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Persian historian revert war
AraLink and 188.8.131.52 seem to be engaged in a charmingly opaque revert war over whether a sentence should begin "The Persian historian Tabari continues..." or just plain "Tabari continues..." No edit summaries indicate why this issue is of importance, or why each side thinks that their version is more appropriate. Perhaps you ought to work out this issue here on the talk page, lest this dispute gets added to WP:LAME. --Jfruh (talk) 19:38, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
- Well I'm neither of them but my guess as to why AraLink wants to point out Tabari was Persian is to show though some Persian historians as later mentioned in the criticism section did not mention the said incident, others like Tabari who were Persian did point it out and so the incident might not be as biased as proclaimed by some critics :\. So am I correct in my analysis? Jedi Master MIK 20:25, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
- Tabari was one of the earliest, most prominent and famous Persian historians. His history book is very well-known. --AraLink 03:50, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
- Tabari has been a native of Tabaristan and hence a Persian. Being a Muslim, Tabari has written his تاريخ الرسل و الملوك (History of the Prophets and Kings) with the usual bias that has affected many religious scholars and historians during mankind's history. Even the name of his book (whose title includes prophets) implies that it can never be considered a definitive historical reference, since it has mixed history with mythology (story of prophets of Abrahamic religions). As a result, Tabari has literally repeated Ibn Hisham's account on prophet Mohammad's letters to rulers of neighboring kingdoms without giving it much thought and to the extent that he has even contradicted his own nationality. Such actions are not uncommon amongst zealous muslim Iranians to this day, prioritizing their Islamic belief over their country and its glorious pre-Islamic history. Indeed, none of Tabari's remarks can be held credible without extensive comparative study and sociohistorical analysis and he can never be compared with masterful and impartial Persian historians such as Abolfazl Beyhaqi. Ctesiphon7 13:30, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
- One, Abolfazl Beyhaqi was Muslim too according to his article. Two, I've seen negative stuff about Islamic history written in Tabari too; from what I've read/seen elsewhere, he was somewhat indiscriminate with the sources he used. Three, the page on Tabari and on his book disagree with your critique. Four, how does someone contradict his/her own nationality??? Five, just so you know, whatever you mentioned is irrelevant to what the debate was b/c it doesn't cancel that he was Persian, just adds that he was a Muslim Tabaristani Persian. Jedi Master MIK 22:19, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
Jedi Master: Below please find the answer to your comments by their respective order:
- I did not say that Abolfazl Beyhaqi did not know himself as a muslim. All I said was that he was unbiased and a masterful historian, narrating the incidents that happenned around him without prejudice and without inserting his Islamic beliefs into the narration (knowingly or unknowingly). Compare two paragraphs of Beyhaghi's "Masoudian History" with that of Tabari's and you will find out my point. Beyhaghi has even a marvelous comment regarding this, stating that:"people prefer a bedtime story and a fairytale and not history!". He knew in those days that no one would like his work and the proof is that today only about 5 volumes out of about 30 volumes of "Masoudian History" have survived.
- That is why I said Tabari cannot be considered up to the standards of a real historian. Beginning his book with Genesis and Great Flood (Biblical and Quranic fables), he is more of a storyteller than a historian, confusing his readers with a mishmash of contradicting hearsay. Not making a distinction between historical events and myths (and only the Abrahamic ones) is not equal with being liberal in choosing one's sources. Beyhaghi has never done that. If Tabari wanted to be unbiased and indiscriminate in this storytelling, he would begin his book with parallel versions of Genesis according to various belief systems!
- I am simply expressing my opinion here and, what is cited on WP's Tabari article is verifiable, but not necessarily what the modern reader may believe about Tabari's true nature of works.
- An Iranian contradicts his national identity by embracing and reiterating false historical reports glorifying the invaders of his homeland only because he has converted to their faith. As an example: What would you think of a historian who would praise Mongols for their utter inhumane acts? Could you think of him as a patriotic Persian? Yes, Tabari has reports of the atrocities that Muslim armies committed, but doesn't that fall into disagreement with his earlier reports that Muslims were pious warriors of light in Qadesi? Couldn't we conclude that Tabari's tone of writing was somewhat delighted that the so-called infidel Persian defenders were brutally massacred over and over again by the Muslim horde and their livelihoods ravished, although he did not relate any comments of himself?
- I did not have time to fully elaborate on this and that is why you think my arguement was irrelevant; thanks to your criticsm, my point is now clear: Tabari was a native Persian from Tabaristan who, according to his Islamic belief, has spent his lifetime being an exegete of Quran and he has naturally - and although quite ambiguously - taken the side of Islam in Tarikh al-Tabari. Therefore, he has been a Persian, who preferred Islam over Persia. As I said before, many Iranians to date practice the same behaviour and think of it as normal. Please bear with me, isn't that what a Muslim should believe that pre-Islamic Persia and Persians were destined to fail? So, why not embellish and repeat the mundane and controversial tale of Prophet Mohammad sending envoys inviting all the world that was known to Arabia to Islam? A religion that was not meant by its prophet (according to Quran) to expand beyond Arabia! Isn't that partiality based on dogmas?
Ctesiphon7 07:17, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and one more thing! I do not care whether Tabari is called a Persian or not. Let us summon the culprits behind this lame editorial war and remind them that Tabari is a thing of the past and whether he is called a Persian or not does not change much today! Cheers. :-D Ctesiphon7 07:53, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
- I thank you for your orderly responses, here are more in the same order so you don't lose what point refers to what.
- Just looked into it but their works appear to have nothing in common and I'm not talking about their styles or POV's or whatever but which histories they talk of, which times they lived in, their topics of discussion, and so on so please excuse me for now questioning his relevance to Tabari.
- His article gives no indication as to why some of his work was lost but I can assure you a lot more historical sources have had their works lost in the transition of time whether they were agreed to or not by the locals b/c of things like war and what not.
- Beyghani is talking about the Ghaznavid Empire, Tabari is trying to re-count the history of mankind to his present so we don't know what he would've written if he wanted to write a history book on man.
- Beliefs of early man are technically myths to all belief systems so if telling myths in a history book in iteself a complaint too, there technically is no wrong in him telling the one he believes to be most true.
- Unfortunately on wiki opinion doesn't mean or matter much unless the opposing one is given as well to give a NPOV.
- Unless joins another nationality and denies being now or ever another nationality, especially if he denounces them just for nationality, he'll remain the nationality accorded to him.
- Could you give an example of a false report? Besides the so said one in question on this page of course >_>.
- Did the Muslims commit inhumane acts like the Mongols, especially on the same scale of the Mongols? Again examples would be most appreciated.
- Remember I said that IIRC he had recorded narrations indiscriminately, meaning from various sources w/o checking authenticity and what not.
- If various reports of his contradict, doesn't that bring into question some of the reports on either side?
- There have been a lot worse battles than Qadisiyyah reported in and out of the Muslim conquests in terms of casualties and in fact, the predecessor to this battle, the Muslims were slaughtered. On top of that, So far it looks like any fierce battle does w/ the winning side incurring less casualties both proportionally and number wise. Therefore, I don't know what you mean.
- Of course he'll take the side of Muslims when Muslims are up against non-Muslims but nationality is irrelevant to belief there. That era too was a pivotal era for Muslims growth.
- Islamic belief is that Islam would spread, nothing else. The belief that it would crumble to pieces was brought about by this incident. If you can recall, the Byzantine Empire suffered huge blows by the Muslims just fine w/o having anything supposedly made up about them.
- Who said Prophet Muhammad didn't want it to expand outside of Arabia? AFAIK he did.
- Whats about Dogma O_o?
- On a final note, I don't understand what you mean by thing of the past; do you mean by your above views that he should stop being used to make citations? Pardon me but I'm pretty sure a number of historians both for and against Islam, Arab Conquest, etc. would highly disagree with you. Peace. Jedi Master MIK 02:59, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Hi Jedi Master MIK, Hmmm..., you are making things very complicated and you know better than me that this talk page is not - and does not have the capacity - for inquiring about historical facts that can be found with much ease through referring to well-established literature and even WP itself. I am doubly confused in retorting considering that I do not realize what sort of viewpoint I am dealing with here:
- a state of denial and skepticism.
- poor education concerning this subject and logical trends of history of the antiquity/medieval era as a rule of thumb.
- Islamic belief that leads to double-standards or even worse, sophistry.
Please do not take offense in this, but except the 3rd item, you wouldn't spontaneously know what category you belong to. Nevertheless, hereunder and once more I have adressed your comments by their order and have attempted to refer you to a number of sources in between:
- I think we both agree that I was comparing Tabari and Beyhaghi in terms of style, POV, their adherence to factuality and refrainment from myths. Even a high-school student knows what historical expanse each is dealing with and that comparing them in the latter context is impertinent. So why evade this issue after such a long debate or better to say: قصهى حسن كرد شبسترى?
- The WP's article on Beyhaghi is merely an unrefined introduction to him. It would be wise to study more about Beyhaghi before claiming such. There are about 7-10 pages in this link (http://www.dibache.com/text.asp?cat=43&id=1481). It's the first chapter of Dr. Abbas Milani's book titled, Tajaddud va tajaddudsitizi dar Iran : Majmuah-i maqalat (Modernism & Anti-modersnim in Iran), ISBN-13: 978-9646373556. Read it and you will realize that Beyhaghi's history has been in oblivion for a millenium and that is due to his novel style in historical narration that was unprecendented for several centuries to come.
- And let me refer you to a paragraph of "Masoudian History" found in the abovementioned article from Dr. Milani:
«بيشتر مردم عامه آنند که باطل را دوستتر دارند، چون اخبار ديو و پري و غول بيابان...و آنچه بدين ماند از خرافات که خواب آرد نادانان را چون شب برايشان خوانند و آن کسان که سخن راست خواهند تا باور دارند ايشان را از دانايان شمرند، و سخت اندک است عدد ايشان و ايشان نيکو فراسِتانند و سخن زشت بيندازند».
- Hopefully you can comprehend classical Persian literature b/c I am in no mood to translate this now. This clearly shows that Beyhaghi would have never begun mankind's history with myths and fairytales (even if they were part of his so-called religious belief system) as Tabari did. That is what discredits Tabari as a real historian and greatly credits Beyhaghi as a historian that can be stylistically considered on a par with his modern counterparts, according to Dr. Milani.
- As you see this opinion is not mine to begin with and now that it has come to this, I will cite the same in Beyhaghi's article in due time. I believe this is someone else's responsbility to find its opposing view in other scholars' works.
- Iranian/Persian nationality is not a newly formed idea as is the case with majority of the modern countries. Iranians -despite they diversity- were practicing patriotism at a time that few other ethnicities, languages or even organized religions could unite as a real nation. You could not defy your Iranian nationality at that time except by expressing contradictory opionions or acts of betrayal. We are not discussing "oath of allegiance to Iran" in medieval times!!!
- Why should I give you other instances of false reports in Tabari's work or elsewhere? You have three (and not just one) clear examples of Tabari's indulgence in falsifications and blind quotations in this article, two of which are readily refuted by Caetani. Why do you think you need more to perhaps judge Tabari's feeble logic? Tell me Jedi Master, can you possibly believe that an angel (a clear example of Beyhaghi's fairytales) appeared to Khosrau Parviz thrice giving him an ultimatum to convert to Islam? Do angels even exist? and if, according to Islamic faith, they exist, then what has been the function of Prophet Mohammad in inviting people to Islam? Don't you understrand that by relating this account, Tabari has even made a mockery of his own religion and Islam's fundamental pillars (i.e. prophet and revelation) in an attempt to give the impression that Islam was destined to spread? See how Islamic zealotry had made Tabari biased!
- However, since you seem eager to know, Tabari's reports on negotiations between Rostam Farrokhzād and messengers sent by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas on the eve of Qadesi are also outright falsifications. You may refer to Dr. Shoja'din -e- Shafa's (شجاعالدين شفا) "After 1400 Years" (Pas Az 1400 Sāl) for some undeniable arguments.
- Arab Muslims committed inhumane acts just like any other preceeding and forthcoming nomadic invader. The fact that they were only named as Muslims, does not make them an exception. That becomes more apparent when you consider that their generals and leaders, including Sa'ad, were the very same -newly converted- pagans who ferociously fought against the Prophet in Mecca. Subsequent to Qadesi, Sa'ad along with his triumphant army are responsible for sacking and burning of Ctesiphon and massacre and enslavement of its inhabitants. As one point of reference you can read Al-Masudi's Muruj adh-dhahab (مروج الذهب) in this regard. But merely every single Persian and Arabic historian and scholar has reports of this and similar incidents - and each depending on their personal whims.
- And you remember that I said recording narrations indiscriminately, at best, makes a storyteller out of someone and not an eminent historian. Tabari has been most discriminate in prefering and recording Islamic rumors and loosely documented accounts rather than narrating non-Islamic accounts of the same event in parallel.
- Contradictory reports in Tabari's work and many other Muslim scholars' are not a sign of impartiality but rather indicate that they simply had collected whatever they thought could be an aid to Islamic school of thought. The moral is: do not judge a book by its cover and its author's claims!
- When you accept that Tabari took sides with Islam, so naturally, you must agree with me that he was biased. Of course, the need to spread Islam in that so-called "pivotal era", does not justify resorting to falsifications. Hmmm?
- Muslims could not conquer Byzantine Empire completely until Turkish Ottoman rule. In fact, Arab Muslims suffered two decisive defeats trying to capture Constantinopole during 7th and 8th centuries. Still Tabari has some accounts that almost the same letters that were presented to Khosrau II were also sent to Heraclius, Patriarch of Alexandria and Ashama ibn Abjar and they secretly converted to Islam but did not dare to express their thoughts in front of their subjects. Yet another falsification. I would like to remind you that you managed to delete the same references with a poorly explained reason of non-comformity with NPOV and lack of clarity. And now you are looking for proof that Muslims did not make stories for the Byzantines! very nice. On the second thought, I assume those deletions should be reverted for the sake of countering your very same argument.
- My friend, you have only heard and read the traditional and vulgar belief that Islam was/is supposed to spread universally. Regrettably, I have to state that this has not been the case until second Caliph, Umar, when he decided that Arabia's internal strifes can only be solved by diverting Arab tribal conflicts outwards to save Islam and most importantly the newly established Caliphate from the eminent danger of disintegration and oblivion. According to Dr. Shafa, it is a well-founded fact amongst at least a host of historians of the last two centuries, icluding Noldeke and Caetani. So, please do not exclaim on an impulse that: Who said Prophet Muhammad didn't want Islam to expand outside of Arabia?.
- FYI, There are more than 20 verses in Quran (that was of course gathered and scribed during Uthman's time) that positively indicate that Islam is a religion that is exclusively intended by Allah for the inhabitants and Arabic speakers of Arabia.
- And last but not least; fueding over whether or not to call Tabari a Persian in a phrase, does not make a real difference in views about Islamic conquest of Persia, Persian identity, or Islam. Tabari is just another dark spot, like many other Persians, on the face of Iranian/Persian history. As a result, I do not really care if he is called a Persian or Muslim in one paragraph, or not.
Cordially, Ctesiphon7 13:20, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
- Hello again Ctesiphon7
- I won't say that I take offense at your analysis of me but I do think you take me for a fool anyway I look at it. If you don't mind I would like that you not be so presumptuous about me, my knowledge, my motives, and so on.
- And you know what I was talking about w/ reference to the 2 authors; the extension of Muslim power so far will hold great zeal for Muslims than what the other author's subjects of study are. What I'm asking is whether you can compare an author who studies the same period as Tabari who has a different style.
- So you're telling me he also wrote stuff on history of Islam, the Muslim expansion, etc.?
- Sorry, English and Urdu and a little French is as far as I go, no Persian. My apologies if I'm the cause of your bad mood; if it makes you feel any better, know that I do keep myself open to ideas and I am not doing this to troll.
- Theres something that I don't think you addressed and that is why Tabari is used extensively by many still, both Muslim and Non-Muslim, with only a few I've noticed who discredit him but none I've seen who throw him out completely as you seem to do. They don't cite his myths, they cite his modern history works but you seem to put too much emphasis IMHO on that.
- In Islam, you have allegiance to Islam but you also give allegiance to your country and government.
- Actually I took the whole account as one big report. Anyhow, my beliefs on religion are more or less irrelevant here though I think you might have meant to say Tabari fairy tales. I can't say anything definite on this account b/c I haven't read the whole thing as it is written in Tabari. In Ibn Ishaq though it just gives the simple account of him receiving the letter. You know it is not very far from impossible that a lot of an account can be true but things can be added; it doesn't make the whole thing wrong though, especially others do cite it.
- Well that doesn't explain much but thanks again for the reference, I will look into it.
- Sa'd was one of the first to convert to Islam in Mecca, not one who fought the Muslims, you might be thinking of Khalid who I do know was a rough fighter to put it lightly. BTW, The only thing I have ever heard on the invasion of Ctesiphon is this <http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v6f4/v6f4a030.html>, this <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ctesiphon>, and the Cambridge History of Iran (forgot page numbers). This is what I got from it: Many people evacuated before the Muslims entered the city; they left a lot of treasure which the Muslims took as war booty;, those that stayed behind were either taken captive (fighters), accepted Islam, or accepted the new Muslim rule and payed jizya; and the city continued to stand for many years to come.
- I will attest that in war no matter the precaution or beliefs, sometimes some will virtually always do stupid things, again put lightly.
- If he was purely out to just be one-sided, he wouldn't have as many negative accounts on Muslim/Islam history as well. Otherwise I can't say anything b/c I haven't fully read him.
- Tabari's is one issue, saying every other Muslim author is contradictory and non-Muslim authors aren't is a matter of POV.
- As a Muslim he agreed with Islam but again I've seen some accounts from Tabari which are pretty unfavorable to Islam.
- The things I question more readily are where Muslims or an Arab (Abu Sufyan for example) wouldn’t have been there themselves in any possibility. Again I haven't fully read Tabari and his source information so I can't fully judge. When I read Tabari quoted in Guillaume's Ibn Ishaq however, it didn't say anything about Heraclius converting. It does say something about him testing his people on whether they would leave their religion. There was something absurd about a ship from Abyssinia sinking which is pretty questionable. Otherwise, when regarding the actual meetings of the Muslims with the leaders, there’s no mention of all kings converting but hiding it.
- Traditional, probably. Vulgar, POV.
- You allege that I don’t know Persian history, generally put, well now its my turn to suggest you are being very presumptuous about Arab history as I’ve noted a few times already. During the reign of Muhammad, not only did virtually all Arabian tribes come under Muslim rule but so did many regions outside Arabia. Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, and even some tribes in regions on the outskirts of Arabia all came under Muhammad. It was in the beginning of the Caliphate of Abu Bakr there was a small period of civil strife that was put down w/in a few months and the Muslim state was unified again and the expansion of the state began gaining Syria, Jordan, and part of Iraq. In the time of Caliph Umar it continued till it took the Sassanid Empire and some more of the Byzantine Empire; his assassination was brought about by a Persian slave btw. It continued into Caliph Uthman’s time where internal strife only restarted then and that dealt w/ internal political and social disagreements.
- That lead host of historians isn’t the only group of historians there are nor are they the final word to anything. The fact that they are 2 centuries old and are still pushing the same thing actually might give credence to the need of modern scrutiny into their work.
- Well the concern for gathering all the writings of the Quran into one book started with Abu Bakr.
- Mind citing some 20 verses? Just the citation I mean of course, otherwise this’ll be longer than it already had to be.
- That’s what started this mess though.
- Sincerely Jedi Master MIK (talk) 20:44, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Hi Jedi Master MIK,
While I have been away, you do seem to have taken offsense in my last comments, some of which I am regrettably rating as somehow vitreolic and moody. Actually, I do believe that you are striving to be an indifferent critic here and that is why I am responding to your latest remarks. Apropos, if anything has taken you, me and more than a billion of the world’s past and present population for a fool, it is most definitely the traditional Islamic historical context that is imposing itself to this date as the definitive and true account of all that has actually happened. Incidentally, it is wonderful that you readily see impartial scholarly works that have begun since more than 2 centuries ago and are evolving right till this moment subject to modern scrutiny, but when +1000 yrs old historical narrations that are written and related according to the whims of the victor faction (i.e. Muslims) are scrutinized, you tend to become uber-skeptical regarding every trivial aspect of such investigation. Ergo, once again I would like to clarify things with regards to the points you have posed to disprove my comments:
- Yes, Beyhaghi has extensively recounted Sultan Mahmoud’s campaigns into India in the name of Jihad to spread Islam in the subcontinent, slaughtering and looting Hindu inhabitants in the name of Allah and also systematic prosecution of so-called Qarmatian heretics while it is clear that all he sought, had been booty and to promote his dignity in the eyes of Caliph in Baghdad. Beyhaghi’s account in this regard is an unbiased look devoid of any glory or affirmation. Remember that he himself had been a scribe in Mahmoud’s court but in the due process he has refrained from relating imaginary events and hearsay to satisfy his zeal for Islam or even to please his sovereign.
- Keeping the above point in mind, I ask you to kindly refrain from charging me with stating that all Muslim scholars were biased. On the contrary, Beyhaghi and many others had been Muslims and were not. However, some zealot or collaborative proponents were greatly partial in their works for apparent reasons.
- Who am I to utterly throw out Tabari? And when did I mention so? All I said was neither his accounts can be accepted outright without extensive comparative study nor can he be regarded as a real historian compared to those like Beyhaghi. Unforetunately, Tabari’s work is one of the earliest extant historical narrations about Islam and until time travel is not devised or a serendipitous histrical source is not stumbled upon, scholars have to refer to it for some time to come! Bearing that in mind, the point that he is quoted so widely does not mean that modern historians are content with his exegetical style.
- Could you please tell me what is the truth behind Tabari’s tale about the angel that tried to invite Khosro to Islam?
- Historians such as Noldeke, Leone Caetani and Ignác Goldziher have not been persistent about their ideas without ample historical and psychological reasoning and their trend (modern Islamic studies) has not died out in the 19th and early 20th century. Neither have they been an isolated cadre of rejected scholars as you might imagine. Shoja'din -e- Shafa, in "After 1400 Years" cites, at least one hundred key scholarly works scrutinizing traditional Islamic histories whose authorship began in 17th century and extends well into 21st century with works such as “Les fondations de I’Islam” authored by “A.L. de Premare”. So, those sources are not 2 centuries old my dear friend and for obvious reasons, you can easily figure out for yourself the reason why there are still very few scholars from Islamic countries among them.
- Perhaps the concern to collect Quran began during Abu Bakr’s reign after the Battle of Yamama, eventhough in one instance he opposed the idea that: “If that was crucial, Prophet himself would have committed to it during his lifetime.” I will try to find the source which quotes this saying from Abu Bakr. We know that the bulk of this task was finalized during Uthman’s time, and not during that of Abu Bakr or Umar, otherwise these two Caliphs would have already substituted their presumably finalized revision with those scattered versions that were at hand then. Moreover, delving into historical facts it becomes apparent that this had to be done on an emergency basis that would have normally lead to increased human error. Look at this unbiased article from Caetani for more elaboration: http://answering-islam.org.uk/Books/Caetani/uthman.htm. It’s irrelevant here to talk about discrepancies between various versions of Qurans that emerged due to later conversion from Kufic to Perso-Arabic script. But given that you were so eager to know about those verses that defy the notion of “Islam's universal dissemination since inception”, there you go:
- An-Nahl, 36, a phophet for each people.
- Ibrahim, 4, each prophet speaking the language of his folk.
- Ibrahim, 9, messengers sent for various people whom were rejected.
- Ar-Ra’d, 7, a guide for every folk.
- As-Sajda, 23, Moses for the people of Israel.
- Al-Ma'ida, 46-47, Jesus for the believers of the Gospel.
- Hud, 36-37; 50-52; 61-62; 84-91, Noah, Hud, Salih & Shu'aib each were sent to guide their own folk.
- Al-Isra, 95, a prophet for the angels, should they have an abode on the Earth.
- Al-An’am, 130, prophets raised for the genies.
- A-Hajj, 34 & 67, a place of worship for each nation.
- Ash-Shura, 7, Quran has been revealed in Arabic language to forewarn people of Mecca and its outskirts.
- Al-An’am, 92, ditto.
- An-Nahl, 89, a witness raised for every nation and Muhammed sent as witness for his people.
- An-Nisa, 113, ditto.
- At-Tawba, 128, ditto.
- Al-Jumua, 2, ditto.
- As-Sajda, 3, ditto.
- There are a number of Suras where رحمة للعالمين (a blessing for people [of the world]) or similar terms are used, but these are all chronologically preceded or succeeded by many of the Suras in which it is stressed that Allah has sent a messenger for each folk. These double standards are often attributed to the sudden change of policies implemented to safeguard the newly formed Islamic empire. Even if we take for granted that Quran had meant Islam as a cosmopolitan religion since its inception, that does not justify the attempt to preemptively proselytize one’s neighbors by military offensive whether they accept the presumed dawah to the new religion or not. Considering that the first victims of this onslaught were believers of the older monotheistic religions with revealed scriptures (i.e. Zoroastrianism and Christianity) that have closer bonds with Islamic belief, the pretension to spread Islam to pagans and infidels is further invalidated.
- Ransacking of Ctesiphon (or the presumed collection of war booty as legitimized by Islam) has been a pillaging phase that left this jewel of Mesopotamia in a state of irreparable dereliction and ruin, which was utterly completed during the next century by taking away its building blocks to construct the new city of Baghdad. As we know through works of many historians like Abdolhossein Zarrinkoob, much of the surviving inhabitants including women and children were enslaved and taken back to Arabia for various tasks. Note that here I am not lamenting for the city like medieval Persian poets such as Khaghani. What I would like to remind you of through all this is the flourishing culture and arts in this city that were willfully stymied; many of the art forms such as sculpting and painting never recovered in the region due to hostile attitude of Islam towards these. The next mentionable point is complete negligence of the invading Arab horde with regard to respecting values and belief system of the conquered people to the extent that civilized nations would practice at the time; obligatory and non-compromising enforcement of the new religion and payment of Jizya under duress being one aspect of it. Compare this treatment with a very similar occurance of conquest of the Babylonian capital by Cyrus The Great that ironically happened in Mesopotamia in 539 BC (circa 11 centuries before). Not only Cyrus ordered his army to protect the people from harm, but also he abolished slavery, effectively ending Babylonian captivity. He also entered the temple of Marduk in person to pay homage to the god of Babylonians while he himself was an adherent of Zoroastrianism. He also decreed (according to Cyrus Cylinder) that people in all conquered lands were free to practice their own religion and this unprecedented trend continued for two centuries until the end of the first Persian empire. Hopefully, now you can judge the shear difference between deeds of a truly civilized conquerer and the triumphant army of the Arabs under Khalid ibn al-Walid. Eventhough I have not seen any accounts of ordered or widespread massacres taking place in Ctesiphon, most probably because little resistance took place and the city was already evacuated, but many histories such as Farsnameh by Ibn Balkhi or Majmal al-tawarikh to name a few, mention gruesome massacre of other conquered cities such as Istakhr, Rayy, Isfahan, Hamedan and Gorgan where the population happenned to revolt more than twice or thrice. The pace of uprisings did not cease with passing of years and were extended for at least two centuries, hence Zarrinkoob’s famous title of ‘’Two Centuries of Silence’’. In short, what befell the Iranians in whole was not merely a change of power, it was an upheaval that challenged all aspects of people’s lives, from what they could believe in, what they could eat or drink, to speaking with their own language, to give Iranian names to their children, to their right to be ruled by local rulers and celebrate their national feasts such as Norouz and Sadeh. Have you ever noticed why Iranian individuals like Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa, have had two names (one Arabic and one Persian)? No wonder why such great effort in form of fabrications has been ongoing by Muslim historians and scholars to desensitize minds of the forcefully converted masses throughout generations. Even to date, many of the Iranian Pro-Islam scholars claim that Persians converted to Islam enthusiastically and almost immediately with those infamous letters being cornerstones of this magnificent tampering of the history!
- Apologetically, I would like to bring to your attention the fact that those civil strifes of Arabia (namely Ridda Wars) during Abu Bakr that you tend to underestimate so readily, have had the most profound ramifications in the course of Islamic history. What you plainly call a few months of conflicts, is related to apostasy of the majority of newly converted tribes of Arabia the instance that they heard the news about prophet’s death. I am certain that you can understand the gravity of such a situation. What does instigate such an spontaneous and immediate reaction in your opinion? Although, the newly found Caliphate could quell the uprisings and potential pretenders with utmost brutality and insidiousness of Khalid and not after having suffered heavy casualties and being defeated twice, the status quo was assessed by Abu Bakr and Umar to be too perilous to rejoice in the subsequent reunification. The hazard looming in the horizon was “legitimacy crisis” as in the course of Ridda Wars, the four mighty pretenders (Musailima, Sajah Al-Tamimiyyah, Aswad ibn Ka’ab ’Anasi and Taliha طليحه) were not contesting for political supremacy, but were challeging Islam for prophethood. If any of them had succeeded, Islamic history would have been written differently. Moreover, as with Ghengis Khan and Atilla, after unification of nomadic tribes, the course of events directs the conquerer to turn the attention of the trbies outwards instead of wasting one’s time and resources on inevitable inter-tribal confilicts. This way, one may both make tribal leaders content with the spoils of war and prevent his bloodlusting generals and armies from ripping one another apart.
- Finally, I am perplexed as to why you call this debate a mess. Is it really so frustrating to realize someone is contradicting the point of view that is backed by the majority? The majority that albeit are not necessarily correct.
- you do seem to have taken offsense in my last comments - Likewise.
- but when +1000 yrs old historical narrations that are written and related according to the whims of the victor faction... - I don't doubt that they probably did mess with things but if they really wanted to do the mass changes that you suspect them of everywhere, there would be no "bad" accounts in existence today at all nor would there be some Muslims defending or flaunting them around either. IMHO, when people did falsify accounts or change things, more of the reasons included corrupt rulers and religious clergy wanting to change the faith to fit their desires in rule than to sugar coat anything, otherwise like I said it wouldn't be easy to find so many suggest "bad" accounts in Muslim history.
- Yes, Beyhaghi has extensively recounted Sultan Mahmoud’s campaigns into India - I didn't mention Sultan Mahmoud nor did I defend him anywhere and if he really was the jerk you describe him as, shame on him. I think you mistook what I was saying; I was wondering whether he wrote on the early history of Islam like the early Muslim expansion, i.e. first 4 caliphs, Ummayads, etc.
- also systematic prosecution of so-called Qarmatian heretics - Well to give him at least one benefit of the doubt, from the wiki article on the Qarmatians, they really do seem like a bunch of nutters.
- ask you to kindly refrain from charging me with stating that all Muslim scholars were biased. - Did I? We've only mentioned 2 Muslim historians so far and I've only criticized you for the staunch view you hold on Tabari.
- All I said was neither his accounts can be accepted outright without extensive comparative study nor can he be regarded as a real historian compared to those like Beyhaghi. - You said he wrote fairy tales. And I still don't understand how compartive study can be made between historians who apparently wrote of 2 different histories. Did Beyhaghi write about early Islam?
- Unforetunately, Tabari’s work is one of the earliest extant historical narrations about Islam - I know that and thats why I was asking whether you know any other Muslim historians who also discuss early Islam, not Abbasids or later, in a way you find more neutral.
- Could you please tell me what is the truth behind Tabari’s tale about the angel that tried to invite Khosro to Islam? - I wouldn't know, I've not read that account yet nor did I bring it up nor did I ever say that I think everything is reliable in his work.
- Neither have they been an isolated cadre of rejected scholars as you might imagine. Shoja'din -e- Shafa, in "After 1400 Years" cites, at least one hundred key scholarly works scrutinizing traditional Islamic histories... - And there are also plenty more historians out there, both Muslim and non-Muslim though, who do hold more credence to many accounts.
- eventhough in one instance he opposed the idea that: “If that was crucial, Prophet himself would have committed to it during his lifetime.” I will try to find the source which quotes this saying from Abu Bakr. - Don't hold me to this but IIRC Muhammad had the plan set for what order everything would go in and so if that holds true, this would be a strange thing for Abu Bakr to be saying.
- Look at this unbiased article from Caetani for more elaboration - I don't know if you know anything about answering-islam but its about as unbiased as a site like faithfreedom.org. The site name itself suggests that it can't truly be objective.
- But given that you were so eager to know about those verses that defy the notion of “Islam's universal dissemination since inception”, there you go: - It seems by your quick assumptions and jumping to conclusions about other peoples faiths you are not being unbiased. If you were, it might have occurred to you from reading those verses that maybe its suggesting that prophets were sent to each people as sub-ordinates to a final law bearing prophet that would come to unite all those peoples under one law. Heck you could have even asked me about it.
- Ransacking of Ctesiphon (or the presumed collection of war booty as legitimized by Islam) has been a pillaging phase that left this jewel of Mesopotamia in a state of irreparable dereliction and ruin - According to other sources the cities of the region went on fine for those several centuries and gradually declined with the inception of newer cites like Baghdad whose creation which it seems you consider an atrocity I think was rather a rebuilding of the former greatness of the people and region of Mesopotamia.
- much of the surviving inhabitants including women and children were enslaved and taken back to Arabia for various tasks. - You didn't read what I wrote and cited did you? According to Encyclopedia Iranica and the Cambridge History of Iran, not only was most of the city evacuated before the Muslims entered but those that remained were given the usual terms of surrender to Muslim rule, i.e. live fine, pay jizya.
- many of the art forms such as sculpting and painting never recovered in the region due to hostile attitude of Islam towards these. - Again according to other sources they seemed to have recovered just fine after a number of years. Not only that, a greater rise and spread of the same subjects happened under Muslim rule.
- to the extent that civilized nations would practice at the time - You're right about that b/c again as I've read it they were less jerks to people of different religions under their rule than say Zoroastrians and Christians were in the Byzantine and Sassanid empires.
- obligatory and non-compromising enforcement of the new religion and payment of Jizya under duress being one aspect of it - Jizya is the equivalence of tax which is something I'm pretty sure most states need to run an efficient economy. And not only did Muslims have their own taxes like Zakat, they were obligated to fight for the state when needed. I realize that in later periods there were rules that forgot these rules set in Islam or abused them but we're not talking about them here.
- Not only Cyrus ordered his army to protect the people from harm, but also he abolished slavery, effectively ending Babylonian captivity. - Too bad the same could not be said of the Sassanids who IIRC did persecute Jews and did have slavery. Also it should be interesting to note that the kind of slavery you're talking about was abolished in Islam and in fact when it couldn't be, Muslims would buy many slaves to set them free.
- He also entered the temple of Marduk in person to pay homage to the god of Babylonians while he himself was an adherent of Zoroastrianism. He also decreed (according to Cyrus Cylinder) that people in all conquered lands were free to practice their own religion and this unprecedented trend continued for two centuries until the end of the first Persian empire. - 3 words, one article: The Umariyya Covenant. Also interesting to note, when asked to pray in a church, he said no b/c he wanted to honor and emphasize its freedom to practice the faith practiced in it, i.e. Christianity.
- now you can judge the shear difference between deeds of a truly civilized conquerer and the triumphant army of the Arabs under Khalid ibn al-Walid. - Khalid bin Walid only went as far up as Syria, Jordan, and part of Iraq and the worst action that people say that he might have done, an account which is given in Tabari and according to your analysis on accounts of Tabari sounded pretty fairy tale-ish, was the "River of Blood".
- but many histories such as Farsnameh by Ibn Balkhi or Majmal al-tawarikh to name a few, mention gruesome massacre - How do you know they aren't sketchy? Patriotic and cultural zeal can be just as bad, sometimes worse, as religious zeal. Interestingly they too were written many centuries afterwards.
- other conquered cities such as Istakhr, Rayy, Isfahan, Hamedan and Gorgan where the population happenned to revolt more than twice or thrice. - Almost none of the articles on those cities talk about such happenings. One does but only mentions one destruction. Another says it was destroyed but in a 10th century rule. I'll have to look more into but I've not found anything so far but again, if there were commanders who did things like this as there was not one commander who went to each city one by one (there was a central commander, Sa'd, of course), shame on them too.
- it was an upheaval that challenged all aspects of people’s lives, from what they could believe in - If that was the case, then the majority of Iranian population would not have taken till the Abbasid rule to convert.
- to their right to be ruled by local rulers and celebrate their national feasts such as Norouz and Sadeh. - Norouz: Nowruz, along with Sadeh (celebrated in mid-winter), survived in society following the introduction of Islam in 650 AD
- Have you ever noticed why Iranian individuals like Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa, have had two names (one Arabic and one Persian)? - Uhhh actually he's the first and only Persian so far I've seen like that.
- Even to date, many of the Iranian Pro-Islam scholars claim that Persians converted to Islam enthusiastically and almost immediately with those infamous letters being cornerstones of this magnificent tampering of the history! - I never suggested that nor would I ever claim that I've read any such historians claim that.
- civil strifes of Arabia (namely Ridda Wars) during Abu Bakr that you tend to underestimate so readily - I said they were a few months, I didn't say they weren't a rigorous few months.
- What you plainly call a few months of conflicts, is related to apostasy of the majority of newly converted tribes of Arabia the instance that they heard the news about prophet’s death. - I don't know about a majority but I do know 2 things; one, they were mainly bedouin tribes and two, they were instigated by various demagogues who thought it a good chance to take advantage of a possibly downfall of the newly created state to tear it apart for their own rule even though a successor, i.e. Abu Bakr, was chosen expediently and the word of such news was sent out with haste. And what some historians totally attribute to to all out denunciation of Islam was more so civil strife and rebellion against the state than an actual denouncing of Islam as many said they still believed in Islam but that b/c the head of state, i.e. Muhammad, was gone they didn't have to be under the unified rule anymore.
- were not contesting for political supremacy, but were challeging Islam for prophethood. - Yeah as a guise like your example of Sultan Mahmoud but if you noticed the trend of their rebellion, it was taking the alliances of tribes which comprised the Muslim state which in essence would destabilize and piece it up.
- Finally, I am perplexed as to why you call this debate a mess. - Have you seen how long it is now? That breeds a lot of miscommunication which I do see coming up in various spots.
- Is it really so frustrating to realize someone is contradicting the point of view that is backed by the majority? The majority that albeit are not necessarily correct. - If you attached some names to those labels it might be easier to understand what you're referring to.
Good day Jedi Master MIK
- No, my friend. I am beyond being offended in these situations for I rarely cling to my viewpoints in a rigid and inflexible manner as to take something extremely personal. Being raised as a Muslim, I have been persuaded to think amazingly similar to you and as a result, I can pretty much predict your upcoming answers (no derogation intended). Also, I have to apologize if you feel that my style of writing is overly imposing at times, but having discussed with various defenders of Islamic tenets and conceptions, I understand that occasionally the reciprocal arguments become somewhat fiery which is unfortunate.
- You said: ‘’I think you mistook what I was saying; I was wondering whether he [Beyhaghi] wrote on the early history of Islam like the early Muslim expansion, i.e. first 4 caliphs, Umayyad, etc.’’: No, Abolfazl Beyhaqi has no accounts on advent of Islam, at least not a surviving one. But given his true accounts of historical events related to Sultan Mahmoud, we could expect something more realistic than those of Tabari and Ibn Hisham’s works. He bluntly relates Masoud as an opium addict who during one of his campaigns misses a strategic opportunity in his euphoric stupor! This is the kind of narration that you could have relied on regarding advent of Islam, not a bouquet of empty applauding and hailing commentaries.
- You said: ‘’from the wiki article on the Qarmatians, they really do seem like a bunch of nutters’’: Once again, you should not suffice to Wiki to judge and classify a much complicated cult like Qarmatians. Then again, that is if we consider Muslim armies of the Abbassids and their vassal minions such as Sultan Mahmoud as Chip ‘n’ Dale dancers who were terrorized by this extremist faction. The bitter truth is, people of all social strata were easily slain, decapitated and lapidated by the slightest hint that they might be Qarmatis (the usual accusation of heresy in religious societies). One instance from Beyhaghi’s History is the execution of Hasanak Vazir by stoning, charged as being a Qarmati, due to the grudge Masoud had against him. The public execution scene as depicted by Beyhaghi is one of the most vivid and graphic historical accounts one can possibly read with the poor people weeping instead of hurling stones at the victim. Being hopeless, the executioner strangles to death the much popular vizier. By reading this scenic account alone, one can imagine what manner of personalities could have emerged from Arabia, if rulers of the much cultured Persian city of Ghazni acted so horribly 4 centuries later.
- You said: ‘’And I still don't understand how comparative study can be made between historians who apparently wrote of 2 different histories [Tabari & Beyhaghi]. Did Beyhaghi write about early Islam?’’: Without any further ado, I would like to introduce Tabari’s contemporary, Dinawari, with his famous work Akhbâr al-tiwâl. We will get to him during the next few statements.
- About Caetani’s article on http://answering-islam.org.uk/Books/Caetani/uthman.htm, I have to say that search results pointed me to that site. I already know very well what rant and rave that site contains and do not care for the rest of its contents. Caetani’s article was my goal and you managed to discredit and ignore the whole point by commenting on answering-islam.com. Please do not judge a book by its cover and remark on that article and not its sponsor site.
- You said: ‘’it might have occurred to you from reading those verses that maybe its suggesting that prophets were sent to each people as sub-ordinates to a final law-bearing prophet that would come to unite all those peoples under one law’’: A very predictable and typical retort, alas without much forethought:
- I think you overlooked Ash-Shura, 7 that states Islam is intended for Arabic-speaking inhabitants of Mecca and its surroundings [hence it has been revealed in Arabic and not Persian]. Amusingly, and as is customary with Quran, the next verse says that Allah does not wish to unite the rest [of Arabia] as one nation and does not extend his mercy to tyrants [Zalimun] which effectively excludes and denies yours and Muslims’ pretension that prophet had been intending to unite people of the world, at least not in the first place and before his career would pick up.
- Quran forgets to credit Zoroaster, Mani, Budha and Hindu deities and gurus and other religions based on revealed scriptures. The reason is either ignorance, or simple enmity. After all, in Arabia of that day, prophet did not need to prove his legitimacy to Aztec worshippers of Quetzalcoatl (jocularly), only Jews and Christians and therefore the prophets they believed in! Very clever…
- No leader or conqueror dreams of conquest and spread of his endorsed belief system to the known world prior to achieving the proper armies and followers. Read the history and you will find out that it is true for all of them. Even if he dreams so, it should be concealed until the right time arrives. From what we know, during his first years, prophet was already a laughingstock in Mecca, just for his Dawa, let alone informing people that he has come to lead people of the world.
- Even if what Muslims say about Quran is true, it could have been another instance of adopting (plagiarism) the notions set forth by the painter prophet Mani whose religion was already 4 centuries old then. Mani knew himself as the seal of all prophets and a universal saviour of mankind. The geographical vicinity and very similar religious acts of Manichaeism and Islam (like fasting and praying) has lead many scholars to assume so. At least Mani was more liberal in crediting any religion that he had heard of in the hopes that they would all become his followers. No wonder, Muslims during all ages had been destroying Manicheans works and sources more than any other religion.
- As I said before, even if “universal dissemination of Islam” had been initially put forward by the prophet, by no means it justifies military campaigns against other nations to proselytize them. Mani did not have any armies behind him (of course he never had the chance since he was a pacifistic prophet or let us assume he was hindered in his pacifistic stance just like prophet in Mecca), yet Manichaeism made unimaginable progress to the detriment of Christians and Muslims and in the face of all that harsh prosecution.
- The quality and size of the furnace-baked mud-bricks used in construction of Ctesiphon were never created again and therefore were taken away to construct Baghdad with the help of two prominent Persian architects to lay foundation of palaces for the Abbassid Caliphs. Those bricks are one of the secrets that the Arch of Taq-i Kisra is standing tall until this day. That is one simple reason for the decline of culture and technique in the region that is addressed by many prominent architects and archeologists. Also, please give me an example of a painting (portrait) or human-shaped sculpture that belongs to Umayyad or Abbassid era. . We know that Farabi was chastised for his Book of Music and while he has mentioned the Royal Khosravani music of Barbad, today we do not know what those mystifying songs sounded like. That’s a big loss and a sign that cultural discontinuations have appeared in the Persian society due to the Muslim conquests and domination of Islamic tenets. Moreover, according to some historical records related by Will Durant, in Baghdad of the Abbasid era, listening to music and having musicians at home was a crime equivalent to drinking wine punishable by lashing. That’s the extent of freedom to enjoy life in the newly founded Islamic metropolis. And speaking of wine, Persia as a country that possessed the oldest wine-making culture (http://www.archaeology.org/9609/newsbriefs/wine.html), gradually became a teetotaller land. Iran had been a country where vintage had been praised as an ultimate art and a sacred joy (refer to Hafiz and Khayyam poetry), now the general population regards wine as a demonic beverage. That much told is enough to establish that Persian culture was impacted greatly and adversely during this phase.
- You said: ‘’According to Encyclopedia Iranica and the Cambridge History of Iran, not only was most of the city evacuated before the Muslims entered but those that remained were given the usual terms of surrender to Muslim rule, i.e. live fine, pay jizya.’’: Well, Encyclopedia Iranica definitely can be held credible where it has mentioned something, but in case of siege and capture of Ctesiphon, it has only stated less than a paragraph without any details. However, according to Zarrinkoub’s “Two Centuries of Silence” from Dinawari’s Akhbâr al-tiwâl, not only the armies capture the city’s impenetrable fortifications with ruse and after causing famine inside, but also Sa’ad left his army unchecked after entering the defenseless city which has normally lead to unwanted bloodshed and mass pillaging and burning. With the people evacuating the city, it is logical that some of them would never return and leave a ghost city behind. It is stated by Dinawari that remaining people and the standing guards of Ctesiphon called Arab armies Diwān (demons). That is how pleasant those soldiers seemed to the people. For heaven’s sake, ordinary people’s belongings are not spoils of war, at least for someone who talks of manhood and valour. Slavery was also well in process for those who had dared to resist or looked fit enough to work. Moreover, Ibn Khaldoun (a non-Persian to help exonerate against your accusations of patriotism) in Kitābu l-ʕibār mentions the dim-witted manner of Sa’ad in asking for directions from Umar about the books he had uncovered in Ctesiphon. As those books are considered inferior to Quran, they are all cast into fire without a moment of pondering. So much for your beloved Sa’ad!
- According to Zarrinkoub, Jizya was no ordinary tax, it was a backbreaking burden that forced many Persians to truly or falsely convert to Islam to avoid paying it while Arabs themselves were exempt from most form of the taxes during Umayyad period. Conversions were not encouraged until very late to exploit the people for as long as possible. Widespread abuse of the people, branding of villagers to prevent their relocation and tax evasion and many horrendous crimes were committed to obtaining Gaziyat (Jizya). However, the fast-paced rate of conversions during early Umayyad period lead to empty treasuries and enforcing other laws to alleviate the deficit.
- Calling Persians and Romans jerks in comparison to Bedouin Arabs is just as you call it only POV. But really, historical contexts other than Islamic ones, have a different opinion about them. During all Parthian and Sassanid dynasties, Persians kept defending their lands on two fronts: expansionistic Romans on the West and savage Turkic nomadic tribes on the East and North. During the biggest part of this multicentenial period, Persia was more on the defensive than offensive and for this they risked having their capital in the line of fire, enabling them to mount and organize a better resistance against the Romans that had not proclaimed Christianity as state religion until Constantine I. During all this time, Persians did not attempt to proselytize other nations with only rare cases like the failed attempt with Armenians in Battle of Avarayr. And in their defensive stance, they did not remain militaristic grunts, but rather focused on finer aspects of life like architecture, math, music and medicine just as Romans did. Arabs on the other hand, enjoyed continuing their nomadic lives after conquest; Arabia became the same isolated backward Sahara that it used to be, while Persians, Egyptians and, Jews and Christians of Mesopotamia assisted a very Persianized Golden Age that is being confiscated by Muslims as Islamic Golden Age. As if one’s belief has anything to do with science and technology.
- One cannot help but deride at the usual boasting about abolishment of slavery by Mohammad and his successors. But when it comes to Umar being assassinated by a disgruntled Persian slave craftsman, things become rather comical. Not to mention, there is not a verse among those ca.6600 Quran verses verifying this so-called abolishment, however you can find verses that clearly confirm slavery (do not ask for examples, every Muslim knows about them). And it gets even more ludicrous when it is attempted to compare freeing a number of slaves due to political and populistic reasons with Cyrus’s decree. FYI, Cyrus Cylinder is considered as the first manifest of human rights by the UN headquarters. Persepolis has been constructed entirely with paid work force including professional craftswomen being paid equal to craftsmen, the sun-baked clay documents of which are available to date. Granted the Sassanids practiced slavery (Roman slaves worked to construct Bishapur), but Muslim Arabs were by no means better as they always pretend.
- Nestorian Christians were tolerated to some extent but whenever it was felt that they were in league with the Romans, they were reprimanded. Bytheway, Jews were never prosecuted in Persia until after Islamic conquest when every single religion was prosecuted! The religious prosecutions in Iran did not end until last century with records of every humiliation being directed at helpless Jews, Zoroastrians and Christians. For all other religions, you could expect a painful death upon being exposed. Thanks to Islamic beliefs, today religious prosecutions have been revived by Islamic Republic as evidenced by mass emigrations of minorities including Bahais. Anyway, I am not trying to morally defend the Sassanids, that’s a failed attempt and a lost cause as is with the early Muslims.
- I believe you should first prove that The Umariyya Covenant is not a work of fiction. As goes with Cyrus paying homage to Marduk and respecting all other religions (and pls mind any religion, not just the ones that Islam justifies), it is clearly written in Cyrus Cylinder, mentioned by Xenophon in Cyropedia (know that he was only inspired by Cyrus) and stated in the Old Testament. Torah has even gone further and called Cyrus a prophet and a Messiah. Something that Cyrus himself had never claimed; a rubbish typical of all religions, especially the Abrahamic ones.
- The so-called fairy tale of “River of Blood” is not only stated by Tabari. Others also mention similar events in many cities like Gorgan and cities of Sistan. That is were comparative study comes into play. Being infuriated by people’s resistance, Arab military leaders had a habit of swearing various oaths that later they had to hold true. Including rotating a mill by people’s blood until enough grain is ground to flour so that he can consume the bread product. When numerous people were slain and the blood is still inadequate, they poured warm water to dilute it, turning the mill, so that the bloodthirsty commander could eat and remain faithful to Allah. (Kamil by Ali ibn al-Athir, Balazori, Majmal al-tawarikh, Farsnameh by Ibn Balkhi). Biruni in ‘’From The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries‘’ narrates that so many educated and intellectuals were slaughtered in Khwarezm and books were destroyed that people lost their literature and history except what they had in their memories. Note that Biruni is a prominent scientist and most probably he would not indulge in blind patriotism.
- I really want to know how you manage not to feel ashamed calling more than 10 sources confirming the widespread and recurring massacres committed by Muslim commanders in Persia as hazy and sketchy. If you think patriotism and chauvinism had something to do with that, you are right but in the opposite way. Historical sources state that Persians resented being conquered by Arabs that they arrogantly knew as inferior, so much that they revolted constantly to liberate their cities. The uprisings were incompetently answered in turn by nefarious acts of atrocity and stifling people’s culture and heritage. If Muslims were so benevolent as you consider them, they should have read the handwriting on the wall and terminate the occupation which they did not, till being forced out by the vengeful Persians. You do not even want to find or read those sources. Funnily, you cite Wiki articles on the cities I had named without having any previous recollection that so many cities used to exist in vast lands of Greater Iran, each with their own unique culture, cuisine, costumes, handicrafts, arts, and languages. Languages that were and are part of human cultural heritage and were brutally suppressed. My suggestion is that you put aside your passion for a few minutes and study Islamization in Iran and relevant parts of Anti-Iranian sentiment and consider the number of sources signifying the vicious conduct against the Persians despite whatever the traditional and vulgar (yes, what better word than vulgar?) Islamic histories claim.
- You said: ‘’Nowruz, along with Sadeh (celebrated in mid-winter), survived in society following the introduction of Islam in 650 AD’’: Now, do you think this has been so simple? And did you not hesitate to blurt this out in front of an Iranian thoughtlessly? There has been more than 12 feasts in ancient Persia (at least one for each month), including Nowruz, Sadeh, Mehregan, Tirgan and Espandarmazgan to name a few. Since all were considered as feasts of the Magi (Zoroastrians), they were harshly suppressed, first by the triumphant Arabs and then by the Persians who had become more zealous Muslims than Arabs, such as Ghazali. Yet, on different occasions such as when the Ziyaridss under Mardavij liberated a number of Persian cities like Isfahan and Kashan, some of these feasts were revived after 3 centuries! If it was not for the bloody resistance of Persians, all would be lost. But to tell you the truth and inform you about the current situation, the only feast that is being celebrated today is Nowruz. Sadeh is only being held by Zoroastrians in sparse groups and away from spying eyes of the other Muslims. The rest of the feasts are history except among Zoroastrians and Parsis. One clear sign of Muslims’ enmity with these feasts are measures taken by the contemporary Ruhollah Khomeini against celebration of Nowruz. Unfortunately for the tyrant Islamists, Persian culture prevailed again.
- You said: ‘’Uhhh actually he (Rouzbeh) is the first and only Persian so far I've seen like that’’: Utterance of the professionals! At least you could examine the article about him more closely to find out his father had also been given an Arabic name. Not only Persians were not allowed to introduce themselves with Iranian names in formal conditions or scholarly works, but also they were hard pressed not to be called by their Persian names in public. I will give you another example and leave you alone: Abu Muslim Khorasani’s Persian name has been Behzādān pour Vandād Hormozd.
- What has happened inside Arabia before the conquests began, pertains to their internal affairs and strictly their own business. However, when preemptive invasion of neighboring regions takes place, intentions and motives should be analyzed and considered.
- If I am prolonging a debate in this fashion, citing numerous references and attempting to rationalize according to historical trends, it is all because, even though Islamic conquest of Persia has occurred 1400 years ago, it is still among very few other cultural and humanitarian disasters whose consequences have not been fully perceived yet, merely due to the self-righteous attitude of the Muslims and baseless and illogical historical fabrications such as letters of prophet Muhammad to rulers of the neighboring kingdoms that can be regarded as a “license to invade”. Just to let you know that the practice of legitimizing victorious usurpers and demagogues (as you call them) has been a fairly typical one throughout the history: In Karnamag-i Artaxshir-i Papakan, Ardeshir I, the founder of Sassanid dynasty, is lucidly bestowed with supernatural powers and his usurping of the throne from the last Parthian shah is justified in an artistic manner. To legitimize his rule, he claims to have descended from Achaemenid sovereigns and has received divine charisma from Ahura Mazda. All this gibberish has of course been jumbled by those successors who derived their legitimacy from Ardeshir. This is also true about Ghengis Khan. Legends all point that people knew a mighty general would emerge in Mongolia. Yet, in a time when Japanese feel regretful about what their fathers did to Chinese and Koreans during WWII and Germany constantly apologizes to the Holocaust victims, and Turkey is under pressure to officially apologize for the undeniable Armenian Genocide during 1914-1918, and any Iranian expresses his sorrow for the Delhi massacre ordered by Nader Shah in 1739, Muslims stay defiant and resolute about the crimes that early Muslim Arabs committed in Persia and the rest of the conquered lands and recognize it as a rightful and deserved deed. Only an obstinate Christian might be so stubborn to confirm the savagery committed by Spanish Conquistadors in Americas as a god-given task that had to be performed no matter the humanitarian costs.
- Please do not get disturbed if you notice me arriving at conclusions, because as proven so far in the course of our discussions, you merely consider Islamic faith, its prophet and the rightly guided caliphs and their closest allies as infallible and cannot view them as individuals and events that follow very similar historical and sociological trends. Trends that have repeated themselves throughout the history unless there is good evidence to prove otherwise. Instead, you are willing to regard them as exceptions without giving much attention to the facts stated by the defeated people (more liberal historians and scholars). And by people, I mean people, not the ruling elite, since as argued by Will Durant it is the people living in a land who make history and not the rulers who rage wars and deploy armies.
Sassanid Court Formalities
Court formalities are further explained (according to Arthur Christensen), so as to clarify that Muhammad's envoy - in case he had assumingly been permitted an audience - could have never conversed with Shahanshah the way it's narrated in Islamic accounts and Khosrau would've never reacted as claimed, since court etiquette was dictating absolutely no physical contact between Shah and any visitor. In other words, Khosrau would have never touched the letter in person, let alone tearing it up. Ctesiphon7 09:04, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
- One, haven't you ever heard the saying never say never ;-)? Two, saying we know for sure how someone 1400 years ago would've reacted personally is pretty speculative. Three, anger can lead virtually anyone to do virtually anything, unorthodox or not. Four, IIRC according to the account he didn't converse with the envoy at all, he was just read the letter given by the envoy and when he was read things not to his liking, he tore it up and had the envoy sent on his way; no real physical or verbal contact was made with the actual envoy though. Five, if you don't mind I would like that you could give me a link to something more detailed on court formalities of Khosrau II, just for personal review and curiosity of course. Six, thx for the explanation. Jedi Master MIK 02:16, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
Hi Jedi Master,
- Nice comment. Actually when you say "never", you are avoiding its much longer variant: "a probability of infinitesimal proportions"!!! ;-) It is rightly said that nothing is impossible, but considering the circumstances, some things are highly improbable.
- Yes, but note that the original historical narration is also "pretty speculative", as such. Ibn Hisham and Tabari could not have known for sure how Khosrau would react if Muhammad had sent a letter coercively inviting him to a religion that at that time, was considered another eclectic ideology, such as Manichaeism (but not identically benign). Chances are that the envoy would only submit the letter to marzban of Al-Hirah and be sent back on his way without any definite answer. Then how could Muhammad realize the letter's fate? As you see the whole issue is speculative, but you have to judge what was more likely to happen.
- We can speculate that if Khosrau had received or was made aware of a letter with such commanding tone (of course any courtier doing so would be virtually commiting suicide), his enragement would not translate into tearing up the letter. Instead, it is more likely that he would have deployed a contingent force to Arabia to crush and subdue a supposedly arrogant tribal leader. Remember that Khosrau already did this to his Arab Lakhmid vassal ruler of Al-Hirah and thus ended their dynastic rule. So which course of action do you think was more probable for the furious Khosrau? Childishly tearing up a letter by his own hands, slaying the envoy (many accounts in history agree with this one) or crushing the offender? And note that when this letter was assumingly dispatched, Muhammad had not even occupied Mecca yet to enlist many of the pagan military leaders in his army. So, Muslim forces would be pretty puny in comparison to mighty Sassanid spah of Shahrbaraz. Do you believe that the wise politican that we know in Muhammad would have played with the lion's tale so recklessly?
- Yes, you are right. Khosrau, by default, would have no physical or verbal contact with the envoy. But allow me to elaborate that Sassanid Shahanshahs were called khodāygān, meaning God's delegate over the people and hence treated as demigods. It was believed that they received their kingship and thus their legitimacy from Ahura Mazda in the form of what was known as farre-i izadi or divine charisma. Look at Ardeshir's investiture inscription in Taq-e Bostan to get the idea. Therefore, Handing over the letter that had been carried by a mortal bedouin messenger to the Shah would desecrate his sanctity. In an audience hall measuring tens of meters in length and width, there would be rank after rank of courtiers to handle the letter and perform the tedious task of reading (interpreting) it for the Shah. In other words, if Khosrau had been so enraged to jump out of his throne and run across the hall and towards the holder of the letter to grab and tear it apart, it would then mean something by far bigger than the letter itself, not to mention that few courtiers would have dared hand over the letter to him, lest they might have defiled their sovereign's divinity (a real ridiculous scene to behold)!!!
- As mentioned in the main article, one of the best sources to refer to for Sassanid court formalities is Arthur Christensen's Sassanid Persia. However, there are sporadic accounts scattered in various histories such as Will Durant's The Story of Civilization.
- Your are most welcome.
Ctesiphon7 11:31, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
- Hello again Ctesiphon7
- When it comes to human beings and their nature, especially mixed in w/ individuality, the impossible can often become very possible.
- Difference is though Ibn Hisham and Tabari were in that time period and had better connection and availability of past accounts/narrations; us modern folk I mean didn't exist back then and we only speculate from past studiers of accounts. And I don't quite follow what you're saying by what Ibn Hisham and Tabari would not know; they used accounts and narrations of the envoy's visit to know how Khosrau reacted. If they don't include a whole sketch of the envoy's formal entrance to Khosrau, maybe it was thought not important as the actual meeting has more significance.
- Ah but you forget the last part of the narrative. According to the narrative, Khosrau did send some soldiers to come and arrest Muhammad but when they got there, Khosrau had been murdered by his son and his son had his father's orders retracted. Ripping the letter isn't childish either, I'd say its symbolic like Martin Luther burning the Papal Bull. And from one account that was on this page before regarding this narrative it did say something about Khosrau having the envoy burdened/humiliated when sent back too, never heard of them getting killed though.
- As for sending such a commanding letter to a bigger king than him being a foolish move, here is where you do put too much emphasis on the "likely". To start, whether it was coercive and/or commanding is a matter of POV; other kings are said to have received such letters but AFAIK they are never recorded as being so harsh. Next, Muhammad while he was a head of state, ran a city, and made treaties, he still proclaimed prophet hood, a new religion, spiritual guidance, and the protection of Go so calling him simply a politician is rather belittling in a sense. He and his followers were greatly devoted to this faith and no matter what chances and risks were involved, their early history shows they took on numerous challenges, even if something was a suicide mission.
- There were numerous things in the letter which a king w/ a big ego would find pretty insulting; His name was after Muhammad's and Allah's and they were told to accept this new faith or have the sin of refusing it on their heads. From the narrative, I don't recall him getting out of his chair though he did take the letter from his interpreter. And mind you, ridiculous scenes from the highest and/or greatest of people I will agree are chancy but definitely not impossible. According to the article Khosrau II wasn't too good a guy.
- K then, thanks for the references; I will check them out when I have time again.
- Jedi Master MIK (talk) 02:51, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Orphaned references in Khosrau II
I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Khosrau II's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.
Reference named "iranica":
- From History of Iran: O.Özgündenli, "Persian Manuscripts in Ottoman and Modern Turkish Libraries", Encyclopædia Iranica, Online Edition, (LINK)
- From Muqawqis: EGYPT iv. Relations in the Sasanian period
- From Dasatir-i-Asmani: Encyclopaedia Iranica:Dasatir (FATḤ-ALLĀH MOJTABAʾĪ, 1994)
- From Vistahm: Shapur Shahbazi (1989)
I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT⚡ 20:47, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
Orphaned references in Khosrau II
I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Khosrau II's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.
Reference named "Norwich93":
- From Byzantine Empire under the Heraclian dynasty: Norwich 1997, p. 93
- From Siege of Constantinople (626): Norwich 1997, p. 93.
- From Battle of Nineveh (627): Norwich 1997, p. 93
I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT⚡ 08:00, 24 August 2013 (UTC)