Monday, September 21, 2020
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
The Message: pp.80-110
The Life of Muhammad the Prophet; p4:
Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) had brought his eldest son Isma'il (a.s.) with his mother Hajirah (Hagar, in Hebrew) from Kan'an to a barren valley which was later known as Mecca. He used to visit them once a year. When Isma'il was old enough to help him, Prophet Ibrahim built the House of Allah known as the Ka'bah.
There was no water in the land when Isma'il and Hajirah were left there. The well of Zamzam miraculously appeared for Isma'il. The tribe of Jurhum, finding the well, sought the permission of Hajirah to settle there. During the annual visit of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.), permission was given to them, and ultimately Isma'il married in the same tribe. He begot twelve sons; the eldest was called Qidar (Cedar, in Hebrew).
The Isma'ilites increased in number, thus fulfilling the promise of Allah to Ibrahim to multiply Isma'il exceedingly. (See Genesis 21:13)
P16: Abdullah, father of the Prophet, died a few month before (or two months after) his birth, and his grandfather 'AbdulMuttalib took over the care and upbringing of the child. After a few months, according to the age-long custom of the Arabs, the child was entrusted to a Bedouin woman Halimah by name, of the tribe of Bani-Sa'd, for his upbringing.
When he was only six years old, he lost his mother as well; so, the doubly-orphaned child was brought up by 'Abdul-Muttalib with the most tender care. Not two years had passed before 'Abdul-Muttalib also expired. 'Abdul-Muttalib died at the age of 82, leaving the care and custody of the orphaned Muhammad to Abu Talib. Abu Talib and his wife, Fatimah Bint Asad, loved Muhammad more than their own children. As the Holy Prophet himself said, Fatima Bint Asad was his "mother" who kept her own children waiting while she fed the Holy Prophet, kept her own children cold while she gave him warm clothes. Abu Talib always kept the child with him day and night.
Abu Talib was an active participant in the trade caravans. When Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) was 12 years old, Abu Talib bade farewell to his family to go to Syria. Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) clung to him and cried. Abu Talib was so moved that he took the child with him. When the caravan reached Busra in Syria they, as usual, stayed near the monastery of a monk, Buhayra. Seeing some of the signs, which he knew from the old books, Buhayra was convinced that the orphan child was the last Prophetto-be. To make sure, he started a conversation with him, and at one point said: "I give you oath of Lat and Uzza to tell me..." The child cried out: "Don't take the names of Lat and Uzza before me! I hate them!" Buhayra was now convinced. He advised Abu Talib not to proceed to Damascus "because if the Jews found out what I have seen, I am afraid they will try to harm him. For sure, this child is to have a great eminence." Abu Talib, acting on this advice, sold all his merchandise for cheaper prices then and there, returning at once to Mecca
Prophet's Mother - wikishia
Relevant Qur’anic verses:
Do they seek the judgement of [pagan] ignorance? But who is better than Allah in judgement for a people who have certainty? (5:50)
When the faithless nourished bigotry in their hearts, the bigotry of pagan ignorance, Allah sent down His composure upon His Apostle and upon the faithful, and made them abide by the word of God wariness, for they were the worthiest of it and deserved it, and Allah has knowledge of all things. (48:26)
(Practice of burying female infants) When one of them [pagans] is brought the news of a female [newborn], his face becomes darkened and he chokes with suppressed agony. He hides from the people out of distress at the news he has been brought: shall he retain it in humiliation, or bury it alive in the ground! Look! Evil is the judgement that they make. (16:58-9)
(In description of the Day of Judgment) When the sun is wound up, when the stars scatter, when the mountains are set moving …when the girl buried-alive will be asked, for what sin she was killed. (81:1-9)
(Practice of marrying-inheritance of- one’s step-mothers) Do not marry any of the women whom your fathers had married, excluding what is already past. That is indeed an indecency, an outrage and an evil course. (4:22)
Names and Terms
Jahiliyya; The year of the Elephant; Abraha; Yemen; Hijaz; Mecca; Yathrib;
The Arabs in History; Chapter: Arabia before Islam, pp.15-31
The Message pp.3-39
The Arabs in History
P25: The religion of the
nomads was a form of polydaemonism related to the paganism of the ancient
Semites. The beings it adored were in origin the inhabitants and patrons of single
places, living in trees, fountains, and especially in sacred stones. There were
some gods in the conventional sense, transcending in their authority the
purely tribal cults. The three most important were Manat, 'Uzza, and Allat, the last of whom was mentioned by Herodotus. These three were themselves subordinate to a higher deity, whose name was Allah. The religion of the tribes had no real priesthood; the migratory nomads carried their gods with them in a red tent forming a kind of ark of the covenant, which accompanied them to battle.
p27: Despite the regression of this period Arabia was still not wholly isolated from the civilized world but lay rather on its fringes. Persian and Byzantine culture, both material and moral, permeated through several channels, most of them connected with the trans-Arabian trade-routes. Of some importance was the settlement of foreign colonies in the peninsula itself. Jewish and Christian settlements were established in different parts of Arabia, both spreading Aramaic and Hellenistic culture. The chief southern Arabian Christian centre was in Najran, where a relatively advanced political life was developed. Jews or Judaized Arabs were in several places, notably in Yathrib, later renamed Medina. They were mainly agriculturists and artisans. Their origin is uncertain and many different theories have been advanced.
P30: Some time before the rise of Islam Mecca was occupied by the north Arabian tribe of Quraysh, which rapidly developed into an important trading community. The merchants of Quraysh had trading agreements with the Byzantine, Ethiopian, and Persian border authorities and conducted an extensive trade. Twice a year they despatched great caravans to the north and the south.
the Arabs, woman was just like merchandise which could be bought and sold and
did not possess
any individual or social
rights - not even the right of inheritance. The enlightened persons among them put woman under the
category of animals and for this
very reason considered her to be one
of the chattels and necessities of
life. On account of this belief the proverb: 'Mothers are only as good as
vessels and have been created to serve as receptacles for sperm' was fully current amongst them. Usually on account of fear of famine and occasionally dreading embarrassment they beheaded their daughters on the very first day of their birth or hurled them down from a high mountain into a deep valley or, at times, drowned them in water.
Most deplorable of all things was their marriage system which was not based on any law in vogue in the world of that time. For example, they did not believe in any limit in the number of wives. To avoid payment of dowry they maltreated women and in case a woman ceased to be chaste she lost the dowry in total. At times they took undue advantage of this rule and calumniated their wives to be able to refuse the payment of dowry. In the event of the death of a person or his divorcing his wife it was treated to be lawful for his son to marry her and the story of Ummayyah bin Shams in this regard is preserved in the pages of history.
When a woman obtained divorce from her husband her right of second marriage was dependent on the permission by the first husband and such permission was usually accorded on her surrendering her dowry! In the event of the death of a person his successors took possession of the woman like other household chattels and declared themselves to be her owners by throwing a head-dress on her head
Relevant Qur’anic Verses
We will recount to you the best of narratives in what We have revealed to you of this Qur'an, and indeed prior to it you were among those who are unaware [of it]. 12:3
Whatever We relate to you of the accounts of the apostles are those by which We strengthen your heart, and there has come to you in this] sourah truth and an advice and admonition for the faithful. (11:120)
Thus do We relate to you some accounts of what is past. Certainly We have given you a Reminder from Ourselves. (20:99)
The Arabs in History
p32: In an essay on Muhammad and the origins of Islam Ernest Renan remarks that, unlike other religions, which were cradled in mystery, Islam was born in the full light of history. 'Its roots are at surface level, the life of its founder is as well known to us as those of the Reformers of the sixteenth century,' In making this remark, Renan was referring to the copious biographical material provided by the Sira, the traditional Muslim life of the Prophet. When the problems of governing a vast empire brought the Arabs face to face with all kinds of difficulties which had never arisen during the lifetime of the Prophet, the principle was established that not only the Qur'an itself, the word of God, was authoritative as a guide to conduct, but also the entire practice and utterances of the Prophet throughout his lifetime. The records of these practices and utterances are preserved in the form of Traditions (Arabic: Hadith), each individual Hadith being attested by a chain of authorities in the form 'I heard from ... who heard from ... who heard from ... who heard the Prophet say'. Within a few generations of the Prophet's death a vast corpus of Hadith grew up, covering every aspect of his life and thought
Brill Encyclopedia of Islam (Entry: Muhammad-7:378)
Correct information about Muhammad's life obviously originated ultimately from genuine Islamic sources. But it was spread in Europe by non-Muslim transmitters, who had lived in the Islamic environment for a longer period of time or permanently (and almost without exception were versed in Arabic). However, as non-Muslims under Islamic domination or in Islamic surroundings, they were, as a rule, not concerned with the diffusion of an objective, let alone a positive, image of Muhammad. Consequently, in both the selection and the transmission of "true" elements of Muhammad's biography their emphasis is distant if not polemical.
Already coloured in a mildly negative way, the correct assertions about the life of the Islamic Prophet then reached the studies of Christian authors, who were not only complete outsiders to Islam but also intent on using their pens to completely disqualify Islam and thus the Prophet in the first place. With this, these assertions were used selectively and mainly in so far as they were suitable for polemics, which went as far as scornful malignity. Occasionally, these assertions were also changed accordingly, but they were above all interwoven with fictitious elements in such a way that they were often divested completely of their historical value. The most different mixtacomposita of this kind became for a long period the basis of the image of Muhammad in Christian Europe.
The most important motives and groups of motives which decisively marked the image of Muhammad in the European Middle Ages and fixed it afterwards for a long time (with offshoots until today):
With very few exceptions, the concept of the mediaeval biography of the Islamic Prophet was dominated by a single tendency, namely to prove that Muhammad, in the way he had lived and acted, could not have been a prophet, that his alleged divine revelations consequently were man's work and that Islam at the very most is an abstruse heresy of Christianity. Made subservient to this basic concept, there appear in the mediaeval Muhammad biography four kinds of motives, which may perhaps be characterised as follows:
1. Authentic accounts which—hardly or not at all changed—were, according to the mediaeval Christian concept, already as such sufficient to disqualify Muhammad as a Prophet. 2. Authentic accounts which by a little shift of emphasis and/or by inserting them into a false context of history or argumentation, unmasked Muhammad as a pseudo-prophet. 3. Motives which ultimately are based on authentic material but which hardly permit one to recognise this connection because they have been garbled by being shortened, enlarged or contextually placed so as to serve a polemic argumentation (these manipulations can also be found in various combinations or all together). 4. Pure fiction (not very often found).
- Anglo-Saxon Perceptions of the Islamic World (2003) by: Katharine Scarfe Beckett; Cambridge University Press
- Islam in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature: A Selected Bibliography. By Hafiz Abid Masood in slamic Studies Vol. 44, No. 4 (Winter 2005), pp. 553-629 (77 pages)
- Orientalism (1978) By: Edward W. Said. Pantheon Books
- Islamic Historiography (2003) by: Chase F. Robinson; Cambridge university Press