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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ
1/Did early Muslim community conceive of itself as an epistemic community (or ecclesia)? Earliest instances of Muslim religious identity? Relying on literary & material sources from theology, & poetry, to inscriptions & numismatics, thread will explore question in brief
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
2/The seal of prophecy doctrine served as unifying thread for consolidation of Muslim theological identity in first century after Prophet Muhammad's death in 632 AD. Frequently found on Muslim tombstone is lament formula describing loss of Muhammad as, "greatest calamity"
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
3/Phrase "greatest calamity," اعظم مصايب can be found here (first time?) in the famous inscription of ʿAbāssa daughter of Jurayj who died in 691 AD. Arabic reads: ان اعظم مصايب اهل الاسلام مصيبتهم با لنبي محمد, that is, "greatest calamity of the Muslims" [lit."people of Islam"]
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
4/In early 600s AD old appellations of God in Arabia - such as al-Raḥmān/al-Raḥmānān (God as described by Jews of South Arabia) - were eclipsed by Rabb Muḥammad (Lord of Muḥammad), which appears in early Islamic poetry: نصر الحجارة من سفاهة رايه و نصرت رب محمد بصوابي
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
5/Claimants to prophethood were not few in number. Musaylima the Liar could still garner supporters in Kufa who bought into his claims of prophethood - as late as reign of third caliph ʿUthman (d. 656 AD). In fact, followers of Musaylima had their own mosque in Kufa.
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
6/It is also probably true that there were efforts to describe Abū Bakr & ʿUmar as prophets - but such proto-theological discourses were toned down & replaced with muḥaddath ("persons with whom God converses"). The doctrine of muḥādatha found support later among Shiʿis of Kufa.
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
7/The instilling of seal of prophecy doctrine among early Muslims was not without challenge, but it did percolate among believing communities in Arabia (some challenges in Syria but overcame). So when did early Muslims show awareness of soteriological exclusivism? (chosen people)
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
8/Muslims gradually distanced themselves from prevalent apocalyptic mentalities. Belief in Last Judgment was no longer central in Islamic kerygma in later stages of Muḥammad's mission. Early political success engendered awareness among Muslims of being chosen & having mission
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
9/Most palpable instances of early Muslim awareness of soteriological exclusivism date back to reign of Umayyad caliph ʿAbd al-Malik (d. 705 AD). Following Second Civil War ʿAbd al-Malik led charge to create stronger consciousness of distinctive religious character among Muslims.
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
10/ʿAbd al-Malik resorted to symbols & public theological pronouncements based on qurʾanic statements. First, Arabic became new language of chancellery - during which many non-Muslims considered Arabic as language of uneducated bedouins & riffraff.
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
11/Second, ʿAbd al-Malik promoted qurʾanic-inspired (though not exclusively Muslim) Arabic repertoire & phrases. For example, traditional Sassanian coins were struck with additional formula bismiʾllāh, "In the Name of God".
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
12/The Islamic testimony of faith shows on Sassanian-style coins but written in Pahlavi, such as this drachma issued in 691AD: yazd-ew be oy, any yazd nest, Muḥammad paygambar i yazd (Translation: One God, but He; another god does-not-exsit. Muḥammad is messenger of God).
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
13/But following ʿAbd al-Malik's currency reform coins minted acquired Arabic embossment on both sides, such as the famous gold coin minted in c. 697 AD.
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
14/Intended as anti-trinitarian polemic Umayyad coins were struck with qurʾanic-theological attestations to God's unity, transcendence (anti-anthropomorphism). Surah 112:Say:He is God, the One;God, the absolute. He begets not, nor was he Begotten.And nothing is comparable to Him
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
15/Coming to be of Muslim-ness & burgeoning theological autonomy is evinced palpably in famous inscription of Dome of Rock (not intended as mosque but edifice of pomp and prestige; & counterpart to Hagia Sophia) containing verse: And say, Praise to God, who has not taken a son
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
16/And unambiguous qurʾanic verses that humanise Christ, such as qurʾan 4:117, "Never would the Messiah disdain to be a servant of God." Moreover, Prophet Muḥammad became intercessor par excellence for Muslims by c. 700s AD.
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
17/ʿAbd al-Malik efforts in Muslim image promotion approach fanaticism at times: he deemed forbidden Christian crosses throughout empire; in Egypt churches has qurʾanic-inscribed ribbons attached to them (again surah 112).
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
18/What about the literary evidence showing the coming to be of Muslim-ness and theological autonomy? First, there's legal evidence. In the Muwaṭṭaʾ of Mālik b. Anas one finds legal rulings of ʿAbd al-Malik alongside Companions of Muḥammad.Caliphal authority equated with law.
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
19/Moreover, in letter Umayyad caliph al-Walid II (d. 744 ) states that God raised up caliphs to implement legal injunctions, carry out punishments, promote obligations, upholds rights. al-Ṭabarī records Walid's letter in full (see image)
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
20/Second, there's theological writings that show Muslim awareness of soteriological exclusivism: the so-called kitāb al-irjāʾ & Abū Hanīfa's (d. 767 AD) letter to ʿUthmān al-Battī of Basra. In it, Abū Ḥanīfa demarcates theological parameters of Islam & its claims to exclusivism
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Ahab Bdaiwi איהאבּ ܐܝܗܐܒ Jan 15
Replying to @bdaiwi_historia
21/End. The best sources to consult is Crone and van Ess (main source).
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