The Battle of Manzikert was fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Seljuk Empire on August 26, 1071 near Manzikert (modern Malazgirt in Muş Province, Turkey). The decisive defeat of the Byzantine army and the capture of the Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes played an important role in undermining Byzantine authority in Anatolia and Armenia, and allowed for the gradual Turkification of Anatolia. Many of the Turks, who had been, during the 11th century, travelling westward, saw the victory at Manzikert as an entrance to Asia Minor.
“…the sceptics have encountered some scepticism about their own approach, because some of their claims seem overstated – or even unfounded. Moreover, their work has to date been almost entirely negative – that is, while they have tried to cast doubt on the received version of ‘what happened’ in early Islamic history by impugning the sources, they have not yet offered a convincing alternative reconstruction of what might have happened.” (islam21c – reply to Tom Holland documentary on Early Islam on UK Channel 4)
When you watch professional magicians on stage, what they do will often seem like “real” magic – yet they are conjurors, and there is always a trick behind the performance.
If you learn the trick, the performance will often be utterly unimpressive.
Islam has existed for 14 centuries now, and is the world’s second largest religion with perhaps 1.6 billion adherents, 23 % of the world population. What if it is a completely man made fraud?
The four phases of early Islamic history – as we know them
The first about 200 years of Islam’s history can be divided into 4 consecutive time periods – and they seem totally unconnected.
To give the four periods sensible and descriptive names, let us call them Mecca, Medina, Silence, and Panic.
The first period, Mecca, is for Muhammad’s about twelve years in Mecca (610 AD – 622 AD), receiving the so-called Mecca verses of the Quran, getting no followers, and conquering nothing. Apart from receiving Quran verses (which are to be contradicted later), Muhammad seems to be wasting his life.
Why was he there? Why didn’t God just tell him to move on from there?
There is now a big discontinuity to the second period, Muhammad’s about 10 years in Medina (623 AD – 632 AD), receiving the so-called Medina verses of the Quran, and at the same time conquering all of Arabia.
How do we explain this dramatic change in the man’s life? Going from useless place filler to genocidal and successful warlord? And why didn’t he leave Mecca sooner – he accomplished nothing there?
It is almost like he never was in Mecca.
The third period, Silence, is the next 90 years (632 AD – 700 AD) when the Arabs conquer outside Arabia – a straightforward continuation of what they just did inside Arabia. They conquer the Judeo-Christian and Persian worlds, and from these 90 years we have plenty of written sources from both inside and outside the conquered territories.
These sources, Arab as non-Arab, do not mention Muhammad or quote the Quran for most of this time period. Places of worship do not point to Mecca. At this point the Arabs have an Oral Quran, yet they appear have no need for Muhammad’s biography, nor any Hadith, to decipher what the meaning of their Oral Quran is.
Is it possible this early Oral Quran was fundamentally different compared to the later written Quran?
Towards the end of this third period – Silence – the written down Quran is spread around the conquered territories.
One day, the Quran was for the first time read by a Christian who could read Arabic. This day was the Islamic Nakba (catastrophe), and this is the border between the last two periods, Silence and Panic.
The last period, Panic, is around 700 AD until about 850 AD. After the Quran was presented in written form, only then did the muslims (panically) write down Muhammad’s biography (the Sira), and the other stories about him (the Hadith). And they write down (or created) his biography with a ridiculous amount of detail in names, dates, and places. Again we see an extreme discontinuity: 90 years of almost total Silence on the subject of Quran and Muhammed, followed by an extremely “creative” period.
It would appear that something happened in the muslim community around the time when the Quran was first presented in written form to the Jews and Christians. It appears this event made the muslims suddenly – and desperately? – write down a lot of stories about Muhammad – a man they had hardly mentioned in the previous 90 years.
What you read above is what we know of Islam, and indeed what Islam says about itself – the four periods do play out in this sequence – only the idea of a “Nakba” triggering the fourth period – Panic – is new.
Imagine we could turn back time, to the 630 ties AD, in Syria and Palestine – when the Arabs first went to war on the Judeo-Christian world.
They take over your country, and start to rule it, letting the tax collectors continue their work. Life is reasonably normal.
First you live through the period of Silence, you hear nothing about Muhammad, Quran, or much about Islam. Towards the end of the period of Silence, the Arabs have spread copies of their holy book – the Quran (in Arabic, hence most Jews or Christians – or even illiterate Arabs – cannot and would not read it).
Then comes the Islamic Nakba – the disaster.
The Islamic Nakba is the very first day in history when a Christian scholar for the first time was able to read the written Quran. It must have been like this:
The scholar woke up one morning and set down at his desk, the year being – say – 1. February 701 AD. At his desk he has his two most favourite books, the Bible (Tanakh or “Old Testament”) and the New Testament – the Bible making a sizeable pile being 25 thousand verses tall, and the New Testament a smaller, yet impressive 9 thousand verses tall.
Someone knocks on the door, and an Arab enters. Hello Effendi, here is the copy of the Quran I promised you, I hope you will enjoy reading it. He dumps the pile of scriptures on the table, and leaves. The Christian scholar spends the rest of the day analyzing the Arabic Quran (he’s an expert in languages).
At the end of the day, the scholar is puzzled. The book, the Quran, is clearly a mix of at least two different sources. On top of this, the chapters have been shuffled around, so it’s in a very strange order.
And he wondered – what has happened here. And his eyes wanders across the table – to the Bible, and the New Testament.
And he realises what he has before him.
He sees the Bible with 25 thousand verses, the New Testament with 9 thousand verses, and now this book – the Quran with 8 thousand verses. And he realises someone thought the original book was too small in comparison to the Christian and Jewish books, so this person added lots of extra stuff into the Quran to make it appear as large as the New Testament – and then shuffled the chapters to hide what he had done.
What else can he conclude? This scholar had no knowledge of Muhammad, Mecca and Medina. Muhammad’s biography (and the Hadith) has yet to be written down.
The Arab returns, is told the conclusion, kills the scholar, and the Islamic period of Panic begins.
One Narrative of Early Islam
Muslims asked for a narrative able to explain the history of Early Islam. Here is one.
The Mecca period is pure fiction – entirely invented. This is why Muhammad has no converts here, accomplishes nothing, and no early mosques points to Mecca. This period is invented solely to explain away the “Mecca” verses in the Quran. Without this period – everyone would be forced to conclude the Quran is made up of at least two different sources.
The Medina period is possibly in part true. A man thought himself to be a prophet shortly joined Arab tribes together and brought them under one command for a while. After this period the Arabs have an Oral Quran – as per accepted history.
The period of Silence follows easily, the Arabs conquered the West and the East, but have no need for the Prophet or his biography, because the Oral Quran has no particular contradictions in it. There is no need to explain away any alien material.
Then the Quran is written down, and some illiterate Arabs decides it’s too small compared to the Bible and New Testaments they have seen, they double the size by adding some (random?) material to it, shuffles the chapters to hide it, and in this state it keeps getting copied and sent around the Islamic empire. Recall here that most people – laymen and rulers included – are illiterate, hence allowing such a fraud to pass for a long time.
Then Nakba happens – the fraud is revealed to a handful of Christians and Jews, and a period of Panic ensues among the Islamic leaders. Now the Arabs need to save their honour – how to explain away all these contradictions in Qur’ans now in existence from Spain in the West to Persia in the East. They need to explain it both to their own followers as well as Christians and Jews.
Enter the entirely fictional character of Muhammad.
And the fantastic magic trick happens – it is not Muhammad who writes the Quran, but this corrupted Quran who creates Muhammad !
The Arabs (or perhaps their Persian underlings) creates a person living in two cities – Mecca and Medina, hence they can explain two different books in one. Every chapter in Muhammad’s life is made to explain something about the Quran – perhaps some original verses is placed in Medina, and the “filler verses” to his “Mecca period”. It is all a fabrication – a fictional story needed to explain the pile of rubbish they ended up with when the Quran was written down (and first found to be too small).
The mass production of stories ended up finally with one ridiculously detailed biography by Ibn Ishaq (the Sira), and lots of collections of Hadiths (stand-alone stories about Muhammad and how he passed judgement using the Quran). The Sunni muslims have 6 collections of these, Shia’s have 4 and so on.
So after the Quran was written down, more than 10 books about Muhammad’s life and deeds are required to understand what this Quran and Islam is all about – yet in the first 90 years none of these books about Muhammad were even needed.
Imagine to yourself that the Gospel of Luke was unreadable – unless you knew the detailed life story of the author – Luke? Imagine that any Shakespeare play was unreadable – unless you knew the detailed life story of it’s author? Such an idea is obviously nonsense – yet this is the “theology” we are presented with from Islam. A Holy Book of a “prophet” written down perhaps a century after his death, this book can only be understood by reading the prophet’s biography, written down even later.
The danger of ideas in Islam
The penalties for expressing the ideas above are in sharia law, and if this article is correct, the above text breaks quite a few laws.
Death for criticizing or denying any part of the Quran – tick.
Death for criticizing Muhammad or denying he was a prophet – tick.
Death for criticising or denying Allah – tick.
Death for a non-muslim who leads a muslim away from Islam – tick.
And who is judge and executioner? Throughout history, any muslim or muslims who feels insulted. Who should die? Any infidel – not necessarily the one causing the original offense.
Some examples: in January 2015 some insulted muslims slaughtered some infidels in Paris. The cause of the insult cartoons of Muhammad, and the infidel victims in this case the cartoonists.
In April 2011 some insulted muslims murdered infidels in Afghanistan. The insult was that someone burned a Quran on a different continent (USA), the infidels were random westerners with no connection to this matter at all.
A recent attack was an insulted muslim in Orlando June 12. 2016, killing close to 50 infidels. The insult may have been seeing men kissing in the street, the infidels this time was visitors to a gay club.
The prime reference for this kind of muslim behaviour is of course the 1066 AD Granada massacre, where insulted muslims slaughtered thousands of infidels. The insult back then was that the ruler had appointed a Jew to lead his army – something the muslim soldiers took offense to, and the infidel victims then were the jewish citizens of Granada – all the men, women, and children.
From these examples it should be clear that no ideas like the ones expressed in this article will ever be heard in Muslim countries. The risk is simply too high. What’s more worrying though, is that also Western countries are sinking into darkness because of attacks and threats from insulted muslims.
Much of the left wing media and politicians have long since stopped reacting rationally. BBC and many western media today refuse to show the cartoons which insulted the muslims killing the Charlie Hebdo staff. After Orlando, will they refuse to show two men kissing? Will they stop showing women without a hijab? Where are they planning to draw the line?
All the attacks on infidels show that muslims are insulted by the existence of Jews and gays, the creation of cartoons (of Muhammad), westerners in uniform, and so on. Basically – we’re all on the list of people whose mere existence may insult a muslim.
Why has Islam this extreme sensitivity to practically anything related to both the Quran and Muhammad? The Narrative above may be an answer. Any discussion of the Quran or Muhammad, indeed any thinking whatsoever on these two subjects, may lead to catastrophic consequences. In the Period of Panic mentioned above, rules for how to deal with criticism had to be set up. And the rules became what we see today – no debate, no discussion, be insulted by everything and strike back with lethal force.
This is the only way Islam can survive. Terrorize people until they think no more.
(And for those who would like to understand how Islam can accept that completely innocent “infidels” can be killed at will – just remember that the American Civil War ended in 1865. The story showing Islam’s total lack of ethic and respect for a rule of law starts in the Quran, chapter 18, verse 65. Everyone should know the example – written by Allah himself – of Al-Khidr murdering a completely innocent boy)
The relative sizes of the three holy books. Imagine the Arab horror if their Quran was half the size of NT in this scale.