Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Muhammad

Doubt essential to faith. And mainly to sciences?

Writing biography is a strange thing to do. It’s a journey into the foreign territory of somebody else’s life, a journey, an exploration that can take you places you never dreamed of going and still can’t quite believe you’ve been, especially if, like me, you’re an agnostic Jew and the life you’ve been exploring is that of Muhammad.

0:40 Five years ago, for instance, I found myself waking each morning in misty Seattle to what I knew was an impossible question: What actually happened one desert night, half the world and almost half of history away?

What happened, that is, on the night in the year 610 when Muhammad received the first revelation of the Koran on a mountain just outside Mecca?

This is the core mystical moment of Islam, and as such, of course, it defies empirical analysis. Yet the question wouldn’t let go of me. I was fully aware that for someone as secular as I am, just asking it could be seen as pure chutzpah. (Laughter)

And I plead guilty as charged, because all exploration, physical or intellectual, is inevitably in some sense an act of transgression, of crossing boundaries.

 Still, some boundaries are larger than others. So a human encountering the divine, as Muslims believe Muhammad did, to the rationalist, this is a matter not of fact but of wishful fiction, and like all of us, I like to think of myself as rational.

Which might be why when I looked at the earliest accounts we have of that night, what struck me even more than what happened was what did not happen. Muhammad did not come floating off the mountain as though walking on air.

He did not run down shouting, “Hallelujah!” and “Bless the Lord!” He did not radiate light and joy. There were no choirs of angels, no music of the spheres, no elation, no ecstasy, no golden aura surrounding him, no sense of an absolute, fore-ordained role as the messenger of God. That is, he did none of the things that might make it easy to cry foul, to put down the whole story as a pious fable.

Quite the contrary. In his own reported words, he was convinced at first that what had happened couldn’t have been real. At best, he thought, it had to have been a hallucination — a trick of the eye or the ear, perhaps, or his own mind working against him.

At worst, possession — that he’d been seized by an evil jinn, a spirit out to deceive him, even to crush the life out of him. In fact, he was so sure that he could only be majnun, possessed by a jinn, that when he found himself still alive, his first impulse was to finish the job himself, to leap off the highest cliff and escape the terror of what he’d experienced by putting an end to all experience.

The man who fled down the mountain that night trembled not with joy but with a stark, primordial fear. He was overwhelmed not with conviction, but by doubt. And that panicked disorientation, that sundering of everything familiar, that daunting awareness of something beyond human comprehension, can only be called a terrible awe.

4:33 This might be somewhat difficult to grasp now that we use the word “awesome” to describe a new app or a viral video. With the exception perhaps of a massive earthquake, we’re protected from real awe. We close the doors and hunker down, convinced that we’re in control, or, at least, hoping for control.

We do our best to ignore the fact that we don’t always have it, and that not everything can be explained. Yet whether you’re a rationalist or a mystic, whether you think the words Muhammad heard that night came from inside himself or from outside, what’s clear is that he did experience them, and that he did so with a force that would shatter his sense of himself and his world and transform this otherwise modest man into a radical advocate for social and economic justice.

Fear was the only sane response, the only human response.

Too human for some, like conservative Muslim theologians who maintain that the account of his wanting to kill himself shouldn’t even be mentioned, despite the fact that it’s in the earliest Islamic biographies. They insist that he never doubted for even a single moment, let alone despaired.

Demanding perfection, they refuse to tolerate human imperfection. Yet what, exactly, is imperfect about doubt? As I read those early accounts, I realized it was precisely Muhammad’s doubt that brought him alive for me, that allowed me to begin to see him in full, to accord him the integrity of reality.

And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense that he doubted, because doubt is essential to faith.

If this seems a startling idea at first, consider that doubt, as Graham Greene once put it, is the heart of the matter. Abolish all doubt, and what’s left is not faith, but absolute, heartless conviction.

You’re certain that you possess the Truth — inevitably offered with an implied uppercase T — and this certainty quickly devolves into dogmatism and righteousness, by which I mean a demonstrative, overweening pride in being so very right, in short, the arrogance of fundamentalism.

It has to be one of the multiple ironies of history that a favorite expletive of Muslim fundamentalists is the same one once used by the Christian fundamentalists known as Crusaders: “infidel,” from the Latin for “faithless.”

Doubly ironic, in this case, because their absolutism is in fact the opposite of faith. In effect, they are the infidels. Like fundamentalists of all religious stripes, they have no questions, only answers. They found the perfect antidote to thought and the ideal refuge of the hard demands of real faith.

They don’t have to struggle for it like Jacob wrestling through the night with the angel, or like Jesus in his 40 days and nights in the wilderness, or like Muhammad, not only that night on the mountain, but throughout his years as a prophet, with the Koran constantly urging him not to despair, and condemning those who most loudly proclaim that they know everything there is to know and that they and they alone are right.

Yet we, the vast and still far too silent majority, have ceded the public arena to this extremist minority. We’ve allowed Judaism to be claimed by violently messianic West Bank settlers, Christianity by homophobic hypocrites and misogynistic bigots, Islam by suicide bombers. And we’ve allowed ourselves to be blinded to the fact that no matter whether they claim to be Christians, Jews or Muslims, militant extremists are none of the above.

They’re a cult all their own, blood brothers steeped in other people’s blood.

This isn’t faith. It’s fanaticism, and we have to stop confusing the two. We have to recognize that real faith has no easy answers. It’s difficult and stubborn. It involves an ongoing struggle, a continual questioning of what we think we know, a wrestling with issues and ideas. It goes hand in hand with doubt, in a never-ending conversation with it, and sometimes in conscious defiance of it.

This conscious defiance is why I, as an agnostic, can still have faith. I have faith, for instance, that peace in the Middle East is possible despite the ever-accumulating mass of evidence to the contrary. I’m not convinced of this. I can hardly say I believe it. I can only have faith in it, commit myself, that is, to the idea of it, and I do this precisely because of the temptation to throw up my hands in resignation and retreat into silence.

Because despair is self-fulfilling.

If we call something impossible, we act in such a way that we make it so. And I, for one, refuse to live that way. In fact, most of us do, whether we’re atheist or theist or anywhere in between or beyond, for that matter, what drives us is that, despite our doubts and even because of our doubts, we reject the nihilism of despair.

We insist on faith in the future and in each other. Call this naive if you like. Call it impossibly idealistic if you must. But one thing is sure: Call it human.

Could Muhammad have so radically changed his world without such faith, without the refusal to cede to the arrogance of closed-minded certainty? I think not.

After keeping company with him as a writer for the past five years, I can’t see that he’d be anything but utterly outraged at the militant fundamentalists who claim to speak and act in his name in the Middle East and elsewhere today.

He’d be appalled at the repression of half the population because of their gender. He’d be torn apart by the bitter divisiveness of sectarianism.

He’d call out terrorism for what it is, not only criminal but an obscene travesty of everything he believed in and struggled for. He’d say what the Koran says: Anyone who takes a life takes the life of all humanity. Anyone who saves a life, saves the life of all humanity. And he’d commit himself fully to the hard and thorny process of making peace

Patsy Z shared this link

“Real faith has no easy answers. It involves an ongoing struggle, a continual questioning of what we think we know.”

t.ted.com|By Lesley Hazleton

Is Doubt essential to faith only?

Writing biography is a strange thing to do. It’s a journey into the foreign territory of somebody else’s life, a journey, an exploration that can take you places you never dreamed of going and still can’t quite believe you’ve been, especially if, like me, you’re an agnostic Jew and the life you’ve been exploring is that of Muhammad.

0:40 Five years ago, for instance, I found myself waking each morning in misty Seattle to what I knew was an impossible question: What actually happened one desert night, half the world and almost half of history away?

What happened on the night in the year 610 when Muhammad received the first revelation of the Koran on a mountain just outside Mecca? This is the core mystical moment of Islam that defies empirical analysis.

Yet the question wouldn’t let go of me. I was fully aware that for someone as secular as I am, just asking it could be seen as pure chutzpah. And I plead guilty as charged, because all exploration, physical or intellectual, is inevitably in some sense an act of transgression, of crossing boundaries.

” Abolish all doubt, and what’s left is not faith, but absolute, heartless conviction. You’re certain that you possess the Truth — inevitably offered with an implied uppercase T — and this certainty quickly devolves into dogmatism and righteousness, by which I mean a demonstrative, overweening pride in being so very right, in short, the arrogance of fundamentalism.” – Lesley Hazleton

When Lesley Hazleton was writing a biography of Muhammad, she was struck by something: The night he received the revelation of the Koran, according to early accounts, his first reaction was doubt, awe, even fear. And yet this experience…
ted.com|By Lesley Hazleton

some boundaries are larger than others. So a human encountering the divine, as Muslims believe Muhammad did, to the rationalist, this is a matter not of fact but of wishful fiction, and like all of us, I like to think of myself as rational.

Which might be why when I looked at the earliest accounts we have of that night, what struck me even more than what happened was what did Not happen.

Muhammad did not come floating off the mountain as though walking on air. He did not run down shouting, “Hallelujah!” and “Bless the Lord!” He did not radiate light and joy.

There were no choirs of angels, no music of the spheres, no elation, no ecstasy, no golden aura surrounding him, no sense of an absolute, fore-ordained role as the messenger of God.

he did none of the things that might make it easy to cry foul, to put down the whole story as a pious fable. Quite the contrary.

In his own reported words, he was convinced at first that what had happened couldn’t have been real. At best, he thought, it had to have been a hallucination — a trick of the eye or the ear, perhaps, or his own mind working against him. At worst, possession — that he’d been seized by an evil jinn, a spirit out to deceive him, even to crush the life out of him.

In fact, he was so sure that he could only be majnun, possessed by a jinn, that when he found himself still alive, his first impulse was to finish the job himself, to leap off the highest cliff and escape the terror of what he’d experienced by putting an end to all experience.

 the man who fled down the mountain that night trembled not with joy but with a stark, primordial fear. He was overwhelmed not with conviction, but by doubt.

And that panicked disorientation, that sundering of everything familiar, that daunting awareness of something beyond human comprehension, can only be called a terrible awe.

This might be somewhat difficult to grasp now that we use the word “awesome” to describe a new app or a viral video. With the exception perhaps of a massive earthquake, we’re protected from real awe.

We close the doors and hunker down, convinced that we’re in control, or, at least, hoping for control. We do our best to ignore the fact that we don’t always have it, and that not everything can be explained.

Yet whether you’re a rationalist or a mystic, whether you think the words Muhammad heard that night came from inside himself or from outside, what’s clear is that he did experience them, and that he did so with a force that would shatter his sense of himself and his world and transform this otherwise modest man into a radical advocate for social and economic justice.

Fear was the only sane response, the only human response.

Too human for some, like conservative Muslim theologians who maintain that the account of his wanting to kill himself shouldn’t even be mentioned, despite the fact that it’s in the earliest Islamic biographies.

They insist that he never doubted for even a single moment, let alone despaired. Demanding perfection, they refuse to tolerate human imperfection. Yet what is imperfect about doubt?

As I read those early accounts, I realized it was precisely Muhammad’s doubt that brought him alive for me, that allowed me to begin to see him in full, to accord him the integrity of reality. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense that he doubted, because doubt is essential to faith.

If this seems a startling idea at first, consider that doubt, as Graham Greene once put it, is the heart of the matter. Abolish all doubt, and what’s left is not faith, but absolute, heartless conviction.

You’re certain that you possess the Truth — inevitably offered with an implied uppercase T — and this certainty quickly devolves into dogmatism and righteousness, by which I mean a demonstrative, overweening pride in being so very right, in short, the arrogance of fundamentalism.

It has to be one of the multiple ironies of history that a favorite expletive of Muslim fundamentalists is the same one once used by the Christian fundamentalists known as Crusaders: infidel,” from the Latin for “faithless.”

Doubly ironic, in this case, because their absolutism is in fact the opposite of faith.

In effect, they are the infidels. Like fundamentalists of all religious stripes, they have no questions, only answers.

They found the perfect antidote to thought and the ideal refuge of the hard demands of real faith.

They don’t have to struggle for it like Jacob wrestling through the night with the angel, or like Jesus in his 40 days and nights in the wilderness, or like Muhammad, not only that night on the mountain, but throughout his years as a prophet, with the Koran constantly urging him not to despair, and condemning those who most loudly proclaim that they know everything there is to know and that they and they alone are right.

the vast and still far too silent majority have ceded the public arena to this extremist minority.

We’ve allowed Judaism to be claimed by violently messianic West Bank settlers, Christianity by homophobic hypocrites and misogynistic bigots, Islam by suicide bombers.

And we’ve allowed ourselves to be blinded to the fact that no matter whether they claim to be Christians, Jews or Muslims, militant extremists are none of the above. They’re a cult all their own, blood brothers steeped in other people’s blood.

This isn’t faith. It’s fanaticism, and we have to stop confusing the two.

We have to recognize that real faith has no easy answers. It’s difficult and stubborn.

It involves an ongoing struggle, a continual questioning of what we think we know, a wrestling with issues and ideas. It goes hand in hand with doubt, in a never-ending conversation with it, and sometimes in conscious defiance of it.

 this conscious defiance is why I, as an agnostic, can still have faith.

I have faith, for instance, that peace in the Middle East is possible despite the ever-accumulating mass of evidence to the contrary. I’m not convinced of this. I can hardly say I believe it. I can only have faith in it, commit myself, that is, to the idea of it, and I do this precisely because of the temptation to throw up my hands in resignation and retreat into silence.

Because despair is self-fulfilling.

If we call something impossible, we act in such a way that we make it so. And I, for one, refuse to live that way. In fact, most of us do, whether we’re atheist or theist or anywhere in between or beyond, for that matter, what drives us is that, despite our doubts and even because of our doubts, we reject the nihilism of despair.

We insist on faith in the future and in each other. Call this naive if you like. Call it impossibly idealistic if you must. But one thing is sure: Call it human. (Is Faith synonymous with Hope?)

Could Muhammad have so radically changed his world without such faith, without the refusal to cede to the arrogance of closed-minded certainty? I think not.

After keeping company with him as a writer for the past five years, I can’t see that he’d be anything but utterly outraged at the militant fundamentalists who claim to speak and act in his name in the Middle East and elsewhere today.

He’d be appalled at the repression of half the population because of their gender. He’d be torn apart by the bitter divisiveness of sectarianism.

He’d call out terrorism for what it is, not only criminal but an obscene travesty of everything he believed in and struggled for. He’d say what the Koran says: Anyone who takes a life takes the life of all humanity. Anyone who saves a life, saves the life of all humanity.

And he’d commit himself fully to the hard and thorny process of making peace.

Judas Iscariot: at a par; (October 8, 2009)

The Greek word “paradidomi” in the original Testaments means:

First, to deliver or to recommend. In this positive sense it means to consecrate;

Second, it could also means to transfer or to transmit but not to betray as John and later the Catholic and Orthodox churches would like you to admit.

The tradition in those times was: when important formal meetings are to take place that a third-party of equal rank and agreeable to both parties be the intermediary.

Judas was the appropriate messenger between the Sanhedrin (constituted of the highest priests of the Pharisee and Sadducee Jewish sects in Judea) and Jesus.  Judas was a “true” Jew from the Benjamin tribe and the only one from Judea among the disciples; the other disciples were from Galilee and at least four of them were Jesus’ cousins and from his home town of Qana in Lebanon., the administrative district of Tyr

The ancestors of Judas’ father Simon Kariot were of the town of Kariot from where the revolt of the Maccabees started against the Seleucid King over 150 years before Jesus was born.

Judas was the closest and most trusted disciple to Jesus; it was Jesus who selected Judas for disciple because Judas’ family was beloved by Jesus: Marie Magdalena and Martha were the sisters of Judas; Lazarus was the brother of Judas; and Jesus had cured Simon the father from leprosy.

Simon had purchased a residence in the village of Magdala in Galilee to hide his disease away from his hometown close to Jerusalem where customs against sick people were harsh.

Judas was rich in his own right and held the purse. Judas was the most educated among the disciples. Judas sat on the right hand side of Jesus when Jesus offered him the first mouthful of food in the opening ceremony in the Last Supper as sign of his high rank among the disciples.

Judas kissed Jesus when he “transferred” him according to customs to the apprehending party for recognition; kissing on the cheeks meant the two persons where of equal ranks or that Jesus accepted Judas’ position as a messenger of third-party.

Whether Judas suspected that the Sanhedrin decided to harm Jesus is debatable, but for sure Judas never contemplated that Jesus could be sentenced to death because only the Roman Consul in Jerusalem had that power.

If Jesus had committed a crime against Rome he would have been apprehended by the Romans.  The story that Jesus was taken at night proves that the formal meeting to represent the Essonite sect (in which Jesus was a high priest) in the Sanhedrin along the Pharisee and Sadducee was cancelled.

Judas obeyed Jesus who ordered him during the Last Supper “What you are doing, do it quick” and Judas left the ceremony promptly.  Jesus had decided to confront the Sanhedrin knowing full well that his objective to be inducted in the Sanhedrin has failed.

The dates of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus do not fit the customs of the Jewish religious tradition.

It is well-known that the Jews of Jerusalem cooked on Friday morning for two days because on Friday evening the Sabbath or Day of Rest starts. All activities cease until Saturday evening.

Consequently, it is not possible that the lengthy peregrinations of Jesus from the Sanhedrin, to Herod, to Pilatus, and back could have occurred in this time span.

Jesus was of the conservative Essonite sect in northern Palestine and he would not celebrate the Last Supper before the Sabbath; more likely, the Last Supper must have taken place on Saturday evening.

Sunday is another day of business where all legal courts in Jerusalem are opened.  Thus, most likely Jesus was apprehended at the earliest on Saturday night when most pilgrims have vacated Jerusalem and no commotion could be contemplated.

Marc said that the High Priests (of the Sanhedrin) had decided to finish with Jesus but not during the festivities for fear of the tumult among the pilgrims.

When Jesus was apprehended he said: “Every day I was among you teaching in the Temple and you did not arrest me. But it is for the Scripture to be accomplished”

The whole story is concocted so that Jesus’ resurrection falls on a Sunday.  The Christian Day of Rest on Sunday was a political decision adopted after Christianity became the official religion of Byzantium or at least four centuries after Jesus’ death.

Sunday is the next day to the Sabbath. The same is true for a Friday for Islam.  Saturday was always the Day of Rest for the Moslems as was the customs in Mecca until the Jews in Yathreb and neighboring towns with high Jewish concentrations like in Khybar decided on open wars against Muhammad and his followers and allied to the rich tribes of Mecca.

The Moslems even faced Jerusalem for prayers before the Jews antagonized Islam. Friday precede the Sabbath because Muhammad is the last of the prophets and thus takes precedence.

In any case, Bibles are not even historical documents and include no facts whatsoever, in dating or eye testimony.

All dating are references to major events or seasonal rituals.  I would suggest being highly suspicious of these proselytizer who vehemently “speak the truth”.

Note 1:  In the first three centuries of Christianity there were at least 30 “apocryphal” Testaments that each sect had written and abided by its stories.

The Gnostic statements of what Jesus said were banished by the Orthodox Church after the year 325 and only four books were retained.

The best venue to comprehend Christianity and the Jewish religion is for researchers to dig up manuscripts of the religion of the Land (Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria) two centuries before the birth of Jesus.  Then, it would be possible to comprehend the Gnostic and statements of Jesus and the belief systems of the various sects before and after.

Note 2: Religious antagonisms are based on the natural inertia of the masses to change habits of what they were indoctrinated to know, tell, and memorize.

“Bad lovers end up warriors…” (September 8, 2009)

 

            The man was shot in the neck by a comrade for a stupid angry flare up.  The man was a commander in the front for many years, liberating Afghanistan from the Soviet enemy troops. The man is now in a coma; the mullah said that he will be out of coma within two weeks. The Hero, which means the absent one, is till in bed after 16 days; he lays eyes wide open; his wife is taking care of him. She washes her husband once a day, drops medicine in his eyes three times a day; and changes the serum; serum is not generally available so that she adds salt and sugar in water for serum.

            In a few cultures, people select a black stone to talk to; they pour out their complaints and miseries; the stone is supposed to absorb patiently all their worries, pains, and frustrations. Once the stone is saturated with the secret soul searching of the individual then it chatters and the person is relived and absolved.

            The wife has been reciting one of God’s names everyday; on day 16 she is reciting “Al Qahhar” (The Dominator); she has counted the many times she repeated the name, aided by her rosary of 99 beads;  she repeats the name at nausea until she goes to bed at night. The woman has counted the numbers of rosaries before the water boy knocks at the neighbor’s door; how many times she recited the rosary before the kid on a bicycle drive through chanting “Laiti, Laiti djan, djan, you broke my heart”.  Day 17 is the turn of the name “Al Wahhab” (The Donator).

            The woman has two small daughters; the kids are not to enter their father’s room: he is sleeping and resting. The kids are frequently crying of hunger and fright. The house is quickly becoming a red battle line among the belligerent factions after the Soviet troops retreated to Russia.  When fire and shells intensify this small family scrambles to the “basement” which floods during heavy rain. The father of the Hero was proud of his children while liberating the nation but now he hates them: they are struggling for power.

            The mother of the “Hero” in coma had visited the woman’s family to engage her Hero to the cadet girl; it was not the turn of the cadet to be wed; it was not a problem; the Hero’s mother agreed on the second eldest girl; anyway the man was not to be present during the engagement: he was on the front battling the enemies and he never showed up for three long years.  The eldest girl 12 of age was given to a man of forty when the father failed to win in the quail fight.  The father adored the quails that he raised for the fights and never cared for his family.

            The mother’s Hero decided that her son should be wed after a year of engagement: it was too dangerous to leave the girl free in her parent’s house.  The woman was wed without the presence of her husband; the dagger (khanjar) of the Hero replaced him.  The married girl moved to the husband family for three years until the Hero returned from the war. All the while, the wedded girl was to sleep in the same room with her mother-in-law to guard her chastity; the newly wedded girl never was to set foot outside the house or mingle with her previous girlfriends until she moves out with her husband.

            The wife saw her husband three years out of ten; she saw her man occasionally during these three years. “I am afraid of you” was saying the woman to the man in coma. “The first night I actually saw, heard, and touched you I had my period. My aunt told me not to divulge that fact. You were totally inexperienced in intercourse and you failed many times.  You were proud of my virginity and the blood that came out of me. It was supposed to be “dirty blood” but you had no idea then.  I recall one night, I was soundly asleep and you came in drunk and you violated me; I faked to be sleeping. When you retired from me you saw blood on your tail and you struck me savagely for having my cycle and not warning you!”

            “You never allowed me to touch you when not making love.  You never permitted me to kiss you on the lips as I saw in the Indian movies;” went on the wife. “Now you are all mine and I can speak to you and you have to be listening to me.  When I left last night and removed your water supply hoping that the demon Israel would come and finally fetch you I felt so relieved and sad simultaneously.  Today, I know that I am relieved to see you alive: I can now divulge to you my deepest secrets; you would have killed me if you were healthy and knew all that I did in order to keep you for me”

 

            “Your brothers are cowards.  They wished that you fall dead on the war front so that they marry me in good conscious according to customs.  When the battle raged in our neighborhood your brothers refrained to take me and your two daughters to safety as long as you were alive.” The wife was confiding to her husband in coma.

            “After my dad gave away my eldest sister of 12 to a man of forty after he lost his bet in quail fights I let his prized quail out of the cage while praying in the mosque on Friday morning before the quail fights. I let the cat eat the quail and watched the cat eat it all.  My father beat every member in the family, including my mother.  I told him that what happened to the quail was the proper punishment.  My father understood what I meant and that I was the culprit.  My mother and sisters had no idea of what I was saying and thought that my punishment was due to my effrontery for retorting to dad.  My father incarcerated me in a dark room in the basement for two days; he let a hungry cat inside to nibble at me; there were so many rats inside that the cat befriended with me.”

            “Your dad asked for me alone when he was dying. He said that he saw the angel Gabriel; that he finally realized that the magic stone of patience was the Kaaba in Mecca; once this black stone inside the Kaaba disintegrates from the millions of complaints and confessions of the pilgrims then it would be the Day of Judgment”

 

            “Three militia fighters entered my house.  The leader asked what I do. I said that I sell my body to survive. He got very angry and said “Don’t you feel ashamed saying it?” I replied “Do you mean whether I am ashamed of admitting it or practicing it?” The fighter said “They will lapidate you to death if you admit it; aren’t you afraid?” 

            The leading man recited a verse of the Koran and said “Allah, Al-Rahman! Al Mueen! In the name of Allah protect me from Satan”.  The fighters left this impure house.  “They would have raped me if I were a “correct and proper” girl.  I know these types of men.  Fucking a whore is no prize for them; it is merely a transaction.  Raping a virgin girl is like raping her honor and they go for defaming people’s honor. Yes, my husband, my stone of patience now, you may meditate what I am recounting you. Oh my syngue sabour, I had so many secrets to tell you to relieve my soul.  You never gave me an opportunity to talk to you.  You were scared of talking to me. Now you have no exit and you will listen to all that I have to say.”

            Two days later, the youngest of the fighters, the one who stutters, asked me “How much?”  I understood and his gun on my stomach convinced me to agree.  He had a terrible time removing my trousers.  I had to remove mine and his. He ejaculated prematurely on my thighs. I caressed his long hair and told him “This is not a grave matter. All men do the same the first time.” 

            I recalled our first year together.  You could not full it off.  At the time I had no experience. I thought it is in the nature of things that man enjoys and that we women are satisfied with men feeling happy satiated.  One night, I was enjoying myself and you woke up at my muffled screaming.  I told you that I have the fever and you believed me.  You told me to join my daughters in the next room.”

            I told my aunt the story of the young fighter and she said “Next time you have to initiate your adolescent boy properly; bad lovers ends up worriers.  Make sure that your stutterer kisses with his tongue and speak with his tail”

 

            “You forbade me to see my aunt. You are all in the wrong. You know nothing of my beautiful and loving aunt.  She was married at the age of 12 to a dirty old man.  My aunt could not give him offspring and she was sent as slave to her in-laws. Since she was sterile her father-in-law abused of her sexually, day and night, for years. One day she broke her father-in-law’s skull with an axe.  My aunt left a short letter that she committed suicide and disappeared.  I was 14 of age when I never saw her again.  I found her three years after my marriage; she is taking care of my two young daughters when all your coward brothers refused to aid me in my predicaments.”

            “You see, my adolescent boy of a lover is a quick learner. I am teaching him properly.  You never wanted to learn.  You considered me as mere flesh; you would say “Hide your flesh woman”.  If I had tried to initiate you to the proper love making you would have broken my face.  You were and still are so naïve and stupid on the matter of the flesh.  You would say “It is my soul that gives me honor; it is my honor that protects my soul”.  Well, your soul is now overhanging in that pocket of perfusion administering serum to your lousy body. Now it is your body judging your soul.”

            “You see, this eldest militia man who spit on my face because I lied to him when I said that I am a whore to avoid being raped, well he is a bastard.  My adolescent of a lover is being used as his sex slave; in the evening he shackles my lover’s feet with little bells to dance for him; this bastard is burning my lover’s body which is covered by bruises all over”

 

            The fighting ceased for two days.

            The dogs are howling: They are hungry.

            There are no cadavers on the streets

 

            My father-in-law told me a Hadith. He said “The Prophet Muhammad, before he started disseminating his message, was convinced that he is going mad. He told his first and rich wife Khadija that he was hearing voices coming out of stones and that a giant with head reaching to the sky was appearing to him. Khadija asked him to warn her when the giant re-appears. One night at home Muhammad screamed; the giant was standing in front of him.  Khadija approached Muhamad to her bosom and said “Is the giant still standing?” Muhammad said “yes”.  Khadija removed her shawl and let her long hair drop to her shoulders and said “Is the giant still around?”  Muhammad said “No, he left”.  Khadija then said “Don’t worry.  This is no demon. He is an angel.  If he were a demon (Shaitan) he would have not respected my nakedness.  My father-in-law resumed “It is Khadija that was the true prophet; she revealed to Muhammad the sense of his prophesy, cured his bewitching visions, and saved him from the satanic sham”

            “You were sterile my man; my aunt knew the Wiseman who arranged that I get pregnant twice so that I may keep you to me. The Wiseman used to be my aunt’s pimp and he selected an inexperienced young man to do the job; the man entered with a band over his eyes; he was not to see me; we made sex in a dark room and with our cloths on. I had to guide him to perform sex. Do you know my man what is the last name of Allah?  It is exactly The All Patient (Al Sabour).  You are the last of God’s names in you actual physical state and I am your prophet, revealing my secrets and sharing them with you, my syngue sabour.”

  

            “I have been hurling my deepest secrets on the magic stone, my husband in coma. My aunt forbade me to divulge my secrets to the spiritual Hakim (the Wiseman) or the mullah because I am pretty much normal; my talking is dictated to me from Above. The black stone of patience is disintegrating.  I am not possessed by a demon.  The voices that come out of me have been silenced for thousands of years.    I am another prophet who has been revealed many secrets and I am disseminating the message.  The All Powerful Al Jabbar, it is I.  The All Merciful Al Rahim, it is I.”

           

 

Note: I have already published four posts on the French manuscript “Stone of Patience” (Syngue sabour) by Atiq Rahimi.  I am regrouping the four book review articles in one post. The Iranian Rahimi published several books in French such as “Earth and ashes”, “The thousand houses of dream and of terror”, and “The imaginary return”.

“They read from the same Book…They come to me for mediation; why?”

 Note: I posted this essay on April 10, 2009 under the title “The Unpublished unifying Book” and decided to re-edit and abridge it.

 Historical Context

 Before Moses there was no such religion as Jewish.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob worshiped El, the all-encompassing God of the Land from Mesopotamia, to Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob paid the tithe to Melki Sadek, the highest grand priest and King of Jerusalem.  The mother of Melki Sadek had a revelation and her son Melki was dedicated to the temple; this story is repeated exactly through the ages such as with Hanna (mother of the Virgin Mary), Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist), and to the Virgin Mary; they all dedicated their sons and daughters to the temples (nazeer, and thus nazarean). The title of Virgin given to Mary is an earned sacerdotal label to virgins who served the temple from age of 3 till marriage.

            The Bible mentions many prophets who were dedicate to temples as revelations descended on their mothers.  It was common to the noble and sacerdotal families to dedicate sons or daughters to temples.  The rank of Melki Sadek was the highest and it was for life and he could transfer that rank to anyone of his choosing by anointment (mesheeh), thus Messiah.

            The scribes of the Bible in Alexandria (in the second century before Christ) mentioned that Moses received a revelation and the Ten Commandments from Yahweh (Jehovah); thus (Yahood or Jews).  Again, it is the same repetition of revelations and the descent of written messages and commandments through the ages to the chosen prophets.  Moses’ commandments had to be given by a supreme being for ignorant nomads who constantly needed to rely on a supreme being to alleviate their fears; these commandments and hundreds more were already included in the civil codes of laws of the Land since before King Hamourabi of Babylon.  The relatively urban towns and cities in the Levant and Mesopotamia had more sophisticated abstract concepts that could sustain diversities in belief systems.

            Invariably, religions would like the believers to understand that their Prophets were illiterate in order to prove that only God could have interceded with the prophet for the message.  These allegations are pure fabrications. Abraham was educated, Moses was highly educated and a grand priest and Muhammad aided his uncle parson Warkat bin Nawfal in translating into Arabic the Aramaic versions of the New Testament of Mathew and the Bible.  All the prophets had read in the Books of their times.  Jesus was highly educated and was a “nazeer” in the Great Temple of Mount Carmen since the age of six; but Jesus didn’t need translated versions of the Books because he was Aramaic and a messenger of the Land.

            Translation of Books to another language was not done literally; the meaning was retained as honestly as desired but the context and style were compatible with the cultures and customs of the targeted people for better understanding and memorization.  That is why reading in Books was done by chanting (tarteel) so that musical intonation could support the retention process.

            Jesus mission was to win over “the lost sheep among the tribes” in Judea, Benjamin, and the Hasmonides because they staunchly continued to worship Yahweh, their non-spiritual God for earthly dominion by the sword. Jesus wanted to unite all the tribes of Israel (Tribes of El) and not of Yahweh.

            Around 325 AC the Byzantium Emperor Constantine proclaimed Christianity to be the religion of the empire. Patriarchs and Bishops from around the empire met in many conclaves to unify the dogma of the new religion.  At each conclave serious cleavages would separate the bishops and schisms were created and were labeled “heretics” for not abiding by the “Orthodox” Byzantium dogma of the conclave.  By the 5th century there were two major categories of Christian sects: those on the western side of the Euphrates River (part of Byzantium) and those on the eastern side (belonging to the Persian Empires).  The western sects believed in the Credo, the duality of Jesus, the Trinity, and the Virgin Mary. The eastern sects believed in the one physical nature of Jesus (either man or son of God) and would not consider Mary as virgin or to be honored. 

            It is the eastern Christian sects “the heretics” that ventured as far as China and erected churches and monasteries along the “Silk Road”; they also reached the Arabic Peninsula where three of these sects were highly respected and honored in Mecca. Only the Christian-Jews three main sects (Ebyonites, Cerinthe, and Elxai, see notes) were referred to as “Nassara” (those Christian nazeers who were dedicated to monasteries to pray, read the Books, and meditate) and they read in the Book of the only and unique God and followed the Jewish daily laws and customs.

 

The Koran of Mecca:

The purpose of the Prophet Muhammad was to gather common denominators for the belief systems among the main Christian and Jewish sects in the Arabic Peninsula: they all worshiped One God, the Creator of all things, and they believed in Heaven and Hell.  In that direction, the Prophet accepted the premise that the monotheist sects shared Abraham (who was neither Jewish nor Christian) as their first prophet who had the Orthodox “haneef” belief.

            Muhammad acknowledged all the prophets that succeeded Abraham. Muhammad accepted in their integrality all the mythical stories in the Bible of the Creation, Noah, the Deluge, Joseph in Egypt and all the rest (these stories were indeed the myths of the Land for thousands of years before Abraham).  Muhammad was apprehensive that one of those diverse sects might think that he particularly biased toward one of Israel’s sects since they are all Moslems in God.  The prophet said “You are not believers until you value the Bible and the New Testament and what were descended on you. The Book descended on two previous religions but we were not aware of them” (because not written in Arabic)

Muhammad proclaimed Jesus as one of the latest and most spiritual prophet of all because he carried the Holy Ghost of Allah. Muhammad avoided the corny issues of the Trinity, the Virginity of Mary, the crucifixion and death of Jesus that divided the Christian sects. Muhammad venerated the Virgin Mary as the mother of the prophet who received revelations as well as John the Baptist.  In fact, Mary is the only female name mentioned in the Koran and Jesus (Issa) was mentioned as “Son of Mary”, thus “Issa ibn Mariam”.

In the Koran Muhammad proclaimed that the Christian-Jewish sects in Arabia were Moslems, years before he started his message: the teaching of the Koran was initiated because they relied on a unique God and didn’t admit that anyone else is part of him (shareek) such as Jesus or the Holy Ghost. The word Koran “Kuraan” has Aramaic roots “kuru” which means reading, reciting from a book.

            During the Mecca period of proselytizing (about 13 years), what is known as the Koran of Mecca, there were Jewish sects and Muhammad never mentioned the Jews in these verses.  In fact, after Muhammad settled in Yathreb (Medina) the Christian Nassara sects would pay him visit from Mecca to mediate among them. The Prophet Muhammad was taken aback and said what amount to “They read in the Book that can answer all their questions and yet they come to me for mediation”

            The Prophet did not face any obstacles from the Christian Nassara sects in Arabia simply because the Koran of Mecca was almost a carbon copy of the Books they read in: it was mainly an Arabic translation from Aramaic.

 

The problems with the Jews

The Jews in Yathreb and in Khibar revolted against the teaching of Islam who accepted Jesus as a prophet and got apprehensive of the growing power of Moslems in their midst.  The non-Moslem tribes of Mecca asked the Jews of Yathreb to cooperate with them and the Jewish leaders descended to Mecca to plot against the Moslems. Armed struggles decided the difficulties to the advantage of the Moslems.  The Prophet considered the Jewish sects as tyrannical and not behaving with charity toward the orthodox religions, complicating the belief system, and blasphemed the Virgin Mary and Jesus.  “God created man weak and He wants to make it easy on him and not complicate his life. We have sent a prophet to every nation” so that nations can read the message of the One God in their own language.

 All the sects in Arabia were united around one religion that was made easy (khefat) and economical “moktassadat” to be comprehend by nomads and desert people who lacked knowledge of abstract theological concepts and it was easy to memorize by short rimed sentences and disseminated by chants.  Thus, Muhammad warned the Christian sects (such as the Jacobites, Nestourians, and Melkites) who believed in the divinity of Jesus, of the son of God, the trinity, and the resurrection to desist in their exaggerations and overestimation in religious beliefs (ghelou fi al deen) and accept the simple fact of One God as a unifying reality that unite the tribes of the believers in One God.

 

The genesis of Islam

In Mecca, Khadija, the first wife of Muhammad, and the parson Warkat bin Nawfal, the patriarch of the Christian-Jew sect of the Epyionites, transcribed Muhammad’s revelations and verses during his epileptic fits.  In Medina, Aicha bint Abu Bakr, the educated and most beloved wife of the Prophet, was almost exclusively in charge of recording the revelations when the Prophet Mohammad had his bouts of seizures. She would cover him with warm blankets and write down the verses until he falls asleep.  Aicha has dedicated her life into gathering, organizing the revelations and meeting with scholars and close friends of the Prophet to keep a complete record. Aicha saved her copies very jealously until the third Caliphate Othman bin Affan ordered the archive to be handed over to him. Aicha didn’t trust Othman and she kept copies of all her documents.  At the time, only rich people could afford to write down documents because they were recorded on special leather in the Arabic Peninsula. Thus, rich educated people had the task of transcribing the verses for better retention, memorization, and an act of devotion.

By the time Othman decided to issue an official Book for Islam (The Koran of Medina) most of the Byzantium and Persian Empires were conquered; Egypt was part of the Arab Moslem Empire. The formal or official Book had to take these political realities into accounts, realities of victors and vanquished.  The Caliphate Othman sorted out the verses and selected what suited the political interest of the new Islamic Empire; many verses were burned and disappeared, others were tampered with such as adding “nassara” (Christian) after Jews though the sentence would break the rhyme (sajaa). 

Othman arranged verses by order of length, the longest verses first, and the gathered book was considered the official Koran. For example, the shortest revelations or verses are the first chronologically and represent the message of Islam in the first 13 years or the Koran of Mecca before the relocation to Medina or Yathreb in 633.  The longest verses dealt mostly with civil management, daily routine, penal codes, and organization of the converts to Islam.

It is my contention that Aicha bint Abu Bakr had hidden and distributed copies of her complete archive.  If there is the will there is a way to reconstitute the message of the Prophet Muhammad in its historical and chronological contexts taking into account the fundamental principle of working on the common denominators in the belief system among the majority of the monotheist religions; and hopefully discovering a copy of the original archive as the work is in progress.

The Prophet Muhammad was crystal clear in his message: making the religion easy, light, acceptable to most sects, and readable by the language of every nation.  It is about time we focus on the value of life and let the abstract limiting and restrictive theological concepts (ideology) to the few power monger sacerdotal castes.

Note 1: The Epyonite Christian-Jew sect was discussed and commented on by the early Christian scholars and Bishops like Irene, Epiphane, and Origene.  The name Epionites refers to the “poor” in Aramaic such as “Blessed be the poor”; this sect considered Jesus one of the great prophets. Jesus was not God or Son of God who received the revelations after John baptized him and thus, the messiah spirit entered him till he was crucified.  Jesus message was teaching and preaching the revelation but didn’t include saving or forgiving our sins. The Aramaic Testament of Mathew is their only book in addition to the Bible; this New Testament of Mathew used by the Epionites was revised slanted and distorted according to Epiphanous. This sect persevered on frequent washing for purification, not eating meat, and to focus on aiding and feeding the needy, widowers, and people of passage.  After the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, many of the priests in Komran immigrated to Hijaz in the Arab peninsula.

 

Note 2:  The Christian-Jew Cerinthe sect proclaimed that Heaven resembled life on earth where the body will get its fill of every passion it needed to satisfy; that the role of Jesus was to free his people from the Romans; that Jesus message was political and social.

 

Note 3:  The Christian-Jew sect Elxai was Gnostic (knowledge).  It preached that Jesus is another human and the Messiah in him vacated his body before martyrdom.  The Holy Ghost is the mother of Jesus and the Angel Gabriel depending on events. Jesus received the Bible from the angel and Gabriel taught Jesus wisdom and the ability to foreseeing the future.

The common denominator Prophet: Unifying the Books (August 11, 2009)

Historical Context

Before Moses, there was no such religion as Jewish.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob worshiped El, the all encompassing God of the Land from Mesopotamia, to Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob paid the tithe to Melki Sadek, the highest grand priest and King of Jerusalem.  The mother of Melki Sadek had a revelation and her son Melki was dedicated to the temple; this story is repeated exactly through the ages such as with Hanna (mother of the Virgin Mary), Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist), and to the Virgin Mary; they all dedicated their sons and daughters to the temples (nazeer, and thus nazarean). The title of Virgin given to Mary is an earned sacerdotal label to virgins who served the temple from age of 3 till marriage.

The Bible mentions many prophets who were dedicate to temples as revelations descended on their mothers.  It was common to the noble and sacerdotal families to dedicate sons or daughters to temples.  The rank of Melki Sadek was the highest and it was for life and he could transfer that rank to anyone of his choosing by anointment (mesheeh), thus Messiah.

The scribes of the Bible in Alexandria (in the second century before Christ) mentioned that Moses received a revelation and the Ten Commandments from Yahweh (Jehovah); thus (Yahood or Jews).  Again, it is the same repetition of revelations and the descent of written messages and commandments through the ages to the chosen prophets.  Moses’ commandments had to be given by a supreme being for ignorant nomads who constantly needed to rely on a supreme being to alleviate their fears; these commandments and hundreds more were already included in the civil codes of laws of the Land since before King Hammurabi of Babylon.  The relatively urban towns and cities in the Levant and Mesopotamia had more sophisticated abstract concepts that could sustain diversities in belief systems.

Invariably, religions would like the believers to understand that their Prophets were illiterate in order to prove that only God could have interceded with the prophet for the message.  These allegations are pure fabrications. Abraham was educated, Moses was highly educated and a grand priest and Muhammad aided his uncle parson Warkat bin Nawfal in translating into Arabic the Aramaic versions of the New Testament of Mathew and the Bible.  All the prophets had read in the Books of their times.  Jesus was highly educated and was a “nazeer” in the Great Temple of Mount Carmen since the age of six; but Jesus didn’t need translated versions of the Books because he was Aramaic and a messenger of the Land.

Translation of Books to another language was not done literally; the meaning was retained as honestly as desired but the context and style were compatible with the cultures and customs of the targeted people for better understanding and memorization.  That is why reading in Books was done by chanting (tarteel) so that musical intonation could support the retention process.

Jesus mission was to win over “the lost sheep among the tribes” in Judea, Benjamin, and the Hasmonides because they staunchly continued to worship Yahweh, their nonspiritual God for earthly dominion by the sword. Jesus wanted to unite all the tribes of Israel (Tribes of El) and not of Yahweh.

Around 325 AC the Byzantium Emperor Constantine proclaimed Christianity to be the religion of the empire. Patriarchs and Bishops from around the empire met in many conclaves to unify the dogma of the new religion.  At each conclave serious cleavages would separate the bishops and schisms were created and were labeled “heretics” for not abiding by the “Orthodox” Byzantium dogma of the conclave.  By the 5th century there were two major categories of Christian sects: those on the western side of the Euphrates River (part of Byzantium) and those on the eastern side (belonging to the Persian Empires).  The western sects believed in the Credo, the duality of Jesus, the Trinity, and the Virgin Mary. The eastern sects believed in the one physical nature of Jesus (either man or son of God) and would not consider Mary as virgin or to be honored.

It is the eastern Christian sects “the heretics” that ventured as far as China and erected churches and monasteries along the “Silk Road”; they also reached the Arabic Peninsula where three of these sects were highly respected and honored in Mecca. Only the Christian-Jews three main sects (Ebyonites, Cerinthe, and Elxai, see notes) were referred to as “Nassara” (those Christian nazeers who were dedicated to monasteries to pray, read the Books, and meditate) and they read in the Book of the only and unique God and followed the Jewish daily laws and customs.

The Koran of Mecca:

The purpose of the Prophet Muhammad was to gather common denominators for the belief systems among the main Christian and Jewish sects in the Arabic Peninsula: they all worshiped One God, the Creator of all things, and they believed in Heaven and Hell.  In that direction, the Prophet accepted the premise that the monotheist sects shared Abraham (who was neither Jewish nor Christian) as their first prophet who had the Orthodox “haneef” belief.

Muhammad acknowledged all the prophets that succeeded Abraham. Muhammad accepted in their integral all the mythical stories in the Bible of the Creation, Noah, the Deluge, Joseph in Egypt and all the rest (these stories were indeed the myths of the Land for thousands of years before Abraham).  Muhammad was apprehensive that one of those diverse sects might think that he particularly biased toward one of Israel’s sects since they are all Moslems in God.  The prophet said “You are not believers until you value the Bible and the New Testament and what were descended on you. The Book descended on two previous religions but we were not aware of them” (because not written in Arabic)

Muhammad proclaimed Jesus as one of the latest and most spiritual prophet of all because he carried the Holy Ghost of Allah. Muhammad avoided the corny issues of the Trinity, the Virginity of Mary, the crucifixion and death of Jesus that divided the Christian sects. Muhammad venerated the Virgin Mary as the mother of the prophet who received revelations as well as John the Baptist.  In fact, Mary is the only female name mentioned in the Koran and Jesus (Issa) was mentioned as “Son of Mary”, thus “Issa ibn Mariam”.

In the Koran Muhammad proclaimed that the Christian-Jewish sects in Arabia were Moslems, years before he started his message: the teaching of the Koran was initiated because they relied on a unique God and didn’t admit that anyone else is part of him (shareek) such as Jesus or the Holy Ghost. The word Koran “Kuraan” has Aramaic roots “kuru” which means reading, reciting from a book.

During the Mecca period of proselytizing (about 13 years), what is known as the Koran of Mecca, there were Jewish sects and Muhammad never mentioned the Jews in these verses.  In fact, after Muhammad settled in Yathreb (Medina) the Christian Nassara sects would pay him visit from Mecca to mediate among them. The Prophet Muhammad was taken aback and said what amount to “They read in the Book that can answer all their questions and yet they come to me for mediation”

The Prophet did not face any obstacles from the Christian Nassara sects in Arabia simply because the Koran of Mecca was almost a carbon copy of the Books they read in: it was mainly an Arabic translation from Aramaic.

The problems with the Jews

The Jews in Yathreb and in Khibar revolted against the teaching of Islam who accepted Jesus as a prophet and got apprehensive of the growing power of Moslems in their midst.  The non-Moslem tribes of Mecca asked the Jews of Yathreb to cooperate with them and the Jewish leaders descended to Mecca to plot against the Moslems. Armed struggles decided the difficulties to the advantage of the Moslems.  The Prophet considered the Jewish sects as tyrannical and not behaving with charity toward the orthodox religions, complicating the belief system, and blasphemed the Virgin Mary and Jesus.  “God created man weak and He wants to make it easy on him and not complicate his life. We have sent a prophet to every nation” so that nations can read the message of the One God in their own language.

All the sects in Arabia were united around one religion that was made easy (khefat) and economical “moktassadat” to be comprehend by nomads and desert people who lacked knowledge of abstract theological concepts and it was easy to memorize by short rimed sentences and disseminated by chants.  Thus, Muhammad warned the Christian sects (such as the Jacobite, Nestorians, and Melkites) who believed in the divinity of Jesus, of the son of God, the trinity, and the resurrection to desist in their exaggerations and overestimation in religious beliefs (ghelou fi al deen) and accept the simple fact of One God as a unifying reality that unite the tribes of the believers in One God.

The genesis of Islam

In Mecca, Khadija, the first wife of Muhammad, and the parson Warkat bin Nawfal, the patriarch of the Christian-Jew sect of the Epyionites, transcribed Muhammad’s revelations and verses during his epileptic fits.  In Medina, Aicha bint Abu Bakr, the educated and most beloved wife of the Prophet, was almost exclusively in charge of recording the revelations when the Prophet Mohammad had his bouts of seizures. She would cover him with warm blankets and write down the verses until he falls asleep.  Aicha has dedicated her life into gathering, organizing the revelations and meeting with scholars and close friends of the Prophet to keep a complete record. Aicha saved her copies very jealously until the third Caliphate Othman bin Affan ordered the archive to be handed over to him.

Aicha didn’t trust Othman and she kept copies of all her documents.  At the time, only rich people could afford to write down documents because they were recorded on special leather in the Arabic Peninsula. Thus, rich educated people had the task of transcribing the verses for better retention, memorizations, and an act of devotion.

By the time Othman decided to issue an official Book for Islam (The Koran of Medina) most of the Byzantium and Persian Empires were conquered; Egypt was part of the Arab Moslem Empire. The formal or official Book had to take these political realities into accounts, realities of victors and vanquished.  The Caliphate Othman sorted out the verses and selected what suited the political interest of the new Islamic Empire; many verses were burned and disappeared, others were tampered with such as adding “nassara” (Christian) after Jews though the sentence would break the rime (sajaa).

Othman arranged verses by order of length, the longest verses first, and the gathered book was considered the official Koran. For example, the shortest revelations or verses are the first chronologically and represent the message of Islam in the first 13 years or the Koran of Mecca before the relocation to Medina or Yathreb in 633.  The longest verses dealt mostly with civil management, daily routine, penal codes, and organization of the converts to Islam.

It is my contention that Aicha bint Abu Bakr had hidden and distributed copies of her complete archive.  If there is the will there is a way to reconstitute the message of the Prophet Muhammad in its historical and chronological contexts taking into account the fundamental principle of working on the common denominators in the belief system among the majority of the monotheist religions; and hopefully discovering a copy of the original archive as the work is in progress.

The Prophet Muhammad was crystal clear in his message: making the religion easy, light, acceptable to most sects, and readable by the language of every nation.  It is about time we focus on the value of life and let the abstract limiting and restrictive theological concepts (ideology) to the few power monger sacerdotal castes.

Note 1: The Epyonite Christian-Jew sect was discussed and commented on by the early Christian scholars and Bishops like Irene, Epiphane, and Origene.  The name Epionites refers to the “poor” in Aramaic such as “Blessed be the poor”; this sect considered Jesus one of the great prophets. Jesus was not God or Son of God who received the revelations after John baptized him and thus, the messiah spirit entered him till he was crucified.  Jesus message was teaching and preaching the revelation, but didn’t include saving or forgiving our sins. The Aramaic Testament of Mathew is their only book in addition to the Bible.  This New Testament of Mathew used by the Epionites was revised, slanted, and distorted according to Epiphanous. This sect persevered on frequent washing for purification, not eating meat, and to focus on aiding and feeding the needy, widowers, and people of passage.  After the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, many of the priests in Komran immigrated to Hijjaz in the Arab Peninsula.

Note 2:  The Christian-Jewish Cerinthe sect proclaimed that Heaven resembled life on earth where the body will get its fill of every passion it needed to satisfy; that the role of Jesus was to free his people from the Romans; that Jesus message was political and social.

Note 3:  The Christian-Jew sect Elxai was Gnostic (knowledge).  It preached that Jesus is another human and the Messiah in him vacated his body before martyrdom.  The Holy Ghost is the mother of Jesus and the Angel Gabriel depending on events. Jesus received the Bible from the angel and Gabriel taught Jesus wisdom and the ability to foreseeing the future.

Note 4: I posted this essay on April 10, 2009 under the title “The Unpublished unifying Book” and decided to re-edit and abridge it.

Islam: In its two messages of Jesus and Mohammad (February 5, 2009)

Islam means submission (to God, the one and only).  I am throwing  a challenge to all theologians, religious researchers, and philosophers of all religious denominations (monolithic or not).

My hypothesis is:  The religious message of the Prophet Muhammad, during the first 13 years of proselytizing in Mecca, is identical to one of the “heretic” Christian sects (“heretic” as labeled by the Byzantium Emperor)

Muhammad was a learned man and read the Aramaic texts available in the Arab Peninsula and in Syria. Let me suggest the following procedure or protocol:

First, select all the religious Christian sects from the first to the Nicee council in 325; then select the remaining Christian sects after Nicee to the split between Rome and Byzantium around the year 1000, then the Christian sects that were formed between the year 1000 to the Martin Luther schism, then all the modern Christian sects from Protestantism, Calvinism, Baptism, Methodism, Episcopalian, Armenians (Catholic and Orthodox), and all the sects in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.

Second, develop taxonomy of attributes in order to categorize all these Christian sects.

Third, allocate all the sects to one of six categories or more if need be.

Fourth, select the verses in Islam that correspond to the period before the flight of the Prophet Muhammad to Medina or Yathreb

Five, assign each verse in that period to the taxonomy of step two.

Six, allocate the message of the prophet Muhammad in one of the categories chosen in step three.

The foundation of my hypothesis stems from reading a manuscript titled “Islam in its two messages: Christ and Muhammad” The author of the book is late Antoun Saadeh, a Lebanese of Christian Geek Orthodox denomination.  The book was written in 1942 and Saadeh proves that Islam is almost identical to the message of Christ when we analyze the verses of the Koran pronounced during Muhammad proselytizing of his message before the legislation period for the new community in Medina.

Since Christianity is an amalgam of many sects that split into schisms in the last two thousand years, then I figured that, from a scientific perspective, it would be more appropriate to differentiate Christianity according to sects.

It would also be fitting to study Islam by analyzing the various Moslem sects; though the variations would be based more on the legislation and Hadith than the fundamental spiritual content during the first 13 years of the message.

The Unpublished Unifying Book (April 10, 2009)

 

Note: I got the theme of this essay from the manuscript of “The Parson and the Prophet” that I have reviewed and posted.

 

Historical Context

 

            Before Moses there was no such religion as Jewish.  Abraham, Isac, and Jacob worshiped El, the all encompassing God of the Land from Mesopotamis, to Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine.  Abraham, Isac, and Jacob paid the tithe to Melki Sadek, the highest grand priest and King of Jerusalem.  The mother of Melki Sadek had a revelation and her son Melki was dedicated to the temple; this story is repeated exactly through the ages such as with Hanna (mother of the Virgin Mary), Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist), and to the Virgin Mary; they all dedicated their sons and daughters to the temples (nazeer, and thus nazarean). The title of Virgin given to Mary is an earned sacerdotal label to virgins who served the temple from age of 3 till marriage. The Bible mentions many prophets who were dedicate to temples as revelations descended on their mothers.  It was common to the noble and sacerdotal families to dedicate sons or daughters to temples.  Thr rank of Melki Sadek was the highest and it was for life and he could transfer that rank to anyone of his choosing by anointment (mesheeh), thus Messiah.

            Moses led nomadic tribes and the scribes of the Bible in Alexandria (in the second century before Christ) mentioned that Moses received a revelation and the ten commandements from Yahweh (Jehovah); thus (Yahood or Jews).  Again, it is the same repetition of revelations and the descent of written messages and commandements through the ages to the chosen prophets.  Moses’ commandements had to be given by a supreme being for ignorant nomads who constantly needed to rely on a supreme being to alleviate their fears; these commandements and hundreds more were already included in the civil codes of laws of the Land since before King Hamourabi of Babylon.  The relatively urban towns and cities in the Levant and Mesopotamia had more sophisticated abstract concepts that could sustain diversities in belief systems.

            Invariably, religions would like the believers to understand that their Prophets were illeterate in order to prove that only God could have interceded with the prophet for the message.  These allegations are pure fabrications. Abraham was educated, Moses was highly educated and a grand priest and Muhammad aided his uncle parson Warkat bin Nawfal in translating into Arabic the Bible and the special Aramaic version of the New Testament Mathew.  All the prophets had read in the Books of their times.  Jesus was highly educated and was a “nazeer” in the Great Temple of Mount Carmen since the age of six; but Jesus didn’t need translated versions of the Books because he was Aramean and a messenger of the Land.

            Translation of Books to another language was not done literally; the meaning was retained as honestly as desired but the context and style were compatible with the cultures and customs of the targeted people for better understanding and memorization.  That is why reading in Books was done by chanting (tarteel) so that musical intonation could support the retention process.

            Jesus mission was to win over “the lost sheep among the tribes” in Judea, Benjamin, and the Hasmonides because they staunchly continued to worship Yahweh, their unspiritual God for earthly dominion by the sword. Jesus wanted to unite all the tribes of Israel (Tribes of El) and not of Yahweh.

 

The Kuran of Mecca:

 

            The purpose of the Prophet Muhammad was to gather common denominators for the belief systems among the main Christian and Jewish sects in the Arabic Peninsula: they all worshiped One God, the Creator of all things, and they believed in Heaven and Hell.  In that direction, the Prophet accepted the premise that the monotheist sects shared Abraham (who was neither Jewish not Christian) as their first prophet who had the Orthodix “haneef” belief; Muhammad acknowledged all the prophets that succeded Abraham. Muhammad accepted in their integrality all the mythical stories in the Bible of the Creation, Noah, the Deluge, Joseph in Egypt and all the rest (these stories were indeed the myths of the Land for thousands of years before Abraham).  Muhammad was apprehensive that one of those diverse sects might think that he particularly sided with one of Israel sects since they are all Moslems in God.  The prophet said “You are not believers until you value the Bible and the New Testament and what were descended on you. The Book descended on two previous religions but we were not aware of them” (because not written in Arabic)

Muhammad proclaimed Jesus as one of the latest and most spiritual prophet of all because he carried the Holy Ghost of Allah. Muhammad avoided the corny issues of the Trinity, the Virginity of Mary, the crucifiction and death of Jesus that divided the Christian sects. Muhammad venerated the Virgin Mary as the mother of the prophet who received revelations as well as John the Baptist.  In fact, Mary is the only female name mentioned in the Koran and Jesus (Issa) was mentioned as “Son of Mary”, thus Issa ibn Mariam. In the Koran Muhammad proclaimed that the Christian-Jewish sects in Arabia were Moslems before he started his message and the teaching of the Koran was initiated because they relied on a unique God and didn’t admit that anyone else is part of him (shirik) such as Jesus or the Holy Ghost. The word Koran “Kuraan” has Aramaic roots “kuru” which means reading, reciting from a book.

            During the Mecca period of proselytizing (about 13 years), what is known as the Koran of Mecca, there were Jewish sects and Muhamad never mentioned the Jews in his verses. Only the Christian-Jews three main sects (Ebyonites, Cerinthe, and Elxai, see notes) were referred to as “Nassara” (those Christian nazeers who were dedicated to monasteries to pray, read the Books and meditate) and they read in the Book of the only and unique God.  In fact, after Muhammad settled in Yathreb (Medina) the Nassara sects would pay him visit from Mecca to mediate among them. The Prophet Muhammad was taken aback and said what amount to “They read in the Book that can answer all their questions and yet they come to me for mediation” The Prophet did not face any obstacles from the Nassara sects in Arabia simply because the Koran of Mecca was almost a cabon copy of the Books they read in and had translated into Arabic. It is to be noted that these Nassara sects were considered “heretics” by the Orthodox Christian religion in Constantinople because they would not admit the divinity of Jesus and followed the Jewish daily laws and customs.

The Jews in Yathreb and in Khibar revolted against the teaching of Islam who accepted Jesus as a prophet and got apprehensive of the growing power of Moslems in their midst.  The non-Moslem tribes of Mecca asked the Jews of Yathreb to cooperate with them and the Jewish leaders descended to Mecca to plot against the Moslems. Armed struggles decided the difficulties to the advantage of the Moslems.  The prophet considered the Jewish sects as tyrannical and not behaving with charity toward the orthodox religions, complicating the belief system, and blasphemic the Virgin Mary and Jesus.  “God created man weak and He wants to make it easy on him and not complicate his life. We have sent a prophet to every nation” so that nations can read the message of One God in their own language.

 All the sects in Arabia were united around one religion that was made easy (khefat) and reductive “moktassadat” to be comprehend by nomads and desert people who lacked knowledge of abstract theological concepts and it was easy to memorize by short rimed sentences and disseminated by chants.  Thus, Muhamad warned the Christian sects (such as the Jacobites, Nestourians, and Melkites) who believed in the divinity of Jesus, of the son of God, the trinity, and the resurrection to desist in their exaggerations and overestimation in religious beliefs (ghelou fi al deen) and accept the simple fact of One God as a unifying reality that unite the tribes of the believers in One God.

 

In Mecca, Khadija, the first wife of Muhammad, and the parson Warkat bin Nawfal, the patriarch of the Christia-Jew sect of the Epyionites, transcribed Muhammad’s revelations and verses during his epileptic fits.  In Medina, Aicha bint Abu Bakr, the educated and most beloved wife of the Prophet, was almost exclusively in charge of recording the revelations when the Prophet Mohamad had his bouts of seizures. She would cover him with warm blankets and write down the verses until he falls asleep.  Aicha has dedicated her life into gathering, organizing the revelations and meeting with scholars and close friends of the Prophet to keep a complete record. Aicha saved her copies very jealously until the third Calipahte Othman bin Affan ordered the archive to be handed over to him. Aicha didn’t trust Othman and she kept copies of all her documents.  At the time, only rich people could afford to write down documents because they were recorded on special leather in the Arab Peninsula. Thus, rich educated people had the task of transcribing the verses for better retention, memorizations, and an act of devotion.

By the time Othman decided to issue an official Book for Islam (The Koran of Medina) most of the Byzantium and Sassanide Empires were conquered; Egypt was part of the Arab Moslem Empire. The formal or official Book had to take these political realities into accounts, realities of victors and vainquished.  The Caliphate Othman sorted out the verses and selected what suited the political interest of the new Islamic Empire; many verses were burned and disappeared, others were tampered with such as adding “nassara” (Christian) after Jews though the sentence would break the rime (sajaa).  Othman arranged verses by order of length and the gathered book was considered the official Koran. For example, the shortest revelations or verses are the first chronologically and represent the message of Islam in the first 13 years (The Koran of Mecca) before the relocation to Medina or Yathreb in 633.  The longest came afterward and dealt mostly with civil management, daily routine, penal codes, and organization of the converts to Islam.

It is my contention that Aicha bint Abu Bakr had hidden and distributed copies of her complete archive.  If there is the will there is a way to reconstitute the message of the Prophet Muhammad in its historical and chronological contexts taking into account the fundamental principle of working on the common denominators in the belief system among the majority of the monotheist religions; and hopefully discovering a copy of the original archive as the work is in progress.

The Prophet Muhammad was crystal clear in his message: making the religion easy, light, acceptable to most sects, and readable by the language of every nation.  It is about time we focus on the value of life and let the abstract limiting and restrictive theological conepts (ideology) to the few power monger sacerdotal castes.

 

Note 1: The Epyonite Christian-Jew sect was discussed and commented on by the early Christian scholars and Bishops like Irene, Epiphane, and Origene.  The name Epionites refers to the “poor” in Aramaic such as “Blessed be the poor”; this sect considered Jesus one of the great prophets. Jesus was not God or Son of God who received the revelations after John baptized him and thus, the messiah spirit entered him till he was crucified.  Jesus message was teaching and preaching the revelation but didn’t include saving or forgiving our sins. The Aramaic Testament of Mathew is their only book in addition to the Bible; this New Testament of Mathew used by the Epionites was revised slanted and distorted according to Epiphanous. This sect persevered on frequent washing for purification, not eating meat, and to focus on aiding and feeding the needy, widowers, and people of passage.  After the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, many of the priests in Komran immigrated to Hijjaz in the Arab peninsula.

 

Note 2:  The Christian-Jew Cerinthe sect proclaimed that Heaven resembled life on earth where the body will get its fill of every passion it needed to satisfy; that the role of Jesus was to free his people from the Romans; that Jesus message was political and social.

 

Note 3:  The Christian-Jew sect Elxai was Gnostic (knowledge).  It preached that Jesus is another human and the Mesiah in him vacated his body before martyridom.  The Holy Ghost is the mother of Jesus and the Angel Gabriel depending on events. Jesus received the Bible from the angel and Gabriel taught Jesus wisdom and the ability to foreseeing the future.

“The Parson and the Prophet: A Study in the Origin of Islam” (Book Review, April 8, 2009)

 

Note:  The Arabic Lebanese manuscript “The Parson and the Prophet” was published in 1978 in Lebanon, most probably by the University of Kaslik in Jounieh, a university administered by the Christian Maronite Order. 

As the various religious sects started dialogue, the book was banned and rounded up from libraries.  The author used the pseudo name of Abu Mousa El Hariri; I overheard that the real author is a priest in his eighties by now.

As usual, I tell the story and leave the documentations, references, and quotations for the curious reader.

The story is basically to prove the strong and frequent connections between the Christian-Jew parson (priest) Warkat Bin Nawfal and his nephew the Prophet Mohammad and the fundamental influence of Warkat on the Prophet’s message.

           

In Kureich tribe, there are two clans related to their great grand father Kussai.  The richest clan includes the close relatives of parson Warkat bin Nawfal, Othman bin El Howeyress, and Khadija bint Khowayled. 

The poorer clan includes the sons and daughters of Abdel Mottaleb: Abdallah, Abu Taleb, Al Abbass, Abu Lahab, and Hamza among others.  Muhammad lost his father Abdallah before his birth and his mother at the age of eight.  He was cared for by the eldest of the uncles Abi Taleb. 

Abi Taleb was the father of Ali who will become the fourth Caliph.

Parson Warkat bin Nawfal bin Assad bin Abed El Azaa bin Kussai was the leading “patriarch” of the Christian-Jew sect of the Epyonites in Mecca; he was of one of the most prosperous clans of Kureich and a leader of Kureich tribe; he translated one the versions of the Aramaic Mathew Testament known as “The Hebrew Testament” into Arabic. This Testament and a version of the Bible were the only Books or sources of the faith of the Epyonites. 

There were many other Christian-Jews sects and purely Jewish sects in Mecca and the Arab Peninsula.  Two other Christian-Jew sects were Cerinthe and Elxai (see notes).

These sects were recognized in the Coran, but they were considered “heretics” by the Church of Constantinople after the conclave of Nicee (Turkey) in 325; they were persecuted within the Byzantium Empire.  Thus, parson Warkat was obviously not a priest since he was not of the Orthodox Christian sect of Constantinople, but the lead predicator and administrator of his sect. These sects were known as “Ahzab” (parties or organizations) in the Coran.

It is not correct to claim that the tribes in the Arab Peninsula were only pagans.  The term Jahiliya or Ignorants was created by the Moslem converts as a historical dividing period between Islam and the previous culture. It is not also correct to translate “Ummy” for illiterate: in the Coran it means those who didn’t follow the Bible of the previous prophets; it could be appropriate to translate it as “gentiles” in opposition to Jews.

Parson Warkat took special care of the orphaned Muhammad, one of the youngest relatives in the clan.  He taught Muhammad reading and writing and translating the Bibles from Aramaic to Arabic. The custom was for the learned men to translate and transcribe as often as needed; first, to memorize better the Books and to have spare copies for the initiated who were ready to be transmitted the mysteries of the sect. 

Thus, it is not correct that Muhammad was illiterate. It was convenient for the early Moslems to spread this myth because:

first, they were trying hard to prove that Muhammad was indeed a Prophet and

second, what better proof that Muhammad is a Prophet if an illiterate could be so wise if not the message was not revealed by God?

As Muhammad grew up, parson Warkat invited Muhammad to join the restricted party of their leaders of Christian-Jews to the retreats at Gor Haraa.  Once a year, during the fasting season of a month before Easter (tahannoth), the party of the fasting people would survive on vegetables, yogurt, and unleavened bread. The retreat included praying, contemplating, repeating and invoking God’s name, and reading the Bibles in silence and complete isolation from the inhabitants of Mecca.

After the fast, they would circle Al Kaaba 7 times (like during Palm Sunday the Christians would circle the church 7 times).  This is how the Prophet Muhammad was trained to receive revelations. In addition to parson Warkat this party included: Adel Motaleb, Othman bin Al Howeireth, Abdalah bin Jahsh, Abi Ummaya bin Al Maghirat.

Parson Warkat arranged an employment for Muhammad at his cousin Khadija’s caravan business. Khadoja caravans made trips to Damascus and Basra. Muhammad is aged 25.  Warkat asked Khadija to marry her employ and cousin Muhammad.  Khadija was over 40 of age and twice a widower with offspring.

Khadija was  extremely wealthy and had many suitors whom she refused.  The two clans met at the wedding ceremony and parson Warkat performed the rituals and as long as Khadija lived Muhammad did not marry another wife as the Christian marriage requires. Thus, parson Warkat made sure for his protégé Muhammad to become wealthy, prosperous, and a potential leader and successor to his rank as “patriarch” of the sect of Mecca.

Muhammad had several revelations that scared him because he thought it was Satan (shaytan) or bad spirits harassing him; Khadija, aided by parson Warkat, reassured Muhamad of being selected by the good archangel to preach the message and Warkat gave Muhammad his benediction and sent him proselytizing among the people of Mecca. 

The poorest and those considered in the lowest rank of society started to listen to Muhammad and follow him and perform ablution and praying as initiated.  Muhammad could not be touched by the angry Kureich clans because he enjoyed the support of Khadija, Warkat, and his uncle Abi Taleb.

When parson Warkat and Khadija died, Muhammad was over 40 and he was left without spiritual backing or clan support.  Revelations stopped appearing to Mohammad for four years before Muhammad had to flee to Medina to meet the converts who preceded him there.  A new phase in Islam was unfolding.

 

Note 1: The Epionite Christian-Jew sect was discussed and commented on by the early Christian scholars and Bishops like Irene, Epiphane, and Origene.  The name Epionites refers to the “poor” in Aramaic such as “Blessed be the poor”. This sect considered Jesus one of the great prophets. Jesus was not God or Son of God who received the revelations after John baptized him and thus, the messiah spirit entered him till he was crucified. 

Jesus message was teaching and preaching the revelation, but didn’t include saving or forgiving our sins. The Aramaic Testament of Mathew is their only book in addition to the Bible. This New Testament of Mathew used by the Epionites was revised, slanted and distorted according to Epiphanous. This sect persevered on frequent washing for purification, not eating meat, and to focus on aiding and feeding the needy, widowers, and people of passage. 

After the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, many of the priests in Komran immigrated to Hijjaz in the Arab peninsula.

 

Note 2:  The Christian-Jew Cerinthe sect proclaimed that Heaven resembled life on earth where the body will get its fill of every passion it needed to satisfy; that the role of Jesus was to free his people from the Romans; that Jesus message was political and social.

 

Note 3:  The Christian-Jew sect Elxai was Gnostic ( relying on knowledge).  It preached that Jesus is another human and the Messiah in him vacated his body before martyrdom.  The Holy Ghost is the mother of Jesus and the Angel Gabriel depending on events. Jesus received the Bible from the angel and Gabriel taught Jesus wisdom and the ability to foreseeing the future.

 

Note 4:  We know that Aicha, the educated and most beloved wife of the Prophet, has dedicated her life into gathering and organizing the revelations.  The third Caliphate Othman bin Affan selected among the revelations and verses and arranged them by order of length and the gathered book was considered the official Coran. 

The shortest revelations or verses are the first chronologically and represent the message of Islam in the first 13 years before the relocation to Medina or Yathreb in 633 and the successive civil management and organization of the converts to Islam.

 

Note 5:  In February 5, 2009 I posted “Islam: the two messages of Jesus and Mohammad.  A challenge to all theologians: Islam is one of the Christian sects” I had not read the above manuscript and my hypothesis was based on the content of the Coran in the first 13 years of the message.  The hypothesis can now be confirmed that Islam started as one of the Christian-Jewish “heretical” sects that were scattered outside the Byzantium Empire.

After the “hejra” to Medina, the prophet could no longer ask for spiritual counsel from anyone and Islam followed an independent direction.

Islam: After the Prophet Muhammad (Part 4, February 2, 2009)

 

When the Prophet Mohamad died Omar would not believe that the Prophet could die and threatened to kill anyone who says so; then Abu Bakr (instructed by his daughter Aicha) told the congregation “Moslems, those among you who adore Mohammad, Mohammad is dead.  Those who adore God, God is alive”.

Ali was to wash the body and arrange for the funeral. The Companions elected Abu Bakr Caliph in the absence of Ali who was the closest member in the prophet’s “House”. Abu Bakr reminded the Moslems what the Prophet told him once: “All prophets were buried at the place of their death”; and thus Mohammad was buried in Aicha’s bedroom.  Aicha replaced the bed on top of the burying ground and continued sleeping there.

Abu Bakr would not distribute the Prophet’s inheritance to anyone of his wives or family members because Mohammad has told him that prophets’ belonging went to charities.  Fatima died 6 months later as Mohammad has predicted. Under Abu Bakr, Aicha, aided by Zayd ibn Thabit, got the huge responsibility of gathering and collecting all the parchments and written verses and the early oral verses of the Koran and then sorting them, verifying their authenticity, correcting and compiling them. Aichi was not twenty years old.  Abu Bakr died within two years and was also buried in Aicha’s bedroom next to the Prophet.  At the time of Abu Bakr’s death, Khaled ibn Al Walid had vanquished the Byzantine Emperor at Yarmuk and was advancing toward Damascus.

Omar was selected by Abu Bakr to be the next Caliph. Omar extended Islam to Persia by a victory in Qadissiya and toward Egypt.  Omar was assassinated by a Christian slave while praying in the Mosque in Medina; Omar also asked permission of Aicha to be buried in her bedroom.  By then, Aicha was the ultimate interpreter of the Koran and had issued 2,210 Hadiths and was the expert in women’s legal right or “Fiqh Al Nissaa”.

Omar appointed a Council of five Companions from the tribes of Kuraich to elect the next Caliph.  Othman ibn Affan was selected and Aicha had misgivings on how he might manipulate the masses of documents collected on the verses of Islam.  Omar left the documents with his daughter Afsa to hand over to the next Caliph.

Othman ended up exercising nepotism and appointing relatives as governors and civil servants in high offices and he built a palace and lived luxuriously with 500 serfs maintaining the palace and organizing the feasts.  The new Caliph destroyed the documents related to the Koran that he didn’t like and Aicha came out of her house carrying the sandals and shirts and hair of the prophet and shouted at the caliph: “The Prophet’s belongings had not had time to desintegrate and you started to turn your back on his teachings”. Aicha had a copy of all the documents and she rewrote her version of the Koran.

A large dissatisfied mob of Moslems, who were manipulated by extremists in Basra (Iraq), marched on Medina. Aicha had premonition that the arriving mob is bad news and got permission from Othman to leave for pilgrimage with the Prophet’s harem.  The mob entered the palace of Othman, burned it asunder, and stabbed and beat the Caliph to death. 

Ali was elected Caliph but refrained to revenge the murder of the Caliph Othman as a priority case. This lukewarm behavior prompted Aicha to action and she started delivering speeches in Mecca to the effect that the punishment of the leaders of assassins should be carried out first thing first.  Her brother-in-law Zobair and another Companion Talhat excited Aicha to leading a contingent of 3,000 fighters to Basra.

Ali was on his way to Damascus to fight Moawiya, the governor of Syria, and stopped at Kufa to recruit more fighters and had to challenge Aicha before resuming his campaign.  Aicha, Zobair and Talhat managed to recruit an army of 30,000 men against Ali’s army of 20,000 soldiers.  The battle of the “Camel”, the first among the Moslems, left 15,000 victims among the Moslem fighters which affected Aicha for the remainder of her life. Talhat and Zobair died in the battle.

Aicha was riding in a palanquin, all curtains shut close, and she kept exhorting her army to fight. Ali ordered his officer to cut the hands of the camel guides so that the camel could be moved from the center of the battle field; other guides took the relay and 72 camel guides left theirs hands on the rope before the camel’s hamstrings were cut and was brought down; the symbol of “The Mother of the Believer” finally relinquished its effect on the troops.

Ali permitted Aicha to return to her home in Medina and she was escorted as a Queen. One of Moawiya’s delegates told Aicha that they wished she died in the battle so that the allies of Moawiya would have had an excellent excuse to fight Ali.

Aicha spent the remaining of her life in her house, receiving scholars and students who regarded her as the main resource for correct interpretations of the religious verses and taking notes of her experiences. Aicha was the only virgin in the harem that the Prophet married; whatever she knew of love making was the invention and initiation of Muhammad.  A specific revelation forbade Muhammad’s wives to remarry; they were to remain in their homes and to be covered completely and wear the “nikab” on their face when stepping outside their doors or meeting males.

The effects of the assassination of Othman didn’t end up there.  Muawiya raised the same reason of avenging Othman to engage Ali in a terrible battle at Seffine in Syria: the bloodied shirt of Othman hanging in the Mosque of Madina demanded retribution and the Arabs coined the dictum “the Shirt of Othman” to convey the meaning that the reason offered is but an excuse in the power struggle.   There were no victors in the battle of Seffine.  A large contingent of Ali’s army dissented because Ali agreed to arbitrate; these dissenters were labeled Al Khawarej and were led by Abdulah ibn Wahab (the current Saudi Monarchy is of the Wahhabi sect in affiliation). The Khawarej went on assassination rampage against the leading followers of both Ali and Muawiya. 

The Khawarej failed to assassinate Muawiya but killed Ali in Kufa.  Ali refused to name anyone to succeed him as Caliph and said to his followers that he would not disagree with anyone they select; Aicha was to say “this is typical Ali’s ambiguity” as she forecasted the worst to the unity of the “Umma” or Nation of Islam.  Ali was the most qualified to be the Imam of Islam but since there was yet no separation between the political and religious functions then Ali had to seek power as Caliph.  Ali lacked the political acumens and the qualities of a political leader because he was constantly plagued with ambiguities as a result of his vast religious knowledge and his apprehension to err in his decisions. Scissions developed during his short five years reign

Muawiya was elected Caliph in Damascus; the power became hereditary. Muawiya sent assassins to eliminate any potential leaders closely related to the Prophet. Aicha lived to experience the death of many of her male family members.  Hassan, the son of Ali, was assassinated by his wife wearing a poisoned dress.  Moawiya then slaughtered Hassan’s wife to cover up his cooperation.  The successors of Muawiya were known as the Ummayad dynasty. The most powerful tribe of Kuraich reigned in Damascus for over a century. The Abbaseed (The house of Abbass, the Uncles of Muhammad) succeeded in taking power in Baghdad for two centuries.  During and after the Abbasseed dynasty the Central Asian converted Sunni tribes dominated the political and religious landscape for over ten centuries.  The Shi’aa sect (the followers of Ali’s second son Hussein) emerged as a counterpart to the Sunni sect representing the legitimate Moslems.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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