A return to jahiliyyah

painting of arab warriors charging

One of my favorite podcasts, The Golden Age of Islam, just returned after almost a year-long hiatus.

No judgment here. It happens.

This episode dives deep on Bedouin culture.

Like any religion, Islam was shaped by the culture in which it emerged.  The rules and values of the Bedouin – from the treatment of women to concepts of honor and leadership – would impact the Islamic society that grew out of Arabia.  In this episode, we take a look at that culture to understand what Islam preserved and what it changed.

64 – (0.1) The Bedouin Culture of Arabia

If you’re interested in the roots of early Islam, this is a great and accessible podcast. It is a must-listen for me.

Two fascinating things from this episode: 1) a discussion on anti-tribal poetry, which features lots of bragging and grandstanding – what Dr. DiMeo likens to ancient “epic rap battles,” and 2) the Bedouin concept of leadership succession, which was rooted in meritocracy, not bloodlines.

And of course, some ancient tribal code.

I against my brother. My brother and I against my cousin. And my cousin and I against a stranger.


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Bahamut

the monster bahamut from final fantasy
Bahamut (bottom) is much less intimidating here.

Wow! This came as a complete surprise!

Bahamut, one of the most powerful “summons” in the Final Fantasy universe has its roots in Middle Eastern mythology.

The name in Arabic is بهموت (bahamut) and the creature supposedly forms the base of the world, with other creatures standing on top of it.

The name “behemoth” (also a Final Fantasy creature) and now just another word for “huge” or “monstrous” is based on the same word.

This whole thing led me down a nice Saturday afternoon rabbit hole where I learned about Zakariyya’ al-Qazwin who wrote the Aja’ib al-Makhluqat wa Ghara’ib al-Mawjudat (The Wonders of Creatures and the Marvels of Creation). It contains some seriously creepy illustrations.


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