Grace and Truth
04. THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD ACCORDING TO IBN HISHAM
5 - Mockery of the Jews and the first military campaigns of Muhammad -- (623 A.D.)
The Resistance and Mockery of the the Jews -- Holy War Enters a New Stage.
5.03.5 -- The dispatching of Abdallah ibn Jahsch to Nakhla and the revelation regarding battle during the holy month (January 624 A.D.)
5.01 -- The Resistance and Mockery of the Jews -- (after 623 A.D.)
According to Muhammad Ibn Ishaq (died 767 A.D.) edited by Abd al-Malik Ibn Hisham (died 834 A.D.)
An edited translation from Arabic, originally by Alfred Guillaume
A selection with annotations by Abd al-Masih and Salam Falaki
5.02 -- The Resistance and Mockery of the the Jews (after 623 A.D.)
5.02.1 -- A testimony of Safiyya
Safiyya, the daughter of Huyay ibn Akhtab, is reported to have said the following: “My father Huyay and my uncle Abu Yasir favored me above all other children. As often as they would be occupied with another child, as soon as I came they turned their attention to me. When Muhammad came to Medina and settled in Kuba, my father and my uncle went to him before the break of day and returned home again only at sunset. They went slowly and sluggishly and appeared to be very downcast. As always I jumped on them, but they paid no attention to me. They were so troubled. I then heard how my father asked my uncle: “Is it he?” He answered: “Yes, by Allah!” He asked again: “Do you recognize him and confirm what he says?” He answered: “Yes.” My uncle then asked: “And what do you intend to do to him?” My father answered: “By Allah, I will treat him as an enemy as long as I live.”
5.02.2 -- Of the Hypocrites among the Helpers who Sided with the Jews
Nabtal ibn al-Harith was a strong, dark-skinned man, with flowing hair, red eyes and crimson cheeks. He often came to Muhammad, talked with him and then carried back Muhammad's words to the hypocrites. He also said: “Muhammad is all ears. He believes what one tells him.”* In regards to him, Allah revealed the following: “And some of them insult the prophet, saying, “He is all ears! Say: ‘It is good for you that he is all ears. He believes in Allah and has trust in the believers. He has mercy on the believers among you. But for those who insult the prophet there awaits a painful chastisement!’” (Sura al-Tawba 9:61). Balajlan said it was reported to him how Gabriel once came to Muhammad and said: “There sits with you a dark-skinned man with flowing hair, crimson cheeks and red eyes that look like two copper pots. His heart is harder than that of a donkey. He carries back your words to the hypocrites. Be wary of him!” This, so they say, was the description of ibn al-Harith.
* These words of Ibn Hisham's biography give strong indication to the fact that Muhammad initially listened eagerly to the Jews, and that he accepted, believed and incorporated into his own world of thought much of what they said.
Muhammad had to rely upon the statements, news, stories and teaching of the Jews because he could not read the Hebrew Torah and did not himself receive any true revelations. Thus it can be assumed that his hunger for a knowledge of the truth and the law was taken advantage of by Jewish charlatans and that he was deceived by them.
5.02.3 -- How the Hypocrites were driven from the Mosque
On one occasion there were several hypocrites who, whispering among themselves, entered the mosque and crowded tightly together. When Muhammad saw this, he had them driven out of the mosque by force.* Abu Ayyub Khalid ibn Zaid grabbed Amr ibn Qays, a brother of Banu Ghanim, and dragged him out of the mosque by his foot. Amr ibn Qays cried out continually: “Will you banish me from the drying place of the Banu Tha'laba?” At this Abu Ayyub turned to Raafi' ibn Wadia, one of the Banu Najjar, grabbed him by the collar of his cloak, hit him in the face and threw him out, whereby he cried out: “Hey you nasty hypocrite; away with you, you hypocrite - get out of the sanctuary of the messenger of Allah!” Umara ibn Hazm went up to Zaid ibn Amr, grabbed him by his long beard and dragged him by force from the mosque. He then pushed him with both hands so hard that he fell over, after which he cried out: “You have injured me, Umara!” But he answered him: “May Allah cast you out, you hypocrite! The punishment that Allah prepares for you is harder than this one. Don't ever again approach the mosque of the messenger of Allah!”
* Nothing harmed Muhammad more deeply than the mockery of his enemies. He could not bear these hypocrites, who pretended to be Muslims, yet in reality rejected Islam. He did not warn them, but had them forcefully driven from his sanctuary.
Jesus unmasked the hypocrites among the Jews and chided them with harsh words; He did not, however, have them forcefully driven from His presence. He loved them till the end and told them the truth openly to their face.
Abu Muhammad, one of the Banu Najjar who had fought at the battle of Badr, and Abu Muhammad Mas'ud ibn Aus, also one of the Banu Najjar, came upon Qays ibn Amr ibn Sahl, the only youth among the hypocrites, and struck him in the back of the neck until he left the mosque. A man from the clan of Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, whose name was Abd Allah ibn Harith, went up to al-Harith ibn Amr, grabbed him by his hair and dragged him across the floor and out of the mosque. The hypocrite shouted: “You are very crude, son of Harith!” The former responded: “You deserve it, enemy of Allah!”
A man from the Banu Amr ibn Auf went up to his brother, Zuwai ibn al-Harith, threw him out of the mosque and shouted: “You be shamed,” and then added: “Satan and his cause have taken hold of you!” These men were in the mosque that day and were, at the command of Muhammad, thrown out.
5.02.4 -- What was Revealed in Sura “al-Baqara”
It was against these Rabbis and hypocrites from the Ausites and the Khazrajites that the beginning of Sura “al-Buqara” was revealed: “That is the Book, wherein is no doubt…” (Sura al-Baqara 2:2). “As for the unbelievers” (that is, those who do not believe what was revealed, even if they say they believe in previous revelation) “it matters not to them whether you have warned them or not warned them; they do not believe” (Sura al-Baqara 2:6). They deny that which is mentioned of you in their books, as they do the covenant that on your behalf (!) was contracted with them. They believe neither in that which has been revealed to you nor in that which was revealed to them by others. How is it then to be expected that they will pay heed to your admonitions or warnings, since they deny they have any knowledge of you? “Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and their ears and over their face there lies a blanket …” (that hinders them from finding guidance and from believing in the truth, that which came to you from your Lord and that which they declare to be lies, even though they believed all previous revelation) “… and there awaits them a mighty chastisement” (Sura al-Baqara 2:7) because of their unbelief toward you. These words were directed at the Rabbis, who rejected the truth, even after they had recognized it.
“There are some among the people who say: ‘We believe in Allah and the Last Day,’ yet they are no believers” (Sura al-Baqara 2:8). By this he meant the hypocrites among the Ausites and the Khazrajites, as well as those who sided with them. “9 They seek to deceive Allah and those who believe in Him: but they deceive none save themselves, though they may not perceive it. 10 There is a sickness in their hearts …” (Sura al-Baqara 2:9-10), which is doubt. “13 When it is said to them: ‘Believe as other people believe’, they answer: ‘Are we to believe as fools do?’ It is they who are the fools, but they do not know it! 14 When they meet the believers, they declare: ‘We believe!’ 15 But when they go privily to their satans (the Jews that compel them to deny the truth and not to accept the revelation of Muhammad), so they say: ‘We are with you! We were only mocking’” (Sura al-Baqara 2:13-14), and they toy with the Muslims. “15 Allah will mock at them and keep them in sin, stumbling along in error. 16 For such that barter away guidance for error: their business has not produced profit. They were not well guided. 17 They are like one who kindled a fire, but as soon as it lit up all around him, Allah took away their light, leaving them in darkness not seeing anymore. 18 They are deaf, dumb and blind and they do not come back” (Sura al-Baqara 2:15-18). Because of their insubordination and their threats there will be no rescue from their condition. “19 They resemble those who, beneath a dark storm-cloud charged with thunder and lightning, thrust their fingers in their ears at the sound of every thunder clap for fear of death. Allah thus encompasses the unbelievers,” in order to punish them, for in every place the unbelievers are under His sovereign power. “20 The lightning almost takes away their sight: whenever it flashes upon them they walk on, but as soon as it darkens they stand still. Indeed, if Allah pleased He could take away their sight … 21 O you people! Serve your Lord who created you, and those that were before you; maybe you will be God-fearing. 22 It is he who assigned to you the earth for a couch, and heaven for an edifice, and sent down out of heaven water, wherewith He brought forth fruits for your provision; so set not up peers to Allah unwittingly! ... 24 ... fear the fire*, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for unbelievers” (Sura al-Baqara 2:19-22.24).
* Hell plays a decisive role in Islam. Fear of Allah and his judgment is stronger than any love for him. The (possible) salvation of pious Muslims is understood to be a snatching out of the fire of hell (Sura Maryam 19:70-71).
“And they say, ‘The fire shall not touch us save a number of days.’ - Say: ‘Have you taken with Allah a covenant?* Allah will not fail in His covenant; or say you things against Allah of which you know nothing?’” (Sura al-Baqara 2:80).
* Muhammad had heard something about the covenant that God had contracted with the Jews; he did not, however, exactly know what God had promised or commanded them.
When Muhammad came to Medina, the Jews were maintaining: “The world will exist for 7,000 years. God punishes one thousand earth years with one day in hell. Accordingly, there will be seven days in the afterlife, and then the punishment will end.” At this Allah revealed the following: “81 Not so; whoso earns evil and is encompassed by his transgression, those are the inhabitants of the fire; there they shall dwell forever; 82 and those that believe, and do deeds of righteousness, those are the inhabitants of Paradise; there they shall dwell forever” (Sura al-Baqara 2:81-82). Whoever believes in that which you reject, and practices pious deeds of righteousness - that which you neglect - will come forever to Paradise. Hereby he announced to them that the reward for the good, as well as for the bad, was unending.
Furthermore Allah said: “you are not to allow yourselves to be driven from your land, for you have ratified the contract, and you yourselves have appeared as witnesses. Now you wage war among yourselves. One part drives the other from the land and does not draw back from practicing crime and animosity.”
The Jews of Medina were divided into two hostile camps: the Banu Qaynuqa' and their following, who were allies of the Khazrajites, and the Banu Nadir and Quraiza, beside their following, who were allies of the Ausites. If there broke out an argument between the Ausites and the Khazrajites, so the Banu Qaynuqa' sided with the Khazrajites, while the Nadir and the Quraiza went out with the Ausites. In this manner they again and again shed Jewish blood even though they had the Torah, from which they could know what was allowed and what was forbidden. The Ausites and the Khazrajites were idolators, who knew neither Hell nor Paradise, neither the raising of the dead nor the resurrection, who thus knew nothing of any revelation, neither of that which was allowed nor of what is forbidden. When the war had ended they exchanged their prisoners in accordance with the Torah. The Qaynuqa' exchanged those who had fallen into the hands of the Ausites, and the Nadir and Quraiza those that had come into the possession of the Khazrajites. Yet they paid no heed to the blood they reciprocally shed, having given aid to the idolaters. For that reason Allah spoke to them in reprimand: “… Do you believe in one part of the Scriptures and deny another? ...” (Sura al Baqara 2:85) So they exchanged prisoners, even while shedding blood and breaking the law of the Torah. Furthermore they drive each other from the land and, out of earthly motives, call to the idolaters for help.*
* The Jews of the Hijaz were divided among themselves and held to contradictory teachings. This made it difficult for Muhammad to recognize the truth and to believe in their doctrines and ethics. On the other hand, it can be assumed that Muhammad took advantage of their strained relations and that he played off the hostile brothers one against the other - until the bitter end.
Allah then continued: “And we revealed to Moses the Scriptures, and after him sent succeeding messengers; and We gave 'Isa (Jesus), the Son of Mary veritable signs ...” (Sura al-Baqara 2:87), that were performed through him: the resurrection from the dead and the creation of a bird out of clay, into which he breathed life with the permission of Allah; in addition he healed the sick and had knowledge of many secrets, and he knew what they were hiding in their homes. Moreover, he was in the position to refute their corrupting of the Torah and Gospel that Allah had revealed to him. Yet in spite of everything, the Jews did not believe (see Sura Al ‘Imran 3:49-52).*
* The Qur’an confirms many of the great miracles of Jesus that are written in the New Testament, as well as in the Apocryphal narrations outside the New Testament. Jesus thereby comes to the Muslims as authorized creator, unique physician, one who gives life to the dead, the food-provider for his disciples and as lawgiver. His signs surpass those of all other prophets. Muhammad himself was unable to perform any miraculous work, which is the reason why he designated his Qur'anic verses as constituting miracles (ayat).
“87 … And whenever there came to you a messenger with what your souls did not desire, you became arrogant. One part of them you rejected as liars and others you killed. 88 And they say, ‘Our hearts are covered.’ Rather, Allah has cursed them for their unbelief; few are those who believe” (Sura al-Baqara 2:87-88).*
* The instruction in Deuteronomy 29:3 and the words of God in Isaiah 6:9-10 were confirmed by Jesus (Mathew 15:8). They are also reflected in the Qu’ran. These statements confirm the faithfulness and the perseverance of the Jews in holding to their dogma. But they also testify to their resistance toward all other teachings. They unequivocally rejected Jesus, the Son of God. Even when it goes against other passages in the Qu’ran, verse 87 suggests a hidden indication that Muhammad also pointed to the possibility and likelihood of the death of Jesus Christ.
The double wrath refers to that which they disregarded of the Torah, which they already had, and also reflects their disbelief towards Muhammad, whom Allah had sent to them most recently. He then upbraids them over the fact that a mountain had to be raised above them and that they worshipped the calf as god. Allah said further: “Say: ‘If the last abode with Allah is yours exclusively, and not for other people, then long for death …’” (Sura al-Baqara 2:94); say: “May Allah kill the one of us two, who is lying!”* (cf. Suras al-Tawba 9:30 and al-Munafiqun 63:4). But they did not want to consent to this proposal of Muhammad. Therefore it was said: “But they will never long for it, because of what their hands had put forth …” (Sura al-Baqara 2:95). They know that they have knowledge of you in their books, and yet they still deny you. It is maintained - in the event that they had wished for death on the day Muhammad spoke this to them - that then every Jew would have died. He mentions then how they desire long and lustful earthly lives: “You will find them the most eager of men for life; and among the polytheists one of them would like to live a thousand years. But this would not remove one bit him from the punishing torture …” (Sura al-Baqara 2:96). The idolater expects no resurrection. Thus he loves a long life just as do the Jews, who know what a terrible shame awaits them in the next life.
* On occasion Muhammad would challenge his opponents to a prayer duel or an invocation of divine judgment. He did not bless his enemies, but rather tried to annihilate them in the name of Allah. This practice had to do with a hidden form of black magic, which is, even until today, practiced among Muslim leaders.
One day a group of Jewish Rabbis came to Muhammad. Their spokesman said: “We want to put four questions to you. If you answer them, then we will believe in you and follow you.” Muhammad gave assent to this proposal. He demanded they promise by Allah, however, that they hold to their word. They gave the promise demanded. “Now then, so ask what you want,” Muhammad retorted. They then asked: “Explain to us how a child can resemble its mother although the semen comes from the father.” Muhammad answered: “I swear to you by Allah and by the days of His dwelling among the people of Israel. Do you not know that the semen of the man is white and thick and that the seed of the woman is yellow and liquid? The child resembles the one of the two that rises above the other.” The Jews cried out: “By Allah, so it is! Now tell us how is your sleep?” Muhammad answered: “I swear to you by Allah and by the days of his tarrying among the people of Israel. Do you know that the sleep you think evades me is that in which the eyes sleep but the heart keeps awake?” They said: “Yes, by God.” “Now then”, he responded, “just so is my sleep. My eyes sleep but my heart is awake.” They then asked what it was that Israel voluntarily refused himself. To that he answered: “His favorite food and his most beloved drink were the milk and meat of camels. He at one time had an illness from which Allah healed him. For that he chose to deny himself, as a sign of his gratitude toward Allah, the meat and milk of camels - which were his favorite food and drink.” The Jews said: “So it is, by God. Give us now news about the Spirit.” He answered: “It is Gabriel who visits me.”* “By God, so it is,” the Rabbis said. “But we have an enemy who is king. He will come with violence and the shedding of blood. If this were not so we would follow you.”**
* The Spirit of God or the Spirit of Holiness is understood in Islam to be a created angel, and not God's own Spirit. Islam knows of no Holy Spirit in the sense of the Bible. Therefore a Muslim can also not recognize Christ, the Son of God. In Islam there are no gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit, but only the fruit of the flesh (1 Corinthians 12:3; Galatians 5:19-23).
** This curious story, which mixes thoughts of Sufism (the heart remains awake) with the imagination of Bedouins (such as the eating of camel meat), probably goes back to Ka’b ibn al-Ahbar, and can be traced to Jewish origin.
A freedman of the family of Zaid ibn Thabit told of what he received from ‘Ikrima or Sa’id ibn Jubayr, who heard it from Ibn ‘Abbas, that Muhammad directed the following writing to the Jews of Khaybar: “In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate. From Muhammad, the messenger of Allah, the friend and brother of Moses, who declared the revelation of Moses to be true. Allah speaks to you: ‘O you men of the Torah, you find in your Scriptures: “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are tough against infidels, but merciful among each other. You see them bowing, prostrating, seeking bounty from Allah and good pleasure. Their mark is on their faces, the trace of prostration. In the Torah and in the Gospel they are likened to a seed that puts forth its shoot, and strengthens it, and it grows stout and rises upon its stalk, to please those who sowed and to enrage therewith the infidels …” (Sura al-Fath 48:29). I swear to you by Allah and by that which he has revealed; I swear to you by him who fed your former tribes with manna and quail, by him who dried up the sea for your fathers, to spare them from Pharaoh and his schemes: Tell me if you do not find in your revelation that you are to believe in Muhammad. If you do not find it, then you bear no reproach. The truth will clearly rise up out of error. I call to you to believe in Allah and his Prophet.”*
* Muhammad often strove, in various manner, to win the Jews to Islam - mostly in vain.
Among those whom the Qu’ran particularly calls to attention are the Rabbis and the unbelievers among the Jews - those who questioned and plagued Muhammad.
Thus Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas and Jabir ibn Abd Allah told me: “Abu Yasir ibn Akhtab once came up to Muhammad as he was reading the beginning of Sura al-Baqara: “1 Alef, Lam, Mim.* 2 That is the Scripture wherein there is no doubt” (Sura al-Baqara 2:1-2). He then went to his brother Huyay ibn Akhtab, who was sitting with other Jews, and said to him: “I have heard how Muhammad recited: ‘Alef, Lam, Mim. That is the Scripture ...’ They asked: “Did you really hear this?” He said, “yes.” Huyay then went with those Jews to Muhammad and asked him if it was Gabriel who had revealed to him “Alef, Lam, Mim.” He answered, “yes.” They then said: “God sent prophets before you, but it is unknown to us that He told another besides you how long His kingdom would last and what would be the fate of His people.” He then turned to those who were with him and continued: “Alef is 1, Lam 30 and Mim 40, thus 71 years in all. Do you want to accept a faith whose kingdom and people will last only 71 years?” He then asked Muhammad whether he had received similar revelations. He answered, “Yes. ‘Alef, Lam, Mim, Sad.’” Huyay then said: “That is, by God, longer and more difficult: Alef 1, Lam 30, Mim 40 and Sad 60 - that would be 131 years.” He then asked Muhammad for still further revelations. He said to him “Alef, Lam, Ra.” Huyay said: “That is even longer and more difficult. Alef 1, Lam 30, Ra 200, thus 231.” He then asked Muhammad still for others, and Muhammad said: “Alef, Lam, Mim, Ra.” Huyay said: “That is still more weighty and difficult: Alef 1, Lam 30, Mim 40, Ra 200, so 271. Now then”, he continued cleverly to Muhammad: “The matter regarding you is doubtful to us, whether a long or a short duration has been promised to you.” They then left him. Abu Yasir said to his brother Huyay and to the other Rabbis: “Perhaps all these are to be counted together: 71, 131, 231 and 271, for a grand total of 704 years.” They answered: “The matter is doubtful to us.” -- It is believed that the following words apply to the meaning of these letters: “… There are some verses, which constitute the mother of the Book; and others which are obscure.” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:7).”**
* “Alef, Lam, Mim” are the names of the letters A, L and M in the Arabic alphabet. Some Jews used the numerical values of these letters of the alphabet in order to speculatively arrive at a meaning for the beginning letters of this and similar Suras.
** This so-called Abjad calculation is of Jewish origin and is based on the numerical values of individual letters. Although this calculation lacks any basis in the Qu’ran and in the Islamic traditions, it was still adopted by Muslims. Even today fundamentalist circles in Islam, like followers of Ahmad Dedat, try to prove the divine basis of the Qu’ran with the numbers “nine” and “forty-nine”, numbers they think to have often met with in their Qu'ranic calculations.
A reliable scholar said: “These verses appeared as the residents of Najran came to Muhammad in order to question him about Christ.” Muhammad ibn Abi Umama told that he had heard these verses appear against Jews, without stating further reason. Allah knows what is right.
According to Ikrima, the freedman of Ibn ‘Abbas, who heard it from ‘Ibn Abbas before the commissioning of Muhammad: the Jews pled with (their) God for a messenger against the Ausites and the Khazrajites. Yet when Allah sent a messenger from the Arabs they did not believe in him and denied what they had earlier said about him. Mu’adh ibn Jabal and Bishr ibn al-Bara ibn Marur, a brother of the Banu Salama, said to them: “Fear Allah, you Jews, and become Muslims! For when we were still polytheists, you invoked Muhammad against us, and described him as he is.” Salam ibn Mishkam, a brother of the Banu Nadir, then said: “He has not brought us anything that we did not know already; he is not the one we begged for.”* At that Allah then revealed: “When there came to them a book from Allah, confirming what they already possessed, ... they disbelieved in it; so Allah's curse is on the infidels” (Sura al-Baqara 2:89).
* The Jews are still waiting for the Messiah, although He has already appeared to them in Jesus. Muhammad heard about this and presented himself as the one who was promised (Mathew 24:5).
Malik ibn Dhayf said: “When Muhammad was sent and he spoke with the Jews about the covenant that Allah for His own sake had made with them*, they said: ‘By Allah, there exists no covenant and promise concerning Muhammad between God and us.’ Following this Allah revealed: ‘Is it not that whenever they make a covenant, a party of them sets it aside? Nay most of them do not believe.’ (Sura al-Baqara 2:100).” Abu Saluba al-Fityuni once said to Muhammad: “You have not brought to us anything that we did not already know before, and Allah has sent down to you no clear signs that by them would make us follow you.”
* Muhammad had inquired about details of Yahweh's covenant with the people of Israel. He had recognized that it was not humans who had contracted a covenant with God, but rather that it was the Eternal One Himself who did so with mortal man. Muhammad supposed that his coming had already been promised in the making of this covenant.
5.02.5 -- How Jews and Christians Disputed before Muhammad
When the Christian inhabitants of Najran came to Muhammad, the Rabbis went to them and disputed with Muhammad. Raafi’ ibn Huraimala said: “You have no standing,” thereby expressing his disbelief in Christ and the Gospel. Because of this, one of the Christians said to the Jews: “You have no standing,” whereby he denied the Torah and the prophethood of Moses. Following this Allah revealed: “The Jews say the Christians have no standing, and the Christians say the Jews have no standing, yet they recite the Book.* So speak only the ignorant; Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning their differences” (Sura al-Baqara 2:113). In so doing each one of them reads in his Scripture, that which confirms what he rejects. The Jews do not believe in Christ, even while they find in the Torah what Allah revealed to them through Moses concerning faith in Christ. The Christians read in the Gospel what Christ said about faith in Moses and faith in the Torah, as God revealed. And yet each one rejects what the other one has. Raafi’ then said to Muhammad: “If you are a messenger of Allah, as you maintain, then let Allah speak directly to us that we can hear His words!” Allah then revealed: “And those who do not know say, ‘Why does not Allah speak to us? Why does a miraculous sign not come to us?’ Those who were before them said the same. Their hearts are embroiled in obscurity. We have made our miraculous signs clear for believing folk” (Sura al-Baqara 2:118).
* The Christians were critical of the Jews, because they rejected Jesus, their Messiah and Savior, and because they continued to live under the curse of the law.
The blind Abd Allah ibn Suriya al-Fityuni said to Muhammad: “We alone have the right guidance, follow us and you also will be rightly guided.” The Christians said the same thing to him,* whereupon Allah revealed: “And they say, ‘Be Jews or Christians and you shall be guided’. Speak: ‘Not so, but I follow the faith of Abraham, a true one (Hanif), who did not belong to the idolaters’” (Sura al-Baqara 2:135).
* The Jews rejected the Christians because they were seen to be unclean, for they did not live under the ordinances of the law, and because they maintained that the Jews had missed the goal of their history - Jesus (Yahweh in the flesh).
The animosity between the Jews and the Christians made it more difficult for Muhammad to find the truth, since irreconcilable differences existed between the two religions. He attempted to build a bridge between both doctrines by presenting himself to be the messenger of God for the entire world.
On the other hand, both Jews and Christians tried to convert Muhammad and move him to deliberately defect to either the Law of Moses or the Grace of Jesus Christ. He answered their mission attempts by incorporating significant concepts from the Bible into the Qu’ran, even while reshaping them to fit Islam.
5.02.6 -- What the Jews said when the Direction of Prayer was Changed (January 624 A.D.)
When the direction of prayer (Qibla) was changed from Syria to Mecca, and that in the month of Rajab (7th month), seventeen months after the arrival of Muhammad into Medina, Rifa’a ibn Qays, Fardam ibn Amr, Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf, Raafi’ ibn Abi Rafi, Hajjaj ibn Amr, (an ally of Ka’b), Rabi’a ibn Rabi’a ibn Abi al-Huqaiq and his brother Kinana came to Muhammad and said to him: “What was it that made you change your previous direction of prayer, since you maintain you are in the faith of Abraham?* Return to your earlier direction, then we will follow you and believe in you.” Thereby they only intended to dissuade him from his faith. Allah then revealed: “142 The fools among the people will say, ‘What has turned them from the direction they were facing in their prayers aforetime?’ Say: ‘To Allah belong the East and the West; He guides whomsoever He wills to a straight path. 143 In this manner we set you to be a midmost nation that you might be witnesses to the people, and that the messenger might be a witness to you; and we did not set the direction you were facing earlier, except to distinguish (now) those who follow the messenger from those who turn around (against him) …” (Sura al-Baqara 2:142-143).
* At first Muhammad had had all Muslims pray in the direction of Jerusalem. In doing so he wanted to win the Jews over to Islam. Yet when the Jews hardened themselves towards Islam and continually mocked Muhammad openly, he broke with all the traditions of the Old Testament people and developed his own Islamic religion, culture and practices. The change in the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca constitutes the final break between Muhammad and the Jews.
5.02.7 -- Muhammad's Discourse at the Bazaar of the Jewish Banu Qaynuqa’ in Medina
When Allah had smitten the Qurayshites at the Battle of Badr, Muhammad assembled the Jews at the bazaar of the Banu Qaynuqa’, as soon as he returned to Medina. He said: “O you Jews! Convert to Islam before Allah afflicts you like he did the Qurayshites.”* They retorted, however: “Do not let yourself be deceived by your own conceit! You have well killed some Qurayshites, who were without experience and knowledge in battle. By God, if you fight against us you will see that we are men the likes of which you have never encountered.” Allah then revealed: “12 Say to those who have opposed faith, ‘You will be defeated and gathered into hell, a wretched resting-place. 13 You had a sign in the two parties, which met, one party fought for the sake of Allah and the other was unbelieving; they saw them twice their number with their very eyes. Allah confirms with His victory whomever He wills. In that there is a warning for those who are able to observe” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:12-13).
* After the victory of the Muslims over the Qurayshites at the Battle of Badr - who were double to threefold in superiority - Muhammad openly began to threaten the Jews, saying there would be dire consequences if they did not become Muslims. He laid siege to their tribes in Medina, one after the other, defeated them and forced them to emigrate. They had to leave their possessions and their weapons behind.
5.02.8 -- How Muhammad went into a Jewish School
Muhammad once entered a Jewish school and summoned the Jews assembled there to believe in Allah. Nu’man ibn Amr and Harith ibn Zaid asked him what religion it was he had. He answered: “The religion of Abraham.”* These then responded: “Abraham was a Jew.” Muhammad wanted to have the Torah decide between them. But they refused. Allah then revealed: “23 Have you not seen those who were given a share of the Book, being called to the Book of Allah, that it might judge between them, and then a party of them turned away, swerving aside? 24 That was, because they said, ‘The fire shall not touch us, except for a number of days’, and what they invented lyingly has deluded them in their religion” (Sura Al 'Imran 3:23-24).
* With the claim that Islam was the religion of Abraham, Muhammad tried once more to win the Jews to Islam.
When the Christians from Najran and the Rabbis met together with Muhammad to dispute, the Rabbis said: “Abraham was nothing other than a Jew!” The Christians, however, maintained that Abraham had become a Christian. Then Allah revealed: “65 O you people of the Book! Why do you dispute concerning Abraham? The Torah and the Gospel were not sent down except after him. Don't you understand? 66 You are the ones who dispute against what you have knowledge about; why then do you dispute against a matter about which you have no knowledge? Well, Allah knows, and you know not. 67 Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian; rather he was a Hanif (one who reverts from idolatry) and a Muslim (one who submits to Allah);* and he was not one of the idolaters.” (Sura Al 'Imran 3:65-67).
* Muhammad tried to depict Abraham as a pious Muslim. Following further futile attempts to try and win the Jews to Islam, he broke off the dialogue with them and demanded a consequent separation from them with a revelation of Allah.
Some of the believers were previously friends with the Jews, since in the days of earlier ignorance they had been either neighbors or allies. Later Allah forbade them such connections, in that He revealed: “118 O you who have believed, do not take as your entourage others than your fellow believers! They spare nothing to ruin you; they yearn for what makes you suffer. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is even greater. We have made clear to you the verses (miraculous signs), if you would understand. 119 You are the ones that love them, and they do not love you; and you believe in the whole Book …” Sura Al 'Imran 3:118, 119).
5.02.9 -- The Incident between Abu Bakr and Finhas
Abu Bakr once entered into a Jewish school. There he found many people and one of the foremost Rabbis, whose name was Finhas, gathered together. There was another Rabbi named Ashya present as well.
Abu Bakr said to Finhas: “Woe to you! Fear Allah and become a Muslim! By Allah, you know that Muhammad is a messenger of Allah who reveals to you the truth about Allah. ‘... You will find him mentioned in the Torah and the Gospel …’ (Sura al-A’raf 7:157)”.
At that Finhas responded: “By God, we don't need your Allah. He needs us! We do not turn to him as much as he turns to us. We could more do without him than he with us. Otherwise he wouldn't borrow our money, forbidding you to take interest, whereas you give us interest.
Abu Bakr flew into a rage and struck Finhas with a hard blow to the face. He then said: “By him in whose dominion my soul lies, were it not for the covenant that exists between us, I would cut off your head, you enemy of Allah.” Finhas went to Muhammad and complained to him about what his friend had done. Muhammad asked Abu Bakr what it was that brought him to do that. Abu Bakr said: “This enemy of Allah spoke forth a despicable word. He claimed that Allah needed the Jews, but they themselves could do without him. Therefore I flew into a rage for the matter of Allah and struck him in the face.” Finhas denied saying these words, whereupon Allah revealed the following as a confirmation of the words of Abu Bakr and to refute Finhas: “Allah has heard the saying of those who said, 'Surely Allah is poor and we are rich.’* We shall write down what they have said, and their slaying the prophets without right, and We shall say, ‘Taste the torture of burning fire’” (Sura Al 'Imran 3:181).
* The Jews' mockery of Allah struck the Muslims to heart. The Jews were rich. The Muslims borrowed money from them to finance their military campaigns and paid interest, even though in Islam it is forbidden to take interest. The Jews mocked at this hypocrisy, despised the Muslims and humiliated them. From an Islamic understanding, this speech of the Jews was equal to blasphemy. That caused them to be designated the “enemies of Allah”.
5.02.10 -- How the Jews Denied the Revelation
Sukayn and Adi ibn Zaid said to Muhammad: “It is unknown to us that Allah revealed anything to someone else after Moses. This was when the following Qu’ran verse appeared: “163 We have revealed unto thee as we revealed unto Noah and the prophets after him, and we revealed unto Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes and 'Isa (Jesus) and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon and We brought to David a Zabur (the Psalms); 164 and messengers have We told thee of before and messengers We have not told thee of; and Allah spoke directly to Moses; 165 messengers bringing good news and warning lest men might have arguments against Allah after the messengers (had come). Allah was mighty, wise.” (Sura al-Nisa’ 4:163-165). Muhammad said to other Jews who appeared before him: “Do you not know, by Allah, that Allah has sent me to you?” They responded: “No, we don't know that and cannot bear witness to it.”
5.02.11 -- How They United Together to Kill Muhammad
Muhammad once went to the Banu al-Nadir and asked them for their help regarding the ransom money for the Amirites, among whom several had been killed by Amr ibn Umaiyya al-Damri. When they were assembled together alone, they said: “You will never find Muhammad nearer to you than he is now. Who will be the one to climb up this house and throw a stone upon him in order for us to gain our peace from him?” Amr ibn Jhash ibn Ka’b said: “I will!” But Muhammad got word of their plans and distanced himself from them. Allah then revealed: “O you who have believed, remember Allah's blessing upon you, when certain people wanted to stretch their hands against you, and He held back their hands from you. So fear Allah; and in Allah let the believers put their trust” (Sura al-Ma’ida 5:11).
Once came Nu’man ibn Adha, Bahri ibn Amr and Sha’s ibn Adi to Muhammad and conversed together with him. He summoned them to come to Allah and warned them of His wrath. They then said: “Why do you threaten us, Muhammad? We are the friends and the sons of God, just as the Christians say.” Allah then revealed: “And the Jews and the Christians said, ‘We are the sons of Allah and his beloved ones.’* Say: Then why does He punish you for your sins? Nay you are but humans beings of those He has created. He pardons whomever He wills and He tortures whomever He wills and to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and what is between them and to Him is the return” (Sura al-Ma’ida 5:18).
* Muhammad and his followers knew that the Christians (and at times also the Jews) say: “We are children of God.” Their suffering and their dying, however, hindered Muhammad from believing in their privileged position. He saw in every suffering they encountered a punishment of Allah. He could not understand suffering as a means of divine discipline and as a sign of divine grace.
5.02.12 -- Muhammad and the Punishment for Adultery
When Muhammad came to Medina, the Rabbis had gathered together in a school because one of their men had committed adultery with a married Jewish woman. They said: “Send the man and the woman to Muhammad and leave it to him to decide their judgment.* If he judges as you do, in that he imposes Tajbiya over them, then follow him, for he is a prince. (Tajbiya means to whip with a cord made out of fibres that have been smeared with a black pitch; the evil-doers had their faces blackened. Following that, both were set upon two donkeys with their faces turned toward the tails). If, however, Muhammad condemned them to be stoned, then he is a prophet. Give heed that he does not rob you of that which you possess.”
* Islamic law does not, first and foremost, seek to sensitize the conscience, but rather intends to punish the evildoer. It is a penal law that requires the executive powers of the state. Islam is a religion of law; it must create a religious state, without which the law cannot be carried out.
So they went to Muhammad and summoned him to pass judgment over this man and this woman. Muhammad went to the Rabbis in the school and said: “Bring to me the most studied among you!” They placed Abd Allah ibn Suriya before him. Muhammad remained alone with Abd Allah ibn Suriya, who was young - one of the youngest among them - and investigated the matter by saying to him: “I put you under oath to Allah and remind you of Allah's tarrying among the sons of Israel. Do you not know that in the Torah God punishes adultery by stoning?” He answered: “Yes, by God, and they know that you are a messenger, a prophet, yet they envy you.” Muhammad then gave the command to stone both adulterers before the door of his mosque, alongside the Banu Ghanm ibn Malik.* Later Abd Allah denied what he had said and did not believe in the prophethood of Muhammad.
* In like manner Jesus, too, commanded the adulteress to be stoned, only with the addition: “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” At that all of the accusers, including the pious and the disciples, began to depart. Jesus, the sinless One, would then have had to stone her. But He did not do it. In so doing did He break the law? No! He took the guilt of the sinner upon Himself and died in her place.
It was then that Allah revealed: “O messenger, let them not grieve thee that vie with one another in unbelief, such men as say with their mouths, ‘We have believed’, but their hearts they believe not; and of the Jews are some who listen to falsehood, listen to other folk, who have not come to thee. They twist the word from their places,* saying, ‘If this was revealed to you, then take it; if it was not revealed to (i.e. the stoning), then beware!’ ...” (Sura al-Maida 5:41). Muhammad had the two Jews stoned at the gate before his mosque. When the man was hit with the stones, he protectingly crouched over his beloved, so that they were both killed together. It was the work of Allah, who let his messenger uncover the punishment for adultery.
* The cunning trickery of the Jews, meant to test the prophethood of Muhammad on the basis of his judgment over the adulterers, brought them the untenable accusation that they had falsified the words of the Torah. Since then Muslims maintain that the Bible was originally a genuine revelation of Allah, but that in its present form the letters have been turned around and altered by the Jews. Thus the Qu’ran becomes the standard, declaring the truth as being false on the basis of lies.
5.02.13 -- How the Jews Denied the Prophethood of Christ
Abu Yasir ibn Akhtab, Nafi’ ibn Abi Nafi’, Azir ibn Abi Azir, Khalid, Zaid, Izar ibn Abi Izar and Ashya came to Muhammad and asked him about the messengers he believed in. Muhammad said: “… We have believed in Allah and what he has sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes and what was brought to Moses and to 'Isa (Jesus) and what was brought to the prophets from their Lord; we make no difference* between any one of them. And we are submissive unto Him” (Sura al-Baqara 2:136). When he also mentioned Christ, they denied his prophethood and said: “We do not believe in Christ nor in anyone else who believes in him.”** At this Allah revealed: “Say: ‘People of the Book, do you blame us for any other cause than that we have believed in Allah, and what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down before, and that most of you are heinous?’” (Sura al-Maida 5:59).
* Muhammad viewed himself as the last in the row of Old Testament prophets and placed Jesus on a level with himself.
** Since Muhammad believed in the sending of Christ, he was rejected by the Jews and disavowed as a true prophet. Muhammad's belief in Jesus brought him the opposition of the Jews.
There once came Raafi’ ibn Haritha, Sallam ibn Mishkam, Malik ibn Dhayf and Raafi’ ibn Huraimala to Muhammad and said to him: “Do you not claim, Muhammad, to follow the religion and teaching of Abraham and to believe in our Torah and to confess that it contains divine truth?” Muhammad answered: “Certainly, but you have undertaken to make changes in it and conceal what it contains, like the covenant that God contracted with you. You keep hidden what is contained therein as well as that which you should have announced to the people. I dissociate myself from your innovations.”* The Jews said: “We hold firmly to that which we have. We stand in divine guidance and in eternal truth. We do not believe in you or follow you!” Allah then revealed: “Say: ‘People of the Book, you are nothing until you uphold the Torah and the Gospel and what has been sent down to you from your Lord.’** What has been sent down to you from your Lord will assuredly increase many of them in oppression and disbelief. But do not despair because of the infidels!” (Sura al-Mai’ida 5:68).
* Muhammad charged the Jews with changing or deleting various texts of the Torah. He was convinced that he had been previously prophesied of in the Old Testament. Because this recognition was refused him, he claimed that the texts of the Bible were a falsification. He was not interested in truth, but ultimately in the promotion of his own self.
** This verse in the Qur’an could be a powerful call to repentance for all Jews and Christians if only the clause following it were not present, that is, that they should also believe in that which Muhammad revealed.
Nahman ibn Zaid, Qardam ibn Ka’b and Bahri ibn Amr came to Muhammad and said to him: “Do you not know that besides Allah there are yet other gods?”* He answered: “No, there is but one God. For that purpose I have been sent, and it is to this faith that I summon you.” Allah then revealed: “19 Say: ‘What is the greatest testimony?’ Say, ‘Allah is witness between me and you, and this Qur’an has been revealed to me that I might warn you by it and whomsoever it reaches. Do you actually testify that together with Allah there are other gods?’ Say ‘I do not testify to that.’ Say: ‘Rather, He is one god, and I am innocent of what you associate.’ 20 Those to whom we sent the Book know it as they know their own sons. Those have lost themselves, so they do not believe” (Sura al-An’am 6:19-20).
* The Jews wanted to induce Muhammad to say that he secretly still believed in other gods. But he testified to the unity of Allah and claimed that all Jews and Christians were hypocrites, since they rejected his prophethood, that supposedly was clearly foretold in their Scriptures.
Sallam ibn Mishkam, Nu’man ibn Auf Abu Anas, Mahmud ibn Dihya, Sha’s ibn Qays and Malik ibn Saif once came to Muhammad and said to him: “How should we follow you, since you have abandoned our direction of prayer and do not believe that ‘Uzayr is the son of God?” It was then Allah that revealed: “The Jews said that ‘Uzayr (Ezra) is the son of God and the Christians say Christ is the son of God. That is their saying with their mouths, resembling the saying of those who disbelieved aforetime. May Allah fight against them! How perverse they are!” (Sura al-Tawba 9:30).
* It cannot be proven that the Jews in Medina referred to Ezra (Uzayr) as the son of God. Much more, Muhammad hated the Jews, who revered Ezra greatly for leading them out of Babylonian exile and for initiating the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
Christians, too, are regarded in Islam as reprehensible. Muhammad cursed them openly in the Qur’an: “May Allah fight against them!”, for they believe in Christ, the Son of God (Sura al-Tawba 9:30). It is precisely here that all well-meaning, humanistic dialogue with Muslims ends.
Mahmud ibn Sayhan, Nu’man ibn Adha, Bahri ibn Amr, Uzayr ibn Abi Uzayr and Sallam ibn Mishkam came to Muhammad and said to him: “Is it true that your revelation is a law from Allah? We find it to be written entirely different from the Torah?”* Muhammad answered: “You know, by Allah, that it comes from Allah. You find it announced in your Scripture, and should men and jinn (spirits) be joined together to produce something its like, they could not.” But they responded - it was many who were present: “O Muhammad, is it not a man or a jinn who teaches you everything?” Muhammad answered: “You know, by Allah, that it is from Allah and you find in your Scripture that I am Allah's messenger.” But they responded: “Since Allah grants to his messenger the power to do what He wishes, so bring down a book to us from heaven that we might read and recognize the truth. If not, then we ourselves are able to bring about something similar.” Allah then revealed: “Say: ‘Though men and jinn should meet to produce the like of the Quran they would not produce its like though one helped the other’”* (Sura al-Isra’ 17:88)
* The Jews continually and clearly pointed out to Muhammad the great differences between the Torah and the Qur’an. Muhammad, however, was not prepared to be corrected or to honor the truth.
** The Muslim believes in the inerrancy, uniqueness, matchlessness and exaltedness of the Qur’an, even though it contains more than 100 historical, grammatical and factual errors.
A number of Jews came to Muhammad and said to him: “God created the world, but who created God?” At this Muhammad flew into such a rage that he grew pale and, out of zeal for Allah, grabbed them by the hair. Gabriel then came and quieted him, calling to him to “calm down, Muhammad!” Gabriel also brought to him the answer to their question: “1 Say, ‘Allah is one, 2 the eternal God, 3 He did not beget, nor was He begotten. 4 And none has been equal to Him.’” (Sura al-Ikhlas 112:1-4).*
* Sura 112 al-Ikhlas contains not only an answer for the question of the Jews, but also represents a massive rejection of the Holy Trinity: God is no Father who begot a Son, Christ is no Son who was begotten, and the Holy Spirit is not equal with God. In Islam there is no god besides Allah.
When Muhammad recited these words to them, they said: “Describe to us, Muhammad, the form of Allah and His arm!” At this Muhammad flew into an even greater rage and again grabbed them by the hair. Gabriel appeared to him once again and directed the same words to him as the first time. He brought to him the following answer of Allah to their question: “They underrate the true might of Allah. On the Day of Resurrection He will hold the entire earth in His grasp and fold up the heavens in His right hand. Glory be to Him! Exalted be He above what they associate (with him)!” (Sura al-Zumar 39:67).*
* Muhammad could not free himself from using anthropomorphism in his descriptions of Allah, which was later spiritualized by the Mu’tazilites.
5.02.14 -- The Delegation of Christians from Najran in Medina
On one occasion there came a caravan of sixty Christians from Najran to Muhammad. Among them were fourteen of the most esteemed of their district, and among these there were three fully entrusted with all responsibility. Al-‘Aqib was the emir of the people, the man of insight and council whom they followed. His actual name was Abd al-Masih. Al-Sayyid was their best advisor, the organizer of their travels and gatherings. His true name was Al-Ayham. The third was Abu Haritha ibn ‘Alqama, the bishop, imam and headmaster of their schools. He was very esteemed, had studied much, and was considered to be a learned theologian. The Christian kings of the Byzantines had honored him, given him merchandise and servants, built him churches and lavished him with testimony of their favor, because they had heard of his great learning and zealous faith.*
* The brilliant delegation of Christians from North Yemen, led by a prince and his bishop, brought about the second public disputation between Muslims and Christians, following the previous hearing of the Muslim refugees after their arrival in Ethiopia.
When the Christians from Najran arrived in Medina, they went to Muhammad in the mosque. He was just performing the afternoon prayer. Their garments and overcoats were made of fine Yemenite cloth and their camels were from the Banu al-Harith ibn Ka’b. One of the companions of Muhammad said at that time: “We have never seen such a delegation as this before.” Since the time of their prayer was also near, they too entered the mosque and prayed. Muhammad said: “Let them!” They prayed towards the east.
Muhammad spoke to Abu Haritha, al ‘Aqib and al-Ayham. They were Christians according to the faith of the emperor, although in some points they differed among themselves. They said, like all Christians: “Jesus is God, a Son of God and the third of three.” They claimed that He is God because He had raised the dead, healed the sick, revealed that which had been hidden, created a bird from clay and breathed into it so that it came to life. - All this* he did at the command of Allah, which might serve as signs to mankind. - They claimed that Jesus was the Son of God in that he had no known father, and he spoke in the cradle, what no other son of Adam had ever done before.
* Muhammad limited the absolute authority of Christ as creator, healer and raiser of the dead by saying that Jesus was only able to perform these miracles because Allah permitted it Him and strengthened Him through the spirit of holiness. Muhammad was not aware that in so saying he was indirectly recognizing the Holy Trinity, in which God, Christ and the Holy Spirit are named and work together in the same verse (Suras al-Baqara 2:87, 253; al Maida 5:110 and Al ‘Imran 3:49).
They further claimed that he was the third of three, that is, God, Christ and Mary*, for in the Torah it is frequently written: “We have done, We have commanded, We have created and We have decreed,” whereby if God were one He would have said, “I have done, I have created, I have commanded and I have decreed.” Verses of the Qur’an appeared against all these proofs.
* The Qur’an was strongly influenced by Christian sects that taught the Holy Trinity consisted of Father, Mother and Son (Sura al-Maida 5:116). All Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical churches reject this doctrine. In the Christian confessions of faith there is no such kind of Holy Trinity.
When the two priests had spoken with Muhammad, he summoned them to submit themselves to Allah (i.e. to become Muslims). But they responded: “We have already submitted to God.” Muhammad repeated his challenge, but they said: “We long ago submitted to God.” Muhammad then said: “You lie! If you were Muslims you would not maintain that Allah has a son and you wouldn't worship the cross* or eat pork.” They asked: “Who then was the father of Christ?” Muhammad was silent and gave no answer. To refute these words Allah then revealed the beginning of Sura Al ‘Imran, with its more than eighty verses, where it states: “1 Alif, Lam, Mim. 2 Allah! There is no God but He, the Living, the Sustainer” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:1-2).
* The conscientious rejection of the Son of God and His crucifixion separates Muslims from Christians, and makes Islam into an anti-Christian religion. Muhammad described all Christians as liars, because they believe in the Son of God and hold firmly to the fact of His crucifixion.
Then Muhammad went on to say that he renounced their words and that he recognized Allah alone as creator and the one who decrees, without associate. He thereby refuted their unbelief, in which they had placed one similar to God by His side, refuting the proofs they had brought for their Lord. He wanted to show them that they were in error in that he said: “Allah is one, without equal. He is alive, immortal, while you claim that Christ died, yes, even claiming he was crucified. But Allah is Ever-existent. He remains forever in His place of sovereign Creator, while you maintain that Christ moved about from place to place.”*
* The incarnation of Christ and His expiatory death for mankind is incomprehensible for Muslims; since they deny the Holy Spirit they cannot think in a spiritual manner.
3 Allah has revealed the truth to you in the Scriptures concerning that about which you have varying opinions. He revealed the Torah and the Gospel, the one to Moses, the other to Christ, 4 just as he had revealed other earlier Scriptures to other prophets. He revealed the “Furqan”, which distinguishes between truth and lie in questions concerning Christ and others, about whom are conflicting opinions. Those who do not believe in Allah's signs will meet with severe torment. Allah is powerful, the lord of revenge. He takes revenge on those who reject his signs after they have heard them and know what they say about Muhammad. 5 Nothing that happens in heaven or on earth is hidden from Allah. He knows what they plan, what deception they employ, and whom they call equal to Christ. They make him lord and exalt him as God, when they know better. By this they offend Allah and deny him.** (In this section the author has used wording from Sura Al ‘Imran 3:4-5).
* “Al-Furqan” is another designation for the Qur’an. This title means “the clear Distinguisher” and appears seven times in the Qur’an. Sura 25 is called al-Furqan.
** Muhammad had heard the age-old Christian testimony “Jesus the Lord”, yet rejected it. He did not want to recognize that Jesus was more significant than he was.
“It is Allah who forms you in the womb as he wills” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:6). Christ also belonged to those who - like all other sons of Adam - were formed in the womb. How can he be God when he had occupied such a level? Then, freeing himself of that which they had associated with Allah, he confessed the unity of Allah and said: “…There is no God except Him, the Mighty and the Wise” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:6), who can protect against the unbelievers when He will, and who can grant him (i.e. Christ) signs and intercession for the people. “It is He who sent down upon you the book, wherein are verses clear that are the essence of the book, and others ambiguous …*” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:7). These references to Allah strengthen the people, protect against strife, and ward off deception. Their meaning is not to be changed or manipulated. “… There are verses in the Qur’an that can be understood in different ways. Through them, Allah tests mankind concerning what is allowed and forbidden, so that they do not depart from the truth and turn to error …” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:7).
* In the beginning the Qur’an, because of missing vowel signs and dots that were lacking from the letters, could be read in alternate ways, which gave rise to various interpretations. Such ambiguity is not possible in the Greek New Testament, because each letter is clearly defined.
“… As for those whose hearts carry deviation …” -- those who deviate from guidance, “they follow the ambiguous part …”, that which can be changed, in order to confirm their reforms and ideas, to use it as proof and to make them appear true, “desiring dissention, and desiring its interpretation.” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:7). It is written in the Torah: “We have created and We have decided”, but only Allah knows the interpretation.* Only He knows what they meant by it.
* Muhammad did not deny the self-designation of God in the Old Testament in the plural form (Genesis 1:26, etc.), yet interpreted it Qur’anically in the sense of the “royal we-form”. The possibility of a Trinity was unthinkable to him.
“And those firmly rooted in knowledge say, ‘We believe in it; all is from our Lord …’” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:7). How can there be a contradiction, since everything came from one Lord? They try to interpret the obscure part from that which is plain, which can only be interpreted one way. Thus the Scripture flows together harmoniously; the one part confirms the other. Deception gives way and unbelief is smitten. Yet such thinking is only that of people of understanding, who pray: “O Lord, suffer not our hearts to go astray after You have guided us (and when we have deviated from that which is true),* give us mercy from You. You are the bestower of grace” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:8).
* In the public disputation with the Christian delegation from Najran, Muhammad could neither answer nor understand some of the questions; He grew all the while more unsure, becoming rigid in an unbending monotheism.
Moreover, it says: “Allah bears witness that there is no god but He (in contrast to their assertions), and so do the angels and those who have knowledge. He is the Executor of justice. There is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise One” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:18).
“The true religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Book were not at variance except after the knowledge came to them that Allah is one and has no equal. They harden themselves through the evil that rules in their midst. But Allah will be swift in judging those who reject his signs. When they dispute with you and say, ‘It is written: We have created, acted, commanded,’ these are vain objections. They know very well what is true. So if they dispute with you, say: ‘I have surrendered my will to Allah, and whosoever follows me.’ And say to those who have been given the Book and to the common folk: ‘Have you surrendered (become Muslims)?’ If they have surrendered, they are right guided; but if they turn their backs, your task is only to deliver the message; and Allah sees His servants” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:20).
Then the men of the Book, the Jews and the Christians, will together be upbraided because of their innovations and ideas. “26 Speak: ‘O Allahumma*, Master of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom you will, and you seize the kingdom from whom You will, You exalt whom You will, and You abase whom You will; in Your hand is the good; You are powerful over everything. 27 You make the night to enter into the day and You make the day to enter into the night, You bring forth the living from the dead and You bring forth the dead from the living, and You provide whomsoever You will without reckoning’” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:26,27). You alone are able to do this, for You say, I have granted Jesus power over things, for which they consider him to be a god, such as raising the dead, healing the sick, the creating of a bird from clay and the uncovering of hidden things, in order to make him a sign for the people and to confirm his prophethood, with which I have sent him to his people. It lies in My authority and power to deny him other things. By the power of his prophethood he could not appoint kings, or make the night pass into day or the day into the night. He could not bring forth life from the lifeless or transform the living into the dead. He was not able to provide life's necessities freely to anyone, by my will, neither to the virtuous nor to the evil man. Over all this I gave no power to Jesus. They cannot derive any proof from this; for if he were really a god, he would then have had power over all this, for they well know that he fled before kings and moved about from one place to another.**
* This is an Arabic intercessory form of the name Allah (Allahumma), it is related to the Hebrew “Elohim”, and represents a plural form of the word Allah (Sura al-Ma’ida 5:114 etc.). Muhammad went this far to try and win Christians to Islam that he assented to the plural form (Allahumma) of Allah, even while fundamentally clinging to his oneness.
**Muhammad did not only reject the deity of Christ in a superficial way; he also tried to logically and empirically explain his non-deity. The Holy Spirit did not dwell in Muhammad; therefore, he could not call Jesus Lord (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3).
At this Muhammad preached to the believers: “31 Say: ‘If you love Allah, follow me, and Allah will love you, and forgive you your sins; Allah is forgiving and merciful’. 32 Say: ‘Obey Allah and the Messenger.’ But if they turn their backs, Allah loves not the disbelievers*” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:31,32).
* Muhammad appealed to the Christian delegation's love for Allah and to their faith-inspired obedience to him. He enticed them with the forgiveness of sins as the fruit of their devotion to Allah. He also threatened that Allah would turn away from them if they did not believe in Muhammad's message.
“Allah loves not the disbelievers.” Eighteen times it is written in the Qur’an that Allah does not love sinners. The Gospel testifies to just the opposite. In John 3:16 we read: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Muhammad then described to them the life of Christ, his birth according to Allah's intention and said: “33 Allah chose Adam and Noah and the House of Abraham and the House of 'Imran above all things, the seed of one another; Allah hears and knows all”* (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:33-34).
* “‘Imran” in the Qur’an is the same as “Amram” in the Old Testament (Exodus 6:18-20; Numbers 3:19.27; Numbers 26:58.59). Both names designate the father of Moses, Aaron and Miriam. Muhammad considered this prophet family to be chosen. He thought that from this family had come Christ, the messenger of Allah, because he had mistakenly confused Miriam, the sister of Aaron, with Mary, the mother of Jesus. Both are called “Maryam” in Arabic (Suras Maryam 19:27-29; Al ‘Imran 3:33-35).
“35 The wife of ‘Imran said, ‘Lord, I have vowed to You, in dedication, what is in my womb. Receive this from me; You are the one who hears and knows.’ 36 And when she gave birth to her she said ‘Lord, I have given birth to her, a female.’ - And Allah knew better what she had given birth to; the male is not the female.* ‘And I named her Mary, and commend her to You with her seed, to protect them from the accursed Satan.’ 37 Her Lord received her (the child) with good favor, and he caused her to grow up comely, charging Zechariah with her care ...” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:34-37).
* This verse shows the disadvantaged position of women in Islam.
It is mentioned that Mary became an orphan. Then her story and that of Zacharias is told, of how he prayed and what was granted to him, in that John was given to him. Then comes the discourse about Mary and the words of the angel are given: “42 O Mary*, Allah has chosen you and purified you; He has chosen you above all women. 43 … O Mary, be obedient to your Lord, prostrating and bowing before Him” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:42-43). Then he continued, “45 as the angels said: ‘O Mary, Allah gives you good tidings of a word** from Him whose name is Christ, 'Isa (Jesus), son of Mary, highly honored shall he be in this world and the next, one of those near to Allah. 46 He shall speak to men in the cradle, and of age, and righteous he shall be’” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:45-46). Muhammad presented to them the condition of Jesus, as well as the changes he went through during his growth to maturity, things he had in common with all others. Allah only distinguished him through his speech, in that he could speak while still in the cradle, which was a sign of his prophethood and given to show mankind who had empowered him.
* Maryam (Mary) is the only woman's name mentioned in the Qur’an. It appears in eleven Suras a total of 34 times. Mary is considered to be the one chosen among all women of this world and the next (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:33-47).
** In the Qur’an Jesus is called the “Word of God” five times. This designation is the Islamic echo of the Logos concept in the Gospel of John. Thus Jesus - like all other prophets - not only heard God's Word, but was the Word of God in person. His sinlessness, thereby, is testified to in the Qur’an, since there was no difference between His message and His life. He Himself was the Word. The creative, healing, forgiving, consoling and renovating authority of the Word of God worked in Him. He is the personified revelation of the Word of God. Whoever wants to know the will of God must busy himself with knowing Jesus.
“47 ‘Lord’, said Mary, ‘how shall I have a son seeing no mortal has touched me?’ 'Even so,' Allah answered, ‘Allah creates what He wills. He can, according to His will, create with and without bodily contact. When He decrees a thing, He does but say to it ‘Be’, and it is.* 48 And He will teach him the Book, the wisdom, the Torah (which they had since Moses), the Gospel, (another Scripture that Allah had given him first, and through which alone they knew that Allah would one day send, after Moses,) 49 another prophet to the sons of Israel.’ He will say to him: “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord (through which you will be able to see that I am truly a prophet and messenger from Allah). I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breath into it, and it will be a bird by the leave of Allah. I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by the leave of Allah. I will inform you too of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely in that is a sign for you (that Allah has sent me to you), if you are believers. 50 Likewise confirming the truth of the Torah, that is before me, and to make lawful to you certain things that before were forbidden unto you,** (in that I will tell you that it had been forbidden you and you had to avoid it, even now I make it permissible for you, so as to minimize your yearning and to ease your burden). I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so fear Allah, and obey me. 51 Surely Allah is my Lord and your Lord (through which he absolved himself of that which they said about him, and through which he called Allah as a witness against them); so worship Him. This is a straight path!” Sura Al ‘Imran 3:47-51).
* Muslims believe in the birth of Jesus by the Virgin Mary without the involvement of any man. According to the Qur’an, He was created by the word of Allah in Mary.
** According to the Qur’an, Christ confirmed the immutability of the Torah and possessed the right, as Lawgiver, to change parts of the law. He therefore had, according to the Qur’an, also the right to demand that mankind obey Him (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:50; Matthew 5:17-48).
However, in the Nicene Creed all Christians confess that Jesus was begotten in Mary through the Holy Spirit: He is “God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten and not created, of one essence with the Father.” Until today the Nicene Creed contains the theological answer of Christians to the claims of Islam.
“52 And when Jesus perceived their unbelief and enmity against him, he said: ‘Who are my helpers* towards Allah?’ The disciples said: ‘We will be the helpers of Allah; we believe in Allah; (so they said in order to gain Allah's grace). And bear witness that we are Muslims. 53 Our Lord, we believe in what You have sent down, and we follow the Messenger. Inscribe us therefore with those who bear witness’” (Sura Al Imran 3:52-53). Thus spoke the disciples, and thus was their faith. Then it is recorded how Allah raised Jesus to Himself, when they wanted to kill him, “And they (the Jews) cunningly deceived,** and Allah also cunningly deceived, and Allah is the best of all who cunningly deceive” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:54).
* Muhammad had heard of the great falling away of the masses from Jesus (John 6:66-69) and gave to His followers various titles, each in accordance with the intensity and faithfulness of their discipleship (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:52-53).
** The word “deceive cunningly” appears in the Bible only twice: Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more cunningly deceiving than any beast of the Field” and Ephesians 6:11: “that you may be able to stand against the cunning deceptions of the Devil.” Thus it is evident that the Gospel equates Allah in Islam with the Devil.
The supreme cunning deception of Allah supposedly was constituted by the fact that he saved Jesus from the attack of the Jews, so that He was not crucified. According to Muhammad's conception, Allah let Jesus fall asleep and then raised Him up to himself alive. In order to annul the crucifixion, Allah was prepared to appear as the most cunning of all deceivers. (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:54-55; Genesis 3:1).
Then he instructed and reproved them for conceding the claim that the Jews crucified him, and declared to them how Allah, in His cunning deception, raised him to Himself and kept him purified. “When Allah said: ‘Isa (Jesus), I will cause you to sleep (actually: to pass away) and will raise you to Myself,* and I will purify you from those who disbelieve (those who plotted evil against you). I will set your followers above the disbelievers till the Resurrection Day …’” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:55) until the words, “59 With Allah, ‘Isa (Jesus) is like Adam (take good note); He created him of dust, then said He unto him, ‘Be,’ and he was. 60 The truth is from Allah (i.e. of that which has been revealed about Jesus); Be not of the doubters. (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:59-60). If someone tells you that Jesus was created without the agency of a man, so too have I created Adam out of the dust, with the same power, without man or woman, and yet he was a man like Jesus, with flesh, blood and hair. The creation of Christ without the agency of a man is, therefore, not more amazing than that of Adam.”**
* The Qur’an witnesses that Allah Himself raised up Jesus to Him. Therefore, Muslims believe and know that Jesus lives, while Muhammad is dead in the grave. With each mention of the name of Muhammad, every Muslim must say: “Allah pray over him and grant him peace.” Since, according to Quranic understanding, Jesus lives with God, His followers received a higher standard of quality than did the unbelievers. With this passage, the high-priesthood of Jesus and the effusion of the Holy God is confirmed (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:55).
** Islam claims that three people were created without father or mother: Adam, Eve and Jesus. But it is overlooked that Adam was created of clay and Eve from a rib of Adam. Muslims maintain that Jesus was created through the word of Allah. He is supposed to be a created Spirit of God in the flesh. Muhammad could not admit that Jesus was born through the Spirit of God.
“And whoso disputes with you concerning him, after the knowledge that has come to you, say: ‘Come now, let us call our sons and your sons, our wives and your wives, our selves and your selves, then let us humbly pray and so lay Allah’s curse* upon the ones who lie’” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:61).
* Muslims pray magical curses intended not only for men, but also for their sons and wives. Jesus, however, commanded His followers to: “Love your enemies and bless those who curse you” (Matthew 5:44). The blessing of Christ is stronger than the curse of Allah.
“62 Verily this (which I have brought about Jesus) is the true story.* There is no God but Allah, and assuredly Allah is the All-mighty, the All-wise. 63 And if they turn their backs, assuredly Allah knows the workers of corruption. 64 Say: ‘O People of the Book! Come now to a word (Christ the incarnated Word of God) common between us and you, that we will worship only Allah and associate nothing with Him, and will not take for each other lords apart from Allah.’ And if they turn back say: ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims’” (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:62-64).
* Muhammad never read the Bible. He interwove true and false statements regarding the Holy Scriptures with great fantasy. But Jesus Christ with sovereignty says: “I am the truth” (John 14:6), and “whoever is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37).
Muhammad called upon them to embrace Islam and refuted their proofs, after Allah had revealed to him the Islamic lore about Jesus and the decision between him and the Christians that they were to be cursed. When they cast away this revelation, he summoned them once more to Islam.
But they responded: “Let us consider the matter, Abu al-Qasim.* We will then come to you again and give you our decision.” After this they left him.
* Abu al-Qasim is one of the honorary names for Muhammad - the father of Qasim - one of his sons who had died in childhood.
When they were later alone together with al-‘Aqib, the most understanding one among them, they said to him: “Now then, servant of Christ, what is your opinion?” He said: “By Allah, you Christians know that Muhammad is a sent prophet. He has brought to you detailed news from your Lord, and you know that, as often as people have cursed a prophet, their leader perished and the least among them could no longer prosper. Yet if you carry it through, it will be your ruin. But if you want to remain true to your faith and uphold your belief about your Lord, then take your leave of the man and return home.”
They then returned to Muhammad and said to him: “We consider it a good thing not to curse you. We will leave you in your religion and we will remain in ours; but send one of your companions, one whom you choose, with us, so that should disagreements arise about possessions among us, he may pass judgment; for you are pleasant to us.”
At this Muhammad answered: “Come again this evening. I will give you one, strong and faithful.” Umar recollected: “I had never wanted, such as then, a position of leadership. I had hoped I would be appointed to be their lord. During the heat of the day I went to noon prayer, and when Muhammad, following the prayer, looked to the left and the right, I stretched myself out that he might see me. But his eyes kept searching until they fell upon Abu ‘Ubaida ibn al-Jarrah. He then called him and said to him: “Go with these people and pass true judgment between them!” Thus Abu Ubaida became their judge.”*
* The last part of the report of Ibn Hisham regarding the dialogue between Muhammad and the 60 Christians from Wadi Najran served to forestall their later subjugation, for neither their prince nor their bishop would have voluntarily submitted to Muhammad.
5.02.15 -- Regarding the Hypocrites
According to the report of ‘Asim ibn Umar ibn Qatada, at the time Muhammad arrived in Medina, Abd Allah ibn Ubay, one of the Banu al-Hubla, was the leader of their inhabitants. There were not even two among his people who contested his authority. Up until the time of Islam, neither the Ausites nor the Khazrajites could rally to a man from either of these clans.
Besides him there was an Ausite, who enjoyed great esteem among his clan and was granted a large hearing. This man was named Abu ‘Amir Abd Amr, one of the Banu Dhubaya ibn Zaid. It was the father of Handhala who, on the day of Uhud, was called “the one cleansed (by angels)”.
During the time of heathenism, Abu ‘Amir had lived the life of an ascetic, wore a coarse garment and was called ‘the monk’. Because of Muhammad these two men lost some of the esteem their people had given them, and this annoyed them. The clan members had already fitted the precious stones to make a crown for Abd Allah and to elevate him to the position of king, when Allah sent them His messenger.
When Abd Allah saw how his people turned to Islam, he became angry and recognized that Muhammad had robbed him of his high standing. When he then perceived that his clansmen were not going to turn from Islam, he too, of necessity, confessed to it, yet all the while persisting in his hypocrisy and resentment.
Abu ‘Amir, on the contrary, remained an unbeliever and separated himself from his clansmen when they, as one, went over to Islam. He went with about ten other men to Mecca and there renounced Muhammad and his own people.
While in Medina and before his departure to Mecca, Abu ‘Amir came to Muhammad and asked him: “What religion do you bring?” He answered: “The true religion, that of Abraham.” Abu ‘Amir responded: “That is also my religion.” At that Muhammad responded: “You are not in this religion!” The man responded: “You have added things to this religion that do not belong to it.” Muhammad said: “I have not done that. I have revealed it in its pure and white form!” “Now then”, added Abu ‘Amir, “may Allah let the liar die as a lonely, exiled fugitive. By this he meant Muhammad, as if he had falsified the faith.* Muhammad said: “So may it be! May Allah so punish the liar!” And that is what happened to this enemy of Allah. He first went to Mecca, and then to Ta’if, when Muhammad conquered the city. When this city, too, went over to Islam, he went to Syria. There he died as a lonely, banished man in a strange land.
* From time to time Muhammad's own countrymen called his message into question. Some of them were able to recognize the doctrinal differences. What Muhammad reported to them about Moses and Abraham did not match what they had heard about them from the Jews and Christians.
Abd Allah ibn Ubay* remained an esteemed man in Medina and struggled against Islam until he had to accept it out of necessity.
* Abd Allah ibn Ubay ibn Salul was considered the leading man of the hypocrites who were spared harsh punishment.
Muhammad once rode a donkey to Sa’d ibn Ubada, who had been visited by affliction. On the donkey lay a top and bottom blanket from Fadak.* The donkey had a bridle made of palm fronds. It came past Abd Allah ibn Ubay as he was sitting in the shade of his country house Muzahim. He was surrounded by some of his clansmen. When Muhammad saw him, he did not consider it honorable to simply ride past him. He thus dismounted, greeted him and sat for a bit. He recited the Qur’an, admonished him to believe in Allah, and warned and preached the good news. Abd Allah raised his head and was silent until Muhammad had finished. He then said: “If your words are true, then there are none more beautiful. But you should remain at home and only direct these words to those who visit you, and not press them upon those who do not come to you. You should not enter with your message into company that does not want to hear it.”
* Fadak is the name of a land region in the Arabian Peninsula, which was considered property of the Prophet. When Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, asked the Caliph Abu Bakr to return this possession, following the death of her father, he rejected her demand. This is one of the reasons why the Shiites hate Abu Bakr.
But Abd Allah ibn Rawaha said, along with other believers who were with him: “Not so! Make us glad with your words in our gatherings, in our dwellings and houses, for, by Allah, they are dear to us, and Allah has honored and directed us by them.”
When Abd Allah saw this opposition of his people, he said: “When your friend is your opponent, you must sink ever lower, and you will be overthrown by those who were once subordinate to you. Can the eagle rise up without wings? As soon as his feathers are clipped, he falls to the ground.”
5.02.16 -- Mention of the Companions of Muhammad who became ill
When Muhammad came to Medina, there raged the fever like in no other land. Several of his companions were sick. Muhammad, himself, however, was kept spared by Allah. Abu Bakr and his two freedmen, Amir ibn Fuhaira and Bilal, who lived with him, became sick with fever. “I visited them”, Aisha* recalled, before it was commanded us to wear a veil, and found them to be in distressful condition. I drew near to Abu Bakr and asked him how he was doing.” He said: “Every man spends the morning with those who are his, and death is nearer to him than the laces on his sandals.” I said: “By Allah, my father does not know what he is saying.” I then asked Amr about how he was doing, and he said: “I have found death before I have tasted of it. Death encounters cowards from above. Every man battles with his strength like the bull protects its hide with its horns.” I then said: “By Allah, Amir does not know what he is saying.” Bilal lay down in a corner of his dwelling when the fever abated, and then raised his voice and said:
“If I only knew if I would spend another night in Fakh,
* Aisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, was the youngest wife of Muhammad. He married her when she was nine years old. When Muhammad died in her arms, she was only 18 years old. He had lived with her for almost ten years, while she was still a child maturing to become a juvenile. She is described as Muhammad's favorite wife.
“I told the Messenger of Allah”, so Aisha further related, “what I had heard from them and said to him: ‘They are in a state of delirium and out of their minds because of the fever.’” Muhammad then said: “Allah! Make Medina as dear to us as Mecca, or even dearer, and bless us with what can be weighed and measured, and remove the fever to Mahyaa.”
Ibn Shihab al-Zuri reported the following from Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As: “When Muhammad came to Medina, his companions became sick with the fever. He himself was spared by Allah. His companions, however, could only pray sitting. When Muhammad came to them while they so prayed, he said: ‘Know that the prayer of one sitting has only half the value of one standing.’ Thereupon the believers struggled to their feet, in spite of their weakness and sickness, in order to strive for the better.”*
* In Islam the duty to speak the prayer is more important than to exercise mercy toward the sick.
Soon after this Muhammad prepared himself for war in pursuance of Allah's command to fight the Bedouin idolaters, his enemies.
5.02.17 -- Determination of the Time of the Migration (24 September 622 A.D.)
Muhammad came to Medina on a Monday, when the sun was hotly burning, just as it was about to begin sinking toward the West, after twelve nights of the month Rabi’a al-Awwal (the 3rd month) had passed. At that time Muhammad was 53 years old. Thirteen years had passed since he had been sent as a prophet. He remained for the rest of the days of the month and of the year that was left, as well as the month of Muharram (1st month), in Medina. In Safar (2nd month), the twelfth month following his arrival in Medina, he went forth to war* and placed Sa’d ibn Ubada over Medina.
* The refugees from Mecca were poor, while the Muslim natives of Medina remained wealthy, despite the bonds of brotherhood they had contracted. Muhammad had to procure bread and income for the immigrants if they were not to fall away from Islam. Therefore he commanded that attacks be carried out to plunder the caravans of the Meccans, who had previously confiscated the goods of the refugees.
But Jesus Said: “If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also” (Matthew 5:40). He forbade Peter from using his sword, saying, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).
Since that time Islam has left a huge trail of blood in the history of many peoples of our planet.
5.03 -- Holy War Enters a New Stage (Following the Spring of 623 A.D.)
5.03.1 -- The Military Campaign to Waddan* (August 623 A.D.)
It was the first military campaign of Muhammad**. He went as far as Waddan, and this is known as the campaign of Abwa’. He was looking for the Quraish and the Banu Dhamra ibn Bakr. The Banu Dhamra contracted peace with him. Their representative was Nakhshi ibn Amr, who at that time was their leader. After this Muhammad returned back to Medina, without having come into confrontation with an enemy. He stayed there for the remaining part of Safar (2nd month) and the beginning of Rabi’a al-Awwal (3rd month).
* Waddan lies on the Red Sea, 190 km south of Medina.
** I.e. the first military campaign that Muhammad himself led. Trusted friends of Muhammad had led the three previous military campaigns, as the next sections explain.
5.03.2 -- Further Enemy Confrontations (March to September 623 A.D.)
This is the first troop that Muhammad assembled. While he was in Medina (in March 623 A.D.), Muhammad sent ‘Ubaida ibn al-Harith ibn al-Muttalib and sixty or eighty riders from the immigrants (native Meccan Muslims) to fight the unbelievers. There was not a single one of the helpers (native Medinan Muslims) among them. He went as far as a water place in the Hijaz, below Thanniyat al-Murra. Here he met a number of Quraishites, but it did not come to battle. Only Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas shot off an arrow. It was the first arrow ever shot in holy war. Then the two groups separated, whereby the Muslims provided cover for each other.
Not long thereafter (still in March 623 A.D.), Muhammad sent Hamza, the son of Abd al-Muttalib, to Sif al-Bahr*, in the region of al-‘Is. He had thirty riders from the emigrants with him, but not a single one from the helpers. On this shore he met Abu Jahl with three hundred Meccan riders. Majdi ibn Amr, the Juhaynite, who lived in peace with both groups, came between them. Both groups then separated without fighting. Some maintain that Hamzas group was the first to have been assembled by Muhammad, and that the sending of Hamzas and Abu ‘Ubaidas occurred at the same time, so that one was mistaken for the other. It was also claimed that in a poem Hamza had mentioned it was he to have received the first battle command from Muhammad. If he really did say this, then it would be true, because he only spoke the truth. Allah knows how it really was. But we learned from learned people that Ubayda was the first man to lead a troop.
* “Sif al-Bahr” lies on the Red Sea Coast 320 km northwest of Medina.
In the month of Rabi’a al-Awwal (3rd month, September 623 A.D.), Muhammad again undertook a battle campaign against the Quraishtes. He placed al-Sa’ib, the son of Uthman ibn Maz’un, in charge over Medina. He went as far as Buwat*, in the region of Radwa. He then returned to Medina, without having encountered any difficulties. He stayed there for the remaining part of Rabi’a al-Akhir (4th month) and a part of Jumada al-Ula (5th month).
* “Buwat” lies approx. 70 km northwest of Medina, on the trade route to Syria.
5.03.3 -- The Campaign of ‘Ushayra* (December 623 A.D.)
Then he went out once again against the Quraishites and, according to Ibn Hisham, placed Abu Salama in charge of Medina. He passed by the ravine of the Banu Dinar, then Faifa’ al-Khabar; he then settled under a tree in the valley of Ibn Azhar which was called Dhat al-Saq. That is where his mosque was located, and he prayed in it. There a meal was prepared for him. He ate, and the people ate with him. The place where the cauldron was placed is known. He was then brought water from a watering place there called al-Mushtarib. Muhammad then rose up again and departed, leaving the watering places on his left and proceeded forth through the ravine, which today is still called “the Ravine of Abd Allah”. Then he went down toward Sadd, until he reached Yalyal. At the path that connects Yalyal with Dhabuah, he dismounted and drank from the well of Dhabuah.** He then descended the field of Malal until he came to the street in Sukhayrat al-Yamam that led him to ‘Ushayra, in the lowland of Yanbu’. Here he remained for the entire month of Jumada al-Ula (5th month) and for some nights of Jumada al-Akhira (6th month). By himself he made a peace treaty with the Banu Mudlij and their allies from among the Banu Dhamra. He then returned to Medina, without having encountered a single enemy.
* “al-‘Ushayra” lies approx. 110 km east of Mecca and approx. 350 km south of Medina.
** Jesus and His disciples passed through mountains, valleys and wilderness. The Well of Shechem, from which he drank, still exists. Jesus healed, saved, cast out demons and preached forgiveness, love and peace, while Muhammad, together with the most daring of his companions, went out to attack caravans.
In the meantime, Muhammad sent out Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, together with eight emigrants, who went as far as Kharrar in the Hijaz. He then turned around without having found a single enemy.
5.03.4 -- The Military Campaign of Safwan* (September 623 A.D.)
Following his return from ‘Ushayra, Muhammad remained only a few nights in Medina, not quite ten. He then went out against Kurz ibn Jabir al-Fihri, who had attacked the herds of Medina. According to Ibn Hisham, he placed Hisham Zaid ibn Haritha in charge of Medina and pursued Kurz to the Safwan Valley, in the region of Badr, without being able to overtake him. This campaign is also called the “first of Badr”. Muhammad then turned back to Medina and stayed there for the remaining part of Jumada al-Akhira (6th month) and the entire months of Rajab (7th month) and Sha’ban (8th month).
* Safwan lies about 90 km southwest of Medina.
5.03.5 -- The Dispatching of Abdallah ibn Jahsh to Nakhla and the Revelation Regarding Battle During the Holy Month (January 624 A.D.)
Following the return from Badr in Rajab (7th month), Muhammad sent out Abd Allah ibn Jahsh ibn Ri’ab al-Asadi with eight of the immigrants. He gave him a letter to take with him. However, he commanded him to read it only after he had completed a two-day march. Furthermore, he was to compel none of his companions to take part in the attack.
After two days Abd Allah opened the letter. In it was written: “When you read this letter, then move toward Nakhla*, which lies between Mecca and Ta’if. Lay in wait there for the Quraish. Give us news of them!” When Abd Allah had read the letter, he was ready to carry out the orders and said to his companions: “Muhammad has commanded me to move toward Nakhla and lie in wait for the Quraishites, in order to give him information of them. He has forbidden me, however, from forcing any one of you to go with me. Whoever wants to die as a martyr, let him follow me. The one who will not, let him remain behind. As far as it concerns me, I am ready to execute the command of the messenger of Allah.
* Nakhla is a valley lying approx. 70 km northeast of Mecca, along the trade route from Yemen to Mecca.
From here he continued to march, and all of his companions followed him. When he came to the mines of Bahran in the Hijaz, above al-Furu’, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas and ‘Utba ibn Ghazwan lost the camel they had alternately been riding. They remained behind to search for it. But Abd Allah and the other companions pressed on until they reached Nakhla. It was then that a caravan of Quraishites passed by carrying raisins, leather and other goods. Among them were Amr ibn al-Khadrami, Uthman ibn Abd Allah and his brother Nawfal, from the clan of the Makhzum, and also al-Hakam ibn Kaisan, a freedman of Hisham ibn al-Mughira.
The people feared when they saw the Muslims camped near them. Ukkasha ibn Mihsan, who had shaved the hair on his head, approached them. They calmed down and said to one another: “They are pilgrims! You have nothing to fear.” It was the last day before the (holy) month of Rajab (7th month). The Muslims took council and said: “By Allah, if we leave the caravan in peace tonight they will enter into the holy area and then find protection against you. But if you attack them now, you will commit an act of murder in the holy month.” The people grew fearful and hesitated to attack them. But then they exhorted one another and decided to kill as many of them as possible and to take the goods away from them. Waqid ibn Abd Allah shot an arrow at Amr ibn al-Khadrami and killed him. Uthman ibn Abd Allah and al-Hakam ibn Kaisan were taken prisoner. But Nawfal ibn Abd Allah managed to escape.
Abd Allah then returned with the caravan and both prisoners to Muhammad in Medina. One from the family of Abd Allah reported that Abd Allah had said to his companions: “One fifth of the spoil belongs to the messenger of Allah,” although at that time the revelation to give the prophet one-fifth of the booty had not yet been revealed. The remainder he distributed among the companions.
When they came to Medina, Muhammad said: “I did not command you to wage war during the holy month.” He then left the caravan and the prisoners alone and refused to take from the booty. After Muhammad had thus spoken, the people regretted their act and thought they were doomed, for their Muslim companions reproached them for what they had done. But the Quraishites said: “Muhammad and his companions have defiled the holy month through murder, robbery and captured men!”
5.03.6 -- How the Jews Understood the Event to be a Bad Omen for Muhammad
Since much was spoken of the incident, Allah revealed: “They will question thee concerning the holy month, and fighting in it. Say: ‘Fighting in it is a big one (i.e. sinful), but to bar from Allah's way, and disbelief in Him, and the Holy Mosque, and to expel its people from it -- that is bigger (i.e. more sinful) in Allah's sight …’” (Sura al-Baqara 2:217). You waged war during the holy month. But they held you back from the path of Allah and did not believe in Allah. They barred from the holy places and drove you from it, even though you are lord over them. This is a greater sin before Allah than the death of some men whom you slew. “…Seduction (to rebel and turn away from Islam) is bigger (i.e. more heinous) than murder…” (Sura al-Baqara 2:217; see also verse 191). They seduced the Muslims until they fell back into unbelief. That is worse before Allah than killing a man. “… They will not cease to fight with you, till they turn you from your religion, if they are able …”* (Sura al-Baqara 2:217).
* Muhammad parried the uproar of Jews and Polytheists because of the criminal attack in a holy month with a masterful judicial achievement. He condemned every battle in the holy month - even his own attack - as a grave crime. But whoever fought against Islam and tried to lead Muslims to apostasy, was committing an even greater crime. Muhammad thus allowed Muslims to commit a small injustice, if so doing they combat an even greater injustice. Since then mission among Muslims is considered to be seduction to an insurgency, which is rated as an even greater crime than murder (Sura al-Baqara 2:217).
Once Allah's revelation had relieved the believers of their fear (and bad conscience), Muhammad also took his share of the booty and prisoners. The Quraish then sent to Muhammad, in order to redeem the two prisoners.* But Muhammad said: “I will not give them free until my two companions, Sa’d and ‘Utba, return, whom we are concerned about. If you kill them, then we will also kill our prisoners.” When Sa’d and ‘Utba returned, Muhammad accepted the ransom and set the prisoners free. Al-Hakam became a good Muslim and remained with Muhammad until he died as a martyr at Bi’r Ma’una (July 625 A.D.). Uthman, on the other hand, returned to Mecca and died there as an unbeliever.
* From the outset, the taking of hostages was a legal component of holy war for Muslims. It is practiced even today, wherever possible.
Once Abd Allah and his companions had been freed from their worry through Qur’an verses, they began longing for worthy deeds. They asked Muhammad if they should not wish to enlarge the reward for warriors of the faith through a further war campaign. Allah then revealed: “Those that have believed and those that have emigrated and fought for the cause of Allah, hope for Allah's mercy. And Allah is forgiving and merciful” (Sura al-Baqara 2:218); hereby Allah opened to them the most glorious hope.*
* Killing in a holy war was revealed to be a justifiable service rendered to Allah in the process of obtaining His mercy. With this revelation the door to Islamic terrorism became wide open (Sura al-Anfal 8:17).
One from the family of Abd Allah ibn Jahsh said that in the taking of booty, Allah had later determined that four parts should go to those who had gained it, and one part to Allah and His messenger - just as Abd Allah had handled it with the caravan. This is the first booty* the Muslims had gained. Amr ibn al-Khadrami was the first to be killed by the Muslims, and Uthman and al-Hakam were the first prisoners.
* Gaining booty was the primary goal in the raids and militant campaigns that Muhammad conducted. He had to create a source of income and prosperity for the emigrated Muslims, lest they fall away from Islam.
5.03.7 -- When the Direction of Prayer (Qibla) was Changed (January 624 A.D.)
It is maintained the direction of prayer was changed 18 months after Muhammad arrived in Medina, in the month of Sha’ban (8th month). From then on prayer was directed toward the Ka’ba in Mecca.*
* For the third time, Ibn Hisham mentions the serious sign of Muhammad's inner dissociation from the Jews. He had hoped in vain to win them for Islam. With the change of prayer direction from Jerusalem to Mecca, the final break came about in the relations between Jews and Muslims.
5.04 -- TEST
- as an encouragement in future service for Christ.
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