Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Prophet Muhammad Is Not An Israelite


An anonymous reader has copied and pasted a long diatribe in my article, The Jewish and Malay Connection: The Lost Tribes of Israel.  He asked me to read with an open heart.  “If you don’t like, don't read,” he wrote.

Well, I read and appreciate all comments in my blog, including the long tirade from an author who appears to have an issue with the Government of Malaysia.  Since I don’t write political blog, however, I choose not to respond to his long political ranting cloaked under the garment of history.

But when he said something odd about the Prophet, I felt obliged to respond.  He wrote:

…having looked at the history of Prophet Muhammad (BTW, real name Ahmad) we couldn’t figure out which descendant line The Sultan of Perlis was. Perhaps it was by the name Syed, which transcended. Then we would ask which of the 13 official wives named in the Holy Koran? or was he a descendant from the other 23 names of the non-wives? Of the 13 were (at least known) 3 Israeli women. Then you would also ask yourself, isn’t Prophet Muhammad an Israeli himself? The answer is clear. All descendants of Moses are Israeli. In fact, the Holy Koran teaches that Moses was the First Muslim. Thus confirming all descendants to be Israeli, including Jesus and Prophet Muhammad...[emphasis mine]

First, as if he knows better than the rest, he said that the real name of Prophet Muhammad is Ahmad. 

By his own admission, he was not writing about religion.  Thus, he did not substantiate his claim.  I was tickled, however, by the phrase BTW, meaning, by the way

Now, we use BTW only when we want to point out to the truth which eludes others.  In effect, he was saying that the rest of the people, including the most knowledgeable among Muslims, have been ignorant of the fact that Muhammad is not actually Muhammad, but Ahmad, because his real name is Ahmad. 

Let’s consider a few facts here. 

In the Quran, the name Muhammad is mentioned at least four times, but Ahmad is mentioned only once.  A whole surah or chapter is named after Muhammad, none after Ahmad. 

When the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, was born, he was named Muhammad.  When he grew up, people called him Muhammad.  When he became adult, people called him Muhammad, adding the title al Amin, the truthful, or the one who never lies, to him.  When he became the Prophet, his followers called him Muhammad the Messenger of God, and his enemies called him Muhammad the Troublemaker.  From the time he died until this very day, everybody calls him Muhammad.  Hardly anyone calls him Ahmad.

Furthermore, when we do salawat (salutation) to our Prophet, it is always Muhammad, never Ahmad.  When we say Shahadah, either in prayer (salat) or in supplication (dua), it is the name Muhammad which is invoked, not Ahmad. 

When the non Muslims want to convert to Islam, they have to take the Shahadah (Testimony).  In the Shahadah, having testified that God is but one, they have to testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.  None uses the name Ahmad in Shahadah.

In spite of all that, apparently his real name is not Muhammad, but Ahmad. 

If it is always Muhammad, and never Ahmad, why the Quran bothers to use this particular name to refer to the Prophet at all?

Because that name is used only in relation to the prophecy made by Jesus, who said that a prophet will come after him, who will speak the whole truth with clear evidences, but people would call him a sorcerer (Quran 61:6).  Jesus called that Prophet Ahmad.  He was none other than Muhammad.

Now, Muhammad means praiseworthy and Ahmad means most praiseworthy.  We have no problem if one were to call the Prophet as Ahmad.  But to say “BTW his real name is Ahmad” is to suggest that everyone else is ignorant of this simple fact, including the most knowledgeable among them. 

The truth is that there is nothing unreal about the name Muhammad.  In fact, this is the name he is known in all literatures (no doubt with variant spellings if not Arabic literatures), the name used in salutations, prayers, invocations, and the name used when one is taking the Testimony to become Muslim.  One who claims otherwise only shows his ignorance of the highest degree.

Second, the unnamed author was likewise shooting in the dark when he said that the Prophet has 13 official wives and 23 non wives.  By non wives, he probably meant bondmaids, concubines, or slave girls.  But the Prophet only has twelve wives, or according to some, thirteen.  These thirteen would include one Jewish slave girl, Rayhanah, whom he divorced. 

Of these twelve, ten are Arabs, one is Egyptian (Mariya the Coptic) and the remaining one is Jewish (Safiya Huyayy).  At most, if Rayhanah is included and thereby the total would be thirteen, there would only be two Jewesses, not three. 

Three of his wives, or four if Rayhanah is included, are married in less conventional way.  Mariya the Egyptian was a gift by Muqawqis or Viceroy of Egypt.  Juwariya al Harith, an Arab, was a prisoner of war.  So was Safiya Huyayy, a prisoner of war after the Battle of Khaybar.  

Still, by most authentic accounts, the Prophet is said to marry them properly, except for Rayhanah Zayd, a Jewess prisoner of Bani Qurayzah.  There is a dispute whether she was properly married by the Prophet, or remained as a slave girl. 

Only these are known to be the Prophet’s spouses.  There is no such thing as 23 non wives, as alleged.  He could have 230 non wives if he wanted to, except that he didn’t.  After all, Prophet Solomon is known to have 700 wives and 300 concubines, making them 1,000 in total.

Finally, the unnamed author was also dead wrong when he said that Muhammad is an Israelite.  The Prophet never identifies himself as such. The Israelites are descended from Prophet Jacob, whose nickname is Israel.  Jacob was the grandson of Prophet Abraham.  He was the son of Prophet Isaac, and the twin brother of Esau.

It is true that Moses is an Israelite, but he belongs to only one of its twelve tribes.  He is a Levite, having descended from Levi (Lawi), one of the 12 sons of Israel.  Moses is not the progenitor of the Israelite.  Their progenitor or their ancestor is Prophet Jacob, who is also known as Israel.

Moses is a Muslim, no doubt about it.  But that is only because all prophets are by definition Muslims.  Adam is a Muslim, so are Noah and Abraham, and Jesus too. 

Jesus is also an Israelite, but the Bible says that he descends through the line of Judah (Yahuda or Yahuza, hence Yahudi in Malay and Arabic), whose name giving rise to the nomenclature, the Jew.  He is not from the line of Moses, but from the line of King David.  King David is a descendant of Judah.  Whether the Bible is correct or not, that is a matter of dispute.

As for Muhammad, he specifically mentions that he is an Ishmaelite Arab, having descended from Prophet Ishmael, the oldest son of Prophet Abraham.  He is not Israelite.   He is not a descendant of Moses, as the unnamed author suggested.  He is only related to them because the Israelites are descended from Jacob.  Jacob is Prophet Ismail’s nephew, or more correctly half nephew, since Prophet Isaac, the father of Jacob, is Prophet Ismail’s half-brother.

Now, I am not interested in the unnamed author’s arguments on Malay history, as posted by anonymous reader in the comment section of my blog.  He seems to have an issue to score with the Malaysian Government’s policy.  But when he writes rubbish about Seerah, I am obliged to put the facts straight.


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7 comments:

  1. SM, I'm behind you on this and appreciate your effort in putting the facts straight. Disregarding mr/ms anonymous' arrogant ignorant comments is tantamount to colluding with it.

    -tsz

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  2. it appears to me that the unnamed author never studies the Seerah.

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  3. I guess he doesn't. Even if he does, his knowledge is skewed, and his arrogance is misplaced.

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  4. I have a question. i didn't understand. if moses was isrealite so how come that muhammad isn't isrealite? can you say someone's ancestor is isrealite but he is not himself?

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    1. Perhaps you didn't read my second last chapter properly. Now common term used in the Quran for Israelite is Bani Israel. I am sure you know that our Prophet Muhammad is not from Bani Israel.

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