History

Various writings on historical topics

al-Hakim: Religious Policies

Al-Hakim's religious policy was as erratic as his other policies. He would issue a decree, then after a while, he would annul it for no apparent reason. His policies were catastrophic for Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike, and his actions caused a change in world history as you will see below.

Forbidding Sunnis from Pre-Noon and Taraweeh Prayers, and other things

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al-Hakim: Threatening death for trivial things

Al-Hakim also was used to threaten death for seemingly trivial things.

For example, he said that death is the punishment for anyone who addressed any other person as Sayedna or Mawlana:

معاشر من يسمع هذا النداء من الناس أجمعين إن الله وله الكبرياء والعظمة أوجب اختصاص الأئمة بما لا يشركها فيه أحد من الأمة‏.‏
فمن أقدم بعد قراءة هذا المنشور على مخاطبة او مكاتبة لغير الحضرة المقدسة بسيدنا أو مولانا فقد أخل أمير المؤمنين دمه
فليبلغ الشاهد الغائب إن شاء الله‏.‏

Those who ate fish without scales, or possessed raisins were threatened with execution:

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Maltese poem: Mejju gie, May has arrived - a translation by an Arabic speaker

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In a previous article, I attempted a translation of the oldest know literary work in Maltese, Il-Cantilena, without looking up any translations, and relying only on my knowledge of Arabic as a native speaker of both classical and a North African dialect (Egyptian). I was largely successful.

Seventh Century Quranic Manuscript at Birmingham's Mingana Collection

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My friend Ralph Janke who is from Germany and lives here in Waterloo, pointed me to a very interesting project that he worked on.

The project is funded by the European Union, and therefore uses open source and open data formats.

Alphonse Mingana: Assyrian Orientalist

Il-Cantilena of Malta: How much can a modern day Arab decipher from the oldest Maltese literature?

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Also known as Il-Kantilena ...

In a previous article on Arab heritage in Malta, I touched upon how the Maltese language (Ilsan Malti) is definitely derived from Arabic, and more specifically, from the North African dialect of Arabic.

A visitor to the site raised a nice challenge which was very interesting to me: He started on the off note and having his comment titled "Maltest are not arab", and by saying:

Gideon Rachman: The wrong lessons from Munich

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An oft-repeated cliche is how Neville Chamberlain appeased Adolf Hitler in 1938 in the Munich conference. By doing so, Chamberlain caused Czecksolvakia to be swallowed by the Nazis, and World War II ensued.

Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times writes about how this repeated mantra in today's politics is the wrong lesson learned, and details several cases from recent history of how this is indeed not the case, and that it can cause more harm to "be tough".

 

PBS Documentary: Cities of Light: Islamic Spain documentary

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A new PBS documentary about Muslim Spain aired on August 22, 2007. The PBS web site does not have much info on the topic.

Islamic Spain was the closest thing to what is today a multicultural society. Jews, Christians and Muslims lived together, and excellent achievements were made in the fields of culture, art, poetry, astronomy, medicine, agriculture, commerce, and much more. This period is known in modern Spanish as La Convivencia (the co-existence).

Jewish ancestry as a slander: Che Guevara as a recent example

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Over the years, I have seen many people getting "accused" of having Jewish ancestry by their political adversaries. This tactic is used to discredit the person, throw doubts on their loyalty, and attribute undefined ulterior motives for their often controvertial actions.

These rumors are appealing to the masses because it offers a simple (wrong) answer to complex questions (actions of leaders).

People that I have seen in the Arab region and the Middle East accused of this include:

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