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Two posts concerning the Olympic paganic origins

Two posts concerning the Olympic paganic origins

قال شيخ الإسلام أبو العباس ، أحمد ابن تيمية الحراني قدس الله روحه ، واصفاً مدى تأثر جهلة المسلمين بهذه الأعياد الوثنية : ( وغرضنا لا يتوقف على معرفة تفاصيل باطلهم ، ولكن يكفينا أن نعرف المنكر معرفة تميز بينه وبين المباح ، والمعروف ، والمستحب ، والواجب حتى نتمكن بهذه المعرفة من اتقائه واجتنابه كما نعرف سائر المحرمات إذ الفرض علينا تركها ، ومن لم يعرف المنكر لا جملة ولا تفصيلاً لم يتمكن من قصد اجتنابه ، والمعرفة الجميلة كافية بخلاف الواجبات ، فإن الفرض لما كان فعلها ، والفعل لا يتأتى إلا مفصلاً وجبت معرفتها على سبيل التفصيل ، وإنما عددت أشياء من منكرات دينهم لما رأيت طوائف من المسلمين قد ابتلوا ببعضها ، وجهل كثير منهم أنها من دين النصارى الملعون هو وأهله ) . " إقتضاء الصراط المستقيم " : (1/211) .

Ibn Taymiyah mentioned describing the effect that these paganic occasions had on the ignorant public (from amongst the Muslims): "and our purpose does not stop at knowing details of their transgression (baatil), but to know clearly the forbidden acts in order that we distinguish between them and that which is permitted, accepted, or obligatory. This to avoid and protect ourselves from these acts after receiving knowledge clearly as we would know other forbidden acts (muharramaat) which we are ordered to abandon. And he who does not know the forbidden acts (munkar) in general or in detail will not intend to avoid. A reasonable amount of knowledge is sufficient unlike the obligatory acts of worship which we should perform, and that we cannot do unless we know the details, and so we should gain knowledge in detail. I have counted the unaccepted/shocking acts (munkar) in their religion when I found groups of Muslims have been afflicted by this (the majority of them were ignorant that it was from the religion of the Christian)" (Iqtidaa As-siraat Al-mustaqeem 1/211)

Attachment on the second post includes the article in English, copied below:

The Olympic Games
The following research was conducted to relate the ancient meanings interwoven in the modern day games of the Olympics. The connection is evident as the Olympic Flame is lit every season from the sun's rays at the fire altar at the Temple of Hera, part of the historic ruins of the home of the ancient Olympic Games, and transported to the voted venue and kept burning throughout the Olympic Games.
The Greek cult of the Twelve Olympians can be traced to the 6th century BCE, but the ritual was abandoned in the first century CE with the spread of prophet Isa's/Jesus -peace be upon him- call to monotheism as the first Christians fought against these paganic rituals. The city of Olypmia was destroyed in the 6th century CE with a series of earthquakes and tsunamis, the year that prophet Muhammad-peace and blessings be upon him-was sent to humanity. Accordingly, the Greek rituals were eliminated for over 17 centuries until they were revived again in 1821CE upon the fall of the Islamic Uttomon rule and return of Western rule in Greece.

The Revival of Greek Rituals
The Greek interest in reviving the culture of the Olympic Games began directly after the Greek War of Independence from the Islamic Ottoman Empire in 1821CE despite the elimination of these rituals for the previous 17 centuries. The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution, was waged by the Greek revolutionaries between 1821 and 1832 with later assistance from several European powers, Russia, United Kingdom and France against the Ottoman Empire. The ruler in Greece during that perod was King Otto of Greece and Bavaria (Germany today) who was a Roman Catholic as the Kingdom of Greece was only a state within the German Empire.
The revival of this paganic Greek tradition was proposed by Panagiotis Soutsos the poet and newspaper editor a great admirer of Greek traditions and religious rituals whom wrote and published in 1856CE an article about the re-establishment of the Olympic Games in his own "Helios" newspaper (meaning, "Sun") promoting the cause of Greek unity and culture. Soutsos suggested that March 25, the anniversary of the outbreak of the Greek war of independence, should be declared a national holiday and proposed that in this anniversary festivities should be held including a revival of the ancient Olympics as a sign of the re-establishment of western Greek culture. In conclusion, the revival of Greek religous traditions was initiated to signify the fall of the Islamic empire and retreaval and expansion of the western Greek world.

Mount Olympus, Abode of the Gods
Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece with the highest peak Mytikas considered one of the highest peaks in Europe. In Greek mythology, Olympus was regarded as the "home" of the Twelve Olympian gods of the ancient Greek world, with Zues as the father and Hera as the mother of the gods. These Olympian Gods replaced the previous 12 Titan gods as it was eventual that when the people were beaten at war they would replace their gods and more often pray to the gods of their successors. The concept of the "Twelve Gods" is likely to be connected to the worship of the celestial bodies in the zodiac system. The Greek cult of the Twelve Olympians can be traced to 6th-century BCE with the altar to the Twelve Olympians at Athens. The Olympian gods were pictured as being engaged in wrestling, jumping and running contests the exact activities held in the Olympic Games today.
The games were first initiated in Olympia, Greece, in a sanctuary site for the Greek deities near the towns of Elis and Pisa. The sanctuary, known as the Altis, consists of an unordered arrangement of various buildings. Enclosed within the temenos (sacred enclosure) are the Temple of Hera (or eraion/Heraeum) and Temple of Zeus, the Pelopion and the area of the altar, where the sacrifices were made. The games and sacrifices were held in honor of Zues, father of the Olympian gods. The games were held to be one of the two central rituals in Ancient Greece and were usually held every four years. They were held in honor of the Greek god Zeus, and on the middle day of the Games, 100 oxen would be sacrificed to him. 

The first Games began as an annual foot race of young women in competition for the position of the priestess for the goddess, Hera, and a second race was instituted for a consort for the priestess who would participate in the religious traditions at the temple. Later on the festivals grew from one to five days, three of which were used for competition, the other two days were dedicated to religious rituals. On the final day, there was a banquet for all the participants, consisting of 100 oxen that had been sacrificed to Zeus on the first day. Strict rules were enacted as only free men who spoke Greek could compete in a nude condition. The Greek tradition of athletic nudity was introduced in 720 BCE. The site of Olympia remained until a series of earthquakes and tsunamis destroyed it in the 6th century AD.

One myth attributed to the establishment of the Olympic games is dated by the historian at 776 BCE wherein for some reason the Games of previous millennia were discontinued and then revived by Lycurgus of Sparta, Iphitos of Elis, and Cleoisthenes of Pisa at the behest of the Oracle of Delphi who claimed that the people had strayed from the gods, which had caused a plague and constant war. Restoration of the Games would end the plague, usher in a time of peace, and signal a return to a more traditional lifestyle. The patterns that emerge from these myths are that the Greeks believed the Games had their roots in religion, that athletic competition was tied to worship of the gods, and the revival of the ancient Games was intended to bring peace, harmony and a return to the origins of Greek life.

During a celebration of the Games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their countries to the Games in safety. The Games became a political tool used by city-states to assert dominance over their rivals. Politicians would announce political alliances at the Games, and in times of war, priests would offer sacrifices to the gods for victory. The Games were also used to help spread Hellenistic culture throughout the Mediterranean. Thus Hellenistic culture and the Games spread while the primacy of Olympia persisted.

Symbols of the Olympic Games

The Olympic Flame

The Olympic Flame is a symbol of the Olympic Games commemorating the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus. Its origins lie in ancient Greece, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics. The Olympic Torch today is ignited several months before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games at the site of the ancient Olympics in Olympia, Greece. Eleven women, representing the Vestal Virgins, perform a ceremony in which the torch is kindled by the light of the Sun, its rays concentrated by a parabolic mirror.

In the time of the original games within the boundaries of Olympia, the altar of the sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Hestia maintained a continuous flame. For the ancient Greeks, fire had divine connotations—it was thought to have been stolen from the gods by Prometheus. Therefore, fire was also present at many of the sanctuaries in Olympia, Greece. During the Olympic Games, which honored Zeus, additional fires were lit at his temple and that of his wife, Hera. The modern Olympic flame is ignited at the site where the temple of Hera used to stand .

The modern convention of moving the Olympic Flame via a relay system from Greece to the Olympic venue began in 1936 initiated by the Hilter Nazi Regime. Carl Diem devised the idea of the torch relay for the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin that was organized by the Nazis under the guidance of Joseph Goebbels. Krupp armaments company produced the torches in wood and metal, inspired by an olive leaf. The Olympic Flame was lit by a concave mirror in Olympia, Greece and transported over 3,187 kilometres by 3,331 runners in twelve days and eleven nights from Greece to Berlin. Leni Riefenstahl later staged the torch relay for the 1938 film Olympia. The film was part of the Nazi propaganda machine’s attempt to add myth and mystique to Adolf Hitler’s regime. Hitler saw the link with the ancient Games as the perfect way to illustrate his belief that classical Greece was an Aryan forerunner of the modern German Reich.

The Olive Branch

The prizes for the victors in the ancient as well as modern games were wreaths of laurel leaves. A laurel wreath is a circular wreath made of interlocking branches and leaves of the bay laurel made of wild olive-tree. In Greek mythology, Apollo is represented wearing a laurel wreath on his head. Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of light and the sun, truth and prophecy, healing, plague, music, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto. In Rome they were symbols of martial victory, crowning a successful commander during his triumph.

The winner of an Olympic event was also awarded an olive branch. The olive tree represented plenty, but the ancient Greeks believed that it also drove away evil spirits. The olive branch is usually a symbol of peace or victory dating back to the the 5th century BCE. This symbol, deriving from the customs of Ancient Greece, is strongest in Western culture, however, it has been found in every culture and religion to thrive in the Mediterranean basin. For example, the olive branch appears with a dove in early Christian art. The dove derives from the simile of the Holy Spirit in the Gospels and the olive branch from classical symbolism. The early Christians, according to Winckelmann, often allegorised peace on their sepulchres by the figure of a dove bearing an olive branch in its beak. Tertullian (c.160 - c.220) compared Noah's dove in the Hebrew Bible, who "announced to the world the assuagement of divine wrath, when she had been sent out of the ark and returned with the olive branch" with the Holy Spirit in baptism "bringing us the peace of God, sent out from the heavens". St Augustine wrote in On Christian Doctrine that, "perpetual peace is indicated by the olive branch (oleae ramusculo) which the dove brought with it when it returned to the ark." An olive branch held by a dove was used as a peace symbol in 18th century Britain and America.


Swaddling, Judith (2000). The Ancient Olympic Games (2 ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press.
"Overview of Olympic Games". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 4 June 2008.
Spivey, Nigel (2005). The Ancient Olympics. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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