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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 companion volume The Arabs and Their Qur'an (also CreateSpace, 25 January 2012).

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 came out in issue 12.1 of the Journal of Higher Criticism. To summarise that article, I 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. 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. These essays are listed here 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. 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 Heretic of Rewardashir". In The Arabs.
    • The Patrician, the Logothete and the Confessor. Another window on the early Umayyads. Here is translated, Parisinus 854 (Symeon the Logothete) for c. 640-715 CE.
    • "Amorium". In The Arabs, 3rd ed.
    • "Eclipse over the Pulpit". In The Arabs.
    • "The Year of the Hajj". In The Arabs.
    • Edom against Ishmael. Down for maintenance.
    • The Propaganda of the Sufyanids. Down for maintenance.
  • 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.
    • 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
    • "The Scriptures of Abû Turâb". In The Arabs.
    • "Torah to Hadith". In The Arabs.
    • "By the Age and the Misfortunes of Time". In The Arabs.
    • "Abraham and the Heavens". In The Arabs.
    • "Killing the Cranes". In The Arabs.
    • "The Martyr for the Book". In The Arabs, 2nd ed.
    • "The Sermon Against Ibn Mas'ûd". In The Arabs.
    • "Nightfall on the Qur'an". In The Arabs.
    • "The Furqân". In The Arabs.
    • Shirts of David's Weaving. Arab poetry and the suras.
    • Save Me From Heaven. Al-Farazdaq in 50/670; citing suras 6, 10, 13, 34.
    • The Dispute between 'Umar and Ubay b. Ka'b. A free-floating tradition, attached variously to Q. 17:32 and 33:6.
    • The Covenant of Those Given the Book. Prophetology.
    • The Living, the Eternûl. Al-Qayyûm.
    • Interceding with God. Sura 39 used a prayer to the Lord of the Angels, now in Hadith; and also suras 6, 10, and 30 (and 22). (Sura 6 used 17; also, 6 used 10.) Sura 39 postdates 695 AD.
  • 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 Muhkam of the Furqân. Down for maintenance.
    • The Sources of Sura 4. Down for maintenance.
  • Misc.
Subpages (2): Timeline Update Log
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