Thursday, 28 May 2009

The human origin of Muhammad’s legislation and teachings, Part I

How Muhammad practised Shirk

In one of his blog posts, our dear brother and fellow Christian apologist David Wood provided evidence that Muhammad’s commands didn’t come from God but from his own thought processes and interactions with various groups such as Jews and Christians. Professor Wood writes that:

The following Hadith gives us a glimpse of Muhammad's method of forbidding and accepting various practices:
Sunan an-Nasa’i 3328--
It was narrated from Aishah that Judamah bint Wahb told her that the Messenger of Allah said: “I was thinking of forbidding Ghilah until I remembered that it is done by the Persians and Romans”--(one of the narrators) Ishaq said: “(They) do that--and it does not harm their children.”

Ghilah refers to having sex with a woman who is breastfeeding. Muhammad says that he was thinking of forbidding the practice. But then he remembered that the Persians and Romans do it, so he didn't forbid the practice. Apparently, if he hadn't remembered that the Persians and Romans practice Ghilah, he would have condemned it, and Muslims today would say that Allah forbids Ghilah.

Isn't it obvious that this
had nothing to do with any divine insight on Muhammad's part, and that what he rejected and accepted was simply a matter of his all-too-human thought processes? If so, why are Muslims so obsessed with following Muhammad's regulations (especially when they include pagan practices, such as bowing to the Ka'ba, etc.)? Here Muslims will say, “
We follow Muhammad's regulations because he commanded us to follow his regulations.” But that's exactly my point. As this Hadith shows, Muhammad's reasoning had nothing to do with revelation. Why, then, accept his command to follow his regulations? (Muhammad's Reason for Not Forbidding Ghilah, Sunday, January 25, 2009)

Not surprisingly, Muslims weren’t pleased with Wood’s statements and so one of them in particular decided to write a “reply” that was roughly 20 pages in length. The article, which is written by Salafi propagandist Jalal Abualrub, was published on Bassam Zawadi's website (

Both Jalal and his cohorts actually think that he has provided the “definitive response” to Wood. In light of this we have decided to address his key points in order to see whether Jalal achieved his goal of “refuting” Wood’s argument.

Evidence that Islam’s best propagandists and defenders repeatedly contradict themselves

In this “rebuttal”
Jalal contradicts what he has written both here and in his booklets. He states that:

Prophet Muhammad stated that sometimes he offers his own opinion which can sometimes be mistaken. When he passed by a people who were grafting date trees by combining the male with the female trees so that the trees yield more fruit he said that he did not think it is useful to do so. When he passed by them later on, he found that they had abandoned that practice, even though he did not tell them to do that, and the produce declined. He said,

If there is any use of it, they should do it. It was just a personal opinion of mine; do not go after my personal opinion (if it was mistaken). However, when I say to you anything on behalf of Allah, then do accept it, for I do not attribute lie to Allah, the Exalted and Glorious." (Muslim)

Muslims firmly follow Prophet Muhammad's regulations when they are a part of the religion. The
Hadeeth about Ghilah was not about legislating in Islam based on what Romans do so as to claim afterwards it was a revelation from Allah that came to the Prophet through the Romans. It was about the effect of Ghilah on nursing mother and suckling baby.

However, J
alal went on to say in this same section that even Muhammad’s human wisdom is humanly perfect!

Also, Prophet Muhammad, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, did not give any regulation in this
Hadeeth except to affirm that Ghilah is allowed as a practice, since it does not greatly affect mother and baby. If anything, this Hadeeth proves that the Prophet's human wisdom is humanly perfect [sic], since he did not outlaw for Muslims what did not prove to carry substantial health risks. If anything, this makes it even more convincing to Muslims that the Prophet of Allah, Muhammad, the Final and Last Prophet and Messenger, was rightly guided and had qualities that did not only touch religion, but also matters of life and health.

The problem that Jalal faces is that
if his prophet’s wisdom were truly perfect then why was Muhammad so badly mistaken concerning agriculture issues? Why did he give incorrect advice concerning grafting trees for a more productive yield? If his wisdom were truly complete and sound then he surely would have been knowledgeable in all areas of life, not just religion, which as we see wasn’t the case at all.

But it gets worse for Jalal. Jalal must have forgotten what he had stated in one of the books he wrote in response to Pope Benedicts’ comments regarding Islam:

{Wa-ma yantiqu ‘ani-l-huwa, in huwa illa wa’hyum yu’ha (He, Muhammad, does not speak of his own desire, it is only a revelation revealed)} (53:3-4)

Prophet Muhammad did not only speak, or
‘Nataqa (in the present tense: Yantiqu)’ the Qur’an, he also spoke the Sunnah. Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr Ibn al-‘Aas used to write everything the Prophet said, meaning, his Hadeeth or religious statements. Muslims from the tribe of Quraish – the Prophet’s tribe – criticized Abdullah for doing this, claiming that sometimes the Prophet might say things in anger. Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr asked the Prophet about it, and he said, while pointing to his mouth

"Rather, write! For by He (Allah) in Whose Hand is my soul, NOTHING SAVE THE TRUTH COMES OUT OF IT." (A Sahih Hadeeth; Sahih Sunan Abi Dawud [3646]) (Introduction to: Muhammad The Prophet of Mercy – Muhammad’s Role in Islam, by Jalal Abualrub, edited by Alaa Mencke [Madinah Publishers and Distributors, First Edition: June 2007], p. 35)

Here is the hadith in question:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As: I used to write everything which I heard from the Apostle of Allah. I intended (by it) to memorise it. The Quraysh prohibited me saying: Do you write everything that you hear from him while the Apostle of Allah is a human being: he speaks in anger and pleasure? So I stopped writing, and mentioned it to the Apostle of Allah. He signalled with his finger to his mouth and said: Write, by Him in Whose hand my soul lies, only right comes out from it. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 25, Number 3639)

Pay careful attention to the criticism of the Quraish tribe concerning Abdullah ibn Amr writing down everything Muhammad said. They warned that he shouldn’t write down everything he heard from Muhammad since the latter may speak in anger or in pleasure, meaning off the cuff. Instead of agreeing with them
Muhammad encourages Abdullah to continue writing down what he hears since he claimed that nothing but the truth comes out of his mouth. Note that Muhammad didn’t limit this to religious matters and therefore suggests that he believed that he always spoke the truth on any issue. That’s precisely what Jalal’s quote from the Qur’an implies.

Yet unfortunately for both
Muhammad and Jalal, the Quraish tribe was right and Jalal’s prophet was wrong since he didn’t always speak the truth or give sound advice, just as Jalal’s own example proves! In fact, not only was Muhammad often mistaken he even got angry to the point of cursing people!


A'isha reported that two persons visited Allah's Messenger and both of them talked about a thing, of which I am not aware, but that annoyed him and he invoked curse upon both of them and hurled malediction, and when they went out I said: Allah's Messenger, the good would reach everyone but it would not reach these two. He said: Why so? I said: Because you have invoked curse and hurled malediction upon both of them. He said: Don't you know that I have made condition with my Lord saying thus: O Allah, I am a human being and that for a Muslim upon whom I invoke curse or hurl malediction make it a source of purity and reward? (Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Number 6285)

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Apostle as saying: O Allah, I make a covenant with Thee against which Thou wouldst never go. I am a human being and thus for a Muslim whom I give any harm or whom I scold or upon whom I invoke curse or whom I beat, make this a source of blessing, purification and nearness to Thee on the Day of Resurrection. (Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Number 6290)

Thus, the Quraish were right to be concerned since not only was Muhammad wrong in the advice he gave concerning agriculture but
he also cursed people in his anger!

For more on this issue we suggest reading
this article.

Jalal further proves Wood’s case since he writes:

Ghilah was not discussed as part of divine inspiration, but as a health issue as the Hadeeth clearly indicates. In contrast, here is part of divine inspiration and why it is part of divine inspiration, "It was revealed to me that you will be tested in the grave" (Bukhari, and, Muslim). The topic is: being tested in the grave; why it is a revelation: because the Prophet, peace be upon him, said so!

this wasn’t a “revelation” but something which Muhammad learned and “borrowed” from the Jews!

Narrated Masruq: ‘Aisha said that a Jewess came to her and mentioned the punishment in the grave, saying to her, “May Allah protect you from the punishment of the grave.” ‘Aisha then asked Allah’s Apostle about the punishment of the grave. He said, “Yes, (there is) punishment in the grave.” ‘Aisha added, “AFTER THAT I never saw Allah’s Apostle but seeking refuge with Allah from the punishment in the grave in every prayer he prayed.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 23, Number 454)

Narrated 'Amra bint 'AbdurRahman: A Jewess came to 'Aisha to ask her about something and then she said, “May Allah give you refuge from the punishment of the grave.” So 'Aisha asked Allah's Apostle, “Would the people be punished in their graves?” Allah's Apostle asked Allah's refuge from the punishment of the grave (indicating an affirmative reply). Then one day Allah's Apostle rode (to leave for some place) but the sun eclipsed. He returned on the forenoon and passed through the rear of the dwellings (of his wives) and stood up and started offering the (eclipse) prayer and the people stood behind him. He stood for a long period and then performed a long bowing and then stood straight for a long period which was shorter than that of the first standing, then he performed a prolonged bowing which was shorter than the first bowing, then he raised his head and prostrated for a long time and then stood up (for the second Raka) for a long while, but the standing was shorter than the standing of the first Raka. Then he performed a prolonged bowing which was shorter than that of the first one. He then stood up for a long time but shorter than the first, then again performed a long bowing which was shorter than the first and then prostrated for a shorter while than that of the first prostration. Then he finished the prayer and delivered the sermon and said what Allah wished; and ordered the people to seek refuge with Allah from the punishment of the grave. (
Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 18,
Number 164)

How ironic that Jalal chose this specific example when it ends up establishing Wood’s contention that Muhammad wasn’t inspired or receiving any revelations from God. Rather,
Muhammad was simply “borrowing” his stories and instructions from Jews, Christians, pagans, Romans etc., and passing them off as divinely revealed truths. It seems that the disbelievers were correct after all when they accused Muhammad of plagiarizing his information from preexisting earthly sources which he claimed were sent down to him from Allah:

The unbelievers say, ‘This is naught but a calumny he has forged, and other folk have helped him to it.’ So they have committed wrong and falsehood. They say, ‘Fairy-tales of the ancients that he has had written down, so that they are recited to him at the dawn and in the evening.’ Say: ‘He sent it down, who knows the secret in the heavens and earth; He is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.’ S. 25:4-6

With the foregoing in perspective we move to the next section where we address Jalal’s claims concerning the origins of the Kaba.

Al-Kabah – Islam’s pagan shrine

As a further example of the logically fallacious and desperate nature of Jalal’s “rebuttals” he
chides Wood for accusing Muslims of worshiping the Kaba, the black cube structure in Mecca which was originally built by pagans for the worship of their false gods.

I am surprised, though, at David Wood for repeating the sick joke that Muslims bow
to the Ka'bah, insinuating that Muslims worship the Ka'bah. I and other Muslims have repeatedly refuted this utter lie and in various ways, but these people just can't stop repeating false claims about Islam…

What Jalal has done here is to erect a
straw man by accusing Wood of something he did not say and then proceeds to refute it in order to give the semblance that he is actually rebutting Wood’s point. This is sheer desperation and exposes Jalal’s inability to both read carefully and to accurately represent the position of his opponents.

We invite the readers to go back and read Wood’s statement and see for themselves that
Wood said nothing about Muslims worshiping the Kaba. He simply stated a fact, namely, that Muslims do bow to the Kaba. It is a gigantic leap to extract from this that Wood was “insinuating that Muslims worship the Ka’bah.”

Is Jalal denying that this is what they do during their five daily prayers? Isn’t it required of Muslims to bow in the direction of the Kaba when they pray no matter where they are in the world?

Jalal mentions that Abraham and Ishmael initially built the Kaba for the worship of the one true God and that their later descendants perverted the true religion by placing hundreds of gods within it.

For Wood to claim that bowing in the direction of the
Ka'bah is a pagan tradition that Muslims imitate, he needs to bring proof that the pagans bowed to the Ka'bah to begin with, as well as, they bowed to it whether they saw it or were far away from it. It's possible that some pagans bowed towards the Ka'bah because their idols were present in them. However, their intention was to bow down to the idols, not to Ka'bah. For at times they would bow down to an idol that was not present in the Ka'bah. Just because the pagans introduced idols to the Ka'bah does not diminish in any way its value as being a house build on Islamic Monotheism from the first day. Just because the pagans introduced idols to the Ka'bah, does not mean that Muslims cannot pray in its direction as being the house of monotheistic worship started by the Prophets of Monotheism, Ibrahim and Isma'eel, peace be upon them.

The readers should be able to see that Jalal’s “reply” is nothing more than question begging, being a clear example of circular reasoning.
Jalal is reading back into pre-Islamic history the Islamic belief that Abraham and Ishmael built the Kaba. The problem he faces is that, apart from Muhammad’s claims in the Qur’an, he has absolutely no proof that Abraham went to Mecca or that Ishmael personally settled there. We therefore challenge Jalal to stop begging the question and invite him to produce his evidence. We want Jalal to provide some pre-Islamic archeological or textual data to prove the assertion that the Kaba wasn’t originally a pagan shrine erected for the worship of false gods.

The fact is that he has none and he knows it. He only believes this because he erroneously assumes that Muhammad was a prophet who spoke the Qur’an by revelation. However,
all the data is against this assertion since it shows that this is a myth created by Muhammad or the author(s) of the Qur’an.

And this is precisely the point Wood was trying to make. Why should we take anything Muhammad says when the evidence shows that his information was often mistaken and didn’t come from heaven but from the people around him?
Muhammad observed and adopted into his religious system many of the practices of the various religious groups and peoples that he came into contact with, and then proclaimed that these were God’s revelations and ordinances sent down to him.

The one thing we do know regarding the Kaba, which even Muslim authorities themselves admit, is that the pagans were already observing most, if not all of, the rites associated with this pagan shrine such as running around it seven times, and that it was a place contaminated by idols.

What makes this more troubling is that
Muhammad would run around this pagan structure when all of the idols were still contained inside it!

And when the apostle of God had finished his period of seclusion and returned (to Mecca), in the first place he performed the circumambulation of the Ka'ba, as was his wont. While he was doing it, Waraqa met him and said, ‘O son of my brother, tell me what thou hast seen and heard.’ (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], p. 107)

Notice that
right after Gabriel supposedly first appeared to Muhammad the latter went to perform circumambulation around the Kaba, something which he would often do. It must be kept in mind that at this period in Muhammad’s life he hadn’t received any “revelations” alleging that Abraham and Ishmael originally built the Kaba. That came later in his “prophetic” career. As far as the people in Mecca were concerned, the Kaba was nothing more than a pagan shrine erected in honor of their deities. Yet in performing the rites associated with the Kaba during the period when there were still 360 idols inside it Muhammad did considerable damage to his prophetic claims.

In fact, there were several Kabas which the pagans venerated, one of which Muhammad had destroyed:

CLI: Burning houses and palm-trees

It is related that Qays ibn Abi Hazim said, "Jarir said to me, 'The Messenger of Allah said to me, "Will you not relieve me of Dhu'l-Khalasa?"' which was a house of Khath'am which was called the Yamani Ka'ba. 'I set out with one hundred and fifty horsemen from Ahmas. They are good horsemen. I could not sit firm on a horse and he (the Prophet) struck me in my chest so that I saw the marks of his fingers on my chest. He said, "O Allah, make him firm and make him a guided guide."' He went to it, broke it up and burnt it. Then he sent the news to the Messenger of Allah. Jarir's messenger said, 'By the One who sent you with the truth, I did not come to you until I left it as if it was an emaciated - or scabby - camel.' He said, 'May Allah bless the horses and riders of Ahmas' five times."


CLXXXVIII: Good news of victories

It is related that Qays said, "Jarir ibn 'Abdullah said to me, 'The Messenger of Allah said to me, "Will you not relieve me from Dhu'l-Khalasa?"' which was a house where Khath'am stayed which was called the Yamani Ka'ba I set out with one hundred and fifty horsemen from Ahmas. They are good horsemen. I told the Prophet that I could not sit firm on a horse and he (the Prophet) struck me in my chest so that I saw the marks of his fingers on my chest and said, "O Allah, make him firm and make him a guided guide."' He went to it, smashed it and burnt it down. Then he sent the good news to the Messenger of Allah. Jarir's messenger said, 'By the One who sent you with the truth, I did not come to you until I left it as if it was a scabby camel.' He said, 'May Allah bless the horses and riders of Ahmas' five times."Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of Al-Bukhari, Chapter 61. Book of Jihad and Military Expeditions)

To read a different translation of these same reports please go here:
1, 2

Jalal may source certain Islamic reference works to prove that the people before Muhammad’s birth knew that Abraham and Ishmael built the Kaba. Here are three major objections which Jalal will have to contend with just in case he decides to appeal to such sources. The first problem that Jalal will have to address is that, as we mentioned earlier,
there is no credible evidence which conclusively proves that Muhammad was a descendant of Ishmael or that Ishmael ever settled in Mecca. As one author put it:
Ishmael is considered the progenitor of the Arabs. Dagon (1981) has shown that this idea is an Islamic construction AND THAT NO CONNECTION BETWEEN ISHMAEL AND THE ARABS HAD EVER BEEN MADE IN THE PRE-ISLAMIC PERIOD. Already in the first Islamic century, however, Ishmael came to symbolize the Islamic Umma, and biblical passages about Ishmael were taken to refer to Muhammad, the Arabs, or the Muslim community.” (Camilla Adang, Muslim Writers on Judaism and the Hebrew Bible from Ibn Rabban to Ibn Hazm [: E.J. Brill Academic Publishers; August 1997 ISBN: 9004100342], p. 147, fn. 37)

Noted Islamicist Alfred Guillaume agrees,
there is no historical evidence for the assertion that Abraham or Ishmael was ever in Mecca, and if there had been such a tradition it would have to be explained how all memory of the Old Semitic name Ishmael (which was not in its true Arabian form in Arabian inscriptions and written correctly with an initial consonant Y) came to be lost. The form in the Qur’an is taken either from Greek or Syriac sources.” (Alfred Guillaume, Islam [Penguin Books Inc., Baltimore, 1956], pp. 61-62)

Ibn Warraq, a former Muslim turned to atheist, quotes specific authorities who also deny that Abraham or Ishmael were ever in Mecca,

We are told that [Abraham] was born in Chaldea, and that he was the son of a poor potter who earned his living by making little clay idols. It is scarcely credible that the son of this potter went to Mecca, 300 leagues away in the tropics, by way of impassable deserts. If he was a conqueror he no doubt aimed at the fine country of Assyria; and if he was only a poor man, as he is depicted, he founded no kingdoms in foreign parts. — Voltaire

For the historian, the Arabs are no more the descendents of Ishmael, son of Abraham, than the French are of Francus, son of Hector. — Maxime Rodinson

It is virtually certain that Abraham never reached Mecca.Montgomery Watt

The essential point ... is that, where objective fact has been established by sound historical methods, it must be accepted.Montgomery Watt

According to Muslim tradition, Abraham and Ishmael built the Kaaba, the cube-like structure in the Sacred Mosque in Mecca. But outside these traditions there is absolutely no evidence for this claim whether epigraphic, archaeological, or documentary. Indeed Snouck Hurgronje has shown that Muhammad invented the story to give his religion an Arabian origin and setting; with this brilliant improvisation Muhammad established the independence of his religion, at the same time incorporating into Islam the Kaaba with all its historical and religious associations for the Arabs. (Ibn Warraq, Why I Am Not A Muslim [Prometheus Books, Amherst NY 1995], p. 131)

Muslim scholars themselves admit that they could only trace Muhammad’s genealogy back to a person named Adnan, and that anything beyond that is pure conjecture and fabrication:

on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas; he said: Verily the Prophet, WHENEVER he related his genealogy, DID NOT GO BEYOND MA‘ADD IBN ‘ADNAN IBN UDAD, then he kept quiet and said: The narrators of genealogy ARE LIARS, since Allah says: “There passed many generations between them.”

Ibn ‘Abbas says: The Prophet would have been informed of the genealogy (prior to Adnan by Allah) if he (Prophet) had so wished.

… on the authority of ‘Abd Allah. Verily he recited “(The tribes of) ‘Ad and Thamud and those after them; NONE SAVETH ALLAH KNOWETH THEM.” The genealogists ARE LIARS.

between Ma‘add and Isma‘il there were more than THIIRTY GENERATIONS; but he did not give their names, nor described their genealogy, probably he did not mention it because he might have heard the Hadith of Abu Salih on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas who narrated about the Prophet (may Allah bless them) THAT HE KEPT QUIET AFTER MENTIONING MA‘ADD IBN ‘ADNAN.

Hisham said: A narrator informed me on the authority of my father, but I had not heard it from him, that he related the genealogy thus, Ma‘add Ibn ‘Adnan Ibn Udad Ibn al-Hamaysa’ Ibn Salaman Ibn ‘Aws Ibn Yuz Ibn Qamwal Ibn Ubayyi Ibn al-‘Awwam, Ibn Nashid Ibn Haza Ibn Buldas Ibn Tudlaf Ibn Tabikh Ibn Jahim Ibn Nahish Ibn Makha Ibn ‘Ayfa Ibn ‘Abqar Ibn ‘Ubayd Ibn al-Du‘a Ibn Hamdan Ibn Sanbar Ibn Yathriba Ibn Nahzan Ibn Yalhan Ibn Ir‘awa Ibn ‘Ayfa Ibn Dayshan Ibn ‘Isar Ibn Iqnad Ibn Ibham Ibn Muqsi Ibn Nahith Ibn Zarih Ibn Shumayyi Ibn Mazzi Ibn ‘Aws Ibn ‘Arram IBN QAYDHAR Ibn Isma‘il Ibn Ibrahim (my Allah bless them both).

There was a Tadmurite whose patronymic was Abu Ya‘qub; he was one ... of the Israelite Muslims, and had read Israelite literature and acquired proficiency in it; he mentioned that Burakh Ibn Nariyya the scribe of Irmiya (Jeremiah) drew the genealogy of Ma‘add Ibn ‘Adnan and wrote it in his books. This is known to the Israelite scholars and learned men. The names (mentioned here) resemble them, and if there is any difference it is because of the language since they have been translated from Hebrew.

I heard a person saying: Ma‘add was contemporary with ‘Isa Ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary) and his genealogy is this: Ma‘add Ibn ‘Adnan Ibn Udad Ibn Zayd Ibn Yaqdur Ibn Yaqdum Ibn Amin Ibn Manhar Ibn Sabuh Ibn al-Hamaysa‘ Ibn Yashjub Ibn Ya‘rub, Ibn al-‘Awwam Ibn Nabit Ibn Salman Ibn Haml Ibn QAYDHAR Ibn Isma‘il Ibn Ibrahim.

He (Ibn Sa‘d) said: Some one has named al-‘Awwal BEFORE al-Hamaysa‘ thus showing (al-‘Awwam) as his son.

... Verily the genealogy of Ma‘add Ibn ‘Adnan HAS BEEN TRACED DIFFERENTLY. In some narrations it is Ma‘add Ibn ‘Adnan Ibn Muqawwam, Ibn Nahur Ibn Tirah Ibn Ya‘rub Ibn Yashjub IBN NABIT Ibn Isma ‘il.

He (Ibn Sa‘d) said: And some say: Ma‘add Ibn ‘Adnan Ibn Udad ’Itahab Ibn Ayyub
IBN QAYDHAR Ibn Isma‘il Ibrahim.

Muhammad Ibn Ishaq said: Qusayyi Ibn Kilab traced his genealogy
to Qaydhar Ibn Isma‘il in some of his verses. Muhammad Ibn al-Sa‘ib al-Kalbi recited this couplet on the authority of his father ascribing it to Qusayyi:
 “I have nothing to do with nursing if the children of Qaydhar and Nabit did not establish relationship with the same.”

Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad Ibn Sa‘d said: I do not find much difference between them. Verily, Ma‘add was descended from Qaydhar Ibn Isma‘il;
and this DIFFERENCE in his genealogy shows that the same WAS NOT CORRECTLY REMEMBERED and it was borrowed from the people of the scriptures (ahl al-Kitab) and translated, so they made differences. If it had been correct the Apostle of Allah must have known it. The best course with us is to trace the genealogy to Ma‘add Ibn ‘Adnan THEN TO KEEP QUIET UP TO ISMA‘IL IBN IBRAHIM.

... he on the authority of ‘Urwah; he said: WE DID NOT FIND ANY ONE TRACING THE GENEALOGY ABOVE MA‘ADD IBN ‘ADNAN.


He (Ibn Sa‘d) said: Hisham Ibn Muhammad Ibn al-Sa‘ib informed us on the authority of his father
that Ma‘add was with Bukht Nassar (Banu Ched Nader) when he fought in the forts of Yaman.
(Ibn Sa'ad's Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, Volume I, parts I & II, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. [Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi - 110 002 India], pp. 50-53)

Not only were the Muslim scholars uncertain of Muhammad’s genealogy beyond Adnan they didn’t even know whether he was a descendant of Ishmael through his son Nebaioth (Nabit) or Kedar (Qaydhar)!

second obstacle Jalal faces is that the Islamic quotes which he may provide to establish the Abrahamic origins of the Kaba will all come from sources written long after Muhammad’s demise and therefore do not qualify as evidence. It is to be expected that Muslims after the death of Muhammad would start fabricating stories of people living both before and during the birth of Muhammad who recognized or believed that Abraham and Ishmael built the Kaba in order to support the unsubstantiated claims of the Qur’an.

third difficulty for Jalal is that even if we take for granted that the Islamic sources are accurately recounting history in the case of the origins of the Kaba their witness would incriminate what Muhammad did. For example, according to one of the earliest biographies on Muhammad's life, there was a specific episode that supposedly took place before Muhammad's birth where certain Jewish rabbis allegedly told a king that the Kaba was built by Abraham. However, this story shows that Muhammad is guilty for worshiping at the Kaba when there were still 360 idols within it:

They [the rabbis] told that the sole object of the tribe was to destroy him and his army. ‘We know of no other temple in the land which God has chosen for Himself’, said they, ‘and if you do what they suggest you and all your men will perish.’ The king asked them what he should do when he got there, and they told him to do what the people of Mecca did: circumambulate the temple, to venerate and honour it, to shave his head, and to behave with all humility until he had left its precincts. The king asked why they too should not do likewise. They replied that it was indeed the temple of their father Abraham, but the idols which the inhabitants had set up round it, and the blood which they shed there, presented an insuperable obstacle. They are unclean polytheists, said they – or words to that effect. (Guillaume, pp. 8-9)

Apart from the fact that the
Muslim author has obviously put into the mouth of these specific Jews the assertion that Abraham built the Kaba, it is interesting to read how these imaginary Jews refused to perform a pilgrimage to the pagan shrine because of all the idols contained therein that defiled it. And yet Muhammad, who is supposed to be God’s final prophet, has no hesitation in running around a structure littered with abominable objects detested by the true God!

Hence, if Jalal wants us to believe this story then he is going to have to face the fact that the
Jews were more pious and god-fearing than Muhammad since, unlike him, they refused to worship at a place that was defiled by idols.

For more on this issue of Abraham allegedly building the Kaba and Muhammad’s alleged descent from Ishmael we recommend the following articles:

Continues on Part II


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