2. august 2005

Jørgen Bæk Simonsen: Studies in the Genesis and Early De… (1988) – nogle notater

Efter nogle år som gymnasielærer fik Jørgen Bæk Simonsen med sin doktorafhandling Studies in the Genesis and Early Development of the Caliphal Taxation System. With special references to circumstances in the Arab Peninsula, Egypt and Palestine (1988) fastansættelse på Københavns Universitet hvor han fra 1992 og det næste tiår blev toneangivende på Carsten Niebuhr-instituttet. Afhandlingens titel kan umiddelbart lyde perifær i forhold til den danske islamdebat, men sådan er det langtfra. Den forskningsmæssige strid om islam starter ved definitionerne, og flere af de afgørende begreber grunder i denne tid som Bæk Simonsen her satte fokus på.

Danske apologeter har som regel det udgangspunkt at alle kulturer og religioner er dynamiske, et simpel produkt af sin tid – og slutter derfor at Koranen slet ikke burde være en del af den danske integrationsdebat. Bæk Simonsens tunge afhandling må betragtes som et væsentligt bidrag til dette korthus, som han efterfølgende vedholdende har fastholdt og udbygget.

Skattesystemet i Medina fra udvandringen i 622 og frem, og den såkaldte Medina-overenskomst er centralt for forståelsen af islam – idet begge fløje i forskningen bruger denne tid til at understrege deres konklusioner. Bæk Simonsen mener at kunne dokumentere, at Muhammad i det tidlige kalifat ikke skelnede mellem hvorvidt befolkningen i Medina var muslimer ikke eller. Umma-begrebet omfattede i begyndelsen også ikke-muslimer, og det var særegne omstændigheder som gjorde at den islamiske jura (fiqh) senere omdefinerede det hele og tilføjede skelsættende begreber såsom dar al-islam og dar al-Harb. Som basis for denne tankerække, fremhæver han at de mest brugte begreber indenfor skattesystemet i årene efter Medina-overenskomsten med tiden fik nye betydninger, ligesom han betoner at dhimma-begrebet faktisk dækkede over en gensidig aftale – ikke helt mellem ligeværdige parter, men dog en aftale hvor begge parter blev pålagt rettigheder og pligter.

Jeg har i sagens natur ikke haft mulighed for at tjekke kilderne, men det er tydeligt at Bæk Simonsen giver Muhammad alt for stor goodwill, og i sin sans for detaljerne ignorerer han de mere overordnede betragtninger. Er det for eksempel ikke lidt naivt at vurdere Muhammad udfra en aftale skrevet før han fik den totale dominans i Medina. Det skulle jeg mene, ikke mindst når de af Bæk Simonsen fremlagte kilder jo faktisk pointerer at Muhammads holdning til jøder og kristne skærpedes ligefrem proportionalt med hans position i karavanebyen.

Muhammad slipper alt for ofte for motivanalyser, og da de samtidige åbenbaringer (samlet i Koranen) stort set ikke bruges, må man gå ud fra at Bæk Simonsen finder dem irrelevante. På denne måde undgår han helt at tage et opgør med eksempelvis Buhls Muhammeds religiøse forkyndelse efter Qurânen (1924) som påviser hvorledes Muhammads åbenbaringer skiftede karakter efter udvandringen til Medina. Buhl lagde ikke fingrene imellem, og finder at hvor Muhammad i Mekka var en idealistisk bodsprædikant, så var han i Medina blevet en utiltalende østerlandsk despot med alt hvad dette indebar. Jørgen Bæk Simonsen underbygger på sin vis Buhl ved at dekonstruere islam og placere Muhammad i sin tidsmæssige ramme, men fravælger de logiske slutninger om Muhammads sindelag – ved at vurdere Muhammad udfra en snæver fortolkningsramme.

Sat på spidsen svarer det lidt til at vurdere Hitler ud fra personlige breve mellem ham og Hindenburg i de tidlige 30’ere. Bæk Simonsen kan med rette fastholde at emnet jo er det tidlige kalifats skattesystem, men når kilderne er ufuldstændige, ofte tvetydige, kronologisk og geografisk usammenhængende så kommer meget til at hænge på Muhammads intentioner og subjektive vurderinger iøvrigt.

Bæk Simonsen betragter rimeligvis islam som et fænomen blandt andre fænomener, men baserer samtidig hele sin analyse på at Muhammed kun var motiveret af handelsmæssige ambitioner. Igen giver det kun mening ved at fastholde det snævre fokus. Han betegner iøvrigt Muhammeds religion som udtryk for rendyrket ‘ideologi’ – lidt underligt idet han i den danske integrationsdebat jo netop har gjort sig til talsmand for det modsatte synspunkt – at islam blot er en religion som alle andre, og derfor ingen særlige problemer har i forhold til adskillelse af politik og stat – og i sidste ende demokrati.

De af Muhammad iværksatte etniske udrensninger på jødiske stammer grunder ikke i et særligt antipati mod ikke-muslimer, men derimod blot en konsekvens af Muhammeds handelsmæssige ambitioner. Det fremhæves igen og igen i skåsikre konklusioner, selvom man med basis i hans egen gennemgang af det historiske forløb med større ret kunne hævde at Muhammad udviklede et had mod jøder og ikke-muslimer på basis af deres manglende accept af ham som Allahs (Guds) sendebud på jorden.

Selvom Jørgen Bæk Simonen i 1988 må siges at formulere sig mindre apologetisk end han gør i sine nutidige bidrag til den danske integrationsdebat, så må man sige at de senere tolkninger i forhold til doktorafhandlingen indgår som en naturlig forlængelse af det marxistisk-inspirerede tankesæt som underkender religionens suggestive rolle – og lader alt være en konsekvens af socio-økonomiske forhold. Det giver sine selvmodsigelser, for hvordan kan Muhammed motiveres af ’social indignation’ [s. 21] , når han samtidig “believed himself to act by god-given right” [s. 24]. Følgelig må Muhammed være en falsk profet – en vurdering samme forsker i Islam set med danske øjne… (2004) tager et skarpt opgør med.

I forhold til tidligere gennemgåede bøger er dette værk langt mere kompleks, og jeg må advare mod at citere fra de af mig udvalgte citater (især fra bogens del 2 og 3) som ikke alle isoleret set giver mening. For at minimere dette problem, har jeg valgt at transkripere det danske resumé i fuld længde.

Herunder en række citater:

“If we turn for a moment to the later Arabic-Islamic tradition, the answer is clear and succinct: Islam became in the course of the decade from 622 an all-embracing system covering every aspect of human existence. The interpretation totally lacks evidence in the earliest sources, but is certainly incorporated in the later tradition. Uncritical acceptance of the Islamic division of history into ‘pre-Muhammad/pre-Islamic’ and ‘post-Muhammed/Islamic’ is a fatal trap for historical and scholarly interpretation of the development of the Middle East during and after the 7th century. There is, in fact, nothing Islamic about the historical development the region underwent in the course of the 7th century. However, that this period established the preconditions for Islam’s dominance of the Middle East in the subsequent centuries is incontestable.” [s. 23]

“Notwithstanding that Muhammad believed himself to act by god-given right, it must be maintained that the courses and developments of history cannot be reduced to a battlefield of divine intervention. Thus, a historical analysis of the genesis and early development of the caliphal tax system must be based on an interpretation of the events and circumstances in the Arabian Peninsula in the decade following 622 and without special reference to religious, or as I prefer to call them, ideological, prenouncements.” [s. 24]

“The power relationship depicted in the Constitution as prevailing in 622 between the emigrés and the other groups in the oasis, clearly describes Muhammad and his Meccan supporters as a weak group.” [s. 40]

According to the Constitution the umma was not originally a religious community based on everyone’s acceptance of Muhammad as Allâh’s messenger (rasûl Allâh). The later interpretation of the umma concept (where it is interpreted as terminus technicus for the number of muslims = the Society of the Faithful) is not, however, entirely without root in historical reality. The Constitution contains over and above those general provisions which practically and legally place Muhammad and his followers in relation to the various tribal groups, other special provisions dealing solely with the people who have joined Muhammad’s new religion.” [s. 42f]

The Medinan umma was originally just such a practical arrangement in which all could participate regardless of religious persuasion. The various groups are given equal status and the Medinan Jews are not to be second-class in relation to the other participants. Neither is there any suggestion that the various non-Jerwish tribes would have to join Muhammad’s new religion as a pre-requisition for inclusion in al-umma. In the later tradition, there appears a shift in the umma concept. Later on the People of the Book (ahl al-kitâb) was linked in a special way to al-umma. These, through dhimma and the payment of djizya (poll tax) would be awarded the protection of the Muslim umma. Socially, they were accorded a form second-class citizenship, and were denied, at least in principle, appointment to a range of posts in the capliphal administration. But there is no reference to this in the Constitution of Medina itself. [s. 44]

“In principle, dhimmîs were defined the right to hold certain offices in the caliphal administration. A number of rulings were also handed down as to how Christians should be dressed, as were the specific range of manual occupations reserved for non-Muslims.”

The classical dhimma concept is the end-product of a historical development. It is quite clear from analysis of the Constitution of Medina that dhimma already was a central concept in 622. The Constitution gives no precise definition of exactly what it was, but it appears from the wording how everyone could erceive a share in dhimmat Allâh. Only Quraysh was excluded in advance from dhimmat Allâh.” [s. 47]

“However, it is eminently apparent how the demands imposed on the outside world as conditions for the receipt of dhimmat Allâh sharpened markedly in step with the consolidation of Muhammad’s political and economic position during the 620s. Later, dhimma can only be obtained if those desiring it fulfil a range of conditions. First and foremost among these later demands was a wider acceptance of Muhammad and Islam consolidated in those dealing with prayer and zakât and what the text call fâriq al-mushrîkun, i.e., disavowal of the polytheists… Medina now demanded all economic relations with Mecca to be broken before the establishment of pacts with Medina. This demand could be imposed because Muhammad and his supporters during the first years in medina had assured themselves a dominant mercantile position in the oasis. They were now eager to link all other tribes to the new caravan city in the making.” [s. 53; (berørte bl.a. stammerne Banû Hadas, Banû al-Hârith, Banû Nahd, Banû Mucâwiya og Banû Dhuwayn]

“The successive struggles with the Jewish tribes of Medina are not to be interpreted as a result of ideological strife between Judaism and Islam. The confrontation arising between al-muhâdjirûn and the Banu Qaynuqâc can scarcely be explained by the religious disagreements between Muhammad and the Jews… Muhammad doubtless found Jewish criticism of his religious views a burdensome irritation, but his actual practice of affording dhimma to all regardless of religious conviction indicates the motive for this first internal struggle in Medina to be sought elsewhere… The causes must be sought in the political and economic aims the emigrants embarked upon immediately after their arrival in Medina.[s. 54]

“After the siege Banû Qurayza was found guilty of contact with Quraysh and condemned. The men of the tribe were executed, the women and children sold into slavery in Nadjd. All now knew that the demand for total separation from al-mushrikûn was indeed serious. The internal strifes at Medina must be seen as part of the overall situation and not as the result of religious conflict between Muhammd’s new religion and Judaism. Therefore, the treatment which the Jewish tribes received varied to some extent, and the conclusion can only be that, in fact, Muhammad had no fixed, ideological attitude towards the Jews. [s. 56; om angrebet på Qurayza-stammen i foråret 627]

It is possible to trace a sharpening of the demands made by Medina in connection with dhimma pacts, in step with the consolidation of the city’s position. Not surprisingly they sharpened even more markedly after the conquest of Mecca in 630. This can be read from a number of treaties which Muhammad concluded with southern and eastern districts of the peninsula after that date, an example of which is the treaty with Nadjrân.” [s. 56]

Al-muhâdjirûn used ghazawât as a weapon against Mecca from the time of the exodus in September 622. But from the very beginning the Medinan ghazawât broke with the rules usually governing such attacks. The former central principle of a ghazw was to avoid bloodshed because this would cause intertribal blood feuds. From the first ghazawât which showed a real profit (the campaign against Nakhla in January 624 and a few months later the battle at Badr) it became clear how bloodshed was going to be a feature of the Medinan ghazawât. A series of later raids were to amply confirm this. This explains the central palce for the many rulings about bloodmoney found in the Constitution of Medina.” [s. 61]

“Banû l-Nadîr conceded after a short siege, and they were expelled from al-umma. All their lands were taken over by Muhammad and his followers.[s. 68]

“… several researchers have instanced how Muhammad with considerable dexterity avoided personally condemning the tribe [Banû Qurayza] for treachery, passing it to others to pronounce sentence. The men were executed, the women and children sold in the slave markets of Nadjd and Syria, and the money realized from the sales used to buy weapons and riding animals. [s. 68f]

… in step with Medina’s increasing ability to demand return for her guarantees, the conditions for obtaining an agreement became more exacting. The demands now were for cash payments and a complete break with mecca, and from 630 the policy was unified: Arab tribes and districts must pay sadaqa for dhimma, Jews and Christians must pay djizya.” [s. 72]

“Any proposition that the care and welfare of the Egyptian populace was a primary objective of the Arab administration is best left to sink without a trace. The main aim of the occypying power was to ensure the maximum fiscal exploitation; an objective not unique to the Arabs.” [s. 115]

“The practice based on principles laid down by Muhammad and which had been followed since the conquest of Arabia in the 620s, was finally abandoned [ca. 720]… Muhammad himself never intended to create a suprational empire. He and his followers only wanted Medina to become a new centre of the caravan trade.” [s. 131]

“To summerize in conclusion, the traditions reviewed plus many others all support the contention that as a result of the Arab conquest the Egyptian Christians became liable to a 2 dinar poll tax. The Arab traditional sources confirm a similar result in Palestine and Syria… It should be noted that the traditions make much of asserting that it was the Christians themselves who, via their representatives, imposed the poll tax on Egyptian Christians. [s. 147]

“The sophistication of the ‘re-interpretation’ lay in incorporating the familiar fiscal terms of the 620s and 630s: zakât, sadaqa, dhimma and djizya, into central concepts of the later caliphal taxation system – though with a very different meaning. The umma was, of course, also definitively ‘re-interpreted’ so that the new society to which Muhammad had made everyone equally welcome in the Medina of 622 was now anm exclusively club synonymous with ‘the society of the Faithful’. And thus must the ahl al-Kitâb, Jewish ande Christian adherents to their ‘incomplete’ religions, pay a special poll tax to this Society of the Faithful, which, in its turn, must also pay tax to the Caliphate in the form of kharâdj. The caracan city had become an empire, the religious integration of the Middle East ended in ‘Islamization’, with a subsequent ‘Arabization’ which has left its ineradicale footprint on history. [s. 149f; fra konklusionen]

“Beskatningsforholdene i det arabiske kalifat har været genstand for talrige undersøgelser, og denne afhandling er at betragte som et bidrag til belysning af dette overmåde centrale problemkompleks…” [s. 151-153; indledningen til det danske resumé – fuld længde]

Flere citater fra Jørgen Bæk Simonsen: Studies in the genesis and Early Development of the Caliphal Taxation System. With special references to circumstances in the Arab Peninsula, Egypt and Palestine (1988).

  • Et frit online-encyklopædi som Wikipedia illustrerer fint kampen om definitionerne – Talk: Jizya (djizya).
  • Oploadet Kl. 11:39 af Kim Møller — Direkte linkSkriv!

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