Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Quraish

Book review of Genevieve Chauvel

Note: If you missed Part 1, go to this link https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2021/03/03/most-beloved-wife-of-prophet-muhammad-aicha/

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

Aicha was apprehensive that her father might succeed to the Prophet with the subsequent responsibilities, and asked Omar to preach instead, since he had a loud voice and a large body. Muhammad got irate for Aicha involvement in altering his decision, and demanded that Abu Baker resume the preaching.

Omar would not believe that the Prophet could die and threatened anyone who says so; then Abu Bakr told the congregation “Muslims, those among you who adore Muhammad, Muhammad is dead.  Those who adore God, God is living”.

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 Muslims what the Prophet told him once: “All prophets were buried at the place of their death”; and thus Muhammad 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 Muhammad has told him that prophets’ belonging went to charities. 

Fatima died 6 months later as Mohammad has predicted, aggrieved and desperate.

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 yet 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 his death, Khalid ibn Al Walid had vanquished the Byzantine Emperor at Yarmuk and was advancing toward Damascus. (This Khalid committed mass massacres in Damascus for 3 days and nights, and for no sane reason)

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 Nisaa”.

On his deathbed, Omar appointed a Council of five Companions from the tribes of Quraish (excluding the Ansar leaders) to elect the next Caliph.  Uthman 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.

Uthman 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 appointed Jewish scholars to select and revise the documents collected by Aisha and published a new version of the Koran, the one being read and accepted.

Aicha got wind of the alterations to the parchments and 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 deteriorate and you started to turn your back on his teachings”.

(My conjecture is that Uthman hired scholar Jews to select and re-edit the parchments to match the messages in their Bible, and its is this Koran that is currently adopted, except the version disseminated by the Wahhabi in the Saudi Kingdom. Uthman destroyed many documents that the new Islamic empire needed to woe, especially in matters of imposing taxes, and delivering a patriarchal overtone to the Koran. So far, no original documents have been made public to study their validity. Mind you that the original documents had no punctuation or any kinds of signs or complicated embellishment you see in current versions…The documents/verses could be read as Kerouac “On the Road” or Schelinger “Catcher in the rye”, and were ripe for interpretations)

Aicha had a copy of all the documents and she rewrote her version of the Koran. (There is no information of what happened to these copies)

A large dissatisfied mob of Muslims, 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 Uthman to leave for pilgrimage with the harem.  The mob entered the palace of Uthman burned it asunder and stabbed and beat the Caliph to death. (Probably the invading “mob” had wind of Uthman tampering with the Koran and disseminating luxury attitudes and practices that did Not match the conservative understanding of Islam).

Ali was elected Caliph but refrained to give the revenge for the murder of the Caliph Uthman a priority. His 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 Zubair and another Companion Talhat excited Aicha to lead 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 20,000 with Ali. 

The battle of the “Camel”, the first among the Muslims, left 15,000 victims and injured among the Muslim fighters which affected Aicha for the remainder of her life.

Talhat and Zubair died in the battle. Aicha was riding hidden in a palanquin and exhorting her army to fight. Ali ordered his officer to cut the hand of the camel guide so that the camel could be moved from the center of the battle field; 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 and the battle cry and symbol of “The Mother of the Believer” finally relinquishing its effect on the troops.

Ali permitted Aicha to return to her home in Medina and she was escorted as a Queen. One of Muawiya’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 initially the only virgin in the extended harem, and whatever she knew of love making was of the initiation of Muhammad. 

A specific revelation forbade Muhammad’s wives to remarry and also to remain in their homes and to be covered completely and wear the “niqab” on their face when stepping outside their doors or meeting males.

The effects of the assassination of Uthman didn’t end up there.  Muawiya raised the same reason of avenging Uthman to engage Ali in a terrible battle at Seffine in Syria: the bloodied shirt of Uthman hanging in the Mosque of Madina demanded retribution and the Arabs coined the dictum “the Shirt of Uthman” to convey the meaning that the reason offered is but an excuse for the power struggle.  

There were no victors in this battle that was leaning toward Ali army, and a large contingent of Ali’s army dissented because Ali agreed to arbitrage. These dissenters were labeled Al Khawarij and were led by Abdullah ibn Wahab (A coincidence? The actual Saudi Monarchy sect is founded on a Wahhabi preacher): they went on assassination rampage against the leading followers of both Ali and Muawiya.

The Khawarij failed to assassinate Muawiya (just injured) 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.

Muawiya was elected Caliph and the power became hereditary and the period is known as the Umayyad (the most powerful tribe of Quraish) reign in Damascus, which lasted for a century before the Abbasid (The house of Abbass, the Uncle of Muhammad) succeeded in taking power in Baghdad for two centuries. 

The occupied Central Asian people converted Sunni sects and their tribes were to dominate the political and religious landscape for over 10 centuries. 

Muawiya sent assassins to ged rid of any potential leaders related to the Prophet , but spared Aisha.

Aicha lived to experience the death of many of her male family members. 

Hassan, the son of Ali, was assassinated by his wife enticing Hassan to wear the poisoned dress given to him as a gift by Muawiya.  Muawiya then slaughtered Hassan’s wife to hide his schemes with her.

Notes:

  1. The Prophet had two sons who died before the age of two.  Ali, his nephew who married his youngest daughter Fatima, was the only male in his “House”.  Muhammad appointed Ali to read the religious messages in meetings where the Prophet could not be present.  Ali and Abu Bakr were the most learned males, among the early Companions, on Islam, but Aicha was the best and she was present during many revelations of “Archangel Gabriel” in her house.
  2. 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 acumen and the qualities of a government leader because he was constantly plagued with ambiguities as a result of his vast religious knowledge and his apprehension to err in his decisions. Schism developed during his short five years reign and the Shia sects (the followers of Ali’s second son Hussein) emerged as a counterpart to the Sunni sect representing the legitimate Muslims.
  3. The Prophet Muhammad was highly literate https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/the-parson-and-the-prophet-book-review/

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