UI – Part 164 – The Caliphs Took Charge of the Quran
A new book, Did Muhammad Exist – An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins[i], by Robert Spencer, attempts to look back at the time of the beginnings of Islam. The existence of Muhammad for me had to do more with perception than proof.
Islamists feel persecuted if anyone should doubt Muhammad, his life (even if he lived) and his example. This book will disturb the tombs of the Caliph’s and Hadith authors who may have over time fabricated Islam as we see it today more to their liking than to Muhammad’s.
Of greater concern, or should be, is the Quran. Is it accurate? Is it uncreated? Does it actually comport what Muhammad recited as words imparted him by God (Allah), via the angel Gabriel? Is it created? – created by the Caliph’s, the history writers, the authorities that found their power based on a belief system of Submission that needed to be recorded as Scripture for the People.
What is fact – the Quran was compiled after Muhammad died unexpectedly in 632CE. There were hundreds, and possibly hundreds more, consulted as to their recollection of verses from the self-proclaimed Prophet. There were hundreds of memorizers killed in a civil war that broke out between supporters and resisters immediately after his death[ii]. The supporters won, but at a cost to protecting or capturing many sayings of Muhammad. If you accept the Quran was a collection of Muhammad’s recitations then indeed it is not complete as so many of those who knew verses were lost before they were ever recorded. Also there was opportunity for the memorizers to embellish their recall with personal reflections or desires.
The Quran by Caliph
Another fact – Caliphs, as Kings, who assumed oversight of the base established by the presumed Prophet Muhammad took possession of the role of the collection of Quranic verses while at the same time initiating the laws of Islam, many of which were their standards and not Muhammad’s. The Caliphs were all imperialists. They became active in conquest of territories over preaching the text of Muhammad. The earliest inroads of new lands were made into areas not part of the Arabian Peninsula, such as into Persia, Syria, Israel (Jerusalem), Palestine and northern Africa, along the southern Mediterranean, and occurred well before the Quran was ever first assembled. The requirements of the first Kings (Caliphs) were simple – apply the skills, the warrior tactics learned, practiced and successful under Muhammad. The prey was easy to overcome and the rewards considerable in terms both material and monetary, but also in power and control. Superiority and hegemony of the dictates they put forth was an object, along with chastened subservience.
“Accept Allah and live by the laws we impose”, was a universal command. Having a god to worship, Allah, was the justification for the actions taken. The subjects were made to honor Allah. Understanding who Allah was and why they should worship was of little consequence, except that it was for Allah and not the King that they had now become subject to a new authority. It was a means to deflect the killing, maiming, raping and plunder from that of man-doing-for-man to man-doing-for-Allah. It was a useful and convenient diversion that also gave the subjects, new and old, a focus other than on the leaders and their corrupt practices. The minions of the expanding empire of the Saracens, the brothers of Ishmael, the Muhajirun, the Hagarians, or whatever they may have been called were to honor, love was called for, authority up the ladder with Allah at the top. It was not the result of a loving God, but the requirement to love Allah and those in between Allah and the lesser.
Was it the early Caliph’s that conveniently recalled Muhammad saying, “O ye who believe! Fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you: and know that Allah is with those who fear him” (9:123). Or did such sayings and similar statements of hatred toward the infidel come from the successors?
If you remain a non-believer the Caliph’s required pay for protection. Some of the earlier Caliphs, such as Mu’awijah (#4), were not as demanding as the later ones. At the same time they insist upon acknowledgment of the victors as superior. Those as infidels who do not believe or accept the authority of the Caliph must know and recognize they are considered the lowest of the low in Allah’s eyes – and thus the Caliph’s as well. To add further insult to injury the avarice of the Caliphs, the Saracen leaders, the continued toll imposed (the protection racket payoff) was a burden. A poll-tax on unbelievers. Who were the heretics, the poll-tax (jizya) payor or the poll-tax collector? The upper-hand would decide. Besides the tax, then too the unbeliever must “humble themselves before the Muslim.”[iii]
Who controlled the preparation of the Scripture would suggest who would benefit most by its declarations.
Grace and Peace.