Tag Archives: Ibn Battuta

To be or not to be. Western Questions about ISIS and Islam reveal the Collapse of Christianity

By Prof. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

Refutation of Prof. Mark Juergensmeyer’s article ‘Is ISIS Islamic?’

topkapi

This is the Caliphate that France, England and America did not want.

ISIS 1

And this is the ‘Caliphate’ that France, England and America wanted.

Sultan Murad and Safavid embassy

This is the Caliphate that France, England and America did not want.

ISIS 2

And this is the ‘Caliphate’ that France, England and America wanted.

Istanbul Topkapi

This is the Caliphate that France, England and America did not want.

ISIS 3

And this is the ‘Caliphate’ that France, England and America wanted.

In a previous article under title ‘Ottoman Empire, Fake ‘Middle East’, the Pseudo-Christians of the West, and the Forthcoming Tribulation’ (https://megalommatiscomments.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/ottoman-empire-fake-middle-east-the-pseudo-christians-of-the-west-and-the-forthcoming-tribulation/), I analyzed why the Western Christians’ stance towards their governments’ policies against the Ottoman Empire and its detached provinces (the technical entities of the so-called ‘Middle East’) is very wrong, definitely immoral, and in total contradiction with the Christian principles, values and virtues. I concluded that a great number of nominal Christians, who approved of the evil policies and deeds of the Western governments, are in reality pseudo-Christians irrespective of what they may think they are.

In a world engulfed in the worst crisis of identity of all times, it is only normal that doubts are raised as regards the identity of the ‘other.’ Only yesterday, Prof. Mark Juergensmeyer, who specializes in ‘global religion’ – a non-existent entity – questioned in an article the identity of ISIS (Is ISIS Islamic? / http://www.theglobalist.com/is-isis-islamic/).

Quite interestingly, under the title, a motto gives the summarizing idea of the article (“Every religion has its dark sides, but the conflict is about politics.”). This is absolutely irrelevant; dark sides in a religion are what you don’t know of that religion. They don’t exist by themselves. No religion has ever had any dark side whatsoever. And all conflicts about politics cannot be deprived of their own religious dimension, because everything in a human society hinges on the spiritual belief or disbelief. Atheists are religious too; they are slaves of Satan either they understand it or not. Their theory and their rejection of God is a form of Satanic faith.

When one starts with so many preconceived ideas as the global religion theoretician Prof. Mark Juergensmeyer, his approach is doomed to fail, but this does not originate from the lack of knowledge of the ‘other side’. And Prof. Mark Juergensmeyer’s main problem is not his lack of insightful knowledge about both, the Islamic world and ISIS itself. The article reveals a serious problem of Christian identity and for this reason I intended to comment on it. I think that my comments will be useful to both, Christians and Muslims.

The author of the article tries to implement the following simplistic logic: if we hold the Ku Klux Klan in the US and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda as ‘Christian’, then we can consider ISIS as ‘Islamic’. This sort of approach does not clarify anything, and rather creates further confusion among both, Christians and Muslims. Generally speaking, I understand and accept the approach through analogy, but to implement this method in your text, you’ve got to select very firm examples. Yes, it is correct to say ‘if we hold the New and the Old Testament as holy books for the Christians, then we can consider the Quran as holy book for Muslims’. Beyond the limit of such comparisons, we can achieve minimal result through analogy and at times lose clarity.

There is always a very serious mistake in every approach that avoids a proper, direct definition and attempts to define something through its opposite. If you want to define Christianity, you cannot possibly be as vague as you are when saying ‘Christianity is something other than / different from Ku Klux Klan’ (or the LRA). Ditto for the Islamic World.

It is really gross to try to define Christianity as the antithesis of what the author calls the LRA ‘a terrible terrorist organization’! Who can expect a religion to possibly be ‘a terrible terrorist organization’? No one!

In addition, there are in Uganda hundreds of thousands if not millions of simple people who, if not terrorized, will have the courage to state that the LRA is NOT a terrorist organization – or if you want not as terrorist as the execrable, racist Ugandan government. And who is authorized to speak about ‘terrorism’? The global mass media? Or the defenders of a non-existent ‘global religion’?

But the term ‘terrorism’ (or ‘terrorist’) is an unhistorical fabrication that was composed only recently as a vicious tool of the world’s most evil, most villainous, and most dictatorial regimes, the likes of America, England and France. It has no credibility, and above all, it is used within political context. Why on Earth a scholar and an academic feels the need to confuse his readers so much as to mention a political term when he talks about religion?

Whatever Christianity has been or has not been or may have been, it is certainly something unrelated to modern political terms; even more so if these terms are recently invented as result of scheming and propaganda and therefore fully rejected by vast populations worldwide.

However, the use of brutal manners in order to achieve power that will later consolidate the survival and the propagation of a faith, a religion, a sect or a secret order-organization is widely attested in almost every religion, culture, nation and period.

There are many historical examples in this regard. The Ismailiyah Order of the Shia Muslims, who were also called Hashashin (because their leader, the famous ‘Elder of the Mountain’ administered the proper dose of hashish to his disciples in order to duly instrumentalize and effectively utilize them for his purposes) and were known to Marco Polo (he called them Assassins and this is how this word was first used in European languages), used to send members (their secret knights) to cross incredibly long distances to arrive where their target (a ruler, an military leader, an imam or other) lived and, by treacherously approaching, assassinate them. Should we call them ‘terrorists’? This would be utterly ridiculous.

It is actually always pathetic and ludicrous to project one period’s / civilization’s / culture’s measures, values and criteria onto other periods, civilizations and cultures. One cannot evaluate others through use of one’s own criteria; every civilization, culture, religion, and historical period is an independent entity that no scholar can transform as per his theoretical needs in any way. The reason for this maxim is simple; by slightly transforming (through improper evaluation involving external criteria) a civilization, culture, religion, and historical period, a scholar only modifies and misinterprets it. This scholar is therefore speaking of a false entity that practically speaking never existed (except in his misinterpretation and imagination); thus, he only confuses his unfortunate readers.

Another example is offered by the Christian Catholic Holy Inquisition. It is undisputed that this Holy Office carried out very brutal policies for long. Should we call it ‘terrorism’? This would also be utterly ludicrous.

As the author is continuously avoiding a proper definition for what is ‘Islamic’ and what is not, the article is characterized by a personal, individualistic approach that is both, irrelevant and confusing. Prof. Mark Juergensmeyer implements again the analogy approach, but this time at the very personal level. He, as a Christian, dissociates himself from the Ugandan LRA and the American Ku Klux Klan, and he therefore postulates that, accordingly, ‘this is the same position most Muslims are in now with regard to ISIS’.

This is very irrelevant because scholars are expected to include personal views and experience in their memoirs at the end of the their lives and not as supposedly convincing evidence in their articles and other publications. This style is very arrogant; in addition, it is very confusing because personal approaches do not constitute proper definitions. The sentence he makes is quiet evident: ‘As a Christian, I feel like they have nothing to do with me or with the Christianity that I know’. The last words reveal the extent of the problem; probably the globalist professor and specialist of the non existent ‘global’ religion ( !! ? !! )  does not know the Holy Inquisition, and consequently we can safely claim that he does not know Christianity well. And this is the problem for him and for all the misled and confused Christians of the West.

Many people have been driven to the impasse of assuming a lot; one of their wrong assumptions is to take today’s fallen Christianity as the true Christianity. Similarly, in the Islamic world, there are many Muslims, who assume that today’s fallen Islam is the true Islam. Both groups fail to understand one another because they primarily fail to understand themselves and accurately specify how far they have gone from their respective religions, sailing adrift in the Sea of Relativism and Faithlessness.

After the preliminary part of the article, its inconsistency turns it to a mere worthless piece. As the title obliges the author to give a definition of ISIS, the ‘global religion’ specialist or rather propagandist Mark Juergensmeyer enters into a series of mistakes while giving to his readers unexplained terms that are absolutely meaningless to the non-specialist.

He says: ‘What makes things even more complicated is that ISIS bases its beliefs and actions on a form of Islamic interpretation called Salafism’.

– Why on Earth is now the Salafist nature of ISIS (which is true and beyond any doubt) a problem?

Let me make my position clear. In many articles, I denounced the Wahhabism (the correct term for Salafism) as a deformation of Islam. But Wahhabism (or if you want Salafism) is nothing new to the Western world’s academia and diplomats.

To paraphrase Prof. Juergensmeyer, before any other institution on Earth, Saudi Arabiathe country that America catastrophically chose as its primary ally in the region before …. 70 years or, to put it otherwise, the country that England disastrously conspired with against the Ottoman Caliphate for more than 100 years before the fall of the Ottoman dynasty and continually ever since ‘bases its beliefs and actions on a form of Islamic interpretation called Salafism’.

What is Prof. Juergensmeyer talking about?

If Saudi Arabia did not exist, there would never be an ISIS.

What does Prof. Juergensmeyer want?

Does he want ISIS to disappear and Saudi Arabia to survive?

That’s silly.

Because if Saudi Arabia continues existing, even if ISIS is mercilessly exterminated and all its members and fighters executed ( and this needs at least 50000 US soldiers in a large scale land attack and in coordination with the venerable president of Syria! ), there will be another ISIS, an ISIS bis if you want, or an ISES (Islamic State of Egypt and Sudan), an ISYA (Islamic State of Yemen and Arabia), or any combination of letters you may choose!

As long as Saudi Arabia exists, Wahhabism will be its pseudo-Islamic state dogma, and through the filthy money of the inhuman gangsters who rule from Riyadh, Wahhabism will be diffused among the masses of Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia to the Muslim Diaspora worldwide.

What is even worse is that Prof. Juergensmeyer fails again to either give a definition of Wahhabism (Salafism) or the historical perspective thereof; as a matter of fact, all the filthy and un-Islamic, dark and inhuman ideas that Muhammad Abdel Wahhab (the founder of Wahhabism) shaped and propagated during the 18th c. did not fall from the sky into his idiotic and ignorant mind. There has been an entire historical process within Islam (with heretic theologians preceding Muhammad Abdel Wahhab by 450 and 900 years) that led to this monstrous theological deformation of Islam. All this is unknown to the ‘global religion’ professor who writes about Islam without having a clue of all academic fields pertaining to the study of this historical – spiritual phenomenon.

This is the historical reality, which is quite well known to specialists of Islamic History and Religion in the West, but it remains concealed, because it is politically disturbing and troublesome. If Wahhabism is not uprooted, if all the Wahhabi institutions across the world are not shut down, if a new class of Muslim intellectuals at the antipodes of Wahhabism is not formed, the explosive situation will only turn worse.

First point of conclusion is therefore that Saudi Arabia and the Saudi family itself must be denounced as the only matrix of all evil across the Islamic world for the last 200 years, and an overwhelming attack against it must be undertaken in order to totally eliminate Riyadh and the villainous, heretic elite which from there managed to incessantly spread the evilness of Wahhabism worldwide.

The confusing presentation of Prof. Juergensmeyer is due to the fact that he does not seek the historical, religious, cultural and theological truth, but only writes in order to serve political purposes and needs, preserve strategic alliances, and in the process, effectuate compromises. We saw these compromises in Mosul, in Sanjar and in Raqqah. These compromises are responsible for the evacuation of most of the Yazidis from their homelands; these compromises are the reason for the deracination of all the Aramaean Christians of Mosul; these compromises are the root cause of the hecatomb that the bloodthirsty vampires of ISIS want to deliver.

For one more time, the ‘global religion’ specialist, Prof. Juergensmeyer, attempts a confusing definition through analogy! He writes: “The Salafi movement is similar to an extreme fundamentalism in Christianity”. This is an understatement; in addition, who can specify what ‘fundamentalism in Christianity’ means? This is not called ‘definition’ but ‘anyone’s guess’…

It must however become crystal clear to Western readership that ISIS, Saudi Arabia, and Wahhabism, (Salafism) do not constitute any form of Islamic fundamentalism. They are heretic, so they cannot be held as Islamic in any sense. They are far and out of the foundations of Islam, so they cannot possibly be ‘fundamental’. Muhammad Abdel Wahhab in his days was considered as a heretic and a traitor by the Ottoman administration; the same evaluation concerned also the Ottoman Caliphate’s traitor and founder of the Satanic house of the Saudis.

The two earlier Islamic theologians on whom Abdel Wahhab was based to produce his pseudo-Islamic trash, namely Ahmed ibn Taimiyah and Ahmed ibn Hanbal who lived in the 13th-14th c. and the 8th-9th c, respectively, were also considered as heretic in their times and duly imprisoned. They may be unknown to Prof. Juergensmeyer, but he should then abstain from writing purposelessly on issues he is not relevant of.

The famous, 14th c. Moroccan traveler, explorer and scholar Ibn Battuta encountered in Damascus people who knew personally the evil, villainous and ignorant heretic Ibn Taimiyah who was then imprisoned. This is what the Islamic World’s most illustrious traveler wrote about the progenitor of Wahhabism:

A controversial theologian  

One of the principal Hanbalite doctors at Damascus was Taqi ad-Din Ibn Taymiya, a man of great ability and wide learning, but with some kink in his brain. The people of Damascus idolized him. He used to preach to them from the pulpit, and one day he made some statement that the other theologians disapproved; they carried the case to the sultan and in consequence Ibn Taymiya was imprisoned for some years. While he was in prison he wrote a commentary on the Koran, which he called ” The Ocean,” in about forty volumes. Later on his mother presented herself before the sultan and interceded for him, so he was set at liberty, until he did the same thing again. I was in Damascus at the time and attended the service which he was conducting one Friday, as he was addressing and admonishing the people from the pulpit. In the midst of his discourse he said “Verily God descends to the sky over our world [from Heaven] in the same bodily fashion that I make this descent,” and stepped down one step of the pulpit. A Malikite doctor present contradicted him and objected to his statement, but the common people rose up against this doctor and beat him with their hands and their shoes so severely that his turban fell off and disclosed a silken skull-cap on his head. Inveighing against him for wearing this, they haled him before the qadi of the Hanbalites, who ordered him to be imprisoned and afterwards had him beaten. The other doctors objected to this treatment and carried the matter before the principal amir, who wrote to the sultan about the matter and at the same time drew up a legal attestation against Ibn Taymiya for various heretical pronouncements. This deed was sent on to the sultan, who gave orders that Ibn Taymiya should be imprisoned in the citadel, and there he remained until his death.

At a certain point in his article, Prof. Juergensmeyer makes a totally misleading statement (“So, yes, ISIS is ultimately Islamic – whether you like it or not”), which can have disastrous consequences on anyone who may happen to accept it. A heretic cannot be identified with the religion from which he was rejected. It is not a mere point of accuracy, but a critical issue of false target.

Failing to understand this, he adds perjury to infamy, by completing his sentence with the following: “but it is certainly not the kind of Islam that most Muslims would accept or profess”.

This is a pure lie. And more than a merely false point, it reflects the tendencies of the Western governments to totally conceal the truth from their peoples. First of all, no one has accurate estimates on the subject. Gallup polls in several Muslim countries are prohibited – particularly on a subject this critical -, whereas in the rest no Gallup polls have ever been conducted on issues as troublesome as that.

However, there are many indicators that ISIS does truly reflect in a certain way the kind of false, heretic and decayed Islam that most Muslims accept and profess. If you make a list of what is correct as an act or practice of the Islamic way of both, personal life and social organization, including perhaps 500 detailed points accepted by the followers, the fighters and the leaders of ISIS, and then you submit this list to 1000 average Saudis (without adding that these points are all approved by ISIS members), their responses, homogeneous and ominous, will take you by surprise. Their agreement with the 500 points of the list will deliver a result far above 90-95%.  Similar results, always above 80%, you will collect from countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Egypt, Algeria, etc. And certainly the agreement will be lower in other countries, but even in Turkey, it will be as high as 40% due to the vicious Western policies in favor of the AKP party Islamists and against the nationalist military establishment of Ankara (a paranoid policy that allowed the ruling Islamists to widen their basis through a varied set of methods).

How can one be sure of this?

By simply walking in the streets of districts inhabited by middle and lower classes (that total more than 80-90% of the total population of the country in most of the aforementioned cases) and observing what goes around, talking to the people, asking about their ideas, and entertaining comprehensive discussions as to just how they see and how they want to see their lives and their social environment – something that Prof. Juergensmeyer did not do, ultimately preferring the calmness and the security of his office somewhere in the States.

However, the situation is far worse than that. If you now present the same list (of what is correct as an act or practice of the Islamic way of personal life and social organization, including perhaps 500 detailed points accepted by the followers, the fighters and the leaders of ISIS) to a selected group of academics, engineers, businessmen, administrators and high profile functionaries, deputies of ‘parliament’ (this is a non-representative assembly for most of the cases), military, ministers and religious authorities across the Islamic world (without however saying that these points are all approved by ISIS members), you will collect even more surprising results. The outright majority of the elite of these countries (and I don’t mean here only Saudi Arabia but all the aforementioned countries) in majority supports the same points. This is for instance the reason one should view the latest president El Sisi of Egypt as theologically – ideologically – politically far closer to the former president Morsy than to the one time vice president El Baradei.

It would take too long to narrate how this situation has been formed, but I would however like to briefly hint at what I said earlier about the theologians who served as source of inspiration for Muhammad Abdel Wahhab, the founder of the Wahhabism (Salafism), namely the heretics Ibn Taimiyah and Ibn Hanbal. In fact, if Muhammad Abdel Wahhab developed the theological system that constitutes today’s Wahhabists’ doctrine, this is due to the fact that Ibn Hanbal’s and Ibn Taimiyah’s successive and intertwined theological systems gradually prevailed among the Islamic world and eliminated or transformed/altered all the opposite systems.

As a matter of fact, if one Muslim imam, qadi, mufti, minister, general, professor, president or businessman today rejects Wahhabism, he still accepts Ibn Taimiyah’s widespread and fully accepted theological system, which is – metaphorically speaking – the tree that produced the fruit of Wahhabism. There is, practically speaking, little difference or no difference at all between the two systems; simply every posterior system that emanates from an anterior is expected to feature and does actually feature some extra points.

The real difference existed in the past, in Islam’s Golden Era, when totally opposite philosophical systems totally prevailed across the highly educated Islamic World. These are the philosophical systems of Ibn Sina, Qurtubi, Ibn Rushd, Ghazali, Mohyieldin Ibn Arabi, Ibn Hazm, to name but a few; to them is due the Islamic Enlightenment, whereas to the gross, villain, uneducated trash of Ibn Taimiyah is due the complete disfigurement of Islam’s quintessence. However, due to the gradual diffusion of Ibn Taimiyah’s theological nonsense and ignominious darkness, and following its prevalence among ignorant and uneducated masses that it created in a vicious circle mechanism, as it attacked Science, Knowledge, Philosophy, Art and Spirituality, gradually all the philosophical systems of the aforementioned Titans of the Islamic Thought disappeared until the end of the 16th c.

Of course, there is one more difference between the political elites of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, etc. and the ISIS extremists; the former, although accepting most of Abdel Wahhab’s theories and all of Ibn Tamiyah’s ideas, differ politically and make the necessary compromises to ensure the survival of their regime. Contrarily, the latter reject the compromise of the former, viewing it as a treason of Islam. Political difference is therefore due to mere survival tactics of elites that are theological quasi-identical to ISIS; these elites believe that by making compromises upon compromises with the West, they can prolong their tenure and the ensuing material benefits. But their existence only spearheads new waves of uncompromising Wahhabists. Certainly, there is also an attitudinal difference (but no behavioral difference) between the followers of a guy like al Bashir of Sudan or Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen and the fighters of ISIS; the former want to pocket more money and store it in their banks, whereas the latter are ready to die. But none of them would accept his wife to be uncovered (without hejab, the Islamic veil) or his daughter to travel alone on motorbike across Europe.

The best corroboration of the aforementioned is the following tragicomical contrast between Egypt’s last and current presidents; Muhammad Morsy is viewed by some as extremist  whereas the incumbent is considered as a moderate and pragmatist person.

Former Egyptian president Muhammad Morsy’s wife wears hejab (Islamic veil that allows the face to be seen).

Current Egyptian president El Sisi’s wife used to wear a niqab (Islamic veil that covers the face entirely leaving only two small holes for the eyes) and only recently “swapped the niqab for a trendy hijab, hushing up claims that she was dyed-in-the-wool” (http://www.albawaba.com/slideshow/sisi-wife-intisar-amer-581626)!!

Prof. Juergensmeyer goes on saying that the reason for which “world leaders are trying to make in saying that ISIS is ‘not Islamic’.” is that ISIS “is certainly not the kind of Islam that most Muslims would accept or profess”. In the light of the aforementioned this appears to be a very unfortunate consideration and an erroneous evaluation of what is going on in the Islamic world.

Reaching the end of the brief yet mistaken article, Prof. Juergensmeyer says that Islam’s name means “peace” which is very wrong (in reality, it means ‘submission to God’ although it originates from the word ‘peace’).

In the article’s last three paragraphs, Prof. Juergensmeyer makes one more futile effort to dissociate ISIS from today’s prevalent Islamic theological systems and to associate it with politics. This is quite pointless and misplaced. In fact, there is no, and there cannot be any, difference between religion and politics in Islam. So, everything that is religious is also political, and vice versa.

Contrarily to the wrong Western assumption that Islam is the only system whereby religion and politics constitute an indivisible entity of faith and action, it is historically proven that all the major religions were systems in which faith and government were perfectly well interwoven. The same occurred particularly in Christianity either Orthodox or Catholic; one may even ponder that in some cases the phenomenon occurred more emphatically in Christianity than in Islam; extensively discussed terms, such as Papocaesarism and Caesaropapism are quite telling in this regard.

So, Prof. Juergensmeyer’s sentence “Besides religion, it is critical to recognize that all the forms of terrorism that we have seen are about politics. Any act of violence in the public sphere is aimed at trying to claim political space – at taking over power to assume control over regions or peoples. This is certainly true in the case of ISIS” is absolutely irrelevant and completely wrong.

The way one family lives is defined by religion; the way one society is organized is specified by religion; the way the art of rule is exercised is decreed by religion. The aforementioned does not only apply to the Islamic world; it does also to Ancient Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Iran, etc. It is also valid in Confucian China, Biblical Israel, and Christian Rome or Constantinople. One can enter into details that can fill volumes: the way one fights in battle is determined by religious orders; the way one sleeps is elucidated by religious advice; the way one eats is clarified by religious guidance; the way one has sex is stipulated by religious prescriptions, and so on.

Piety is one of the religious traits and virtues that must be reflected in a person’s life, either this person is Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Confucian. I fully agree with Prof. Juergensmeyer that “most people directly involved in ISIS are not pious Muslims”; this is right. But does it really matter?

And what about Prof. Juergensmeyer? Will he agree with me saying that “most people directly involved in Assets Management are not pious Christians”?

When we see vulture-funds in Latin America terrorizing nations like Argentina (which involves populations far larger than Iraq or Syria) and endangering the lives and the well-being of dozens of millions of people, do we still need to focus exclusively on a minor terrorist group and forget worse gangsters and terrorists who are far more perilous than the idiotic fighters of ISIS?

And this concludes the case of this type of confusing presentations and futile approaches that leave the Western readership in mysteries; identifying the true reasons of an explosive situation may help greatly solve and diffuse the crisis. But it entails a real inquiry about the original and the altered, the genuine and the transfigured, the authentic and the corrupt. Instead of searching pretexts and excuses, one should seek the truth.

It is not only greatly comical but also highly perilous for the Western leaders to continue on the same track. Why should they bother whether most of today’s Muslims accept or don’t accept the doctrine and the practices of ISIS? The Western leaders themselves constantly disregard the majority of the population back in their countries, and particularly when the majority is ostensibly opposite to calamitous choices that they make (such as the case of the erroneously conceived and catastrophically carried out attack against, and occupation of, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq). Their disregard for the wishes and the opinions of the majority of their countries’ populations is monumental; they cannot be sensitive for other nations when they are insensitive for their own.

The search for the reasons that brought about the present situation cannot be undertaken by Western academia, intellectuals and diplomats without a deep investigation of the developments that took place in their own countries in the first place. Before bothering to know whether ISIS is Islamic or not, they should care to find out whether the so-called Christian nations of the West are really Christian. Drunken of their colonial successes for many centuries, the Western peoples lived with myths and lies that totally disfigured the true dimensions of their own deeds, choices and policies. Modernity is not Christian but Anti-Christian. Globalism is not Divine but Satanic. And the Homosexual Marriages are not the ‘right of the free’ but the evilness of the slaves – of Satan.

Atheist, materialistic, and despiritualized, the Western world turned out to be the Cemetery of the Christian Faith. That’s why the leaders of the Western countries did not give a damn about the persecution, expulsion and extermination of the Aramaean Christians in Mosul. They face now a nominalist and legalist theological system of despiritualized Muslims, who are partly westernized and deeply materialistic, which means filled with extremely contradictory elements able to explode with uncontainable consequences.

The fallacy, inhumanity and monstrosity of either systems is such that one could simply consider them as the two faces of same coin. So corrupt and eroded this coin is that nothing can save it; it will soon be thrown in the Hell that it deserves. And its two faces, in full discord to one another, are triggering now by themselves the downgrading spiral that will bring their end. To survive one has to dissociate him/herself from the onerous coin as much as possible, as soon as possible, and as irreversibly as possible.

 

 

 

 

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Islam, Makuria, Sudan, Ethiopia and Abyssinia, Map Forgery & Historical Falsification at Berkeley

By Prof. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

map_daralislam2

“Dar al-Islam (the Muslim World) in the 13th century” / From: “The Travels of Ibn Battuta. A Virtual Tour with the 14th Century Traveler” uploaded in the portal of Berkeley University (http://ibnbattuta.berkeley.edu/)

 

Sultanate of DelhiIndia

The Sultanate of Delhi during the 13th c., prior to the rise of Khilji dynasty (under the Mamluk dynasty), controlled a much smaller territory leaving not only the entire Gujarat but also large parts of Rajastan out of its control.

AlAndaluz1212AlAndaluz1265

13th c. Islamic territory in the Iberian Peninsula (above) & 14th c. Islamic Emirate of Granada in their real historical dimensions

Mamluks1279

The correct borders of the Mamluk state of Egypt in the Red Sea

Involving many universities, publishing houses, mass media, encyclopedias (and notably the Wikipedia), diplomatic services, and international NGOs, a vast project of systematic map forgery of global dimensions can be attested in an almost infinite number of cases either on hard copies or online. The existing trends that can be assessed after a meticulous observation of many thousands of maps lead us to the conclusion that the undertaken forgery only reflects and strengthens the historical falsification that we can notice in the texts of articles, scholarly articles, encyclopedia entries, and books. In other words, the historical falsification that has been systematically carried out at global scale by the Freemasonic / Zionist academics and their assistants covers also an incredibly high number of maps that are available for general and specialized readership.

 

To analyze the character, the nature and the targets of the entire falsification process it would take volumes; however, one can briefly identify the targets as fully reflecting the essence of the historical, philosophical, religious, ideological and political falsehood that the Freemasonic / Zionist academics want to diffuse. In this case, we have to primarily deal with a vicious discrimination that takes first the unsuspicious form of a mere differentiation; some nations, peoples, countries, states, persons, concepts, and issues are favored, whereas others are disfavored.

As per the needs of the above differentiation, the historical truth is magnified, embellished, and better highlighted for those favored, whereas it is undermined, tarnished and concealed for those disfavored. The methods involved are numerous and much diversified. The size of an article is merely an example. When you publish a 3000 words entry in an encyclopedia to present the history of a less important nation, and you allot only 1500 words for the entry which is dedicated to the history of another, definitely more important nation, certainly your intentions are evil, your publications are biased, and your falsification targets are to elevate what you favor and to lower what you disfavor – particularly if the history of the more important nation happens in addition to be better documented with more historical sources, larger textual and epigraphic evidence, and a longer record of diverse archaeological findings.

 

Except the size of an entry, many other parameters matter as well, when it comes to a systematic falsification effort. The overall presentation, the presence or the absence of maps, pictures and diagrams, etc., everything in fact adds points to the said effort. The contents of the text, and of the maps, are certainly the most essential parts of the falsification effort, but undoubtedly not the only.

 

When it comes to the contents of the maps, a country can be shown bigger or smaller, the borderlines can be shifted to one or the other side, the details included can be many or few; furthermore, the background color (which defines the territoriality) can be extended beyond the level of historical reality or withdrawn to some lesser (and false) degree.

 

If the map contents concern a moment of the past, for the cartographic forgers the distortion needed to achieve the falsification target is certainly an easier job than in the case the map contents relate to a current situation. No one will accept in 2014 the veracity and the trustworthiness of a European political map that depicts Crimea with the same color as that of Ukraine, because it is known to all that Crimea does not belong anymore to Ukraine, having effectively seceded earlier this year.

 

But what happens in the case of a historical map dating back to the Islamic Ages, the Christian times or the periods of the Oriental Antiquity? In these cases, the map forgery process becomes easier. Similarly with common lies, map forgery combines elements of historical truth along with points of distortion; there cannot be a ‘full lie’, because no one will believe it. And there cannot be a total map forgery, because people will immediately identify the map as purely fictional, fake, and therefore worthless.

 

The extensive map forgery project reveals the existence of a detailed plan shared by many, and this takes us to the level of an advanced conspiracy. Those who deny the existence of conspiracies are contradicted and rejected by History itself, because in the last 5000 years of History we have come across thousands of cases of conspiracy undertaken by two or more people, countries or organizations against their specific targets.

 

Actually, if we accept for a moment the incredible falsehood that there has never been any conspiracy in the World History, we will have to interpret all the cases of map forgery and historical falsification as the result of mere human errors. This is not however possible, because there is plenty of evidence that many authors and researchers did not share the false view or idea (that takes the form of a specific map forgery or historical falsification) and that they presented a different viewpoint.

 

If, contrarily, these points that we consider as forgery were generally accepted as truthful and correct by all authors and researchers, and one specialist demonstrated that these points were actually wrong and mistaken, we could accept that, before the refutation and the rectification of the mistaken points, all scholars had committed an error.

 

We could even accept, in the case of some authors presenting the historical truth and others developing a different version, that the latter committed merely a mistake; but in this case, there should not be a specific trend (in favor of one land, country, state, nation, national history or person) that is repeated across many different maps, articles and books.

 

In this regard, a mere comparison helps us reveal the truth, i.e. identify whether a case of map forgery really took place. If the mistake is generally repeated by all, we can conclude that it is a real error. If the mistake occurs here and there, but there are more specialized publications that present a different, historically correct, view and do not accept the mistake, we have certainly to do with a case of deliberate forgery and not with a mistake; particularly if the specific target is the same as in many other cases of forgery, which means that the specific target was the common denominator in all these cases of forgery.

 

It is essential to point out at this moment that map forgery does not only occur in a specialized per subject map, but can be noticed in subject-unrelated maps and articles, which means that we are indeed in front of a vastly implemented project of forgery of disproportionate size.

 

One of the modern countries that has been methodically supported by the vast map forgery project and the overall historical falsification program is Abyssinia (which only recently was also fallaciously re-baptized as ‘Ethiopia’ despite the fact that, as per the Ancient Greek and Roman sources whereby this name was first used, ‘Ethiopia’ is the state, the land and the Kushitic nation immediately south of Egypt, so today’s North Sudan).

 

As per the needs of the historical falsification, Ethiopia is presented confusingly and mistakenly as identical with Abyssinia (whereas it is not) and also as larger of dimension. Many different maps in diverse websites and books portray Abyssinia falsely and in size greater than its real as per the historical period concerned in order to boost its image.

 

Example of map forgery in the portal of Berkeley University, US

 

In the present article, I will focus only one map and demonstrate its forged nature. It is very shameful that the map was published in the portal of an American university, but given the biased position of the US government in so many issues, taken into account the existence of various lobbies and their corrupt practices, and bearing in mind the utilization of the US universities by the US establishment and the powers that be, one can understand why this forgery was attempted at the detriment of all readers.

 

The forgery example is therefore taken from a presentation which, under the title “The Travels of Ibn Battuta. A Virtual Tour with the 14th Century Traveler”, is featured in the portal of Berkeley University (http://ibnbattuta.berkeley.edu/). In the section Introduction (see link) there is a map that supposedly helps the student grasp the size of the Islamic world within the limits of the then known world and the most important empires and kingdoms of the 1st half of the 14th c. Under the map, at the bottom of the page, the legend reads: “Dar al-Islam (the Muslim World) in the 13th century”. This must be a typographical error (because Ibn Battuta traveled in the 14th c.) or then the map is misplaced.

 

However, as the Sultanate of Delhi is depicted as having the dimensions it had under the Sultan Ala al din Khilji (1296 – 1316), I rather believe that the wrong legend is due to a typo. Actually, the Sultanate of Delhi during the 13th c., prior to the rise of Khilji dynasty (under the Mamluk dynasty), controlled a much smaller territory leaving not only the entire Gujarat but also large parts of Rajastan out of its control.

 

Another indication about the correct period for this map is given by the borderlines of the Islamic Emirate of Granada (Nasrid Kingdom) in Andalusia. In the map, the Nasrid state is portrayed within the borders it had during the 14th c., whereas in the 13th c. the Almohad territory was quite larger.

 

Last, since the map mentions the Mamluk Kingdom of Egypt, which was incepted only in 1250, so in the very middle of the 13th c., we cannot afford to take it as reflecting the historical realities of the 13th c. (it does not cover its first half) but rather the very end of the 13th c. and the 14th c. Islamic world; so this also confirms that the wrong legend is the result of a typo.

 

However, these are not the mistakes I wanted to discuss; nor do I want to mention the numerous general mistakes of this fabrication that is however included in the portal of Berkeley University. In fact, there are no borderlines for either the Islamic states or the other realms; this leaves the students with a very poor understanding of the era concerned.

 

Map forgery to portray part of 14th c. East African coast as out of Islamic control

 

The grave mistake, which was deliberately made in order to give a disproportionate size of, and impression about, Ethiopia, concerns the Eastern African coast. The historical truth is that the entire African coast of the Red Sea and, beyond Bab al Mandeb straits, the Eastern African coast down to today’s Mozambique was part of the Islamic world.

 

However, in the map, the southern borders of the Mamluk state in Egypt are wrongly placed far more in the north than their actual, historical extent. Part of the Red Sea coast of Africa that corresponds to part of the coast of Modern Egypt, the entire coast of Sudan, the northern part of Eritrea’s coast is shown as out of the Islamic World, which is totally wrong. Beyond that point, from Eritrea’s southern coastal confines to Mozambique the African coast is included within the borders of the Islamic world, which is correct.

 

As per the wrong borderlines of the map, the southernmost area that the Mamluk state controlled in Egypt’s Red Sea coast was Berenice and the cap Ras Banas; this is a tremendous historical mistake, because the Mamluk control extended farther in the South.

 

The Red Sea coast of Africa that is shown as out of the Islamic world has a size that comprises the following three major cities-harbors, namely Aydhab, Suakin and Massawa. These cities are mistakenly depicted as lying out of the Islamic control.

 

Aydhab is today a desolate place in the so-called triangle of Halaib; this means that it is located within today’s Egyptian territory and in its south-easternmost extremity, which is considered by Sudan as de jure Sudanese territory.

 

Suakin is today a thriving harbor in Sudan’s Red Sea coast southwestwards of Jeddah, which – on the opposite seaside – was the traditional Arabian coast harbor where all Muslims disembarked when traveling to perform Hajj in Mecca and Medina.

 

Massawa is the main harbor or Eritrea, located in its northern coast, around 110 km from Asmara, the Eritrean capital in the inland.

 

What happened to Aydhab, Suakin, and Massawa in the late 13th and during the 1st half of the 14th century, when Ibn Battuta lived, traveled, and even crossed these territories? To what state did these cities belong? This is what we will examine now.

 

Aydhab

 

Aydhab belonged to a small Christian Kingdom of the indigenous nation of the Blemmyes (today’s Beja) after the Eastern Roman control of Egypt was terminated in 642 CE with the arrival of the Islamic armies, and until this southern extremity of Egypt was recaptured by the Fatimid authorities that ruled from Cairo in the end of the 10th c. CE. The local Beja royal family managed to survive as vassal for several hundreds of years, but it did not have a substantive power beyond the administration of the local affairs. They were able only to create some problems to the Islamic authorities in Cairo from time to time.

 

Following the Islamic occupation of Alexandria and the Northern African coast (642 – 651), the south of Egypt escaped the early Islamic Caliphate’s control and belonged to a Christian Nubian kingdom named Nobatia, which was closely linked with the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria. Nobatia’s capital was at Faras, not far Abu Simbel, which is today Egypt’s southernmost city on the Nile. However, some time in the 8th – 9th c., in order to face the mounting Islamic pressure from the North, Nobatia was forced to merge (despite Christological differences) with its southern neighbor Makuria, the main Christian Kushitic state in the land that was called Ethiopia by the Greeks and the Romans and Sudan by Arabic speaking people. It goes without saying that this land and this Kushitic nation have nothing to do with the Semitic, non-African, Amhara and Tigray Abyssinians who only recently usurped the name of Ethiopia which does not belong to their Semitic past, as it is diametrically opposed to their Yemenite ethnic origin. Aswan became part of the Islamic world in the early 10th c.

 

As the Fatimid rulers ensured full control over today’s Egypt’s territory and secured the transportation in the southernmost confines of their territory, it was very common for caravans to cross diagonally the Eastern Desert from Edfu or Aswan to Aydhab (the pattern existed in pre-Islamic times when caravans used to cross from Qena or Qift to Berenice) and then sail to Arabia, Yemen, and other destinations.

 

During the Crusades, Aydhab was attacked and destroyed (1182) but there was no Crusaders’ settlement in the area. King Dawud of Makuria attacked Aydhab in 1270, but this was only one of the last spasms of the Christian Ethiopian state of Makuria; the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt counterattacked and Makuria became a vassal state thus starting its downgrading spiral that led to its extinction within a century.

 

Aydhab was crossed by Ibn Battuta himself; this is what he wrote about it:

 

“Thence my way lay through a number of towns and villages to Munyat Ibn Khasib [Minia], a large town which is built on the bank of the Nile, and most emphatically excels all the other towns of Upper Egypt. I went on through Manfalut, Asyut, Ikhmim, where there is a berba with sculptures and inscriptions which no one can now read-another of these berbas there was pulled down and its stones used to build a madrasa–Qina, Qus, where the governor of Upper Egypt resides, Luxor, a pretty little town containing the tomb of the pious ascetic Abu’l-Hajjaj, Esna, and thence a day and a night’s journey through desert country to Edfu.

 

Camels, Hyenas, and Bejas

 

Here we crossed the Nile and, hiring camels, journeyed with a party of Arabs through a desert, totally devoid of settlements but quite safe for travelling. One of our halts was at Humaythira, a place infested with hyenas. All night long we kept driving them away, and indeed one got at my baggage, tore open one of the sacks, pulled out a bag of dates, and made off with it. We found the bag next morning, torn to pieces and with most of the contents eaten. After fifteen days’ travelling we reached the town of Aydhab, a large town, well supplied with milk and fish; dates and grain are imported from Upper Egypt. Its inhabitants are Bejas. These people are black-skinned; they wrap themselves in yellow blankets and tie headbands about a fingerbreadth wide round their heads. They do not give their daughters any share in their inheritance. They live on camels milk and they ride on Meharis [dromedaries].

 

One-third of the city belongs to the Sultan of Egypt and two-thirds to the King of the Bejas, who is called al-Hudrubi. On reaching Aydhab we found that al-Hudrubi was engaged in warfare with the Turks [i.e. the troops of the Sultan of Egypt], that he had sunk the ships and that the Turks had fled before him. It was impossible for us to attempt the sea-crossing [across the Red Sea], so we sold the provisions that we had made ready for it, and returned to Qus with the Arabs from whom we had hired the camels”.

 

At a later date, Ibn Battuta sailed from Jeddah to Aydhab; this is what he mentions about it:

 

“After the [AD 1332] pilgrimage I went to Judda [Jedda], intending to take ship to Yemen and India, but that plan fell through and I could get no one to join me. I stayed at Judda about forty days. There was a ship there going to Qusayr [Kosair], and I went on board to see what state it was in, but I was not satisfied. This was an act of providence, for the ship sailed and foundered in the open sea, and very few escaped.

 

Afterwards I took ship for Aydhab, but we were driven to a roadsted called Ra’s Dawa’ir [on the Egyptian coast of the Red Sea], from which we made our way [overland] with some Bejas through the desert to Aydhab. Thence we travelled to Edfu [on the Nile] and down the Nile to Cairo, where I stayed for a few days, then set out for Syria and passed for the second time through Gaza, Hebron, Jerusalem, Ramlah Acre, Tripoli, and Jabala to Ladhiqiya”.

 

Suakin

 

In the Antiquity, Suakin was known as Ptolemais Theron (Ptolemais of the Hunters), and it was a Ptolemaic and Roman colony that remained out of the control of the great inland state of Ethiopia (which is Sudan) that had its capital at Meroe (today’s Bagrawiyah), not far from the point where Atbarah river (Astavaras in Ancient Greek texts) joins the United Nile river.

 

Meroe was far greater, wealthier, and more important than Axum, the capital of Abyssinia that stretched further on the south in the mountainous area of today’s Northern Eritrea and the confines of Northern Abyssinia (today’s Fake Ethiopia). Whereas Axum, capital of Abyssinia, controlled the harbor city of Adulis (nearby today’s Massawa) and the surrounding coastland, Meroe did not control any portion the Red Sea coast of today’s Sudan. Meroe was far larger and stronger a state, but its trade with Egypt (and later the Roman Empire) and across Sahara turned it to a formidable continental power.

 

After the Abyssinian Axumite attack and destruction of Meroe (370 CE), and following a 50-year period of migrations and confusion, most of Meroitic Ethiopia’s territory became the center of the Christian Ethiopian state of Makuria with capital at Dunqula Agouza, around 580 km south of today’s Egyptian/Sudanese borderline. After Nobatia (further in the North) and Makuria, a third Christian state was incepted in the area of today’s Khartoum. Makuria was stronger than the other two states and controlled today’s Sudanese coastline, but in Sudan (i.e. the true Ethiopia) Christianity was spread from the North, not from the Southeast (Axumite Abyssinia). In reality, there were never good relations between the three Kushitic Christian kingdoms of Ethiopia and the Semitic kingdom of Abyssinia.

 

With the early expansion of Islam, the Red Sea coast escaped from the control of both, Makuria (Ethiopia) and Abyssinia, becoming part of Islamic Caliphate’s territory. As Makuria was a Sahara-centered kingdom (like Meroitic Ethiopia), the kings of Dunqulah managed to survive, prosper and expand across Sahara for many long centuries; quite contrarily, as Axumite Abyssinia was a Red Sea / Yemen-centered kingdom, it disintegrated immediately and disappeared quickly, leaving no posterior traces other ruins.

 

The indigenous nation of Blemmyes (Beja), who live west of the Nile in the times of the Egyptian Antiquity and whose pre-Islamic past is known for several millennia thanks to Egyptian Hieroglyphic, Greek, Latin and Coptic texts, may have enjoyed a limited independence around Suakin as a vassal state for several centuries after the early expansion of Islam. There was however no chance for a united Beja kingdom; this nation appears to have been divided across tribal lines until they were progressively Islamized.

 

In Islamic historiography, Suakin is first mentioned by al Hamdani. The Mamluk pressure started being felt as early as 1264, when Islamic armies from Upper Egypt took control of Suakin, although Makuria still existed in the inland. The rise of Mamluk influence in the Makurian affairs, the Islamization of part of the Makurian nobility, and the internal Beja royal rivalry between Aydhab and Suakin are the three reasons of the consolidation of Islamic control over Suakin.

 

After 1317, Suakin was permanently under Islamic control and, few decades later, Makuria totally collapsed in the inland, leaving Alodia as the only Christian Ethiopian (Sudanese) state which survived until as late as 1600. The loyalty of the Suakin Beja ruler to the Mamluk ruler at Cairo was expressed after 1317 with the dispatch of no less than 80 slaves, 300 camels, and 30 tusks of ivory annually! Progressively the Beja became Muslims.

 

Al Dimashqi, who slightly antedates Ibn Battuta, mentioned the existence of a local king. Ibn Battuta referred to Suakin where he however never set foot, specifying that the local Sultan was the son of the Sharif of Mecca, and that he had inherited this position from his maternal uncles, who were Beja, which in itself testifies to an advanced level of Beja Islamization.

 

Massawa

 

The Eritrean Red Sea coast came under the Islamic Caliphate’s control as early as the middle of the 7th c. The first Islamic naval attack against the Abyssinian harbor of Adulis took place already in 640 – even before the siege of Alexandria – under the admiral of the Red Sea fleet Alkama ibn Mujazziz. After several battles and counterattacks, Adulis was finally occupied and destroyed never to recover again. Subsequently, Axum, the Abyssinian capital, was cut off from the Red Sea trade routes and deprived from its main resources; it was therefore only normal that its end came soon afterwards because the small country did not control any part of the African hinterland, having always been a Red Sea / Yemen-centered state.

 

The fact that the three Christian Kingdoms of Ethiopia, notably Nobatia, Makuria and Alodia in today’s Sudanese territory, had always isolated and quarantined Axumite Abyssinia played a determinant role in the final elimination of Axum.

 

As Beja progressively expanded, several small local kingdoms were formed across the former Abyssinian coastland (i.e. the northern coast of today’s Eritrea), and mixed marriages with Muslims (mainly Yemenite merchants and navigators) consolidated their limited basis as vassals of the Caliph.

 

Massawa rose gradually to prominence in the Dahlak archipelago region (around 50 km north of the ancient Abyssinian harbor of Adulis), but was always subordinated to the Islamic Caliphate as regards governmental issues, and heavily dependent on northern Beja tribes and royal lines. This tribal royal tradition continued down to the Ottoman times, when Massawa was a Turkish stronghold in the South. Then, the ‘viceroy’ of Massawa had to report to the Ottoman governor of Suakin. All the small sultanates that were formed on northern Eritrean territory were peacefully kept as vassal dependencies of the Caliphate for many centuries until they were annexed to the Ottoman Caliphate.

 

Conclusion

 

Following the above points, we can safely claim that

 

– the map included in the presentation “The Travels of Ibn Battuta. A Virtual Tour with the 14th Century Traveler” featured in the portal of Berkeley University is historically wrong and greatly misplaced.

 

– it should have included all the African Red Sea coast into the Dar al Islam territory that is the only demarcated in this map.

 

– the name ‘Ethiopia’ is wrongly placed nearby the Red Sea coast and should therefore be removed to the left (further in the Sudanese inland) and there replaced by ‘Makuria’ and ‘Alodia’ with the extra definition ‘Christian kingdoms of Ethiopia’. There is enough space for this information to be properly added on the map.

 

– to the south of Alodia, ‘Abyssinia’ should also be noted because the small and barbaric Amhara state had already been formed in 1270 (under the fake ‘Solomonic’ dynasty with the exorbitant claims and the historical falsification as foundation of its misplaced, pseudo-Christian pretensions).

 

– finally, alongside the Somali coast, the precision ‘Somali Sultanates’ should be added.

My very best wishes for a Happy Eid al Adha!

My very best wishes for a Happy Eid al Adha!
عيد سعيد!THE TRAVELS OF IBN BATTUTA 1 2 3 4 5
Bayramınız kutlu olsun!
عید مبارک!

May the people of beleaguered Damascus live next Eid in full peace, concord, and prosperity, without the diverse enemies of their country being able to harm them in any sense!

 
Muhammad Shamsaddin
– Enjoy the Islamic music in audio file!
– Hope you love Ibn Batuuta’s reading which reveals how evil were considered in his time the heretic teachings of Ibn Taimiyah who so much disaster brought to Islam!

===============================

Medieval Sourcebook:
Ibn Battuta: Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1354-ibnbattuta.asp

Ibn Battuta arrives at Damascus pp. 65-73

I entered Damascus on Thursday 9th Ramadan 726 [9th August, 1326], and lodged at the Malikite college called ash-Sharabishiya. Damascus surpasses all other cities in beauty, and no description, however full, can do justice to its charms.

The Ummayad Mosque

The Cathedral Mosque, known as the Umayyad Mosque, is the most magnificent mosque in the world, the finest in construction and noblest in beauty, grace and perfection; it is matchless and unequalled. The person who undertook its construction was the Caliph Walid I [AD 705-715]. He applied to the Roman Emperor at Constantinople, ordering him to send craftsmen to him, and the Emperor sent him twelve thousand of them. The site of the mosque was a church, and when the Muslims captured Damascus, one of their commanders entered from one side by the sword and reached as far as the middle of the church, while the other entered peaceably from the eastern side and reached the middle also. So the Muslims made the half of the church which they had entered by force into a mosque and the half which they had entered by peaceful agreement remained as a church. When Walid decided to extend the mosque over the entire church he asked the Greeks to sell him their church for whatsoever equivalent they desired, but they refused, so he seized it. The Christians used to say that whoever destroyed the church would be stricken with madness and they told that to Walid. But he replied “I shall be the first to be stricken by madness in the service of God,” and seizing an axe, he set to work to knock it down with his own hands. The Muslims on seeing that followed his example, and God proved false the assertion of the Christians.

This mosque has four doors. The southern door, called the “Door of Increase,” is approached by a spacious passage where the dealers in second-hand goods and other commodities have their shops. Through it lies the way to the [former] Cavalry House, and on the left as one emerges from it is the coppersmiths’ gallery, a large bazaar, one of the finest in Damascus, extending along the south wall of the mosque. This bazaar occupies the site of the palace of the Caliph Mu’awiya I, which was called al Khadri [The Green Palace]; the Abbasids pulled it down and a bazaar took its place.

The eastern door, called the Jayrun door, is the largest of the doors of the mosque. It also has a large passage, leading out to a large and extensive colonnade which is entered through a quintuple gateway between six tall columns. Along both sides of this passage are pillars, supporting circular galleries, where the cloth merchants amongst others have their shops; above these again are long galleries in which are the shops of the jewellers and booksellers and makers of admirable glass-ware. In the square adjoining the first door are the stalls of the principal notaries, in each of which there may be five or six witnesses in attendance and a person authorized by the qadi to perform marriage-ceremonies. The other notaries are scattered throughout the city. Near these stalls is the bazaar of the stationers who sell paper, pens, and ink. In the middle of the passage there is a large round marble basin, surrounded by a pavilion supported on marble columns but lacking a roof. In the centre of the basin is a copper pipe which forces out water under pressure so that it rises into the air more than a man’s height. They call it “The Waterspout” and it is a fine sight. To the right as one comes out of the Jayrun door, which is called also the “Door of the Hours,” is an upper gallery shaped like a large arch, within which there are small open arches furnished with doors, to the number of the hours of the day. These doors are painted green on the inside and yellow on the outside, and as each hour of the day passes the green inner side of the door is turned to the outside, and vice versa. They say that inside the gallery there is a person in the room who is responsible for turning them by hand as the hours pass.

The western door is called the “Door of the Post”; the passage outside it contains the shops of the candlemakers and a gallery for the sale of fruit.

The northern door is called the “Door of the Confectioners “; it too has a large passageway, and on the right as one leaves it is a khanqah, which has a large basin of water in the centre and lavatories supplied with running water. At each of the four doors of the mosque is a building for ritual ablutions, containing about a hundred rooms abundantly supplied with running water.

A controversial theologian

One of the principal Hanbalite doctors at Damascus was Taqi ad-Din Ibn Taymiya, a man of great ability and wide learning, but with some kink in his brain. The people of Damascus idolized him. He used to preach to them from the pulpit, and one day he made some statement that the other theologians disapproved; they carried the case to the sultan and in consequence Ibn Taymiya was imprisoned for some years. While he was in prison he wrote a commentary on the Koran, which he called ” The Ocean,” in about forty volumes. Later on his mother presented herself before the sultan and interceded for him, so he was set at liberty, until he did the same thing again. I was in Damascus at the time and attended the service which he was conducting one Friday, as he was addressing and admonishing the people from the pulpit. In the midst of his discourse he said “Verily God descends to the sky over our world [from Heaven] in the same bodily fashion that I make this descent,” and stepped down one step of the pulpit. A Malikite doctor present contradicted him and objected to his statement, but the common people rose up against this doctor and beat him with their hands and their shoes so severely that his turban fell off and disclosed a silken skull-cap on his head. Inveighing against him for wearing this, they haled him before the qadi of the Hanbalites, who ordered him to be imprisoned and afterwards had him beaten. The other doctors objected to this treatment and carried the matter before the principal amir, who wrote to the sultan about the matter and at the same time drew up a legal attestation against Ibn Taymiya for various heretical pronouncements. This deed was sent on to the sultan, who gave orders that Ibn Taymiya should be imprisoned in the citadel, and there he remained until his death.

The Plague of 1348

One of the celebrated sanctuaries at Damascus is the Mosque of the Footprints (al-Aqdam), which lies two miles south of the city, alongside the main highway which leads to the Hijaz, Jerusalem, and Egypt. It is a large mosque, very blessed, richly endowed, and very highly venerated by the Damascenes. The footprints from which it derives its name are certain footprints impressed upon a rock there, which are said to be the mark of Moses’ foot. In this mosque there is a small chamber containing a stone with the following inscription “A certain pious man saw in his sleep the Chosen One [Muhammad], who said to him ‘Here is the grave of my brother Moses.'”

I saw a remarkable instance of the veneration in which the Damascenes hold this mosque during the great pestilence on my return journey through Damascus, in the latter part of July 1348. The viceroy Arghun Shah ordered a crier to proclaim through Damascus that all the people should fast for three days and that no one should cook anything eatable in the market during the daytime. For most of the people there eat no food but what has been prepared in the market. So the people fasted for three successive days, the last of which was a Thursday, then they assembled in the Great Mosque, amirs, sharifs, qadis, theologians, and all the other classes of the people, until the place was filled to overflowing, and there they spent the Thursday night in prayers and litanies. After the dawn prayer next morning they all went out together on foot, holding Korans in their hands, and the amirs barefooted. The procession was joined by the entire population of the town, men and women, small and large; the Jews came with their Book of the Law and the Christians with their Gospel, all of them with their women and children. The whole concourse, weeping and supplicating and seeking the favour of God through His Books and His Prophets, made their way to the Mosque of the Footprints, and there they remained in supplication and invocation until near midday. They then returned to the city and held the Friday service, and God lightened their affliction; for the number of deaths in a single day at Damascus did not attain two thousand, while in Cairo and Old Cairo it reached the figure of twenty-four thousand a day.

The good and pious works of the Damascenes

The variety and expenditure of the religious endowments at Damascus are beyond computation. There are endowments in aid of persons who cannot undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca, out of which are paid the expenses of those who go in their stead. There are other endowments for supplying wedding outfits to girls whose families are unable to provide them, andothers for the freeing of prisoners. There are endowments for travellers, out of the revenues of which they are given food, clothing, and the expenses of conveyance to their countries. Then there are endowments for the improvement and paving of the streets, because all the lanes in Damascus have pavements on either side, on which the foot passengers walk, while those who ride use the roadway in the centre.

The story of a slave who broke a valuable dish

Besides these there are endowments for other charitable purposes. One day as I went along a lane in Damascus I saw a small slave who had dropped a Chinese porcelain dish, which was broken to bits. A number of people collected round him and one of them said to him, “Gather up the pieces and take them to the custodian of the endowments for utensils.” He did so, and the man went with him to the custodian, where the slave showed the broken pieces and received a sum sufficient to buy a similar dish. This is an excellent institution, for the master of the slave would undoubtedlv have beaten him, or at least scolded him, for breaking the dish, and the slave would have been heartbroken and upset at the accident. This benefaction is indeed a mender of hearts–may God richly reward him whose zeal for good works rose to such heights!

The hospitality and friendship received by Ibn Battuta

The people of Damascus vie with one another in building mosques, religious houses, colleges and mausoleums. They have a high opinion of the North Africans, and freely entrust them with the care of their moneys, wives, and children. All strangers amongst them [i.e., among North Africans like Ibn Battuta] are handsomely treated and care is taken that they are not forced to any action that might injure their self-respect.

When I came to Damascus a firm friendship sprang up between the Malikite professor Nur ad-Din Sakhawi and me, and he besought me to breakfast at his house during the nights of Ramadan. After I had visited him for four nights I had a stroke of fever and absented myself. He sent in search of me, and although I pleaded my illness in excuse he refused to accept it. I went back to his house and spent the night there, and when I desired to take my leave the next morning he would not hear of it, but said to me “Consider my house as your own or as your father’s or brother’s.” He then had a doctor sent for, and gave orders that all the medicines and dishes that the doctor prescribed were to be made for me in his house. I stayed thus with him until the Fast-breaking when I went to the festival prayers and God healed me of what had befallen me. Meanwhile, all the money I had for my expenses was exhausted. Nur ad-Din, learning this, hired camels for me and gave me travelling and other provisions, and money in addition, saying “It will come in for any serious matter that may land you in difficulties”–may God reward him !

Funeral customs

The Damascenes observe an admirable order in funeral processions. They walk in front of the bier while reciters intone the Koran in beautiful and affecting voices, and pray over it in the Cathedral mosque. When the reading is completed the muezzins rise and say “Reflect on your prayer for so-and-so, the pious and learned,” describing him with good epithets, and having prayed over him they take him to his grave.

Ibn Battuta leaves Damascus with the annual pilgrim caravan

When the new moon of the month Shawwal appeared in the same year [1st September 1326], the Hijaz caravan left Damascus and I set off along with it. At Bosra the caravans usually halt for four days so that any who have been detained at Damascus by business affairs may make up on them. Thence they go to the Pool of Ziza, where they stop for a day, and then through al-Lajjun to the Castle of Karak. Karak, which is also called “The Castle of the Raven,” is one of the most marvellous, impregnable, and celebrated of fortresses. It is surrounded on all sides by the river-bed, and has but one gate, the entrance to which is hewn in the living rock, as also is the approach to its vestibule. This fortress is used by kings as a place of refuge in times of calamity, as the sultan an-Nasir did when his mamluke Salar seized the supreme authority. The caravan stopped for four days at a place called ath-Thaniya outside Karak, where preparations were made for entering the desert.

Thence we Journeyed to Ma’an, which is the last town in Syria, and from ‘Aqabat as-Sawan entered the desert, of which the saying goes: ” He who enters it is lost, and he who leaves it is born.”

Crossing the desert from Syria to Medina