By Gordon Legge
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Additional info for A Journalist's Guide to Islam
57 I) are contemporaries whom we know at first hand; and we need have few qualms about tracing the rejection they condemn back to 'Anan b. David and I;>irar b. 'Amr. But how much older is it? On the Jewish side, the question is how far the She' iltot of Al;lai of Shavl;ta (d. 7 J 2) indicate Karaism as a movement to have been in the making in his lifetime. On the Islamic side, is one to read the position of I;>irar into such fragmentary data as we have for the views of 'Amr b. 'Ubayd (d. 76I)? But there is also evidence of a naive fundamentalism (one without explicit rejection of oral tradition) at a very early stage in the evolution of Islam (below, p.
39 It was as if the central category of the religion of Moses had been a reference to the Red Sea. But when redemption became scripture, the Hagarenes needed a category more Sinaitic in scope. Hence islam replaced hijra as the fundamental religious duty, 40 and the -• 'Mahgraye' accordingly became Muslims. t-' •. 20 4 THE SAM-ARITAN CALQUES Judaism is among other things the religious sanction of a polity: the consecration of its capital, Jerusalem, and the legitimation of its state, the Davidic monarchy.
There are nevertheless two places worth noting: Yathnb, to which we shall return, 1' and Ta'if. Ta'if presents one suspicious parallelism with Shechem in that both (in contrast to Mecca) are sanctuaries located in famously green environments; 16 and it is the subject of one suspicious Islamic tradition, to the effect that it had once been a place in Palestine. 17 Further north the quality of the evidence improves, although the problems still evade neat solution. We now reach an area for which Jewish settlement is well attested in pre-Islamic times, and for which a sacred geography had already been sketched out in the Jewish Targums.