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Ian Straughn

Islamic Archaeology

Archaeology and Religion

Islamic Landscapes

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

Posted at Apr 30/2007 01:03AM:
Elly: 'Jahaliyya' is an Islamic term for the state of ignorance of divine guidance (i.e. Islam), usually it is used to describe pre-Islamic Arabia. This pre-Islamic state could be seen as a particular historical period in Arabia, but the term is not necessarily so rooted in time, and can instead by used to refer to the state of any culture before Islam arrived. It has even been used by such recent figures as Sayyid Qutb to refer to modern nations. This term is pertinent to our class in that it presents a clear dichotomy between pre-Islamic and Islamic Arabia. 'Ignorance' is clearly a loaded term, and seems to suggest some ideas of backwardness. It is through this frame that many Muslims view pre-Islamic Arabia, and comes into play for our discussions of archaeological work and heritage.