in) inherited a changed world after the 'Abbasid revolution ... Important ideological, administrative, cultural, political, and socio-economic developments and changes were ushered in after the overthrow of the Umayyads in 750 ...The group that benefitted the most from this sea change were the Persians, a significant number of whom assumed important official positions in various 'Abbasid administrations and who wielded significant political as well as cultural influence…”

The complexion or face of this Muslim world was changing as a result of this influx of non-Arabs into the empire. This "cataclysmic shift in the demographic balance of power" succeeded in remodelling "the political and social institutions of the Islamic empire and inner spirit of Islamic culture on the model of Sasanian institutions and values." It also succeeded in constructing the new Arab identity. As Ronald Segal (2001:22) points out:

"increasing intermarriage (between Arabs and non-Arabs) served to submerge the original distinctions, and increasing numbers of the conquered, having adopted the religion and language of the conquerors, took to assuming the identity as if Arabs themselves[/] (emphasis mine-WM)."

Note also the comments by Richard Suskind (1972:37):

In one important way ... (the second caliph) Omar was unable to prevent the Moslems from mingling with the subject peoples ... Since they were forbidden to own land, they used their wealth (from booty) chiefly to buy women ... All the children born of these unions - and there were many thousands of them - called themselves Arabs, in order to identify with the ruling class. When they grew up and married, their offspring in turn called themselves Arabs. Thus it came about that the people of the Moslem world, many of them without a drop of Arab blood in their veins, became known as Arabs.”


Such 'conversion to Arabism' is illustrated by the words of the Iranian poet Bashshar b. Barb (d. 783-4), who responded to the caliph al-Mahdi's question, "Of whom do you reckon yourself, Bashshar": "As for my language and dress, they are Arab; but as for my origin, it is non-Arab (ajam.

Having converted to Islam and Arabism, these Iranians and other non-Arabs were able to convert Islam and Arabism in accord with their vision of a revived Persian empire. The manner in which. this remodelling of Islam and reestablishment of Persian tradition occurred is worthy of note: Iranian scholars, who would become some of the chief fashioners of Islamic tradition. manipulated that tradition and even fabricated aspects therein.

Rina Drory, in her fascinating article "The Abbasid Construction of the Jahiliyya: Cultural Authority in the Making," (1996) illustrates how this happened through gaining influence over the recollection of the Arab past through the latter's principle vehicle: Arab poetry. Pre-Islamic (rather, pre-Qur'anic) poetry belonged to the Arab tribal heritage and was perceived as the medium by which the tribal legacy was perpetuated. The guardians of this heritage, the poets ashu'arii') and the transmitters (ruwiit) of the poems were therefore Arab Bedouin. However, by the mid-eighth century, a new breed of transmitters came to dominate the field: urbanized, second generation Iranian converts to Islam (mawali), the likes of Hammad al-Rawiya (d. 722) from Kufa and his student Khalaf al-Ahmar (d. 796) from Basra. This new breed therefore "derived from a cultural background utterly unlike that of the tribal Arab transmitters."

So too were many of the newly developing class of scholars ('ulama') mawali or non-Arab converts. According to Drory, these non-Arabs "chose this profession as a way to integrate themselves into the emerging Islamic society," but also to shape that society.Acquiring unprecedented expertise in the field, these Iranian transmitters and scholars of the Arab past successfully ingratiated themselves with the late Umayyad and 'Abbasid courts, where their recitations and intellectual wares were much appreciated. They tutored the royal families and answered academic questions of the caliph in session. Through these means they were able to "mold the spiritual world" of the caliph house.

Most important for our purposes' is that these new guardians of the Arab past and Islamic tradition did not simply transmit: they revised and manipulated these traditions, "inventing knowledge" and fabricating Arab-Islamic learning their falsifications of Arab poetry, fabricating verses and attributing them to well-known poets or revising existing poems, is documented. Through such manipulation these non-Arab converts were able to create a new Arab identity:

“the non-Arab mawali were the ones who actually constructed Arab identity for the Arab community through a colossal effort of collecting and organizing knowledge belonging to 'the Arab (and Islamic) sciences'."

In other words, the non-Arabs who converted to Islam and Arabism, also constructed a new 'Arab' identity that was more akin to their own cultural and spiritual background. They also reshaped Islam accordingly. Through this clandestine (though not necessarily organized) operation Persian civilization "would rebound ... mutatis mutandis its Islamicization, slowly almost stealthily in less than a century," and in the process "Sasanian (sic) strands ... had been woven into the fabric of Muslim thought.
One Sassanian (i.e. Persian) 'strand' woven into Arab poetry and Islam was aspects of the cosmic dualism that characterized the Zoroastrian state religion, a dualism that saw white as inherently good and black as inherently evil. This will be tremendously significant for the course Islam will take after the Revolution.

      4. From Black Nationalism to White Racism

Marniche explains:

“As if the world has been turned upside down, blackness in the early Arab culture as in pre-Ptolemaic Egypt and early Dravidian India (according to Marco Polo), was revered as representative of what was archetypically good, holy and powerful, while in European culture, even in early times, it appears to have been the exact opposite”.

This observation of a pro-black sentiment, if you will, in early Arab and Islamic culture is echoed by a number of scholars.

John Alembillah Azumah(2001: 130-131) points out that:

“There is hardly any trace of antagonism or discrimination on the basis of the skin colour in pre-Islamic and early Islamic Arabia ... In social life in pre-Islamic and early Arabia there were black slaves as well as white slaves, mainly captured during war, and there is no evidence that the former suffered any specific discrimination by virtue of the colour of their skin. On the contrary, the Habash (Ethiopians), who were active in sixth-century Arabia as allies of the Byzantines, were usually regarded as people with a higher civilization than the Arabs and respected during early Islamic times as people with a revealed religion. It was partly due to the high esteem with which the Habash were held in the early Islamic period that Muhammad advised his persecuted followers to seek asylum in Abyssinia in 615 CE.82

So too the late Professor St Claire Drake (1987, II: 85, 152):

“In early Islam, there were positive associations with blackness ... The rabbinic and midrashic stories that interpret black skin as a curse was apparently not part of early Arab oral tradition ... However. .. they became known after the seventh- century Arab conquests, among scholars in Mesopotamia who were developing Islamic religious thought. The scholars ... some were Arabs, most were Persians.''

This last remark regarding the Persian/Iranian role in introducing some racism into Islamic religious thought is of great significance and must be kept in mind as we read the following remark.

'Abduh Badawt of Khartoum, in his study of Arabic poetry and the image of Blacks therein, noted:

“the Arabs despised the black colour as much as they loved the white colour; they described everything that they admired material or moral, as white."

Indeed, Bernard Lewis has documented the racism evident in pre-Islamic Arab poetry. How do we account for this, in the light of the above observations of the lack of anti-black racism in pre- and early Islamic Arabia and in the light of the evidence adduced below that the Arabs of pre-and early Islamic Arabia were themselves black? How can these conflicting observations be rectified? Bernard Lewis (1990: 28-32) rightly points out in this regard:

“There are verses, indeed many verses, attributed to pre-Islamic and early Islamic poets which would suggest very strongly a feeling of hatred and contempt directed against persons of African birth or origin. Most, if not all if these, however, almost certainty belong to later periods and reflect later problems, attitudes, and preoccupations ... pagan and early Islamic Arabia seems to have shared the general attitude of the ancient world, which attached no stigma to blackness.”

Pre- and early Islamic poetry was thus manipulated or fabricated and the anti-black racism of the 'new Arabs' was retrojected back to the 'old' Arabs. Iranian maiudli introduced into Islam a virulent anti-black racism. Mino Southgate ((1984: 3-35) has documented that in Iranian sources of the 10th - 14th centuries, Muslim and non-Muslim, "no group was the butt of such fierce racial attack as were blacks ... " In some Iranian Muslim literature Blacks are enemies of God and Islam and the killing of each of them is penance for a lifetime of sin, for God wants them destroyed." Southgate concludes with some sense of bewilderment:

“many medieval Islamic Iranian sources show colour consciousness, depict negative black stereotypes, and reveal hostile sentiments toward blacks. This is not to say that negative sentiments are not expressed about other groups ... It is fair to say, however, aside from mildly positive comments about Ethiopians, hardly anything good is said about blacks, and that the attack against this group .. .is much more fierce than that against any other group ... What motivated Muslim Iran to develop the grotesque images and stereotypes?”

The answer, no doubt, is that these anti-black sentiments, epitomized in the cosmic dualism of some forms of Zoroastrianism, long predated Muslim Iran. The Persians of antiquity were a proud, racist people. Empirius (ea. 200 CE; Against the Ethicists, 43) claimed that of all whites the Persians are associated with "the whitest and the most hook-nosed'’. When Christian Ethiopia reconquered Jewish Yemen in 520 CE, Jewish exiles sought assistance from the Byzantine ruler of Constantinople who turned them down on behalf of his co-religionists. On the other hand Chosroes, Zoroastrian king of Persia, took a different position. He said to the Jews: "This is the white skin against the black race. I am closer to you than to the Abyssinians." After their victory over 'the black race' the victory poem began: "We have crossed the waters to free Himyar (southern Arabia) from the tyranny of the blacks."

Richard Bulliet notes:

“many practices, beliefs, and institutions most characteristics of the period when Islam invented a uniform identity for itself are rooted in the urban Muslim communities of eleventh-century Iran ... the impact of the Iranian diaspora (also) went beyond institutional changes. It affected the content of religious thought and practice as wel.”l

Indeed it has: the Aryanization of Islam. This evidence of the manipulation of Arab and Islamic tradition by racist non-Arab, non-black converts to Islam is of profound significance for our discussion of the ethnicity of the prophet Muhammad according to the Islamic sources. As we shall see, the sources confirm two things:

(1) the prophet was black-skinned and (2) the sources were manipulated to make him white-skinned.

6 comments:

  1. While it's one thing to point out that the bitterness Persians had towards the Arabs who subjugated them after Muhammad fostered Aryan pride over their Semitic masters, it's another thing to say that this hatred extended beyond Semites to Africans and that such a racist ideology in Islam can be attributed squarely to early Persian Muslims.

    Yes, the original Arabs, like all Semites, had a great deal of African heritage, but it is laughable to think that Arabs ever identified or identify today with Africa, as they have been and remain today among the most anti-African bigots. Arab slavery subjugated both white and black peoples but it's no secret that Arabs today still refer to one of those peoples as '3abeed,' meaning 'slaves.' In 2014 an entire group of people, regardless of their social status, are called 'slaves' in Arab society. And they're not referring to white people either!

    If the Umayyads cared so much for their African heritage, why did they implement laws to elevate the status of Arabs and make all other peoples under their sovereignty 'mawali', 'those who have [Arab] guardians'? Why did they systematically deport all non-Arabs out of Medina and Mecca? There's a reason you won't find the graves of prominent African Companions of Muhammad (or any other non-Arab Companion for that matter) who outlived him inside Arabia today.

    The Umayyads were really Arabs who saw themselves "Hellenized," which is why they chose Damascus to be their seat of power, instead of another city in Arabia, much less in Africa. And before the Arabs in the East were marrying into Persian families, Arabs who were Umayyad clients had already changed their complexion from generations of marrying into Greco-Roman and Jewish families of Syria and Byzantium. These were the elites of their time before the Persians had any political stake in Islam.

    And when the Persians did gain a political stake in Islam with the rise of the Abbasids, intermarriage between Persian and African Muslims, though not exactly significant, became tenfold higher than intermarriage between Arab and African Muslims.

    You might want to research the role of Africans in Shu'ubiyyah movements.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i like your comments but lacks substances. you did not gave us where your information is from

      Delete
    2. some people by nature are addicted to lying so accept him as one please.

      Delete
  2. This article is clear representation of Rafidi logic, i.e. the claim that historical Ahlu Sunna wal-Jamaa has nothing common with original Islam. The generations of Iranian scholars (among them are such people as al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud, al-Bayhaqi, Tirmizi, al-Juwaini, al-Ghazali etc.) now accused in a distortion of Islam. Of course, next step would be a question - so, how we can know for sure what is original Islam, if such large and important part of Islamic scholarship, as ulama with Iranian roots, can not be trusted? You are on the wrong way...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well done, very scholarly work... It's a shame many blacks will run your work thru the mill but never run any info they get from the white or pale Arabs thru any type of vetting process. Pale Arabs many of your scholars have this knowledge and know beyond the shadow of a doubt it's correct. PBUH MUHAMMAD SAID I HEARD THE FOOTSTEPS OF BILAL ( a Blackman) going into paradise ahead of my own)!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well done, very scholarly work... It's a shame many blacks will run your work thru the mill but never run any info they get from the white or pale Arabs thru any type of vetting process. Pale Arabs many of your scholars have this knowledge and know beyond the shadow of a doubt it's correct. PBUH MUHAMMAD SAID I HEARD THE FOOTSTEPS OF BILAL ( a Blackman) going into paradise ahead of my own)!!!

    ReplyDelete