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 (CreateSpace, 25 January 2012) and A Garden for the Poets (CreateSpace, 5 November 2016) are companion volumes of collected essays. Over in "translations" you will also find the first translation of Paul Casanova's Mohammed et la fin du monde into English - gratis - along with some other, less notorious work.

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 eighteen more into A Garden for the Poets. 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, several essays in The Arabs refer to "The Muhkam of the Wasiya" now in A Garden. 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

  • Essay Collection Abstracts
  • 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 Turkish-Islamic Frontier". In A Garden.
    • 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 Ḥajj". In The Arabs.
    • "The Heretic of Rewardashir". In The Arabs.
    • "Civilising the Last Prophet". In A Garden.
    • The Mansur of Damascus. Sura 3 opens the gates, 630s CE.
  • Point and Counterpoint
    • "Arabic Influence on the Style of the Qur'an". In A Garden.
    • "The Ḥanapût of Syria". In A Garden.
    • "Parodies of Syrian Christianity in the Early Arab Religion". In A Garden.
    • "Early Umayyad Theories of the Cross". In A Garden.
    • "Return to the Garden". In A Garden.
    • 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.
    • God's Path Leads through the Caliph. Sura 59 as Umayyad power-play.
    • "The Early Marwânî Building Programme and its Critics". In The Arabs.
    • "The ‘Parable of the Workers’". In A Garden.
    • "Save Me From Heaven". In A Garden.
    • "Inwardly Uncollected". In A Garden.
    • "Ekdikos kai Kritês". In A Garden.
    • "The Servant Whom God Has Sent". In A Garden.
    • The Relationship between Sura 4 and the Dome of the Rock. Since I'd thrown an axe between suras 3 and 19 on the Dome, I now had to deal with sura 4. Quick version: sura 4 precedes the Dome and the Dome used sura 4. So, majoritarian Islam wins one here.
    • The Structure of the Musabbihat. Sura 59 precedes suras 57, 61, 62, and 64. The Dome of the Rock shares another introductory parallel with suras 57 and 64, but independent of sura 59.
    • Monks, Muslims, and Sura 57. This plants Sura 57 sometime in the Marwanid Dynasty.
    • In Ranks. Sura 61, the Marwanid law of war. Based on sura 9 among others.
  • 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.
    • Blasting the Sultan. Sura 69 blusters against Uthman.
    • Between Us and Them. Sura 18, on the Schism.
    • Song for the Resurrected Kingdom. An early Marwanid propagandum, and witness to variant Q. 17:71.
    • From Hell's Ditch. Sura 85 in Tirmidh.
    • "The Furqân". In The Arabs.
    • "A Sufyani-era Qudsi". In A Garden.
    • "The Muhkam of the Wasiya". In A Garden.
    • "The Seal of the Suras". In A Garden.
    • "The Dispute between 'Umar and Ubay b. Ka'b". In A Garden.
    • The Covenant of Those Given the Book. Prophetology.
    • "The Living, the Eternûl". In A Garden.
    • "The Addition of the Book". In A Garden.
    • The Scriptures of the Women. The stylistic segregation of suras 4, 33, and 48.
    • The Central Suras. Ibn Mas'ud and 'Uthman, and their Deuteronomic Korans.
  • Alliance with one's unbelieving kin
  • The Prophetic Cycle
  • When the World Ends
  • Notes Upon The Book
  • House of War
    • "An Arabic Mediation".
    • "Sura 13's Sources".
    • "The Preamble to Sura 14".
    • Building the Seven Heavens. Sura 67 for the Dome; sura 22 mocking it. [not actually in here]
    • "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
    • Sura 22's Qur'anic Culture. Appendix to "Sura 22's Sources" above / elsewhere. 6>5; 5>22.
    • The Sources of Sura 4. Down for maintenance.
  • Throne of Glass
    • "Sura 32's Sources".
    • "Sura 19's Sources".
    • "Sura 37’s Strophic Structure".
    • "The Devil's Briny Throne".
    • "Shirts of David's Weaving".
    • ṬSM. [not actually in here]
    • "Sura 12’s Sources".
    • Joseph's Temptations.
Subpages (2): Timeline Update Log