THE PAGAN SOURCES OF ISLAM

THE PAGAN SOURCES OF ISLAM

by Silas

GENERAL

            As Muhammad developed Islam he borrowed from the other regional religions present in the Mideast.  These religions include Judaism, Christianity, Sabeanism, Zoroastrianism, and forms of paganism.  Judaism is the largest contributor to Islam, followed by Christianity, then followed by the various pagan religions, and Muhammad’s mind.  These pagan borrowings constitute significant facets of Islam and this article details some of these pagan contributions.

1) PAGANISM IN ISLAM

            Islamic theology has some of its roots in various pagan beliefs.  Primary to Islam is it’s most holiest shrine:  the Kaba.

THE KABA

            The Kaba is now the most revered sanctuary of Islam.  It is located in Mecca.  Muslims throughout the world direct their prayers toward the Kaba.

PHYSICAL SHAPE

            The Kaba’s shape is somewhat cubical.  Of note in the Kaba’s structure is a black rock built into the wall in its eastern corner.  The black rock’s diameter is about 12 inches.  It is reddish black in color, and has red and yellow particles.  The black rock is kissed during the perambulation, (the circulation of the Muslims around the Kaba).  The Kaba is about 50 feet high, and the walls are about 40 feet long.  The facade contains the door, which starts at 7 feet off the ground, and faces N.E.. To enter the Kaba, a ladder must be used.  Also built in the eastern corner, is another stone called “lucky”.  This stone is only touched, not kissed.

KNOWN PAGAN HISTORY

            Apart from Muslim myths, little is really known about the history of the Kaba.  About 60 years before Christ, the Roman historian Diodorus Siculus commented that there was in Arabia a temple greatly revered by the Arabs.  It is probable that he had the Kaba in mind.  It was later mentioned to have existed in the 2nd century; Ptolemy, the geographer mentions it in his work, calling it the ‘macoraba’.  The Kaba was a sanctuary dedicated to one or more pagan deities.  The accounts of the campaigns of Abraha note that it was a place of pagan worship in the 6th century. Information on the distribution of the offices among the sons of Kusayy show that the worship of the sanctuary had developed into a regulated cult several generations before Muhammad.

            One historian (Hurgronjes) said that sacred worship may have developed around the area because the Zamzam spring was found in this waterless place.

            Pre-Islamic history tells us that many Arabian tribes were stone worshippers.  This is also mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol 5, #661.  The Old Testament even talks about Mideast pagan groups that worshipped stones.  Muhammad incorporated the Kaba’s paganistic roots into Islam to give the Muslims a sense of identity, legitimacy, and uniqueness. He also wanted to ease the Arab’s strain of moving from paganism to Islam, by continuing the practices of their fathers.

PAGAN GODS AND RITUALS

            There were 360 idols around the Kaba.  The pilgrimages to the Kaba were all pagan pilgrimages, the ritual processions around the Kaba were part of pagan beliefs and custom, the white robes worn by the pilgrims were from pagan faiths, the veneration of the Kaba and black stone are derived from pagan rituals and beliefs.  Pagans called out the names of their pagan gods as they circled the Kaba, today, Muslims call out Allah’s name.  Pagans ran between the nearby hills, Muhammad authorized Muslims to do that in the Quran, and probably ran between the hills himself.

            The chief pagan god worshipped there was Hubal, who could be called the god of Mecca and of the Kaba.  Hubal is not mentioned in the Quran. The goddesses al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat were also worshipped there and are mentioned in the Quran.

            It is thought that the Kaba was originally set up for astral worship.  Golden suns and moons are repeatedly mentioned as the votive gifts.  Some pagans regarded the Kaba as a temple devoted to the sun, moon, and 5 planets.

THE BLACK STONE

            The black stone played a prominent role in pagan worship.  The pagans offered animal sacrifices there.  But the idol of the black stone replaced the alter; on the black stone they smeared the blood of the sacrificed animals.

QURANIC MYTHS

            Muhammad made up historical references for the Kaba.  Muhammad claimed that Abraham and Ishmael laid the foundations of the Kaba (Q. 2:127). Muhammad claimed that God ordained the Kaba as a sacred house (Q. 5:97). Muhammad also claimed that it was the first temple ever built for mankind (Q. 3:97).

            Only Muhammad claimed that it was a place built by Abraham.  In looking in the O.T., we find no mention of Abraham traveling to Mecca to build a house of worship.

            Further, the late Taha Hussein, one of the most famous Egyptian professors of Arabic literature said that the Islamic myth of Abraham building the Kaba came into vogue just before the rise of Islam.  He comments:

            “The case of this episode is very obvious because it is of recent date, and came into vogue just before the rise of Islam.  Islam exploited it for religious reasons”.  Quoted in ‘Mizar al-Islam’ by Anwar al-Jundi.

THEOLOGICAL PROBLEMS

            Every man living in Mecca before and during Muhammad’s life had some relationship with the Kaba.  If the Kaba was the house of God, why did Muhammad order his followers to face Jerusalem?  Muhammad’s ‘revelation’ in the Quran says that when Allah had Muhammad change prayer directions, it was a test of the Muslims.  This sounds like a lame excuse on Muhammad’s part.  What’s the test?  Face another direction?  That does not appear to be such an incredible challenge!

            Probably the real answer is that through his early contacts with Christians and Jews, Muhammad knew that their faiths, centered in Jerusalem, where monotheistic.  Muhammad abhorred polytheistic worship, consequently he aligned himself with faiths that he believed were from the true God.  He selected Jerusalem as the direction of prayer.  He hoped that the Jews would receive him as a prophet.

            About a year and a half after the migration to Medina, after the Jews had thoroughly rejected him, he turned the direction of prayer to Mecca – the center of pagan worship in the Arabian peninsula (Q. 2:144).  Just as he had compromised with the pagan idol worshippers in Mecca, by sanctioning and worshipping the pagan goddesses Lat, Uzza, and Manat, so now he hoped to gain favor with the pagan Arab tribes that worshipped at the Kaba in Mecca.  He authenticated the pagan focus of attention.

            After Muhammad took Mecca, he cleansed the Kaba.  Inside the Kaba were many representations of the prophets.  When his men began to cleanse the Kaba, and wash out the representations, Muhammad placed his hands on the pictures of Jesus and Mary, and said “Wash out all except what is below my hands”.  Again, Muhammad went against his own principles, and sanctioned his definition of idolatry.

            Muhammad then sanctioned the pagan rituals concerning the Kaba, i.e. kissing the black stone, touching the Kaba, circling the structure, running between the two hills, etc.  Later, Umar said to the black stone “I know that you are a stone, that neither helps nor hurts, and if the messenger of god had not kissed you, I would not kiss you”. (Sahih al-Bukhari, volume 2, #667).   But then he kissed the stone.  Like Umar, many other Muslims follow the prophet in their practice of veneration of a pagan idol.

            Before Muhammad, there was a group of people in Arabia who also abhorred idolatry.  They were known as the Hanifites.  Even the Hanifites saw that kissing the black stone was pagan idolatry.  During one of the pre-Islamic Eids, the Qurayshi were worshipping their idols, slaying sacrifices, praying, and making circuits around the Kaba.  Just as they did each year for this festival.  Some Hanifites saw them, and stood apart from them, and said:

            “By the Lord!, our people have nothing left of the faith of Abraham.  What is this stone that we should encircle it?  It can neither hear nor speak, neither hurt nor help.  O our people, look out for your souls, for by the Lord are you altogether wanting.”

     One of the Hanifites was Obeidallah… later he embraced Islam.  He immigrated to Abyssinia with other Muslims.  Later he became a Christian.  After his conversion, he said to his Muslim friends ‘We (Christians) see, but you are only blinking’ – that is, cannot see plainly.

            So, why then does Muhammad kiss the black stone?  Why did he incorporate paganism into his faith.  There is even the Quranic story of Abraham – how he chided those who worshipped idols sura 6, 21, etc., and said it was sinful in God’s sight.  Yet here we have Muhammad walking around the Kaba, just like the pagans, kissing the stone, just like the pagans.  Even Umar knew it was empty and false, yet he followed Muhammad in kissing the stone.

            It cannot be denied that an entire pagan theology and ritual, was adopted by Islam, after Muhammad had one of his convenient ‘revelations’ and made it ‘religiously’ correct.

            Another Muslim myth, concerning the Kaba, is that ‘anyone who prays under the Kaba’s water-pipe becomes as pure as on the day when his mother bore him’.  Muslims have a hard time accepting Christ’s atonement, but will allow for total forgiveness of sins by uttering a prayer under a spout!

POST MUHAMMAD HISTORY

            In one of the early Muslim civil wars (a.d. 683), al-Zubayr in Mecca was besieged by al-Husayn.  Husayn’s men used catapults and damaged the Kaba.  It looked like ‘the torn bosoms of mourning women’.  Zubayr and his men pitched their tents next to the Kaba, and a conflagration caught the Kaba on fire.  The Kaba was severely damaged, and the black stone was split into three pieces.

            A short time later, al-Hadjdjadj conquered Mecca and killed Zubayr.  He modified the Kaba’s structure.

            In 929, the Karmatians invaded Mecca and carried off the black stone!  20 years later it was returned.

            Other natural events (bad weather) have also caused the Kaba to need repair.

            Muslims erroneously claim that God has protected the Quran from corruption, yet their god was not able to protect his sacred house!

POST MUHAMMAD ISLAMIC MYTHOLOGY

            Later Muslim theologians invented a number of myths about Mecca and the Kaba.

            One Islamic tradition is – according to Ibn Abbas:  Muhammad said, ‘The black stone came from Paradise and at the time of its descent it was whiter than milk, but that the sins of the children of Adam have caused it to be black, by their touching it.  That on the Day of Resurrection, when it will have two eyes, by which it will see and know all those who touched it and kissed it, and when it will have a tongue to speak, it will give evidence in favor of those who touched and kissed it’!

            Muslim writers also said that the Kaba was first constructed in heaven, 2000 years before the creation of the world, where a model of it still remains.  Adam erected the first Kaba on earth exactly below the spot its perfect model occupies in heaven!  10,000 angels were appointed to guard Adam’s Kaba, but obviously they didn’t do a good job!  God then instructed Abraham to rebuild it.

            There are a number of other myths about the Kaba.  Among them are that Mecca is the navel of the world, that the Kaba was established at the creation of the world, destroyed during the flood, re-built by Abraham, that Gabriel provided the black stone.  There are also legends about the Zamzam water from the nearby well.

            Some Muslims say that there are references to the Kaba in the O.T.  Here are a few mistaken claims:

1)  Muslims hope that Gen 35:4, 14, 15 refer to the Kaba.  Since “Beth-El” = House of God, and that the Jewish temple wasn’t built until much later.  But as the Bible shows, Bethel is a town, in Palestine – Genesis chapter 12.  Also, Jacob built an altar, not a temple to God.  Abraham also built an altar to the Lord in Gen 12:7.

2)  Muslims claim that David mentions the Kaba in Psalm 84:6.  If ‘Baca’ was a location, it was not known where it existed in the Bible.  But a more correct interpretation, taken in context of the whole Psalm, is that since ‘baca’ means weeping, it means ‘valley of tears’.  David could be saying that he longs for the presence of God, and that even through difficult times (baca) God will be with him, and will turn his tears to joy.

3)  Muslims also think that Isaiah 60:7 “All the flocks of Kedar” refers to Arabian people worshipping at the Kaba.  Reading thru Isa 60:7, it shows that Kedar’s flocks are going to be sacrificed on the alter.  Are Muslims saying that Arabs were going to be human sacrifices?

4)  Some Muslims think that since the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation is cubic, it also resembles the Kaba and thus is a prophecy of the Kaba!  But the Kaba is not a perfect cube, not even close.  The structure is 50 ft high, with a sloping roof, the shorter walls are 35 feet long, and the facade is 40 ft. long.

SUMMARY FOR THE ISLAMIC RITES CENTERED ON THE KABA

            Every Muslim that makes the Hajj, every Muslim that runs between the hills, every Muslim that bestows a kiss on the black stone, is performing pagan rituals, founded on pagan superstitions, sanctioned by Muhammad himself.

            Muslims have accused Christianity of incorporating paganism, and to an extent, some exterior cultural aspects have been. But paganism is an integral root of Islam; paganism is part of it’s theology, history, ceremony, and veneration.

            My references for this section are from the original Hughes Dictionary of Islam (not the recent one that has been sanitized by a Muslim publisher), the Shorter Ency. of Islam, and the Ency. of Islam, pub. by E. J. Brill, and ‘The Sources of Islam’ by Tisdall.

MORE ISLAMIC PAGANISM

THE NIGHT JOURNEY

            The Night Journey describes Muhammad’s ascent into heaven.  It is briefly mentioned in sura 17:1, and described in Sahih al-Bukhari, in several of his volumes, notably in vol 1, #345.

            Muhammad’s story parallels a Zoroastrian story.  It is found in an old Pahlavi book known as “The Book of Arta Viraf”.  The Zoroastrian story describes the journey of a saintly priest (Arta Viraf), who went into a trance and his spirit went up to the heavens under the guidance of an angel named Sarosh.  He passed from one utopia (7 heavens?) to another until he reached the presence of Ormazd, the great deity of the whole universe.  When Arta saw everything in heaven and that the inhabitants were very happy, Ormazd commanded him to return to earth as his ‘messenger’ and to tell the people all that he saw and heard.

            Also, the Zoroastrians taught, long before Islam, there was a marvelous tree in Paradise called ‘humaya’, which corresponds very closely to the ‘sidrah’, the lote tree of Islam.

            Finally, there is another Zoroastrian work the ‘Zerdashtnama’, which has a story of how Zoroaster himself ascended into the heavens and obtained permission to visit hell, where he found Ahriman, the Devil.

            All of these stories are paralleled in the Quran.  No doubt Muhammad heard these stories and decided to put himself on a level with Zoroaster and others.  So, now we have Muhammad copying the Zoroastrian stories and claiming to have these experiences.

     Again, while Muslims claim that paganism influenced Christianity, we see that paganism is part of the core of Islamic faith and theology. 

AZAZIL – THE DEVIL

            In the Muslim Hadith, the Devil has a certain name – Azazil. 

The name does not occur in the Quran.  The name may come from Leviticus 16:8, 10, 26 – the scapegoat in Hebrew is Azazil.  From another source it means ‘the demon of the desert’.

            There are Apocrypha Jewish books – Enoch and Apocalypse of Abraham, that mention Azazil.  Islamic traditions – Hadiths develop their story.  Muslims associate Azazil with the fallen angels Harut and Marut.  Ibn Abbas tradition has the strongest Islamic reference developing it as Satan’s name, before the fall of Adam.

Here is Tisdall’s view on it (taken from “The Sources of Islam”):

            Muslims take the name Azazil from the Jews, but put the Zoroastrian story behind the name.  Muslims believe that God created Azazil, who worshipped God for a 1000 years while he was in the 7th hell. Then he ascended a stage at a time, all the while worshipping God. Finally, he reached the earth.  Elsewhere, Muslim tradition says he stayed 3000 years by the gate of paradise, with hostile intentions against Adam and Eve.  He was very jealous of them.

            Compare the above with the Zoroastrian account:

            Ahriman (Azazil) remained in the abyss, there to commit hurt and injury, and mischief and darkness.  Ormazd (God) knew of his existence and plans.  It went on like this for 3000 years.  The evil spirit was ignorant of Ormazd’s existence, but eventually rising out of the pit, saw Ormazd’s light.  Then Ahriman was filled with hostility and envy, he set out to destroy.

THE SABEANS

            Who were the Sabeans?  Why did Muhammad regard them as believers in the true God?  The Sabeans are mentioned at least 3 times in the Quran:

1)  2:62 – “Believers, Jews, Christians, and Sabeans; whoever believes in God and the last day and does what is right, shall be rewarded by their Lord; they have nothing to fear or regret.”

2)  5:69 – “Believers, Jews, Sabeans and Christians; whoever believes in God and the last day and does what is right, shall have nothing to fear or to regret.”

3)  22:17 – “As for the true believers, the Jews, the Sabeans, the Christians, the Magians, and the pagans, God will judge them on the day of Resurrection.  God bears witness to all things.”

            Although what is known about the Sabeans is not comprehensive, enough has been written about them to determine a basic understanding of their practices and beliefs.  Most of the writings are from Islamic sources. Some of the writers are Ibn Hazm in ‘Fisal wa-Milal’, Ibn al-Nadim in the ‘Fihrist’, Shahrastani in ‘The Treaty on Sects’, and Masudi in ‘Muruj al-Dhahab.

            Ibn Hazm, writing in ‘Fisal wa-Milal’, identifies the people then known as ‘Harranians’ as the ‘Sabeans’ mentioned in the Quran.  Hazm writes that they honored the seven planets and the twelve constellations, they have 5 times of prayer, (the same times as the Muslims pray), they fast in Ramadan, they venerate and turn to the Kaba in prayer.  Hazm also says they also worshipped the stars and idols.  Hazm further claims that Allah sent Abraham to turn them away from pagan worship, but Abraham didn’t succeed.

            Comparing all the early writings on the Sabeans, we find that they inhabited Syria, and spread from there, they were definitely pagans, having a mixture of Babylonian and Helenic religion.  The ‘prophets’ they professed to follow were Hermes and Agathodaemon, who they identified in Shahrastani’s time with Seth and Idris (O.T. Enoch). Gods who were worshipped were the gods of the 7 week-days, the god of the Jinn, the lord of the Hour, the god who makes arrows fly, the god Tammuz (a variation of the one previously mentioned), Hamam the prince, the father of the gods, the god ‘North’, the lord ‘Fortune’, etc.  They also kept the Eid of their own.  Further, the Sabeans made star worship a chief characteristic of their system.

            So, did Islam get the 5 times a day prayer? –From the star worshipping Sabeans.  What about fasting during Ramadan? – from the Sabeans. The Eid? – from the Sabeans.

            It seems very odd to me that Muhammad, the man who’s central doctrine was the oneness of God, would include pagan worshippers as those who were believers in the true God.  If Muhammad were truly a prophet, how could he have made such a big mistake? How did astral worshippers get included into the Quran as those that worship the true God?  How could Muhammad’s ‘revelation’ be in such error?

            It is noteworthy that just as Muhammad incorporated the pagan veneration of the Kaba and black stone into Islam, so he incorporated the Sabean times of prayer, Eid, and fasting into Islam.

            Once again, Muhammad didn’t fully know the subject he was synthesizing into Islam.  I have read nothing about their doctrine that would have led Muhammad to include them as followers of the one true God he preached about.  Perhaps he learned a small portion about their religion, and believed it to be right.  Little did he know that under that veneer of words, lay many theological differences.

HOURIS

            The Quran mentions ‘houris’ several times 44:50, 52:20, 55:60, 56:20, 78:33.  Who or what are they?  They are ‘bashful virgins’, ‘fair as coral and ruby’, ‘dark eyed youths’, ‘high bosomed maidens (big breasted)’. In sum, they are creatures put in Paradise, primarily for men’s sexual pleasures.  Each man will have at least two of them.

            This concept is derived from the Zoroastrian sources.  In Zoroastrian writings they are referred to as ‘Faries’ – spirits in bright array and beautiful to captivate the heart of man.  The name ‘Houris’ comes from a Pehlavi source, as does the Islamic ‘Jinn’ for Genie.

The Sabeans and Islam

CONCLUSION

            It’s not difficult to see how Muhammad heard various sacred religious stories, and incorporated them into Islam.  Perhaps he thought that parts of those religions contained truth, so he adopted what he thought to be correct.  But nevertheless, part of the foundation of Islam is paganism.

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Did Islam Destroy Classical Civilisation?

Did Islam Destroy Classical Civilization ? Source: Islam In It’s Own WordsDid Islam Destroy Classical Civilisation? ”Excellent Analysis of how Islam created the Middle Age and influenced Europeans’ mind” One of the most enduring problems of history is the decline of Classical Civilization. How is it, scholars have long asked, that the civilization of Greece and Rome, which had endured over a thousand years, gave way to the world of the Medieval; an age which saw, for a while, the decline and apparent disappearance of the rationalist spirit of Greece and Rome? In academic and journalistic literature and in the popular imagination there is no mystery at all: After theBarbarian Invasions of the fifth century, we are told, the peoples of Western Europe reverted to living in thatched, wattle-and-daub huts. Cities were destroyed and abandoned, the art of writing virtually lost, and the mass of the population kept in a state of ignorance by an obscurantist and fanatical Church, which effectively completed the destructive work of the Barbarians. Into this darkened stage, the Arabs arrived in the seventh and eighth centuries like a ray of light. Tolerant and learned, they brought knowledge of the science of antiquity back into Europe and, under their influence, the Westerners began the long journey back to civilization. That, in a nutshell, is the story told in an enormous number of scholarly treatises and academic textbooks. It is a story implicitly accepted by a large majority of professional historians, both in Europeand North America – among them Bernard Lewis, the doyen of Middle Eastern studies in the English-speaking world; and yet it is a version of the past that is completely and utterly false. Indeed, it would be difficult to imagine a narrative further removed from what actually happened. And, shocking as it may seem, historians have known this for several generations. Why this knowledge has never been fully disseminated or integrated into academic thought is a moot point, but the fact that textbooks designed for schoolchildren and students of higher education can still be printed promoting the above version of events should be a cause of deep concern. For the truth is that when the Arabs reached southern Italy and Spain they found not a bunch of primitive savages, but a highly sophisticated Latin civilization, a civilization rich in cities, agriculture, art and literature, and presided over by completely Romanized Gothic kings. How do we know this? Well, the Arabs themselves said so. On their arrival in Spain, Gothic Spain, the Muslim conquerors of 711 were astonished at the size and opulence of its cities. Their annalists recall the appearance at the time of Seville, Cordova, Merida and Toledo;“the four capitals of Spain, founded,” they tell us naively, “by Okteban [Octavian] the Caesar.” Seville, above all, seems to have struck them by its wealth and its illustriousness invarious ways. “It was,” writes Ibn Adhari, among all the capitalso f Spainthe greatest, the most important, the best built and the richest in ancient monuments. Before its conquest by the Goths it had been the residence of the Roman governor. The Gothic kings chose Toledo for their residence; but Seville remained the seat of the Roman adepts of sacred and profane science, and it was there that lived the nobility of the same origin. (Cited from Lious Bertrand and Sir Charles Petrie, The History of Spain (2nd ed. London, 1945) p. 7) Not much sign of decline here! Another Arab writer, Merida, mentions Seville’s great bridge as well as “magnificent palaces and churches,” (Bertrand and Petrie, pp. 17-18) and we should note that archaeological confirmation of this picture is forthcoming. Several of the magnificent Visigothic churches and palaces still stand, and the discovery near Toledo in 1857 of a collection of richly wrought Visigothic votive crowns encrusted with precious stones brought the descriptions of the Arab conquerors to mind in the most vivid way possible. (See Richard Fletcher, Moorish Spain (London, 1992) p. 18) Documentary andarchaeological evidence from throughout the territories of the former Roman Empire has demonstrated, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the Barbarian rulers who occupied Italy and the Western Empire during the fifth century, far from destroying Roman culture and civilization, rapidly became Romanized themselves, and presided over a veritable renaissance of Classical civilization. The arts and the sciences flourished under them, and their enormous wealth was employed in the construction of brilliantly decorated residences and churches. By 500 AD, virtually all of the damage that had been done during the Invasions of the fifth century had been repaired, and cities flourished as they had under the old Imperial administration. Indeed, the “Barbarian” kings of Italy, from the very beginning, actively imitated the Court in Constantinople, and all of them regarded themselves as not only allies, but functionaries and officers of the Empire. The gold coins they issued were stamped with the image of the Byzantine Emperor, and they dwelt in the palatial villas erected by earlier Roman procurators and princes. Some of these were extended, and all were regularly renovated. Yet, having said all that, it is true that by the end of the seventh century, or at the very latest by the start of the eighth, this flowering Classical civilization came, rather suddenly, to an end; and the medieval world we are all familiar with took shape: cities and towns declined and were sometimes abandoned, trade diminished, life became more rural, the arts declined, illiteracy prevailed, and the feudal system, which fragmented the kingdoms of Western Europe, took shape. In the years which followed, the Church became the sole vehicle of learning and administration, and a barter economy largely replaced the monetary system in place shortly before. What coins were issued, were minted in silver, rather than the gold used tillthe start of the seventh century. The Middle Ages had begun. Who or what had produced this situation? As early as the 1920s Belgian medievalist Henri Pirenne located the proverbial smoking gun. But it was not in the hands of the Goths or Vandals, or the Christian Church: it was in the hands of those people whom it had, even then, become fashionable to credit with saving Western Civilization:the Arabs. The evidence, as Pirenne was at pains to show in his posthumously published Mohammed and Charlemagne (1938) was incontrovertible. From the mid-seventh century the Mediterranean had been blockaded by the Arabs. Trade with the great centres of population and culture in the Levant, a trade which had been the mainstay of Western Europe’s prosperity,was terminated. The flow of all the luxury items which Pirenne found in the records of the Spanish Visigoths and the Merovingians of Gaul, came to an abrupt end, as Arab pirates scoured the seas. The flow of gold to the West dried up. Gold coinage disappeared, and the great cities of Italy, Gaul and Spain, especially the ports, which owed their wealth to the Mediterranean trade, became mere ghost towns. Worst of all, perhaps, from the perspective of culture and learning, the importation of papyrus from Egyptc eased.This material, which had been shipped into Western European vast quantities since the time of the Roman Republic, was absolutely essential for a thousand purposes in a literate and mercantile civilization; and the ending of the supply had an immediate and catastrophic effect on levels of literacy. These dropped, almost overnight, to levels perhaps equivalent to those in pre-Roman times. Pirenne stressed that the arrival of Islam effectively isolated Europe both intellectually and economically. And with this economic paralysis came war: the Muslim conquests were to unleash a torrent of violence against Europe. As a direct result of the Arab advance, by the seventh and eighth centuries, Christendom, the area within which Christianity was the dominant religion, diminished almost to vanishing-point. This catastrophic loss of territory – everything from northern Syria to the Pyrenees – took place in a space of two or three generations. In Western Europe there remained only a nucleus of Christian territory, comprising France, Western Germany, the Upper Danube and Italy (as well as Ireland and parts of Britain); and these regions felt themselves threatened also with imminent extinction: For the surviving Christian territories were besieged and under sustained attack from the north and east ,as well as the south. As the Arabs sent army after army to plunder, destroy and occupy, they encouraged and, in some ways directed, further attacks on the core areas of Europe from other directions. Thus even the Viking onslaught, which devastated huge areas of the British Isles, France and northern Germany, was elicited by the Muslim demand for slaves. The latter is a fact not yet widely known, though well-accepted by professional historians: the Vikings, essentially, were piratical slave-traders, and their notorious expeditions across the seas to the west and along the great rivers of Russia to the east were elicited first and foremost by the Muslim demand for white-skinned concubines and eunuchs. Without Islam, there would almost certainly have been no Vikings. As it was, this trading-alliance between the barbarians of the North and the Muslims of Spain and North Africa was to bring Christian Europe to the brink of collapse. As if all that were note nough, the attempt to control the inroads of Muslims and Vikings opened Europe to the depredations of other predatory peoples, most especially from the steppelands of central Asia, and one of these in particular, the Magyars, or Hungarians, were to prove a real threat, for a time, to the continued existence of a Christian Germany. Pirenne’s research was first class and was never effectively refuted by his critics. Nonetheless, his findings have been ignored. Year after year popular and scholarly works on the history of the Mediterranean and of Islam’s interaction with Christianity continue to be published – especially in the English-speakingworld – without mentioning Pirenne’s name, far less taking on board his findings. This was the case, for example, with John Julius Norwich’s history ofthe Mediterranean (The Middle Sea), published in 2006. The same is true of the latest offering of Bernard Lewis, the grand old man of Middle Eastern studies at Princeton, whose 2008 book God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570 – 1215, not only ignores Pirenne and his ideas, but comes to conclusions reminiscent of those taught before the appearance of Mohammed and Charlemagne. So for example in the above volume Lewis contrasted the cultural sophistication of the eighth century Islamic invaders of Spain with what he describes as the almost Neolithic culture and economy of the Visigoths and Franks whom they encountered. For Lewis, the “Dark Age” was still brought about by the Germanic Invaders of the fifth century, and the Arab blockade of the Mediterranean in the seventh and eighth centuries had no effect upon Europe. For him, the Arabs were still, evidently, the saviours of Europe from barbarism. How to explain this? Without doubt, political correctness has played a part. The spirit of the age dictates that non-European civilizations (such as the Islamic) should never be criticized,is most disturbing, and needsor even critically examined. Such an attitude, which essentially places ideology above evidence, and needs to be combated at every opportunity. There is however another factor: Pirenne, along with almost all historians of his age, assumed that Byzantium, which had not been overrun by the Barbarians, never experienced a Dark Age or a Medieval period. This view was prompted, in part at least, by Byzantine propaganda, which always advertised the Empire as the Second Romeand the inheritor of Rome’smantle. As recently as 1953, for example, Sidney Painter could write that, “from 716 to 1057 came [for Byzantium] slightly more than three centuries of glory. The Byzantine Empire was the richest state of Europe, the strongest military power, and by far the most cultivated. During these three centuries while Western Europe was a land of partly tamed barbarians, the Byzantine Empire was a highly civilized state where almost felicitous merger of Christianity and Hellenism produced a fascinating culture.” (A History of the Middle Ages, 284-1500). To this day, popular literature tells us how, after the taking of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Greek scholars and philosophers, fleeing to the West, helped “kick-start” the Renaissance in Italy. But if Byzantine civilization was not destroyed by the Arabs, why should anyone believe they destroyed classical civilization in the West? This was a point Pirenne did not address: He was perhaps unaware of its importance. Yet developments in Byzantine archaeology since the Second World War have now come dramatically to the support of Pirenne: For it has been shown, much to the surprise of everyone,  Byzantium experienced three centuries during which – in complete contrast to the opinion expressed above – almost all her cities were abandoned, populations plummeted and high culture came to an end. So great was the destruction that even bronze coinage, the everyday lubricant of commercial life, disappeared. And when archaeology again appears, in the middle of the tenth century, the civilization it reveals has been radically altered: The old Byzantium of Late Antiquity is gone, and we find an impoverished and semi-literate rump; a Medieval Byzantium strikingly like the Medieval France, Germany and Italy with which it was contemporary. Here we find too a barter or semi-barter economy; a decline in population and literacy; and an intolerant and theocratic state. And the break-off point in Byzantium, as in the West, is the first half of the seventh century – precisely corresponding to the arrival on the scene of the Arabs and of Islam. The evidence from the East, which has, regrettably, not yet become “common knowledge” even in the world of academia, weighs decisively in favour of Pirenne. The debate is essentially over – though the knowledge of that fact has yet to percolate through to the history faculties of our universities. Classical civilization, just as Pirenne said all those years ago, did not end in the fifth century; it ended in the seventh; and it was terminated by the Arabs. In my forthcoming book, Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Civilization (Felibri, August, 2009) I reiterate Pirenne’s arguments and demonstrate that, in many ways, he did not go far enough. For the impact of Islam upon Europe was far from being merely economic. Whilst Islam’s doctrine of perpetual war against the infidel did turn the Mediterranean into a violent frontier, and did impoverish Europe, Islam now also began to impose its mindset upon the West. Until the closing of the Mediterranean the predominant cultural influence upon Europe was from the East: from Byzantium and from the ancient Hellenistic centers in the Near East, especially Egyp tand Syria. With the closing of the Mediterranean, the West was isolated, and the centre of gravity moved, as Pirenne stressed, to the North; to northern Gaul, Germany and Britain. Yet the influence of the East did not come to an end. There was continuity. But now the East meant Islam. And in the centuries after the first Arab conquests, the influence of Islam became profound: It was this influence that would definitively terminate Classical civilization and give birth to the theocracy we now call “Medieval Europe”. The first and most obvious Islamic idea to be adopted by Europeans was that of Holy War. Before the seventh century, Christianity had been largely true to its pacifist roots. Even after becoming the official religion of the Empire, Christians tended to eschew the army as a career and the taking of any human life, even in war, continued to be frowned upon. In the words of Gibbon – no friend of Christianity – by the fifth century; “The clergy successfully preached the doctrines of patience and pusillanimity; the active virtues of society were discouraged, and the last remains of the military spirit [of Rome] were buried in the cloister; a large portion of public and private wealth was consecrated to the specious demands of charity and devotion; and the soldiers’ pay was lavished on the useless multitudes of both sexes, who could only plead the merits of abstinence and charity.” (Decline and Fall, Chapter 38). This may go part of the way to explain the recruitment into the army of great numbers of Barbarians from the fourth century onwards. Actually, by the late fourth and certainly by the fifth century the words “barbarian” and “soldier”became virtually synonymous. The Gothic and Vandal kings who supplanted the Roman Emperors in the West were, to begin with, not exactly pacifists. Whilst readily accepting Christianity, the new faith had to find a place alongside the ancient warlike cults of Woden and Thor. Nonetheless, by the end of the sixth century, even the warlike nature of the Teutonic rulers began to dissipate. Gibbon notes that,under the spell of Christianity, the Goths and Vandals soon lost their martial traditions: so much so that by the seventh and eighth centuries the Germanic populations of North Africa and Spain were utterly unable to stem the Islamic advance in those regions.What a contrast this Christianity appears when we compare it with the muscular and militant faith of the Middle Ages, the faith of the Crusaders, Inquisitors and Conquistadors. This new Christianity was a direct consequence of the clash with Islam, for it did not appear until after the arrival of Islam. In one respect, the change came quite simply because it had to: Surrounded by aggressors bent on its destruction, aggressors with whom it was impossible to make peace, Christians had to take up arms. This was as true among the Christians of the North, threatened by the Vikings and Hungarians, as it was among the Christians of the South, threatened by the Muslims. But the change was elicited by ideology as well as simple necessity. Europeans began to be profoundly influenced by Muslim ideas – ideas on war, interpretation of Scriptures, heresy, the Jews, etc. This was a purely “Medieval” outlook: indeed, it was thevery epitome of what we now mean by “Medieval.”. Historians are familiarwith the influence of Islamic philosophy upon the West at this time, and they quote, generally with approval, the study by Europeans of the Persian Muslim Avicenna and the Spanish Muslim Averroes. But not everything that came from Islam was so benevolent. It is widely known, for example, that the Byzantine doctrine of iconoclasm, the destruction of sacred religious images, was directly attributable to the influence of Islam. But many Islamic ideas, some of them the polar opposite of those found in early Christianity, now began to find resonance in the thinking of Europeans at almost every level. How could it have been otherwise, when impoverished Christians viewed with astonishment the wealth, luxury and sophistication of Muslim cities in Spain, Sicily, and further east? That this wealth and luxury was debarred to them by the very Muslim Emirs and Caliphs whose opulence they so much admired, was beside the point. Europeans could only be impressed, and influenced. And influenced they were. From the Muslims they learned “Holy War”; from them they learned too that the Jews were an accursed race and the enemies of God. The consequences of these Islamic notions about the Jews were to be as long-lasting as they were tragic. Islamic fatalism, founded on the conviction that Allah could not be bound by any kind of natural or scientific laws, was lethal to the rationalism of Greece and Rome, which now began to die. Parallel with this development, there appeared, first in Islamic Spain and then throughout Europe, that obsession with sorcery and witchcraft which was to be one of the hallmarks of the MiddleAges. From Islam too the Europeans breathed the essence of fanaticism. Islamic law decreed death to be theonly fit punishment for a heretic or an apostate.No such idea had ever existed among Christians. True there had always been fierce doctrinal and theological disputes among Christians which even, at times, turned violent. But such violence as occurred was mainly verbal and rarely involved physical attack. By the end of the eleventh century, Christian Europe, under the influence of Islam both in Europe and in the Middle East, was beginning to think in a very different way; and within a hundred years the Popes had defined and published their new doctrine of capital punishment for dissenters. Torture too, absolutely normal in Islamic lands, began, for the first time, to be applied judicially in Europe. Source: http://www.faithfreedom.org/2009/07/09/did-islam-destroy-classical-civilization/

Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Civilization

How Did Islam Destroy The Classical World?

there were five major Patriarchs of the Roman Empire: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.
By 661, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem diminished by their permanent conquest by the Islamic Arabs. after hundreds of years of ongoing battles and unrest, Constantinople finally fell to the Ottomans muslims after a two-month siege on 29 May 1453.
thus Rome was the fifth and the last surviving classical civilisation. if it had fallen to islam too, we all would be muslim or living under islam by now
for full lecture go to the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im0IisZ77QI

These figures are a rough estimate of the death of non-Muslims by the political act of jihad.

Africa 120 million Africans
14 million africans sent to the Islamic nations of North Africa and the Middle East. For every slave captured many others died. for every slave who reached a plantation, five others were killed in the initial raid or died of illness and
privation on the forced march.[Woman’s Presbyterian Board of Missions, David Livingstone, Those who were left behind were the very young, the weak, the sick and the old. These soon died since the main providers had been
killed or enslaved. So, for 25 million slaves delivered to the market, it is estimated death of about 120 million people. Islam ran the wholesale slave trade in Africa.

Christians 60 million Christians
The number of Christians martyred by Islam is 9 million . A rough estimate by Raphael Moore in History of Asia Minor is that another 50 million died in wars by jihad.

Hindus 80 million Hindus
estimate of 80 million Hindus killed in the total jihad against India. The country of India today is only half the size of ancient India, due to jihad. The mountains near India are called the Hindu Kush, meaning the “funeral pyre of the
Hindus.”

Buddhists 10 million Buddhists
Buddhists do not keep up with the history of war. Keep in mind that in jihad only Christians and Jews were allowed to survive as dhimmis (servants to Islam) everyone else had to convert or die. Jihad killed the Buddhists in Turkey, Afghanistan, along the Silk Route, and in India. The total is roughly 10 million.

This gives a rough estimate of 270 million killed by jihad.
https://www.politicalislam.com/tears-of-jihad/

Tears of Jihad

Tears of Jihad
Mar 3 2008 | by Bill Warner

These figures are a rough estimate of the death of non-Muslims by the political act of jihad.
Africa
Thomas Sowell [Thomas Sowell, Race and Culture, BasicBooks, 1994, p. 188] estimates that 11 million slaves were shipped across the Atlantic and 14 million were sent to the Islamic nations of North Africa and the Middle East. For every slave captured many others died. Estimates of this collateral damage vary. The renowned missionary David Livingstone estimated that for every slave who reached a plantation, five others were killed in the initial raid or died of illness and privation on the forced march.[Woman’s Presbyterian Board of Missions, David Livingstone, p. 62, 1888] Those who were left behind were the very young, the weak, the sick and the old. These soon died since the main providers had been killed or enslaved. So, for 25 million slaves delivered to the market, we have an estimated death of about 120 million people. Islam ran the wholesale slave trade in Africa.
120 million Africans

Christians
The number of Christians martyred by Islam is 9 million [David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, World Christian Trends AD 30-AD 2200, William Carey Library, 2001, p. 230, table 4-10] . A rough estimate by Raphael Moore in History of Asia Minor is that another 50 million died in wars by jihad. So counting the million African Christians killed in the 20th century we have:
60 million Christians

Hindus
Koenard Elst in Negationism in India gives an estimate of 80 million Hindus killed in the total jihad against India. [Koenard Elst, Negationism in India, Voice of India, New Delhi, 2002, pg. 34.] The country of India today is only half the size of ancient India, due to jihad. The mountains near India are called the Hindu Kush, meaning the “funeral pyre of the Hindus.”
80 million Hindus

Buddhists
Buddhists do not keep up with the history of war. Keep in mind that in jihad only Christians and Jews were allowed to survive as dhimmis (servants to Islam) everyone else had to convert or die. Jihad killed the Buddhists in Turkey, Afghanistan, along the Silk Route, and in India. The total is roughly 10 million. [David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, World Christian Trends AD 30-AD 2200, William Carey Library, 2001, p. 230, table 4-1.] 10 million Buddhists

Jews
Oddly enough there were not enough Jews killed in jihad to significantly affect the totals of the Great Annihilation. The jihad in Arabia was 100 percent effective, but the numbers were in the thousands, not millions. After that, the Jews submitted and became the dhimmis (servants and second class citizens) of Islam and did not have geographic political power.

This gives a rough estimate of 270 million killed by jihad.