Friday, November 30, 2012

Mankind the Story of All of Us: Islam Was Spread With Gold

I thought that having read volumes on Seerah and history of Islam, I would not have missed the essential points on these subjects.  But the only unsurprising thing in life is that there will always be a surprise.  Apparently there is one essential point which I have terribly missed, namely that Islam was actually spread with gold.

Who says so?  Mankind the Story of All of Us, a 12 hour, 6 series, of the History channel.

I happened to watch part of the third series, titled Empires, the other day.  It tells of the story of a gold miner, an Arab, allegedly from the tribe of the Prophet, an obscure name, who had found riches in the form of gold in his gold mine.  Apparently there were a lot of gold mines in Arabia.  According to the series, this gold, in current value, would be USD2 billion.

After showing the story of this gold miner, whose name I cannot recall from any Seerah material, but supposedly an ancestor of the Prophet, because both belonged to the same tribe, the show quickly moved to the advent of the Prophet.  With the help of this USD2 billion worth of gold, Islam was spread to the world, and supplanted the two superpowers of that time, the Persian and the Byzantium empires.   This is the impression the series tries to suggest.

I must say that I find it rather amusing, and it is news to me, as it would have been to many others who are familiar with the story of Islam.

The Muslims always pride themselves with the assertion that it is the faith, embodied in the Quran, and the Traditions of the Prophet, that had transformed the brute Arabs, the sons of the desert, to become the conquerors of the more civilized nations.  We believe it was the beauty of the Islamic teachings, embodied in the Quran and the Sunnah, and displayed by the early Companions, that had attracted others to join the fold of Islam.

The non Muslim observers, meanwhile, say that it was not just the faith, but the sword as well, that had assisted in the quick spread of Islam, as the much celebrated historian, Edward Gibbon, had beautifully put it in his monumental work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: “Mahomet, with the sword in one hand and the Koran in the other, erected his throne on the ruins of Christianity and of Rome.”

It is difficult to dismiss Gibbon’s assertion completely, for in the beginning at least, the Roman and the Persian empires did not submit to Islam by entering into this religion.  They submitted only after they lost major wars.  And wars were not fought with words, but with swords.

But to suggest that Islam was spread with gold, that sounds ridiculous and highly contentious to me.

Curious, I searched the net.  There were not many hits on the topic, but one write up stands out.  It is titled, Gold Mining in Arabia and the Rise of the Islamic State, a thirty two page article written by Gene W. Heck. (1)

In the abstract, Heck states the purpose of his study is to explore “the role of precious metals—gold and silver—in lending vitality to the economy of Western Arabia in the formative years of the Dar al-Islam.”

He then chronicles the existence of many gold mines in Arabia before and after the time of the Prophet, suggesting that gold was abundant in this desert.  Quoting various sources, including the saying of the Prophet, which says “whoever finds something, it is for him; and the twenty percent tax is to be levied on precious metals,” and that this precious metal was often a source of revenue to the state, and that the Arabs used gold and silver coins in their transactions, he tries to assert the role of gold and precious metals in the nascent Islamic state established by the Prophet. 

As if those are not enough, he even goes to the extent of making himself looks ridiculous, quoting Quranic verses about gold, some of which as follows:

Coincident with the rise of Islam, the Quran too speaks of them as esteemed precious metals. Surat Ali ‘Imran, for instance, asserts: Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet; women and sons; heaped up hoards of gold and silver . . .

Surat al-Kahf promises the Righteous: For them will be Gardens of Eternity; beneath them, rivers will flow; they will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold . . .

And many more verses.  How these verses have anything to do with the availability of gold, and its role in the expansion of Islam, would be anyone’s guess. 

But that is not all. He writes,

Indeed, among the Arabo-Islamic [sic] sources, there are quite incredible claims of widespread precious metals availability, suggesting that they permeated medieval Hijazi lifestyles. Ibn Hanbal, in discussing the entrepreneurial prowess of famed Companion of Prophet Muhammad, Abd al-Rahman b. Awf, for example, asserts that it was impossible for him to lift a stone in the Hijaz without finding gold and silver.

In what way Abdul Rahman’s entrepreneurial ability has to do with gold being abundant defies logic.  Perhaps Gene Heck takes the tradition narrated by Ibn Hanbal a bit too literally.

It is probably to the article like the one penned by Heck that the series Mankind the Story of All of Us  takes as their sources.  The series tries to simplify the story of mankind, but in doing so, it sometimes appears to be too simplistic.  What the heck, if they want to use Heck and his kinds as their sources, so be it.  Otherwise, the series is very interesting. 

If you read the article as given in the link below, you would find that even Gene Heck finds it very difficult to assert his thesis.  Like Ralph Olsen, as we have seen in the previous installment, Heck does not categorically say that Islam was spread with the help of gold.  He only tries to suggest that such might be a case. 

And I must say his case does not hold water. 

It seems to me, therefore, that I have not been oblivious to the important essential in the Seerah and Islamic history.   Mankind the Story of All of Us, being an interesting series, simply tries to bring something interesting to make the series more interesting.  In this case, its suggestion that Islam has been spread with the help of gold is only interesting, but false.  Why?  Because facts tell otherwise.

To suggest that Islam was spread with gold would be to say that the Muslims, in their nascent years, were wealthy.  We know for a fact that such is not right.  The Muslims were poor.  The Arabs of those years were in general poor people.  The Makkans were relatively wealthy, because they were merchants, but only relative to other Arab tribes, who were mostly poor.  We have at our disposal wealth of materials indicating their poverty.  The Prophet and his Companions often went without filled stomachs for many consecutive days.

Edward Gibbon captures their condition very well when he writes:

The measure of [Arab] population is regulated by the means of subsistence… Along the shores of the Persian Gulf, of the ocean, and even of the Red Sea, the Icthyophagi, or fish eaters, continued to wander in quest of their precarious food. In this primitive and abject state, which ill deserves the name of society, the human brute, without arts or laws, almost without sense or language, is poorly distinguished from the rest of the animal creation. Generations and ages might roll away in silent oblivion, and the helpless savage was restrained from multiplying his race by the wants and pursuits which confined his existence to the narrow margin of the seacoast. (2)

And Gibbon narrates that their situation slightly improved before the advent of Islam, where pastoral lives and trades became their new occupations.  But to suggest that gold brought them riches is completely out of place.

In fact, before his huge empire crumbled to the feet of Muslim soldiers, the King of Persia regarded the Arabs as no more than the poor desert brutes.  When the Muslim delegates met him before the decisive war took place, the King of Persia told them to go back to the desert.  The Arabs were not wanted in their civilized country.   The King even offered to send them food, or clothes, or the basic necessities, if those were the reasons they came to Persia. 

What the above suggests is that the Muslims did not come to Persia with gold; it was with their faith, along with their swords.

Furthermore, after the Romans were driven out of Sham, an area that currently makes Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, the celebrated general, Khalid al Walid, was quoted as saying:  “Even if we do not come here for the reward of Jihad, the material rewards we find here are good, for here we find good food, clothes and comforts not found in our land.”

In short, gold, defined as wealth, was not used as an instrument to spread Islam.   It was the reverse.  Gold was what the Muslims found after they spread Islam.  After they conquered the Persian and Roman empires, the Muslims suddenly found themselves with great wealth.  There was so much wealth that it bothered the Spartan Umar, the Chief of Believers who had annihilated these two superpowers. 

When Umar visited Syria, he found that Khalid was dressed elegantly.  The Caliph Umar was angry with the way his general dressed, and beat him, for forgetting where he had come from.  Khalid simply answered, “Had you taken this cloak out, instead of hitting me, you will see that internally I am still the same Arab.”

And it was gold, defined as wealth, that weakened the Islamic Empire a few centuries later, for gold was not a source of the Muslims’ strength, but rather a cause to their weaknesses.

Mankind the Story of All of Us, while highly entertaining, tries to rewrite history too far in this particular case.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ralph Olsen on Mormon Events: Malay Hypothesis and the Lost Tribes of Israel

As mentioned in my previous installment, The Jewish and Malay Connection: Lost Tribes of Israel, pejuangbangsa31 and mistisfiles are not the only ones propagating that Malays are descended from Keturah or the lost tribes of Israel, or both.

If you google for Malay origin (or asal usul Melayu in Malay), you will get many hits pointing to this direction.  In most of these sites, one most quoted authority comes to the fore.  His name is Ralph Olsen.

Most of these sites are not worth wasting your time, though.  I confess of spending no more than a few minutes for the purpose.  But one site,, writes pretty well. (1)  He also relies a lot on Ralph Olsen. 

Now, who is Ralph Olsen?  As he himself says it, he is a retired chemistry professor at Montana State University.  Being a chemistry professor was what he used to do for a living.  But what is he?  He is a Mormon.

We of course have nothing against Mormon, or any Christian for that matter.  But we should at least try to understand what Ralph Olsen tries to prove. 

Now, the Book of Mormon (BofM) is centered around a “promised land.”  Hitherto this so-called promised land has been identified with the continent of Americas, either north, central, or south.  Various hypotheses have been put forward to match the exact location of this promised land—all in Americas.  None, however, is satisfactory, since all are faced with problems with regard to their geography, culture, animals, plants and people.

Based on his research, Olsen conjectures that the most likely place would be the Malay Peninsula.  Hence, the “Malay Hypothesis.”  If his hypothesis can be proven right, Olsen says, then the Book of Mormon is considered authentic.  By proving the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, then Christianity is proven right, and that Jesus Christ is literally the Son of God, as the Christians believe.  This is essentially what Olsen strives to do in his 300 page thesis. (2)

His 300 page thesis is probably not worth spending your time, but if you need to know the gist of the matter, his article, as appeared in the Sunstone magazine, would be indispensable. (3)

The gist of the matter is this.  According to the Book of Mormon, about 4,500 or 5,000 years ago, the tribe known as Jaredite, who lived during the period of Nimrod, had emigrated from their homeland somewhere in the Tigris and Euphrates.  They went to the promised land.  Around 600 BC, there was another migration by the Lehite tribe, purportedly to the same promised land.  This promised land has been identified as Americas, as most Mormons believe.

But the descriptions given in the Book of Mormon do not match the supposed promised land, assuming it is somewhere in the continent of America.  All hypotheses given, as Olsen points out, are not convincing, which is why he sets out to develop an entirely novel theory.   The Malay Peninsula provides a better answer, because this location matches perfectly with the geographical, cultural, animals, plants and names of the places, so Olsen says.  Besides, it is more conceivable that both of these tribes travelled to a land only 4,000 miles away, to the Malay Peninsula, as opposed to 16,000 miles away, to Americas, he argues. 

I am not going to waste the space here by delving into the details of what Olsen says.  Read his article as provided below if you are interested.  Then you can judge for yourself whether you find Olsen’s theory is convincing or not.  Being a native of this Peninsula, however, I know that his theory is just a conjecture.  The most glaring would be his attempt to associate the names of the places. 

For instance, he says that Tanah Merah (a small town in my home state, Kelantan) is Zarahemla in BofM; Baharu (which must have been Kota Bharu, the capital of Kelantan, the same North Eastern State of the Peninsula) is Bountiful; and Kuantan (the capital of Pahang, the Eastern State of the Peninsula) is Morianton.

Well, I know for certain that all these three towns are relatively recent.  They did not even exist during the Malacca Empire, which flourished 600 years ago.  What more during the Biblical times which were many times older than the Malacca Empire.  Most other names he mentions are also relatively recent, in existence only around 100 years or so.

But the greater problem rests with the Book of Mormon itself. 

In case you are interested, this is how the Book of Mormon came into the scene.  About 200 years ago, there was this angel named Moroni who appeared to a teenager of seventeen years old named Joseph Smith, and handed him golden plates containing the account of the prophets in the promised land.  The place where this angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith was at a hill in the Wayne County, modern day New York, the USA.  The young Joseph Smith then translated the account in these golden plates, written in unknown characters called the “reformed Egyptian” by Smith, into English.  Having finished the translation, both the angel Moroni and the golden plates had mysteriously disappeared.

It is in this Book of Mormon that the story of the Judeo-Christian migrations, as noted above, appears.  That these migrations were considered Judeo-Christian is rather curious, since the last migration predated Christianity by at least 600 years. 

And what about Mormon itself?  What is it, or who is he?

It seems that he was the last of the Biblical prophets who had migrated to the promised land.  He appeared sometime in the early fourth century AD, about 1,700 years ago.  By that time, the Biblical people in the promised land, supposed to be in Americas, were already at the brink of their extinction, due to wars and utter disregard to the God injunctions in the Bible.  Mormon himself used to lead the army of the Nephites against the Lamanites. 

Nephites were the descendants of Nephi, one of Lehi’s sons, while Lamanites were the descendants of Laman, the oldest son of Lehi.  The story of enmity between Nephi and his oldest brother Laman, who was joined by his other siblings, sounds pretty much like the story of the Prophet Joseph with his brothers (see the Story of Joseph)

Before the Prophet Mormon died, he managed to relate all the Biblical accounts from the prophets in this promised land to his son Moroni.  Moroni compiled them in the golden plates and bound them together.  He buried the bounded plates somewhere before he himself died.  Slightly more than 1,400 years later, Moroni appeared as an angel to the young Joseph Smith and handed out the golden plates, asking the latter to translate it into the language spoken by Smith, English. 

At that time in that place, there was some kind of religious revival among the Christians.  It turned out that Joseph Smith himself had managed to gain some adherents, but they were considered heretic by the contemporary Christians at that times.  Hence, they were driven out of New York until they finally resided in the Salt Lake City, Utah, where they managed to establish a thriving Mormon community.   To the Mormons, Joseph Smith was a prophet.

In the recent times, this branch of Christianity is made famous by the Danny and Marie Osmond show, which was popular in the 1970’s.  This show, however, was about singing, not about the religion of Mormon.  Thus, one would be forgiven for not knowing its history.

As this branch is not quite accepted by the mainstream Christianity, the adherents of Mormon try very hard to establish the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.   Since BofM contains historical account with geographical, cultural, animals, plants and people, the people of Mormon believe that if they can prove the place of this promised land, then the veracity and authenticity of BofM would be maintained.

Since all hypotheses have been less than convincing, Olsen therefore strives to come up with a new theory, the “Malay Hypothesis,” as we have mentioned earlier.  In the concluding remarks of his article, he says:

The Malay Hypothesis has not been sanctioned by the Church.  As Brigham Young [their Church leader who had succeeded Joseph Smith and founded the Mormon community in the Salt Lake City] states, “We are to judge opinions of leaders about geography or other matter for ourselves.”  As an old chemist meddling in hallowed ground, I have undoubtedly made mistakes.  But I’ve done my best.  I hope and pray that others will help in determining its validity.  If true, the potential spiritual benefits to brothers and sisters now and in the eternities to come are immense.”

As you can see from the above, even Olsen himself finds it difficult to believe in the veracity of his theory.  If Moroni had buried his golden plates in the promised land, and this promised land was to be the Malay Peninsula, how did the plates end up somewhere in New York, the USA?  And why Moroni gave those plates to Joseph Smith, instead of Ali, Muhammad, or some Malays?  Perhaps Moroni knew that a Malay cannot be trusted.  He would always go for short cut in making money.  He would melt the golden plates for cash, rather than translate the Biblical accounts to save the human souls.

Cynicism aside, the question that amuses me is this: if Ralph Olsen himself admits that he may have made mistakes, and that he only offers “tentative guess,” as he himself puts it in the foreword of his 300 page thesis, why are the Malays, who are supposed to be Muslims, embraced the hypothesis wholeheartedly.  For Malays to even consider the veracity of Olsen’s Malay Hypothesis, they have to believe in the Book of Mormon in the first place.  If they don’t believe in the Book of Mormon, how can they even entertain the promised land theory in it, and link it with the lost tribes of Israel.  If they believe in it, they must believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet.  If they believe that Smith is a prophet, what does it say about their faith as Muslims.

Perhaps Nakoula has a point when he says that the Muslims are innocent, in the sense of being naïve, as my previous piece Innocence of Muslims illustrates.


(1)   Those who are curious may go to:

(2) Ralph Olsen’s 300 page thesis may be downloaded  here:

(3)    Ralph Olsen’s article as appeared in the Sunstone magazine is available here:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Jewish and Malay Connection: Lost Tribes of Israel

I was amused and a little curious reading a blog which was forwarded by a friend.  Writing with a catchy title, “Who Are Malays and What Is Their Origin…We Are Feared By The Jews,” the blog states that the Malays are originated from the ten lost tribes of Israel.

The blogger, who does not reveal his name or identify and write in Malay language, says that, Malays mean hill people, from Mala or Malai, which means hill (or mountain).  And that they are descended from Abraham (Prophet Ibrahim) through Keturah. 

The origin for the word Malay has been a matter of contention.  A few theories have been put forward, but that it comes from the word Mala/Malai is news to me.  That the Malays are supposedly descended from Abraham through Keturah, however, is not new.  I have heard of it before.

The first time I heard about the idea that the Malays are descended from Abraham through Keturah was two decades ago, from one University professor who suggested the same.  This University professor said that these descendants of Abraham had fled their birthplace and lived for a time in a hill to the north of India.   The hill is known as Himalaya, the “highland of the Malays.”

Though curious, I did not pursue the matter.  Since I did not maintain the relationship with that University professor, the matter stopped there, until a few days ago; that is, when a piece of an article in the blog pejuangbangsa31 came to my attention. (1)

But pejuangbangsa31 is apparently not the reader of history.  There are too many “historical” errors in his writing.  For instance, he says Malays are descended from Keturah, the third wife of Abraham, but he also says that Malays are descended from one of the alleged ten lost tribes of Israel, through the line of Menasseh, the son of Joseph.

Now, if we learn Biblical history (or perhaps Biblical story), then we know that Abraham is the father of many nations.  He was the father of Ishmaelite Arabs through his oldest son, Ishmael, whose illustrious descendant was our very own Prophet, Muhammad bin Abdullah.  He was also the father of the Israelites, through his grandson, Jacob, also known as Israel.  He was also the father of many nations or tribes now extinct or assimilated with other nations.

One of these assimilated tribes is known as the people of Madyan.  We know about Madyan because it is mentioned in the Quran.  Allah sent Prophet Shuaib to them.  The Bible also mentions about this tribe, especially in the story of Moses (Prophet Musa), when he fled Egypt having accidentally killed one of the Egyptians in his effort to help one of his own people, the Israelites. 

In Madyan, Moses lived with an elderly called Jethro, tended his flocks and married one of his daughters, Zipporah.  The Muslim scholars identify this Jethro as the Prophet Shuaib, and his daughter, Zipporah, as the wife of Prophet Musa, Safura.

As for the name Madyan (or Midian), it was referred to one of the sons of Abraham, whose name was Madyan.  His mother was Keturah, the third wife of Abraham, whom Abraham married after Sarah died.

Now, if the Malays were truly descended from one of ten lost tribes of Israel, through the line of Menasseh, the son of Joseph (Nabi Yusuf), in what way can they be descended from Keturah?  The name Israelites, or Bani Israel in the Quranic lingo, is referred to the children of Israel.  Israel, whose given name is Jacob, is the son of Isaac (Nabi Ishak), the son of Abraham, through his first wife, Sarah.

Keturah is not the Matriarch for the Israelites.  Their Matriarch is Sarah, the first wife of Abraham.  Or perhaps more properly, their matriarchs are the four wives of Jacob.

Pejuangbangsa31 probably cannot be faulted for his error.  He is writing a socio-political blog, not a blog on history.  His entry on the origin of Malay appears to be a cut and paste from somewhere else. 

After doing a little search, I found a site which contains a lot of ideas mentioned by pejuangbangsa31.   The blog is known as mistisfiles.   This site delves in mysteries, conspiracy theories, extraterrestrial matters, paranormal activities or something like that.  Though I don’t normally indulge in such matters, I find the blog rather interesting and spent a few hours reading some of the entries.

Mistisfiles does not rush to the conclusion like pejuangbangsa31, but the site is full of conjectures, though I must admit that whoever is authoring the blog, he or she must have read history quite a bit.(2)

Reading the mistisfiles (or mystical files in English), I am quite amused to learn that this young girl, Keturah, whom Abraham married, was not from the Middle East, but actually from the Far East.  In his twilight years, Abraham had travelled from Canaan (current Israel and Palestine) to somewhere in ancient Cambodia and married this girl.  Through that marriage, they were given six sons.  One of them was Madyan. 

We have to bear in mind that Abraham married Keturah after the death of Sarah.  According to the Bible, Sarah lived up to 127 years, and Abraham was about ten years older than Sarah.  Abraham used to travel far and wide, but mostly around Middle Eastern region.  Whether he traveled to a far away and unknown land during his time, about 4,000 years ago, would be anyone’s guess.

Biblical story also narrates that when Abraham died, he was buried in Hebron (al Khalil in Arabic), which is currently in Israel.  We can assume that either he came back from the Far East, or his dead body was carried thousands of miles to be buried in his chosen place.  Islamic traditions also relate that he frequently visited his son Ishmael in Makkah.  The Bible meanwhile suggests that he spent his old age in Canaan. 

Mistisfiles, however, does not try to reconcile this mystery.

There is also amusing hypothesis about the people of Madyan.  According to mistisfiles, Madyan was actually the ancient Media. 

If you read conventional history, Media was a Persian Civilization that flourished around 700 or 800 BC, that is, about 2,700 or 2,800 years ago.  It was located somewhere in the Northwestern Iran. 

The location of Madyan that we know, that is, the place of refuge for Prophet Moses, as per Biblical story, and the country of Prophet Shuaib, as mentioned in the Quran, however, was located in the Northwestern Arabia, to the East of Sinai Peninsula, and Southwest of Jordan.  It was not in the Northwestern Iran, as Media was.

If we try to make sense of the Biblical story against the story of mistisfiles, we can see the followings.  The story of Moses took place sometime around 1,300 BC.  There was no Media Civilization at that time.  Suppose the people of Madyan were truly the ones creating the Civilization of Media, then these people must have migrated from Northwestern Arabia to Northwestern Iran, about a thousand miles to the north. 

This is not impossible, but highly improbable.  What makes it more improbable is that the Media people, being of Iranian stock, were considered to be Japhetic, while the people of Madyan, being the descendants of Abraham, were Semitic.  Japhetic and Semitic people are referred to the descendants of Noah (Prophet Nuh).  Japhetic from the line of Japheth, the third son of the Prophet Noah, while Semitic from the line of Shem, the second son.

Biblical story does tell us that Abraham and his descendants travelled quite a bit, but mostly in the Middle East and North Africa (Egypt).  Mistisfiles, however, seems to suggest that the descendants of Abraham through Keturah not only travelled a great deal, but they somehow travelled in a somewhat mysterious manner. 

First, they were born in the Far East, somewhere in the ancient Cambodia, because this was where Abraham met and married Keturah.  This took place about 4,000 years ago.  Then one of Keturah tribes, Madyan, must have travelled west and resided in Northwestern Arabia.  This region was thereafter known as the land of Madyan.   Moses came to them about 600 or 700 years after their forefather, Madyan, was born.  Next, they travelled northeast to the North of Iran. 

About 600 or so years after the chance meeting between Moses, the descendant of Israel (Prophet Jacob), and Shuaib, the descendant of Madyan, we heard about these “people of Madyan” forming a civilization, the ancient Persian civilization of Media.  Finally, they must have gone to South East Asia (their place of origin, assuming the ancient Cambodia was in South East Asia), and the Pacific Islands.  In these regions, they also formed one empire after another.  Their last great empire was the Empire of Malacca.

As a Malay, I would love to believe all that, but at the moment, I have more questions than answers.  It turns out that this theory on Malays owing their origin from Keturah and the lost tribe of Israel is gaining currency.  Pejuangbangsa31 and mistisfiles are not the only ones writing about it. 

It also turns out that some African people likewise believe that they were descended from Keturah.  The Bahai people, too, believe that their founder was the descendant of Keturah.  Every nation appears to have the desire to be descended from this great Patriarch, Abraham the Prophet. 

The Jews have hijacked their right to be descended from Abraham through his first wife, Sarah.  Their claim is too strong to be rejected since they have ancient scriptures to throw to our face.  The Arabs too have hijacked their right to be descended from Abraham through his second wife, Hagar.  Their claim too is too strong to be rejected since Prophet Muhammad, who is an Arab, says that he was descended from Abraham through Ishmael.

We are left, therefore, with Abraham’s more obscure wife, Keturah. 

If it can make us feel good, we can still claim to be the descendants of Abraham, but we have to choose only one: either we were descended through Keturah, or through Sarah.  We cannot owe our origin to the Lost Tribe of Israel through Menasseh and yet descend from Keturah.  That would show our total ignorance of ancient history.

I don’t know whether you find all these exciting, or confusing.  But you may wonder why the Jews fear us the Malays, as pejuangbangsa31 says?  It turns out that the current Jews in Israel were descended from the “bad apple” among the Israelites.  They were descended from, or the followers of, the bad Samiri who influenced the Israelites to worship the Golden Calf when Moses went to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandment.

We are the good guys, because we came from Menasseh, the line of Prophet Joseph.  From this line, some other Malay bloggers theorize, will appear Imam Mahdi who will crush the Jews.

Unfortunately we don’t know when that is going to take place.  In the meantime, we can only satisfy ourselves watching the Israelis (as oppose to Israelites) crushing our brothers and sisters in Palestine.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Innocence of Muslims

When the world was torched with fire as a result of a movie called “Innocence of Muslims,” I paid only scant attention to it.  I first came to know about it a few hours after the US Diplomat in Libya was killed in Benghazi, along with his three staffers.  The Breaking News stated that those four were killed during violent demonstration against the movie.

Somewhat curious, I searched the net looking for the movie, and managed to have a look at the short trailer.  Having watched the trailer, and seeing that all news channels were focusing on the massive and often violent demonstrations especially in the Muslim countries, I thought that this reaction, though massive, will be a short one.

True enough, about three weeks later, it was no longer news.  By the time I write this piece, about two months after the death of the American Diplomat, which purportedly caused by the movie but was later proven to be false, practically no one talks about it anymore.

That the movie elicited such a massive reaction by the Muslims is not surprising.  The cheaply made movie has insulted the Prophet Muhammad.  You can insult the Muslims, but not their Prophet.  We have seen it many times before. 

That the reaction would be brief is also not surprising.  We have seen it many times before as well.

Since it is no longer news, why writing about it?  You may ask.  Because there is something sinister, which I am afraid to be quite true, about us as the Muslims.  We the Muslims are rather "innocent," if you know what I mean.

Now, the first thing that comes to mind when the word “innocence” is used is that it means “not guilty.”  Of course it makes no sense to employ that meaning to this movie.  The second and more subtle meaning is therefore intended.  Innocence also means “naïve” or plain “stupid.”  Employing this meaning, then the movie can be retitled “Stupidity of Muslims.”

The film is essentially saying that the Muslims are not only naïve, but plain stupid.  They have idolized a horrible man like Muhammad the Prophet (God forbid) to be their model.  No wonder the Muslims were so angry.  Not only that the maker of the movie has insulted their Prophet, he has called the Muslims stupid and naïve as well.  Yet, I am very certain that the majority among the Muslims who have demonstrated did not even watch the movie, which does not appear to exist in the first place.  There was only a 13 minute or so trailer. 

Whatever the case may be, we have reacted in a very predictable fashion: innocently, one might say.  The maker of the movie appears to have a sinister theory to test, and he has practically proven it.

When the movie was made, it seems that the title was different.  The actors who had been duped into acting were under the impression that they were acting in a movie called the “Desert Warrior.”  When the movie came to the public, it has been dubbed differently.  Insulting references to the Prophet were inserted, which were not in the script when the actors were playing their roles.  No wonder many of the actors came forward to claim their “innocent.”

The movie maker who at first went with the false name of Sam Bacile, claiming himself a Jew, turned out to be a conman by the name of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55 year old Coptic Christian living in California.  He was sent to a one year jail a few weeks after the debacle, but not for making the “Innocence of Muslims.”  He was jailed for breaking his parole, having earlier served his time in prison for financial fraud.

Nakoula is probably laughing in the prison now, having seen how successful his “experiment” had been.  He may not have intended his movie to be a sort of experimentation, but he worked hard to bring it to the public, despite having so little fund to do it.  When he finally managed to get the attention of the world, thanks no less to unsuspecting Muslims who helped made him notorious, Nakoula must have felt great satisfaction in the process.

Whatever motives he may have had, it is clear that he knew the kind of reaction such a movie would elicit.  We have seen it many times already, and so must have he.  When the US Diplomat and his three staffers were killed, the mass media quickly pointed out that it was the reaction to the movie.  Such is the perception of the people on Muslims.  The Muslims are easily agitated, emotional and cannot think straight.  All you need to do to make them go crazy is to insult their Prophet.  And you can do it in the most stupid way, such as making a very stupid movie.

It is also for this reason that when another conman, by the name of Walid Shoebat, a self-styled ex-Islamic extremist turned Conservative Christian, claimed that the movie is actually made by Islamic terrorists with the purpose to agitate and provoke violent reaction from the Muslims, his view got the hearing from the media.  No doubt many believed him, until it was proven that his theory was baloney.

What all this signifies is that we the Muslims are quite “innocent.”  We are not innocent in the sense of “not guilty,” but in the sense that we are quite “naïve.”  Had we watched the movie with an objective view, we would come to the conclusion that it was made by a desperado who did not worth our attention.  No one of note would have paid attention to such silly movie had we just ignored it.

But there is also a bright side in all this.  It shows that we love our Prophet.  We can still keep our cool if the joke is on us, but all hell would break loose if the joke is on our Prophet.  In that sense, it is not all that bad to be "innocent," is it?

Whether or not Nakoula has purposely attempted to show that the Muslims are stupid, his "innocent" approach has brought the other subtle "innocence" side of the Muslims.  You see, "innocence" also means "pure" in some unsophisticated way.  What this episode suggests is that the Muslims' love to their Prophet is pure, irrespective whether they really follow his teachings or otherwise.  In one brief period, all observant and non-observant Muslims were united in showing their anger to those who have insulted their Prophet.  

This kind of approach is always counter productive.  We have seen it many times already.  Every time the Prophet is insulted, the Muslims would strongly protest in unison.  Even those Muslims who have paid little attention to Islam in their daily lives rise to the occasion.  In that sense, we can say that Nakoula's approach shows only his "innocent," read naive and plain stupid, in dealing with the matter.

The not so "innocence" way is the subtle approach by the Orientalists.  Hiding behind scientific and scholarly works, these people have, to a large extent, succeeded in desanctifying Islamic Scripture and secularized Islamic Law.  They have gained many adherents among the "innocence" Muslims who thought that they are sophisticated.

For that reason, I am not concerned with the "innocence" work such as the movie "Innocence of Muslims."  Because it is too sickening, even the non-Muslims are embarrassed with it, as signified by the response made by Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State.  My concern is the subtle works made by the Orientalists.  Through their white magic, many Muslims have "innocently" fallen into their traps, as we have seen in al Mu'awwidhatayn.