The Madrassa

I, David Ross, assert my right to be identified as the author of these documents. By all means, quote away; but please identify me as their author, and it'd be nice if you could email me as well.


An explanation of this page

This is the site for House of War (printed by CreateSpace, 10 July 2012) and its sequel Throne of Glass (CreateSpace, 20 October 2014). The Arabs and Their Qur'an (also CreateSpace, 25 January 2012) is a companion volume of collected essays.

I have published one article before, but under an assumed name. That name was "J.W. Salopy" and the article was "A Higher-Critical Study of the Relationship between Sura 19 and the Dome of the Rock". This was submitted to the Journal of Higher Criticism in 2004, and it came out in that journal's issue 12.1 in 2006. To summarise the piece, it proposed that sura 3 preceded the Dome of the Rock, that the Dome's parallels to sura 19 were such that it was more likely the Dome preceded sura 19, and that sura 19 preceded suras 21, 23, and 43. The Dome of the Rock bears the date "72"; the Prophet Muhammad, to whom Muslims attribute the transcription of the whole Qur'an, expired in year 11 of that calendar. This was done independently of Stephen Shoemaker, "Christmas in the Qur'an" (pub. date 2003) which came to a similar conclusion about an earlier story in sura 19. That means the Qur'an contains in it at least four Marwanid-era oracles which, therefore, cannot be Muhammadan. Whether they are the word of Allah regardless, I did not attempt to prove.

These PDFs are what I have been working on since early 2003, that article excepted. Eighteen of them went into The Arabs and Their Qur'an, and another eleven are in House of War one way or another. Throne of Glass took on at least seven more. These essays are listed below with no links. You'll note from the update log that, really, all of it can be considered "in progress". Consider the linked articles draughts. There are more projects where all this came from. I'll get them here as I finish them.

These PDFs are in logical sequence, later projects dependent on earlier projects. This crosses over; for instance, "The Satans' Qur'an" in The Arabs assumes "In Ranks" here. Also "Heretic of Rewardashir" is posted here after "Year of the Hajj" because of the logic, where in a chronological order - like in that first part of The Arabs - it goes in the reverse order. The sum of the PDFs together imply a timeline.

One final thing: These articles (like The Arabs) are written to such a level as that in academic journals. There's a bit of a learning curve. If you're new to the topic then I recommend an introductory monograph ... like House of War. I also recommend Robert Hoyland's Seeing Islam as Others Saw It. As a rule of thumb: if you have read and understood Ibn Warraq's collections, then you are good to go.


Free Downloads

  • The Arabs and Their Qur'an
  • The Skeleton of the Qur'an
  • Jarh and Ta`dil
    • `Abd al-Razzâq at Rayy. The Tafsir of Abd al-Razzaq. And that of Tabari.
    • A Test for the Jami' of Hakam from Shu'ayb. This started as a lemma to the "Parable" project but it belongs up here. It nails down one of the insufficiently-detailed assumptions that project makes. This is another win for Islam, in that it supports the existence of one of its no-longer-extant sources.
  • Before There Was Mecca
  • The Marwanid Musabbihat
    • The Treaty of Khâlid. How to rob a church.
    • "The Early Marwânî Building Programme and its Critics". In The Arabs.
    • The ‘Parable of the Workers’. Something of an epic quest through centuries of this parable's mutation, across the Abrahamic religions up to 800 CE.
    • Inwardly Uncollected. Basran resistance to the Umayyad codex.
    • Monks, Muslims, and Sura 57. After the above slogs, finally I get to the point. This plants Sura 57 sometime in the Marwanid Dynasty. There's a history of early Islamic dhimmi policy in here too.
    • In Ranks. Sura 61, 'Abd al-Malik's law of war.
  • The Qur'an in Iraq
  • Alliance with one's unbelieving kin
  • The Prophetic Cycle
    • "A Partial Developmental Sequence for the Islamic Haggadah". In The Arabs.
    • "A Partial Developmental Sequence for Six Prophetic Suras". In The Arabs.
    • "The Turning". In The Arabs.
    • "The Satans' Qur'an". In The Arabs.
    • Return to the Garden. The Qur'an as Western scripture.
    • The Borderlands of Damdam. Pseudo-Umayya's poetry as Nestorian reaction (upon suras 11, 19).
    • The Iconoclast. Sura 21's context. The most specific date here - late summer 721 AD.
    • Islamic Ethics. 32 > 35. A plea for tolerance.
    • The Alid Shia and Sura 28. Partisan hopes.
  • When the World Ends
  • Notes Upon The Book
    • The Ararat Tax. Sura 23, following sura 21, is NOT a message "which asks naught for payment from any of you"...
    • Islamic Alimony. Sura 65 expands on sura 2's divorce law. It was resisted outside Iraq. Did a woman write it?
    • The Prophet's Excuse. Sura 66. Constraining the Sira - and also suras 2, 5, 9, and 65 - prior to sura 21. It reassures the people that, no, despite sura 19, the Prophet won't be going to Hell. This was excluded, inside Iraq.
    • Focus on Chastity. Sura 24, among the last lights of the Book.
    • The Retrieval of Joseph. Sura 12. Popular religion under Sufyani rule, disdained by Kharijites, retrieved by Shi'ites.
    • One Sura against the Jihad. This one sets sura 29 after sura 21 (and 28).
  • House of War
    • "An Arabic Mediation".
    • "Sura 13's Sources".
    • "The Preamble to Sura 14".
    • "Sura 22's Sources".
    • "Sura 41's Sources".
    • "Through the Gates to the Garden".
    • "Again with 'Abd Allâh b. al-Zubayr and the Mahdî".
    • "What was the Color of the Black Stone?"
    • "People of the Qibla".
    • "Quibbling over Qibla".
    • The Prophets' Call. Supporting the argument on Zubayrite propaganda.
    • "The Keys to the Garden are Swords".
  • The Making of the Last Book
    • The Sources of Sura 4. Down for maintenance.
  • Throne of Glass
    • "Sura 40's Sources".
    • "Sura 38's Sources".
    • "Sura 32's Sources".
    • "Sura 19's Sources".
    • "Sura 37’s Strophic Structure".
    • "The Devil's Briny Throne".
    • "Shirts of David's Weaving".
    • ṬSM.
Subpages (2): Timeline Update Log
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