God Does Not Speak Arabic! — Part 1

Our guest-essayist El Cid returns with the first installment of a three-part account of the linguistic origins of the Koran. According to his analysis, not only is the Koran not quite what everybody thinks it is, but it is also written in a different language than is commonly assumed.

Bismi-llāhi r-rahmāni r-rahīm #2

God Does Not Speak Arabic!
The Evolution and Origin of the Language of the Koran

Part One: Love Me Because I Am Arab

By El Cid

I remember many years ago, when I started to learn Arabic at university, our professor wrote on the blackboard this famous Hadith, attributed to Mohammed the Prophet of Islam. It was one of the first phrases I learned to read and write in Arabic, and my first encounter with Muslim attitudes of supremacy, linguistic dominance, and the crucial link between the purity of Arabic and the claim of a superior origin for Islam.

احبوا العرب لثلاث، لاني عربي، ولان القران عربي، وكلام اهل الجنة عربي

“Love the Arabs for three reasons:
because I am Arab,
because the Qur’an is in Arabic
and because the inhabitants of Paradise speak Arabic.”

This Hadith, collected by the esteemed Islamic Scholar Al-Tabrizi, neatly expresses the roots of Arab supremacy. To Muslims, Islam is a gift in the form of a revelation from God’s lips, that commands non-believers to love and submit. No other faith is so intertwined with a sacred language. No other faith is so linked to a holy book in just one tongue. No other faith rests so much authority upon linking its language to the a claim that it is the language of God.

Koranic Arabic is the cement that holds Islam together, and is both its strength and its fatal weakness. A weakness, because according to Christoph Luxenberg, once the flaws and inconsistencies of the strange Arabic of the Koran are revealed, the Muslims’ false claim that it is God’s perfect and incorruptible language is exposed to reveal the truth that it is not. Not only is it not perfect, it is of human and not divine origin. The overwhelming evidence suggests that it is not even pure Arabic, but a “patois” or a mixture of Aramaic and the Arabic dialect of Mecca!

I have several copies of the Koran in my library, a few in English, some in Spanish, but most in Arabic. One very ornate Koran with the following words on its cover written in a complicated enigmatic Arabic script boldly and confidently proclaims that it is “The Guidance for Mankind.”

For Muslims the Koran is truly an enigma, and when read in prayer the rhythm and cadence of its words have a narcotic effect on their senses and mind. A recitation of the Koran rolls off one’s tongue with the rhythmic simplicity of modern a day “rap” song. For millions of Muslims who have no clue about its language and memorize it word for word, this is all they have. Its narcotic affect permeates the believer in much the same way a child is comforted with repetitive and familiar sounds he does not understand.

The first line of the Koran is a good example of this. This and hundreds of other lines are read over and over again by young Muslims who don’t even understand their meaning, and many of whom are illiterate in their own native tongues. Such is the grip that these so-called “God words” have on a quarter of humanity.

Bismi-llāhi r-rahmāni r-rahīm #1

bismi-llāhi r-rahmāni r-rahīm

“In the name of Allah (the Muslim God) the most gracious the most kind”

The reliance upon simple rhythmic cadence and the intimate effect it has on Muslim ears indicates that the Koran was conceived as oratory, meant to be heard first and explained later. This was the oratory that Mohammed recited to his followers. This is also the reason why even in his lifetime there was great confusion about what was said and how to recite it. So much reverence for something of such dubious pedigree and murky origin!

Islamic scholars cannot show with clarity its origin and evolution. For most of its history they have not even cared to ask the most basic questions. Where did it come from? When was it written? These are things that Muslims cannot explain. The standard answer is that it is the literal word of God in his language, pure and uncontaminated by man, and any further questions will be settled by my sword.

To find out in the language in which it was first uttered and later written, there is no better source than the pages of the Koran itself. Clues are everywhere; they are embedded in the very words and language of the Koran, even in the signs of error and mistranslation. They point conclusively not to some supposed pure proto-Arabic from the time of the Islamic Prophet, but instead amazingly to the language of the conquered Aramaic speaking “peoples of the Book.” These same people helped Muslims gain legitimacy with a book of their own and gave the then illiterate and nomadic faith an existing language in which to settle.

Traces of these first Aramaic scribes are present only as a ghostly layer of etymology and meaning. They hint of a Koran less violent then the one we know today. This Aramaic Koran is at times very different from what Muslims venerate. Unlocking this true Koran can liberate millions of Muslims from the worst of their faith and give the Counterjihad a powerful new tool with which to fight. In his erudite and bold book The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A contribution to the decoding of the language of the Koran, Christoph Luxenberg shatters the myth of Koranic purity and reveals what we know as the Koran to be a book fraught with linguistic confusion and errors.

Muslims have preached since the beginning of their faith that their holy book is written/spoken/recited in the actual words of God, and that he communicated them through the Angel Gabriel to his Prophet Mohammed in God’s only language, Arabic. They further claim that the Koran can not be understood in any other language but Arabic. They tell us confidently that it is “God’s final communication to mankind.”

No other religious book, especially one that makes such grandiose declarations, has received so little scrutiny and critical study until now. Considering the fear of violent retribution, this is understandable. This has been the norm in the Muslim world for most of its history, and except for a brief period of analysis and critical thought by a few Greek-influenced Koranic Scholars in the first centuries of the Muslim epoch, no one has dared state the obvious: much of the Koran makes no sense! If one accepts that the Koran is the literal word of God, as most Muslims do, then reading Mr. Luxenberg’s book will convince all but the strongest believers in Islamic Dogma that this God of the Koran does not speak pure Arabic, but a confused speech permeated with Aramaic words instead.

Until recently few have put their scholarly expertise behind an open and critical analysis of the legitimacy and origins of the Koran. Mr. Luxenberg, an expert in both ancient Arabic and Aramaic, has done just that. He has scrutinized the Arabic texts of the Koran itself and compared its words and grammatical structure with the only existing common language in universal use among Semitic speakers — including Jews, Christians and the then-illiterate Arab tribes — of the time. This lingua franca was the Aramaic language. He found that the confused language of the Koran with its garbled words, nonsensical sentences, and strange non-Arabic verbs suddenly became clear and understandable when read with the knowledge of Aramaic. This is clear proof that much of what Muslims accept as their holy book was either put into written form by Aramaic-speaking scribes, or that a text originally written in a kind of Aramaic-Arabic hybrid was later transcribed into the accepted Koran that Muslims blindly venerate today.

Mr. Luxenberg published his book under a pen name for fear that the Islamic world would seek his death. His legitimate concerns for the potential of violence seem prophetic, and even more so since his great work appeared just one year before 9-11. No other work has such a potential to demolish the accepted Islamic belief about the purity of the Koran’s language. It has left many renowned Muslim scholars dumbfounded and still struggling to find a way to refute it. It has the potential to shake Islam to its very foundations by exposing with conclusive evidence that much of the Koran is not in Arabic, and much of it is incomprehensible, not because it contains some deep inscrutable meaning, but because it simply is written in a language other then pure Arabic.

This knowledge together with an analysis and forensic study of two ancient copies of the Koran, one found by an archeologist in the Sana’a mosque, allows the myths and origins of the Koran to finally be exposed.

If, according to Muslim belief and the Koran, God communicated to Mohammed his words in Arabic, then why is this message partially written in Aramaic? If, as Arabs believe, God only speaks Arabic, then why are the majority of the words in the Koran non-Arabic words? According to professor Luxenberg, up to 70% of the words are from an Syriac-Aramaic lexicon and are close to the language of the Christian Palestinians from the times of the Islamic conquest.

As a student of Arabic, one of the first things that I encountered when I began my studies was the variety and types of Arabic one could learn. When I asked which was the real version of Arabic, the Arabic found in the Koran, the Arabic taught in school and used for educated writing and speech, or the Amiya or local Arabic in actual use by people in their daily lives, I was told to look at the Koran. It is amazing that even Rosetta Stone uses a version of Koranic Arabic, not Basic Standard, in the Arabic version of its popular software. In daily life Arabs must speak three languages, the language of everyday life, the language of the academy, and the one in the Koran.

In most world languages the gap between the language of everyday use and the language of the academy is small. Learning book Spanish with a little effort, for instance, perfectly allows one to understand the language of the street.

Not so with Arabic! In addition to Modern Standard Arabic, a student must learn one of over a dozen different local dialects. The distance between the so-called dialects and Modern Standard is large, but the distance between them and Koranic Arabic is even greater. While early on in my studies I was told by my professors that the roots of proper Arabic are in the Koran, I soon came to realize the this Arabic was the most inconsistent of them all. Luxenberg explains that Arabic linguists have been aware of the odd Arabic in the Koran since the Koran took its present form, with its current cursive script, sometime in 10th century.

“Generations of renowned Koran scholars have devoted their lives to the meritorious exercise of clarifying the text of the Koran grammatically and semantically, word for word. In spite of all these efforts one would not be far from the truth if one were to estimate the proportion of the Koran that is still considered unexplained today at about a quarter.”

But what is so odd about the Arabic in the Koran? What are the words and phrases that cannot be explained, and why in spite of its inconsistent spellings and grammar do many Arabic linguists still insist that it is the fountainhead of pure Arabic? The Muslim world believes that it is the first book written in Arabic — the Arabic that the Angel Gabriel forced Mohammed to recite. Islamic Arabic scholars believe it is where the language of Allah was preserved. It exists in heaven in a pure state, and its words cannot be altered under the pain of death. If this is to be believed then one can understand their sensitivity to any thought that its language is flawed, as indeed it is.

Upon discovery of the one of the oldest copies of the Koran in a Mosque in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, H.-C. Graf von Bothmer, one of the scholars studying the text, said, “So many Muslims have this belief that everything between the two covers of the Koran is just God’s unaltered word. They like to quote the textual work that shows that the Bible has a history and did not fall straight out of the sky, but until now the Koran has been out of this discussion. The only way to break through this wall is to prove that the Koran has a history, too”

Where did written Arabic come from? Arabian culture in the time of Mohammed was illiterate. No written forms of Arabic existed except for a few grave markers in the Nabatean script. Not only could Mohammed not read or write in his own Qurays dialect spoken by his clan from Mecca, but Arab society as whole could not either; it relied on an oral tradition of storytelling and recitations. For this reason there exists not one book or testimony in written form from the Islamic conquest. Arabic literacy would have to wait two hundred years or more for its alphabet to be invented and grammars to be fixed.

According to Muslim traditions, the prophet of Islam knew the Koran by heart, hundreds and hundreds of suras (chapters). He could recite them in his own language, the Arabic dialect of his tribe. The Koran tells as much. Sura 14:41: “We have never sent an apostle except in the language of his people.” Of course, this means that since God sent an angel only to the Qurays tribe of Mohammed and not any other group, then God could only communicate in the language they spoke.

This was very lucky indeed for Mohammed, but what if his tribe did not speak proper Arabic but a variant heavy influenced by Aramaic? Could the messenger of Allah still be able to receive the sacred message?

Nicholas Ostler, who studied at Oxford and has a PhD in Linguistics, says, “This caused some philological problems, since Mohammed’s dialect of Arabic was slightly nonstandard : it lacked the (all-important) glottal stop known as the Hamza.” The Hamza is an important consonant in the Arabic alphabet and key to the comprehension of words. It is common in Arabic but less so in Aramaic, which is interesting, considering that the city of Mecca may have been founded by Aramaic speakers based on the linguistic origin of its name — the word “Mecca” comes from the Syro-Aramaic root “ma-ch-ta”( low-lying area or valley). If, as Mr. Luxenberg contends, the people of Mecca spoke a language that was a hybrid of Aramaic and Arabic, perhaps it was more than “slightly nonstandard.” Whatever it was, it was not what even modern-day Arabic scholars would call pure Arabic. While Arabs may not have been literate in their own language — more properly dialects of Arabic — living among them were many settled peoples, both Jews and Christians, who were. These same Arabs were surrounded by other literate peoples, most of whom spoke the related Semitic language and lingua franca of its day, Syro-Aramaic.

Muslims explain the origin of the Koran in this fashion: Allah sent the Angel Gabriel to command Mohammed to speak or recite the words with which Allah had filled his head. Not all at once, but over a span of twenty-two years in dribs and drabs of one sura after another. These groups of suras (chapters) remained in his memory throughout his life. Different pieces of this “Koran” were also memorized and written down by his companions.

What language would they have been written in? Muslims don’t say, but since written Arabic did not exist yet, they must have been written in one of the existing languages of the day. Of these, the closest would have been Aramaic, which happened to be the most popular written language in Arabia. In addition to what they claim was written down on many pieces of paper, bone and parchments, many of the companions also memorized portions of it. Eventually the Caliph Uthman gathered all of this and had Christian and Jewish scribes write it down. It was he who would decide what would be accepted as the true Koran.

It is assumed by most Arabs that Mohammed spoke something close to the language that is contained in the Koran. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mohammed is known to have spoken a dialect of Arabic, that of his ancestral home, the city of Mecca. Did a standard form of Arabic exist at the dawn of the Islamic age in the Hijaz — the group of settlements along central Arabian coast facing the Red Sea? Considering that the Arab tribes of the area lived independently of one another with no written language or cultural base to fix a set of standard rules, it is not surprising that in fact there were many types of Arabic, all with common characteristics, but with widely varying pronunciations and grammars.

Even in Mohammed’s lifetime there was disagreement about over the correct way to write the Koran. Al-Tabrizi reveals the level of disagreement about how to recite the Koran among the Companions. Mohammed’s strange and aloof approach to resolving these disputes and differences in reading is highlighted in this Hadith by Al-Tabrizi:

Ubayy and two other companions approached Mohammed with this argument.

“Prophet of God, we are in disagreement over a verse in the Koran and each of us maintains that you taught us to read it so and so. ”

Whereupon he spoke to one of them:

“Read it out to me,” and this one read it out to him. Whereupon the Prophet of God said; “Correct!”

Then he asked the other to read it out to him, and this one read it out differently than his friend had read it out. To this the Prophet said: “Correct!”

Then he spoke to Ubayy : “Read it out yourself as well,” and Ubayy read it out differently than both. Yet to him too the Prophet said; “Correct!”

Ubayy reported : “This gave rise to such a doubt in me with regard to the messenger of God as that of heathens!” And he continued : “However, because the messenger of God noticed from my face what was occurring in me, he raised his hand and struck me on the breast and said: ‘Pray to God for protection from the accursed Satan!’” At this Ubayy broke into a sweat.

This rather confused response by the Prophet is understandable if one considers that as a merchant who had traveled to Syria he may have spoken several dialects of Arabic as well as Aramaic. The three different interpretations would have been correct if one concludes that Mohammed had spoken to each man not in God’s language but in the individual varieties that they spoke. Oral preservation of the Koranic recitations by his companions would have been in their native variety of Arabic, and a source of the disagreement.

These disagreements over how to recite the Koran were clearly evident even in Mohammed’s lifetime. There was considerable confusion about the different meanings of the different recitations. The Muslim claim of a perfect oral conservation of Allah’s words is flawed indeed. No doubt the different followers of Islam, speaking not one standard Arabic, but many different variants of Arabic, would come into conflict, as the Prophet’s words would have different meanings and pronunciations for people who may have had difficulty understanding among themselves. The Hadiths tell of seven different readings that the Caliph Uthman shrewdly consolidated into one. Fear that the new faith, without scriptures or a book of its own, would descend into civil war over the reciting of Allah’s words motivated Uthman to fix the Koran in writing.

Between the revelation in the desert by the Angel Gabriel to the claim of guidance to mankind is the strange evolutionary path of the Koran. Scholars can prove the following forensic trail: Mecca and Medina were Aramaic settlements with a mixed population of Arabs, Jews, and a few Christians. Mecca’s language, the language of the Qureshy, Mohammed’s tribe, was a mixture of an Aramaic and an Arabic tongue. The surrounding Bedouin Arab tribes from which the companions came spoke various different types of Arabic, and their memories of the prophet Mohammed’s revelations would have been preserved in the Aramaic script, the only means of writing at the time. All these varied sources would have been combined by the third Caliph and again written with Aramaic characters in a combination of Arabic dialects.

The reform of the Muslim world, the liberation of its people, especially its women, and the start of the path towards prosperity for the Middle East, can only begin when Muslims realize that there are errors in the Koran. Scattered among the incomprehensible words, mistranslations, and errors is much truth. Commingled with the war verses and opportunistic revelations uttered by the Prophet of Islam is a message of peace from the sacred texts of Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians.

The Aramaic-speaking scribes who were commanded by the third Caliph Uthman, years after Mohammed’s death, to give his new faith legitimacy and respect among the more literate conquered peoples, added to the prophet’s words an earlier message of peace from the pages of the Old and New testaments.

Perhaps Muslims have been right all along in their assertion that they share much with the traditions and beliefs of Jews and Christians, except with one tremendous error: they are the ones who have confused the message. In reality the messenger of Allah was the one who received the wrong transmission, and it is the Koran that has mistranslated the truth out of sheer ignorance, and because of the Arab people’s initial inability to read and write.

Next: Part Two, Lost in Translation

Note: I struggled to get the Arabic text in the post above to go from right to left, but it wouldn’t work. The tag I have used previously for that purpose didn’t help. Either the new template overrides the text-direction attribute, or something else has gone screwy.

For the time being, we’ll just have to make do with mirror-image Arabic.

Previous posts by El Cid:

2010   Feb   27   The Martyrs of Cordoba

25 thoughts on “God Does Not Speak Arabic! — Part 1

  1. Asymptotic twitches:

    “Unlocking this true Koran can liberate millions of Muslims from the worst of their faith and give the Counterjihad a powerful new tool with which to fight.”

    “The reform of the Muslim world, the liberation of its people, especially its woman, and the start of the path towards prosperity for the Middle East, can only begin when Muslims realize that there are errors in the Koran. Scattered among the incomprehensible words, mistranslations, and errors is much truth.”

    These kinds of statements reveal a fundamental inability to grasp just how mad, steely, airtight and alien Islamic fanaticism is.

    Prodding the global hornet’s nest of lunatic Muslims with evidence of their Koran’s fallibility will only engender ever more ghoulishly outlandish ultra-violence and mass epilepsy from Muslims.

  2. “Mr. Luxenberg published his book under a pen name for fear that the Islamic world would seek his death.”

    Actually, as Luxenberg himself recounted, he didn’t think it was necessary to adopt a pseudonym — until a couple of Middle Eastern colleagues urged him to do so.

  3. Hesperado,
    I am surprised you missed this twitch “Traces of these first Aramaic scribes are present only as a ghostly layer of etymology and meaning. They hint of a Koran less violent then the one we know today”. You see its really just a religion of peace just like the rest, just perverted by others. That is what is being hinted here, either in good faith and conscience or in bad.

    I must admit that I am wary of scholars opinions, after all they all tend to run in the same circles and share same outlooks and politics. I have seen what nonsense passes for scholarship concerning Christianity, in an attempt to put a smiley face on sinister intent to destroy and cast apsersions and doubt upon the faith and so when it comes to Islam, I have to still be on the look out for bs.

  4. Bolleke —

    Gates of Vienna’s rules about comments require that they be civil, temperate, on-topic, and show decorum. Your comment violated the last of these rules. We keep a PG-13 blog, and exclude foul language, explicit descriptions, and epithets. This is why I deleted your comment.

    Use of asterisks is an appropriate alternative.


    Bolleke said…
    1 A scholar in religion once told me. “The origins: history, language nor archeology of religion are important. It’s how people interpret and how they behave and react today according to their faith is important. Followers of Islam never evolved to the signs of time because they take everything litteraly. Christians are redefining everything every day and budhists just don’t [care at all].”

  5. I gladly take the risk to be declared a fool by suggesting that there never was a true KORAN, nor a prophet MUHAMMAD. In the illiterate time of the prophet there was a bible, the Book, and there were Christian faiths that already differed, like religious dialects, in the East, in the West and in southern Egypt. The arabs of that time in Mecca, who certainly spoke no classic Arabic!, did not like their own three gods, neighther did the like the Nicean bible of 325 with its three gods. Therefor they picked suitable parts from the Nicean Bible, added their own screwed ideas, and invented Mohammed as a substitute for Jesus, because the single and almighty holy one could not have a son. During the following decades and even centuries they wrote, rewrote and edited the true words of Allah untill those words started to get a solid shape, also linguistically. The Sana’a remains have been carbon-14 tested and only a few of the parchments date as far back as to the late 7th and 8th centuries. What could be called the KORAN did not come out of the closet untill 800-900. The whole stupid religion is a fake, a construction from beginning to end. Mark my words!

    The arabs, tribes- and clansmen as the were, coul not allow themself to streth out any Golden Rule to include all men, but only those who believed in their Jumbo-Mumbo-Religion.

    On the 18th of Februari in front of some 1,5 million functionally lobotomized Swedish TV-spectators the planet’s most eminent expert after the Pope on GOD, the former nun Karen Armstrong, lied to them all telling them that all religions were equal, all having a Golden Rule, Islam as well as Christianity – and no single person has since said peep – you are wrong.

    LN /somewhere in Sweden in the middle of the nigt 02.35 AM

  6. GoV is a valuable treasure trove of information and this article just goes to demonstrate how helpful it is in keeping folks like me tuned in – even to updates on book availability. For years, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the english translation of “The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A contribution to the decoding of the language of the Koran”, by Christoph Luxenberg being available for sale here in the US. Now that it is available (apparently has been for some time), I look forward to using it’s information online.
    It is with greater anticipation I look forward to the release of yet another guarded reference/source which was mentioned in a January 12th, 2008 WSJ article which has since been scrubbed from the internet. I found a cache link for it: The Lost Archive
    Missing for a half century, a cache of photos spurs sensitive research on Islam’s holy text
    . A highly recommended read.

  7. Michael Servetus,

    Yes, I had seen that one too. There are no “hints” of a peaceful Ur-Qur’an. All such seeming hints are merely misunderstood veiled threats and/or feigned taqiyya meekness in a time of temporary weakness.

    As long as we measure human nature by Homo Occidentalis and apply it to all biologically defined humans, we will be doomed to asymptotic lapses in the anti-Islam movement, and to PC MC disasters in the Western world at large.

  8. It seems there are two glaring inconsistentcies in the Koran staring us in the face right here in this article.

    One is that the Koran says and Muslims believe that god says he communicates to a people in their own language and has never done otherwise but this is his method. That would mean two things by implication which are pretty big blows to the airs Muslims put on their religion. The first is that Arabic was spoken for the Arabic people exclusively and is limited to them, their revelation is not therefore universal in importance or claim and authority because according to that statement, god should or will communicate anything further to others in their own languages and they should expect their own book or revelation in their own tongue not Arabic. So importantly the religion loses its claims to universal authority or final and supreme revelation. For then it would not be in Arabic and untranslatable.
    Secondly the muslim tradition teahces that God never spoke directly to anyone but that Mo heard or saw an angel only. That means the koran is not a direct word from God but is based on hearsay on at least two counts, that of Gabriel and MO who was the only witness.

    The Jewish and Christian books say something about this, they say let everything be established by two or three witnesses. Mo is his only witness and furthermore by extrapolation Islam stands alone as a witness unto itslef against the testimony of two others. Two witneses diasgree and reject the testimony of a lone witness as unreliable and spurious.
    There is also a verse in the Christian scriptures, I beieve it is in the letter to Timothy written by Paul where the apostle Paul says, do not believe in an angel if he comes to you preaching another gospel and in the epistle to the Hebrews, author uncertain, there is a verse which says that Jesus was given authority above angels and angels worshipped him. Now this bears theological weight in a theological world, since Islam claims that it bears continuity with the gospel and the Torah but is totally ignorant of them in details and incongruent in almost all major respect. It bears all the marks of a religionn crafted by the art and wisdom of a man trying to rationalize his way through conflicting reports about Jews and Christians. Christians used to say or believe that certain Jews would hide,mistranslate and do other such things in order to not have to admit signs of Jesus Christ fulfilled in their books and told Muslims this, Jews on the other hand told Mo that Christians perverted monotheism by introducing son worship and Mary worship and a trinity. Mo while impressed by both religions and half believing and doubting both tried to make a perfect combination– in his mind– of them both and make it sort of half and half. You will notice that the big denunciations of both are characterized by the things I mentioned. Jews being crafty and dishonest handlers of their own religion, even to the point of killing Christ and Christians going astray and assigning God partners. But in any case Islam is morally very foreign to both and shows no deep familiarity with either but only knowledge of such squabbles which were prevelant in the desert based on hearsay and different claims of Jews and various heretical christian sects.

  9. All of this is fascinating. However, the reform of the Muslim world, the liberation of its people etc. should not be our concern. Our only concern ought to be to separate ourselves from Islam, and from Muslims. Bring the world’s largest concrete pump, if need be, just as they are doing in radioactive Fukushima (BTW, the pump made by Putzmeister).

    Related to the subject, I resent Christian fundamentalists who bristle when tools of linguistic and content analysis show that while a big portion of the lines attributed to Jesus in the Gospels were uttered by the same man, others could not have been possibly uttered by the same man. In our culture, empirical truth should not be feared and suppressed.

  10. Muslims believe the Parakletos mentioned in John’s gospel is the prophecy about the coming of Muhammad, but is it just a mispronunciation!

    The relevant verse in the Quran;
    61:6 “…Jesus, the son of Mary said: ‘O children of Israel! I am the apostle of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Taurat (which came) before me and giving glad tidings of an apostle to come after me, whose name shall be AHMED’ ”

    In John’s gospel Parakletos means comforter and advocate. It comes from the word ‘calling’ kletos and ‘alongside’ para. “Muhammad” on the other hand, means “praised one”. When the early muslims wrote the Koran, they translated the Greek into Arabic (possibly via Old Syriac) but while Greek has vowels, Arabic doesn’t. So they understood it as PRKLTS. In Greek there is another word Periklutos which means “praised one”. Without the vowels it is also PRKLTS. So it is obvious that the early Muslims misread parakletos as periklutos, which means “Ahmed”.

    So …………..
    Parakletos = Comforter-advocate
    Periklutos = Praised
    Both PRKLTS without vowels
    Praised in arabic = Ahmad


  11. Takuan Seiyo: However, the reform of the Muslim world, the liberation of its people etc. should not be our concern. Our only concern ought to be to separate ourselves from Islam, and from Muslims.

    This is the bottom line and the majority of our efforts should be given over to directing enough military force against Islam where it no longer has the resources to cause any terrorism or other bothersome rubbish.

    If this requires leveling several dozen major Muslim cities in order to distract them from all of their jihad nonsense, then get on with it.

    Whatever it takes, do it now and stop all of this pussyfooting around. All it does is up the eventual butcher’s bill and give Islam an unfettered shot at some sort of truly horrendous WMD terrorist attack.

    We don’t deserve it and Islam doesn’t deserve the least opportunity to pull it off. I we have to keep them occupied burying dead bodies in whatever number, so be it. Just so long as they keep their snotty noses out of our affairs.

  12. BTW, those 72 virgins (actually “white-skinned innocent damsels”) are really white chilled raisins, if you account for the linguistic origins. Ibn Waraq and others wrote about it, in addition to Luxemberg. All this is the stuff of madness.

  13. From paragraph 16 (?):the language of the Christian Palestinians from the times of the Islamic conquest.

    I don’t want to nitpick, but the reference to Christian Palestinians is politically awkward and anachronistic. “Palestine” refers only to the land, before modern times. There were no “Palestinians” until very recently. Referring to Palestinians in the middle ages appears to support the politically correct fiction that there is a Palestinian people who always lived in Palestine, and that’s not true. The Romans named the land Palestine, but the various peoples who lived there were always called by other names. The Jews who founded modern Israel were sometimes referred to as Palestinians, and the Arabs living there were known as fellahin, Arabs, etc.


    LFPC of the Danish blog Snaphanen writes today:
    Christoph Luxenberg’s pioneering philological deconstruction of the Koran is due to promotion in the Danish media after vicar Morten Rydal’s chronicle (1) in the daily Kristeligt Dagblad March 31 2011: Quran began as a Christian book.

    Since it is extremely difficult to access material for laymen, this interview (2) with Luxenberg from 2004 is worth pulling out for its highlighting of his main points.

    – – – – – – – – – –
    (1) The Quran began as a Christian book, chronicle by Morten Rydal

    (2) jihadwatch March 18, 2004:
    Scholar researches origins of the Qur’an, fears for his life
    “Sandro Magister in Chiesa (thanks to Nicolei) writes about the latest researches of “Christoph Luxenberg,” a scholar who studies the origins of the Qur’an and early Islam. The kind of work he does with the Qur’an is the same sort of thing that innumerable scholars do with the Bible — but while such biblical scholars enjoy comfortable tenured positions in universities, “Luxenberg” publishes under a pseudonym and fears for his life.”

  15. El Cid is unable to post comments from the computer he is currently on, so he sent this response to latté island:


    Latté Island made a very good point and would like to I thank her and elaborate:

    Thanks for the great observation you are quit correct. Historically the term Palestinian should refer to the land or province, not to a people. As you correctly stated there has never been a “Palestinian people”. This is a modern-day political construct with dubious political leanings.

    What I was referring to was the dialect of Aramaic of the Christians and Jews of the Roman province of Palestine.

    After Shimon Bar-Kokhba’s heroic but failed rebellion of 135CE, the Romans created this artificial province called Palestine, and the historical events of the Byzantine-Persian war and the Emperor Heraculis’s persecution of both Jews and local Christians just re-enforced the status-quo.

    In going through one of my Arabic sources without thinking it through, I translated the source’s original term “Palestinian people” without adjusting for the obvious contemporary Muslim bias.

    Christoph Luxenberg points out that in addition Syro-Aramaic, ten percent of the words of the Koran have Hebrew sources. This is interesting since the Jews that survived the creation of the Roman province of Palestine spoke Hebrew and Aramaic, although Aramaic was the by then the language of everyday life for everyone.

    In my next essay, “lost in translation” I will discuss the wholesale opportunistic usurpation of older Jewish and Christian texts by the new Muslim state. Sadly the deep peaceful and spiritual nature of this the Judeo-Christian holy books were lost in translation either out of error in the uncountable number of copies that the Koran must have gone through, or because it did not suite the expansionist needs of the growing Muslim power.

  16. Keith Small has published his PHD dissertation: Textual Criticism and Qur’an Manuscripts, which should be germain to this conversation. It can be found on Amazon.com

    He travels to seminars around the world discussing his ideas with scholars of like mind.

  17. Re: Aramaic – Hebrew
    Since we are on the subject, quite a number of practicing Christians, particularly Catholics, have severed Jesus from his Jewish roots, starting with his Nordic-Slavic features in Northern European iconography. When I was in my youthful religious phase I learned enough Biblical Hebrew/Aramaic to read some portions of the Bible and liturgy (e.g. the Lord’s Prayer) in the original language and was astonished to understand some things that no one had ever told me in years of catechism and Sunday sermons. All these are Hebrew –Aramaic words:
    Hallelujah – praise God
    Amen – believe!
    Elli, Elli, lama sabbachtani – My God, my God, why have you left me
    Kyrie eleison — like in many other New Testament items, there are Greek overlayers, starting with than name Yasous itself (Hebrew original was Yeshu, or Yeshua). There is a possibility that our current interpretation, i.e. God have mercy, is an arrogation into Greek of the much older Biblical reference to Jerusalem as Kiryat Elohim, i.e. City of God.
    Messiah – corruption of Mashiah, “the anointed”

  18. So, how can I make a copy of this article to keep for my records on how to disuade a muslim? I tried ‘WORD’ but nothing but jibberish came out..

  19. I can’t remember what the name for it is, but there’s a recognised linguistic phenomenon when someone who speaks one language tries their hand at another, but keeps a lot of the underlying grammatical structures from their first language. Could this help explain the way the Koran was written – kind of in one language, but with underlying aspects of another?

  20. Just a glance at all the names of the “Muslim prophets” mentioned in the Koran obviously shows borrowing and that it’s not pure Arabic:

    Musa (Moses in English; Moishe in Hebrew)

    Isa (Jesus; Iesous in Greek)

    Ibrahim (Abraham; Avram in Hebrew)

    Suleiman (Solomon)

    Adem (Adam)

    Hawwa (Eve; Havra in Hebrew)

    Ishaq (Isaac)

    Ayyub (Job)

    Yunus (Jonah)

    So: if Arabic is God’s language, why did he name his prophets in languages different from Arabic and then have them preserved, slightly mutated, in the Koran?

    One possible way for Muslims to squirm out of this conundrum would be to hypothesize that Hebrew and Aramaic are themselves corruptions of some Ur-Arabic that was spoken by all of God’s (Allah’s) peoples in Antediluvian times, and so all those prophet names preserved in the Jewish and Christian scriptures are corruptions of the “pure” Arabic forms we see in the Koran.

    One thing we can bank on: Muslims are not going to wake up and see the light in numbers sufficient to defuse the danger they are causing us; and so all this is academic curiosity (enjoyable to be sure for the Westerner who loves learning for the sake of learning) which we can indulge in earnest after we have ourselves woken up to manage the problems which irremediable Muslims will always cause us if given the chance.

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