On Islamic Historiography

Islamic HistoryBy Islamic Historiography I mean written material concerning the events of the early period of Islam written by Muslim historians. This material is essential for any major research on Islam but has been continuously discredited by predominantly Western scholars. Therefore, before the study of these texts, an outline of their characteristics and a short discussion about the criticisms of these texts and their authors is indispensable.
Among the problems proclaimed in the criticisms are: the gap between the historical events and their recording, the fact that early historical compilations have not survived and have been paraphrased or summarized in later digests, the problem of the oral origin of many reports, the task of the historian, the incompatibility of non-Islamic sources, forged reports, political influences on historiography, the purpose of historiography and the originality of the historian.
In this paper the criticisms concerning the Islamic historiography and the answers of the some historians to these criticisms will be surveyed.

The origin, the terminology and the form of the early Islamic historiography
According to Robinson, Arabs produced very little written material before Islam and relied instead on orality.[1]
It seems logical to conclude that the enormous volume of written work which was produced after Islam[2] must be ascribed primarily to the emphasis in various Qur´ānic verses on writing and the stories in this book about the previous peoples and prophets, which encouraged the Muslims to narrate, and reflect and investigate about the origins of those narrations, examples are, the next two verses:

By the pen and what they write with it…. (Qur’ān 68:1)
Relate these allegorical stories (to the people) perhaps they might think. (Qur’ān 7:176).3

The second important impetus seems to have been the traditions of the Prophet of Islam which were to be preserved for the future generations. Islamic Tradition informs us that the Prophet of Islam discouraged his followers, in the initial stages of his mission, to write about him in order to prevent any confusion between his sayings and the Qur´ān.[4]
However the reports about the alteration of this attitude in a later stadium encouraged the biographers to write Sīra or biographical collections at the end of the first and beginning of the second Islamic century. The campaigns of the Prophet (Maġāzī) and the conquests (Futūḫ) [5] were the other historical works, produced in the period between the first works and the later great compilations.
The collections with the modern name for history, Ta’riḥ, appeared in the 2nd/9th century.[6]
Their source material consisted of Aḥbār which according to Rosenthal means both information and the events and corresponds to history in the sense of story, anecdote (ḫekāyat). Later, when the term was used together with āthār, it became synonymous to hadīth.[7]
The other sources were the above mentioned Sīra, Maġāzī and Futūḫ works, the books of aḥbāriyyūn and genealogical works and oral accounts.[8]
Thus, the first historical works, as the ordered record of the events of the past, began as a mixture of the above mentioned genres. This is the same multi-faceted character that Robinson says history used to have:
“…coming via Latin from the Greek historia, generally meant ´inquiry´; it earlier described a variety of genres, including geography, folklore and ethnography, in addition to what we would commonly understand to be history.”[9]

And the way Rosenthal defines history:
History in the narrow sense.., should be defined as the literary description of any sustained human activity either of groups or individuals which is reflected in, or has influence upon the development of a given group or individual….for the modern mind, the general concept of history may, in theory, be extended to include all animate or inanimate matters. [10]

While he also mentions that:
Muslim historiography includes those works which Muslims, at a given moment of their literary history, considered historical works and which, at the same time, contain a reasonable amount of material which can be classified ashistorical according to our definition of history, as given above. [11]

Thus, history is made up of many elements which together have certain meaning for certain people. This is by no means the denial of general definitions of or theories about history, rather, the emphasis is on the meaning of a certain concept, object or idea in a specific context.
Not only the combination of aḥbār and āthār became synonymous to ḫadīth, but also the form of historical narratives took the form of ḫadīth. According to Dūrī two perspectives existed among the early compilers: the ḫadīth perspective and the tribal perspective. Very soon, the first perspective prevailed which explains why the Islamic historiography has maintained the form of ḫadīth, thus, beginning with an isnād or chain of transmitters, continued by the report (ḥabar).[12]

The problems concerning the Islamic historiography
Islamic history books and Muslim historians have been the subject of both praise and critique. There are problems concerning the historical texts and those concerning the narrators both historians and their transmitters.
One problem ascribed to Islamic historiography is the fact that there is a gap between the time of the events of the early period of Islam and their historiography. Is this gap so long that it can in fact disqualify the whole historiography? It seems that this gap was not considered to be very important when the Western scholars first came into contact with the Islamic sources of the second and third century of Islamic era.[13] Perhaps this was caused by their earlier experiences with other historiographies. The later recording of the events in Islam had its precedents in other historiographies. For example, according to Robinson: The gap between event and record in early Islam is relatively narrow compared with our source material for the ancient Israelites, which usually dates from several centuries after the facts they purport to relate.[14]
Thus the problem of late compilation does not seem to be restricted to Islamic historiography. Read more

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Fatsoenlijk land ~ Inhoudsopgave

GompesCoverLight

Fatsoenlijk land – Porgel en Porulan in het verzet van Loes Gompes  Het boek verscheen in 2013 bij Rozenberg Publishers – ISBN 978 90 361 0350 3 – Met DvD van de documentaire Fatsoenlijk land (Lumen Film – 60 min.)

U kunt het boek met DvD hier bestellen.

Nu online:
Proloog ~ Verzet in twee werelden
Athene, Rome en Jeruzalem in Alkmaar
De Duitse inval en het ontslag van de vaders
De PP-groep
De onderduikers
De Vrije Groepen Amsterdam
Porgel en Porulan in documenten en voedsel
Bevrijding
Bevrijding – Foto’s Jan Hemelrijk
Epiloog
Dankwoord

Jan Hemelrijk gaf de groep de naam PP-groep. Dat gebeurde bij de oprichting van de Vrije Groepen Amsterdam (VGA) in 1944 toen elke groep een naam moest kiezen. Je zou kunnen denken dat het een verwijzing is naar Potasch en Perlemoer, de twee kibbelende joodse zakenlieden uit de bekende gelijknamige vooroorlogse volkskomedie. Maar dat was niet het geval. Jan liet zich inspireren door de ‘porgel’ en de ‘porulan’, fantasiebeesten in het clandestien verschenen nonsensrijm De Blauwbilgorgel (1943) van Cees Buddingh’.

De blauwbilgorgel

Ik ben de blauwbilgorgel,
Mijn vader was een porgel,
Mijn moeder was een porulan,
Daar komen vreemde kind’ren van.
Raban! Raban! Raban!

Ik ben de blauwbilgorgel,
Ik lust alleen maar korgel,
Behalve als de nachtuil krijst,
Dan eet ik riep en rimmelrijst.
Rabijst! Rabijst! Rabijst!

Ik ben de blauwbilgorgel,
Als ik niet wok of worgel,
Dan lig ik languit in de zon
En knoester met mijn knezidon.
Rabon! Rabon! Rabon!


I

Ik ben de blauwbilgorgel,
Eens sterf ik aan de schorgel,
En schrompel als een kriks ineen
En word een blauwe kiezelsteen.
Ga heen! Ga heen! Ga heen!

Cees Buddingh’ (1918 – 1985)

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Fatsoenlijk land ~ Proloog – Verzet in twee werelden

Fatsoenlijkland1De negentienjarige Bob van Amerongen aarzelde niet toen hij het in het voorjaar van 1943 het verzoek kreeg om voor een collega van zijn vader een onderduikadres te zoeken. Voor hem was het vanzelfsprekend mensen te helpen. Tante Louise had direct hulp nodig.
Zoals voor iedereen die zich bezighield met dergelijke activiteiten was het een riskante onderneming. Als kind uit een gemengd huwelijk waren de risico’s voor Bob nog groter. Als hij door de Duitsers gepakt zou worden, vreesde Bob, liep hij de kans er een extra joodse grootouder bij te krijgen en zo van ‘half-jood’ tot ‘voljood’ te promoveren. Met als zekerheid een enkele reis naar het vernietigingskamp.
Vanaf begin 1943 gaf Bob van Amerongen samen met Jan Hemelrijk leiding aan een groep ‘illegalici’, gespecialiseerd in hulp aan joodse onderduikers. Net als Bob kwam ook Jan Hemelrijk uit een gemengd huwelijk: allebei hadden ze een joodse vader en een niet-joodse moeder. Beide jongemannen leefden in feite in twee werelden.
Enerzijds gaven ze leiding aan een verzorgingsgroep. Anderzijds waren ze verwant aan hun onderduikers. Hun familieleden en vrienden waren immers de eersten die beroep op hen deden. Naarmate de oorlog vorderde, werd de groep steeds groter en ontwikkelde zij zich tot een netwerkorganisatie met verschillende afdelingen.
Jan Hemelrijk gaf de groep de naam PP-groep. Dat gebeurde bij de oprichting van de Vrije Groepen Amsterdam (VGA) in 1944 toen elke groep een naam moest kiezen. Je zou kunnen denken dat het een verwijzing is naar Potasch en Perlemoer, de twee kibbelende joodse zakenlieden uit de bekende gelijknamige vooroorlogse volkskomedie. Maar dat was niet het geval. Jan liet zich inspireren door de ‘porgel’ en de ‘porulan’, fantasiebeesten in het clandestien verschenen nonsensrijm De Blauwbilgorgel (1943) van Cees Buddingh’. Jan kortte de namen simpelweg af zoals zoveel verzetsgroepen deden.
Aan het eind van de oorlog bestond de PP-groep uit 19 kernleden, onder wie oud-leerlingen van het Murmellius Gymnasium (Alkmaar), de school van Bob en Jan, en het Vossius Gymnasium (Amsterdam). Ze redden waarschijnlijk enkele tientallen joden het leven.
Alleen Bob verzorgde al zeventien onderduikers. Niet alleen familieleden en vrienden uit eigen kring, maar ook mensen van buitenaf. Onder hen waren mijn moeder Miep Gompes-Lobatto, mijn oom Jaap Lobatto en hun nichtje Betty de Vries.

De gesprekken die ik tien jaar geleden met Bob van Amerongen en Jan Hemelrijk had, maakten grote indruk op me. Ze spraken over de oorlog alsof deze gisteren had plaatsgevonden. De gebeurtenissen van toen hadden hen duidelijk nooit meer losgelaten.
Bob had er nog steeds last van dat hij bepaalde mensen niet op tijd had kunnen onderbrengen. Ook gaf hij aan hoe ongelooflijk moeilijk het was geweest voor joden onderduikadressen te vinden.
Jan zat het nog steeds dwars dat zijn vader gepakt was door verraad. Hij had nog wel zo’n uitstekend persoonsbewijs voor hem gemaakt. Ondanks de voortdurende stress tijdens de oorlog had Jan geen spijt van zijn verzetsactiviteiten. Hij had niet als zovele anderen langs de zijlijn willen blijven staan.
De PP-groep voor het voetlicht brengen, lijkt me van belang. Niet alleen om Bob van Amerongen en Jan Hemelrijk de aandacht te geven die ze verdienen, maar ook omdat in Nederland het verzorgingsverzet onderbelicht is gebleven. Publicaties hierover zijn schaars. In verzetsfilms gaat het vaak over het gewapende verzet, zoals in Soldaat van Oranje en Het meisje met het rode haar. Bij het verzorgingsverzet ging het vaak om minder opzienbarende, maar daarom niet onbelangrijkere handelingen. Read more

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Wolfgang Staudte ~ Der Untertan – Romanverfilmung Nach Heinrich Mann

Das im Jahre 1951 produzierte deutsche Drama “DER UNTERTAN” ist eine DEFA-Verfilmung von Heinrich Manns gleichnamigem Roman. Es ist eine scharfe Politsatire auf den Preussengeist im Allgemeinen und den kleinbuergerlichen Emporkoemmling Diederich Hessling im Besonderen, der im Deutschland des Wilhelminismus seine Existenz ausrichtet. Er hat sich zu eigen gemacht, nach oben zu buckeln und nach unten zu treten. Das ist die Maxime seines Lebens. Konkurrenten werden denunziert, regelrecht in den Dreck getreten, wobei die besonderen Beziehungen zum Regierungspraesidenten von Wulkow hilfreiche Dienste leisten.

Dazu kommt eine zwar nicht sonderlich attraktive, doch reiche Ehefrau, der er ausschliesslich wegen ihres nicht unbetraechtlichen Geldvermoegens den Vorzug gegeben hat. Eigentlich fehlt nur noch ein Treffen mit dem hochwohlgeborenen Kaiser, dem Hessling erwartungsvoll entgegensieht…

Thanks to: https://archive.org/

 

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December 1, 2014 – The RQ Celebrating 1800 Posts ~ 300 Pages Of Information, Intelligence, Orientation, Learning & Wisdom. And Some Entertainment.

cheersbooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cherish forever what makes you unique, ‘cuz you’re really a yawn if it goes – Bette Midler

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Freedom House ~ Freedom On The Net 2014

freedom_houseFreedom on the Net 2014 – The fifth annual comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe, covering developments in 65 countries that occurred between May 2013 and May 2014 –finds internet freedom around the world in decline for the fourth consecutive year, with 36 out of 65 countries assessed in the report experiencing a negative trajectory during the coverage period.

In a departure from the past, when most governments preferred a behind-the-scenes approach to internet control, countries rapidly adopted new laws that legitimize existing repression and effectively criminalize online dissent.

The past year also saw increased government pres­sure on independent news websites, which had previously been among the few uninhibited sources of information in many countries, in addition to more people detained or prosecuted for their digital activities than ever before.

Between May 2013 and May 2014, 41 countries passed or proposed legislation to penalize legitimate forms of speech online, increase government powers to control content, or expand government surveillance capabilities.

Since May 2013, arrests for online communications pertinent to politics and social issues were documented in 38 of the 65 countries, most notably in the Middle East and North Africa, where detentions occurred in 10 out of the 11 countries examined in the region.
Pressure on independent news websites, among the few unfettered sources of information in many countries, dramatically increased. Dozens of citizen journalists were attacked while reporting on conflict in Syria and antigovernment protests in Egypt, Turkey and Ukraine. Other governments stepped up licensing and regulation for web platforms.

Seehttps://www.freedomhouse.org/report

See also: The Economist ~ How protestors evade digital censorship

Government censorship in the face of unrest is nothing new. And as social media become an increasingly important tool in the protestor’s arsenal, some governments have responded by tightening their grip on the internet. So how do protestors evade digital censorship?

First, protesters are using new, or newer technology than that of the governments trying to muffle them. Hong Kong’ s protestors are using an app called “FireChat” to work around China’s control of the web. The application uses direct Bluetooth links between handsets in a crowd, meaning protestors can still communicate via messages and forums, even without a mobile network or access to other forms of social media.

Second, tech savvy protestors in Turkey used VPNs – Virtual Private Networks. These allow users to mask the address of their devices, meaning they seem to be wherever the VPN provider is. Now that the user appears to be located somewhere like Indianapolis instead of Istanbul, they can access Twitter and other banned sites when the government has blocked local access.

Another technology called Tor, goes a step further. Tor anonymises users by bouncing their traffic through a network of volunteer computers. In the days following the contested 2009 election in Iran, the number of people using Tor to protect their online identity surged. Originally funded by the US government, some people (like Edward Snowden) also use it to evade surveillance by the very government that helped launch it.

The web was built to be fault-tolerant – information is simply re-routed if the network is tampered with. As unrest unfolds around the world, people and social networks are upholding that same idea.

For more multimedia content from The Economist visit our website: http://econ.st/1xzDu0y

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