How do Greeks feel about the hadith analysis by Imran Hosein that the “Al-Rum” of the end times is to be analysed as Russia?

By: | Post date: 2017-08-08 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: History, Mediaeval Greek

Having listened to 6 mins of Sheikh Imran N. Hosein’s lecture, and done some Googling:

There is a Hadith that predicts that, in the end times, the “Rum” and Islam will form a truce to fight a common enemy, before they fight each other in Armageddon. To cite the hadith:

Conquest of Constantinople

You will make a firm truce with the al-Rum until you and they wage a campaign against an enemy that is attacking them. You will be granted victory and great spoils. Then you will alight in a plain surrounded by hills. There, someone among the Christians shall say: ‘The Cross has overcome!’ whereupon someone among the Muslims shall say: ‘Nay, Allah has overcome!’ and shall go and break the cross. The Christians shall kill him, then the Muslims shall take up their arms and the two sides shall fall upon each other.

At issue is the identity of Rum in Islamic eschatology.

Rum in Muhammad’s time meant the Christian Empire that Arabs were familiar with, i.e. the (Eastern) Roman Empire.

The conventional interpretation is to identify Rum with Christendom. So Islamic eschatology – Wikipedia summarises this prophecy, among the minor signs of the End Times, as:

The truce and joint Christian-Muslim campaign against a common enemy, followed by al-Malhama al-Kubra (Armageddon), a Christian vs. Muslim war.[29]

Hosein advocates a narrower identification of Rum as Orthodox Christianity, being the continuation of the Constantinopolitan Christianity that Muhammad was familiar with; and since Rum has to be a state capable of waging war rather than a religious community (a concession he makes to modern-day political realities), he thinks it is the preeminent state of contemporary Orthodox Christianity, namely Russia. (When would the Muslims make and alliance with Rum, Is Rum the Rome in Italy?)

Predictably, there is much flaming online, with others insisting that the reference has to be to the religious entity based in Constantinople, the Eastern Orthodox Church. (Hadith : Muslims to form alliance with Rum.)

Now that we’ve worked out what Hosein is referring to: the question is, how do Greeks feel about this?

I enjoyed researching this; you may not enjoy reading the answer.

Non-Muslim Greeks don’t care, because they don’t believe that the hadith of Islam are prophetic of the end times. I mean, seriously. And to the extent that they are even aware of the hadith, they would be quite happy for Putin or Trump or any other putatively Christian state to have to deal with whoever this pre-Armageddon common foe is, rather than shoe-horn the Greek military into this mess. Sure we claim to be the inheritors of Byzantium, but that’s one context we won’t be eager to inherit.

Yes, that’s a flippant response; but please. Non-Muslim Greeks won’t care, any more than Muslims should have to care about Christian eschatology and who the Great Whore of Babylon is meant to represent.

The interesting question is, what do *Muslim* Greeks make of the hadith. Muslim Greek citizens of course exist, but given the history of the Ottoman Empire and Balkan nationalism, the majority of those citizens who are not ethnic Greek are not going to be that interested in claiming the heritage of Rum either. Ethnic Turks or Pomaks in Greece may well reflexively think (Orthodox Christian) Greece when they think Rum, because Rum is the Ottoman term for (Orthodox Christian) Greeks. Still, ethnic Turks or Pomaks in Greece would be no more convinced than their Christian compatriots that the Greek army is plausibly going to play a major part in any prelude to Armageddon. The realities of the modern world would have convinced them that the Rum of Armageddon can’t be the people they think of by default as Rum.

That leaves the very small number of ethnic Greek converts to Islam. They do exist; I had the cognitive dissonance of meeting one at a colleague’s Muslim wedding. No, I am not proud of having had cognitive dissonance. And I hate to say, any ethnic Greek converts to Islam, having been brought up in the thought-world of Christian-aligned Greek nationalism, will have plenty of cognitive dissonance of their own to deal with. They wouldn’t seek to add to that, by reading their compatriots into that hadith.

There’s some bestial fools in Raqqa right now (I wonder if calling ISIS that counts as BNBR?), who think their infamy is justified because they’re hastening the End Times. Even they, I suspect, think Rum is either Putin or Trump, rather than Greece.

They seem to have forgotten that bit about allying against a common foe, too.

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