Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jacob and his uncle Ishmael are not all the Arab Ancestors there were

CMIcreationstation : Jews & Arabs: Abraham's children

There are some that have no child of Abraham as eponymous forefather. In Yemen the Arabs descend from Yoctan, a brother of Peleg (was it brother of Peleg or of his son, now?) who was the father (?) of Arphaxad, of Thera, of Abraham (was there not a Lud involved too somewhere?). In Jordan the south is from Jacob's brother Esau, since they are Edomites, but north of that we speak of the sons and grandsons of Lot: Moab in the middle, Ammon in the North.

At the Red Sea (probably even Egyptian side, where Moses may have found his wife and father in law), the Arabs descend from Madian, a son of Abraham with his second wife Keturah.

In the Middle of the Arabic peninsula you find or historically found those descending from Ishmael.

When we say "Arabs" descend from Ishmael, we are taking over a piece of Islamic lore, without really questioning its exact meaning. To the early Muslims, an Arab was not just anyone who spoke Arabic and lived as a Beduin. Or not lied as a Beduin even, though Beduins are seen as the purest Arabs. Among these they further differentiate between Araba and Mustariba - between Arabs and Arabicised peoples. "Arabs" may well include descendants of Yoctan, as far as I can recall, but beyond that of Ishmael. Madian seems to have been forgotten, so a few Ishmaelites may well be Madianites. But still counted as pure Arabs. What about Mustariba?

Obviously, Lebanon descends largely from Sidon and Tyre, thus from Canaan. They are not Araba but Mustariba, according to the early Muslim distinction.

This brings us to the Palestinians: West of Edom, Moab, Ammon, South of Canaanite nations surviving as such, North of Ishmael (and thus far North from Yoctan), Northeast from Madian and their neighbouring Christian Coptic descendants of Misraim (who was like Canaan a son of Ham, not of Abraham) ... whom do they descend from? I have heard the answer "Ishmael", but I think this is true only for a portion of the Aristocracy of the Moslem part of them. Just as the Christian part may partly descend from Julius Caesar and even Charlemagne, through the Crusaders. Or from Odin or Frode, through the Norman part of the Crusaders. I think that the Palestinians, Christian as well as Muslim, are rather Mustariba than "pure Arabs".

I recommend reading the book The Desert a City, by one Derwas Chitty. What I could gather from it, the Romans in Palestine included quite a few Nomads speaking some Semitic tongue. What I could gather of it, 1) part of them relapsed to Judaism during the Persian invasion of Chosroës, and these would obviously include ancestors of Persian Jewry, since Chosroës was chased out of Palestine by Emperor Heraclius (recovering the Cross relic and honouring it to repair for outrages recently committed on it was celebrated Sept 14 since then). What I could gather from it there were tribes that under the Invasion of Omar remained Christian, and 2) others that during the invasion of Omar were forced to become Muslims, but assured the monasteries (the book is about early Monasticism in Egypt and Palestine) they were still their friends. These two portions would include respectively ancestors of Christian and Moslem parts of Palestinians. And later it would obviously be easier for a Christian tribe to become Muslim than the reverse.

So, if you ask me, the Palestinians are a primarily Christian people with parts of them having had imposed Islam, and they descend from the Jews and Samarians who became Christians at the first Pentecost or soon after. When Christians among the Palestinians now speak of their nationhood, they sometimes claim to be Galilean - a name neutral enough to include both Jew and Samarian (once they renounced the non-Christian and opposed sects to become Christians), and specific enough not to mean Gentile-origin-mainly Christians.

Meaning, they descend from Abraham through Isaac and through Jacob. Christian Palestinians are typically Catholic or Orthodox.

The unity of Christian Palestinians over Samarian and Judean territories testifies that Christ, after His Sepulcre became Glorious by the Resurrection, united Judah and Ephraim (through his disciples) and conquered Edom, Moab and Ammon (through His Church fleeing to Pella in Jordan during the Jewish War and making disciples there too). The prophecy in Isaiah 11 has thus already been fulfilled, there is no use for Jews to wait for any other Messiah, really.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Mouffetard Library, Paris
Pentecost Tuesday

No comments: