"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


So you might recall my post back in August when I discussed The History of Islam on democracy. Well, I started reading a bit more in this book today. Yeah, it's really slow going. It's not that the book (well, volumes) are boring, but I just have been reading other things. I find these good to read when I am on the treadmill since they are hardback and fit well on the handles. Lately I've been walking outside so I haven't read in this book lately. So anyway, today I did. Chapter 2 is on Muhammad and it's a looooooooooooooong chapter. Like from pages 87 to 255. I didn't read but part of it or I'd still be on that treadmill reading even 4 hours later!

Here are a few interesting tidbits.

First, why reading books about Arabs sometimes becomes tedious to me. Here is one sentence in the early part of this chapter.

"Waraqah bin Naufal bin Asad bin Abdul-Uzza, Uthman bin Al-Huwairith bin Asad and Zaid bin Amr bin Nafil-the uncle of Umar bin Khattab, and Ubaidullah bin Jahsh assembled at a place and began to think over their beliefs and actions." (pg. 87)

I hope y'all understand what I mean. If it said "Steve, Joe, Rick, Mike, Dan, Sam and his uncle Caleb got together to think," I could handle it better.

Now keep in mind we got these volumes given to us at an Islamic bookstore in Damascus, OK? You can even click here and see where we got them, from whom and their home now on my bookshelf in North Carolina.

This from page 93, speaking of the Arab prophet:

His mother had dreamt an angel telling her that the baby to be born had been named Ahmad. Thus she named him Ahmad, while Abdul-Muttalib named his grandson Muhammad. According to the report of Abul-Fida, when the people asked Abdul-Muttalib as to why he gave his grandson a new name, setting aside all the names current in his family, he replied, "It is because I have a longing that my grandson should be praised and commended by one and all in the world."

Now I think this grandfatherly pride is sweet and very understandable, but I found it a bit weird that Muhammad's mom supposedly dreamed the baby's name and she "obeyed" the angel, but the grandfather overrode the angel. Kind of interesting. I immediately thought of instances in the Bible where angels from God or God Himself named babies -- like Ishmael, Isaac, John the Baptist and Jesus. This example reminded me most of John the Baptist. Luke records that the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and told him his wife Elizabeth would have a son whom they should name John.

59On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called John."

61They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who has that name."

62Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, "His name is John."

You see the people even questioned this name due to lack of family connection just as they did Muhammad's. However both parents were in agreement that his name was to be John.

Last thing of note so far is that Muhammad had very little time with his mom in his early years. Yes, she died when he was only about 6, but get this: "According to the custom of the Arab nobles, on the eighth day he was entrusted to lady Halimah of the Banu Sa'd clan of the Hawazin tribe to suckle him and bring him up. The nobles of Arabia would entrust their babies to bedouin women so that they would become healthy and strong in the open and free climate of the desert. Besides it would help develop eloquent speech, because the language of the bedouin was more pure, graceful and eloquent than those living in urban areas." (pg. 94) According to this book, Muhammad was only brought twice yearly to visit his mother and grandmother.

For some reason I found that interesting. I never knew babies were given to bedouins to raise in the desert nor would I expect nomadic wanderers to have more eloquent speech than those in urban areas. Cultural things are so interesting, huh?

Yes, I know...I pick out strange things to share sometimes. :-)


Stacy aka Fahiima said...

I think that you chose a great topic to study, although I too know that the hadith literature can be very tedious. As far as Muhammad's name is concerned, I think that Ahmed and Muhammad are basically considered the same name because they are both derived from the same verbal root. In the same way, the names Yehoshua (Joshua) and Yeshua (Jesus) are variations of the same name.

Susanne said...

Oh, that's interesting. Yes, I think I remember they have the same or similar meaning. Maybe grandfather preferred the longer name. ;) Thanks for pointing that out to me, Stacy.


Achelois said...

Well, Bedouin eloquent speech clears up a lot of confusion now, doesn't it? :)