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Posts Tagged ‘battle of Uhud

Book review of Genevieve Chauvel

Posted on October 11, 2008 (Written in November 19, 2007)

“Aïcha la bien-aimée du Prophet” by Geneviève Chauvel

Note: This review is very large and I opted to split it into 2 parts. The second part will start when Prophet Muhammad died.

I decided to review “Aicha, the most beloved wife of the Prophet” for the chronicles of the active life of the Prophet Muhammad, and the specific circumstances that revealed the messages from Archangel Gabriel.  Aicha lived to be 67 of age and experienced Islam since she was born, and she died as Islam was splitting into schisms.

Aicha was born in 616 in Mecca and she was redheaded like her maternal grandmother.  Her father Abu Bakr, later the first Caliph, spared her life because Khadija, the wife of Mohammad, played a part in this difficult and life threatening birth.

Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Hachim was an orphan brought up by his uncle Abu Talib, the father of Ali. The father of Muhammad died before his birth and his mother passed away as Muhammad was only 6 of age.  Ali was to be the fourth Caliph.

(Islam would like us to believe that Muhammad was illiterate to exaggerate his divine message, but I beg to differ. Read link in note #4).  

Khadija, a wealthy caravan trader, hired Muhammad to lead her caravans to Damascus.  Khadija was almost 8 years older than Muhammad (A large difference at that time with low life expectancy) when her uncle urged her to marry his nephew Muhammad. She was widowed twice and Muhammad was 25 year-old.  Khadija gave  him a son Al Qasem, who died at age two, and four daughters. Two of the in-laws became later Caliphs, Uthman and Ali.

Khadija was the first person to believe in Muhammad “prophecies/messages” and for 11 years protected him from the mockeries and sarcasms of the inhabitants of Mecca and cared for him during his fits of epilepsy when Archangel Gabriel used to appear to him.

Two of Muhammad’s daughters were repudiated by their husbands because they refused to be married to girls who converted to Islam.  Fatima, the youngest one, married Ali, Muhammad’s nephew, and gave Muhammad two grand boys, Hassan and Hussein and two granddaughters. 

Zainab, one of the daughters of Muhammad, was married to Aboul-As whom she loved so much that she preferred to stay with him in Mecca. Aboul-As fought against Muhammad at the battle of Badr and was made prisoner and later decided to convert in order to keep Zainab.

Rukaya was married to Uthman ibn Affan, later the third Caliph, and when she died, Muhammad married his daughter Oum Kulthum to Uthman because he needed his Kureich clan on his side. 

Uthman abandoned the position of his archery contingent during the lost battle of Uhud and thus had vacated a strategic position held by the archers, which allowed the cavalry of Khaled bin Al walid to defeat the Muslims in this battle and forced them to retreat..

Muhammad adopted Zaid ibn Haritha who was Khadija’s slave at the age of twelve and he used him to be his personal messenger to his wives after each battle.  Zaid was very learned and translated and interpreted the Jewish Books to Muhammad and was devoted to his adoptive father.

Muhammad married Sawda (Black) after Khadija died because he needed an experienced woman to run and maintain the household.  Sawda was widowed to a convert who fled to Ethiopia from the Quraish tribes’ persecution.

After the death of Khadija, Muhammad realized that he won’t be protected anymore from certain death; he fled Mecca to Yathrib in the year 622 (later called Medina or the first city-state of the Muslims) after foiling an assassination attempt on his life. 

It took him and Abu Bakr almost four months to arrive at Yathrib, a six days travel, to avoid the headhunters of the tribes of Quraish.  Most of the Prophet’s followers had preceded him to Yathrib and welcomed him as a hero.

Muhammad married Aisha in Yathrib when she was ten years old. 

Abu Bakr (father of Aisha) was the first adult male to convert to Islam and he was Muhammad’s closest Companion and guide.  Aicha was 8-years old when Muhammad officially asked her hand and waited to marry her at age ten.

The mother of Aicha, Oum Roummane, almost died when giving birth to Aisha and Khadija was called upon to deliver her and Muhammad saw Gabriel at the same time he was contemplating to commit suicide by throwing himself off a cliff because of the miserable life that Gabriel forced upon him. 

After the death of Khadija, Mohammad saw Aicha three times in his dreams, as a baby wrapped in green blanket and the third time it was Gabriel who removed the blanket for Muhammad to recognize the face of baby Aicha, and ordered to obey the request of Gabriel to take her as wife.  Aicha had a vast memory and was educated to read and write and she was the person who transposed the verbal messages into written verses during the revelations.

The migrating Muslims in Yathrib were suffering from miseries.

First, they were not used to the humid climate and the marshes: Many died of the malaria fever.  Aicha almost died as she arrived in Yathrib. 

Second, the emigrants could not find suitable employments and had to accept temporary jobs at the Jewish households and farms.  Consequently, the emigrants had to revert to what the tribes did when they were hungry and penniless.  They decided to raid a major caravan coming from Damascus and lead by Abu Sufyan (a chief of the Quraysh clan in Mecca). The caravan was to stop at an oasis called Badr but Abu Sufyan got wind of the raid and diverted its route and sent for troops from Mecca.  The Muslims won the battle of Badr, their first.

Sawda father and brother were killed in the battle of Badr fighting against the Muslims.  Sawda was greatly grieved and lambasted the prisoners parked in front her house and told them that they should have fought instead of being taken prisoners. Mohammad repudiated her for a while until she asked forgiveness and she opted not to have intercourse with him as the tradition regulated Mohammad nights among his wives.

Mohammad encircled the fortified castle of the Jewish tribe Banu Qaynuqa because the tribe decided to break the treaty with Mohammad rather than pay the ransom for a murdered emigrant.  The tribe capitulated when it realized the succor from Banu Khazraj was not forthcoming. 

Muhammad had set his mind to beheading all the males of the defeated Banu Qaynuqa tribe as the revelation dictated, but the chief of the Ansar (supporters) tribe of Khazraj prevented him saying: “I am a man who fears the reversal of circumstances”

The Banu Qaynuqa were allowed to leave the city and it settled in the Jewish town of Khaibar, around 20 miles north west of Yathrib.

Mohammad married Afsa (3afsa), the widowed daughter of Omar ibn Khattab, the second Caliph, because he needed Omar total loyalty.  She was eighteen. Actually, Omar insisted on Uthman to marry Afsa but he declined the request repeatedly. Muhammad had set his mind to marry his second daughter Um Kulthum to Uthman to secure the Ummaya powerful clan.  Aicha was crest fallen and suffered her first jealousy attacks.

The Muslims lost the battle of Uhud, but the forces of Quraish did not pursue their objective to enter Medina and retreated to Mecca.  Muhammad directed his angst against the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadhir that secretly supported Quraich.  He ordered this Jewish tribe to leave Medina; the eye witness accounts related that the citizens in Medina never saw a caravan as opulent, rich and luxurious in their lives.

Mohammad married Zainab, the daughter of the clan leader of Bani Assad, who was widowed and 30 years of age. Zainab died three months after her wedding.

Mohammad married Hind, daughter of Abi Ummayah, a recent widow of Abu Salama who was mortally injured during the battle of Ohud, the first defeat of the Moslems against the tribe of Quraich and their allies outside the walls of Yathreb and now called Medina. 

Hind or Um Salama was about thirty of age and had many children and declined to marry Abu Bakr and Omar and even Muhammad.  Muhammad asked her hand a second time and promised to care for her many offspring.

Muhammad married Zainab bint Jahsh, a cousin thirty of years of age and of great beauty.  Zainab was the wife of his adoptive son Zaid ibn Haritha who separated from her when she welcomed Mohammad almost nude to entice him and throw trouble in his heart. 

She roamed after Muhammad reminding him that she separated because of him.  The Koran was very strict on the number of only 4 wives for the believers but Mohammad received a message from Gabriel telling him that Zainab is an offer from God that cannot be rejected.  The aggrieved Aicha interjected that God has a tendency to accord his Messenger all his desires.

Mohammad repulsed a fresh attack by Quraich on Medina by following the suggestion of Salame the Persian; Salame supervised the digging of a large and deep trench around Medina that the cavalry could not jump over. 

A violent wind followed by a torrential rain convinced the Quraishi armies to retreat.  Then, Mohammad surrounded the hold up of the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza for 25 days because they were tacitly allied to Quraich. 

The Prophet beheaded 700 of the male captives and dumped their bodies in a large hole and ordered Ali and Zubair (the husband of Aicha’s sister Asmat) to participate in the performance of the executions.

(This 700 could be a magical number in tales. Even 70 beheading executions is too large a number in a single day. Why Muhammad made Ali to have blood on his hand is to be examined. Actually, the hatred of the Jews for Ali is a consequence of this narrative)

Muhammad asked the hand of Rihana, a Jewish captive girl, to marry him but she declined. After she converted, Mohammad asked her hand again and she preferred to remain slave than marry someone with several wives but she became his concubine.

Since this mass cruel beheading, troops of Muhammad had easier tasks convincing the neighboring tribes to join Islam and plundering the caravans arriving from Damascus or Alexandria.

Mohammad married Juwayriah, the daughter of the chief clan of Harith, which his last raid brought her as captive.  The Harith tribe and their allies convert to Islam. 

A turning point was reached when Aicha lost her favorite collar that her mother Em Rumana gave her for her wedding. 

Aicha joined that raid and lost her favorite collar that the Prophet had offered her during their wedding. The fighters were utterly upset for wasting precious time searching for the collar and the time for prayer was close and they were far from the nearest oasis. 

Muhammad had to receive a message allowing ablution with sand when water is not available. This revelation allowed the Muslim armies to expand its raids in the desert and later in their territory expansion.

The story goes that Muhammad took Aicha on an expedition.  Aicha lost her collar as the troop were heading to the next water well and the caravan was very short on water for the ablution before prayer. 

On the way back from the expedition, Aicha stepped away from the troop for bodily relief.  As she reached the caravan, she realized that she dropped this loose collar again.  Aicha went back to search for the collar and the troop started without her. 

Aicha would recount that she was so light that the attendants to her tent/hawdaj didn’t realize that she was Not in the cabin that was raised over the camel.  Aicha lay down.  Safwan, a young and handsome convert was a little behind the caravan, and found Aicha and mounted her on his horse. Safwan was confident that the troops will retrace their path searching for her as they reached the camp. 

Later, rumors spread that, while the 60 years old prophet is resuming his mania of marrying far more than the four allowed by the Koran, and that his younger of wives is cheating on him.  Aicha fell dangerously sick and was moved to her folks’ quarter and Mohammad didn’t pay her a visit for 28 days because he started to believe the rumors.

When Mohammad finally arrived to see Aicha, the Angel Gabriel showed up and revealed to the Prophet that Aicha was innocent. Um Roumana told Aicha to come forward and thank the Prophet.  Aicha retorted: “By God I will not!  I will praise but God who finally decided to declare me innocent” 

Seventeen revelations were dedicated to these awful circumstances; calumny was revealed as a crime, as dangerous as adultery and specific penalties prescribed. 

Mistah, a cousin of Aicha, Hassan ibn Thabit, the poet of Islam, and Hannah bint Jahsh, the sister of one of the Prophet’s wives, were flogged 100 times for their crimes of calumny without having 4 witnesses for their accusations.  Aicha regained her position as the most favored “Um al Mu’mineen”. (The Mother of the Believers). It is said that Aisha kept a deep grudge for Ali who seemed to believe the rumors of her cheating.

Mohammad had a dream while sleeping with Aicha that he shaved his head and performed the pilgrimage to Al Kaaba in Mecca.  Aicha encouraged him and Muhammad left Medina with 700 unarmed men to Mecca. 

The favorite camel of Muhammad named Qaswa parked in Hudaibiya, close to Mecca, and would not move.  By the way, Qaswa was the camel that selected the location for the Prophet house and the Mosque in Yathrib.

The Quraichi’s tribes sent delegations and they reached a 10-year non-belligerence treaty and promised Muhammad that they would permit the Muslims for pilgrimage starting next year. 

Although Muhammad was not allowed to enter Mecca, he wanted to perform the rites in Hudaibiya but the Companions refused. Um Salama encouraged Muhammad to perform the sacred rituals and shaved Muhammad’s head and then slaughtered his sacrificial camel and the believers hurried to follow suit; the party returned to Medina sanctified.

Mohammad married Safiya, a Jewish beauty and of high grace from Khaibar who was married to a brute of a husband that died during the battle of Khaibar.

Muhammad had just conquered the fortified Jewish town of Khaibar, North West of Madina in the year 630.  The lands were turned over to Mohammad and his closest Companions and the Jews agreed to cultivate the land as serfs for 50% return for their subsistence and relinquished their treasures.

Um Salama escorted the Prophet in this raid and recounted to the harem that a Jewish girl roasted a lamb for Mohammad and then he realized it was poisoned; when asked why she poisoned the lamb she replied: “You killed my father, brother and husband. If you are a King then good riddance; if you are a Prophet then you must discover the plot.” 

The girl was not punished for the rationale that she will spread her conviction that Muhammad is indeed a prophet.  Un Salama added that Muhammad liked his new wife Safia very much: he didn’t wait the customary 40 days grievance and married her on the way back to Medina and spent four whole days and nights with Safiya.  With virgins, the husbands spend 7 entire days and nights!  Aicha thought that Um Salama could have spared her added anxieties.

Mohammad married Um Habiba, the daughter of Abu Sufyan, his arch enemy of Quraish.  Um Habiba was a recent widow and 40-year old and living in Ethiopia with her husband who converted to Christianity; she was one of the first converts to flee to Ethiopia after the Quraish persecutions.

The governor of Coptic Egypt sent Muhammad gold and fine gifts and two Christian girls as slaves, Maria and Sirine.  Maria became immediately the concubine of the Prophet until she converts to Islam and he spent most of his time with Maria, raising a revolt within his harem.

Aicha took a definite advantage over the remaining wives.

Individuals who wanted to offer the Prophet gifts learned that the best moments were when he is with Aicha.  Aicha thus enjoyed the best fabrics and gifts and the other wives revolted again wanting fair distribution of the gifts. 

Mohammad told Um Salama that his revelations descend when he is with Aicha, but the revolt went on and the Prophet decided to retreat from his harem for a whole month, sending fear and frustration in the community of the believers. 

After a month, Mohammad revealed a message placing men as superior to women and admonishing wives to obey their husband, and permitting husbands to punish their wives if they disobeyed.  Mohammad reconquered his authority in the harem, and wives had to pay the price of this revolt for centuries after.

In 630 or the 8th year of Mohammad emigration to Yathrib , the Prophet assembled ten thousand fighters for his pilgrimage to the Kaaba and entered Mecca and destroyed the pagan Gods and became the uncontested leader of all the tribes in the Arabian peninsula. (Too large a number to be credible)

Islam arch enemy Abu Sufian converted to Islam, before the troops of the Muslims entered Mecca.  The wife of Abu Sufian, Hind, reluctantly converted to Islam also.  Hind is the famous woman who opened the chest of Hamza in the Battle of uhud and ate his liver in order to avenge her father in the battle of Badr. Hamza (an uncle of Muhammad) had killed Hind’s father in a singular fight before the battle of Bard.

Mohammad married Maymouna, a relative of both tribes of Abi Taleb and Hashim to the fainting and shock of the harem. 

A revelation descended that the messenger is allowed all the women he desires. 

Besides his 9 wives, Muhammad had two concubines, Maria and Rihana, and uncounted numbers of women who wanted to offer themselves to him to gain Paradise. 

Once, Fatima told the harem that her husband Ali wanted to take another wife and she intervened with the Prophet; Aicha was beside herself to learn that this plain woman, and not as educated, could enjoy one husband and generate four offspring, two of them males.  Aicha realized that she could not get pregnant, even after her sexual expertise led to many successful full coital with Muhammad.

Rihana died shortly after as well as Mohammad’s eldest daughter Zainab. 

Maria gave Mohammad a male son called Ibrahim and thus, Maria was released from bondage. 

The blood family of the Prophet consisted of Ali, Fatima, his two grandsons, his two grand daughters and Ibrahim; his adoptive son Zaid died during a battle in the north against the Byzantine Empire.

Mohammad organized an army of 30,000 fighters in the year 631, recruited from all over Arabia and marched to Tabuk, a city within the Syrian borders, to avenge the death of his adoptive son Zaid; he took Aicha with him on this campaign. 

The Governor of Syria didn’t deign to challenge the Prophet and Muhammad returned to Medina after securing many treaties with the neighboring tribes and oasis in Syria (among them the more civilized and more urban of tribes that will later tip the balance in the war against Byzantium).  The whole of “Arabia” was converting to Islam.

Ibrahim, the son of Mohammad, aged 18 months, dies.  The Prophet cried and lamented, a behavior which was not the custom of the male believers.

The Prophet went on pilgrimage to Mecca the next year with 30,000 pilgrims and the entire harem went this time.  Mohammad gave a speech alluding that it might be his last pilgrimage.

Shortly after his return to Medina Muhammad suffered from terrible headaches for a month; he asked Abu Bakr to preach in his place when he was bedridden.  The Prophet dies on June 8, 632; he was 63 years old.

Notes:

  1. Muhammad was mortally sick for at least a month and he knew his days were counted because Gabriel gave him a choice between this world and the Other World and the Prophet opted for the Other World.  Muhammad had time to think about the succession of power and the appropriate processes but no revelations were forthcoming. 
  2. The tribal spirit was to dominate the political landscape, the same spirit that Muhammad intended to re-direct toward a Unique God and unite the “Ummat al Islam”.  The Arab and Muslim World were tribal in structure and ended up with a caste system when the Central Asian tribes overpowered the Quraishi tribal rights for leadership.
  3. The Prophet Muhammad was highly literate https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/the-parson-and-the-prophet-book-review/

Date Zero: Prior period to Islam is untouchable to investigation; (April 1, 2010)

Islam calendar starts in 622 AC, the date the Prophet Muhammad fled to Medina (Yathreb) from Mecca.

The past or before date zero, or the culture and tradition of pre-Islam Arabic Peninsula, has been practically untouched by researchers and Islamic investigators.

The period prior to 622 or year one of “Hegire” is lumped as the period of ignorance (Jahiliyya) by Moslems.

The Arab World still teaches pre-Islamic poetry and poets; it is mostly through these poems that the Arabs are acquainted with the very rich parts of pre-Islamic culture, traditions, and customs.

Fact is, you cannot understand Islam without the contexts that pressured the prophet Muhammad to compromise with the multitude of tribes allied to Byzantium and Persia empires.

We can claim that a curtain (hijab) has descended on pre-Islamic period simultaneously with the veil that descended on women after the Prophet’s death.

Thus, women were banished from political power and dealing with political affairs in public two decades after Muhammad’s death.

This is no coincidence that Islam after Muhammad’s death had made the connection between pulling a curtain on the Jahiliyya period and the veiling of women in society; removing women from the public political landscape.

During Jahiliyya, each Arabic tribe worshiped idols made of wood or stone; there were many Jewish and “heretic” Christian-Jew sects (as labeled by Christian Orthodox Byzantium Empire) in Arabia and in Mecca.

The 3 most potent and powerful idols were female idols such as Al Uzza, Manat, and Al Lat.  Although the tribes made their yearly pilgrimage to Mecca where the Kaaba contained over 360 idols, this pilgrimage was mainly for doing commerce and enjoying the weeklong festivities and debauchery.  The main pilgrimage (hajj) for the powerful tribes was to their preferred idols in other locations and towns.

The pragmatic nomads in the Arabic Peninsula and the neighboring deserts have created idols commensurate to their individualistic needs to vent their frustrations with periodic sacrifices, including babies of both genders.

During Muhammad’s time, baby girls were mostly the sacrificial human kind by poor families, especially in periods of great food distress.

Since violence, revenge, and frequent wars “razzias” against other clans were the norm for looting of animals, camels, and slave girls…  powerful female goddesses were purchased and erected for pilgrimage as scapegoats to the tribes’ violent activities.

Thus, female goddesses represented violence, symbol that violence and revenge are the mark of female behavior and dark spirit.

For example, goddess Manat (death) was the oldest idol and was worshiped by the tribes of Aws and Kazradj that inhabited the region of Yathreb, later called Medina (the first Islam City-State).  The original meaning of Manat is taken from a Semitic root meaning “counting of the days of life” that connote death (manyya).

The temple of Manat was a natural rock (sakhra) on the coast between Mecca and Yathreb; the two tribes considered that the pilgrimage was not complete until they stopped at the temple of Manat where they shaved their head and offered sacrifices. Manat was a powerful goddess dictator (taghia) and swords were deposited in her temple.

The Prophet gave his nephew Ali bin Abi Taleb the two swords in the temple after it was demolished; one of the sword was called Zul Faqar. Representatives of the tribes of Aws and Khazradj had extended permission to Muhammad, after three years of negotiation, to settle in Yathreb with his converts after the tribes of Mecca decided to chase them out.

The other female goddess was Al Lat and was worshiped in Taif, a region on the eastern shores facing Persia.  The main tribe of Taif, the Banu Taqif, erected square walls around the rock of Al Lat.  Most desert tribes, all the way to Palmyra in northern Syria, worshiped this goddess.

Al Lat had all the attributes of goddess Athena wearing battle helmet, breastplate, armor, and holding a lance.  Banu Thaqif was one of the latest tribes to submit to Allah because Muhammad failed at several expeditions to enter Taif. Actually, it was Taif that was the preferred destination to Muhammad when he decided to flee Mecca but he was chased out of Taif after his failed negotiation to settle there.

The third most powerful “taghia” goddess was Al Uzza (dignity, physical force and power); the most powerful tribe of Quraich in Mecca consecrated her.  Al Uzza was the most violent divine warrior and was represented in the form of a tree or three acacias trees and located way up north in Nakhla as Shamiya on the way to Iraq’s caravans.

The temple of Al Uzza was equipped with a slaughtering alter (manhar) called “ghabghab”.  General Khaled bin Al Waleed was ordered to destroy the temple of Al Uzza in 630 after Muhammad entered Mecca peacefully as the victor.

General Al Waleed was the Quraich leader who defeated Muhammad’s troops in the battle of Uhud; this failed campaign of the Prophet generated 3 years of civil unrest in the City-State of Medina and most of the verses that abridged female equal rights that were previously gained in the first four years.

Note: About ten years after Muhammad’s death, the Arabic Islamic Empire had extended vastly.

The governor Abu Mussa al Ach3ari wrote to the second caliph Omar bin Al Khattab: “You sent me several letters that were not dated.” Omar assembled a council to set up a calendar.

A few opted to using the Byzantium calendar, others the Persian calendar, but the majority recognized that a calendar means power and wanted an Arabic/Islamic calendar.

The discussions led to adopting the date of the Prophet’s immigration to Medina in 622 AC as Date Zero. Omar had said: “this is the year that divided truth from falsehood.”

Islam lunar calendar is of 354 days and started with the month of “Muharram”; the pre-Islamic particular month that prohibited wars and revenge among clans.

In pre-Islam, the tribes used to add one month on the third year for calibration with their commercial dealings. Muhammad forbid to add this month; thus, the Islamic calendar is one year ahead for every 33 Christian years since the year 622.

Medina, the first Islam City-State; (Mar. 26, 2010)

Many Moslems do not turn toward Mecca to get inspiration: They turn toward Medina where the Prophet Muhammad ruled, established his message, and was buried.  The Prophet Muhammad was buried in his green overcoat, in the ground, under the bed of Aicha, his most beloved wife, in this humble room apartment, a door opening directly to the first mosque.

The same small “apartment” where the Prophet head was in the mosque, extending his head through the door for Aicha to wash his long hair.

Muhammad had to flee Mecca in 622 after his powerful wife Khadija trespassed. Mecca had over 360 idols representing the Gods of countless tribes, paying pilgrimage every year and being scalped of every dime they carried with them on a week-long debauched festivities.

Muhammad was welcomed in Medina (Yathreb) as a prince after the two main tribes of Aws and Khazraj extended an invitation to settle after many years of negotiation. The immigrant Moslems from Mecca (the Muhajirun) had preceded their Prophet to Medina many months ahead of him.  The Muhajirun were the strangers and they were almost penniless; the tribes of Medina had to accommodate them within their residences and find them work in their fields to earn a living.

The first 4 years were glorious years: it was the period when recognition of individual rights and development as equal converts to Allah superseded tribal attachment and customs.  Women didn’t wear the veil and walked the streets unaccompanied my male relatives.

The veil was a custom in Mecca for the aristocratic women to be discriminated from common women and slaves.  Medina was an agricultural vast city extending for miles over several villages of clans and tribes. Women worked the field with men, and wearing veil was unheard of.

The women in Medina were working people and Medina was mainly a matriarchal society.  The wife had to simply lock the door of her tent for the husband to go find a sleeping place among his clan.

The muhajirun from patriarchal Mecca felt lost and appalled in this new community of traditions and customs, where sexuality was not a big deal and women had a say in city politics.

In the first four years, women demanded equality with men and got it in the Koran. The Prophet went at great length detailing heritage procedure and shares for every member of the family; even an orphan and a child born from a slave and a free person (regardless of gender) had a share as any other member of the family.

Muhammad insisted that at least one of his wives join him in his military expeditions to the grand dam of the masculine army.  People of both genders would visit the Prophet’s wives for clarifications and explanations on verses of the Koran and the daily routines of behavior.  There was no dividing space line between private and public life: And the Prophet was constantly harassed with countless queries even in his residence because the new converts wanted to learn the new message of change.

Then, Muhammad lost the battle of Uhud in 626 against a coalition of tribes under the leadership of Quraich of Mecca.

Three hard years of civil unrest in Medina followed.  Muhammad opted for defensive attitudes and no serious military campaigns “razzia” brought much loot for the survival of the growing followers in Medina.

Believing in Allah and his Prophet took serious shaking down and the incredulous turn to cynicism, calumny, and even open anger.  One clan leader entered the apartment of Aicha and Muhammad and demanded of the Prophet to swap Aicha with one of his wives.

The wives of Muhammad were apprehended in the streets with sexual overtones under the pretense that the “munafikeen” thought they were women slaves since they wore no veil.

The second Caliph Omar was the most intransigent misogyny “muhajer”:  he kept harassing the Prophet for demanding women to wear the veil and to refrain from dealing in public affairs.

People were becoming openly highly critical of Muhammad’s behaviors and his selection of newer wives.  This open space between private and public life was to tumble down gradually under the massive pressures of little military excursions and civil unrest.

Verses were pronounced to drop curtains in Muhammad’s apartment for visitors who were not invited.  Omar obtained that the wives of the Prophet start wearing veils when out of their residences.  The Prophet who never beat or slapped any of his wives had also to permit male ascendancy in the family.

Violent Omar was told by Muhammad “You may slap your wives but this would be the behavior of the unaccomplished Moslem

The next year to the battle of Uhud, Quraich tribes came back and set siege to Medina for 28 days.

For the first time in Arabia, a large ditch was dug around a city for defense purposes to enemy cavalry. Civil unrest in Medina grew and women avoided walking out their residences.  The Prophet had to give priority to political survival at the expense of equal rights to all converts, for both genders, for class differences, and for further emancipation of slaves.


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