In the course of this paper I present some reflections on a theme which is prominent in the Qur’an and central in the tradition, that of emigration, and which could be of religious and historical significance if read in conjunction with the motif of “land”. In the first part of this article, I describe the Qur’anic verses on emigration and land as divine heritage to in order to explore which kind of ideas they convey. In the second, I examine how non- Islamic sources and the relevant secondary literature understood the Arabs arrival in the Fertile Crescent. Two main assumptions underlie this essay. First, that despite the many unresolved issues revolving around the history of the Qur’anic text, the sacred book of Islam can be considered as a key religious document for the life of the early “community”. Hence, and second assumption, that the Qur’an can be looked at as a “historical” source, although poor of events, facts and details. Yet, a source that may not necessarily tell us the same story about the nature of the early community that the one it is found in the tradition. The present paper shows that the Quranic verses on hijra (a word which does not occur in the text) have little to do with Muhammad’s “flight” from Mecca to Medina and that “the land” is a relevant theme in connection with the idea of divine heritage and emigration. “The land” being a form of divine retribution for those who struggle on God’s name and emigrate towards Him, and emigration coming strongly across, in the Qur’an, as a form of militant devotion. A third point is proposed: namely that the Arab conquests towards the Fertile Crescent may be understood as an act of religious emigration towards a land the Arabs claimed a share of by virtue of their common descent from Abraham. This is a view that emerges in some VIIth century non-Islamic sources and which seems to find some corroboration in the Qur’an. This last point is conjectural. Its acceptance presumes that parts of what will become the canonical text of the Qur’an must have been in circulation as early as the first Arab conquests, It also touches on another controversial issue, that is the use contemporary historians of the origins of Islam can make of early non-Islamic materials. John Wansbrough was highly pessimistic in this regard. This paper is less negative. It follows, in fact, the perspectives opened up by the work of Robert Hoyland in relation to how Islamicists of the early period may benefit from non-Islamic materials. On the whole, the present article aims at adding a contribution to some aspects of early Islamic history which have been hotly debated for some time.

"All we Know is what We have been told": Reflections on Emigration and Land as Divine Heritage in the Qur'an.

BORI, CATERINA
2012

Abstract

In the course of this paper I present some reflections on a theme which is prominent in the Qur’an and central in the tradition, that of emigration, and which could be of religious and historical significance if read in conjunction with the motif of “land”. In the first part of this article, I describe the Qur’anic verses on emigration and land as divine heritage to in order to explore which kind of ideas they convey. In the second, I examine how non- Islamic sources and the relevant secondary literature understood the Arabs arrival in the Fertile Crescent. Two main assumptions underlie this essay. First, that despite the many unresolved issues revolving around the history of the Qur’anic text, the sacred book of Islam can be considered as a key religious document for the life of the early “community”. Hence, and second assumption, that the Qur’an can be looked at as a “historical” source, although poor of events, facts and details. Yet, a source that may not necessarily tell us the same story about the nature of the early community that the one it is found in the tradition. The present paper shows that the Quranic verses on hijra (a word which does not occur in the text) have little to do with Muhammad’s “flight” from Mecca to Medina and that “the land” is a relevant theme in connection with the idea of divine heritage and emigration. “The land” being a form of divine retribution for those who struggle on God’s name and emigrate towards Him, and emigration coming strongly across, in the Qur’an, as a form of militant devotion. A third point is proposed: namely that the Arab conquests towards the Fertile Crescent may be understood as an act of religious emigration towards a land the Arabs claimed a share of by virtue of their common descent from Abraham. This is a view that emerges in some VIIth century non-Islamic sources and which seems to find some corroboration in the Qur’an. This last point is conjectural. Its acceptance presumes that parts of what will become the canonical text of the Qur’an must have been in circulation as early as the first Arab conquests, It also touches on another controversial issue, that is the use contemporary historians of the origins of Islam can make of early non-Islamic materials. John Wansbrough was highly pessimistic in this regard. This paper is less negative. It follows, in fact, the perspectives opened up by the work of Robert Hoyland in relation to how Islamicists of the early period may benefit from non-Islamic materials. On the whole, the present article aims at adding a contribution to some aspects of early Islamic history which have been hotly debated for some time.
The Coming of the Comforter: When, Where, and to Whom? Studies on teh Rise of Islam and Various Other Topics in Memory of John Wansbrough
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Caterina Bori
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/131787
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