A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

Many of you may be unaware, but my son born this August has had to have several surgeries.  The last one is next week.  We are looking for people to help out in any way that they can.  Please watch the video below, and visit this link to contribute to the online fundraiser:  https://www.gofundme.com/emergency-surgery-for-new-baby-boy

 

solar birthday musings

Today marks the beginning of my 37th trip around the sun. I don’t celebrate birthdays, but I think completing a trip around the sun is full of significance. Here are some of my thoughts on that, as a gift to you:

Qur-an: There are 7 Heavens & 7 Earths

from https://www.deoband.org/2010/08/hadith/principles-of-hadith/reprimanding-men-for-denying-the-athar-of-ibn-%E2%80%98abbas/

Ahmad ibn Ya’qub al-Thaqafi narrated to us: ‘Ubayd ibn Ghannam narrated to us: ‘Ali ibn Hakim narrated to us: Sharik narrated to us: from ‘Ata: from Abu l-Duha: from Ibn ‘Abbas [that] he said in regards to His (Exalted is He) statement “and of the earth the like thereof”:

“Seven earths: In every earth is a prophet like your Prophet, an Adam like your Adam, a Nuh like your Nuh, an Ibrahim like your Ibrahim and an ‘Isa like your ‘Isa.”

This is a hadith with a sahih isnad.

‘Ubaydullah narrated to us: Ibrahim ibn al-Husayn narrated to us: Adam narrated to us: from Shu’bah: from ‘Amr ibn Murrah: from Abu l-Duha: from Ibn ‘Abbas [that] he said:

“In every earth is the like of Ibrahim.”

This hadith is [sahih] according to the criteria of Al-Bukhari and Muslim. End

 

 

 

I.e. seven also, as established in the two Sahihs,

“Whoever usurps even one span of the land of somebody, his neck will be encircled with it down the seven earths.”

Whoever interprets [it to mean] seven regions has missed the point, fallen into disputation and contradicted the Qur’an and hadith without support. Mention of the seven earths, and the distance between them and the density of each of them being five hundred years, has passed in Surah al-Hadid upon His statement, “He is the First and the Last”. This was what Ibn Mas’ud and others said.

Likewise, another hadith [mentions]:

“The seven heavens: all that is therein and all that is between them, in respect to the footstool (kursi), is not but like a ring lying in the wilderness.”

Ibn Jarir said: ‘Amr ibn ‘Ali narrated to us: Waki’ narrated to us: from Al-A’mash: from Ibrahim ibn Muhajir: from Mujahid: from Ibn ‘Abbas [that] he said in regards to His (Exalted is He) statement, “and of the earth the like thereof”,

“Had I narrated to you its explanation, you would have disbelieved, and your disbelief is your denial of it.”

Ibn Humayd narrated to us: Ya’qub ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d al-Qummi al-Ash’ari narrated to us: from Ja’far ibn Abi l-Mughirah al-Khuza’i: from Sa’id ibn Jubayr: he said:

A man asked Ibn ‘Abbas [about the verse], “and of the earth the like thereof” and he said, “what will save you from disbelieving if I inform you?”

 

Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi narrated from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah in marfu’ form:

“between one heaven and the [next] heaven is five hundred years and between one earth and the [next] earth is five hundred years.”

Ishaq ibn Rahwayh and Al-Bazzar transmitted it from the hadith of Abu Dharr in like manner. End, in summary-form.

 

Abu Ya’la transmitted from Jabir that

Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was asked about what is below the earth, and he said “water”;

it was said “then, what is below water?” He said “darkness”;

it was said “what is below the darkness?” He said “wind”;

it was said “what is below the wind?” He said “soil”;

it was said “what is below soil?” He said “knowledge of creatures discontinues at the knowledge of the Creator.”

Ibn ‘Abbas said,

“Indeed the earths are on the back of a fish,

and the fish is in the sea,

and the sea is on a green rock,

which is on the horn of a bull,

and the bull is upon soil

and what is below the soil is not known but to Allah.”

In Jawahir al-Qur’an by Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr al-Razi:

The soil is wet earth which is below the dry earth, and from it [derives] His (Exalted is He) statement “and whatever is beneath the soil” (20:6), and the intent is: whatever is beneath the seventh earth. End

 

Ibn al-Mundhir transmitted from Ibn Jurayh [that] he said,

“It reached me that the width of every earth is the distance of five hundred years, and I was told that the seventh earth is above the soil.”

[It is mentioned] in Al-Tuhfat al-Saniyyah fi Ajwibat al-As’ilat al-Mardiyya by Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Latif al-Bashishi:  Ibn Abi Hatim transmitted from Ka’b that

he was asked what is below this earth and he said “water”

and [it was asked] “what is below water?” He said “earth”

until he counted seven earths.

It was said “what is below the seventh earth?” He said “a rock”

and it was said “what is below the rock?” He said “an angel”

and it was said “what is below the angel?” He said “a fish whose two sides are hanging from the throne”

and it was said “what is below the fish?” and he said “wind and darkness

and then knowledge stops.”

 

the marfu’ hadith of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr which is narrated in al-Mustadrak and other [books that] he said: Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

“Verily [in regards to] the earths, between each earth and the one which follows it is the distance of five hundred years;

the second is the prison of wind;

the third of them is a stone of Jahannam;

the fourth of them is the sulphur of Jahannam; by the One in Whose hand is my soul, therein are valleys of sulphur [and] had mountains been sent [there], they would melt;

the fifth of them are the snakes of Jahannam, indeed their mouths are like valleys;

and the sixth of them are the scorpions of Jahannam, indeed the least of the scorpions [in size] is like a mule;

and the seventh of them is the fire of Jahnannam, and therein is Iblis, chained with iron; so when Allah wants to free him for whatever He wills, He frees him,”

since this report informs [us] that in the strata of the earth are snakes, scorpions, winds etc. and the athar of Ibn ‘Abbas informs [us] that therein are accountable creatures and prophets, and there is a difference between them, and when they conflict, the marfu’ [narration] is adopted, and the non-marfu’ [narration] is abandoned.

The verifiable truth in this subject that is closest to the truth, is to say:

there is no doubt about the existence of creatures in all the strata as proven by the narrations, and as for its particular [type], which species they have and in which form and shape, that is consigned to the knowledge of Allah (Exalted is He),

and the athar of Ibn ‘Abbas proves that there are Adams like our Adam and Prophets like our Prophet therein.

There is also no doubt that in every earth of these earths is a creation and a world.

[This] was clarified by a group of verifiers, but of them were those who consigned its details to the knowledge of Allah (Exalted is He), like Al-Shihab al-Khufaji in Hawashi Tafsir al-Baydawi and Sayyid al-Jurjani in Sharh al-Mawaqif and Ibn Abi Jumrah in Sharh Mukhtasar Sahih al-Bukhari.

And of them are those who ruled that the strata below are abodes of the jinn

according to what is mentioned in some reports, like Al-Shibli, Al-Zurqani, Al-Halabi and Al-Qastallani.

And of them are those who mentioned that every stratum has a different [intelligent] species,

as in Bada’i al-Duhur and others. Wahb ibn Munabbih said:

 

When Allah created the earth, it was one stratum and He split it and transformed it into seven, as He did with the heavens, and made between one stratum and the [next] stratum the distance of five hundred years.

The name of the highest stratum is Adim,

the second Basit- he inhabitants of the second earth are peoples called Al-Tamas and their food is from their flesh and their drink is from their blood.

the third Thaqil- The inhabitants of the third are peoples whose faces are like the faces of the children of Adam, their mouths are like the mouths of dogs, their hands are like the hands of the children of Adam, their legs are like the legs of cows, and hair like the wool of sheep cover their bodies which [function] as clothing for them.

the fourth Batikh- the inhabitants of the fourth are peoples called Al-Hulham; they have no eyes or feet, but they have wings.

the fifth Janb- the fifth of them are people like mules and they have tails, each tail is around three hundred cubits.

the sixth Masikah- the sixth of them are peoples called Al-Huthum and they have black bodies and have claws like the claws of predatory animals.

the seventh Al-Thura- The seventh contains the abode of Iblis and his armies.

 

 

 

Pre-Adamic Humans

From http://saifulislam.com/2013/07/adams-before-adam/

“Quite against my will, my lecturer has managed to convince me that the Theory of Evolution is actually true. I felt very uncomfortable in class” said Nazri, one of my fellow coursemates.

“The point now is to figure out whether or not the Theory of Evolution is really against the teachings of Islam. Exactly what is Islam’s stand on Darwin’s Theory? Is it 100% against it?” I asked him.

“Well, it’s difficult to say” said he.

“In my opinion, the challenge is for us to not making any kind of blanket statements. We should differentiate between Charles Darwin, Darwinism, Neo-Darwinism, Social-Darwinism, and the Theory of Evolution itself”, I suggested.

Nazri nodded.

“There are indeed many differences between them. However, when translated to Bahasa Melayu and our mindset, it is collectively termed as ‘Darwin’s Theory’. That’s all” he continued.

“Therein lies the problem. In my opinion, the behaviour of many Moslem lecturers who pronounce blanket condemnations of Darwin’s Theory will lead to problems later, especially for those like you, who are studying for the Biology A-Level. There are many who think that Darwin’s theory and its evolution…. Is 100% against the teachings of Islam” I expanded upon my thoughts.

“Their arguments are very simplistic. If one believes in Darwin’s Theory, it means one believes that our ancestors are apes! It starts and ends that way” supported Nazri.

We paused to ponder. The issue is not one that is particularly easy.

The Breadth of the Theory of Evolution

Our attempt to try and understand the Theory of Evolution is based not solely on the need to answer the question of who or what our forefathers were. It is also not for the purpose of condemning the imperialism of the West, imperialism that was based on the Social Darwinist theory of survival of the fittest.

Coincidentally, in my Muslim Historiography class with Assoc Prof Dr Ahmed Elyas Hussein, we had discussed a question more basic than the need to correctly assess the truth of the Theory of Evolution, namely the question of the “Beginning of History”.

This involves testing the Theory of Evolutionary Biology against questions related to the creation of Adam and life on earth before Adam.

Without this understanding, we will always be troubled by discoveries arising from advances in DNA profiling techniques. These techniques enable scientists to calculate the mutation rates of living structures, which solidifies the evidence obtained from fossil dating and challenges our simplistic understanding of the “Beginning of History” question posed earlier.

Up till now, scientists have been able to distinguish roughly 15 species of early man. However, it is not trivial to categorize these various species, how they inter-relate, and how each species ends. The early Australopithecine species, estimated to be 5 to 2 million years old, leads to the Neanderthal species, estimated to be 200,000 to 24,000 years old. All this brings up questions related to the creation of Adam and Islam’s stand on evolution itself. Did Adam live as early as the Australopithecine era?

I am not an expert in the field, especially in Biology. However, I would like to share some thoughts with you, with the intention of helping you make some early assessments regarding this issue.

Islam’s Stand on the Creation of Man

Below are some verses that touch on the origin of man:

Allah SWT says in the Quran:

He created man from sounding clay like unto pottery [Surah ar-Rahman, 55: 14]

Similar messages are presented in 22:5, 23:12, 30:20, 32:7, and 37:11.

Allah SWT also says:

We have indeed created man in the best of moulds [Surah at-Tin, 95: 5]

In translating these verses, Mohammad Asad says: Allah SWT has created man in the best of forms, with positive qualities both physical and mental, sufficient for him to complete the task(s) for which he was created.

Consider too verses 8:2 and 7:8.

Allah SWT also states in the Quran that all of mankind descends from Adam. He says:

O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you. [Surah an-Nisa, 4: 1]

And man was created by Allah as a khalifah (vicegerent) on this earth:

Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” They said: “Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?” He said: “I know what ye know not.” [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:30]

Opinions from Islam’s Early Scholars

When studying Islamic history, we usually look at how well the ummah carries out Allah’s commands, and how this relates to the rise and fall of civilizations. This viewpoint sometimes causes us to overlook the opinions of the ‘ulama on matters related to pre-history.

In the same way that the Theory of Evolution has philosophical roots that extend to the eras of Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, as well as to religion, so too do the ‘ulama look to these sources in order to help seek answers to questions related to pre-history. However, the thrust of the understanding always comes from Quranic verses, which carry their own principles. Even though the ‘ulama make use of various other sources, Quranic principles remain the main source for them.

Just look at al-Mas’oudi’s book, Akhbar al-Zaman. Before talking about Adam and the generations after him, Al-Mas’oudi included the chapters, “On the Age of the World”, “On the Peoples before Adam”, “On the Earth and What Is In It”, “On the Sea that Covers (Al-Bahr al-Huhi?) and the Amazing Things Contained Within It”, etc.

Al-Mas’oudi explains that there were 28 groups of peoples created on this earth before Adam. These consisted of flora and fauna as well as a mankind that resembles the people of Adam. These groups mixed and interacted, leading to the expansion of the peoples to 120 groups.

Al-Thabari also says in his tafsir that all of creation was created before Adam.

Al-Maqdisi explains that there were three main groups in this world before Adam, two of which were groups of Jinn, whereas the third is slightly different in that they were made of flesh and blood. This third group consists of those referred to as “man yufsidu feehaa wa yasfiku al-dimaa”, i.e “one who will make mischief therein and shed blood”, as this group was called by the angels in the Quranic verses of 2:30.

These explanations by al-Mas’oudi demonstrates how previous ‘ulama have been debating matters regarding pre-history well before these discussions appeared in Europe during relatively current times.

These matters are important for Islamic knowledge in order to build and structure a World History based on an Islamic perspective. Muslims see the question of God, mankind, and the world, as subjects that cannot be separated. Based on this principle, the historical context cannot simply start with the creation of Adam, but pre-Adamic eras should also be considered.

This really amazes me. All this while, the fact that ‘ulama as early as the 10th century have been paying attention to this issue, had escaped my attention. Their efforts and interest show the importance of paying some attention to this subject.

‘Adams’ before ADAM

mankind

Regarding the creation of Adam, the majority of ‘ulama believe that Adam and Eve were created in their complete form in Heaven. They were then sent to earth after partaking from the forbidden fruit. Their progeny populated the earth and thenceforth started the history of mankind.

What is not explained explicitly by Allah SWT in the Quran is how Adam is created. Was he created in stages or in just one process? A fraction of tafsir scholars are of the opinion that when Allah SWT created Adam, it was not until 40 years later that his ruh (spirit) was blown into him. In this is clear the influence of Ancient Persian tradition towards this tafsir.

Another fraction of ‘ulama are of the opinion that Adam was not the first man created to be on earth. In their opinion, hundreds and thousands of previous ‘Adam’s have existed before Adam our father. Each previous ‘Adam’ had their own progeny and life, were destroyed completely, and replaced by the following ‘Adam’, until the time came to Adam, our father. Adam our father is seen as being the last of the ‘Adam’s on this earth.

Then there are also ‘ulama who are of the opinion that Adam and Eve were not created in Heaven, but on earth, and from the earth.

(Refer al-Maqdisi: Al-Bad’ wa al-Tarikh and Ibn al-‘Arabi: al-Futuhat al-Makkiyyah)

Ikhwan al-Safa too explained a bit more on this aspect. They state that all creatures were created from dry clay and inhabited the Equatorial regions, unaffected by weather extremes. This created a good environment for procreation. It is in this environment that Adam was created (takawwana). Ikhwan al-Safa are also of the opinion that Adam and Eve spent the first half of their life on earth (Rasaa’il Ikhwan al-Safa, chapter 181, pg 229. There is a possibility that this concept was taken from come Biblical concepts, where Heaven is termed the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve lived in purity).

Trivial Issues?

Some of us might see the above-mentioned issues as trivial and unimportant. It could easily be labeled khurafat, victims of Israiliyyat, made-up imaginings, etc. What should not slip from our minds is that it is not the factual details that are important. I say this because, whether seen from the aspect of religious textual interpretations, or from the aspect of scientific achievement itself, this field is still inundated with hypotheses. In fact, it should never be forgotten that Allah said “I KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW NOT”.

Our knowledge is not limitless.

What we should hold as important is the questioning of ideas related to evolutionary biology, the existence of ideas related to the possibility of previous ‘Adam’s before Adam, and the opportunity for these questions to be researched by Muslims. This will prevent Science students from feeling guilty merely because they think that evolution is completely against Islam.

As was demonstrated previously, the principles of evolution have already been in the minds of Muslim historians as early as the 10th century. If it was accepted as a subject worthy of study by Muslims then, why is it that in this day and age, we feel that there is no more room for discussion regarding this matter? Evolution is against Islam, 100% we say!

What worries me is that the behaviour of religious people towards these issues will create problems for Muslims in the same way that the arrogant attitude of Christian religious leaders led to the distancing of the scientific community from religion. Their simplistic and narrow-minded pronouncements resulted in religion being discarded as the source of truth, without even discussing the question of the truth of their religion itself.

People turned to science due to their disgust with religious zealots whose ideas were static and unappealing.

The Divine Evolution

Even in the West, some researchers try to harmonize between evolution and religious doctrine. Even though theologians and the Church are adamant in rejecting evolution, there are some who accept the rules and laws of the natural world without denying God’s process of creation. They believe that the Hand of God is behind the evolutionary processes of this world, and that man is at the end of this evolutionary process.

This explanation is called ‘The Divine Evolution’.

There also exist church leaders who accept that the texts of the Holy Book are imperfect and who see the Theory of Evolution as being in tune with Christian belief (see Maurice Bucaille, What is the Origin of Man? The Answers of Science and the Holy Scripture).

Regular checks and updates should also be carried out by us, the Muslims.

Muhammad Iqbal and other learned men accepted the idea of evolutionary biology. However, Iqbal explains that evolution only affects man’s physical development. It has nothing to do with the non-physical or spiritual dimensions of man (see Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam).

This issue involves Islam’s stand on fossil finds, matters related to the truth of a primitive man as the start of life, issues related to the great flood, as well as Gog and Magog, among others.

In America, genetic science and paleontologists at the end of the 20th century unanimously supported the theory of mtEve after researching ancient fossil remains. This theory suggests that current mankind descended from one man and one woman. This acceptance opened up a path to the religious establishment who then went on to forward hypotheses related to the ship of Noah and the Garden of Eden.

If Muslims take the easy way out and call all this nonsense, then it will become much easier for Islam itself to be seen as being nonsensical. This will happen if we fail to interact with the scientific achievements and genetic technology of today.

I worry about a fraction of our community who extricate themselves from others due to ideas presented in the mainstream media, ideas that are comfortable with the thought that science and religion are at loggerheads.

It is my hope that sharing this information with you will prove how ‘ulama, scientists, and historians, are in need of each other in order to better understand religion, Allah SWT, mankind and the rest of creation.

Let us not be the cause of the destruction of Islam and Muslims by succumbing to simplistic musings.

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This article was written for those who are familiar with the subjects discussed: perspectives related to the history of Darwinism, biological science, genetic engineering, and a little exposure to early Islamic scholars. If some terms are confusing, please utilize Wikipedia. Thank you.

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HASRIZAL @ http://www.saifulislam.com
43000 BSP

What Ethnicity was Muhammad?

He was musta’rab (Arabized non-Arab) mixed with Arab.
He was a member of the tribe of Quraish, who were the descendants of Ismaa’eel (Ishmael) and a woman from the Arab tribe of Jurhum.
Ismaa’eel (also spelled Ismail) was the son of Ibraaheem (Ibrahim-Abraham) and Hajr (Hagar).
Ibrahim was born in a house of idolaters in the ancient city of Ur, in the Mesopotamian plains of Babylonia (present-day Iraq). The language that was spoken at the time was Akkadian (Akkadian is now an extinct language.) [1]  The empire united all the indigenous Akkadian-speaking Semites and the Sumerian speakers for the first time under one rule.
Hajr was the daughter of Egyptian king and second wife of Abraham she was gifted to prophet Abraham from the king of Egypt. [2]
Bust of an Egyptian princess (Akhenaten:  Prophet of Monotheism? )
They had a son, Ismail/Ishmael, who was, obviously, half Semitic-Sumerian and half Egyptian.  The way that Arabs come into the picture is actually a very touching story, so I’ll relate some of it, from 1433 Umra :
He left with her and their son Ismaa’eel, and they journeyed and journeyed and journeyed on their riding animal through the desert, all the way south to Makka. You have to drive to Makka to appreciate this. It’s in the middle of a desert, not a sand desert, a volcanic field. There’s nothing there but cooled lava, i.e. a bunch of rocks. It is absolutely barren. Then, when they reached where Allaah had told them to reach, Ibraheem dismounted, left his wife and son- can you imagine how hard this would be?- remounted and started to ride away.
“Are you really going to leave me here?”
He says nothing.
“Are you really going to leave me here?”
No reply.
“Are you really going to leave me here?”
Silence. He doesn’t look back. His horse keeps walking.
“Did Allaah tell you to leave me here?”
“Yes.”
“Then we will be fine.”
Hajr, may Allaah have mercy on her, had nothing. She saw nothing. She heard nothing. There was nothing. Just a couple of rocky hills, in the middle of a lava field. But this woman had faith. She put her baby down and ran to the top of a hill to look around.
Nothing. Nothing but faith. She ran down that one, and up the other one. Nothing. Hungry (not that I-skipped-lunch-‘cause-I-was-busy feeling, REAL hunger). Thirst. And nothing. She ran back down and up again. Then back down and up again. Until she had run up those hills seven times.
Then she saw something. The angel Jibreel (a/k/a Gabriel), Allaah’s strong one. He dug with his heel in the ground, and water began to well out. In other narrations it was the writhing of the baby Ismaa’eel which opened this water source.
“Zam! Zam! (Stop! Stop!)” she commanded, fearing the spring of water would run itself onto the ground. She then dug a hole around it, so it would become a well. Had she left it, according to a narration attributed to Muhammad, it would be a river right now.
Hoopoe
Soon, the Hud-hud (hoopoe) a bird that flies around a source of water, started circling over their two heads. A tribe of Arabs- Jurhum- took note and followed. They were a noble people, so even thought they could have done away with Hajr and her son, they asked for permission to camp near the miraculous water source. Hajr, a young woman, mother of a suckling child, alone in a wasteland, was fearless. She gave them permission, but denied them any rights to ownership of the well.
The tribe stayed and taught Ismail Arabic (Arabized him).  Soon he married from among this tribe.  Thus began the tribe of Quraish, started by a Semitic-Sumerian prophet, and Egyptian princess, and the noblest of the Arabs.
(l) Yemenite Bronze, Kingdom of Sheba, 715 CE?; (r) modern Arab youth
Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and Blessings be upon him, was a member of Banu Hashim, a sub-tribe of Quraish.  As they were strict about intermarriage, it can be supposed that he was not a pure Arab (descendant of the tribes that originated in Yemen and later spread throughout the peninsula), but had much of the Semitic-Sumerian/Egyptian blood in his make up.
——-

Imagine A World Without Muslims

Yes, lets imagine a world WITHOUT MUSLIMS, shall we?
Without Muslims you wouldn’t have:

– Coffee
– Cameras
– Experimental Physics
– Marijuana
– Soap

Wait, marijuana?!

That’s right.  Cannabis, and the word ‘marijuana’ were spread around the world by Muslims.

Muslim Herbology

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Franz Rosenthal’s study of the use of hemp in medieval Islamic culture and its associated controversies includes catalogues of epithets drawn from the lists of medieval Muslim commentators. These include ‘the shrub of understanding’ and some still in use to this day, such as the Turkic esrar, or ‘secrets.

“Cannabis was used medicinally across the Arabic world in Roman times, applied to a wide variety of ailments (from migraines to syphilis) and as an analgesic and anesthetic. The great ninth-century Islamic physician Rhazès prescribed it widely; a contemporary, the Arab physician Ibn Wahshiyah, warned of the potential effects of hashish which he wrote was a lethal poison.”

Martin Booth Cannabis: A History, 2005 – http://www.mjic.com/cannabis-a-timeline

 

 

The Simultaneous Spread of Islam and Cannabis

spread of islam

Islam reached West Africa by 900 AD, almost 600 years before the beginning of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and, if not established earlier, the use of cannabis as an intoxicant likely followed the spread of Islam and Middle Eastern culture through trade. However, pre-Columbian transatlantic contacts with the Americas have been argued for with as much enthusiasm as transpacific contacts and it is possible that cannabis reached the Americas from Africa or the Mediterranean before its introduction by the Portuguese.

 

Arabic Origin of the Word ‘Marijuana’

moor spain

Moorish Spain (Andalus)

Professor Victor Mair of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations has suggested to me that the root of the word marijuana might be a Semitic loan word in Spanish, having an Arabic origin, later being imported to Mexico from Moorish Spain.

 

Professor Mair has identified the consonantal group mrj, pronounced something like *maraj or *mraj, as the root of the Chinese word for ‘hemp’ ma? He suggests a possible connection with the Semitic root mrr, meaning bitter, which he thinks predates the ancient Chinese *maraj or *mraj = hemp.

 

Although one might expect any Arabic mrj root associated with cannabis to be well attested in Medieval Spanish, associations between the herbologies of Moorish Spain, Morocco and Mexico also have been noted. Mary Austin in her foreword to Healing Herbs of the Rio Grande by L. S. M. Curtin, refers to the intrusion of the influence of the Moors, the Arab and North African conquerors of Spain, which, transferred from Spain to America, formed part of the overlapping of traditional Indian, Spanish, and Moorish lore.

 

The author L. S. M. Curtin himself thanks Dr. J. P. Harrington of the Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, for ‘proposing Morocco as a valuable source of herbal comparisons and etymologies’. He points out that the Southwest became a Spanish colony only a few generations after the Moorish hold upon most of Spain was broken and that, like many other parts of Hispanic America, ‘the Southwest felt the direct and the indirect influences of that Moorish occupation of Spain: direct, in the persons of Moorish artisans, Moorish architects, and Moorish servants, who accompanied the conquistadores and their successors to the New World; indirect, in the infusion of Moorish customs, words, and knowledge which every Spaniard brought to the Americas’.

 

Curtin proposes the urgent need for a thoroughgoing study of Moorish influence throughout the three Americas during the colonial period.

———-

From Piper, Alan.  “The Mysterious Origins of the Word ‘Marihuana’”.  Sino-Platonic Papers (153):  July 2005.  Retrieved from http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp153_marijuana.pdf