1. The Life of Muhammad

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The_Life_of_Muhammad

(From Chapter2, "The Wrath of Allah" by Robert E. Burns)

One day about 570 CE in Mecca, Abd Allah ibn Abdul-Muttalib went to the house of another wife he had besides Amina bint Wahb. However he was still dirty from his work and she did not accept his advances. He left her, washed himself and then went out to go to Amina. The other wife saw him and called out to him but he went on to Amina and possessed her. She then conceived Muhammad. Then he went to the other woman and asked her if she were willing; she said "No, When you passed by me there was a white light between your eyes. I called to you and you rejected me. You went to Amina and she has taken away the light."1

Abdallah died at Yathrib (later to be called Medina, "the City") while on a caravan trip to Syria, but Amina had a vision and was consoled by it. She was conscious of a light within her and one day it shone forth so intensely that it illuminated even the castles of Bostra in Syria.2 A voice spoke to her saying "Thou art pregnant with the prince of this nation. When he is born on this earth thou must say, "I place him under the protection of the Only One, from the evil of every envious person."

The babe was born on a Monday, on the thirteenth day of Rabi in the year of the Elephant (570CE?)3

It was a custom of the Meccans to employ a wet nurse from the nomads - for one thing it was healthier out of town. It was a year of drought and the wet nurse Halimah, her she-ass, old she-camel and sheep were all near dry; no sooner had Halimah put Muhammad to her breasts when she overflowed with milk for him. He drank his fill and likewise his milk-brother. The camel's udders were also full and on returning to her camp she found that her sheep were filled with milk.

One day, while Muhammad was with his milk-brother, two men in white robes appeared bearing a golden plate full of snow. "They took hold of me, opened my belly, extracted my heart, split it open and took out of it a black lump of blood which they threw away. Then they washed my heart and belly with snow, until they had purified them. Then one of them said "weigh him against one thousand of his people." This he did and I was found more heavy "4

Halimah could see no sign of blood or any wound on the lad nor could she budge the two boys in their story so, in alarm, returned Muhammad to his mother. Amina died three years later while at Medina, and was buried there.

* * *

When he was about nine years old, Muhammad accompanied his uncle, Abu Talib, to Syria. There at Busra was a Christian monk named Bahira. From the distance, he had seen the Meccan caravan approaching, with a cloud following over it. Could it be that the expected Prophet had at last come, and was among these travellers? One glance at the boy's face tallied with what he had read in his ancient manuscripts. He conversed with the lad and asked him to remove his cloak. There on Muhammad's back between his shoulders was the white oval mark designating his prophethood. "Take thy nephew back to his country", Bahira told Abu Talib, "and guard him against the Jews, for if they find out about him they will contrive evil against him. Great things are in store for this brother's son of thine."5

* * *

Little more is known about the Prophet's life until he was twenty-five years old. He often took caravans of goods across the desert and had come to be called al-Amin, the Honest, the Trustworthy, the Reliable. Once a business associate asked Muhammad to wait for him at a street corner, however he forgot the appointment. For three days and three nights Muhammad stood waiting for him until something jogged his associate's memory.

* * *

A rich widow, Khadijah sent Muhammad together with a male slave Maysara on a trip to Syria. There another monk, Nestor informed Maysara of Muhammad's mission and, indeed, the slave lad saw two angels shading the apostle from the sun. These facts he told Khadijah and they made her more determined to marry Muhammad even though she was his employer and fifteen years his senior. He never married another wife until she died.

Muhammad was in the habit of retiring to a cave in Mount Hira, not far from Mecca. Many was the time, after leaving the town, that he clearly heard the words "Peace be on thee, O apostle of Allah.", but looking around all he could see were trees and stones.

* * *

On the 26-27th of Ramadan when he was in his fortieth year and alone in the cave there came to him an angel in the form of a man. Gabriel recited what was to become the first five verses of the Qur'an of sura 96. 6 Muhammad recited these words after the angel. He later said, "It was as though the words were written on my heart."7 Khadijah helped calm her husband and went to tell her cousin, Waraqah. He reassured her that Muhammad had been called on as a Messenger but warned him, "thou wilt be accused of falsehood, thou wilt be persecuted, exiled and attacked."8

Muhammad continued to receive Revelations from Allah, although spasmodically at first. Some were spoken to him in the same manner as the first, but others came to him like the reverberations of a bell and these were very hard on him.

The Prophet spoke of the Revelations to those who were closest to him but asked them not to divulge his secret for the time being.

One day while he was on the hillside, Gabriel came to him, struck the ground with his heel causing a spring to gush forth. Then he performed the ritual ablution to show the Prophet how to purify himself for worship. Then Gabriel showed him how to pray and what to say. The Prophet went home and taught Khadijah and his followers all that he had learnt. The new religion was established.

* * *

One convert was the young Abd Allah ibn Masud who was herding sheep. The prophet asked if they could have a drink of milk. The lad replied that the sheep were not his own to give of their milk. Thereupon the Prophet said:"Hast thou a young ewe that no ram hath ever leaped?" Having had one brought to him, the Prophet her udder and prayed, whereupon the udder filled with milk. When all had had their fill, Muhammad said to the udder:'Dry" and it dried.

* * *

Some time later, Muhammad was told to warn his family. Most of the clan of Hashim, about forty men in all, came to a meal. Ali, the Prophet's young cousin, had prepared the leg of mutton and a cup of milk. The Prophet took a piece of meat, bit on it and put it back on the plate. The forty men ate their fill and drank their fill and still there was more. However even this miracle did not convince the non-believers.

* * *

The early group of Muslims started to be more open, even insulting the Meccan gods; some found it necessary to pray in private, however. One day, overcome by ridicule, Sa'd of Zuhrah struck one of the disbelievers with the jawbone of a camel and caused blood to flow. This was not the last time that Islam shed blood. The Ummah (Muslim community) decided to refrain from violence and this patient endurance was verified by the next Revelation: "Deal calmly with the disbelievers, give them respite for a while.: (86:17)

* * *

One of the first non-Meccans to be converted was Abu Dharr, of the Bani Ghifar, and returning to his tribe, he converted many of them. Moreover, he was a highwayman and, having robbed a caravan, he would offer to return the goods to those who accepted Islam.

* * *

The Quraysh, the main tribe of Mecca, had a profitable business catering for pilgrims to the Ka'bah which, at that time, included three hundred and sixty pagan idols. They, the Quraysh, tended to tolerate the new religion until they realised that, being directed against their customs, it could seriously affect their income. Nor did it improve matters when the Prophet reaffirmed to them that their fathers and forefathers would be pinished in the Hereafter as there was no respectivity in salvation.

A leading Meccan who came to hate Muhammad was Abu Jahl. Hearing him speak derisively about him, the Prophet said:"And as for thee, Abu Jahl, a calamity shall come upon thee. Little shalt thou laugh, and much shalt thou weep."9

One day while the Prophet was praying, Abu Jahl went to smash his head with a rock. Fortunately Allah was with the Prophet. Abu Jahl was rushed at by a stallion camel with the skull and teeth the like of which he had never seen. He dropped his stone and ran from the apparition.

On another occasion while the Prophet while the Prophet was prostrate praying, Abu Jahl went to trample his neck but when he came near him he could be seen trying to ward off something with his hands. Allah interposed a ditch of fire and terror and wings. The Prophet said, "If Abu Jahl were to have come near me, the angels would have torn him to pieces." (Sahih Muslim Chapter 1160)

The tribal elders tried a different tack. If he would desist in his abuse, they offered him wealth, the kingship of the tribe, and free medical help until he was cured of the visiting spirit. The Prophet was reassured by Revelation of the Sura, "The Pen".

"Thou, O Prophet; by the grace of thy Lord art not possessed! (by jinn)

And truly a boundless recompense doth await thee,

For thou art of a noble nature (patiently bearing the taunts of the unbelievers)

But thou shalt see and they shall see

Which of you is the demented." (68:2-6)

Its offer having been refused by Muhammad, the tribe went back to slandering and insulting Islam. At last Muhammad could take no more and told them: "O Quraysh, will you hear me? Verily by Him who holdeth my soul in His hand, I bring you slaughter." 10

* * *

The conversion of Rukana showed the Prophet's miraculous powers. Muhammad was fifty and Rukana was physically powerful. Twice Rukana was thrown to the ground when he went to tackle the Prophet. As a bonus, Muhammad called to a tree which moved until it was at his feet; then he said to the tree, "Return to thy place!" and it returned to its place.

The worst five mockers of Muhammad had been warned in Revelation thus: "We shall suffice thee against the mockers who worship another god with Allah; they will know." 11 Indeed they did find out. Gabriel came to the Prophet while the five were ambulating around the Ka'bah. "When the first mocker passed by, Gabriel threw a green leaf in his face and he became blind. He pointed to the abdomen of the second, who died of dropsy. The third had a scar on his heel which opened again and killed him. When the fourth passed by he pointed to the soul of his foot, and thereupon a thorn penetrated it and the man died. When the fifth man passed by Gabriel pointed to his head and it began to ferment with poison and he died." 12

* * *

One night on a full moon a group of disbelievers asked the Prophet to split the moon in two as a sign that he was the Messenger of God. To the delight of the believers, the moon did indeed divide and each half shone on either side of Mount Hira. Some of the hesitants entered Islam but those whose hearts were hardened rejected the miracle as mere magic.("Muhammad, His Life Based on the Earliest Sources", M. Lings P68) Sura 54, "The Moon"

"The hour hath approached and the moon hath been cleft;

But whenever they see a miracle they turn aside and say,

This is well-devised magic

And they have treated the Prophets as Impostors, and follow their own lusts;

On the Day, the Summoner shall summon to a stern business."

However Allah did not always oblige with signs: His main miracle was The Revelation of the Qur'an. Many were the people converted on hearing its recitation. Indeed Islam teaches that ijaz is the incapacity of any mere mortal reaching the perfection of composing the Qur'an." 13

To those who wanted angels to be sent down as signs the Qur'an replies:"The day they behold the angels, on that day there will be no good tidings for the evil-doers." (25:22) "A day that shall turn the hair of children grey." (73:17)

What did surprise the Muslims was the way in which some Meccans, previously well-regarded, could turn nasty. "We give them cause to fear, yet it doth but increase them in monstrous outrage." (17:60) One of these was an uncle of Muhammad, Abu Lahab, who was convinced that his nephew was self-deceived if not a deceiver. Allah revealed a short sura, "The Flame" about the Prophet's uncle:

"In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the Merciful

Let the hand of Abu Labah perish and let himself perish!

His wealth and his gains shall avail him not.

Burned shall he be at the fiery flame,

And his wife laden with firewood - (as fuel)

On her neck a rope of palm fibre." (111:1-5)

Apparently his aunt had strewn the Prophet's path with thorns on one occasion. When she heard of the verse she went in search of the Prophet carrying a pestle to hit him with. He was sitting with Abu Bakr but she saw him not. She recited a little poem about the Prophet:

"We disobey the reprobate

Flout the commands he doth make

And his religion hate."

When she had left, Abu Bakr expressed his amazement to the Prophet. "She saw me not,' he said "Allah took away her sight from me."15

Later Abu Lahab was killed by his sister-in-law Umm-el-Fadl, a secret Muslim, in an argument over religion.

* * *

One day Ubayy took a decayed bone to Muhammad and asked him sarcastically, "Can your Allah bring this back to life?" He then powdered the bone in his hand and blew the dust into the face of the Prophet, who replied:"Even so I do claim: He will raise it and thee too when thou art as that now is; then will He enter thee into the Fire."16

* * *

The Meccans sent two envoys to the Jewish rabbis at Yathrib to question them about prophets. The Jews sent back two questions to test Muhammad. For fifteen nights the Prophet waited for a revelation and in the meantime he had to suffer the jibes of the unbelievers. Nor were the worst of the Meccans convinced but it did help many who were on the borderline.

One of the questions pertained to the sleepers of Ephesus. In the middle of the third century some young men who were being persecuted for the worship of the One God hid in a cave. Here they and their faithful dog were miraculously put to sleep for three hundred years (some say 309) until all danger was past. The dog whose name was Katmir, will be admitted into Paradise, or so Muslims believe. The story is given in Sura 18, The Cave

A second question related to the great traveller Dhu al Qarnayn, said by tradition to be Alexander the Great. How he came to be a Messenger of God we do not know.)

"When he reached the setting of the sun

he found a people who became subject to his laws.

He said:"Whoever doth wrong

him shall we punish: then

shall he be sent back to his Lord

(capital punishment) and He will Punish him with a punishment

Unheard of." (Hell) (Qur'an 18:86)

When Dhu al Qarnayn reached a valley between two mountains he came to a people who begged for protection from the Gog and Magog jinns. God gave him the power to restrain these jinns until shortly before the Hour of Judgement when they would break forth and wreak terrible destruction. (18:93-99)

"And We shall present Hell that day for Unbelievers to see." (18:100)

* * *

On one occasion after the Prophet had recited from the Revelations, a poet Nadr by name rose to his feet and said that he also had tales of old but that, unlike Muhammad, he admitted that his were only stories. Sura 83 was Allah's reply:

"Woe on that day, to those who treated our signs as lies,

Those that deny the Day of Judgement.

None can deny it but the transgressor, the criminal,

Who when Our signs are rehearsed to him, says

"Tales of the Ancients".

By no means, but on their hearts is the cover of rust

Then shall they be burned in Hell-fire." (Qur'an 83:10-16)

Here and elsewhere is the concept that the heart and not the brain is the centre of mental activity. In a believer, the "eye of the heart" is receptive to faith.

* * *

For two years the Meccans had banned trade and marriage with the Prophet's clan. When they went to review the document which had been stored in the Ka'bah, it was found that the worms had eaten the ban, all except for the opening words "In thy name, O Allah."

* * *

Nor was the Prophet sent to the world of men only. In 620 CE while Muhammad was praying at Naklah seven jinn, created from fire, stopped to listen to him. They were converted and returned to their community to spread the Word of Allah. Some would be saved and some would be punished.

"But those who stray from it shall be fuel for Hell." (Qur'an 72:15)

* * *

On the night of the 17th of Rabhy, twelve months before the Hijrah, Gabriel woke the Prophet and led him outside. There was a white beast, half mule and half ass with wings at its sides. Its name was Buraq and he carried the Prophet, accompanied by Gabriel swiftly to the Temple at Jerusalem. (Apparently Muhammad did not know the state of the "Furthest Mosque" (Qur'an 17:1) in 620 CE. According to Caliph Omar in 638 CE, all that was left of the Temple Mount was a "dung heap".) There he prayed with Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other Prophets. Then two cups were brought to him, one milk and one wine. Muhammad drank the milk and left the wine and Gabriel said: " Thy people are likewise guided; wine is prohibited to them." 17

Next a ladder was brought to the Prophet and he climbed to the Gate of the Keepers. Here he met a stern angel, Malik, the keeper of the fire. When Malik removed its cover the fire raged and rose so furiously that the Prophet thought it would devour everything.

As he climbed higher he met Adam who checked the souls as they arrived. He saw men with lips like camels who stuffed lumps of fire into their mouths. This fire issued from the other end of their bodies when they farted. These, he was told were men who had wrongly devoured the property of orphans.

The next men he saw had absolutely huge bellies. Chasing them into the fire were crocodiles charging like mad camels. These, he was told, had been usurers.

After that the Prophet saw men who had the choice of beautiful meat and foul, putrid meat, but who ate the latter. These, he was told, were men who had left the women that Allah had permitted them, going instead into women prohibited to them.

Lastly while still in the first heaven he saw women hanging from steel hooks through their breasts. These, he was told, were women who attributed to their husbands children they did not father. "The wrath of Allah is very great towards a woman who introduces into the family one who does not belong to it, to eat their plunder and observe their nakedness."18

In Paradise, the Prophet saw a black houri who took his fancy. She was, he was told, destined for Zayd ibn Haritha. Later Zayd, the freed-man of the apostle, was well and truly pleased with this good news.

Seventh Heaven contained the Lote-tree, the loftiest spot in Paradise on thr right hand throne of Allah. "Its leaves are fabled to be as numerous as the population of the world and each leaf carries the name of an individual. This tree is shaken just after sunset on the 15th of Ramadan each year. The leaves which drop are for the people who are to die that year: how much green remains on the leaf indicates the number of months or weeks the person has yet to live."19 The Lote-tree was enshrouded in Divine Light and here the Prophet was told, by Allah, that his followers should pray five times daily.

In 621 CE at Aqabah, the Prophet came across six men of Khazrai from Yathrib. He converted them to Islam and they went back to Yathrib to convert more of their tribe. Later the Muslims at Yathrib were to be known as Ansars (helpers). This new development was to be a turning point in the fortunes of Islam.

* * *

After Khadijah died, Muhammad dreamed that he was to marry A'isha, the daughter of Abu Bakr. She was six and he was fifty. But firstly he married the widow Sawdah who was very motherly towards his children and, a few months later, to his child bride A'isha. She continued to play with her dolls for several years until, at the age of nine, her marriage was consummated.

* * *

For a few days the Quraysh, Muslim and non-Muslim, were re-united when in Sura 53 (19-22) the three goddesses were joined with Allah. Many Muslims deny this tradition of Tabari which is known as the "Satanic Verses".

19 "Do you see Al-lat and Al-Ozza.

20 and Manat,the third goddess?

21 These are the exalted birds (females)

22 And truly their help may be expected."

Several days Muhammad disowned verses 21 and 22 and they became:

21 "What! For you the male sex, and for him the female?

22 This indeed would be an unfair partition."

The backlash was worse than if Satan had not inserted the two verses; the Meccans were livid. Henceforth the condemnation of gods other than Allah became stronger and stronger.

* * *

about this time Muhammad was revealing Sura 23, "The believers":

Now of fine clay have We created man;

Then We placed him, a moist germ, in a safe abode [20]

Then We made the moist germ a clot of blood:

Then made the clotted blood into a piece of flesh;

Then made the piece of flesh into bones; and We clothed

The bones with flesh; and developed out of it yet another being."

At this point the Prophet took a breather and Abdullah ibn Saud, his scribe, completed verse 14: "Blessed therefore be, the most excellent of Makers", and to his shock Muhammad replied: "Yes, that's it."

Abdullah left Muhammad's employ and became an apostate [21].When Islam took Mecca some time later, Abdullah was one of those not spared.

Another Revelation included a reference to the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday).22 (7:163)

"Ask them about the city that stood by the sea (Elath?) when its inhabitants broke the Sabbath. For on that day their fish did come to them openly holding up their heads; but on days which were not Sabbath they came not. Thus did We make trial of them, for they were evil-doers."

* * *

In 622 CE Allah gave his Prophet permission to wage war. The promise to fight became binding on all Muslims. An act of allegiance was concluded with representatives of Yathrib. Satan was so displeased at this that he roared from the top of a hill. Muhammad replied to Satan:

"Listen to me, enemy of Allah! I shall make an end of you."

Persecution became so bad that the Muslims, some one hundred and fifty people, decided to emigrate to Yathrib. This was the Hijrah, or Emigration, from which dates the Islamic calendar.

Some of the Meccans who had embraced Islam did not break with the infidels and make the Hijrah. These persons were miraculously slain by angels later at Badr. "The angels,... took the souls of those... who did not flee... their home shall be Hell..." (4:99)

* * *

Satan, disguised as an old sheikh, convinced the Meccan leaders that it was necessary to kill Muhammad. Gabriel warned the Prophet who, with Allah's help, was able to slip past the attackers without them seeing him. "And We have enshrouded them, so they cannot see." (36:9)

He and Abu Bakr went south, instead of north to hide in a cave on Mount Thaur. There they remained for three days. In the meantime the Meccans offered a reward of one hundred camels to anyone who brought him back. They remembered the Prophet saying: "Quraysh, I bring you slaughter", and they realized that the Muslims would not consider their kinship when it came into conflict with their religion.

Most of the bounty hunters went north but one party, knowing how wily Muhammad was, went south. The emigrants heard the sound of voices of five or six men at the entrance of the cave. "And he (the Prophet) said to his companion: "Have no fear for Allah is with us." (9:40)

They heard the searchers agree that no one could possibly be there. When the bounty hunters had gone the emigrants went to the entrance of the cave and found that a large acacia tree had grown in front of it. Some doves were nesting in the tree and between it and the wall of rock a spider had woven its web

Later that night, as prearranged, a Bedouin with two camels came to lead them, by a circuitous route, to Yathrib. So many of the people there wanted to give him residence that, not wanting to show favoritism, the Prophet declared that he would stay where Qaswa, his camel guided by Allah, knelt. There Muhammad, Emigrants and Ansars built a mosque.

* * *

.Muhammad was becoming the most powerful man in Medina (formerly Yathrib). Unlike at Mecca where all converts had been sincere, there were now sound political reasons for converting to Islam. These "Muslims" were the Hypocrites that we read of in the Qur'an.

And when they meet the faithful they say, "We believe" but when they are apart with evil-ones

They say "Truly we hold with you and at them (the Muslims) we only mock." (2:14)

It was about this time when the Muslims had to restrain themselves, that there was given the famous saying:

"Let there be no compulsion in religion." (2:256)

Later this dictum was to be only in force when the Muslims were not powerful enough to impose Islam by the sword.

* * *

Muhammad was still hoping to secure the Jews as allies if not as Believers and an agreement was drawn up with them. The Qur'an shows a positive attitude towards them: "Dispute not, unless in kindly sort, with the people of the Book; save with such of them as have dealt wrongfully

with you: And say ye, "We believe in what hath been sent down to you. Our God and your God is one, and to him are we self-surrendered." (Muslims) (29:46)

But the Jewish hearts hardened and hardly any converts were plucked from their midst. The Qur'an reflects a new attitude: "Desire ye them that for your sakes the Jews should believe? Yet a part of them heard the word of God, and then,... perverted it." (2:70)

Soon Allah revealed a verse forbidding any contact with the Jews:

"Contract no friendships except among your own number. Others would certainly corrupt you. They desire your humiliation: their hatred is clear enough in what they say, but what their hearts conceal is even worse. . ." (3:118)

Seventeen months after the Prophet arrived in Medina, the qiblah (the direction in which Muhamrnad and his followers faced during prayers) was changed from Jerusalem to Mecca.

.

To test Muhammad, the rabbis sent to him a married man and a married Jewish woman who had committed adultery together. "If he condemns them to the tajah (whereby the criminals are lashed with a rope of date fibres dipped in resin) then obey him, for he is a prince. But if he condemns them to be stoned, he is a Prophet and be on your guard against him."23 The Prophet ordered the pair to be stoned: the man bent over his mistress to protect her from the stones, but they were both killed.

* * *

Once when some Muslims were so weak with fever that they could barely stand, they prayed sitting down. Muhammad told them: "The prayer of a seated man has only half the value of a prayer performed standing." So they rose shakily to their feet.

* * *

The Emigrants had no regular source of income and so Muhammad decided to raid passing Meccan caravans; this was an old Arab custom. Moreover, by plundering the Meccans, he would be doing God's work.

In the month of Rajab AH 2 (January 624) a party of seven to twelve Muslims was sent out to observe a caravan. Instead they attacked it, killing one Meccan, capturing two and one escaping. This was the first life that Islam took in combat but certainly not the last. Muhammad was upset because Rajab was a month holy to Mecca and he refused to take his twenty percent share of the booty. However Gabriel revealed a sura to him wherein Allah approved, so Muhammad accepted his share.

"They will ask thee concerning war in the Sacred Month. Say: To war therein is bad, but to turn aside from the cause of God.. . is worse in the sight of God." (2:27)

They ransomed one prisoner for the sum of 1600 dirhams but the other elected to remain and became a Muslim.

.

Muhammad's grip on some of his converts was still rather tenuous. One day as he was preaching, a caravan entered Medina. It was preceded by musicians and all but 12 of his congregation left the sermon and joined in the fun. The Prophet had to "like it or lump it". Allah commented "But when they get a sight of merchandise or sport, they disperse after it, and leave thee standing alone." (62:11)

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In Ramadan AH 2 (March 624) a very large caravan from Gaza to Mecca attracted the interest of Muhammad. However the Meccans were forewarned. The caravan took a different route and a thousand Meccans were sent to teach the three hundred Muslim plunderers a lesson. The Ansars came too saying, "O Messenger of Allah we will obey you even though you command us to jump into the sea."

Muhammad had all the wells filled in except the one that they occupied. He told his men that they would go straight to Paradise if they met their death.

"Let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. To him whom fighteth in the cause of Allah... We shall give him a reward of great value." (Paradise) (4:74)

One Abu Daud went to attack a Meccan but the latter's head flew off before he could strike. Helping the Muslims were a thousand angels with white turbans, except for Gabriel whose turban was yellow.

During the battle, the Prophet threw a handful of sand and gravel in the general direction of the Meccans. This miraculously landed in their eyes. God commented: "When thou threwest (the sand and gravel), it was not thy act, but Allah's." (8:17)

Another miracle was of no small assistance. Ukkashah broke his sword and was handed a wooden club by Muhammad. It became a long, strong gleaming sword. They named it al-Awn.

The larger force was defeated; "The one host fought in the cause of God, and the other was infidel. To their own eyesight, the infidels saw you twice as many as themselves." (3:11)

Muhammad's old enemy, Abu Jahl was killed and his head brought triumphantly to him. The Muslims lost fifteen dead but the Meccans about seventy and, in addition about the same number were captured. Two of these the Prophet had executed-Nadr for laughing at him and his divine revelations and Uqba for throwing offal at him in Mecca. When Uqba asked him, "But who will take care of my sons, Muhammad?", he answered him "Hell!"24

Umar and Saad wanted to slaughter all of the prisoners but Muhammad decided to ransom those that they could and only kill any that were left over.

Muhammad was humbled and reduced to tears in the next Revelation from Allah which showed Umar and Saad to have been correct.

"It is not fitting for a Prophet that he should take prisoners of war until he has thoroughly subdued the land... Allah is exalted in might, Wise." (8:67)

God did not make this order retrospective and great was the ransom that the Muslims obtained. In addition they scored one hundred and fifty camels, ten horses and a quantity of arms and armour. In the meantime the prisoners were secured with their wrists tied to their necks.

Years later one of Abu Bakr's sons, fighting on the Meccan side said, "Father! at Badr you were twice under my sword. But my love for you held back my hand". "Son", replied Abu Bakr, "if I had that chance only once you would have been no more.

Allah, however, was not pleased that many of Muhammad's men fought with the spoils of war mainly in their minds and He said: "You have sought ransoms and worldly goods, but Allah wants the next world." meaning that they should kill rather to spread his religion, which is the path to the next world."23

* * *

Muhammad was sorely tried by several poets. One was Asma bint Marwan. When her latest verses were recited to the Prophet, he cried out, "Will no one rid me ofthis daughter of Marwan?" Umayr ibn Ali, a clansman of hers volunteered. That night she was sleeping, her youngest child still at her breast, when her clansman thrust his sword through her. On that day new converts were won as they could see the power of Islam.24

A month later an almost identical situation occurred. This time it was the poet Abu Afak, reputedly over a hundred years old, who raised the Prophet's ire. Muhammad exclaimed: "Who will avenge me on this scoundrel?" and Salim ibn Umayr was the helper of God.

* * *

The victory at Badr had increased the Prophet's standing: the Bedoums, in particular, showed him much more respect. However, not one Jew had volunteered for Allah's army, indeed they became more passively and actively hostile. When Muhammad demanded tribute in the name of God from one tribe of Jews, the Banu Qaynuka, they sarcastically replied: "Aye, God is poor and we are rich"... "Taste ye the torment of burning." (3:177) The Prophet considered revoking the covenant between them: he received a command from Allah:

"If thou fearest treachery from any group throw back their covenant to them: For Allah loveth not the treacherous." (8:58)

Soon an opportunity presented itself to take on the Banu Qaynuka. A Muslim girl was selling her wares at the Qaynuka market when some Jewish boys teasingly tried to lift up her veil. Joining in the fun, a Jewish goldsmith tied her skirts without her knowledge so that when she rose the world could see her private parts. The honour of Islam was at stake and a Muslim, in revenge, killed the goldsmith. Thereupon the Muslim was killed by a group of Jews.

The Qaynuka withdrew inside their fort hoping that the affair would blow over. For two weeks the Jews were besieged in their fort. The other Jewish tribes did not come to their assistance. When the Qaynuka surrendered, Muhammad wanted to put them all to death. However, Ibn Ubayy, a pagan Medinan whom he did not yet wish to fight, persuaded him otherwise.

But Allah had decreed: "If thou overcomest them in war, then make of them an example, to strike fear into those that are behind them, that may take heed."(8:57)

The decision was that the Jews should leave their homes and all their possessions behind them. Eventually the Qaynuka reached exile near Syria. The booty the Muslims received was enormous and the Prophet and his state received a fifth share.

A poet, Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf who was partly Jewish was deeply upset by Muhammad's actions. Ka'b went to Mecca to agitate the Quraysh against the Prophet, who determined to rid himself of Ka'b and his satire. Kab's foster-brother and some accomplices pretended that they were conspiring against the Prophet so that they could lure Ka'b out of his fortress. They succeeded in tbis and having killed him exultantly presented the head of Ka'b to the Prophet.

Muhammad was becoming quite wealthy and took a third wife, Hafsah the daughter of Umar (later to be the second Caliph).

The Quraysh were seeking allies to help avenge the defeat at Badr. The decision to do something drastic against him crystallized after a Muslim attack near Qaradah on a caravan worth 100,000 dirhams.

On 20th March 625 CE, three thousand Quraysh and their allies rode against Medina. Muhammad marched out to meet them with an army of a thousand men, but next morning Ibn Ubayy and three hundred doubters ("hypocrites") turned back to Medina.

One young man, Hanzalah, caught up with the seven hundred. The previous evening had been his wedding night and he had not even stopped for ablutions before setting out for the battle.

The Prophet set his men in the gorge of Uhud. In particular he ordered fifty archers to guard their rear and to stay at their posts whatever happened.

At Badr the battle-cry had been "One God", One God "but today it was "Amit, Amit" which means "Kill, Kill". At first the Muslims did well. So well indeed that a mass of them, intent on plunder, surged towards the Meccan camp. Most of the archers left their posts hoping to secure their share of the booty. The Meccans saw their opportunity of changing the tide of battle and pushed right up to where the Prophet was seated. One Quraysh struck a glancing blow on his helmet and the Prophet fell to the ground. Thinking Muhammad had been slain, the enemy disengaged from battle.

The Meccans had lost twenty two men killed and the Muslims seventy. One of these was the young bridegroom, Hanzalah, who was seen supported by angels between heaven and earth. They had taken him up there to wash him with water from the clouds.

Why had the angels not helped the Muslims at Uhud? Allah's Revelations of sixty verses in the "Family of Imran" explain;

We alternate days of success and reverses among men,

that God may know those who have believed,

and that He may take martyrs from among you,

And that God may test those who believe..." (3:135)

"And ye disputed about the order (to stay put at Uhud)

and disobeyed the... Prophet..." (3:144)

"And it was Satan alone who caused those of you

to fail in duty (the 300 who turned back) on the day when the hosts met...

But God hath pardoned them." (3:149)

And that which befell you on the day when

the armies met, was certainly by the will of God,

and that he might know the faithful, and that

He might know the hypocrites." (3:160)

"And repute not those slain on God's path be dead.

Nay alive with their Lord, (Paradise) are they richly sustained."(3:163)

"And let not the prosperity in the land (Mecca)

on the part of those who believe not, deceive thee.

"'Tis just a brief enjoyment! Then shall Hell be their abode." (3:196)

Thinking that Uhud had demonstrated the Muslims' weakness, several tribes tried to attack them but the believers held their own. News came that a chief of Hudhayl was planning mischief so the Prophet sent Abd Allah ibn Unays to assassinate him. In revenge some men of Hudhayl killed three Muslims including Asim of Aws. Now Asim's head was worth money because he had killed two Qurayshites at Uhud. Their mother had sworn to drink wine out of his skull. The Hudhayli cut off his head but a swarm of bees prevented them from taking it away. In the afternoon a flood swept Asim's head away so that they could not find it.

.

The angel Gabriel came to the Prophet to tell him that the Jewish tribe of Nadir was plotting to kill him. The Prophet told the Jews: "Leave your land and take all that your camels can carry, except your arms and your armour.

"And had it not been that Allah had decreed Banishment for them, He certainly would have Punished them in this world: and in the Here-after They shall have the Punishment of the Fire." (59:3) Allah revealed that, as it had been a bloodless victory, all that the Jews had left behind belonged to the Prophet and that he was to share it with the poor. Now the Emigrants were financially independent of the Helpers.

The Jews made their way to Khaybar further north in the Hejaz and determined to get back their homes. To show that his influence could reach as far as Khaybar, Muhammad sent some men there to kill the aged Jew Atu Rafi. They struck him in his bed.

Zayd, the adopted son of Muhammad, had divorced his wife Zaynab who was in love with the Prophet. He had seen her in a state of undress and felt very strongly attracted toward her. However, custom forbade marriage to the former wife of a foster son and, moreover, the Prophet already had four wives, the maximum that Islamic law permits. It was several months before he received a Revelation from God:

"And when Zayd had divorced her We married her to thee, that it might not be a crime in the faithful to marry the wives of their adopted sons once the affair is settled." (33:37)

"O Prophet! We allow thee... any believing woman (a non-believing woman could be taken as a concubine) ... if the Prophet desires to wed her... a Privilege for thee above the rest of the Faithful." (33:49)

However, having been married to the Prophet, it would be an enormity in the eyes of God for his wives to ever be given in marriage to another man (33:53) At the time of his death in 632 CE, Muhammad had ten wives, apparently dressed in widows' weeds for the rest of their lives.

.

In December 626 CE at the well of Muraysi the Muslims surprised the army of the Banu l-Mustaliq. The Muslims lost one man dead and the unbelievers ten. The booty was excellent: two thousand camels, five thousand sheep and goats and two hundred women. A very beautiful captive was Juwayriyya, daughter of the chieftain. Muhammad saw her and she became wife number six.

The victors wanted to have sex with their captives but the women were to be ransomed and not kept as slaves. Muhammad agreed that his men could use azl, that is to go into the women but withdraw before ejaculation. When a Jew called coitus interruptus ~the lesser child-murder" the Prophet said: "The Jews lie."25

* * *

.The Prophet had taken his thirteen year old wife, A'isha, with him on the expedition. One morning before breaking camp she went looking for a necklace which she had lost while relieving herself. The troop left with her howdah empty. A straggler, Sufwan came along and offered her his camel but they did not catch up with the party until the next camp. Scandal-mongers spread rumours about A'isha and Sufwan. The Prophet was upset for some time but Allah revealed to him the innocence of his young wife, and he ordered the slanderers to be whipped.(24:11-15).

Ali's remarks to A'isha had been unsympathetic and that may have led to his assassination twenty years later. In future if the accusers of any fornication or adultery could not support their evidence with four witnesses they would be punished with eighty lashes. (24:4)

.

Some people of the tribe of Uraina came to the Prophet and he told them that they could go to the camels of Sadaqa and drink their milk and urine (used to cure certain diseases). At first all was well but then they fell upon the shepherds and killed them, turned apostates to Islam and drove off the camels of Muhammad. He sent men to bring them in. The Holy Prophet had their hands cut off, their feet cut off, their eyes put out and had them thrown on stony ground until they died. (Hadith Muslim Chap. 669)

In March 627, the "Confederates" consisting of the exiled Banu Nadir and other Jews, and the Quraysh and other Arabs who hated the Prophet raised an army of ten thousand with a thousand horses. To impede the cavalry, at the suggestion of Salman, a Persian convert, a long deep trench was dug with the help of all the believers including the Prophet himself.

During the digging of the trench, which lasted six days, four miracles occurred. Jabir came across a rock which he could not loosen. The Prophet spat into a little water, sprinkled it on the rock which turned into sand. Umar came across another obstinate rock. The Prophet hit it with a pick three times each time conducting lightning. On the third strike the rock split into many pieces. One evening the Prophet told Jabir to invite all the diggers to his home. There a ewe and some bread were multiplied to feed the scores of workers. On another day the Prophet multiplied a handful of dates so that everyone ate their fill.

The army of the Lord numbered three thousand men and these lined the trench. There was no grass for the horses and camels of the Confederate cavalry which was therefore pressed for time. Coming up to the trench they quickly retreated under a hail of arrows. Meanwhile at the fort of Hassan, Sofiya, the daughter of Abdul-Muttalib, spotted a Jew looking around inquisitively. She was worried that he would report back that, apart from Hassan, there were only women and children in the fort. When Hassan did nothing she went down with a stick and killed the Jew.

The Meccans were able to convince a tribe of Jews, the Bani Qurayzah to break their pact with the Prophet so that he had to garrison their town with three hundred cavalry. This stretched the defence of the trench and in one place four horses were able to cross. Two of the enemy were killed and two managed to escape back across the trench. The exchange of arrows dragged on for two weeks and the horses of the unbelievers were dying. The weather became very cold, wet and windy and the tents of the infidels would not stay up.

One night the army of the Confederates melted away. At noon on the same day, Gabriel came to the Prophet telling him: "O Messenger of God. The Angels have not laid down their arms, and return from pursuing the foe. God... commandeth thee to go against the Qurayzah..."26

A thousand Muslims besieged the fortress of the Bani Qurayzah for 25 days when the Jews eventually opened their gates and threw themselves on Muhammad's mercy. They agreed to a chieftain of a Medinan tribe, Sa'd ibn Muadh, judging them for their treachery to the young Islamic state. The Mosaic law applied to the Jews and their punishment should have been total extermination: "thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth" (Deuteronomy 20, 16). Allah was more merciful than Jehovah however (33:26) and Sa'd's adjudication was to slay the men and take the women and children into captivity. The Prophet was pleased and replied to Sa'd: "Thou hast judged with the judgement of God from above the seven heavens."

In the morning Muhammad ordered long, deep and narrow trenches to be dug in the market place. The seven hundred or so men from Bani Qurayzah were brought in small groups to kneel beside the trench. Then the younger and stronger believers cut off the Jews' heads each with a stroke of a sword. The last to die were beheaded by torchlight.

The women, children and property were divided amongst those who had taken part in the siege. The Bani Nadir ransomed many of their kin but Muhammad kept for himself, as concubine, a beautiful Jewess named Rayhanah.

"And He made you heirs of their lands, their houses and their goods, and of a land which ye had not frequented before, And Allah has power over all things." (33:27)

At the Battle of the Trench, Sa'd had been wounded by an arrow which cut an artery and, several days after the punishment of the Jews, the angel Gabriel came to tell Muhammad that Sa'd was dead. When his bearers carried his bier to the cemetery they remarked how light it was and the Prophet told them that he had seen angels helping them.

"The Throne of Allah shook at the death of 'Sa'd Muadh." (hadith Muslim 6033~)

Dying from his wound, Sa'd was a martyr: "The handkerchiefs of Sa'd in Paradise are better than this." (hadith M. 6036) (Apparently one still gets sniffles in Heaven.)

* * *

In February 628 CE, Muhammad decided to make the lesser pilgrimage to Mecca. He took a thousand Muslim pilgrims with him. The Quraysh were in a quandary what to do but sent out two hundred horsemen to prevent their entry. The Muslims re-directed their route to the pass of Hudaybiyah. However there was almost no water in the soak. There the Prophet performed a miracle: he spat into a bucket of the water and had a helper pour it back into the empty dam and stir it with an arrow. Thereupon a gush of clear, fresh water filled the waterhole, enough to satisfy all the men and all the animals.

The Muslims were not allowed to proceed past Hudaybiyah but a ten-year non-aggression pact was drawn up and they could make the pilgrimage, unarmed, the following year. The Prophet received a Revelation that Allah was well-pleased with this agreement and counted it a clear victory. (Sura 48, The Victory)

The Meccans now had no objection to the Muslims proselytizing and Islam doubled in two years. The poor and homeless gravitated towards Medina.

* * *

The Jews had not forgiven Muhammad. One, by the name of Labid was gifted in sorcery. He obtained some combings of the Prophet's hair and tied eleven knots in it. His daughters breathed curses upon each knot. The hair he attached to a male date-palm flower and threw it in a deep well. The magic could only be countered by undoing the knots.

The health of the Prophet declined drastically. He lost his memory and began to imagine things. He felt very weak and could not stomach food. He prayed to Allah for His assistance and, in his sleep, heard two angels discussing the reason for his illness. Gabriel verified his dream and gave him Suras 113 and 114.

"I seek refuge in the Lord of Daybreak. ... against the mischief of women who blow on knots." (133:1-5)~~... Against the mischief of Satan... against djinn and man." (114:3-6)

These two suras total eleven verses and as each verse was recited one of the eleven knots was loosened. Soon the Prophet had made a full recovery.

Muslims call them "the two takings of refuge" and recite them for protection against the evil eye.

.

With their south secure, the Muslims decided to march on the Jewish fortresses of Khaybar. The Muslim force was only sixteen hundred men and the Jews totalled fourteen thousand. The Prophet decided to tackle the smallest fortress first and the other Jews did not come to its aid. The Muslims were in luck as inside they found machines for scaling and breaching the walls of fortresses.

The Prophet agreed to kill none of the Jews provided that they vacated Khaybar leaving all possessions behind. For concealing treasure two Jews, Kinana and his cousin were executed. Kinana's beautiftil seventeen year old widow, Saffiyah was attractive to Muhammad and he married her. "He was as twenty men." [27]

The whole of Khaybar became the property of Islam and Muhammad allowed some of the Jews to remain behind and pay a rent of half their farm produce. On the same terms, the Prophet became landlord of the Jewish settlements of Fadah and Wadi 1-Qura. Now that his tenants had handed over their weapons, the Prophet had to protect them from marauding Bedouins.

* * *

The ruler of Egypt replied to the Prophet's letter. As far as converting to Islam was concerned, he was non-committal but he did send some fine presents including two Christian slave girls. One of these, Mariyah, the Prophet kept as a concubine and he visited her several times a day. His wives became so jealous that he was forced to swear that he would not see her again.

A Revelation now known as "The Forbidding" rebuked the Prophet for submitting to the pressure of his wives. It was quite lawful for him to take a concubine and "perhaps if he divorces you, God will give him in exchange better wives than you... penitent, obedient... both known of men and virgins. O believers, save yourselves... from the Fire whose fuel is men and stones" (66:5-6)

And in another Revelation each wife was given two choices. Firstly she could have fine things in this world. He would give them to her and release her, OR instead she could chose God, His Messenger and the Hereafter. They all chose the latter alternative.

* * *

A year had passed since Hudaybiyah and two thousand Muslim pilgrims trekked to Mecca to make the lesser Pilgrimage. For three days the Quraysh vacated the whole of the town leaving it to the pilgrims. The Prophet touched the Black Rock with his rod, made seven circuits of the Ka'bah, made seven trips between the foot of Safa hill and the hill of Marwah. At Marwah he sacrificed a camel and had his head shaved.

The Prophet wished to enter the Ka'bah but the locals would not give him the key as that was not in the contract. Muhammad came home with an extra wife as he had met the widow, Maymunah in Mecca.

The messenger carrying the Prophet's letter to the Governor of Syria had been killed by the Ghassanids, who were mainly Christian. Muhammad sent an army of three thousand to punish them. However, the enemy had been reinforced by Byzantine troops and the total was perhaps as many as a hundred thousand men. The Prophet saw the battle at Mu'tah in his mind's eye. The small force attacked the Christians bravely and were able to withdraw in orderly fashion with the loss of only eight men. The Prophet told the families of the martyrs of their loved ones' deaths and that night he saw a vision of the eight in Paradise.

On the next Muslim incursion into Syria, Caesar's forces were not present and the Christians left a trail of broken camps. The only Arabs to meet them were friendly.

.

Some allies of the Quraysh with the aid of several individual Qurayshi made a night raid on some allies of Medina, killing one person. The Prophet was livid with rage. Abu Sufyan was sent by the Meccans to placate him but to no avail. Indeed it looked as though Muhammad was glad for the excuse to fight. He set off for Mecca with ten thousand men.

Abu Sufyan was sent out to parley but he saw the strength of Islam and submitted to Islam. He hastened back to Mecca with the Prophet's message: "Whoso entereth the house of Abu Sufyan shall be safe and whoso locketh upon himself his door shall be safe and whoso entereth the Mosque shall be safe."28

A small group of unbelievers made a stand outside the city but the streets of Mecca were deserted. The Prophet prayed, rested and then went to the Ka'bah. He touched the Black Stone with his rod and called out: "Allah is greater". The call was taken up and Mecca resounded with it. The Prophet completed the seven circuits of the Ka'bah saying "the false is ever a vanisher" referring to the idols surrounding the Ka'bah. One by one, the three hundred and sixty idols toppled over as he pointed at them with his rod. He made it known that all idols in homes were to be destroyed and that His former enemies had been forgiven by God and could embrace Islam at the nearby hill of Safa.

The Prophet sent Khalid to Naklah to destroy the temple of al-Uzza. He did this and smashed the idol but he was sent back again. This time a wild black woman, completely naked, came charging at him but he was able to cut her down. Within two weeks two thousand Qurayshites had joined the Prophet's army. Hawajin who had a temple to al-Lat raised an army of twenty thousand men to defend their goddess. Three scouts sent out by the Hawajin came back in a terrible state shattered by what they had seen: "White men on piebald horses", "People of Heaven", "An unbearable sight."

The two armies met at Hunayn. At first the battle did not favour the Muslims but the Prophet prayed to Allah and threw some pebbles in the direction of the enemy just as he had done at Badr. Allah revealed later that he had sent down, unseen, angels to punish the disbelievers. (9:25-7)

The Hawazin had brought their families and property with them. The booty consisted of six thousand women and children, four thousand ounces of silver, twenty four thousand camels and perhaps forty thousand sheep and goats. The Prophet gave substantial presents to the rich Qurayshites who had not yet been converted, as a recent Revelation had said that such people should be reconciled in the cause of Allah. (9:60)

A deputation came from the Hawazin and, on professing Islam, their women and children were returned to them. Tribes came from as far away as the Yemen and the borders of Syria and Persia to submit themselves to Muhammad.

The Prophet determined to march on Tabuk, an outpost of the Byzantine empire. It was, however, a time of great heat, and food and fodder were in short supply. Some of the faint-hearted did not wish to set out. God lambasted the Hypocrites thus:

"They said, "Do not march out into the heat!" We say, "The Fire of Hell will be hotter!"

Let them therefore laugh a little now, For they will weep much hereafter." (9:81)

At al-Hijr the people had no water so Allah sent a cloud and it rained so that the people had water in plenty. At Tabuk no army came to meet them but John, the Christian governor made peace with the Prophet and paid him tax.

Near Medina they came upon a mosque which had been built by unrighteous people. Allah said: "And those who erected a mosque out of opposition and unbelief and to cause a schism among the Believers... Enter no such mosque." (9:107-8) So the Prophet burned and destroyed it, although there were people in it.

* * *

This was the Year of Deputations. Now that the Quraysh were Muslims, tribe after tribe came from all directions to profess Islam. Amir ibn Tufayl was sent by the Bani Amir saying that his people would convert to Islam if the Prophet named him as his successor. When Amir had gone, Muhammad prayed: "O Allah, guide the Bani Amir and rid Islam of Amir." Before he reached home, Amir was afflicted with an abscess and died. His tribe entered Islam unconditionally.

Allah gave immunity to the idolaters for a while, but "When the four sacred months have elapsed

"Kill the idolaters wherever you find them;

Make them prisoners...

But if they repent and pray according to the commands Of Allah,

and pay the tax, then set them free,

As Allah is Often Forgiving and Merciful." (9:5)

"After this year, no idolater will be allowed to make the pilgrimage (9:28)

or walk around the Ka'bah naked.

* * *

The Prophet sent his followers to instruct the newcomers in Islam. Khalid and his sword were sent out to convert the remaining stragglers to the faith. Usually they were given three days to make up their minds. Jews and Christians were allowed to remain as such provided that they paid a golden dinar or its equivalent. The presence of all Muslims at Friday prayers was compulsorv.

* * *

Muhammad's only remaining son, Ibrahim, died as a toddler. Soon after his burial there was a solar eclipse. Some attributed he eclipse to the Prophet's loss but he replied: "The sun and the moon are two signs of Allah. Their light is not dimmed for any man's death. If ye see them eclipsed, ye should pray until they be clear." The implication is nevertheless, that they are not natural phenomena relying on the mathematical laws of science.

* * *

The next pilgrimage was an exultant one. The Prophet set out from Medina at the head of thirty thousand men. One of the many rites he performed was the Stoning of the Devil, represented by three pillars, in the valley on Mina. This was in remembrance of the Prophet Abraham.

* * *

The Prophet was sixty three and he often talked of Paradise. One night he told his freedman, Abu Muwayhibah that Allah had offered him a choice. Firstly he could have the treasuries of the world and be immortal until the Day of Judgment when he would ascend into Paradise. The other alternative was to go straight to Allah in Paradise. Muhammad chose to go straight to Heaven rather than wait for the Final Hour.

Too ill to lead the prayer, Muhammad delegated the task to Abu Bakr. At noon on Monday, the eighth of June 632 CE, Muhammad died. A great calamity befell the Muslims. A'isha, who lived until 679 CE, recorded that: "When the apostle of Allah died many Arabs relapsed into idolatry; Judaism and Christianity rose again, and Hypocrisy became common, so that Muslims seemed like a flock of sheep on a wintry night... Then Allah roused them again under Abu Bakr." Within two years the first caliph had conquered Mesopotamia (Iraq) and was poised on Syria.

* * *

Fundamentalists believe that Allah sent Muhammad as the Model of Behaviour (Uswa-e-Hasna, Qur'an 33:21). The Prophet is seen not as a man of the Seventh Century CE but as a role model for all time to come.

REFERENCES

1.Ibn Hisham: "Sira Des Leben Mahommeds" ed F. Weestenfeld, Go. ttingen 1859 P101. Quoted in "Mohammed" M. Rodinson, Pelican P42.

2.Ibn Ishaq "The Life of Muhammad" P17. Apparently the chronicler did not know about the curvature of the earth; only more light was needed to see Syria, the light to see coming from the viewer?

3.CE Common Era (Numerically equals AD)

4.Ibn Ishaq P17. The lunar calendar of the Arabs has only 354 days and so in our calendar the date is different each year.

5."Muhammad, His Life Based on the Earliest Sources". M. Lings P30.

6.Qur'an means Recitation in Arabic.

7.Ibn Ishaq, P36.

8.ibid, P37.

9.M. Lings, P65.

10.Ibn Ishaq, P183.

11.loc. cit.

12.ibid, P50

13.M. Lings, P68.

14.M. Rodinson, P92.

15.Ibn Ishaq, P234. 16. ibid, P239.

17.ibid, P58.

18.ibid, P62.

19."The Koran", J.M. Rodwell, Dent.

20.The implication is that a child results from the father's sperm only. Apparently the womb is only a "safe abode" for the foetus to grow. Elsewhere the female lubricating fluid appears to be regarded as the female contribution to the foetus.

21.An apostate is one who repudiates his religion. The penalty for apostasy from Islam is death.

22.The Islamic Sabbath is Friday.

23.Ibn Ishaq, P86.

24.Ibn Hisham, P458.

25.Waqidi, Vol 1, P413.

26.Ibn Ishaq, P684.

27.M.Lings,P271.

28.ibid, P296.

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