samwise wrote: Cavour wrote:
In terms of historicity, Muhammad is pretty much the same as Moses. A legendary figure who non-believers will casually assert was probably a fictitious creation with a biography combining some real events which took place over many years and undertaken by many individuals, as well as some purely mythological stories.
Not only Moses was Muhammad's model: Abraham, king David and Jesus were, too. And the following story is not only a myth, but also a crime, justified by Allah... A religious thriller
, I'd say.
Dig it very attentively!http://www.rorotoko.com/index.php/article/david_powers_book_interview_muhammad_not_father_men_making_last_prophet/P0/
In my original "Reading the Qur'an" thread on Dunedain.net, Collingwood gave a thorough analysis of the The Zaid ibn Harithah account
from precisely this political point of view. Zaid was the purported adopted son of Muhammad. According to Surah 33, (al-Ahzah
, "The Confederates") Zaid is the prophet's adopted son. The prophet sees Zaid's wife in a moment of unguarded intimacy, and wants her. He knows he can't have her (marrying one's son's ex-wife is incest). But he receives a revelation declaring that (a) adopted sons are not "real" sons and therefore (b) he can marry Zaid's wife, after he divorces her, which (of course) he does.
This account, more than any other in the Qur'an, convinced me there was a person behind the generic prophet
. But it is very problematic from a moral standpoint. The prophet comes across as another religious leader who manipulates his authority to satiate his carnal appetites. […]
Collingwood's summary shows it can be read, not as a literal account, but as a allegorical description of the political shifts in proto-Islam:
you might view the problematic marriage of Surah 33 less as a real event between two individuals, and more as part of a symbolic narrative account of the formation of a political alliance between the earliest Muslims or proto-Muslims of the Hijaz and the Kalb tribe of the Syrian frontier. If you're going to deconstruct the Medinan Surahs ... much of what passes for the details of the Prophet's marriages and adoptions may well be about tribal relationships ... and you can't tell the players without a scorecard. Studying the Qur'an in isolation from Hadith and Sirah has serious limitations.
According to the Traditional Account, Muhammad's adopted son, [the Syrian] Zaid ibn Harithah, was his only male son; Muhammad had no biological sons who survived childhood. Zaid reportedly had not only a son but also a grandson. Inheritance preference being given to the male line, not Ali but Zaid and his progeny would have been the Shi'ite candidates for Caliph, but for surah 33:4-5, which is the basis for sharia reduction of inheritance rights of adopted sons to less than that of natural children. Daughters have inheritance rights; adopted sons can be left nothing. However, wives have inheritance rights from their husbands, and sons have inheritance rights from their mothers. [...]
So the story of Zaid and his wife appears both (1) to legitimate an Umayyad [Syrian] political alliance by projecting it back into the Prophet's family as an adoption, and (2) to undermine Shi'ite political theory by destroying the exclusive Fatimid claim to the Caliphate through Islamic inheritance laws. This may be our best indicator yet of who wrote the Medinan surahs, and when, and why.
The figure of Zayd [formerly a Syrian-Christian child, kidnapped by Arab nomads], as it was later concocted by the later bio-hagiographers of the Prophet, has greater relevance as:
1) the only one Muslim whose name is mentioned in the Qur'an, Sura 33:37ff, which in turn is the only Sura where "Muhammad [ibn Abd Allah ibn Abd al-Muttalib
]" is undisputably mentioned as as a proper name. In other three loci, 3:144, 47:2 and 48:29, muhammad
could be translated simply as "the praised
" and related to Jesus
(according to the German "revisionist" Karl-Heinz Ohlig.
3) in the Qur'an, Zayd is reported as an adopted son and as the husband of a woman from whom he (Zayd) was compelled to divorce in 625 CE because the Prophet desired her and wanted to marry her.
Now, says David S. Powers
in order to prevent the Prophet from committing a sin [incest], God [in Q. 33:37] introduces a distinction between the wives of natural sons and the wives of adopted sons. Henceforth, a marriage between a man and the former wife of his natural son was forbidden, whereas a marriage between a man and the former wife of his adopted son was licit.
In short: adoption is abolished by God, Muhammad repudiates Zayd, who divorces from his wife and finally, as the hagiograpers purport, dies in battle on 629 CE (i.e. three yers before Muhammad's death: 632) as the first martyr of Islam. And he dies exactly in south-Syria, bravely and nobly fighting against Byzantines & Arab foederati
, i.e. against the same tribes of his biological parents...
Hagiographers apart, Qur'an 33:39 solemnly concludes:
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets.
Given the fact that, according to the Quran,
1) the Prophet had no sons, either biological or adopted, nor siblings, only a paternal cousin (Ali ibn Abi Tālib ibn Abd al-Muttalib
) and a paternal uncle (Al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib
) who were forbidden to marry his many widows (like with Jewish levirate or Persian cagar) by the Qur'an itself: "It's not for you […] to marry his [the Prophet's] wives, ever" (33:53) and "his wifes are mothers to the believers"(33:6);
2) the prophecy in the Qur'an is strictly male-hereditary (from Adam to Noah, from Abraham to Isaac and Ishmael, from Joseph to Moses, from king David to Jesus…)
3) previous prophets had committed sins or were related to sins (Adam: apple; David: adulterer, Jesus: uncertain origin…), while Allah always prevented
the fundamental theo-logical consequece is that Muhammad is the Seal, i.e. the Perfect prophet and the Last, and therefore he has ended both the spiritual "office" and the family-kinship (no more descendants of Abd al-Muttalib
On the other hand, given the fact that
1) "Seal" as a theological concept (and "Muhammad" as a proper name, too) is to be found only in Sura 33;
2) Sura 33 is said to have been deeply manipulated by later editors;
3) the story of Muhammad, the "Syrian" Zayd and his wife is apparently modeled od the biblical story of king David, Huriah the Hittite and Bathsheba…
David Powers concludes:
Although Zayd may have been an historical figure, the narratives about him are best seen, in my view, as artful literary compositions. In these narratives, Zayd’s primary function—indeed, one might say, his sole function—is to make it possible for Muhammad to become the Last Prophet.
Nota Nota bene: Powers is not a revisionist:
The notion that the early Muslim community might have revised the text of the Qur’an is unthinkable, not only for Muslims but also for most Islamicists—including, until recently, myself.
If we assume the revisionist stance, held by the Inarah school
(a group of scholars—Ohlig, Gross, Popp, Puin, Luxenberg and, recently, Kalisch--who are linked to the Saarland University, Germany), things get much worse: we should say that the mention of the name Muhammad in Sura 33 is even faker than all the other three loci above mentioned (3:144, 47:2, 48:29), and that the story of the repudiated son Zayd is merely a legitimation of the dinasty of the Marwanids (since Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, 685, to Marwan II, 750), who ruled Islam from Damascus and Jerusalem at the time when the Qur'an were edited and the Zayd-story was taken from its biblical model…
Moreover, Ohlig & C. affirm that the Marwanids did not come from Mekka, but from the big city of Merv
(ancient Khorasan; today Turkmenistan) on the Silk road, from which came also the "Abbasid revolution".
Merv was one of the most wealthy and powerful towns of the first millennium, with a multicultural population (Buddhists, Zoroastrians, various Christians, Jews…): the only one town where the complex text of the Ur-Qur'an could have been conceived and written…
A text whose main tenets are that Jesus is only a man―the praised (Muhammad
) and noble (Ali
) servant of God (abd-Allah
)―eager to sacrifice himseld in the name of the only one existent God, eager to nobly fight against the un-believers, who are gnostically doomed to non-existence and... who belong to his former "tribe": the Jews & Christians.