Life of Muhammad 5

This is another excerpt from Bill Warner’s book Mohammed and the Unbelievers, which is an abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sira. It skips poetry, aviods too many foreign names, and uses a modern language.

When Mohammed was born, there was no nation of Arabia, no Arabian king, and no political unity. Society was tribal in nature; a person was not an individual so much as a member of a tribe. Blood relations were everything, and when people met the first question was, “What are your tribe and your lineage?” A person’s name provided a clue to his lineage.

In fact, without a tribe, an individual was very weak and was fair game. Squabbling and fighting among clans were common and ruled by blood laws, which were the laws of retaliation and “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Under certain circumstances, blood money could be paid to the surviving kin.

The Quraysh tribe came to Mecca five generations before Mohammed under the leadership of Qusayy, who established the rituals of worship in Mecca. The Quraysh became the priestly tribe of Mecca, similar to the Levi or Cohen of the Jews, and were the nobility of the town holding the ceremonial offices. In addition, the Quraysh were traders and businessmen, blending religion and business when pilgrims came to town for religious services. Mohammed’s clan was the Hashim clan, which is still active in politics today.


Life of Muhammad 6

This is another excerpt from Bill Warner’s book Mohammed and the Unbelievers, which is an abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sira. It skips poetry, aviods too many foreign names, and uses a modern language.

Mecca in Mohammed’s day was very small, about a quarter mile by an eighth of a mile, and it was in an area of Arabia called the Hijaz. The climate of Mecca is dry, very dry, but when a heavy rain comes it causes huge runoffs so that Mecca will actually flood for a brief time.

There was a stone building in Mecca in the shape of a cube called the Kabah that was a religious site containing images of several tribal gods. There were at least six other square stone houses called Kabahs in other towns in Arabia; however, the legend about the Kabah in Mecca was that Abraham, the patriarch of the Jews, had built it. The Kabah was used for religious rituals and served as a community center. Rituals established by Qusayy included prostrations (bowing down to the earth), ritual prayers, circling the Kabah while praying, and drinking from the well called Zam Zam. Other rituals included throwing stones at pillars that symbolized the devil.

Stones played an important part in the religions of Arabia. The Kabah was made of stone and had the important Black Stone built into one corner. This stone was probably a meteorite as it was a composite of several stones melded together. It was small in size, roughly seven inches in diam¬eter, and was touched only with the right hand and kissed by pilgrims. All of these native rituals were incorporated into Islam.

Each tribe had its gods and the moon god, Allah, seems to have been a male god of the Quraysh. There was not much of an organization of the Arabic gods, unlike the Greek and Roman gods, but children were named after them; for instance, Mohammed’s father was named after Allah, but his brothers were named after other Arabic gods.

Life of Muhammad 4

This is an excerpt from Ibn Ishaq’s Sira, the first written biography of prophet Muhammad. An abridged version of Sira, which is easier to understand, can be found in Mohammed and the Unbelievers


When the apostle was eight years of age, eight years after the ‘year of the elephant’, his grandfather died. This date was given me by al-‘Abbas b. ‘Abdullah b. Ma’bad b. al-‘Abbas from one of his family.

hopefully you don’t mind that I skipped the elegies

When ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib died his son al-‘Abbas took charge of Zamzam and the watering of the pilgrims, although he was the youngest of his father’s sons. When Islam came it was still in his hands and the apostle’ confirmed his right to it and so it remains with the family of al-Abbas to this day.

Life of Muhammad 3

This is an excerpt from Ibn Ishaq’s Sira, the first written biography of prophet Muhammad. This piece tells about his mother’s death.


The apostle lived with his mother Amina d. Wahb and his grandfather ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib in God’s care and keeping like a fine plant, God wishing to honour him. When he was six years old his mother Amina died.

‘Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. ‘Amr b. Hazm told me that the apostle’s mother died in Abwa’ between Mecca and Medina on her return from a visit with him to his maternal uncles of B. ‘Adly b. al-Najj when he was six years old (117). Thus the apostle was left to his grandfather for whom they made a bed in the shade of the Ka’ba. His sons used to sit round the bed until he came out to it, but none of them sat upon it out of respect for him. The apostle, still a little boy, used to come and sit on it and his uncles would drive him away. When ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib saw this he said: ‘Let my son alone, for by Allah he has a great future.’ Then he would make him sit beside him on his bed and would stroke his back with his hand. It used to please him to see what he did.

Life of Muhammad 2

This is an excerpt from Ibn Ishaq’s Sira, the first written biography of prophet Muhammad. This piece tells about the prophet’s parents. Please also notice that in pre-Islamic era Arab women were free to propose to men.


Taking ‘Abdullah by the hand Abdu’l-Muttalib went away and they passed – so it is alleged – a woman of B. Asad b. ‘Abdu’l-‘Uzza b. Qusayy b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka’b b. Lu’ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr who was the sister of Waraqa b. Naufal b. Asad b. ‘Abdu’l-‘Uzza, who was at the Ka’ba. When she looked at him she asked, ‘Where are you going Abdullah?’ He replied, ‘With my father.’ She said, ‘If you will take me you can have as many camels as were sacrificed in your stead.’ ‘I am with my father and I cannot act against his wishes and leave him’, he replied.

‘Abdu’l-Muttalib brought him to Wahb b. ‘Abdu Manaf b. Zuhra b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka’b b. Lu’ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr who was the leading man of B. Zuhra in birth and honour, and he married him to his daughter Amina, she being the most excellent woman among the Quraysh in birth and position at that time. Her mother was Barra d. ‘Abdu’l-‘Uzza b. ‘Uthman b. ‘Abdu’1-Dar b. Qusayy b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka’b b. Lu’ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. Barra’s mother was Umm Habib d. Asad b. ‘Abdu’l-‘Uzza b. Qusayy by Kilab b. Murra b. Ka’b b. Lu’ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. Umm Hablb’s mother was Barra d. ‘Auf b. ‘Ubayd b. ‘Uwayj b. ‘Adly b. Ka’b b.” Lu’ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr.

It is alleged that Abdullah consummated his marriage immediately and his wife conceived the apostle of God.1 Then he left her presence and met the woman who had proposed to him. He asked her why she did not make the proposal that she made to him the day before; to which she replied that the light that was with him the day before had left him, and she no longer had need of him. She had heard from her brother Waraqa b. Naufal, who had been a Christian and studied the scriptures, which a prophet would arise among this people.

Life of Muhammad 1

This is an excerpt from Ibn Ishaq’s Sira, the first written biography of prophet Muhammad. This piece tells a story from life of Abdu’l-Muttalib, Muhammad’s grandfather.


While Abdu’l-Muttalib was sleeping in the hijr,1 he was ordered in a vision to dig Zamzam. Yazid b. Abu Hablb al-Misrl from Marthad b. ‘Abdullah al-Yazanl from ‘Abdullah b. Zurayr al-Ghafiqt told me that he heard ‘Ali b. Abu Talib telling the story of Zamzam. He said that ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib said: ‘I was sleeping in the hijr when a supernatural visitant came and said, “Dig Tiba”. I said “And what is Tiba?”; then he left me. I went to bed again the next day and slept, and he came to me and said “Dig Barra”; when I asked what Barra was he left me. The next day he came and said “Dig al-Madnuna”; when I asked what that was he went away again. The next day he came while I was sleeping and said “Dig Zamzam”. I said, “What is Zamzam?”; he said:

“Twill never fail or ever run dry,
“Twill water the pilgrim company..
It lies ‘twixt the dung and the flesh bloody,
By the nest where the white-winged ravens fly,
By the nest where the ants to and fro do ply.’

When the exact spot had been indicated to him and he knew that it corre­sponded with the facts, he took a pick-axe and went with his son al-Harith for he had no other son at that time and began to dig. When the top of the well appeared he cried ‘Allah akbar!’ Thus Quraysh knew that he had obtained his object and they came to him and said, ‘This is the well of our father Ishmael, and we have a right to it, so give us a share in it.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, ‘I was specially told of it and not you, and I was the one to be given it.’ They said: ‘Do us justice, for we shall not leave you until we have got a judicial decision in the matter.’ He said: ‘Appoint anyone you like as umpire between us.’ He agreed to accept a woman diviner of B. Sa’d Hudhaym, who dwelt in the uplands of Syria.

So ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib, accompanied by some of his relations and a representa­tive from all the tribes of Quraysh, rode away. They went on through desolate country between the Hijaz and Syria until ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib’s company ran out of water and they feared that they would die of thirst. They asked the Quraysh tribes to give them water, but they refused, on the ground that if they gave them their water they too would die of thirst. In his desperation ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib consulted his companions as to what should be done, but all they could do was to say that they would follow his instructions: so he said, ‘I think that every man should dig a hcle for him­self with the strength that he has left so that whenever a man dies his com­panions can thrust him into the hole and bury him until the last man, for it is better that one man should lie unburied than a whole company.’ They accepted his advice and every man began to dig a hole for himself. Then they sat down until they should die of thirst.

After a time ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib said to his companions, ‘By God, to abandon ourselves to death in this way and not to scour the country in search of water is sheer incompetence; perhaps God will give us water somewhere. To your saddles!’ So they got their beasts ready while the Quraysh watched them at work. ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib went to his beast and mounted her and when she got up from her knees a flow of fresh water broke out from beneath her feet. ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib and his companions, crying ‘Allah akbar!’, dismounted and drank and filled their water-skins. Then they invited the Quraysh to come to the water which God had given them and to drink freely. After they had done so and filled their water-skins they said: ‘By God, the judgement has been given in your favour ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib. We will never dispute your claim to Zamzam. He who has given you water in this wilderness is He who has given you Zamzam. Return to your office of watering the pilgrims in peace.’ So they all went back without going to the diviner.

This is an example of stories that I am going to skip in the future, because they don’t contribute a lot to understanding the prophet’s life and character. I posted it just to give you the taste of these ancient Arab stories.

Terrorism? There Are Bigger Problems

When speaking of Islam, people often raise the issue of terrorism, discussing whether ISIS are following traditional Islam, or they are perverting a peaceful religion. And of course Islam apologists will wave the banner of “The majority of Muslims are not terorrists”. That’s right, they are not. However, although each violent death is terrible, there are bigger problems than terrorism.

A minority Shiite Muslim was sentenced to death in Pakistan for sharing blasphemous content about Islam on social media, a government prosecutor said.

Judge Shabbir Ahmed announced the sentence for 30-year-old Taimoor Raza on Saturday in Bahawalpur in eastern Punjab province, according to Shafiq Qureshi. Raza was arrested last year for allegedly posting derogatory content about Sunni Muslim religious leaders and the wives of the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook.

Qureshi said Bahawalpur’s counter-terrorism force arrested Raza in April last year following a complaint that he was showing onlookers objectionable material on his cell phone at a bus terminal. He added that Raza had previously posted other blasphemous material on Facebook.
Read more here:

Pakistan’s population is about 200 million. About 90% of them are Muslim. And this means the majority in this country do not find objectionable to live under laws which kill a person for speaking out his/her mind on the topic of Islam. This is the real problem. They are not terrorists. They are simply people who value their religion more than human life. Not all of them of course. But you can compare the number of protests which were caused by sentence to the murderer of a Pakistani governer who just suggested to extend mercy to a woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, and the number of protests which will rise due to this death sentence for a Facebook post.

And what an irony: the guy was arrested by COUNTER-TERRORISM FORCE.