Page 2 of 2 SPENGLER Scandal exposes Islam's weakness
formulations from coins and monuments dating from the its first two centuries,
as well as the presence of material obviously incompatible with Islam. "Coins
and inscriptions are incompatible with the Islamic writing of history," Kalisch
concludes on the strength of older work, including Yehuda Nevo and Jutith
Koren's Crossroads to Islam.
The oldest inscription with the formulation "Mohammed Messenger of Allah" is to
found in the 66th year of Islamic reckoning, and after that used continuously.
But there also exist coins found in Palestine, probably minted in Amman, on
which the word "Muhammed" is found in Arabic script on one side, and a picture
of a man holding a cross on the other. Kalisch cites this
and a dozen other examples. Citing Nevo/Koren and other sources, Kalisch also
accepts the evidence that no Islamic conquest occurred as presented in much
later Islamic sources, but rather a peaceful transfer of power from the
Byzantine empire to its local Arab allies.
"To be sure," Kalisch continues, "various explanations are possible for the
lack of mention of the Prophet in the early period, and it is no proof for the
non-existence of an historical Mohammed. But it is most astonishing, and begs
the question of the significance of Mohammed for the original Muslim
congregation in the case that he did exist."
The numismatic, archeological, source-critical and other evidence against
acceptance of the received version of Islamic history was well developed by
other scholars. But it was never accepted by mainstream Orientalists. Cynics
might point to the fact that most Middle Eastern studies programs in the West
today are funded by Islamic governments, or depend on the good will of Middle
Eastern governments for access to source material. Academia is not only
corrupt, however, but credulous: the question arises: if Mohammed never
existed, or did not exist as he is portrayed, why was so much effort devoted in
later years to manufacturing thousands of pages of phony documentation in the
Hadith and elsewhere?
Why, indeed, was the Mohammed story invented, by whom, and to what end? The
story of the Hegira, Mohammed's flight from Mecca to Medina allegedly in 622,
provides a clue, according to Kalisch. "No prophet is mentioned in the Koran as
often as Moses, and Muslim tradition always emphasized the great similarly
between Moses and Mohammed," he writes. "The central event in the life of
Moses, though, is the Exodus of the oppressed Children of Israel out of Egypt,
and the central event in the life of Mohammed is the Exodus of his oppressed
congregation out of Mecca to Medina ... The suspicion is great that the Hegira
appears only for this reason in the story of the Prophet, because his image
should emulate the image of Moses."
Furthermore, "the image of Jesus is also seen as a new Moses. The connection of
Mohammed to the figure of Jesus is presented in Islamic tradition through his
daughter Fatima, who is identified with Maria ... The Line Fatima-Maria-Isis is
well known to research. With the takeover of Mecca, Mohammed at least returns
to his point of origin. Thus we have a circular structure typical of myth, in
which beginning and end are identical. This Gnostic circular structure
represents the concept that the soul returns to its origin. It is separated
from its origin, and must return to it for the sake of its salvation."
Kalisch concludes that Islam itself began as a Gnosis, a secret teaching much
like the Gnostic Christian sources rejected by the Church Fathers. "The myth of
Mohammed ... could be the product of a Gnosis, which wanted to present its
theology in a new and original myth with a new protagonist, but actually is the
old protagonist (Moses, Jesus). For the Gnostics it always was clear, that the
issue was not historical truth, but rather theology. Moses, Jesus and Mohammed
were only different characterizations of a mythic hero or son of god, who would
depict an old spiritual teaching in mythical form."
In the Islamic Gnosis, Muhammed appears along with [his
family members] Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Hussein as cosmic forces ... the Gnostic
Abu Mansur al Igli claimed that God first created Jesus, and then Ali. Here
apparently we still have the Cosmic Christ. If a Christian Gnosis was there are
the origin of Islam, then the Cosmic Christ underwent a name change to Mohammed
in the Arab world, and this Cosmic Mohammed was presented as a new edition of
the Myth of Moses and Joshua (=Jesus) as an Arab prophet.
for secret wisdom drew Kalisch to Islam as a teenager, and keeps him within the
faith despite his devastating critique. As he writes,
The teachings of
Islamic mysticism are not specifically Islamic. They are a new minting of the
perennial philosophy, which is found everywhere in the world in various
traditions ... For me, this perennial philosophy is what the Koran means when
it speaks of a teaching that God brought to humankind in all epochs.
My own views on the subject of Islamic mysticism are contained in a recent
sodomy and Satan Asia Times Online, August 12, 2008). Kalisch, it
should be noted, adheres to a minority sect within the minority Shi'ite current
in Islam, the Zaydi variant. His conclusions will convince few in the Islamic
mainstream. But his work points to the great vulnerabilities of Islam. As I
wrote some months ago, the German Jesuits who advise the Vatican on Islamic
matters invested heavily in the supposedly moderate establishment of Sunni
Islam in Turkey, and the theology department of the University of Ankara in
theology from Turkey Asia Times Online, June 3, 2008).
Of far greater interest may be the wide assortment of variant and
quasi-heretical trends within Islam. Something very ancient and entirely
genuine long buried within Islam may be struggling to the surface, a cuckoo's
egg, as it were, waiting to hatch. It is noteworthy that Germany's Alevi
community (immigrants from Turkey's 5-to-15 million strong Alevi population)
expressed solidarity with Kalisch when he came under attack from other Muslim
Coming from a minority within a minority, Kalisch has offered a new and
credible explanation of the motive behind the great reshuffling of Islamic
sources during the second and third centuries of the religion. I cannot
evaluate Kalisch's handling of the sources, but the principle he advances makes
sense. It is another crack in the edifice of Islam, but a most dangerous one,
because it came from the inside.