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08 April 2015


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Thanks for reposting. I've reread this PPT several times, and every time seem to get more out of it.
Now bookmarked.


Colonel and Kurani,

thank you. Very informative.

Babak Makkinejad


One thing I would add is that the Arab culture, then and now, is profoundly oral; Arabs do not read, in general, they listen and talk.

Perhaps like the ancient Greek Thinkers who like the symposium; talk, wine and young boys.

Patrick Bahzad

I know we've had this discussion already and we gonna have to agree to disagree again, but I have to point out that while there are similarities in both in the 'back to basics' approach of both the Reformation and the Wahhabi creed, there are also vast differences.
In some areas, Protestants are closer in relation to Christianity to what the Sunnis are in relation Islam, and other areas where they are closer to the Shia approach.
Compared religion is tricky and over-symplifying issues might make them more understandable but not necessarily right.
As for Islam itself, the first true equivalent to Christian 'protestants' are neither Shia nor majority of Sunni, but the Kharijites ! The first group to walk out both on religious and political grounds ... Sounds more protestant to me in certain regards !

Patrick Bahzad

And also, an 'Imam' in the Sunni sense has nothing to do with the Shia 'Imams' ... same word, but two totally different ideas !


There seemed to be largely historical consent that Luther's theses triggered the "peasant war". But that he/or one of his supporters nailed the thesis against the door of a specific church may well be a myth. This would be direct evidence that Luther and his ideas created violence.

But that's not what you have in mind, have you?

I doubt that the 30-year-war--was it actually 30& percent of Germans? A lot, no doubt--was about anything but power. This is pretty obvious if you look into the larger bigger marriage between worldly and spiritual power over the centuries.

random pick from Wikipedia English version:


I am pleased, JLCG, we have someone with roots in the peninsula around.

"For some reason the idea has crept that European civilization was brought about by the Protestant Reformation"

Haven't closely followed maybe I missed something. Can I jump in here without checking? But yes, that's obviously wrong. One could just as easily argue: The reformation wouldn't have had the impact it had without the printing press.

"Islam has had many reformations if by reformation we understand the return to the original springs of belief."

I see your "if". ;)

I don't think Luther wanted to return to the sources only, one surely could claim that's the essence. But I would say he fought bigotry and corruption inside the Catholic Church at his time. Not that he was completely free of it himself in the long run, bigotry that is. He was human too.

Full disclosure: I am a secular Catholic. On the average got along a lot better with the Protestant teachers (priests/pastors) in high school then with my own. I am also highly fascinated by Luther's exquisite rhetorics in Worms.

But I think that his "sole fide" may not solve the problem he struggled with.


How did you know, I don't even know where Asia started. And how to put the Middle East on the map???



"Imam" Can have quite a lot of meanings in the original Arabic or as a "liturgical" term in non-Arabic speaking cultures. "Imam" is literally one who stands before, i.e., a prayer leader. At the higher level we are discussing, "imam' For the Shia, Imam signifies the just inheritor of the leadership of the 'umma. pl

Patrick Bahzad

Absolutely, that's why I wanted to make that point about at least the basic difference between a Sunni imam at a local mosque and the Imams - whether 5, 7 or 12 - of the various Shia groups.


Ok, this was unreflected, thus it missed the point:

should have gone like this:
I didn't even know where Asia starts and how to put the Middle of the East into it.

Didn't know where Asia starts: True. Don't ask me why, apparently I wasn't too interested in maps.

A friend once told me that as a child with seven/eight he used some tread to create the Mediterranean Sea. After he had done that he used the pegs of a German board game to put the important Greek cities where they belonged.

After I found out about that. I kept asking him, if I didn't know where to locate a city somewhere, if he could draw it for me. He always can. Even the most obscure ones, from my limited perspective. But I got better under his influence.


His grandpa was a scholar of Ancient Greek and Latin. Which meant he grew up with the Greek mythology, heroes and battles.

I was quite old, when he informed me where Asia starts, I have to admit.



Comparisons always have their limits. Khawarij? Is there any way out of politics?

Oh, i see. Good point.




Ok, in Shia there aren't any Imamah anymore, the list is closed:



"The Europeans during the dark ages,within their respective universities, studied the ancient texts of the Greeks and Romans, and were open to scientific inquiry, cause and effect, and most importantly an intellectual curiosity to understand the laws of nature independent of religious dogma.

After long, tortious sectarian wars, Jewish linguists translated all Aristotle and Plato had to offer into Latin, maybe from Arabic, maybe straight from Greek, and their works found their way to first fledging universities of Europe,"

After long, tortuous sectarian wars????? Who with whom??? And how are the Jewish linguists related to it?

Yes, lately one hears a lot about Jewish translators in this context.
I wonder if they would object to being used in their ethnic specifity. But no doubt polyglotism may well have been one of their dominant feature over the ages, necessarily.

Translator: It's ideally a serving job, getting as close to the authors voice as possible, only with the least necessary interference. Are you a translator? At least that's my opinion.

Let's imagine the translator worked at one point in time in Spain, at a time when Muslim, Jews and Christians got along quite well. Would (?s?)he want to be singled out as a "Jewish" translator?

"Dark ages". What do you have in mind with that term? The times religion still dominated the Trivium and Quadrium? In some respect it got dark a lot later, if you have the Middle Age in mind. And no, I am not denying the Church's Anti-Judaism.


If you are Jewish, I loved this a lot:

I have never had the time to look into this as close as I would want to, but I think the Scholastics are an important step on the way to the reception of Greek texts in Europe. And in the history of of some of my favorite French Churches you find the connections to Spain at the time.


If you are aware of any relevant Jewish translators that should be added in this context, feel free to add something. The problem may be that we are talking about times in which copyright did not exist yet, and translators hardly mattered or did they? ;)


Patrick Bahzad

Funny thing in relation to kharijites is that they're particularly numerous in Oman ... Th only country in the GCC that doesn't take part in the Saudi coalition against Yemen ... Maybe a distant link to their characteristics of walking out on anyone they disagree with on principle .. :-)

Patrick Bahzad

There's another msg by PL further down this thread about "imams" ...

Babak Makkinejad

Your points are well-taken and valid.

I am just tired of all these facile pinning for some sort of Islamic Reformation - invariably coming out of the mouths of Western atheists, secularist of all kinds, and lapsed Protestants.

Protestantism, is also a product of the manner by which the lay powers of the Kings, Prices etc. in Northern Europe fed upon it to build their own powers.

Patrick Bahzad

Agreed, it is tiresome to hear unrealistic "ideas" being thrown into the discussion about "Islam's need for reform" by people who haven't got the slightest idea what they are talking about !
Last week, I had to listen to someone telling me that it might be a good for "religious authorities" within Islam to "repeal" passages in the Quran that are "obviously" out of touch with today's world.
I just nodded and thought that's the kind of idea that can get you killed in some areas ... maybe wouldn't be a bad thing considering the amount of sheer stupidity that came out of that person's mouth :-)



"to "repeal" passages in the Quran that are "obviously" out of touch with today's world." Yes. This level of ignorance and stupidity would be called "invincible" by the Jesuits. So far as I know the only Muslims who do not thing the Qur'an the uncreated word of God are the Ibadhis in Oman. pl


Very interesting. I never thought of that before: where does Asia start? Thx.

Patrick Bahzad

Pat, thx for pointing that out, you're right !
I have talked to Ibadhis in Djerba, but I hadn't realized up until then that there was such a fundamental difference in their view of the Quran as opposed to other Moslem groups, even among the Kharijites, although Ibahdis say they don't consider themselves to be an offspring of the Kharijite movement.
Have to admit, the discussions we had were a bit too difficult for me to understand at some point. For example, the Ibadhis in Djerba claimed that it was Jabir ibn Zaid al-Azdi and not Abdullah ibn Ibad who was the actual founder of Ibhadism.
I have had the same experience with the few Ibadhis left in Southern Algeria (Ghardaïa), but not sure it is commonly accepted among Ibhadis in Oman as well.


I recommend Robert Briffault's book "The Making of Humanity." Available online. In particular Part II, “The Genealogy of European Civilization.” This section is around 125 small pages, quick reading, and . . . enlightening.



Babak, "Protestants" is too loaded a word here to get away with weighting it with historical accuracy.

How about Pentecostals, or snake-wavers?



I don't know if the Ibadhis are descendants of the Khawarij. This has always seemed obscure to me. Thanks for reminding me of the pockets of Ibadhis in N. Africa. pl

Patrick Bahzad

Well, Pat, I'm somehow glad to hear it is even obscure to you !
Interestingly, regarding the Ibadhi pockets in N. Africa, they played a fundamental role in the toppling Ghaddafi.
Don't know if you heard that story, but we had real trouble getting the job done until contact was made with Ibadhi Berber tribes in the Nefusa Mountains (Djebel Nefoussa) South-West of Tripoli.
It was Ibadhis and Berbers from that area (the so-called "militias from Zintan") who stormed down on Tripoli, while most of Ghaddafi's troops were fighting further East against the rebels from Misrata and Benghazi.
The Zintan/Ibadhi fighters made the difference ...

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