You Will Win or Lose

Chapter 30 took me on an interesting journey. It talked about the Romans ...

2 The Roman Empire has been defeated 3 In a land close by; but they, after this defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious-4 Within a few years.

… by Mohammed's time the Roman Empire was ancient history so I marked that with a WTF, but I found out they were talking about the Eastern Roman Empire, what I called the Byzantine. Oh. Silly me. But wait, the Byzantine Empire was falling apart too. They lost most of Italy to the Lombards in 568, the Arabs got the Levant in 634, the Persians had Egypt by 641 & Carthage by 697.... Those 'Romans' didn't make a comeback until the 840s, some 200 years after Mo died. So WTF again.

Well, come to find out the Noble Qur'an makes a prophecy here, y'unnerstand, and it came true, y'unnerstand, that the Romans would win one. See the Emperor Heraclius counter-attacked the Persians in 623, went up through Armenia and Azerbaijan, right up to the Persian's capital in 628, when they tossed out their king and made peace. Heraclius burned them polytheistic fire worshipping infidel's main temple at Clorumia, in 624, the same year as the Battle of Badr. “After this no one could have any doubt about the truth of the prophecy of the Quran,” so there, beeyitches, sez Maududi.

But, I got trouble ... There's big hissy spitty arguments over how many a “a few” years is. I happen to know the answer to this one, because I used to work with Bubba, and he told me.

Get this though—Maududi sez “it can be said with absolute certainty that this Surah was sent down in” 615. LOL!!! absolute certainty!!!! About the koran!!!1!!1!!!elebenty!!1! 615—WTF? He says they were overpowered by the Persians in 615: He's right—and every year before and after that for a couple of hundred, so why pick on that one ? If it was 615 that'd mean he only got two revelations in the next six years. Pigwash. It's a Late Meccan Sura. Late Meccan Suras date 620-622, just before the big move to Medina. There's 25 of them over a space of two years and it's the third to last one so that makes it late 621 at the earliest.

That's right when Heraclius sent his army to outflank the Persians. Seems reasonable to me that when 50,000 Roman soldiers go trompling across Asia Minor the Arabs would notice. Mohammed was no slouch when it came to military strategy, so when he saw them coming and predicted they would win, it's not much of a surprise. Hell, I predicted the US invasion of Iraq would be a clusterfuck; it doesn't make me a prophet.

But the koran did make an accurate prediction, right? Seems like it, till I remembered that Uthman's first official copy was made in 647, back when written Arabic had no diacritics. Until the 11th century there was no way to indicate vowels, or even tell a lot of the consonants apart, like B, T, N, or Y. It was all oral tradition, or like they say in court, hearsay; a big game of telephone.

Why's that matter? Well because among other things the difference between active and passive in Arabic depends on the vowels, so it means you can't tell “they defeated” from “they were defeated”. It means there were two ways to read these verses: The Byzantine / Romans either

(a) have conquered ... and they shall be defeated .

--or they--

(b) have been defeated … and …. they ... will soon be victorious

That's right, it says the Romans either won or lost, and predicted they would either win or lose. WOOT! Prophetical! A century or three after the prediction, they had to decide which it was, and put in the right dots. That's not exactly impressive. For a while there I thought I'd finally found something worth writing about, but it turned out to be nothing. Ignore this post.


Anonymous said...

That is very interesting! A lot of muslims cite this as if its a be all and end all. Although I could do with a more professional looking article to cite myself =P

uzza said...

Ai iz nawt profeshyunul? LOL!

Try Wikipedia. They cover it pretty well under "Hadith of the prediction in Sura Al-Rum"