About Mohammed I: A Biopic

February 3, 2021 Category: Religion


{1  It’s like notifying American Dominionists that the United States was not founded as a Christian nation.  Also note Revisionist Zionists’ reaction to the dismantling of their delusions about “Israel”; right-wing libertarians’ reaction to the dismantling of their delusions about the “free market”; or gun-fetishists’ reaction to the dismantling of their delusions about the Second Amendment.  I have composed an essay on each one of these topics.}

{2  There is not only zero evidence to suppose that MoM had a direct hotline to the divine, but plenty of evidence to conclude that he did not.  Take, for instance, his unexpected (and oddly-timed) death.  Not only did the Creator of the Universe allow this purported “Seal of all Prophets” to be murdered just as he was achieving the apogee of his power; the Creator of the Universe did not even give him a “heads up” on this rather important development.  Consequently, MoM never got around to designating a successor / executor; nor did he specify any kind of protocol for shepherding his movement forward.  Obviously, an omniscient super-being would have foreseen the massive problems this would cause.  Alas. (See footnote 3 below.)  That divine Providence was not at play AFTER MoM is also quite evident.  His successor (Abu Bakr ibn Quhafa) fell sick and died after only two years at the helm.  The next THREE Rashidun caliphs were assassinated.  (Ali was murdered by his own disillusioned supporters.)  Then Ali’s son, Hasan, was also assassinated (by his own wife, Ja’da).  All this might be taken as an indication that the lofty station of these cynosures was not the result of divine ordinance.  It was certainly not a vote-of-confidence from the deity they claimed to serve.}

{3  Note especially the so-called “First Fitnah”; the civil war the broke out in the 7th century after the (Umayyad) Caliph Uthman’s assassination–leading to the acrimonious Sunni-Shia schism.  There is an oft-touted piece of apocrypha claiming that MoM once stated that his teachings [the “sunnah”] would only endure for thirty years after he was gone–a statute of limitations that falls at approximately the death of the final Rashidun caliph, Ali (c. 661).  If true, this means that MoM was somehow aware–ahead of time–that things would go completely off the rails; and that averting this errancy was not part of the divine plan.  (Ergo, Islam as it came to be, was–in a sense–illegitimate; and was foreordained to be so.)  According to this apocryphal tid-bit, god foresaw the distortion of his last revelation, yet was fine with it.  Taken seriously, this gambit manages to disqualify the Umayyads and Abbasids as valid posterity…thereby bringing into question ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we (suppose we might) know today about Islam’s origins.  On the positive side, it excuses all the terrible things that were done in the name of Islam starting c. 632+30 (by absolving MoM and the Sahabah of culpability in later iniquities); yet it manages to also deprive us of having any idea what the REAL “sunnah” may have been.  Thus not only is the baby thrown out with the bath-water; the entire tub is jettisoned so as to exculpate Islam’s prophet.  This does more damage than salvage, as the implication is: Since c. 662, NONE of what’s been considered “Islam” was really ever bona fide Islam.  (So much for correcting the errancies of Judeo-Christianity!)  Later discord would lead to the toppling of the (corrupt) Umayyad dynasty by the (equally corrupt, flagrantly decadent) Abbasid dynasty in 750.  Divine sanction was always the justification for power–as when (Abbasid) Caliph Harun al-Rashid fashioned himself the “Shadow of God on Earth”.  By the 11th century, the Ummah had fragmented into the Taifas in Andalusia; the Osmani [later, Ottomans] in Anatolia, Armenia, Mesopotamia and the Levant; the Fatimids (followed by the Mamluks) in northeast Africa / Hijaz; and the Seljuk Turks further east.  This last was later overtaken by Mongol hegemony, only to become Timurid…then the (Shia) Safavids in Persia and the (Sunni) Mughals in Bharat[a].  This seems to not be what the Sahabah had in mind when they talked about an “Ummah”.}

{4  Abu Talib was actually a leader within the Hashemite clan, a sub-group of the Quraysh.  The record of MoM’s early life is quite hazy; and what little is said is rather convoluted.  As the story goes, his biological father (retroactively named “Abd-ullah”) died six months before MoM was born.  After his mother (retroactively named “Amina”) gave birth, she sent her infant son to live with a foster family.  She is said to have died by the time MoM was 6 years old.  At around that time, MoM went to live with his paternal grandfather (referred to as Abdul Mu-talib), who died shortly thereafter.  Custody was then transferred to his paternal uncle, Abu Talib, in the Banu Hashim.  MoM’s biological father (and possibly even his grandfather) were Bedouin merchants who–so far as can be surmised–would have traded with the Nabataeans.  ALL of them would have spoken Syriac.}

{5  This is announced in the opening passage of the first chapter of the first volume of Bukhari’s Hadith.  It is also important to note that MoM would have spoken SYRIAC, not Arabic.  Hence: If you were to take a time machine back to MoM’s lifetime and recite what is now the “Cairo” version of the Koran to him, he almost certainly would not understand much of what you said.}

{6  As the story goes, the location was in the hills called “Jabal an-Nour” [“Hill of Light”], within a small talus cave that came to be known as “Gar Hira”.}

{7  Hagiographers opted to assign Waraka a noble bloodline, making him the great-great-grandson of Qusai ibn Kalib, MoM’s great-great-great-grandfather; himself a descendent of the fabled Adnan…who was, in turn, a descendent of Ishmael.}

{8  For more on traditions surrounding the “Kaaba”, see my essay on “Pilgrimages”.  For more on the history behind the shrine, see my essay on “The Meccan Cube”, in which the Petra theory is discussed.}

{9  Obviously, the earliest converts would have been reticent to relinquish their coveted pagan rituals.  The solution was to simply incorporate the full compliment of those rituals into the new-fangled religion.  Ergo the sacred rites of the “Hajj” that survive to the present: a set of re-vamped pagan liturgies (enumerated in my essay on “Pilgrimage”).  As is explicated in my essay, “Syriac Source-Material For Islam’s Holy Book”, the ensuing syncretism involved incorporated a potpourri of extant Abrahamic lore.  (See Appendix 3 of my essay on “Genesis Of A Holy Book”, where I discuss the so-called “Satanic verses”.)  Hence the credence of Islam’s sacred scripture rises or falls on the credence of said lore.}

{10  Islamic sources are the only sources in which a depiction of Mecca (during MoM’s time and before) exists; and even those are rather circumspect about evidence.  There is none.  All such sources post-date MoM’s lifetime by generations, and were written for the express purpose of providing a Mohammedan historiography.  They paint a picture of a place that was afflicted by no grievous social dysfunction (barring, of course, the authors’ quibbles about the endogenous Arab theism being more poly- than mono-).  The portrayal we are given includes no indication of tyranny; nor was there any significant persecution or oppression mentioned.  What is portrayed, rather, is a relatively peaceable, Hijazi merchant hub that was governed by a cadre of Qurayshi chieftains; in which there was no excessive socio-economic stratification, and no major feuds.  And an Arabian woman (MoM’s first wife, Khadijah) was able to own and operate a thriving business in the area (see Appendix 1).}

{11  By nature, those driven by avarice tend to do whatever they can get away with; especially in the event they manage to garner an ample amount of social capital (a.k.a. “street-cred”).  This is illustrated on a daily basis by business tycoons and ambitious politicians; as well as by gang leaders and mafiosos.}

{12  In Mohammedan hagiography, Abd al-Uzza (later rendered “Abu Lahab”; Father of Flame) is often omitted (for obvious reasons).  Instead, we hear about the other brothers of Abu Talib and MoM’s father: Zubair and Harith (who were sons of MoM’s purported grandfather, Abdul Mu-Talib).  Ironically, the only place we encounter mention of this particular uncle is in the Koran (Surah 111), where the authors saw fit to devote an entire passage to excoriating him.}

{13  Indeed, after Khadijah’s passing, Talib stood the most to benefit if he just played along.  This fact is moot, as Talib ended up dying the same year.}

{14  Ref. Bukhari’s Hadith 5/58/234-236; as well as 7/62/64-65 and 7/62/88 (alt. no. 3896, no. 5133, and no. 5158); wherein the marriage took place at 6 years old and consummation within the next couple years.  MoM even wondered why men would marry grown women when they could simply wed young girls (so that they may then play with each other), as attested in Buhkari (no. 5080).  One might also consult Yusuf Al-Hajj Ahmad’s Book of “Nikah” (in which MoM encourages his followers to marry young girls, the better to fondle them).  Also see Muslim’s Hadith (vol. 8, no. 3309-11 and 3480-3481; wherein the marriage took place at 7 years old, consummation at 9 years old); as well as Sunan Abu Dawood (vol. 2, no. 2116 and vol. 41 no. 4195 & 4916-19).  The account is corroborated by Aisha’s own testimony (vol. 9 of Tarikh al-Tabiri).  How did MoM think of Aisha?  As a tasty dish.  In Bukhari (no. 3411), MoM announced that the superiority of his child-bride to other women was like the superiority of “tharid” (a savory meat) to other meals.}

{15  This leitmotif is common throughout the world.  In ancient Chinese myth, King Mu of Zhou visited the celestial paradise.  A brave charioteer, Zao-fu, used his magical chariot to whisk the king up to the heavens.  During the journey, the king had a chance to meet the Chinese goddess, Xi Wang-mu, and to taste the peaches of immortality.  (For more on the fabled “Night Journey”, see Appendix 2 of the next essay in this series: “Debunking Three Myths”.)  The “Night Journey” is, of course, an example of a “just so” story: It is used–among other things–to rationalize the number of daily propitiations [“salat”].  As the story goes, MoM haggled with the Abrahamic deity, talking him down to five (per the Sunni version), three (per the Shia version).  The tale has Zoroastrian and Manichaean antecedents.}

{16  The placement of the beginning of the Mohammedan calendar (i.e. year one) at this particular point is telling.  It is not when MoM was born or when he received his first revelation.  Rather, it is the year that he made the pivotal transition from a middling street-preacher in one place to a municipal authority in another place.  In other words, the significance was POLITICAL, not spiritual.}

{17  It might be noted that Yathrib was not so much a unified township as an agrarian area in which there was a conglomeration of villages, each corresponding to a tribe–at least three of which were Jewish.} 

{18  Bedouins even had the analogue of the Holy Spirit to accompany the godhead: “ar-Ruh al-Qudus” [“sacred breath”].}

{19  Meanwhile, 10:16 and 46:9 indicate that the only Sunnah is the Koran itself.  That is to say: Koranic dictates exhaustively account for the Sunnah; there is nothing more to add.  THAT would entail that the Hadith are entirely superfluous, as MoM was NOT in a position to personally teach / decree anything beyond what can be found in the recitations–which, we should recall, are purportedly not authored by him (as they are transcripts of communiques delivered from the Creator of the Universe).  Exactly where the Medinan “constitution” is supposed to have fallen in these categories (divinely-inspired yet man-made vs. divinely dictated) is anyone’s guess.  What CAN we say of this fabled compact?  It was a medieval charter for a Hijazi municipality, drawn up by a charismatic leader who arrogated to himself ultimate authority.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights it was most certainly not.}

{20  This initial conception of “community” as inclusive rather than exclusive was a brilliant bait and switch.  As “the community” would soon discover, said inclusivity had a statue of limitations.  “Dhimmi” status (accorded to non-Muslim “People of the Book”) involved considering Jew and Christians as NOT part of the “Ummah”.}

{21  This issue was obviously at the forefront of MoM’s mind–as if mankind’s primary problem was the direction in which it prayed.  48:25 in the Koran indicates the degree to which MoM was bitter about being unable to initially co-opt the Kaaba in Mecca.  Later, in the same verse, we see gloating after he was able to appropriate it (rendering it “al-Masjid al-Haram”).  2:142-145 stresses the sanctity of the new qibla, denigrating those who don’t acknowledge the change.  The passage even specifies that the change was effected in order to please MoM himself [or, alt., in order to make it easier for MoM to distinguish between his followers and those who still followed the old way].  For more on this matter, see my essay on “Mecca And Its Cube”.}

{22  Note how ironic this assault was, considering the stern rebuke Abraham gave Philistine King Abimelech for the Philistines’ attempt to seize the watering hole belonging to Abraham’s settlement at Gerar.  It seems that MoM cherry-picked the elements of Abrahamic lore that suited his own purposes.  The highly-selective invocation of Abraham’s legacy in Mohammedan lore is quite blatant.}

{23  During the raid on Badr, the Mohammedan desert-pirates apprehended the physician, Nadr ibn al-Harith ibn Kalada (a physician) as well as Uqba ibn Abi Muayt, brought them back to Medina, and had them publicly beheaded. Other raids promptly ensued. The storied “Nakhla Raid” also occurred in early 624.  MoM sent one of his lieutenants, Abdullah ibn Jahsh, to lie in wait for the Quraysh at Nakhla–so as to engage in a surprise attack on the unsuspecting yeomen.  The completely unprovoked assault was successful.  The marauders took two captives and seized all the booty.  Upon returning to their master, they gave him 20% of the spoils.  For more on this clear precedent, see my essays on “The History Of Salafism”.}  

{24  Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of cunnilingus in the Koran’s depiction of heaven.  The “Recitations”, after all, are addressed exclusively to men–a target audience that reveals who the authors saw as the one’s making all the calls.}

{25  This adage reflects the catch-22: To attract followers, one must show that one can attract followers.  Victory (or at least being stigmatized as a “winner”) tends to attract followers.  The explanation for all this is relatively straight-forward.  MoM was able to accrue a nascent following by giving disaffected Bedouins a sense of purpose–and even glory.  That is to say, so far as they were concerned, his cause gave their lives PURPOSE.  But not just ANY purpose; it was a divinely ordained purpose…with wonderful things held in store for those who joined.  With a sense of shared purpose, people will fight with augmented fervor, and even sacrifice themselves for the common cause if need be.  Most Hijazis had never had that before.  It is little surprise that many were enamored with this alluring invitation (see footnote 27 below).  This reflects a universal law of human nature: People tend to rally behind–or at least get onboard with–whoever they see as willing to help them, especially in times of strife.  The choice is often one of DEFAULT.  It is why Latin American peasants–when contending with tyrannical rulers, most of whom were supported by the United States–sought support from Soviet Russia during the Cold War.  It was primarily done in desperation; not due to fealty to Moscow…or some ideological devotion to Soviet-style communism.  It was largely done by default.  This also explains why many anti-colonialist movements in the Arab world allied themselves with the USSR.  Since 1967, it explains why many Palestinians have resorted to a tacit support for Hamas.  It might even explain why Americans who were fed up with “politics as usual” and the abiding corruption of Washington bureaucrats opted for a cockamamy wildcard in the 2016 presidential election…even though said wildcard only COMPOUNDED the very problems on which their grievances were based.}

{26  Religious conversion tends to occur most with those who are disaffected–or feel somehow short-changed.  Newfound cult activity–of SOME kind–offers a kind of rebirth to anyone who is disenchanted with life.  Religion, we find, holds especial allure for those groping around in the dark for something–anything–to hold onto.  When grasping in desperation for something that seems solid, there is an eminently pragmatic aspect to religionism–what with its reassurances and consolations.  That dogma-based Faith is based on delusion (false pride, false hope, false certainty) is beside the point; as the ILLUSION does the trick.}

{27  By wayward Bedouins, it is simply meant: disenchanted, and possibly disenfranchised.  The social psychology here is elementary.  It should not come as a surprise that the non-Jewish Yathribis had grown weary of a stale pagan theology that did not seem to speak to them.  In addition, it is likely they were aggrieve by–nay, fulminating from–dashed hopes.  They were a community suffering from an existential malaise.  Certainly, a charismatic figure who manages to galvanize those afflicted with ennui will tend to marshall an ardent following.  Some Yathribis may have even been resentful of the notoriety of the burgeoning mercantile hub (Mecca) to their south.  Thus MoM may have seemed to have been a godsend; as he was able to channel simmering resentments toward a shared antagonist (thereby giving Yathribis a sense of direction /  purpose).  Bear in mind that when people feel lost at sea, they are far more susceptible to suggestion.  Like ALL humans, everywhere, at every time, disillusioned Bedouins were surely looking for MEANING; for something exhilarating to live for.  This newly-arrived Messianic figure was offering OODLES of meaning…if, that is, they signed up for the program.  And, while they were at it, they could enjoy a cut of the spoils (including FREE GIRLS)…with complete impunity.  There is nothing mysterious–or miraculous–about anything that occurred during the earliest phases of the Mohammedan movement.  The most primeval motives were at play; and the most basic incentives were provided.  Generally, when people are existentially disoriented, it is as if they are groping around in the dark, searching in desperation for something to hold onto.  When they find something that feels SOLID, they will eagerly grasp onto it, and cling to it thereafter.  Sometimes that thing FINDS US.  And sometimes it CLINGS BACK.  A compelling narrative can seize hold of us, exercising a grip from which it is difficult to emancipate ourselves.  Of course, if sufficiently entranced, we DON’T WANT to be emancipated.  We thus become imprisoned by our own enchantment.}

{28  Decent people should find this all quite disturbing.  Says the battered house-wife, “He only hits me when I deserve it.”  That MoM’s wives are ON RECORD saying such a thing tells us much of what we need to know about his character.  As with his well-attested pedophilia, the commonly-invoked “it was more normal at that time” evasion doesn’t cut is; as MoM is touted as the ultimate moral example for all mankind, for all time.  Is he to be taken as an exemplar or is he not?}

{29  Their other brother, Abu Rafi, was their tribe’s chieftain.  All three brothers were assassinated, per MoM’s orders.  Later, Al-Rabi’s son, Kenana, was also tortured and decapitated–as recounted by Ibn Ishaq.  Al-Tabari relayed the account thus: “The Prophet gave orders concerning Kinana to Zubayr, saying, ‘Torture him until you root out and extract what he has.  So Zubayr kindled a fire on Kinana’s chest, twisting it with his fire-stick until Kinanah was near death.  Then the Messenger gave him to Maslamah, who beheaded him” (Bukhari: vol. 8, p. 122).  And what of the executed man’s wife (Safiya bint Huyayy)?  MoM forced her to marry him, and bed her THAT NIGHT.}

{30  Many Islamic apologists will dispute some of the victims in this list.  A typical rebuttal is that the accused was guilty of more than just impugning MoM; and was probably killed for the standard reasons that adversaries are killed in war-time situations (treason).  Two points might be made.  First: It was the Mohammedans that CREATED the alleged “war-time” situation in the first place.  Second: EVEN IF some of these victims were somehow guilty of subversive activity (e.g. plotting against MoM in some way), they were summarily executed; thereby belying the claim that MoM was merciful.  Capital punishment for dissidents is the modus operandi of a tyrant, not of a beneficent leader.  Finally, all this comes from the most esteemed ISLAMIC sources; not from external polemics.  Much of it was recorded as a BRAG.}

{31  Why was Umm Qirfa executed in such an unusually cruel way?  (As if the usual decapitations weren’t gruesome enough.)  MoM made it clear that he would not tolerate women having leadership roles; and seemed to be particularly irked by Umm Qirfa’s elevated status in the rival tribe.  This chauvinistic position–characteristic of the Mohammedan movement–was made clear in Bukhari 9/88/219.  To reiterate: The account of this brutal execution comes from the earliest available biographical sources.  MoM’s contempt for females in positions of power was also documented in Bukhari’s Hadith.  According to one of MoM’s companions, Abu Bakra: When MoM heard that Persians had made the daughter of “Khosrow” their ruler, he said, “Never will a nation succeed that makes a woman its ruler.”}

{32  Instructions to proceed in this manner may also be found in Bukhari’s Hadith (4/52/260; 9/84/57-58; 9/84/64; 9/89/271): “Whoever changes his [Islamic] religion, kill him.”  Moreover, women were routinely stoned to death for merely BEING ACCUSED of sexual indiscretion.  This instruction is found in Bukhari 8/82/805-817.}

{33  Ref. Bukhari’s Hadith 4/56/817 and 5/59/662.  Even one of Musaylima’s messenger-boys (Ibn an-Nawwahah) was killed, just for reporting his master’s claims of prophethood.}

{34  There was even a woman, Sajah bint al-Harith [ibn Suaeed], of the Banu Tamim, who claimed to be a prophetess; and joined the cause against the Mohammedans.  (She eventually allied herself with Musaylima; to whom she eventually deferred the mantle of prophet.}

{35  We should bear in mind that many Hijazis were probably disenchanted with Arabian paganism–a Faith that had most likely grown stale; and seemed not to be working for them.  Prospects of something fresh and new surely enticed the area’s disaffected Bedouins.  The stage was set for a charismatic leader offering not only BOOTY, but NOVELTY: a provocative worldview, and an opportunity to be part of a glorious cause.}

{36  It might be noted that all this contradicts the Koran’s declaration about itself as eternal and self-sufficient.  One can’t help but wonder: If the “Recitation” were, indeed, the final word on all matters (that is: all anyone would ever need to grasp god’s will), and it was perfectly clear (“mubeen”), then why the need for elaboration by the one charged with delivering the message?}

{37 Needless to say, the ruse worked like a charm.  It worked for MoM as it has for so many demagogues throughout history.  For a list of examples, see my essay on “The History Of Exalted Figures”.}

{38  It is difficult to make head or tails of this distinction.  Many spurious rationalizations are provided by Islamic apologists to account for it; none are convincing.  Usually, the explanation proffered has something to do with PRECEDENCE and/or FUNDAMENTALITY; but that does not comport with what we find.  To wit: Many incidental and petty matters are addressed in the Koran (e.g. how quickly to depart after dining with MoM) while many issues of profound import are found only in the Hadith (e.g. the stoning of women for adultery).  This is an odd hierarchy of priorities.}

{39  Some hypothesize that MoM had epilepsy, and that many of his purported “revelations” were received during epileptic seizures.  The hypothesis is based on descriptions of his symptoms during such episodes.  This is certainly possible; but it is mere speculation.  For more on MoM’s penchant for oddly-fortuitous, bespoke “revelations” (strategically-timed memos from the Abrahamic deity that were suspiciously beneficial for him personally), see my essay on “Ad Hoc Revelations”.  Note that even MoM’s own wife, Aisha, thought such convenient, self-serving revelations to be rather suspicious (ref. Bukhari’s hadith, no. 4078).}

{40  There is an account of MoM breaking this treaty.  The breach was based on the (purported) primacy of men over women.  One of the conditions of the treaty was that if a person from one side were to fall into the hands of the other side, the latter would be obliged to return the person to the former.  However…when a WOMAN ended up falling into the hands of the Mohammedans, MoM refused to honor the agreement.  His reason for not doing so was straight-forward: Women don’t count.  Unless otherwise specified, he contended, statements only pertain to men.  This is, of course, perfectly in keeping with both the Koran and the Hadith: Any important declaration is addressed exclusively to men; and concern only men.  To wit: Only when explicitly specified does a declaration pertain to women.  As it turned out, the Meccans acceded to this furtive renege (for reasons that are unclear); and so did not hold MoM in contempt for the transgression.}

{41  The fortuitous deterioration in Quarayshi clout was likely due to poorly orchestrated PR on their own part.  This dereliction couldn’t have occurred at any worse a time for themselves or any better a time for the Mohammedans.}

{42  Note that the enumeration of so many cases of retribution is not the result of a one-sided tabulation on my part.  In other words, I am not being selective in citing these incidents.  The fact of the matter is: I have encountered ZERO accounts of MoM explicitly encouraging his followers to be tolerant of–or conciliatory toward–those who openly disagreed with him; let alone accepting of those who openly dissented.  Not a single case.}

{43  The interminable pissing contest between Anushiruwan (a.k.a. “Khosrow”) of Persian pride and Justinian of Byzantine pride left the once-domineering empires on either side of Arabia / Mesopotamia frayed and exhausted, creating a power vacuum ripe for exploitation by any ambitious enterprise that arose in their midst.  MoM’s timing (or rather, the timing of his birth) could not have been more advantageous.  Six centuries earlier, an Arabian offensive would have been up against the Roman Empire at its peek.  Six centuries later, it would have been up against the Mongol juggernaut (the “Golden Horde”).  A germinating Bedouin campaign would have been decimated in either case.  Even just a century earlier, BOTH the Sassanians to the east (at the beginning of Khosrow’s reign) and the Byzantines to the west (at the beginning of Justinian’s reign) would have been un-beatable.  It was only after the two had spent a century battering each other into pulp that a power-play from betwixt their tattered frontiers would have been viable.}

{44  Moreover: On the western frontier, the Romans were contending with the hegemonic Gallic Empire; and were also contending with the Germanic tribes [Alemanni and Vandals] as well as the Goths, who were making incessant incursions from the north.  Briefly, even the Palmyrenes from the Levant posed a threat.  The Huns and Avars threatened everyone from the north.  In sum: The battles between Byzantine Emperor Heraclius and Sassanid Emperor Khosrow II occurred throughout MoM’s ministry.  Unbeknownst to these warring empires, a demagogue was gathering strength to the south…in a place to which few paid much heed: the Hijaz.}

{45  “Why The West Rules–For Now”; p. 349.}

{46  Mohammedans were given license to rape their female captives by several other Koranic verses–including 23:1-6, 33:50, and 70:22-30.  Seeing women as loot was crucial to inducing men to fight.  Hence, the prospects of sex was one of the perks of signing up for the program.  On this point, the documentation is conclusive.  “Spoils of War” was such a central theme of the movement that the authors of the Koran saw fit to devote one of the book’s longest chapters to the topic.  It wasn’t for nothing that the audience for the “Recitations” (MEN) were lured by promises of sex-on-demand…forever…with buxom, wide-eyed concubines.  For wayward Bedouins, many of whom probably were NOT enjoying access to beautiful women, this was an offer they couldn’t refuse.}

{47  I do not use this as a mere pejorative.  It is meant in the literal sense.  As is plain to see, ALL evidence points to a figure with distinct traits.  (Note: not “most” evidence; ALL evidence.)  According to the best sources available, MoM was monomaniacal.  By the time his patron (and first wife), Khadijah, died, MoM’s ego had been buoyed to the nth degree.  From that moment on, he was self-aggrandizing at every turn.  This is incontrovertible.  Unburdened by rectitude (and unfettered by any scruples with dishonesty), the self-proclaimed prophet proceeded with unbridled ambition.  Avarice characterized his life from the Hijra forward.  As he accrued acolytes, his confidence was invariably bolstered.  It is apparent that he sought those who were suffering from spiritual as well as material destitution.  By targeting the demoralized (read: vulnerable) denizens of the marginal Hijazi town of Yathrib, he was able to galvanize a following.  Bear in mind that Yathrib would have been playing second fiddle to his hometown, Mecca, for generations.  More than just dejected, the wayward Bedouins who joined him likely felt rejected.  The success of the fledgling movement is unsurprising.  MoM reinvigorated a beleaguered municipality that had been hindered by chronic quibbles.  Preying on the disaffected, as most demagogues often do, MoM parlayed the Yathribis’ deprivation into depravation (nay, depredation)…all to his own benefit.  While bringing an end to Yathrib’s interminable factioning, he re-defined the scope of tribal identity to encompass a wider audience…all while giving direction / purpose to those who theretofore had had very little.  Joining such a movement was an offer they couldn’t refuse.  The scenario is a familiar one.  Indeed, it is precisely the scenario we find with ALL successful demagogues around the world, throughout history.}

{48  Regarding MoM-fetishism, the policy is ironclad: Only soaring encomia to MoM, no candid critiques, are allowed.  Period.  End of discussion.  In this sense, most Muslims idolize MoM (qua “rasul allah”; messenger of god) just as much as most Christians idolize JoN (qua son of god).  The irony here is lost on many.  Suggest, for example, that JoN may have been lovers with Cephas (a.k.a. Simon; renamed “Petras”) in addition to Miriam of Magdala), and many Christians might SCOFF, but they will generally not become HOSTILE.  It would seem this disparity of blasphemy standards is quite backward–given that, so far as Christians are concerned, JoN is LITERALLY GOD INCARNATE.  One would think broaching the topic of the Abrahamic deity’s homosexual tendencies might pose a graver problem than suggesting one of his messengers was not as magnanimous as we might like to think he was.  Alas, “god is gay” doesn’t elicit nearly the acrimony vis a vis Christians as “Mohammed was making things up as he went” elicits vis a vis Muslims.  Go figure.}

{49  The question remains: Why on Earth is there no copy of ANY biography from prior to Ibn Hisham’s?  Not a single document (i.e. codex) survives from the two centuries following MoM’s death.  This even as Dar al-Islam stretched from the Barbary Coast to the Hindu Kush…including all of Persia / Bactria.  Yaqub ibn Ishaq al-Kindi of Basra was writing by then; yet nothing.  Abu-Muhammad Abdullah Ruzbeh ibn Daduya of Fars (a.k.a. “Ibn al-Muqaffa”) was writing by then; yet nothing.  Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan of Tus / Khorasan (a.k.a. “Geber”) was writing by then; yet nothing.  One would think that copies of bios of Islam’s “Seal of the Prophets” would be circulating all around the Muslim world by then.  What was everyone waiting for?}

{50  Various other bios were composed, mostly of dubious credence–as with, say, those of Abi Mekhnaf from the 8th century.}

{51  A contrast to such romantic revisionism might be the more well-documented excursions of the renown Berber traveler, Muhammad ibn Battuta during the next (14th) century.  There is no reason to think that much of the accounts about this man were not quite accurate.  So, in assaying the material available, it is prudent to give accounts the benefit of the doubt…though with perhaps a hefty grain of salt.}

{52  Also note folk-heroes like “Saint Ursula”, daughter of King Dionotus of Dumnonia [Cornwall].  It is difficult to ascertain even which century this fabled female martyr might have lived (anywhere from the 3rd to the 5th century).  Fables of martyrs abound in most religions; but “Ursula” is revered even though this may simply be a moniker that historiographers eventually settled upon for SEVERAL women.  In other words, “Ursula” may only be a collective pseudonym–representing a few now-unknown women.}

{53  For more on how this happens, see Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer”.  Hoffer noted that fanatical movements begin when those who are disenchanted with the world hanker for “a new life–a rebirth–or, failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, hope, a sense of purpose and worth.”  How?  “By an identification with a holy cause.”  Those afflicted with “anomie” (that is: the existential ennui that comes from a sense of alienation) can be galvanized very quickly when offered the chance to participate in a holy crusade (a phrase I use un-ironically).  Once given a sense of direction, people will tend to go inexorably in THAT DIRECTION.  And once assigned purpose, people will tend to define their entire lives according to THAT PURPOSE.  The new cause is seen as their raison d’etre.  Having committed to it, they will adhere to it with pathological obstinacy.  The result is zealotry.}

{54  Like any savvy impresario, MoM was quick to specify that he was personally entitled to a 20% cut of all the spoils (via a well-timed revelation, 8:40-41); an entitlement that was dubbed “khums”.}

{55  After wincing at his brazen pronouncements, one can’t help but wonder: Maybe 9:29 was smudged–and thus illegible–in Rashid’s copy of Islam’s holy book.}

{56  We might wonder which book Rashid is reading when he refers to the “Koran”.  Perhaps he has the only copy in the world of a special, expanded edition; and all of the wonderful stuff he mentions is packed into Surah 115.  The scholars at al-Azhar University should be notified immediately.  Indeed, this heretofore-lost chapter must be quite a doozy!}

{57  Incidentally, I refuse to believe that Qasim actually believes all the sugar-coated bunkum that he peddles.  One must wonder if he realizes how embarrassingly easy it is to SHOW his statements to be patently false…or if he simply presumes everyone to be uninterested in vetting his claims.  In any case, he certainly expects his audience to not do their homework.  Regardless of his motives, Qasim loses all credibility the moment he makes unfounded statements like the ones mentioned here.  Meanwhile, in hawking tid-bits of enticing farce, he diverts attention away from the more scrupulous advocates for judicious religious tolerance–specifically: those basing their case on REALITY rather than on castles in the sky.}

{58  Step off the train at Oxford station, at the edge of campus, and one can look straight ahead at the new business building named after the House of Saud.  Just down the street is the Stephen Schwarzman Centre for humanities–named after the fascistic New York plutocrat who praised Saudi Arabia’s “intelligent, reform-oriented” government… while comparing American Progressives’ democratic policy proposals to the Nazi genocide.}

{59  This is the tale of the “Mi’raj” (“Night Journey”), devised in the 11th century.  After a series of meetings with prophets of yore; MoM engaged in dialogue with the Abrahamic deity…in which he undertook negotiations regarding the number of obligatory daily prayers (as if that were the most pressing matter to broach should one be given a single meeting with the Creator of the Universe).  MoM talked god down to just five.  This fantastical tale was likely inspired by the Sassanian “namag” [book] of “Arda” Wiraz from the 9th or 10th century–which tells of a Zoroastrian prophet named “Viraza” who, one night, goes on a “dream journey” to the next world.  During the sojourn, he engages in dialogues with angels and the godhead.  For more on the “Mi’raj”, see Appendix 3 of my essay: “Debunking Three Myths”.}

{60  The strategy is simple: If enough people assert something for long enough and vociferously enough, with no countervailing expression allowed, then it will eventually come to seem kinda-sorta “true”.  This is how conditioning works.}

{61  For the supplicant, the conclusions are pre-determined; and all that’s left to do is find as many rationalizations as possible for “sticking to one’s guns” (see footnote 60 above).  For the same reason, we should all be suspect when an apologist of ONE religion attacks OTHER religions.  He has, as it were, a bone to pick.  To have an agenda (for OR against) is to be biased.  Mohammedan expositors are not alone in this.  Israel Kolatt–amongst many others–insists that only Revisionist Zionist “historians” (read: right-wing historiographers) are qualified to comment on the “history” of Zionism / Israel.  In other words, rather than ideological zeal being a DIS-qualifying factor, it is deemed THE qualifying factor.  (Shall we assume he would also insist that only KKK Grand Wizards are qualified to give a history of American white nationalism?)  Here, “toeing the line” is equated with scholarship.  In reality, anyone with a staunch vested interest in the outcome of a study should recuse himself from participating.  Conflicts of interest must be minimized in ANY scholarship.  Want to know about the Vatican?  Don’t ask a devout Roman Catholic.  Want to know about the Church of Latter-Day Saints?  Don’t ask a devout Mormon. Etc.  A true scholar literally does not care one way or the other what the verdict of an inquiry might be.}

{62  A program for assessing things can’t be used to assess itself.  This is one implication of Godel’s Incompleteness theorem–whereby a system cannot get outside itself in order to audit itself.  (Ludwig Wittgenstein had this insight about the totality of fact / pictures of which the world is comprised: the logic that makes it all possible cannot itself be pictured; it can only be SHOWN.)  Put another way: A diagnostics system cannot be used to diagnose ITSELF, as any glitch it may have may itself prevent it from recognizing the glitch.  Thus a potentially defective diagnostics system cannot be used to diagnose its own (potential) defects; which explains why paradigms can’t be evaluated within themselves.}

{63  The ornery posture–and stunningly blinkered thinking–exhibited by the likes of Nasr is diametrically opposed to the most fundamental principles of scholarship.  So long as figures like him are allowed to have influence in the field of Islamic / Koranic studies, worthwhile inquiry will be forestalled–and genuine Reform will remain untenable.  (That Nasr also fashions himself a “philosopher” is laughable.)  Nasr construes his assertion of inviolate propositions as testament to the credence of those propositions.  Their credibility is–preposterously–equated with their sacrosanctity.  According to this logic, the ideologue is qualified to weigh in on certain dogmas simply because he is ONE OF THOSE who happens to espouse them.  Hence: “I believe it; and THAT makes me an authority on the matter.  You do NOT believe it; so you are unqualified to say anything on the matter.  Not only does my conviction about X give X credence; but it gives me an exclusive license to weigh in on how much credence X has.”  This is epistemic narcissism of the most blatant kind.  Were we to abide this daft standard, only alchemists have the right to determine whether or not alchemy is true.  (In reality, we find that alchemists are perhaps the only people who CANNOT determine whether or not alchemy is true.)  The problem, of course, is that once one has wed oneself on a proposition, one will be disinclined to bend over backwards searching for countervailing evidence.  Indeed, one will not even be inclined to acknowledge countervailing evidence when it is brought to one’s attention.  This goes far beyond run-of-the-mill confirmation bias…or even choice-supportive bias we encounter with the slew of post-purchase rationalizations we concoct to make ourselves feel justified after the fact.  Elsewhere, this has been called “perseverance bias”: Once we settle on a view of the world, we are strongly inclined to stick with it no matter what.  Obduracy is the hallmark of the True Believer.  If forced to confront discordant facts, one will undertake mental acrobatics in order to rationalize ways around it.  Once invested, we’re “in it” for the long hall, come what may.}

{64  The general understanding is that ALL Abrahamic prophets have really–even if unwittingly–been Muslims, going all the way back to the first human-being: Adam.  The alternate view is that “Muslim” is limited to followers of Mohammed–in which case Khadijah (MoM’s first wife) would have been the first Muslim.}

{65  The movie is not so much a bio as it is vehicle for conditioning.  Throughout, we are treated to an incessant, zombie-like repetition of the mantra, “there is no god but god and Mohammad is his prophet.”  It’s as if the entire point of the movie is to inculcate viewers (presumed to be programmable robots) with a particular piece of dogma rather than to inform them of what might be known about the protagonist’s life.  Whenever MoM’s name is mentioned in the narration, PBUH is included–a sure sign that the film was produced by sycophants.  The Sahabah are portrayed as kind-hearted, humble supplicants (who only wanted to end slavery) while everyone else is portrayed as nefarious (often drunk) adversaries.  The film takes prodigious liberties with most key events, and includes the apocryphal Abyssinian sojourn prior to the Hijra.  But the most egregious point of dishonesty is when the narrator contends that the Koran states (wonderful) things it does not state, and that MoM said (wonderful) things that there is no record of him saying.  It then omits virtually everything that would tarnish the pristine caricature it presents.  All of this is done without showing the protagonist.  Though such craven pandering helps no one, this was surely a decision made by the producers so as to avoid eliciting the ire of fanatics…and, presumably, to placate the powers-that-be so as to secure their endorsement for the film.}

{66  In chapter 2 alone, there were verses 6, 15, 142, 258, 264, 270, and 272.  For more on this, see my essay on “Fiduciary Theology, The Straight Path, and Pre-Destination”.}

{67  Some interesting observations can be found in the very sympathetic “Muhammad And The Empires Of Faith: The Making Of The Prophet of Islam” by Sean W. Anthony (at Ohio State); though he much too blithely takes the standard Islamic narrative as actual history—supposing, for example, that the Koran (as it eventually came to exist) REALLY WAS first compiled during caliph Uthman’s reign, word for word.  (To disabuse himself of this misapprehension, he is advised to read “Genesis Of A Holy Book”.)  Meanwhile, Sean dismisses the Petra theory out of hand, with an eye-roll and a scoff.  (To disabuse himself of this misapprehension, he is advised to read “The Meccan Cube”.)  A red flag is that Sean is peculiarly coy about his personal beliefs; and thus not forthcoming about his own biases.  He has said, for example, that religious fundamentalism is not incompatible with civil society (i.e. liberal democracy).  From this spurious pronouncement, he deduces the following proposition: When it comes to even the worst Salafi dysfunction, it is not Islamic dogmas that are the problem.  It is solely geo-politics that accounts for such illiberalism.  (To disabuse himself of this misapprehension, he is advised to read “The Universality Of Morality”; and with respect to Islam in particular, parts I and II of “The History Of Salafism”.)}

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