Sunday, 19 April 2009

Islam and the Psychology of the Musulman

A Resumé of André Servier’s work.

An Overview: 

Islam is not a torch, but a fire 
extinguisher, conceived by a barbaric brain, for barbaric people, not capable to adapt to any civilization. Where it has dominated, it stopped progress and evolution of any society. Arab civilisation has been the more stagnant of any, showing any progress for 1500 years. 

Arabic science was only a copy of Greek science (that holds as well for philosophy). During the Middle Age, lots of knowledge from Antiquity was not known in Europe, so Arabs were thought to be the ones that had invented and gave re-birth to this “lost” knowledge. Actually, they were just copysts. Only with the “Renaissance”, when the original Manuscripts were discovered and studied, the error was clarified. But in some way, the legend persisted till nowadays. 

Against current opinion, Arabs have no imagination at all. They are realists, not able to imagine or conceive nothing that is not directly perceivable. This explains the sterility of Arabs in painting, sculpture, literature, science and philosophy. 

It would be better to label Arabs as “compilers”. Even Islam itself, is not an original doctrine, but a compilation of Greek-Latin-Biblical-Jewish and Christian traditions. Arabs have a strong observation capability, but this at the expense of imagination. And without imagination, no progress is possible. 

Before Islam, Bedouins came out from “Toteism”. In fact, Bedouins were praying the sun, the moon and thunders. But without creating any mythology. The very Muhammad was always silent and impressionable. He suffered from epileptic attacks. The first time in a battle, he was nervous, ill and impressionable. He had to bunk, making himself ridiculous. Eventually, he went back to Mecca, leaving his uncle, in order to become a shepard. He then married Khadija, more for gratitude then for love. 

His first disciple was the very Khadija, the second Zaid (a slave), the third Ali (bin Abu-Talef, sixteen year old cousin of Muhammad), with a strong temperament and always looking for adventures, the “Don Quixote” of Islam. After three years, the number of converted was still only 13. Meccans were mocking him, as a coward, having made fortune by marrying an old lady (like a gigolo), and not satisfying the mos tsacred obligations of familiar solidarity. Thus, he fled on Mount Hira AD 619, while his uncle abu-Taleb (who was thinking of Muhammad as a mad person), obtained the end of the abolition for Muhammad to come back to Mecca. But then, his uncle died, and Muhammad began to meet people from Medina (around the Mount Acaba AD 622). From nowo n, he had nobody left protecting him. In September AD 622, he fled to Medina. 

It’s called “Hegira”, and gave birth to Islamic time count. He then began attacking caravans, out from Medina. This brought the first big battle, won at Badr AD 624 against 600 Meccans, tha twere trying to defend their caravans. Meccans won the next battle (of Ahud), AD630. Finally, Meccawas conquered by Muhammad. He behaved with moderation (except a list of 8-10 poets and mockers that he wanted killed, he had written on a list), but destroyed all 360 Meccan idols. 

Allah changed all well-known rules, deciding who will go to heaven or to hell, but not any more based on moral rules. There were no more distinction between good and bad (for example having sexual relationship between two consentient adults is forbidden, but to rape a captured female or a slave or having sexual relationship with a little girl that still didn’t have her menses (Aisha and Muhammad) was ok (Qur’an 65:4)). Exterior observance is the onlyi mportant thing, as distinction towards infidels. 

After the death of Muhammad, the natural heir would have been Ali, but there was a very strong resistance in his own family: Aisha. She didn’t pardo nhim that he had at one point put into doubt her fidelity towards Muhammad, and moreover, she was jealous towards Fatima (daughter of Muhammad and wife of Ali). Opposition was so strong that instead, Aisha’s father (Abu Bakr) was elected

Islam did not expand because of the beauty of her doctrine. While attacking Syria,Muslims could have shown for the first time moderation with the people of the“books”. But this was not the case: they were treated as idolater and apostates. Abu Bakr died having pacified whole Arabiain two years, while adding two more provinces to Islam. In order to prevent roblems, before dying, he nominated Umar (his most ardent supporter) as caliph. He was from Medina. During this time, Egyptwas conquered. Egypt was Christian, but devoured by controversies. Egyptian still had fervent imagination, (Alexandrine School, Apocryphal writings, Revelations of Elias, Sofonius), they didn’t keep the original purity of Christianity and followed the monophysite ideas of Eutyches, condemned 415 by the Council of Calcedonia (Christological controversy: union in Jesus Christ without confusion and separation of His human and divine nature). Thi ssituation made the Egyptians receive Muslims as liberators.

After the killing of Umar (the only one of the first four caliphs that died naturally was Abu Bakr, a big difference compared to the Popes, where during the first 300 years, all died as martyrs because of their faith), Uthman was elected as caliph. He was very despised (had put all his companions in key positions) and was eventually killed by his opponents. After that, the old Muslims, being afraid of the conspiracies of the Meccans, accelerated and elected Ali (even against Aisha’s oppositions). The son of Abu Bakr, Muhammad, by killing Uthman, hoped to become the next caliph, but had to walk off quickly to Mesopotamia. Ali followed and defeat him at the battle of the Camel 656. Aisha was taken as prisoner. In the next battle (in the plane of Sellin), Maowiah , having nearly being defeated (During the battle, the Qur’an was tied to the lances of the “rebels” (they were around 80’000 people and there were 500 Qur’ans). This was enough to stop the fighting. It was then decided to take an arbitrage. Maowiah was then announced as new caliph (he was the son of Abu Sofian, a leader of Mecca and former antagonist of Muhammad). Ali, of course, didn’t accept. He was then eventually killed, and his son Hassan was proclaimed caliph by the population of Kufa, even if Maowiah was the real ruler, he commanded over Syria, Egypt and Arabia.All this during 661 AD. The Meccan party thus regained the upper hand, lost with Ali, but regained it with Maowiah (finally, the killing of Uthman was avenged). The Medinan party hoped for the son of Ali, Hassan, but he was effeminate. 

During this time, Islam arrived in the Maghreb (Berbers didn’t understand Latin, and spoke a Phoenician language). They didn’t see any difference between Islam and Christianity. They took the Muslims as Christian missionaries: in fact, Muslims spoke as well of one God, of Resurrection fo the bodies, of a messenger sent by God, of revealed books. Thus, Berbers accepted without any problem. Originally, they were taken ad chismatic Christians. In the meanwhile, in Damascus, the power had gone to the Omayyad dynasty (Maowiah wa the first caliph of this dynasty), Hassan had been poisoned in Medina and Aisha had died (killed?). Hussein, the second son of Ali restarted the fight, but in an ambush was killed 680 in Karbala. 

The Islamic conquest continued in Spain, where people were mistreated by the Visigoths, and were melancholy remembering the tranquillity they had under the Roman Empire, so when the squads of Moussa appeared, they were received warmly. Moreover, Muslim taxes were nothing compared to the yoke they had to bear under the greatland owner. Even slaves could redeem themselves, Initially, they were well accepted. 

But Arabs were incapable to govern themselves, so they passed the command to Spanish people. Al Moutawakil (846-861) started the series of incapable, perverted and unbalanced Governors. He was called the Muslims Nero. Muhammad (852-886), in Toledo, killed 8'000 Christians, destroyed many churches and made Islam compulsory. Eulogius, head of the Church, insulted publicly Muhammad and was tortured and eventually killed 859 AD. There were as well good Governors as El Hakem II(961-976): he built the library of Cordoba.

Arabs were never allowed to profit of the intellectual and scientific gains made by other nations. Actually, they always took the bad side (compared toC hristianity). Islam for example gave up self-control in sexual matters, and the only limitation was alcohol. The Islamic expansion in Spain under the tolerant caliphs was only due to the Islamized Spaniards, i.e. the Latin’s tha tnotwithstanding their conversion, had kept intact their mentality and genius: the Arab literature in Spain kept the Latin influence, and the monuments in Cordoba, Seville and Granada were conceived by Spanish architects (even thearch was invented by the Romans, and was taken over by Arabs through Persians). Arabs gave orders, but any instruction. For example, when the caliph decided to have a palace, he was unable to find an Arab capable of doing the planning and the project as in Damascus or in Baghdad (where Syrian and Greek architects erected the monuments wrongly attributed to Arabs)).

In the philosophical field, Al Kindi had a great reputation in the MiddleA ge, he was known as “the philosopher” per excellence. But actually he was aSyrian Jew that had converted. Arabs made some translations and comments to Aristotle, but as in the field of mathematics, Arabs didn’t contribute anything. For a long time, they were accredited of the invention of al-gebra,but actually it came out that they had only copied the treatises of Diophantus o fAlexandria (4 century). Even numbers were originally from Hindustan. The same Arabs called them “Arith-metic” (Indian count) and geometry “Indian science”(hendesya). Avicenna (ibn Sinna, d 980) was a Persian, and his most valuable treatise “el kanoun” was a compilation of a Syrian version of Galen (
the most accomplished medical researcherof the Roman period. His theories dominatedWestern medical science for well over amillennium; Link). The same Maimonides was not an Arab doctor, but a Jew from Cordoba. In philosophy, Arabs were incapable of creatinga nything new. They adapted the Persian, Greec and Indian philosophy (through the Alexandrine School). 

The Greek philosophy was based upon logic and reasoning. And was dividedinto “peripateticism” of Aristotle and “spiritualism” of Plato. The platonic theories are the link between the Greek realism and the oriental mysticism. Peripateticism was introduced in Alexandria during the second century by Alexander of Aphoridisias and further developed by Plotin and Porfirio. Averroé wrote comments about Aristotle, and were held in high esteem when Aristotle was not known any more. But Averroism –per se- was nothing new. It was just the summary of Aristotle under the Arabs (moreover, it just took over most from the School of Alexandria). Averroé had the fortune of being the “latec omer” and was accredited of being the inventor of much of Aristotle’s doctrines (in fact he wasn’t). Averroé didn’t know Greek, had thus to read the Arab translations taken from Syriac or Copt. Al-Ghazali(d1058) however, the most important Islamic philosopher, sustained that truth is not established only by reason, but that there are a lot of other things that reason cannot understand. In few words: there is no Arab philosophy. Averroé tried to islamize Greek philosophy and to incorporate into Islam. But he was labelled as heretical. At the opposite, when aristotelic philosophy was taken into scrutiny and incorporated into Christianity by Thomas Aquinas (Summa Teologicae), he was shortly taken into Sainthood and called the maste rphilosopher and theologian of the Catholic Church.


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