Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Muhammad and the Natural Law: Murder for Prophet-Umm Qirfa

DEATH OF ENEMIES WAS NOT SUFFICIENT to satisfy the blood-lust of Muhammad, the self-acclaimed prophet of Allah, and his Muslim followers whom he encouraged by his vicious Medinan surahs, "revelations" which got progressively more and more vicious against the كفّار, the kuffar or non-believers, and the أهل الكتاب‎, the‎ ′Ahl al-Kitab or Jews and Christians. The pandora's box of violence which Muhammad opened could not be shut, and never has been shut. The gates of ijtihad and the gates of reason may have closed in Islam; but the gates of jihad (which comes in all forms, subtle and vicious and violent as they showed themselves with Umm Qirfa who is the subject of this posting) opened by the barbaric Muhammad remain open and they threaten all civilization today.

In his life of Muhammad, the early Muslim historian Ibn Ishaq tells us of a brutal torture and murder of the leader named Umm Qirfa (or Umm Kirfa), also known as Fatima bint Rabi'a bin Badr. She was the ruler of a small town called Wad'l-Qura occupied by the tribe known as the Banu Fazara. The event would have occurred around 622 A.D., almost six years after Muhammad's emigration from Mecca to Medina.

The Quartering of Umm Qirfa

The excerpt quoted below seems to incorporate Ibn Ishaq's version with al-Tabari's version. The Zayd mentioned by Ibn Ishaq is Muhammad's son in law, Zayd ibn Haritha.

Zayd also raided Wadi'l-Qura, where he met B[anu] Fazara and some of this companions were killed; he himself was carried wounded from the field. Ward b. 'Amr b. Madash, one of the B[anu] Sa'd b. Hudhayl, was killed by one of B[anu] Badr (whose name was Sa'd b. Hudhaym—T. and I.H.) When Zayd came he swore that he would use no ablution until he raided B[anu] Fazara; and when he recovered from his wounds the apostle sent him against them with a force. He fought (T. He met) them in Wadi'l-Qura and killed some of them. Qays b. Al-Musahhar al-Ya'muri killed Mas'ada b. Hakama b. Malik b. Hudhayfa b. Badr, and Umm Qirfa Fatima d. Rabi'a b. Badr was taken prisoner.

She [Umm Qirfa] was a very old woman, wife of Malik. Her daughter and 'Abdullah b. Mas'ada were also taken. Zayd ordered Qays b. Al-Musahhar to kill Umm Qirfa and he killed her cruelly (T. By putting a rope to her two legs and to two camels and driving them until they rent her in two). Then they brought Umm Qirfa's daughter and Mas'ada's son to the Apostle. The daughter of Umm Qirfa belonged to Salama b. 'Amr b. Al-Akwa' who had taken her. She held a position of honour among her people, and the Arabs used to say, "Had you been more powerful than Umm Qirfa you can have done no more." Salama asked the apostle to let him have her and he gave her to him and he presented her to his uncle Hazn b. Abu Wahb and she bare him 'Abdu'l-Rahma b. Hazn.
Life, 664-65.*

While from the sources this evil cannot be placed directly upon Muhammad as if he ordered it to occur in the manner that it occurred, there certainly is no indication that he disapproved of it. Muhammad would have certainly been aware of it since he was the recipient of Umm Qirfa's daughter and apparently confirmed title of Qirfa's daughter in Salama bin 'Amr. The latter had taken Qirfa's daughter as war booty, changing her from a free woman to a slave and concubine to a Muslim's chattel slave, which he later transferred--in perfect consonance with Islam's ethical teachings--as a gift to his uncle Hazn bin Abu Wahb. We can be sure that the daughter of Umm Qirfa did not have a say in all of this, and that she wondered at this religion which justified her mother's death, her capture, her sexual enslavement, and her treatment as a commodity made to cater to the sexual appetites of barbaric men.

Is Muhammad's encouragement of this war ethic and participation in the capture and trading of women a perfection to imitated? A normal man, heeding his conscience, listening to reason, and trained in virtue, would find such behavior abhorrent, against the natural moral law. But he who has been taught that Muhammad is the perfect man, al-insan al-kamil, الإنسان الكامل, and the uswatun hasanatun, أسوة حسنة ,the "good example," will be corrupted by a positive falsehood. He will be told all his life الله ورسوله أعلم, Allah and his messenger know best, the natural law notwithstanding. And without the light of reason or without the light of the Gospel denied him by the same shari'a which misinforms him, our poor Muslim will have a difficult time ever getting out of the dark dungeon that his culture and religious forbears have put him in under the name of Allah. He would have to learn to open some gates, and close others. And to do that he would have to learn that such gates even exist.

Golden Gate, Jerusalem

It is said that the Muslims sealed the Golden Gate in the city of Jerusalem's eastern city walls because it was foretold by the prophet Ezekiel that the Messiah would enter through that gate. In a similar manner, the Muslim has bricked up that part of his heart through which that first grace, the natural law, enters: reason. Before he can accept Christ, the Messiah, he will have to dislodge those rocks that block his access to the first grace, the natural law. He would have to close the gates of jihad and reject the example of Muhammad which leads to and justifies such atrocities as the quartering of Umm Qirfa. Yet he will have to open other gates:
ارفعن ايتها الارتاج رؤوسكنّ وارفعنها ايتها الابواب الدهريات فيدخل ملك المجد

Lift up your heads, ye gates; yea, lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in.
Psalm 24:9.

Who is the King of Glory? Why, He who said he was the Truth, the Lord Christ!

Take out the stones that plug up the openings of your heart to the natural moral law, brothers! Then open up the gates of your hearts to the cross of Christ, and close the gates of your heart to the sword of Muhammad. For it is not the sword that lifts you up, but the cross that does, the cross which is the law of Christians: Lex Christianorum crux est sancta Christi, filii Dei vivi. "The law of the Christians is the holy cross of Christ, the living son of God."

*A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2006).

Monday, May 30, 2011

Muhammad and the Natural Law: Murder for Prophet: The Poetess 'Asma bint Marwan

ʾASMAʾ BINT MARWAN (عصماء بنت مروان‎) was another victim of Muhammad's intolerant wrath. ʾAsmaʾ, a pagan woman married to Yazid ibn Zayd, was a poetess who lived in Mecca. Upset with the killing of Abu 'Afak,* this Meccan poetess had the temerity to write a lampoon against Muhammad. Ibn Ishaq has preserved the poem for us, and, by modern standards, it seems rather innocuous.
I despise B. Malik and al-Nabit
and Auf and B. al-Khazraj.
You obey a stranger who is none of yours,
One not of Murad or Madhhij.
Do you expect good from him after the killing of your chiefs
Like a hungry man waiting for a cook's broth?
Is there no man of pride who would attack him by surprise
And cut off the hopes of those who expect aught from him?"
Life, 675-76.**

How dare this pretentious pagan poetess write to her townsmen blaming them for paying heed to a "stranger who is none of yours," one who was responsible for "the killing of your chiefs," i.e., Muhammad? How dare she hope for a "man of pride who would attack him by surprise," and ruin the hopes of the Muslims, "those who expect aught from him?"

The name Muhammad eight times encircling the
name of Allah in Arabic calligraphy

Those words merit death: that much is clear to a hypersensitive, priggish, self-aggrandizing moral monster. So naturally, when Muhammad heard the report about this poetess' words, Ibn Ishaq relates that he said, "Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?"

(Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter? Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter? No, the question is: Who will rid us of Muhammad? )

And among his motley crew of Muslims assassins, he found many a volunteer, among them a member of the victim's husband's tribe. Ibn Ishaq tells us that this assassin "crept into her house that night." The poetess had five children, one so young as to still be nursing, and which, in fact, was sleeping at her breast. The assassin of Islam removed the child, drew his sword from its scabbard, "and plunged it into her, killing her in her sleep." Allahu Akbar! Oh the weary and ever-prevalent takbir (تَكْبِير) which seems to be on the lips of the murderous, the assassins, the evil, the brutal, the vicious to justify their crimes, tribute to the great Satan whose name is Allah.

(Maybe I speak too harshly? But whoever this Allah is that is invoked after an act of hatred, this Allah is not the Lord of Life, the Dominus vitae.)

Killing women is apparently this great Satan Allah's will, for الله ورسوله أعلم, Allah and his messenger know best. That's why Hassan ibn Thabit, a Muslim poet, could write such enormities in his opposing poem:
She stirred up a man of glorious origin,
Noble in his going out and his coming in.
Before midnight he dyed her in her blood
And incurred no guilt thereby.
Life, 676. Incurred no guilty thereby? Pray you obtuse Muslim poet, how? Muhammad stands guilty of murder before the natural law, which is to say, he stands guilty before the law of God. Since obedience to the natural law, which is the law of God, is essential for salvation, it would seem that Muhammad is objectively damned by the killing of this innocent mother who was giving suck to child. But then again, perhaps his thoughts for ʾAsmaʾ's five children were the same as his thoughts for the children of her fellow townsmen 'Uqba: Hell could raise them!**

Imagine the absurdity: Ibn Ishaq says the killing brought "conversions" among the Banu Khatma, a tribe at Mecca. How many of the Banu Khatma learned to love Allah because an assassin killed a women who was nursing her child while she slept? Ibn Ishaq relates:
[W]hen 'Umayr [the assassin] went to them [the Banu Khatma tribe] from the apostle he said, "I have killed Bint Marwan, O sons of Khatma. Withstand me if you can; don't keep me waiting. That was the first day that Islam became powerful among Banu Khatma; before that those who were Muslims concealed the fact.
Life, 676.

What was Muhammad's response to the murder he had ordered? Of course, the response was how a perfect man ought to respond to the news that his order to murder someone has been fulfilled:
In the morning when he ['Umayr] came to the apostle [Muhammad] and told him what he had done and he said, "You have helped God [Allah] and his apostle, O 'Umayr!" When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, "Two goats won't butt their heads about her," so 'Umayr went back to his people."
Life, 676.

No, Muhammad. Two goats will not butt heads over the murder of ʾAsmaʾ. You are right, Muhammad. Two goats, like two devils and their master Beelzebub, won't care one bit. But the God who loved ʾAsmaʾ, though she was pagan, will care. And so will you, because the God whom you invoked and abused for your personal and political gain will hold you accountable for your infractions of the natural moral law, just as he will all men, regardless of color, race, or creed.

* * *

The Muslims are wont to follow mention of Muhammad with the salawat (alayhi s-salām, عليه السلام, "Peace be upon him," or ṣall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam, صلى الله عليه وسلم‎, "May Allah honor him and grant him peace, sometimes shortened as PBUH, and SAAW). There is even a symbol available it as a Unicode: ﷺ.

I do hope Muhammad found peace, though in view of his violations of the natural moral law, I harbor my doubts. Foris canes et venefici et inpudici et homicidae et idolis servientes et omnis qui amat et facit mendacium. (Rev. 22:15) To overcome these sins against the natural law, some of which we have discussed in prior postings, more of which we will discuss in postings to come, Muhammad is not deserving of honor and does not merit peace: he needs mercy. I think a better salawat, one consonant with the verdict of the natural moral law and the promise of the Gospel would be: Muhammad, الله يرحم روحه, Allah yirhamu, may God have mercy on his soul.
*We have written a post on Muhammad's assassination of Abu 'Afak which brought so much discomfiture to our ʾAsmaʾ, who, as far as I can tell, was a much better person than Muhammad ever was. See Muhammad and the Natural Law: Murder for Prophet-The Case of Abu 'Afak.
**A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Risat Rasul Allah (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2006) (herein referred to as Life). Maxime Rodinson's version is a little more vulgar:
Fucked men of Malik and of Nabit
And of 'Awf, fucked men of Khazraj
You obey a stranger who does not belong among you,
Who is not of Murad, nor of Madh'hij
Do you, when our own chiefs have been murdered, put your hope in him
Like men greedy for meal soup when it is cooking?
Is there no man of honour who will take advantage of an unguarded moment
And cut of the gulls' hopes?
Maxine Robinson, Muhammad (New York: The New Press, 1980), 157-58 (translated from the French by Anne Carter).
**On Muhammad's murder of 'Uqba, see Muhammad and the Natural Law: Murder for Prophet-Al Nadr and 'Uqba.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Muhammad and the Natural Law: Murder for Prophet: Murdering the Competition--Al-Aswad

MUHAMMAD NOT ONLY MURDERED his political opponents, he also could not entertain the existence of rival politico-religious prophets. Combining religion and politics and claiming a monopoly on both was Muhammad's specialty and trademark. Competition--either through a secular state, through the separation of church and state, or by reference to a natural law above both church and state--is bad for Islam. It prefers the benefits of, and the ease of profit obtained by, a politico-religious monopoly and restraint on freedom in both politics and religion. Consequently, it should come as no surprise when we read, in Volume IX of al-Tabari's work, of Muhammad busy at work sending "messengers," i.e., assassins, to murder rival governors and prophets.*

One such prophet to whom Muhammad sent "messengers" was named al-Aswad al'Ansi. Between the history of al-Tabari and the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan by Ahmad Yahya bin Jabir al-Baladhuri (a 9th century Persian historian),** we have some interesting facts about Al-Aswad al-'Ansi. Whether all these are true or not is hard to tell, but it seems reliable, given our knowledge of Muhammad, when the early Muslim historians say that Muhammad both planned and delighted in this rival prophet's death.

Muhammad Inciting his Disciples to Violence

Al-Aswad al-'Ansi was also known also Dhu al-Khimar (or Dhu al-Himar) 'Abhalah b. Ka'b. His real name we are told 'Aihalah, but he was called al-Aswad (الأسود), "the black one," because he had a black (أسود) face. It was said that he had a trained donkey (حمار) that was trained to bow at the command, "Bow before your Lord," and would kneel when so commanded. For that reason, some called him al-Himar (الحمار), meaning "he of the donkey." Yet another story was that he was called al-Khimar (الخمار), "he of the veil," because he used to appear with a veil (خمار) and turban. This black-faced, turbaned, veiled, donkey-man was known as a "soothsayer and a juggler." "He used to show [the people] wondrous things captivating the hearts who listened to his speech." al-Tabari, 165. "The first time," al-Tabari tells us, al-Aswad claimed prophethood, "was [after] his coming out of the Khubban cave." al-Tabari, 165. The cave was his home, as he had been both born and raised there. He seemed like another Muhammad in the making: an ambitious prophet.

Muhammad apparently feared the same. Muhammad sent a messenger to al-Aswad in Yemen inviting him to convert to Islam. But al-Aswad declined Muhammad's offer. Instead, he decided to act like Muhammad and battled Khalid ibn Sai'd ibn al'-Asi from the town of San'a' (now the capital of Yemen, صنعاء‎), thereby becoming its governor. The Islamic historians naturally find fault in al-Aswad, and state that he was "haughty and oppressed al-Abna', the descendants of the Persians who were originally sent to al-Yaman [Yemen] by Kisra in the company of ibn-dhi-Yazan and under the leadership of Wahriz." KFaB, 160. (Remember! Muhammad was not haughty, nor did he oppress anyone. Whatever "haughtiness" he showed or whatever "oppression" he was guilty of, it was not haughtiness or oppression by definition, since Muhammad is--regardless of the facts, regardless of reason, regardless of reality--al-Insan al-Kamil (الإنسان الكامل), i.e., the perfect human.) Al-Aswad is also accused of making the people which he ruled to "serve him and compelled them to do things against their will," something, of course, that Muhammad never, ever did.

Muhammad's appetite for killing in the name of Allah, though himself quite sick and only a few days himself from death, remained unabated and unappeased. His blutlust and mordlust ran deep. He summoned his "messengers" to go to Yemen "instructing them [to get rid] of al-Aswad by artful contrivance." Rival prophets were apostates in the mind of Muhammad, any means of escape was to be "cut off," and they were to be attacked while "in a state of waning," in other words, while asleep. In that way they would be "isolated," and "occupied with themselves," and could be dispatched efficiently.

The plan was for Kais ibn-Hubairah-l-Makshuh al Muradi and some of his men to be sent to San'a' and feign that they agreed with al-Aswad against Muhammad. By this pretext (i.e., lie), he and his men were allowed entry into the town. Once in the town, he started gaining converts for Islam among the discontented, including al-Aswad's wife.

Kais thus slipped into al-Aswad's home before the break of dawn, digging a whole through a crack or slipping in through a gutter. Kais the assassin found al-Aswad in bed, "sleeping under the influence of drink." KFaB, 161.
Kais slew him [al-Aswad] and he began to bellow like a bull, so much so that his guard scared by the noise, asked, "What is the matter with Rahman al-Yaman?"*** "The inspiration," answered his wife, is upon him."
KFaB, 161.

Then the historian al-Baladhuri informs us of a scene which could have been written yesterday:
Kais severed [al-Aswad's] head and shouted, "Allah is great! Allah is great! I testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allay, and that al-Aswad, the false Prophet, is the enemy of Allah!" As the followers of al-Aswad gathered, Kais cast the head to them and they dispersed with the exception of a few. At this the men of Kais opened the door and put the rest of the followers of [al-Aswad] al-'Ansi to the sword, and none escaped except those who accepted Islam.
KFaB, 161.

How many times have we heard Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! in the context of violence. Some things in Islam never change.

So it was that Al-Aswad was killed.†

Though some sources say Muhammad died before al-Aswad was actually killed, other sources suggest it was his last earthly delight:
Certain scholars assert that the death of [as-Aswad by] Kais took place five days before the expiration of the Prophet, who on his death-bed said: "Allah has brought about the death of al-Aswad al-'Ansi through the righteous man Fairuz ibn-ad-Dailami" . . . .
* * *

Christ and Muhammad were both put on a high place, a very high mountain, where all the kingdoms could be seen. All the powers of the world were shown Jesus and Muhammad by Satan. "All these things I will give you if you fall down and worship me." To which Jesus replied, "Begone, Satan: for it is written, 'The Lord thy God shall you adore, and him only shall you serve.'" (Matt. 4:7-9). We know Christ's response. What was Muhammad's? Muhammad set eyes on tribes, then towns, then kingdoms. His followers, who imitate him, have dreams of ruling the world. Jesus answered Satan no. It would seem that the evidence is mounting, nay, even conclusive, that to that question (if it was by posed by Satan, and who else would pose it?) Muhammad answered yes.

There are too many dead bodies in Muhammad's trail to think otherwise. Someone with their pulse on the natural moral law would have second thoughts to the suggestion that Muhammad was a prophet of God. Ordinarily, someone who follows the natural law does not leave a mounting trail of dead bodies behind him. It seems the presumption is against Muhammad, and the common refrain, that الله ورسوله أعلم, Allah and his messenger know best the natural law notwithstanding, are empty words that bear no weight. When used to excuse violence, they are the words of thugs.

*History of al-Tabari, Volume IX: The Last Years of the Prophet (New York: SUNY Pres, 1990).
**The Origins of the Islamic State: Being a Translation from the Arabic of the
Kitab Futuh al-Buldan (Philip Khuri Hitti, trans.) (New York: Columbia, 1916) (herein KFaB).
***All his names were apparently insufficient, al-Aswad also called himself Rahman al-Yaman, "The Merciful one of Yemen," once he assumed the governorship of San'a'.
†As the KFaB notes, some sources suggest that the actually killer was Fairuz inb-ad-Dailamni, a convert to Islam, and that Kais only severed al-Aswad's head.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Muhammad and the Natural Law: Murder for Prophet-Al-Nadr and 'Uqba

MUHAMMAD COULD BE MERCILESS in the handling of his political and theological opponents. Another example of this attitude--de rigeur for all good Muslims who strive for that imitation of Muhammad that follows from the perception that he was a perfect man, al-Insan al-Kamil (الإنسان الكامل)--is his treatment of his fellow Quraysh tribesmen, al-Nadr bin al-Harith and 'Uqba bin Abu Mu'ayt. It is true that al-Nadr and 'Uqba were political and theological enemies of Muhammad (but then so is every Westerner and every Jew and Christian, not to mention Buddhist or Hindu or Agnostic or Atheist or Neo-Pagan: indeed everyone except a Muslim, that is, someone who is supposed to think and act like Muhammad).

Al-Nadr opposed himself to the man who claimed to be the exclusive and final spokesman for an Arabic mental idol, and irrepressible figment of diseased imagination which demanded obeisance from all men bar none and on the word of one man alone. A rich merchant, al-Nadr was well-read, was relatively cultured, and so he would compete with Muhammad when Muhammad was at Mecca competing for the ears of his townsmen. He would taunt Muhammad for his historical ignorance, for his copying and re-tailoring the the stories of others, and he rejected the Muhammadan revelations as authentic, accusing them of being asatir al-awwalin (أَسَاطِيرُ الأَوَّلِينَ), tales or fables of the ancients. He was one of those of whom Muhammad complained through the words of Allah:
And when Our Verses (of the Qur'ān) are recited to them, they say: "We have heard this (the Qur'ān); if we wish we can say the like of this. This is nothing but the tales of the ancients."

وَإِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا قَالُوا قَدْ سَمِعْنَا لَوْ نَشَاءُ لَقُلْنَا مِثْلَ هَذَا إِنْ هَذَا إِلاَّ أَسَاطِيرُ الأَوَّلِين
Qur'an 8:31.*

Al-Nadr fought Muhammad and his troops at the Battle of Badr and had the misfortune of captured. Muhammad then ordered him killed, and his son-in-law `Ali cut off al-Nadr's head with the blade of his sword.

The entire event between Muhammad and al-Nadr is handled by the Muslim historian Ibn Ishaq, and all references or quotes in this post will be to that work as translated by A. Guillaume.**

Al-Nadr bin al-Harith, a leader of the Abu Nashim tribe, is introduced by Ibn Ishaq as a leader among the Quraysh, Muhammad's own greater tribe at Mecca. When introduced to him in Ibn Ishaq's biography of Muhammad, al-Nadr is conferring with his fellow leaders on how to handle the erratic Muhammad--then without political power and relying entirely on the protection of his uncle Abu Talib and the wealth of his wife Khadija. In the elders' view, Muhammad was an impertinet rabble rouser, breaching the peace with his demands and eccentric behavior. And so they decide to make him an offer:
If it was money he wanted, they would make him the richest of them all; if it was honour, he should be their prince; if it was sovereignty, they would make him king; if it was a spirit which had got possession of him (they used to call the familiar spirit of the jinn ra'iy), then they would exhaust their means in finding medicine to cure him.
But this was a time when Muhammad was in Mecca, before he tasted political power, and he appeared to have some integrity, though if not integrity, perhaps it was merely a self-righteous, priggish response which was his way of making himself better that his elders:
The apostle replied that he had no such intention. He sought not money, nor honour, nor sovereignty, but God had sent him as an apostle, and revealed a book to him, and commanded him to become an announcer and a warner. He had brought them the messages of his Lord, and given them good advice. If they took it then they would have a portion in this world and the next; if they rejected it, he could only patiently await the issue until God decided between them, or words to that effect.
Life, 133-34. The Muhammad at Mecca is a man a moral man can like. The Muhammad at Medina is a man a moral man begins to despise. It is the Muhammad at Medina that is the hero of Muslims: the majority of the Qur'anic revelations at Mecca abrogated by the later ones of Medina. Muhammad's life, like the Qur'an, may be divided in twain: the Meccan and the Medinan, pre-Hegira and post-Hegira. White and black are these two lives, almost opposites like the flag of the caliphate and the flag of jihad. It is as if a spirit of darkness entered into Muhammad during his Hegira to Medina: introivit in eum satanas.

Faced with Muhammad's pretentious response, the leaders of Mecca mocked him, challenged him, demanded from him proof of his divine warrant, asked for a sign, a miracle, anything except his own witness. How else distinguish him from a mere charlatan? But Muhammad could give them none of these. He was the sole witness of his claimed authenticity. His prophetic office was pulled up by his own bootstraps. Muhammad was self-ordained:
"Well, Muhammad," they said, "if you won't accept any of our propositions, you know that no people are more short of land and water, and live a harder life than we, so ask your Lord, who has sent you, to remove for us these mountains which shut us in, and to straighten out our country for us, and to open up in it rivers like those of Syria and Iraq, and to resurrect for us our forefathers, and let there be among those that are resurrected for us Qusayy b. Kilab, for he was a true shaikh, so that we may ask them whether what you say is true or false. If they say you are speaking the truth, and you do what we have asked you, we will believe in you, and we shall know what your position with God is, and that He has actually sent you as an apostle as you say."

He replied that he had not been sent to them with such an object. He had conveyed to them God's message, and they could either accept it with advantage, or reject it and await God's judgement.

They said that if he would not do that for them, let him do something for himself. Ask God to send an angel with him to confirm what he said and to contradict them; to make him gardens and castles, and treasures of gold and silver to satisfy his obvious wants. He stood in the streets as they did, and he sought a livelihood as they did. If he could do this, they would recognize his merit and position with God, if he were an apostle as he claimed to be.

He replied that he would not do it, and would not ask for such things, for he was not sent to do so, and he repeated what he had said before.

They said, "Then let the heavens be dropped on us in pieces, as you assert that your Lord could do if He wished, for we will not believe you unless you do so."

The apostle replied that this was a matter for God; if He wanted to do it with them, He would do it.

They said, "Did not your Lord know that we would sit with you, and ask you these questions, so that He might come to you and instruct you how to answer us, and tell you what He was going to do with us, if we did not receive your message? Information has reached us that you are taught by this fellow in al-Yamama, called al-Rahman, and by God we will never believe in the Rahman. Our conscience is clear. By God, we will not leave you and our treatment of you, until either we destroy you or you destroy us." Some said, "We worship the angels, who are the daughters of Allah." Others said, "We will not believe in you until you come to us with God and the angels as a surety."

When they said this the apostle got up and left them.
Life, 134.

One can feel the discomfiture of the powerless Muhammad in the presence of scoffers, of doubters. In Muhammad's defense, any kind of faith does not do well in front of scoffers. But this is nothing unique to Muhammad. It is part and parcel of the rough-and-tumble life of a person who sets himself up as a prophet. We know many prophets are false: indeed, Muhammad has his hand in putting some prophets to death. But even if a prophet is true, he ought to expect resistance, some of which comes in the form of ridicule. It is for this reason that it is practically dogma that a prophet is not honored in his own country. (Cf. John 4:44; Mark 6:4; cf. also Luke 4:28-30.) The Quraysh knew of Muhammad's eccentricities, of his disposition to depression and suicide, of his epilepsy and fits and strange seizures, of his public and unusual praying. For them, Muhammad was human, all too human. But then maybe not. It appears that they misread the man. When he got political power in his hands, and had swords at his command, he was not human, all too human--but inhuman, all too inhuman to his enemies.

When the effort at reconciling Muhammad failed, al-Nadr addressed all the leaders of Mecca gathered before him as follows:
Al-Nadr b. al-Harith b. Kalada b. `Alqama b. Abdu Manaf b. Abdu'l-Dar b. Qusayy got up and said: "O Quraysh, a situation has arisen which you cannot deal with. Muhammad was a young man most liked among you, most truthful in speech, and most trustworthy, until, when you saw grey hairs on his temple, and he brought you his message, you said he was a sorcerer, but he is not, for we have seen such people and their spitting and their knots; you said, a diviner, but we have seen such people and their behaviour, and we have heard their rhymes; and you said a poet, but he is not a poet, for we have heard all kinds of poetry; you said he was possessed, but he is not, for we have seen the possessed, and he shows no signs of their gasping and whispering and delirium. Ye men of Quraysh, look to your affairs, for by God, a serious thing has befallen you."

Now al-Nadr b. al-Harith was one of the satans of Quraysh; he used to insult the apostle and show him enmity. He had been to al-Hira and learnt there the tales of the kings of Persia, the tales of Rustum and Isbandiyar. When the apostle had held a meeting in which he reminded them of God, and warned his people of what had happened to bygone generations as a result of God's vengeance, al-Nadr got up when he sat down, and said, 'I can tell a better story than he, come to me.' Then he began to tell them about the kings of Persia, Rustum and Isbandiyar, and then he would say, 'In what respect is Muhammad a better story-teller than I?'
Life, 135-36.

So the Pagan townspeople of Mecca decided to get advice from the Jews at Medina, which made sense since Muhammad seemed to be drawing on the Jewish traditions, and presumably the Jews knew about prophets. So Al-Nadr and another Meccan named `Uqba bin Abu Mu'ayt went to the Jewish rabbis in Medina to get information from them about what prophethood was all about.

Now 'Uqba was also an enemy of Muhammad. He had once listened to Muhammad and appeared a potential recruit to Muhammad's struggling group of Muslims, but his friend Ubayy ibn Khala ibn Wahb ibn Hudhafa had threatened to break his friendship off if 'Uqba continued to audit Muhammad's preaching, and so 'Uqba departed from Muhammad and turned on him. Life, 164-65. A hadith in Sahih Bukhari 1.9.499 relates how, at a time before Muhammad had political power and lived in Mecca, 'Uqba threw dung, blood and the offal of slaughtered camels on the shoulders of Muhammad when he bowed down for prayers, to the delight of some of the Meccans. It was a slight that Muhammad, who could bear a grudge, would never forget.

So it was that al-Nadr and 'Uqba went to the rabbis and asked them:
"You are the people of the Taurat [Torah], and we have come to you so that you can tell us how to deal with this tribesman of ours."

The rabbis said, "Ask him about three things of which we will instruct you; if he gives you the right answer then he is an authentic prophet, but if he does not, then the man is a rogue, so form your own opinion about him. Ask him what happened to the young men who disappeared in ancient days, for they have a marvelous story. Ask him about the mighty traveler who reached the confines of both East and West. Ask him what the spirit is. If he can give you the answer, then follow him, for he is a prophet. If he cannot, then he is a forger and treat him as you will."

The two men returned to Quraysh at Mecca and told them that they had a decisive way of dealing with Muhammad, and they told them about the three questions.

They came to the apostle and called upon him to answer these questions. He said to them, "I will give you your answer tomorrow," but he did not say, "if God will."

So they went away; and the apostle, so they say, waited for fifteen days without a revelation from God on the matter, nor did Gabriel come to him, so that the people of Mecca began to spread evil reports, saying, "Muhammad promised us an answer on the morrow, and today is the fifteenth day we have remained without an answer."

This delay caused the apostle great sorrow, until Gabriel brought him the Chapter of The Cave,*** in which he reproaches him for his sadness, and told him the answers of their questions, the youths, the mighty traveler, and the spirit.
Life, 136-137.

The answers, a synthesis of Greek, Arab, Jewish, and Christian tales, did not impress al-Nadr. Ibn Ishaq tells us how al-Nadr would follow up Muhammad's recitations of the Qur'an and the warnings to the Quraysh tribe, that al-Nadr would follow with a story about "Rustum the Hero and Isfandiyar and the kings of Persia, saying, 'By God, Muhammad cannot tell a better story than I and his talk is only of old fables which he has copied as I have.'" Life,, 162-163.

When al-Nadr and 'Uqba had the upper hand, they abused Muhammad with words and with offal. But when Muhammad had the upper hand, he was brutal: he heartlessly abused his opponents with the sword.

A Veiled Muhammad Orders Decapitation of His Captive

After the battle of Badr, when the victorious Muslims were heading back to Medina, Ibn Ishaq relates the following:
Then the apostle began his return journey to Medina with the unbelieving prisoners, among whom were 'Uqba b. Abu Mu'ayt and al-Nadr bin Al-Harith. . . . Then the apostle went forward until when he came out of the pass of al-Safra' he halted on the sandhill between the pass and al-Naziya called Sayar at a tree there and divided the booty which God had granted to the Muslims equally. . . . When the apostle was in al-Safra', al-Nadr was killed by `Ali, as a learned Meccan told me. . . . .
Life, 308.

Ibn Ishaq records the plaint of al-Nadr's sister engendered at hearing of the death of her brother at the order of Muhammad:
Qutayla d. al-Harith, sister of al-Nadr b. al-Harith, weeping him said:

O Rider, I think you will reach Uthayl
At dawn of the fifth night if you are lucky.
Greet a dead man there for me.
Swift camels always carry news from me to thee.
(Tell of) flowing tears running profusely or ending in a sob.
Can al-Nadr hear me when I call him,
How can a dead man hear who cannot speak?
O Muhammad, finest child of noble mother,
Whose sire a noble sire was,
'Twould not have harmed you had you spared him.
(A warrior oft spares though full of rage and anger.)
Or you could have taken a ransom,
The dearest price that could be paid.
Al-Nadr was the nearest relative you captured
With the best claim to be released.
The swords of his father's sons came down on him.
Good God, what bonds of kinship there were shattered!
Exhausted he was led to a cold-blooded death,
A prisoner in bonds, walking like a hobbled beast.
Life, 311. A voice was heard at the pass of al-Safra', weeping and loud lamentation, Qutayla weeping for her brother, but she refused to be comforted, because he was no more. He was no more because of Muhammad.

'Uqba suffered a similar fate. Ibn Ishak tells us the following about Muhammad's captive, 'Uqba:
When he was in `Irqu'l-Zabya `Uqba was killed. He had been captured by `Abdullah b. Salima, one of the B. al-`Ajlan.

When the apostle ordered him to be killed `Uqba said, "But who will look after my children?"

"Hell," he said, and `Asim b. Thabit b. Abu'l-Aqlah al-Ansari killed him according to what Abu `Ubayda b. Muhammad b. `Ammar b. Yasir told me.
Life, 308.

Seventy-two Meccan prisoners were made captive by the Mohammadan forces at the Battle of Badr. Seventy traded for ransom. Two, however, killed at the order of Muhammad: al-Nadr and 'Uqba.

Learn well kuffar and mushrikun, unbelievers and Christians, from the example of Muhammad. Muhammad teaches his followers to be heartless to their opponents. He will teach them to feel no softness for the sisters and the children of their enemies, and the sorrow that they may cause them. Turn deaf ears to their pleas, to their wails, to the misery you have caused them, he tells them. Get even! Forget not! Get that revenge! Their children, for all they care, can go to Hell. And this hardness of heart is a fine thing, a very fine thing, a most blessed, noble, and virtuous thing, a divine thing--though it goes against the grain of any humane reasoning--for one ought to remember: in Islam, الله ورسوله أعلم, Allah and his messenger know best, the natural law notwithstanding.

*The Qur'an refers to the asatir al-awwalin (أَسَاطِيرُ الأَوَّلِينَ), the tales or fables of the ancients, in numerous surahs, and it is commonly thought that these are references to al-Nadr and his criticisms of Muhammad.
**A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Risat Rasul Allah (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2006).
***Qur'an (Al-Khaf)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Muhammad and the Natural Law: Murder for Prophet-The One-Eyed Bedouin

IBN ISHAQ, MUHAMMAD'S BIOGRAPHER, relates for us a story in his biography of Muhammad which raises another wart on Muhammad's soul. Muhammad had sent two of his Muslim followers--Amr bin Umayya al-Damri and an-Ansari, assassins both, for he rubbed shoulders with such types--to his old home town of Mecca to kill his enemy Abu Sufyan. Unfortunately for them, the townsfolk recognized al-Damri, and the two assassins were chased them out of Mecca.

Muhammad's Name in Arabic Calligraphy

From here, we shall let Ibn Ishaq tell the story:

They got up to pursue us and I told my companion to escape, for the very thing I feared had happened, and so as to Abu Sufyan there was no means of getting at him. So we made off with all speed and climbed the mountain and went into a cave where we spent the night, having successfully eluded them so that they returned to Mecca.

. . . .

[My partner, an-Ansari having left], I went into a cave there taking my bow and arrows, and while I was there in came a one-eyed man of B[anu] al-Dil [i.e., the al-Dil tribe] driving a sheep of his. When he asked who I was I told him that I was one of the B[anu] Bakr. He said that he was also, adding of the B[anu] al-Dil clan. Then he lay down beside me and lifting up his voice began to sing:

I wont' be a Muslim as long as I live,
Nor heed to their religion give.
I said (to myself), "You will soon know!" and as soon as the badu was asleep and snoring I got up and killed him in a more horrible way that any man has been killed. I put the end of my bow in his sound eye, then I bore down on it until I forced it out at the back of his neck. Then I came out like a beast of prey and took the highroad like an eagle hastening . . . .

When I got to Medina . . . [Muhammad] asked my news and when I told him what had happened he blessed me.*
Blessed him? Blessed him? Blessed al-Damri for killing a one-eyed shepherd for composing a couplet against Muslims and Islam?

And this is a man we are to take as al-insan al-kamil, a perfect being?

Any normal man would find this behavior by Muhammad which encouraged and blessed such an act shocking. The Muslim cannot. The Muslim must find it good. The Muslim must imitate it. The Muslim must be happy that this one-eyed badu was killed in this gruesome way for saying nothing other than:

I wont' be a Muslim as long as I live,
Nor heed to their religion give.
The natural law, the law of God writ in our heart which participates in the eternal law of God, if we allow it to tutor us, would have us say, "I won't be a Muslim as long as I live, nor heed to their religion give," and it would not have it quieted. And what? Is that law in our heart also to be put to death, like the one-eyed Bedouin in a cave near Mecca, to please the likes of Muhammad?
*A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2006), 673-75.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Muhammad and the Natural Law: Murder for Prophet-Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf

MUHAMMAD WAS DRIVEN BY POWER, however justified by invocation of Allah, and the Jews simply got in the way. No matter, the Jew that got in the way, that opposed the will or whim of this vicious man who covered it with Allah's mantle, was promptly dispatched. The Fifth Commandment did not apply to Muhammad. He doubtfully read Exodus, since he was supposed to be illiterate. It might have done him some good had he read:
لا تقتل, Thou shalt not kill.
Exodus 20:13; Deut. 5:17.

After all there was no need to read the Scriptures, they were corrupted on Muhammad's account, Qur'an 5:13, 41, and whatever was therein contained was of no moment since whatever Muhammad did was perfect, and if the Fifth Commandment has to take a back seat to Muhammad's perfect desires, then so be it: Allah and his messenger know best. God did not say, "Thou shalt not kill." Rather, God said, "Thou shalt kill." Or so Muhammad would have it.

The name Muhammad in Arabic

Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf (كعب بن الاشرف‎), a chief of the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadi, was another victim of Muhammad's rise to power and moral failings. Once Muhammad gained in political power, some of the Jewish tribes around him grew mistrustful and opposed both his message and his rising influence. Though Muhammad had ostensibly entered into an informal treaty with the Jewish tribes, there was tension between Muhammad's followers and the Jewish tribes, including the Banu Nadi. Al-Ashraf, it's true, was an opponent of Muhammad, believed Muhammad a false prophet, and opposed himself to Muhammad's rise. After Muhammad's victor at the battle of Badr, al-Ashraf grew particularly concerned. But is that a crime? In Muhammad's eyes, opposition to him and his doctrine was anathema: nay, it was more than that; it was a virtual death sentence.

Moreover, Muhammad was like the devil, "the proud spirit [who] cannot endure to be mocked,"* and al-Ashraf mocked both Muhammad and the Muslim women: "He inveighed against the apostle," wrote a plaintive poem at the loss by the Quraysh tribe defeated at Badr, and "composed amatory verses of an insulting nature about Muslim women" Muhammad's biographer Ibn Ishaq tells us.**

The enmity between al-Ashraf and Muhammad and Muhammad's response to it is found in several sources, including Sahih Bukhari 3.45.687 and 5.59.369. The second hadith is particularly long, so only parts will be quoted here.

The hadith begins:
Allah's messenger said "Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His apostle?"**
Thereupon Maslama got up saying, "O Allah's messenger! Would you like that I kill him?"
The prophet said, "Yes".
Maslama said, "Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Ka'b). The prophet said, "You may say it."

So here we have two questionable moral lapses by Muhammad. The first, a willingness to put a political opponent to death. The second, a willingness to use all manners of deceit. Here we find the questionable doctrine of taqiyya (تقیة) or dissimulation approved by the alleged prophet of Allah, of the Arab war idol who--unlike Christ who says, "I am the truth" (John 14:6)--says of himself that he is the "best of deceivers," Allahu khayru al-makirina, اللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ (Qur'an 3:54).

Based on the pretense that, as an opponent of Muhammad, he wanted to borrow a camel load or two of food, Maslama visits al-Ashraf at night and, together with his foster brother Abu Naila, is invited into Maslama's fort. The plan is to compliment al-Ashraf on his perfumed hair, and when he is distracted to cut off his head. The plan worked, and together Maslama and Abu Naila cut of Muhammad's enemy's head. The poet Ka'b bin Malik said:
Sword in hand we cut [Ka'b] down
By Muhammad's order when he sent secretly by night
Ka'b's brother to got to Ka'b.
He beguiled him and brought him down with guile
Mahmoud [bin Maslama] was trustworthy, bold.**
Ibn Sa'd's Tabaqat records Muhammad's delight:
Then they cut his head and took it with them [and] . . . they cast his head before him [Muhammad]. He (the prophet) praised Allah on his being slain.***
The pseudo-prophet can rejoice at an innocent's man's death, just like many of his followers could rejoice at the attack of the Twin Towers on 9/11, and the deaths of thousands who did none of their killers wrong. This is what happens when you are the prosecutor, the alleged victim, and the judge. The defendant, even if innocent, has no voice. This is because, in Islam, الله ورسوله أعلم, Allah and his messenger know best, the natural law notwithstanding.
*St. Thomas More, Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation (London: Charles Dolman, 1847), II.XVI, p. 160.
**The matter is extensively treated in Ibn Ishaq's biography of Muhammad, on pages 364-69 of A. Guillaume's translation. Muhammad is related to have said: "Who will rid me of Ibnu'l-Ashraf?" To which, Muhammad bin Maslama said that he would kill him. Muhammad, for his part, responded "Do so if you can." With respect to the lying, Ibn Ishaq puts it this way: "'O apostle of God, we shall have to tell lies.' He answered, 'Say what you like for you are free of the matter.'" A. Guillaume,
Life of Muhammad: Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2006), 367.
***Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir (Pakistan Historical Society, 1967), II, p. 37.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Muhammad and the Natural Law: Murder for Prophet-The Case of Abu 'Afak

“WHO WILL DEAL WITH THIS RASCAL FOR ME?” were Muhammad's words regarding the poet Abu 'Afak. In this post, we shall assess Muhammad's role in the murder of the Jewish poet Abu 'Afak (أبو عفك‎). The event is evidence of Muhammad's intolerance, and is evidence further of Muhammad's willingness to dispense with his personal, political, or religious foes (Muhammad did not distinguish between the three) through assassination, setting the stage for the imitation of intolerance and murder as virtues for his followers. What one may perhaps excuse in a political leader is not something one would excuse in the perfect man, the supposed al-Insan al-Kamil (الإنسان الكامل).

The Jew Abu 'Afak was an old man, reputed to be 120 years old, a member of the Banu Ubayda tribe. He was a poet, and refused to convert to Islam or acknowledge Muhammad as a legitimate prophet. Abu 'Afak was upset with Muhammad's role in killing al-Harith bin Suwayd bin Samit, and so he had the temerity to lampoon Muhammad through his poetry. The event, and Muhammad's response to it, is related in the Sirat Rasul Allah, the preeminent traditional biography of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq.

Abu 'Afak was one of the B. 'Amr b. 'Auf of the B. Ubayda clan. He showed his disaffection when the apostle killed al-Harith b. Suwayd b. Samit and said:

Long have I lived but never have I seen
An assembly or collection of people
More faithful to their undertaking
And their allies when called upon
Than the sons of Qayla* when they assembled,
Men who overthrew mountains and never submitted,
A rider who came to them split them in two (saying)
"Permitted", "Forbidden", of all sorts of things.**
Had you believed in glory or kingship
You would have followed Tubba'.***

The apostle said, "Who will deal with this rascal for me?" Whereupon Salim b. 'Umayr, brother of B. 'Amr b. 'Auf, one of the "weepers", went forth and killed him. Umama b. Muzayriya said concerning that:

You gave the lie to God's religion and the man Ahmad [variant of Muhammad]!
By him who was your father, evil is the son he produced!
A hanif gave you a thrust in the night saying
"Take that Abu 'Afak in spite of your age!"
Though I knew whether it was man or jinn
Who slew you in the dead of night (I would say naught).†

The story is also found in the Kitab al Tabaqat al Kabir:
"Then occurred the sariyyah [raid] of Salim Ibn Umayr al-Amri against Abu Afak, the Jew, in [the month of] Shawwal in the beginning of the twentieth month from the hijrah [immigration from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD], of the Apostle of Allah. Abu Afak, was from Banu Amr Ibn Awf, and was an old man who had attained the age of one hundred and twenty years. He was a Jew, and used to instigate the people against the Apostle of Allah, and composed (satirical) verses [about Muhammad].

Salim Ibn Umayr who was one of the great weepers and who had participated in Badr, said, "I take a vow that I shall either kill Abu Afak or die before him." He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came, and Abu Afak slept in an open place. Salim Ibn Umayr knew it, so he placed the sword on his liver and pressed it till it reached his bed. The enemy of Allah screamed and the people who were his followers, rushed to him, took him to his house and interred him.††
What sort of man is this Muhammad?

The whipping of King Henry II for his role in the murder of St. Thomas Becket
Would that it would have happened to Muhammad for the killing of Abu 'Afak!

The story of Muhammad and Abu 'Afak is redolent of King Henry II and the murder of St. Thomas Becket when the latter refused to assent to the Constitutions of Clarendon and the King's efforts to gain control over the Church. "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" is what the King is supposed to have said in an unguarded moment. To which careless statement the King's loyal knights Reginald FitzUrse, Hugh de Morville, William de Tracy, and Richard le Breton, thinking the King had authorized his enemy's murder, set out to rid King Henry II of his erstwhile-friend-become pest.

Henry II repented of his indirect role in encouraging the murder of Thomas Becket, and suffered to be whipped by the monks of Canterbury by order of the Pope. Muhammad suffered no such remorse, and suffered no such penance for his role in encouraging the killing of Abu 'Afak.

Under the natural law, a King can do wrong, but he can also do right. There is a law above the King to which he, like all men, is answerable. Under Islam, however, Muhammad can do no wrong and can only do right. There is no law above Muhammad. So when Muhammad kills or encourages the killing of his political enemies, it becomes the rule, it becomes canonical. Muhammad's behavior is normative even when it violates the natural moral law, which is to say even when it violates the law of God. And this is because, in Islam, الله ورسوله أعلم, Allah and his messenger know best, the natural law notwithstanding.

*Qayla was the putative ancestress of the Banu Aus (or Banu Aws [Arabic: بنو أوس‎]) and the Banu Kharaj (or Banu al-Khazraj [Arabic: بنو الخزرج‎]), the two great Arab tribes of the town of Medina.
**A gibe at the language of the Qur'an.
***i.e., "You resisted Tubba' who, after all, was a king in fact and a man of great reputation, so why believe in Muhammad's claims?" Tubba' (تُبَّع) refers to the Kings of Yemen. See Islamic Encyclopedia, s.v. "Tubba'"
†A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2006).
††Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-Tabqat al-Kabir, II.31.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Muhammad and the Natural Law: Sex with Slaves

MUHAMMAD's MARITAL MORAL TRAVESTIES are legion, and include polygamy, incest, pedophilia, concubinage, temporary marriage (nikah al-Mut‘ah or نكاح المتعة‎), and divorce. In prior postings we have focused on Muhammad's multiple sexual partners, on his sexual relationship with his aunt Khaula, and on his marriage and conjugal visitation of nine-year-old Aisha and desires for further young brides as he approached his sixth decade of life. In this posting, we shall focus on Muhammad's relationships with his slave-women, his concubines.

Under any ordinary moral standard, sex with concubines is considered adultery and not consonant with the ends of marriage. Under Muhammadan logic, sex with concubines is right because Allah revealed it to be so and because his messenger had sex with concubines. Allah locutus, causa finita est. Mahometus fecit, causa finita est.* (They are the same thing.)

Muhammad's treatment of women alone should disabuse any human of finding this man to have a legitimate prophetic bone in his body, much less a legitimate claim to being the "seal of the prophets," the خاتم اﻟﻨﺒﻴﻴﻦ, or Khatamun Nabiyyin. Muhammad's rank disregard of natural moral law is proof positive that his message is inauthentic. His inability to control his sexual faculties makes Muhammad more a prophet of Priapus than a prophet of the Most High God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus. As man, Muhammad is not exempt from the natural moral law. The judgment of practical reason condemns Muhammad; that is one reason Muslims are so suspicious of practical reason and why they cannot brook any opposition or criticism to their alleged prophet. The moment natural moral law steps into the picture, the entirety of Islam falls like a deck of cards that it is. Islam is founded entirely upon sheer positivism: the positivism of Allah and the positivism of Muhammad's actions.

In assessing Muhammad's activities with his concubines, we start, of course, with that part of the Qur'an, the Surat Al-Ahzab, known as "The Confederates," or "The Allies," specifically, the fiftieth ayah, which was so generous and accommodating to the sexual life of this pseudo-prophet: "O Prophet! Verily, We have made lawful to you . . . those (captives or slaves) whom your right hand possesses--whom Allah has given to you." These are the ma malakat aymanukum (ما ملكت أيمانکم). Qur'an 33:50. Ah, but this privilege was not reserved for Muhammad alone: all Muslim men, in imitatio Muhammedi, enjoy the privileges associated with those whom their right hand possess. So we find in the Sūrat An-Nisa' that Muslim men in general enjoy the sexual benefits of those women whom their right hand possess. Qur'an 4:4. Naturally, the Muhammadan bias against women is reflected here: while men can have sex at will with women concubines, women are not allowed to have sex with men concubines.

The Name Muhammad in Arabic Calligraphy

And Muhammad's right hand possessed many such female concubines, and his penis exercised his rights over some, the prophet pounding his throbbing Muslim member into Mariyah or Raihanah, respectively, his Christian and Jewish concubines. The former, to the consternation of his legal wives, even gave him a child, whom Muhammad called Ibrahim (Abraham), but who died young.

At the outset, so that we are not accused of slighting Muhammad and accusing him of sex with concubines when he was innocent of that moral lapse,** we might quote from the popular Islamic biography of Muhammad, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar) by Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri (translated by Issam Diab):

Besides these [Muhammad's wives], he had two concubines. The first was Mariyah, the Coptic (an Egyptian Christian), a present gift from Al-Muqauqis, vicegerent of Egypt — she gave birth to his son Ibrâhim, who died in Madinah [Medina] while still a little child, on the 28th or 29th of Shawwal in the year 10 A.H., i.e. 27th January, 632 A.D. The second one was Raihanah bint Zaid An-Nadriyah or Quraziyah, a captive from Bani Quraiza. Some people say she was one of his wives. However, Ibn Al-Qaiyim gives more weight to the first version. Abu ‘Ubaidah spoke of two more concubines, Jameelah, a captive, and another one, a bondwoman granted to him by Zainab bint Jahsh. [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 1/29]
Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, 312.

There is, in fact, a rather humorous story involving (naturally) the jealousies of the wives arising from Muhammad's enjoyment of the "honey" given to him by Mariya the Copt. It can be found in the Sahih Bukhari 3.43.648. The event is corroborated in the Sahi Muslim 9.3511 and Sahih Bukhar 7.62.119. It seems that the pseudo-prophet's foresight was rather limited, or was perhaps limited by lust. He could not hear Allah while he was trying to achieve orgasm. In one of his first flings with Mariya was at the home of one of his wives, Hafsa. Muhammad found a pretense to send Hafsa to her father's house, and then bedded Mariyah. But the perfect man is found out by Hafsa who unexpectedly returns to her home when she finds that her father did not seek her. She catches the pseudo-prophet in flagrante delicto with Mariyah the Copt.

Hafsa is unfuriated, but Muhammad, as is his bent, finds fault with everyone but himself. He gets Hafsa to shut up by promising not to sleep with his maid servant anymore, but on the condition that she keep this moral failure between herself and him. But Hafsa tells Aisha, and soon Muhammad's whole harem learns of the mess. Muhammad's response is to do two things. First, he punishes his wives by depriving him of his sexual services for a month.*** But this overreaction presented the sex-starved Muhammad with a problem: where would he get his sexual satisfaction? He had promised Hafsa no longer to have sex with Mariya. He had promised no longer to have sex with his wives for a month.

Where Muhammad has a need, Allah conveniently provides. Behold, a new revelation! Recite! God in the eternal Qur'an threatens Muhammad's wives with divorce (as if they did something wrong). Moreover, Allah releases Muhammad of his oath to Hafsa so that he can enter into Mariyah to his heart's content while he punishes his wives with his sexual absence! After all, Allah would not let such a small thing as marriage or promises get in the way of Muhammad's ejaculations.

O Prophet! Why do you ban (for yourself) that which Allāh has made lawful to you, seeking to please your wives? And Allāh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Allāh has already ordained for you (O men), the dissolution of your oaths. And Allāh is your Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.) and He is the All-Knower, the All-Wise.

And (remember) when the Prophet (SAW) disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives (Hafsah), so when she told it (to another i.e. 'Aishah), and Allāh made it known to him, he informed part thereof and left a part. Then when he told her (Hafsah) thereof, she said: "Who told you this?" He said: "The All-Knower, the All-Aware (Allāh) has told me."

If you two (wives of the Prophet SAW, namely 'Aishah and Hafsah) turn in repentance to Allāh, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet SAW likes), but if you help one another against him (Muhammad SAW), then verily, Allāh is his Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.), and Jibrael (Gabriel), and the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, the angels are his helpers.

It may be if he divorced you (all) that his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you, Muslims (who submit to Allāh), believers, obedient to Allāh, turning to Allāh in repentance, worshiping Allāh sincerely, fasting or emigrants (for Allāh's sake), previously married and virgins.

Qur'an 66:1-5.

Muhammad's relationship with Mariya the Copt is morally inexcusable. Muhammad's utter insensitivity and disregard for the natural moral law brands him a moral decrepit. In light of Muhammad's polygamy, incest, concubinage, divorce, pedophilia, and other sexual sins, it becomes harder and harder to say without rank hypocrisy, calculated blindness, or the murder of conscience, what the Muslims always say, الله ورسوله أعلم, Allah and his messenger know best, the natural law notwithstanding.

*Latin: God has spoken, the case is closed. Muhammad has done it, the case is closed.
**Some Muslim sources deny the concubinage relationship between Mariya the Copt and Muhammad. For example,
Ibn Kathir (700AH/1301AD-774AH/1373AD) wrote that Mariya and Muhammad married. The majority would seem to regard Mariyah as a concubine. Sources suggest that Muhammad had between four and eleven concubines. The number is not particularly relevant. Just one concubine disqualifies Muhammad as a prophet since just one concubine offends against the natural law of marriage and is adultery by definition. Muhammad was thus an adulterer.
***This, of course, is the second level of punishments advised by Allah in the treatment of wives who misbehave. The first is to admonish them. The second level is to refuse to share their bends. The third level is to beat them. Qur'an 4:34. Presumably, if all else fails: divorce.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Muhammad and the Natural Law: Sex with Girls

UNTIL THE يوم الدين‎, THE YAWM AD-DIN, the Day of Judgment Muhammad so eloquently preached about, Muhammad's character will be tarred by his relationship with his third wife, Aisha (عائشة). Considered one of the Mother of the Believers, Aisha bint Abu Bakr is generally regarded to have been Muhammad's favorite wife. Perhaps for the purpose of cementing Muhammad's political relationship with Abu Bakr, Aisha's father, who later would take over the reigns of that politico-religious bellicose machine called Islam that Muhammad had founded, perhaps motivated out of simple lust,* the marital relationship between Muhammad and Aisha spells the death knell to any claim of authentic prophethood by Muhammad.

Muhammad and Aisha in Arabic

The traditional ahadith put Aisha at six or seven years of age at the marriage, and at age nine at its consummation by Muhammad, then in his mid-50s, the young Aisha quite clearly at a premenarcheal age. There is not much prophetic or divine in the image of a 55-year old erect penis entering the virginal vagina of a nine-year-old girl and discharging vainly its semen in a orgasmic groan of ecstasy, regardless of how many Allahu Akbars are said. Less prophetic is the suggestion that God would positively will this moral enormity. Regardless of how common or not this practice was in the sexually-corrupt Bedouin society in which Muhammad rubbed his shoulders,** marriage and sex with a nine-year-old was not required, and certainly is not something that a man ostensibly holding himself out as the pattern for all men should do. Even supposing that child marriage and consummation had been the standard convention for the Bedouin, this is something a far-seeing prophet and his Allah, it seems, would not have encouraged, but would have banned. This is not something one should expect from the man hailed as al-Insan al-Kamil (الإنسان الكامل), the person who has reached perfection. This is not a moral zenith, but a moral nadir, at least if we are to judge by objective standards of natural moral law.***

It is no use to whitewash this historically probable situation. All the standard, approved and orthodox ahadith relating to this issue are consistent. For Muslims or their Western cronies to deny this fact is intellectually dishonest: nay, it is a plain lie. The Sahih Muslim 8.3310 relates:
'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) married me when I was six years old, and I was admitted to his house when I was nine years old.

The same text continues with another hadith, 8.3311, which has a slight, but ultimately meaningless, discrepancy in her age:
'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) married her when she was seven years old, and he was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, and her dolls were with her; and when he (the Holy Prophet) died she was eighteen years old.

Various ahadith in Sahih Bukhari attest to Aisha's age at marriage and at consummation, 7.62.64, 7.62.65, and 7.62.88.
Narrated 'Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).

Narrated 'Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old. Hisham said: I have been informed that 'Aisha remained with the Prophet for nine years (i.e. till his death)." what you know of the Quran (by heart)'

Narrated 'Ursa: The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with 'Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).

Similarly, in other parts of Sahih Bukhari, 5.58.236 and 5.58.234, we find the same evidences:
Narrated Hisham's father: Khadija died three years before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married 'Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed [sic: consummated] that marriage when she was nine years old.

Narrated Aisha: The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became Allright, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, "Best wishes and Allah's Blessing and a good luck." Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah's Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age.

Muhammad! What hast thou wrought!

In another collection of ahadith, the Sunana Abu-Dawud, 41.4915, 41.4916, and 41.4917 we have the same attestation of marriage at six and consummation at nine:
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin: The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) married me when I was seven or six. When we came to Medina, some women came. according to Bishr's version: Umm Ruman came to me when I was swinging. They took me, made me prepared and decorated me. I was then brought to the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him), and he took up cohabitation with me when I was nine. She halted me at the door, and I burst into laughter.

Narrated AbuUsamah: The tradition mentioned above [i.e., 41.4915] has also been transmitted by Abu-Usamah in a similar manner through a different chain of narrators. This version has: "With good fortune, she (Umm Ruman) entrusted me to them. They washed my head and redressed me. No one came to me suddenly except the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) in the forenoon. So they entrusted me to him.

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin: When we came to Medina, the women came to me when I was playing on the swing, and my hair were up to my ears. They brought me, prepared me, and decorated me. Then they brought me to the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) and he took up cohabitation with me, when I was nine.

As I was exploring these ahadith, I saw immediately below 41.4917, this interesting hadith, 41.4920: "Narrated AbuMusa al-Ash'ari: The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said: He who plays backgammon disobeys Allah and His Apostle." Muhammad condemns backgammon as against the will of Allah, but enjoins sex with premenarcheal girls? Most of us will see the absurdity in some of Muhammad's edicts, banning the gnat and swallowing the camel. The natural law will scream in our inner ear, the forum of our conscience, that something is deadly wrong with this self-acclaimed prophet. But remember, for a Muslim, الله ورسوله أعلم, Allah and his messenger know best, the natural law notwithstanding.
*In Sahih Bukhari 9.87.139, 9.87.140, and 9.87.141, Muhammad seems to confess a prior longing for Aisha, as he even had dreams about her being uncovered. Seeing Aisha naked in a dream (at age six) meant to Muhammad that this desire "is from Allah, then it must happen."
**It seems that Aisha's father, Abu Bakr, was not initially excited about the prospect, but, being under the thrall of Muhammad appears to have conceded to the pseudo-prophet's proposal after weakly trying to deflect it on the grounds that he was Muhammad's brother:
Sahih Bukhari 7.18: "Narrated 'Ursa: The Prophet asked Abu Bakr for 'Aisha's hand in marriage. Abu Bakr said 'But I am your brother.' The Prophet said, 'You are my brother in Allah's religion and His Book, but she (Aisha) is lawful for me to marry.'" In other words, Islam--not Bedouin practices--made it legitimate for Muhammad (and by implication any Muslim) to marry and bed premenarcheal girls. This precept in itself is so repugnant to the natural law and to reason that, by itself, it destroys any possible divine warrant underlying Islam.
***The problem is even worse that just Aisha. In Ibn Ishaq's biography of Muhammad we discover the lecherous Muhammad planning to wed an infant Ummu'l-Fadl even while she was a baby crawling before him. Since this event appears to have occurred during the Battle of Badr, Muhammad would have been approximately 55 years of age, which of course meant that he would have been in his mid sixties when he married the nine-year-old Ummu'l-Fadl. "(Suhayli, ii. 79: In the riwaya of Yunus I. I. recorded that the apostle saw her (Ummu'l-Fadl) when she was a baby crawling before him and said, 'If she grows up and I am still alive I will marry her.' But he died before she grew up and Sufyan b. al-Aswad b. 'Abdu'l-Asad al-Makhzumi married her and she bore him Rizq and Lubaba. . . ." A Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2006), 311.
Lucky for young Ummu'l-Fadl, Muhammad died before he could fulfill those plans. This is not the only hadith that suggests Muhammad had set his eyes on other infants for future marriage as girl brides. In the collection of ahadith entitled Musnad Ahmud 26329
we have the following

حدثنا يعقوب قال حدثنا أبي عن ابن إسحاق قال وحدثني حسين بن عبد الله بن عباس عن عكرمة مولى عبد الله بن عباس عن عبد الله بن عباس عن أم الفضل بنت الحارث أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم رأى أم حبيبة بنت عباس وهي فوق الفطيم قالت فقال لئن بلغت بنية العباس هذه وأنا حي لأتزوجنها

The body of this hadith may be translated:
The Messenger of Allah (peace upon him) saw Um Habiba the daughter of Abbas while she was al-futim (still nursing) and he said, "If she grows up while I am still alive, I will marry her.
[This hadith is often miscited on the internet as Musnad Ahmad 25636].

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Muhammad and the Natural Law: Sex with Aunt Khaula

THE NUMBER OF WIVES that Muhammad gathered as if they were pets or playthings is, as we have noted, not consonant with the natural moral law. The practice of polygamy appears to have been abandoned by the Jews of the time of Muhammad. In the work by the Muslim scholar Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi (168/784 - 230/845), the Kitab al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, we read that the Jews, when they witnessed the self-professed prophet Muhammad marrying more than one woman commented: "'Look at this man who never has enough of food and cares for nothing else as he does for women.'" Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd, 1:398. While the Muslim scholar Ibn Sa'd attributed the Jews' complaint to envy, he did mention that they pointed to it as counter-indicative of any claim to prophethood: "'If he were a prophet," the Jews said among themselves, "'he would not desire women'" Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd, 8:202. The Jews' ruminations seem rather common sense.

Muhammad's desire for women seems to have possessed him after the death of his wife Khadija. "I was the least man in sexuality," Muhammad is related to have said, "till God brought down on me the kafit." This divine gift of sexual prowess, a sort of divine Arabic-Viagra, was readily given to Muhammad by his Allah: "Whenever I seek it I find it." Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd, 8:192. According to the dictionary Lisan al-Arab (2:71), kafit is the ability to have sex and to marry. The Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd also relates: "The Messenger of God said, 'Gabriel met me with a pot, of which I ate, and I was given the kafit [sexual ability] of forty men.'" Gabriel was Allah's interlocutor only after Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina.

The Name Muhammad in Arabic

In addition to the practice of polygyny, which of itself, as the Jews of Muhammad's time noted, puts Muhammad out of running as a legitimate prophet, we saw in our last posting that the manner in which Muhammad obtained the hand of young Safiya, the Jewess from the Banu al-Nadir tribe, in marriage raises serious questions of his moral sensitivity. He displayed all the moral sensitivity of a rapacious animal in marrying the young woman whose father, uncle, husband, and kinsmen he had killed. While we may recognize the behavior as one in keeping with a warrior chieftan, it is not the sort of behavior that one would ascribe to an ideal or perfect man, one with the title al-Insan al-Kamil.

Muhammad's marriage to young Safiya is not the only relationship that raises eyebrows. We may also turn to other relationships that raise issues of moral propriety, specifically, relationships that are arguable incestuous, and if not incestuous highly unseeming. We shall focus first on Muhammad's relationship with Khaula bint Hakim (خولة بنت حكيم‎) in this posting. In the next, we shall focus on Muhammad's relationship with his adopted son's wife, Zainab.

In a prior posting, we had cause to quote Qur'an 33:50 and the Islamic scholar Watt's observations regarding this verse in the Qur'an. It is apparent that Muhammad expanded the range of women which were available to him sexually to include a number of categories: (i) wives formally so called; (ii) slaves or concubines which Muhammad's "right hand possessed"; (iii) daughters of maternal uncles and maternal aunts; (iv) those who migrated from Mecca to Medina; (v) any Muslim woman if she offered herself to Muhammad and Muhammad wished to marry her; (vi) a privilege special for Muhammad apart from the other believers, the khalisatan la-ka min dun al-mu'minin ( خَالِصَة ً لَكَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ).

The category that Muhammad could enjoy any Muslim woman who offered herself to Muhammad appears to have been broad enough to include even maternal aunts, given the hadith that relates to a certain Khaula bint Hakim.

Khaula bint Hakim was Muhammad's maternal aunt, his mother's sister. This we learn from the book of ahadith Musnad Ahmad 26768.
مسند أحمد - مِنْ مُسْنَدِ الْقَبَائِلِ - عن المرأة تحتلم فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لتغتسل
26768 حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ وَحَجَّاجٌ قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي شُعْبَةُ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ عَطَاءً الْخُرَاسَانِيَّ يُحَدِّثُ عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ الْمُسَيَّبِ أَنَّ خَوْلَةَ بِنْتَ حَكِيمٍ السُّلَمِيَّةَ وَهِيَ إِحْدَى خَالَاتِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ سَأَلَتْ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنْ الْمَرْأَةِ تَحْتَلِمُ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِتَغْتَسِلْ
What is striking is that this Khaula bint Hakin (خَوْلَةَ بِنْتَ حَكِيمٍ ), "one of the aunts of the prophet, " إِحْدَى خَالَاتِ النَّبِيِّ , was one of the women who presented themselves to Muhammad. We learn this from another hadith, this one found in Sahih Bukhari 7.62.48. In this hadith, related by Hisham's father, the subject involves one of the women who offered themselves to Muhammad for marriage, as allowed by the Qur'an 33:50. The woman happens to be Muhammad's aunt, Khaula bint Hakim. The prospect of Muhammad's aunt offering herself to Muhammad elicits a natural aversion by young Aisha, one immediately squelched by a Qur'anic revelation:

Khaula bint Hakim was one of those ladies who presented themselves to the Prophet for marriage. 'Aisha said, "Doesn't a lady feel ashamed for presenting herself to a man?" But when the Verse: "(O Muhammad) You may postpone (the turn of) any of them (your wives) that you please,' (33.51) was revealed, " 'Aisha said, 'O Allah's Apostle! I do not see, but, that your Lord hurries in pleasing you.' "

The Qur'anic revelation that effectively squelched Aisha's aversion is the following:
You (O Muhammad SAW) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive whom you will. And whomsoever you desire of those whom you have set aside (her turn temporarily), it is no sin on you (to receive her again), that is better; that they may be comforted and not grieved, and may all be pleased with what you give them. Allāh knows what is in your hearts. And Allāh is Ever All­Knowing, Most Forbearing.
Qur'an, (Al-Ahzab) 33:51.

The Qur'anic revelation suggests that Aisha, or for that matter any other wife of Muhammad, ought not to feel aggrieved if Muhammad engaged in sexual relations with women who belonged to the other categories allowed him, whether they be slaves or concubines or women who offer themselves to him, even if they are maternal aunts. Indeed, the Muslim wife, like any submissive creature or well-trained pet, ought to be pleased with the arrangement.

Remember, for a Muslim, الله ورسوله أعلم, Allah and his messenger know best, the natural law notwithstanding.