Thursday, July 21

Rehabilitating the Spirituality of Pre-Islamic Arabia:On the Importance of the Kahin, the Jinn , and theTribal Ancestral Cult

this was a fascinating article. I always thought that the pre-islamic Arabia was not worthy of interest, but then, thinking more about it, a religion which has been formalised has to arise from a previous body of work. Looking at it in another way, Judaism/Christianity/Islam are sects of the same religion, they worship the same god, the rituals follow through, the prophets are common, and so on and so forth. So why assume that the pre-Islamic Arabs were not spiritual? they were as much or as little spiritual as the Islamic Arabs, just that they believed in more gods.

This article brings into focus the misunderstood and oft-ignored pre-Islamicspirituality of, primarily, the Hejaz and their religious leaders, the kahins, oftenuncharitably translated as soothsayers. A combination of factors has limiteddiscussion of pre-Islamic religion, including the persistent rejection by Muslims ofpre-Islamic history as a time of ignorance (jahiliyyah) and a Judaeo-Christian biasin Western scholarship. From the perspectives of anthropology and comparativereligion, certain conclusions about pre-Islamic spirituality can be derived. Mostimportant among these is that the pre-Islamic Arabs engaged in clearly religiouspractices revolving around the importance of the tribe and its members, living anddead. This article will hopefully spark a renewed interest in the study of thespirituality and religion of the pre-Islamic Arabs.

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