MUHAMMAD THE BORROWER Ė DEBATE 2 WITH SAIFULLAH

 

 

NOTE: Saifullahís post writings are in blue. When he quotes me, my words are in red.

My post writings are in black. When I quote Saifullah, his words will be in blue.

Quotes from various authors will be in green.

 

NOTE: I have deleted the ďĒ quote brackets, and some unrequired comments / post information.

 

 

SAIFULLAHíS FIRST POST

NOTE:Saiís first post below (Abu Asad is Saifullah), is directed towards another post by a man by the name of James Dowdeswell.††† My later posts deal with Saiís comments below.

 

Subject: Re: Muhammad borrowing ideas?
From: abu_asad@my-deja.com
Date: 2/11/00 7:09 PM Eastern Standard Time
Message-id:

In article , "James Dowdeswell" wrote:

Assalamu-alaikum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

You don't have to read or write to borrow other peoples ideas.

Yes, that is correct. You do not have to read and write to borrow the ideas. It is often seen that the people who are well read are the ones who commit some simple mistakes.

For example,

Narrated 'Aisha:
...Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza, who, during the PreIslamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqa, "Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!" Waraqa asked, "O my nephew! What have you seen?" Allah's Apostle described whatever he had seen. Waraqa said, "This is the same one who keeps the secrets (angel Gabriel) whom Allah had sent to Moses... (Al-Bukhari vol. 1, book 1, no. 3)


The full hadith says: Narrated 'Aisha(R): Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3
Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza, who, during the pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqa, "Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!" Waraqa asked, "O my nephew! What have you seen?" Allah's Apostle described whatever he had seen. Waraqa said, "This is the same one who keeps the secrets (angel Gabriel) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out." Allah's Apostle asked, "Will they drive me out?" Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said, "Anyone (man) who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly." But after a few days Waraqa died.


So the hadith says that Waraqa used to write the Gospel in Hebrew not Arabic and that he would strongly support Muhammad(P).

Waraqa was an old man and died shortly after Muhammad(P) had received the revelation of the Qur'an; as clearly can be read from the above hadith. While the revelation of the Qur'an continued for more than twenty years after the death of Waraqah bin Nawfal, the Prophet(P) was receiving the revelation in different places and even while he was among his Companions. Also, he was answering direct questions raised later by the Jews in Madinah. In addition, the Jews and the disbelievers of Mecca would be very pleased if they knew for sure that there was a knowledgeable person who was teaching Muhammad(P) the Qur'an.

Right from the very beginning Muhammad was having ideas put into his head by his uncle who *could* read and write and was familiar with Scripture.

So, James, where exactly is your evidence of Muhammad(P) getting his ideas from his uncle? I have to admit that you have performed a clever trick of cutting and pasting the item that you intended to choose and make your 'point'. Please do not try again. As for the rest of stuff the reader is advised to refer to:

Let me give you an example. I spent a lot of time discussing Islam with a Musim friend long before I ever bought my own Quran and read it from cover to cover. Within two years I had grasped a lot of its ideas and had heard a number of its stories. This was after two years! Muhammad was fourty when be began his "prophethood"(?).

Reading the Qur'an for two years did not make to grasp some of the fundamentals. You have already shown some of your fundamentals above.

I have never believed that Muhammad was ignorant. I am sure he was a very shrewd man. However, it staggers me that you can believe that writing the Quran was beyond his means. He lived in a society which was rich with the talk of the religion of Abraham. Throughout his life he had contact with many Jews and Christians. Do you really expect me to believe that there was no way that Muhammad could have known enough about Christianity and Judaism to write a new religion that was based on them?

Contrary to your claim, The New Catholic Encyclopaedia confirms that during the time of the Muhammad(P)

"The Hijaz [Arabian peninsula] had not been touched by Christian preaching. Hence organisation of the Christian church was neither to be expected nor found."New Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. 1, pp. 721-722.

This is also mentioned in the books dealing with Christianity among Arabs in pre-Islamic times from the point of view of poets.

"The testimony of poets to the influence of Christianity in a spiritual and a sociological sense is negative."J S Trimingham, Christianity Among the Arabs in Pre-Islamic Times: 1971, Longman Publishers, pp.247

I hope this would surprise you even more. And by the way, Jews were in Madinah and Makkah was a pagan society. More than half of the Qur'an was revealed in Makkah including the stories of the prophets of the past (biblical included). Perhaps that should make you, a learned guy, think a little bit.

Wassalam
Saifullah





MY POST / COMMENTS ON SAIíS POST ABOVE:

Previously, another poster stated that Waraqa used to write the Gospel in Arabic.Abu Asad posted a hadith that says he wrote it in Hebrew.Abu Asad wrote:

 

[[[It is often seen that the people who are well read are the ones who commit some simple mistakes.]]]

 

I agree.Sometimes they just have to do more reading.

 

There are hadiths that say he wrote it in both languages - Hebrew and Arabic.

 

Bukhari 1:3states that he wrote in Hebrew. ...

 

"Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza, who, during the PreIslamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write."

 

And4.605 says:

 

Narrated 'Aisha:

The Prophet returned to Khadija while his heart was beating rapidly. She took him to Waraqa bin Naufal who was a Christian convert and used to read the Gospels in Arabic. Waraqa asked (the Prophet), "What do you see?" When he told him, Waraqa said, "That is the same angel whom Allah sent to the Prophet) Moses.Should I live till you receive the Divine Message, I will support you strongly."

 

And, 6:478 says:

 

... Khadija then took him to Waraqa bin Naufil, the son of Khadija's paternal uncle. Waraqa had been converted to Christianity in the Pre-lslamic Period and used to write Arabic and write of the Gospel in Arabic as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight.

 

So the hadith says that Waraqa used to read the Gospels in Arabic, and write the Gospels in Hebrew and Arabic.

 

In order for Waraqa to read the Gospels in Arabic, means they would have to already exist in Arabic.This lends further support that Muhammad was familiar with Biblical stories.It was easy for him to borrow.

 

Abu Asad wrote:

[[[So the hadith says that Waraqa used to write the Gospel in Hebrew not Arabic and that he would strongly support Muhammad.]]]

 

I hope you now see your error.

 

Abu Asad wrote:

[[[In addition, the Jews and the disbelievers of Mecca would be very pleased if they knew for sure that there was a knowledgeable person who was teaching Muhammad the Qur'an.]]]

 

They already knew some of the peeps who were teaching Muhammad.See my post of 2/9/2000 in this folder.

 

One of Muhammad's problems was that he did not have a "knowledgeable" person teaching him.Muhammad seemed to be more familiar with NT Apocrypha and Jewish Mishnah than actual Biblical stories.Many of Muhammad's mistakes centered on that non-Biblical material.

 

Abu Asad wrote regarding the presence of Christianity in the Hijaz:

[[Contrary to your claim, The New Catholic Encyclopaedia confirms that during the time of the Muhammad

 

"The Hijaz [Arabian peninsula] had not been touched by Christian preaching. Hence organisation of the Christian church was neither to be expected nor found."New Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. 1, pp. 721-722."]]]

 

Who are you going to believe?The Cath. Ency, or the Hadith?Further, the Sira states that there were Christian slaves that conversed with Muhammad in Mecca.And, the Islamic material also states that Muhammad went to Syria and conversed with Christian monks.

 

Also, whoever inserted [Arabian Peninsula] as defining the Hijaz made a mistake.The Hijaz is roughly the center / west side of that peninsual.

 

Abu Asad also added:

 

[[This is also mentioned in the books dealing with Christianity among Arabs in pre-Islamic times from the point of view of poets.

 

"The testimony of poets to the influence of Christianity in a spiritual and a sociological sense is negative."J S Trimingham, Christianity Among the Arabs in Pre-Islamic Times: 1971, Longman Publishers, pp.247]]]

 

 

J.S.T's book details all the Christian groups living in that Area of the Arab world.In effect, the Hijaz was ringed by Christianity.It would have been unavoidable for Muhammad to come into contact with Christians.Also, even Sai's site details lists of poets that did incorporate Christian themes.Again, you did not do enough reading, or did you forget?

 

Abu Asad wrote:

[[[I hope this would surprise you even more. And by the way, Jews were in Madinah and Makkah was a pagan society. More than half of the Qur'an was revealed in Makkah including the stories of the prophets of the past (biblical included). Perhaps that should make you, a learned guy, think a little bit.]]]

 

As I previously posted, there were Jews and Christians in Mecca.And, it since Mecca was a center of commerce, there were probably many Jews and Christians carrying on commercial trade with Mecca.For example, take the caravans that went back and forth from Syria to Mecca.Remember, Muhammad began to rob those after he ran away to Medina.

 

In sum, Muhammad was exposed to other religion's material.He believed it, and he used it as part of the Quran.

 

 

SAIíS RESPONSE TO MY POST

 

 

Subject: Re: Muhammad borrowing ideas?
From: abu_asad@my-deja.com
Date: 2/14/00 9:16 PM Eastern Standard Time
Message-id: <88act4$qei$1@samba.rahul.net>

In article ,
silas778@aol.com (SILAS778) wrote:

Assalamu-alaikum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:


I hope you now see your error.

Instead of making a great deal of fuss, if you only had bothered to read about my comment on the partial quotation of the hadith by James, it would save us with lot of time.

Abu Asad wrote:
[[[In addition, the Jews and the disbelievers of Mecca would be very pleased if they knew for sure that there was a knowledgeable person who was teaching Muhammad the Qur'an.]]]

They already knew some of the peeps who were teaching Muhammad. See my post of 2/9/2000 in this folder.

What are their names of those peeps, by the way? And I have checked your 2/9/2000 post. There is *no* evidence presented.

By the way, Makkah, where most of the Qur'an was revealed, was the period of great torment for the Prophet(P). This was due to the persecution of the Makkans against the Muslims. Makkans made all sorts of arguments but they could not find a person who was teaching the Prophet(P). It would have been a much simpler case against Muhammad(P) if they had found the human 'source' of his biblical knowledge. The Makkans did acknowledge the truthfulness of Muhammad(P) despite the
opposition.

One of Muhammad's problems was that he did not have a "knowledgeable" person teaching him. Muhammad seemed to be more familiar with NT Apocrypha and Jewish Mishnah than actual Biblical stories. Many of Muhammad's mistakes centered on that non-Biblical material.

The main problem here is three-fold.

Firstly, the argument that "Muhammad's mistakes centered on that non- Biblical material" is circular. This simply assumes without an evidence that the biblical material is historically correct and that non- biblical material is not. And we are not here to buy such circular and unsubstantiated arguments.

Secondly, it is very clear that the Christians never agreed on a canon even to this day. The Ethiopic, Syriac, Protestant, Catholic, Coptic, Anglican Churches have different canons of the Bible. These contains different number of books which are considered as inspired.


The essential question now is which books are the word of God? Note bene: we still have very little idea about what sort of canon did certain localities in Arabia and in other places in the Middle-east followed.

Thirdly, apocrypha does not mean lack of historicity. Apocrypha simply means that the Churches did not accept them as an inspired books. It does not comment on its historicity. The material in it could be historical.

We have already dealt with some of the stuff like Pirke Rabbi Eliezer, Targum Sheni etc. which are allegedly the sources of the Qur'an. What is interesting is that the claimants *never* bothered to show, the existence of these texts in Makkah or Madinah, nor did they even attempted show the evolution of these texts over the period of time. It is well known that both Pirke Rabbi Eliezer and Targum Sheni reached their final redaction post-Islamically.



Abu Asad wrote regarding the presence of Christianity in the Hijaz:
[[Contrary to your claim, The New Catholic Encyclopaedia confirms that during the time of the Muhammad
"The Hijaz [Arabian peninsula] had not been touched by Christian preaching. Hence organisation of the Christian church was neither to be expected nor found." New Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. 1, pp. 721-722."]]]

Who are you going to believe? The Cath. Ency, or the Hadith? Further, the Sira states that there were Christian slaves that conversed with Muhammad in Mecca. And, the Islamic material also states that Muhammad went to Syria and conversed with Christian monks.

I have to say that we never claimed that there existed to Christians in Makka and neither did the New Catholic Encyclopedia. The New Catholic Encyclopedia states that the Hijaz has been untouched by Christian preaching and hence they did not see any existence of Christian Church. If one would bother to carefully read, almost all the problems can be solved.

Further, the research by Camille has shown that the influence of Christianity in the sociological and spiritual sense is negative among Arabs. This is an important bit of information because it refutes all the claims of existence of wide-spread Christianity in Arabia immediately prior to the rise of Islam.

This is also well-supported by the fact that the Gospels in Arabic from pre-Islamic were not to be found. The manuscripts available are post- Islamic. The same is true for the Hebrew Bible.

 

J.S.T's book details all the Christian groups living in that Area of the Arab world. In effect, the Hijaz was ringed by Christianity. It would have been unavoidable for Muhammad to come into contact with Christians. Also, even Sai's site details lists of poets that did incorporate Christian themes. Again, you did not do enough reading, or did you forget?

Well, please tell us those "Areas" which Trimingham had mentioned?

As far as the issue of poets that incorporated the Christian themes is concerned it is listed here:

The first batch of the study by Camille shows that there was 1 Christian for sure among 20 poets and in the second batch there are seven Christian poets among 41. Anyone who knows the work of Camille would clearly see that Camille dealt with the poets which had died before the advent of Islam as well as the poets who were alive during the time of the time of Muhammad(P). A reader can figure out how many of these among the seven were alive during the time of the Prophet(P) by going through the references quoted in the above website..

 

As I previously posted, there were Jews and Christians in Mecca. And, it since Mecca was a center of commerce, there were probably many Jews and Christians carrying on commercial trade with Mecca. For example, take the caravans that went back and forth from Syria to Mecca. Remember, Muhammad began to rob those after he ran away to Medina.

Well, Silas if you have an evidence to show who taught Muhammad(P), please bring it. We are not interested in your half-cooked, unsubstantiated hypothesis.

 


In sum, Muhammad was exposed to other religion's material. He believed it, and he used it as part of the Quran.
Silas argument is that since Makkah was a trading centre, there were "probably" some Jews and Christians passing by it and the sum total of this is that Muhammad(P) was exposed to other's religion's material. Now Silas did not show any evidence that Jews and Christians passed by Makkah (he said "probabaly" meaning he has nothing to show), neither did he bother to show the evidence that these Jews and Christians taught the Prophet(P) their material, nor did he show any evidence that someone else claimed that the Jews and Christians passing by Makkah taught Muhammad(P).

To sum up, as brother Rice had already said, Silas is good only in making the arguments which are unsubstantiated. He claims something but he can't show the evidence for it. And of course, repeat it again and again hoping that some one will believe in it.

Wassalam
Saifullah


MY RESPONSE TO SAIíS POST ABOVE

 

Sai wrote:

[[[Instead of making a great deal of fuss, if you only had bothered to read about my comment on the partial quotation of the hadith by James, it would save us with lot of time.]]]

 

†††††††††††††† In an earlier post Mr. Dowdeswell presented a Hadith that said that there was Gospel material available in Hebrew and that Waraqa communicated with Muhammad.You answered "So the hadith says that Waraqa used to write the Gospel in Hebrew not Arabic."

 

†††††††††††††† I presented a Hadith on the availability of Gospel materials in Arabic.My point was that Waraqa read and wrote Gospel material in Arabic.Again, Bukhari's Hadith 6:478 says:

 

"... Khadija then took him to Waraqa bin Naufil, the son of Khadija's paternal uncle. Waraqa had been converted to Christianity in the Pre-lslamic Period and used to write Arabic and write of the Gospel in Arabic as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight."

 

So, again, here is my comment:


†††††††††††††† "The hadith says that Waraqa used to read the Gospels in Arabic, and write the Gospels in Hebrew and Arabic.In order for Waraqa to read the Gospels in Arabic, means they would have to already exist in Arabic.This lends further support that Muhammad was familiar with Biblical stories.It was easy for him to borrow."

 

†††††††††††††† So Sai, simple question:do you agree that there were Gospel materials available in Arabic to people living in the Hijaz?Or is the Hadith wrong or mistranslated?

 

 

 

-----

 

†††††††††††††† Sai asked and stated:(regarding Christians who Muhammad interfaced with earlier in his work as a false prophet)

 

[[[What are their names of those peeps, by the way? And I have checked your 2/9/2000 post. There is *no* evidence presented. By the way, Makkah, where most of the Qur'an was revealed, was the period of great torment for the Prophet. This was due to the persecution of the Makkans against the Muslims. Makkans made all sorts of arguments but they could not find a person who was teaching the Prophet.It would have been a much simpler case against Muhammad if they had found the human 'source' of his biblical knowledge. The Makkans did acknowledge the truthfulness of Muhammad despite the opposition.]]]

 

†††††††††††††† Muhammad brought much of the persecution upon himself and his followers.When he was simply asked to stop insulting the pagan's faith, he replied he would not.He understandably earned some of his persecution.And not all Meccans admitted his honesty.Mecca did not join Islam until Muhammad was outside with his army, threatening to attack.They certainly knew about how he massacred the Banu Quraiza male Jews, and enslaved their women and children.If you can't beat him, join him.

 

†††††††††††††† Additionally, I looked back and found this from that post.Did you miss it?You have a penchant for missing material.One name is given here.

 

quot;Ibn Ishaq also provides some additional details of Muhammad speaking with Christians (or Jews - see the original article I wrote).Here is the quote from page 180:

 

"According to my information the apostle used often to sit at al-Marwa at the booth of a young Christian called Jabr (2), a slave of B. al-Hadrami and they used to say "The one who teaches Muhammad most of what he brings is Jabr the Christian, slave of the B. al-Hadrami."Then God revealed in reference to their words "We well know that they say, "Only a mortal teaches him"."The tongue of him at whom they hint is foreign, and this is a clear Arabic tongue. (3)

 

†††††††††††††† And, I listed the names of other people who read Gospel material in the Hijaz.One was a women who flirted with Muhammad's father.

 

†††††††††††††† Further, if you would have ever bothered to read all that I had posted earlier (in the six parter some months ago, and referenced once again in my posts with Drice), you would have found:

 

 

D. S. Margoliouth wrote in "Muhammad and the Rise of Islam", page 106:[comments in () brackets are mine]

 

†††††††††††††† "The needs of his (Muhammad's) profession do not appear to have made him actually a student - yet there is no question that as the Koran grew in bulk, its knowledge of biblical stories became somewhat more accurate:and thought this greater degree of accuracy may have at times been due to the Prophet's memory, it is more likely that he took such opportunities as offered of acquiring more information.The following story gives us an idea of his method.Jabr, a client of the Banu ' Abd al Dar, was a Jew (1) who worked as a smith in Meccah.He and Yasr (also a Jew) used to sit together at their trade and in the course of their work read out their sacred book the Prophet used to pass by and listen.Presently Jabr was converted by hearing the Prophet read the Surah of Joseph (2).It has been suggested that some of the Christian matter in the Koran may have been learned from an early follower named Suhaib, who was a Greek from Mosul (3).The tradition names more than one person who was thought by the Meccans to be the Prophet's mentor, and the Koran even refutes this charge by stating that the person to whom they allude had a foreign tongue, and could not therefore be the author of an Arabic Koran.Perhaps that reply is unconvincing; but the impression which the Koran leaves is that of information picked up casually rather than acquired by any sort of methodical study (4).In a Surah delivered at Medinah in which the story of Saul should be told, Saul's name is mutilated to Talut, clearly a jingle with Galut, the nearest that the Prophet could get to Goliath:the name of Samuel is forgotten, he is confused with Gideon, and the story of Gideon is told wrongly.This phenomenon almost disposes of the theory of a mentor, for no mentor could be so ignorant of the Bible.Moreover the sources of the Koran are very numerous - Abyssinian, and Syriac, as was as Hebrew and Greek (5)So far then as the biblical tales of the Koran were not reproductions of matter heard by Muhammad on his early travels, they are likely to have been all picked up by listening when services or Bible readings were going on.

 

Margoliouth's notes:

(1)Or a Christian; the Moslems are careless about distinguishing.

(2)Isabah, i., 452; Wakidi (W.), 349

(3)Loth in Z. D. M. G., xxxv., 621

(4)Noldeke, Sketches, c. ii

(5)The best evidence for this is the form assumed by the proper names.Syc, Die Eigennamen im Koran, 1903, does scant justice to this theme.[5]

 

END OF QUOTE

 

 

 

†††††††††††††† So Sai, names were given, you just didn't see them, or didn't want to see them.Muhammad was interfacing with Jews and Christians in Mecca.The Meccans didn't need to find a "secret" teacher of Muhammad.They knew and pointed out some of Muhammad's teachers - they were slaves!And, that information is available in your own books, which I have to point out to you because they undercut your argument.

 

†††††††††††††† The question of a "secret teacher" or "secret source" is a poorly framed question in light of the evidence.It is similar to what Jamal Baidawi asks on his site.There didn't need to be a secret teacher.Muhammad encountered, through normal everyday life in Mecca, enough Christians and Jews to learn about their religions.Let's face it, Muhammad didn't know much about Christianity and Judaism, and much of what he learned was inaccurate.That inaccuracy is reflected in his Quran.

 

 

 

-----

 

Regarding Muhammad's errors, Sai wrote:

 

[[[The main problem here is three-fold.

 

Firstly, the argument that "Muhammad's mistakes centered on that non- Biblical material" is circular.This simply assumes without an evidence that the biblical material is historically correct and that non-biblical material is not.And we are not here to buy such circular and unsubstantiated arguments.]]]

 

 

†††††††††††††† Sai, you're avoiding the context of the discussion.Muhammad was speakingabout Christianity, a Christianity that was well established and existed all around and in the Hijaz well before Muhammad.His statements portray his ignorance; his ignorance was the foundation of his errors.The recognized Christian writings, the only Christianity that existed around Muhammad, be it Byzantine, Ethiopian, Syriac, or Persian, did not include the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.That writing was a known fable well before Muhammad.But in the minds of the ignorant, fables and myths can live.You claim it could be historical?Certainly not.It was a known fraud made up by someone who wanted to emphasize strange, miraclous powers of Christ as a child.I believe that it is in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas that Jesus turns children into goats, and then back into children again.According to your position, it could have happened.

 

†††††††††††††† If I were to say that Muhammad found golden plates that the words of the Quran that Gabriel told him about?Historical possibililty?Or that Muhammad lifted a two ton stone and threw it at the Meccans during the battle of Uhud?Maybe huh?†† Or that Muhammad jumped and leaped over the Kaba in a single bound - would that be acceptable to Islamic historians?

 

†††††††††††††† No.Why?Because there is nothing in the writings of Islam that corroborate the story.It is unreasonable.The same applies to the fable material of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas that Muhammad heard about and borrowed.We're not talking about mere possibilities, we're talking about documented history.Muhammad's ignorance didn't allow him to know the difference between Christianity, and some bogus, fictional writing.The canon and validity of various religious writings had basically been established long before Muhammad began to make up his religion.And the Infancy Gospel of Thomas didn't come close to making the cut.

 

 

 

Here is a word on the NT Apocrypha:

 

†††††††††††††† Oscar Cullmann writes in "New Testament Apocrypha", pages 416, 417:

 

†††††††††††††† "In the further development of the birth and infancy stories in later days the narrative interests become predominant, although theological interests are still present.The tendency to draw upon extraneous legends, already discernible in the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke, is greatly increased.The further we move in time from the beginnings, the more unrestrained becomes the application to Jesus of what is recounted about the birth and infancy of sons of gods and children of supernatural origin.... The formation of the canon, which took place about the middle of the 2nd century, was able to check only to a slight degree the legendary accretions which grew up around the childhood of Jesus, ..."

 

 

†††††††††††††† Sai's argument is equivenant to saying that "Well, we cannot discount the story of "Alice in Wonderland", it might be historical.Or, "Maybe there was a giant named Paul Bunyon who had a giant ox named "Babe".Hey, even the Quran has Solomon as some Doctor Doolittle, carrying on conversations with ants.Maybe its all true!

 

 

 

-----

 

Sai wrote:

[[[Secondly, it is very clear that the Christians never agreed on a canon

even to this day. The Ethiopic, Syriac, Protestant, Catholic, Coptic, Anglican Churches have different canons of the Bible.These contains different number of books which are considered as inspired.

†††††††††††††† The essential question now is which books are the word of God?Note bene: we still have very little idea about what sort of canon did certain localities in Arabia and in other places in the Middle-east followed.]]]

 

 

†††††††††††††† You've already been blown down on this one by another Christian - Sam Shamoun.Once again you avoid the real context and frame a question that does not address the issue - call it a red-herring question.The essential question isn't which canon.Pick any one of them... go ahead, pick.You're choice.Byzantine, Ethopian, Peshitta, Syriac (East or West), Coptic, Catholic, Anglican, etc.All of the established canons contain the basic NT writings - the 4 Gospels and Paul's letters.All of them were established more or less at least 150 years or so before Muhammad showed up (yes, the Protestant canon came after Muhammad, but its books were part of other established canons).And all of them strongly contradict the Quran.

 

†††††††††††††† And your statement ": we still have very little idea about what sort of canon did certain localities in Arabia and in other places in the Middle-east followed" is also misleading.We know that the Najran Christians were affliated with the Byzantines.The Byzantine canon was well established by Muhammad's time.Also, since there was no "seat" or Christianity in the Hijaz, (remember that statement you oft quote?) there would be no official "canon" of the Hijaz.The Christians there would be using Biblical materials already found in Christian areas that many had come from or previously lived in.Thus we find a Copt in Mecca, or a Byzantine in Mecca, or Muhammad dialoging with Syrian Christians.The Christian groups that surrounded the Hijaz had affliations with the larger centers of Christianity.They would have used their canons.

 

 

 

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Sai wrote:

[[[Thirdly, apocrypha does not mean lack of historicity.Apocrypha simply means that the Churches did not accept them as an inspired books. It does not comment on its historicity.The material in it could be historical.]]]

 

 

†††††††††††††† NT Apocrypha covers a wide range of material.There are dozens in not hundreds of writings, dates of composition ranging from 2 Century to 1200 or so, depending on where you cut if off.Some of it is highly esteemed, some of it is trite myth (such as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas).So, depending on which writing you are talking about, there is implicit comment on the validity of the writing.

 

 

 

-----

 

Sai wrote:

[[[We have already dealt with some of the stuff like Pirke Rabbi Eliezer, Targum Sheni etc. which are allegedly the sources of the Qur'an.What is interesting is that the claimants *never* bothered to show, the existence of these texts in Makkah or Madinah, nor did they even attempted show the evolution of these texts over the period of time.It is well known that both Pirke Rabbi Eliezer and Targum Sheni reached their final redaction post-Islamically.]]]

 

†††††††††††††† Well, what about the writing of the Mishnah Sanhedrin which is copied in the Quran 5:35 almost verbatim?

 

†††††††††††††† Second, those texts did not even need to exist in Mecca or Yathrib before, during, or after Muhammad lived there.Muhammad learned most of what he knew about other religions through oral transmission.As has been already shown, he did interface with Jews and Christians in Mecca.Muhammad would have never to have seen a literal Torah or Gospel to talk about them.Although he did see a Torah and state that it was the word of God.

 

 

 

-----

 

Regarding the presence of Christianity in the Hijaz, Sai wrote:

 

[[[I have to say that we never claimed that there existed to [do you mean "no" or "two"?] Christians in Makka and neither did the New Catholic Encyclopedia. The New Catholic Encyclopedia states that the Hijaz has been untouched by Christian preaching and hence they did not see any existence of Christian Church.If one would bother to carefully read, almost all the problems can be solved.]]]

 

First, let's establish that there were Christians in Mecca.Some were slaves, some were tradesmen, etc.

 

 

Second, while there may have been no formal church building in Mecca, there certainly was enough of a Christian presence to make Christianity known.Even the Kaba contained pictures of Jesus and Mary.Additionally, there was a NT verse found in the Kaba:

 

†††††††††††††† On page 86 (The Life of Muhammad, a translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasulallah), we read that there was actually a biblical quote in the Kaba....

 

"Layth Abu Sulaym alleged that they found a stone in the Kaba forty years before the prophet's mission, if what they say is true, containing the inscription "He that soweth good shall reap joy; he that soweth evil shall reap sorrow; can you do evil and be rewarded with good?Nay, as grapes cannot be gathered from thorns"

 

†††††††††††††† Here we even have a record of a Gospel quote inscribed on a stone in the Kaba!

 

 

And, Bukhari's Hadith 6:478 says:

 

"... Khadija then took him to Waraqa bin Naufil, the son of Khadija's paternal uncle. Waraqa had been converted to Christianity in the Pre-lslamic Period and used to write Arabic and write of the Gospel in Arabic as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight."

 

 

†††††††††††††† So, certainly there was a Christian presence in Mecca.It was unavoidable.

 

 

†††††††††††††† Third, even on your own website, you quote a Muslim who wrote that there was Christian preaching in the Hijaz!Here is the quote from your own site:

 

"The big difference between Christianity and Judaism is that Christianity unlike Judaism didn't have any bases in Hijaz , Christianity was an external source of enlightenment echoed in Hijaz either by missionary activities form Ethiopia, Syria and Iraq or from Alheerah's Christian centres; dair Hind al-Kubra [the order of Hind al-Kubra] - Um Amro al-Mundhir [the order of Um Ammro] - Dair Hind al-Sugra [the order of Hind al-Sugra]) or from some of the scattered churches in Bahrain, al-Yamamah and Yemen.[2]"

 

 

†††††††††††††† Your quote says there was Christian missionary activity, i.e. preaching, in the Hijaz.It's bad enough I have to teach you Islam, now I have to teach you stuff from your own site.

 

 

 

-----

 

 

Sai wrote:

[[[Further, the research by Camille has shown that the influence of Christianity in the sociological and spiritual sense is negative among Arabs.This is an important bit of information because it refutes all the claims of existence of wide-spread Christianity in Arabia immediately prior to the rise of Islam.

 

This is also well-supported by the fact that the Gospels in Arabic from pre-Islamic were not to be found. The manuscripts available are post-Islamic. The same is true for the Hebrew Bible.]]]

 

 

†††††††††††††† I think you are quoting Trimingham, page 247 above - "that the influence in the sociological and spiritual sense is negative among Arabs".Can you please check?

 

†††††††††††††† Even your Quran recognizes the existence of Christianity in the Hijaz.

 

In your Quran, it says

 

10:94†† If you doubt what We have revealed to you [Muhammad], Ask those who have read the Scriptures before you.

 

And

 

35:31"What We have revealed to you in the Book is the truth confirming previous Scriptures.God knows and observes His servants

 

†††††††††††††† Here Muhammad mentions the Scriptures.These Suras were revealed in Mecca weren't they?Well then, Muhammad knew about those Scriptures while he was preaching in Mecca, and not only that, he testifies to the Integrity of those Scriptures.And Muhammad is instructed by allah to ask those who read the Scriptures before him.Therefore, those Scriptures existed in the Hijaz, and Muhammad was to ask the Christians there about his so called, "revelations" if he had doubt.

 

 

And, in the Sira of Ibn Ishaq, "The Life of Muhammad", by A. Guillaume, .....

 

†††††††††††††† On page 69, the story is told of how Muhammad was conceived.The point of interest is that a women who was earlier interested in Muhammad's father had lost interest in him.....the comment:

 

"She had heard from her brother Waraqa b. Naufal, who had been a Christian and studied the scriptures, that a prophet would arise among this people."

 

Additionally, from Ibn Sa'd's "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir", page 104, we read about this women:

 

†††††††††††††† "..... (Muhammad's father) passed by a woman of the Kath'am (tribe) whose name was Fatimah Bint Murr and who was the prettiest of all women, in the full bloom of her youth and the most pious and had studied the scriptures;..."

 

We have a distinct Christian presence in Mecca, and people had "studied the scriptures".These "scriptures" could have been actual Gospels, or apocrypha Gospels.

 

†††††††††††††† So, here is an Arab woman around Mecca studying the Scriptures.

 

 

†††††††††††††† So Sai, your own books teach that there was a distinct Christian presence in Mecca.Who are you going to believe, Camille or the Quran, Hadith, and Sira?

 

-----

 

Regarding Trimingham's listing of the Christian groups in the Arab world, Sai asks:[[[Well, please tell us those "Areas" which Trimingham had mentioned?]]]

 

Sure.Pages 258 through 262 detail a small, but viable Christian presence in Mecca.And Trimingham goes into extensive detail concerning the Christians in the Mesopotamian lands, the Sinai, Central Arabia, Eastern Arabia, Abyssinia, Najran, etc.

 

-----

 

Sai wrote:

[[[The first batch of the study by Camille shows that there was 1 Christian for sure among 20 poets and in the second batch there are seven Christian poets among 41. Anyone who knows the work of Camille would clearly see that Camille dealt with the poets which had died before the advent of Islam as well as the poets who were alive during the time of the time of Muhammad. A reader can figure out how many of these among the seven were alive during the time of the Prophet by going through the references quoted in the above website..]]]

 

 

†††††††††††††† I like the above ratio.It doesn't sound bad at all.7 out of 41 poets during or before Muhammad's time were Christian.That's about what, 17%?Not bad for a pagan society huh?The point is that Meccan society was touched, in one degree or another by Christianity.And, your quote of "the testimony of the poets to the influence of Christianity in a spiritual and sociological sense is negative" is presented out of context.If you would read the next sentence of the book, and understand the context of the section, you would understand that Trimingham is talking about Arabs and their lifestyles.There existed a knowledge of Christianity all through the Arab world, but in many places, it had not sunk in.He was not specifically referring to Mecca, or the lack of a Christian presence in Mecca with that statement.

 

-----

 

Sai asked:

[[[Well, Silas if you have an evidence to show who taught Muhammad, please bring it. We are not interested in your half-cooked, unsubstantiated hypothesis.]]]

 

Done it already, three or four times.Please visit the sites I've already mentioned.It seems that fundamentalist Muslims have the hardest time understanding their books and writings when they conflict with their pet theories.I've had to silver spoon feed you.And I have more silver spoonfuls, so keep it open wide.

 

-----

 

Sai wrote:

[[[Silas argument is that since Makkah was a trading centre, there were "probably" some Jews and Christians passing by it and the sum total of this is that Muhammad was exposed to other's religion's material.Now Silas did not show any evidence that Jews and Christians passed by Makkah (he said "probabaly" meaning he has nothing to show), neither did he bother to show the evidence that these Jews and Christians taught the Prophet their material, nor did he show any

evidence that someone else claimed that the Jews and Christians passing by Makkah taught Muhammad.]]]

 

Do you have Trimingham's book?You have quoted from it.Why not read page 268?

"The Meccans were in contact with the Christians of Syria through commercial relations as well as with the diffused witness of the monks."And on page 270:"The presence of Christians in Mecca is better attested, but relates mainly to non-Meccans.Christian Arab merchants operated in Mecca in association with Meccans and aattended the periodical fairs.The Banyu Ghassan was represented and had an establishment situated in the neighbourhood of the Kaba, a privilege granted by reason of their being hulafa or affiliates of the Qurashi clan of Banu Asad.Christians from Hira as well as Syria frequented the place.While Christian Arab tribes of the peninusla maintained representatives, like the Banu Ijl of Yamajma and Hira, whose representative Furat ibn Hayyan was halif to the qurajhshi clan of Sahm.

 

... among the slaves of the Meccan merchant class there were Christians.These must have been Syrians, since those transported across the Red Sea wree pagan Kushites or Bantu, for the Christian Axumites, the ruling class would hardly enslave their own people.Among slaves from Syria mentioned by Ibn Ishaq was Zaid ibn Haritha, freedman and mentioned and adopted son of Muhammad.Slaves would naturally retain their attachment to Christianity since they were excluded from the cults of the ruling class."

 

NOTEZaid's was Muhammad's adopted son, and as Trimingham stated, slaves kept their attachment to their faiths.Perhaps Muhammad also learned Christian material from Zaid - his adopted son who lived with him.Ya think?

 

-----

 

Sai wrote:

[[[To sum up, as brother Rice had already said, Silas is good only in making the arguments which are unsubstantiated. He claims something but he can't show the evidence for it. And of course, repeat it again and again hoping that some one will believe in it.]]]

 

 

†††††††††††††† Well, the proof has been presented time and time again.The problem is that like little children, who cannot or will not learn, I have to repeat it over and over.Hello, the light's on, but nobody is home.What's it gonna take?

 

†††††††††††††† Your own Quran, Hadith, and Sira testify to the presence of Christians in Mecca.Your own scholars wrote about their activities in missionary work.And, as an ostritch sticks its head in the sand when it is fearful, you plunge blind in bogus arguments, to hide from the evidence.YOUR OWN BOOKS ESTABLISH THE CHRISTIAN AND JEWISH PRESENCE IN MECCA.WHY DO I, A CHRISTIAN HAVE TO TEACH YOU YOUR OWN BOOKS?

 

 

 

SAIíS RESPONSE TO MY POST ABOVE

 

 

Subject: Re: Muhammad borrowing ideas?
From: abu_asad@my-deja.com
Date: 2/19/00 3:08 AM Eastern Standard Time
Message-id: <88lj1l$3uu$1@samba.rahul.net>

In article <88fsmo$h2j$1@samba.rahul.net>,
silas778@aol.com (SILAS778) wrote:

Assalamu-alaikum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

Since Silas has busied himself explaining away things instead of
providing the evidence, I have to cut short the material. The issue here is where exactly is the evidence that some Jew or Christian taught Muhammad(P)? For that Silas tried to show that there were some Christians in Makkah. Showing some Christians in Makkah does not amount to showing that they taught the Prophet(P). If he can't figure out this difference, I do not see any point arguing with him.

Your own Quran, Hadith, and Sira testify to the presence of
Christians in Mecca. Your own scholars wrote about their activities in missionary work. And, as an ostritch sticks its head in the sand when it is fearful, you plunge blind in bogus arguments, to hide from the evidence. YOUR OWN BOOKS ESTABLISH THE CHRISTIAN AND JEWISH PRESENCE IN MECCA. WHY DO I, A CHRISTIAN HAVE TO TEACH YOU YOUR OWN BOOKS?

Sure, they do but they do not say that Christianity was so wide-spread
as you are trying to claim. Presence of a few Jews and Christians does not automatically take us to the conclusion that they taught the Prophet (P). So, you might as well see your bogus argument now.

And by the way, our own books do not say that the Prophet(P) was taught
by anyone. The Qur'an makes an argument to this issue by simply looking at the fact that the guy in question talks a strange language but the Qur'an is in Arabic. In a tribal society, the relationships are close enough to be able to determine one's own movements. Hence it is easier to get caught.

Couple of days ago, I was reading some books dealing with Christianity
in Arabia. Interestingly, what is mentioned is that we have no clue about the nature of Christianity in Arabia and in parts of the Middle East. The sheer number of Christians sects (Monophysites, Jacobites, Melkites, Julianism et al. commonly clubbed as Syriac Christians) makes us impossible to identifiy the precise religious beliefs that were held in various parts of Middle East and Arabia. This has lead some of the authors to conclude that there might have a Jewish-Christian sect in the parts of Arabia where the Prophet(P) preached.

In conclusion, if Silas brings an evidence to show the source of
Prophet's taught, I would continue the discussion or else this may well be the last word from my side, inshallah.

Wassalam
Saifullah



MY RESPONSE TO SAIíS POST ABOVE

 

 

I'm an armchair metallurgist, and I believe that one should strike when the fire is hot. I'm also an armchair chef, and I believe that if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

 

†††††††††††††† In my previous post, I asked Sai a simple question:

 

{{{ So Sai, simple question: do you agree that there were Gospel materials available in Arabic to people living in the Hijaz? Or is the Hadith wrong or mistranslated?}}}

 

†††††††††††††† Sai didn't answer.Indeed, I see him walking down the hallway towards the back door...

 

[[[In conclusion, if Silas brings an evidence to show the source of Prophet's taught, I would continue the discussion or else this may well be the last word from my side, inshallah.]]]

 

†††††††††††††† Sai's refusal to answer the simple question speaks volumes. If anyone has followed the well written articles on his site, you know that Sai has gone to lengths to minimize or even exclude the possibility that Muhammad learned anything of Christianity and Judaism from the people with whom he came into contact.He goes so far as to deliberately exclude certain Hadith that plainly state that there were Gospel materials written in Arabic.

 

Why?

 

†††††††††††††† Why is Sai unwilling to document the whole truth about Christianity in Arabia?Because if he were to list all the evidence, documented in Islamic source material, it would establish that Muhammad had no option but to come into contact with many people who knew Christian teachings / folklore / doctrine.

 

-----

 

Sai wrote:

[[[The issue here is where exactly is the evidence that some Jew or Christian taught Muhammad?For that Silas tried to show that there were some Christians in Makkah. Showing some Christians in Makkah does not amount to showing that they taught the Prophet.]]]

 

 

Previously on SRI, I've posted, several times, the following:

 

"Ibn Ishaq also provides some additional details of Muhammad speaking with Christians (or Jews - see the original article I wrote).Here is the quote from page 180:

 

"According to my information the apostle used often to sit at al-Marwa at the booth of a young Christian called Jabr (2), a slave of B. al-Hadrami and they used to say "The one who teaches Muhammad most of what he brings is Jabr the Christian, slave of the B. al-Hadrami."Then God revealed in reference to their words "We well know that they say, "Only a mortal teaches him"."The tongue of him at whom they hint is foreign, and this is a clear Arabic tongue. (3)

 

 

D. S. Margoliouth wrote in "Muhammad and the Rise of Islam", page 106:[comments in () brackets are mine]

 

†††††††††††††† "The needs of his (Muhammad's) profession do not appear to have made him actually a student - yet there is no question that as the Koran grew in bulk, its knowledge of biblical stories became somewhat more accurate:and thought this greater degree of accuracy may have at times been due to the Prophet's memory, it is more likely that he took such opportunities as offered of acquiring more information.The following story gives us an idea of his method.Jabr, a client of the Banu ' Abd al Dar, was a Jew (1) who worked as a smith in Meccah.He and Yasr (also a Jew) used to sit together at their trade and in the course of their work read out their sacred book the Prophet used to pass by and listen.Presently Jabr was converted by hearing the Prophet read the Surah of Joseph (2).It has been suggested that some of the Christian matter in the Koran may have been learned from an early follower named Suhaib, who was a Greek from Mosul (3).The tradition names more than one person who was thought by the Meccans to be the Prophet's mentor, and the Koran even refutes this charge by stating that the person to whom they allude had a foreign tongue, and could not therefore be the author of an Arabic Koran.Perhaps that reply is unconvincing; but the impression which the Koran leaves is that of information picked up casually rather than acquired by any sort of methodical study (4).In a Surah delivered at Medinah in which the story of Saul should be told, Saul's name is mutilated to Talut, clearly a jingle with Galut, the nearest that the Prophet could get to Goliath:the name of Samuel is forgotten, he is confused with Gideon, and the story of Gideon is told wrongly.This phenomenon almost disposes of the theory of a mentor, for no mentor could be so ignorant of the Bible.Moreover the sources of the Koran are very numerous - Abyssinian, and Syriac, as was as Hebrew and Greek (5)So far then as the biblical tales of the Koran were not reproductions of matter heard by Muhammad on his early travels, they are likely to have been all picked up by listening when services or Bible readings were going on.

 

Margoliouth's notes:

(1)Or a Christian; the Moslems are careless about distinguishing.

(2)Isabah, i., 452; Wakidi (W.), 349

(3)Loth in Z. D. M. G., xxxv., 621

(4)Noldeke, Sketches, c. ii

(5)The best evidence for this is the form assumed by the proper names.Syc, Die Eigennamen im Koran, 1903, does scant justice to this theme.[5]

 

END OF QUOTE

 

†††††††††††††† So, the Islamic source material records that Muhammad indeed spent time with Jews or Christians.

 

†††††††††††††† Further, read Margoliouth's statement.It is one of the best statements on the subject I've read.The last sentence clearly states my position:"So far then as the biblical tales of the Koran were not reproductions of matter heard by Muhammad on his early travels, they are likely to have been all picked up by listening when services or Bible readings were going on."

 

†††††††††††††† And, as the quote listed on Sai's site states,

 

†††††††††††††† "The big difference between Christianity and Judaism is that Christianity unlike Judaism didn't have any bases in Hijaz , Christianity was an external source of enlightenment echoed in Hijaz either by missionary activities form Ethiopia, Syria and Iraq or from Alheerah's Christian centres; dair Hind al-Kubra [the order of Hind al-Kubra] - Um Amro al-Mundhir [the order of Um Ammro] - Dair Hind al-Sugra [the order of Hind al-Sugra]) or from some of the scattered churches in Bahrain, al-Yamamah and Yemen."

 

†††††††††††††† If there were missionary activities in the Hijaz, certainly they would be occurring in Mecca.Muhammad could have easily listened in on them or spoke with the Christians who came through or lived in Mecca.

 

†††††††††††††† You see, it is not a question of Muhammad obtaining a formal Christian education, i.e. going to some Christian center, sitting down, and listening to teaching.The source material doesn't say that.Instead, through normal everyday contact, rubbing shoulders with various Christians, Jews, Pagans, etc., Muhammad learned about Judaism and Christianity.

 

†††††††††††††† In fact, the Islamic sources bear witness to the quality of the learning Muhammad received.Who did he learn from?Slaves for one.These were not Christian scholars.And what does the Quran tell us about Muhammad's knowledge of Christianity?It tells us that Muhammad didn't know much, and some of what he did state about Christianity was inaccurate.

 

†††††††††††††† Muhammad had poor teachers, thus the Quran is poor in speaking about Christianity.

 

†††††††††††††† Look at the mess the Quran is in when dealing with Christianity.You've got Apocryphal tales, errors about Mary being Aaron's sister, errors about the doctrine of the trinity, no dates, etc..My goodness, how could "allah" do such a lousy job in addressing Christianity?

 

†††††††††††††† Don't you think "allah" could have done a better job?

 

†††††††††††††† "allah" was limited because Muhammad's knowledge was limited.

 

†††††††††††††† We have in the Quran exactly what one would expect from someone repeating from memory stories he learned from others who were not very knowledgeable:†† confusion, inaccuracy, lack of detail.

 

†††††††††††††† All of this evidence shows that Muhammad really didn't know what he was talking about.And it certainly shows that God didn't reveal Christianity to Muhammad.

 

-----

 

†††††††††††††† Regarding the presence of Christians and Jews in the Hijaz, Sai wrote:

[[[Sure, they do but they do not say that Christianity was so wide-spread as you are trying to claim. Presence of a few Jews and Christians does not automatically take us to the conclusion that they taught the Prophet.†† So, you might as well see your bogus argument now.]]]

 

†††††††††††††† There were more than a few.Christianity was both within and without the Hijaz.There were large Christian tribes in Arabia that bordered the Hijaz.Muhammad could not have gone north, south, east or west without running into them.Muhammad could not have even carried on business in Mecca without running into them.In fact, Muhammad had Christian relatives, and an adopted Christian son - as Trimingham wrote:

 

"Among slaves from Syria mentioned by Ibn Ishaq was Zaid ibn Haritha, freedman and mentioned and adopted son of Muhammad.Slaves would naturally retain their attachment to Christianity since they were excluded from the cults of the ruling class."

 

†††††††††††††† Do you honestly believe that Muhammad learned nothing about Christian during his first 40 years +?His own family comprised people who were Christians.Yet you portray Muhammad like the 3 monkeys:hear no Christianity, speak no Christianity, see no Christianity.

 

†††††††††††††† Not even I think Muhammad was that vapid and oblivious to life in the Hijaz.

 

-----

 

Sai wrote:

And by the way, our own books do not say that the Prophet was taught by anyone.The Qur'an makes an argument to this issue by simply looking at the fact that the guy in question talks a strange language but the Qur'an is in Arabic.In a tribal society, the relationships are close enough to be able to determine one's own movements.Hence it is easier to get caught.

 

†††††††††††††† I'm aware of the Quran's position.Kermit the frog speaks highly of Jim Henson.And, just because the slaves that interfaced with Muhammad spoke a different native language, it doesn't mean that they couldn't have learned basic Arabic.After all, they were slaves owned by Arab masters.They would have learned Arabic just to function.As Margoliouth stated:

 

"the Koran even refutes this charge by stating that the person to whom they allude had a foreign tongue, and could not therefore be the author of an Arabic Koran.Perhaps that reply is unconvincing; but the impression which the Koran leaves is that of information picked up casually rather than acquired by any sort of methodical study (4)."

 

-----

 

Sai wrote:

Couple of days ago, I was reading some books dealing with Christianity in Arabia.Interestingly, what is mentioned is that we have no clue about the nature of Christianity in Arabia and in parts of the Middle East.The sheer number of Christians sects (Monophysites, Jacobites, Melkites, Julianism et al. commonly clubbed as Syriac Christians) makes us impossible to identify the precise religious beliefs that were held in various parts of Middle East and Arabia.This has lead some of the authors to conclude that there might have a Jewish-Christian sect in the parts of Arabia where the Prophet preached.

 

†††††††††††††† This has no bearing on the discussion at all.The issue is Muhammad learning about other religions and including that knowledge as part of his Quran.Even if they were Jewish converts from a Buddhist background it wouldn't matter.

 

†††††††††††††† And, BTW, I've already written that Trimingham- from a book you quote on your own site, provides excellent detail concerning the types of Christians located in the Arab world.We do know that Southeast of Muhammad were the Najran Christians.They had an affiliation with the Byzantines.The Ethiopians were due West.North was Syria / Palestine, Northeast was Persia and there were Christian groups living in Persia.The canons of Scripture that these churches used were not the same in every detail, but they all contained the same basic books:the four Gospels and the Pauline letters.And each of these canons contradict the Quran.

 

 

†††††††††††††† In sum, the Islamic evidence shows that Christianity existed in and around the Hijaz.Interfacing with Christianity was unavoidable and in support, the evidence shows that Muhammad interfaced with Christians.†† During normal discourse, a man interested in religious themes as Muhammad was would have dialoged with these Christians, would have listened to them teach their doctrines, would have seen them in action as Christians.Muhammad learned about Christianity through everyday life: it was inevasible.

 

†††††††††††††† Jesus said that false prophets would come into the world and deceive many.Being deceived by a false prophet does not bring Paradise, it brings hellfire.

 


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