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Islam As An ‘Arab Pride’ Movement

June 29, 2014

Excellent article that dovetails very well with this article

While central authorities in the Muslim world since the caliphate on to the current Saudi monarchy have done their best to obscure the actual origins and history of Islam, astute observation reveals that Islam is an amalgamation of Abrahamic and Arab pagan traditions. Reading the Qur’an in chronological order reveals a politically savvy prophet borrowing the mythologies of the Jews & Christians and combining them with the rituals and practices of the Arab pagans. There are certainly original rituals and mythologies that are unique to Islam, but the melting pot nature of Islam cannot be denied. In contrast, modern Muslims often pride themselves in the uniqueness of Islam, and it’s complete rejection of pre-Islamic paganism, a time referred to as the age of ignorance. And yet, historical study shows that the pilgrimage to the Kaa’ba, the fast and feast of Ramadan, the shahada, and even the crescent star symbol have pre-Islamic origins, to name a few.

Muhammad’s genius was in concocting a melange of acceptable doctrines, stories and rites that the warring tribes of Arabia would find palatable enough to accept. Now, personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with admitting that Islam is an evolution of earlier religious traditions, but Muslims would howl blasphemy at my assertion that they share common spiritual heritage with pagans. But if the Christians can acknowledge their evolution from Judaism, then surely Muslims must come to grips with the origin of their faith, as well.

[…]

Only recently did it strike me that ultimately, the doctrines of Islam are not really about universality. Instead, Islam is essentially an Arab pride movement aimed at codifying and preserving Arabic culture. Particularly as modernity challenges the tenets of Islam, Arabian culture clings to Islam as a signifier of status.

As a Bengali, it wounds me to think of the thousands of years of spiritual development wiped out by the Arab invasion of the Indian subcontinent. Not all Bengalis are Muslims, but those who are take pride in their religion and view their own religious heritage—the rich Bengali/Indian traditions that predate Islam—as disgusting. As a Bengali-American exploring my ancestry, this self-hatred of pre-Islamic Bengali culture strikes me as a curious kind of cultural Stockholm Syndrome. The Arab invasion was so successful that Bengalis are cursing their own ancestors’ spiritual traditions in favor of an essentially Arabian cultural movement. The pre-Islamic days of the Indian subcontinent offered a rich variety of spiritual traditions from non-dualist Buddhism, to pantheist Hinduism, and even some forms of monotheism. These traditions are much, much older than Islam and when studied carefully, they are much more nuanced and spiritually powerful.

Read it all here

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One Comment
  1. Heisenberg Rationalizer permalink

    I’m going to have to agree with you on this one. I myself come from a Pakistani background and I always question my family members, friends, and others that I come across who happen to be a Muslim with an Indian subcontinent descent about why they take so much pride in the Arabs and their culture when our own culture is far better than theirs? In the west for example, we are allowed to own businesses, gain citizenship, build masjids, and even marry their women, yet if you tried to do this in any Arab country, especially in Saudi Arabia then they would simply deport you out of their country! As a matter of fact they have passed laws where Arab women are not allowed to marry people from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and from the Philippines. So much for the universal Muslim “brotherhood” in Islam. We should stop sucking up and kissing the rear ends of the Arabs and take pride in our own culture and history because there is a lot more vibrant aspects to our culture than the Arabs.

    p.s this is not to insult or ridicule any Arabs, I am not against all Arabs.

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