Refutation Of Arthur Jeffery's "Was Muhammad A Prophet From His Infancy?"

Muhammad Mohar Ali[1]
Ph.D (London), Barrister-at-Law
PROFESSOR OF THE HISTORY OF ISLAM
CENTER FOR THE SERVICE OF SUNNAH AND SIRAH
ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY, MADINAH

Excerpted from Sirat Al-Nabi and the Orientalists: With Special Reference to the Writings of William Muir, D.S. Margoliouth and W. Montgomery Watt , Vol. IA (1st ed., 1997), Chapter XIV, pp. 203-215. Compiled/Edited by Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi.

(This chapter excerpt is slightly modified from the original — Ed.)

Margoliuth has been followed in his arguments and conclusions[2] by many a subsequent writer. Mention may be made, however, of Arthur Jeffery who, some quarter of a century after the appearance of Margoliuth’s work, harnessed the orientalists’ arguments on this question in an article captioned: “Was Muhammad a Prophet from His Infancy.”[3] Jeffery starts with the observation that the whole question of Muhammad’s(P) immunity from idolatry in his early life is “an exceedingly foolish one”, for it is “obvious to any instructed intelligence that every prophet before his call has followed the religion of his people, and that an infant prophet would be psychologically a monstrousity.” [4] Thus castigating the Muslim attitude on the subject Jeffery forestalls the objections that might be raised to the traditions he cites by saying that the Muslim criticism of tradition concerned itself “solely with the examination of the sanad ” and paid “very little attention to the matn or substance of tradition itself”; but attention to the latter yields “astonishingly fruitful results”. Hence modern scholarship treats concentration on isn?d alone as worthless. He further says that as in the cases of Jesus, Buddha or even Alexander, there grew an idealizing tendency in the case of Muhammad(P) too at a subsequent period giving rise to many such traditions. “It is thus precisely those traditions which are farthest from this idealizing tendency which are a priori the most likely to be genuine.” For, these could not have been invented “after the idealizing process had started” and they would in all likelihood have been suppressed at that time “had they not been old and unquestionably authentic.” [5] He further says that the Qur’?nic passage 93:6-7 shows that Allah found Muhammad(P) “in a false religion” and then guided him to the true one and that his whole attitude in the Qur’?n is that of a man who has forsaken the old religion of his people and is pressing on them the necessity of embracing a new and better religion. Jeffery then enumerates the following six reasons in support of his view:

(i) In his Kit?b al-Bad’ wa al-Tar?kh Al-Maqdis? gives a tradition on the authority of Qat?dah[6] which says that the first son whom Khadijah (r.a.) “bore to the Prophet in the Jahiliyya was named by him ‘Abd Manaf, i.e. Servant of Man?f”. Man?f was the name of an ancient and at one time important idol of Makka. And since Muhammad (P) “after his assumption of the prophetic office” took care to change “the names of those of his followers which were reminiscent of the old paganism”, it is obvious “that he would not have named his first-born ‘Abd Man?f had he been at that time following the ‘religion of Abraham’ which he later professed”.[7]

(ii) Prior to his prophethood he married three of his daughters to three idolatrous husbands (two to Ab? Lahab’s two sons and the eldest to ‘Ab? al-‘?s ibn Rab?); and at that time “there was no consciousness on the part of anyone of any differences between the religion of Muhammad and that of his Meccan contemporaries.”[8]

(iii) Referring to the Prophet’s arbitration in setting the Black Stone to its place at th time of rebuilding the Ka’ba, Jeffery says that the fact that Muhammad(P) took part in the rebuilding of the Ka’ba, the “House of that al-L?t, al-‘Uzz? and Man?t” against whom he later “fulminated in the Qur’?n” shows that he was then “following peacefully the religion of his people”.[9]

(iv) Jeffery cites the tradition in the Musnad (iv, 222), already referred to by Margoliuth, which speaks of a neighbour overhearing the Prophet’s statement to his wife refusing to worship Al-L?t and Al-‘Uzz?, and the neighbour’s remark: “Those were the idols which they used to worship, and then go to bed”. Jeffery adds his own reasons for supporting Margoliuth’s interpretation of the tradition.[10] These reasons will be considered presently.

(v) Jeffery also cites the tradition in the Musnad (i, 189), also cited earlier by Margoliuth, purporting to show that Zayd ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl inspired the Prophet to abandon eating meat offered to idols.[11] Jeffery adds his own reasons which will be discussed presently.

(vi) Finally Jeferry cites also the tradition, mentioned earlier by Margoliuth, which purports to show that the Prophet once offered a sheep to Al-‘Uzz?.[12]

It may be noted that the first in these series of arguments is only a documentation of Margoliuth’s statement about the idolatrous nature of the names of some of the Prophet’s children. The arguments at (iii) about the Prophet’s role in the resetting of the Black Stone is also somewhat an extension of Margoliuth’s remarks about the Black Stone. And the points enumerated at (iv), (v) and (vi) are a reiteration of those mentioned by Margoliuth. Thus the only additional argument which may be said to be essentially Jeffery’s own is that at (ii). But since he adduces his own reasons to strengthen all these points, all of them will be taken into consideration one by one. Before doing so, however, it would be worthwhile to examine a little closely Jeffery’s preliminary remarks.

It may be noted at the outset that Jeffery somewhat inflates the proposition in order to make out his case. Muslims never do claim that Muhammad (P) was a Prophet since his infancy, as Jeffery puts it, nor do they say that the Prophet followed since his boyhood the religion of Abraham. They only say that the Prophet was free from the stain of polytheism (shirk) even in his pre-prophetic life. This is not the same thing as saying that he was a Prophet “from” his infancy. Again, Jeffery’s statement that it is “sufficiently obvious to any instructed intelligence that every prophet followed the religion of his people” is arguable. Nor is it at all “foolish” to think of a person, even though born and brought up amidst a certain religious environment, not practicing the religious rites of that religious system. Such could be more easily the case where, as in the Makkan tribal society, the performance of religious rites was more in the nature of a communal exercise than of personal practice. Indeed in such a society non-participation in the communal religious functions by any individual would be rather a passive and unobtrusive attitude on his part than any noticeable disruption in the socio-religious system. Instances are not wanting of “non-practicing Christians”, for instance, in a Christian society. And if enquiries are made about what exactly such “non-practicing” individuals believe in, many of them would be found to be in an intellectual vacuum or are atheists or marxists, though they generally pass off as normal members of their respective religious communities.

The matter goes beyond this, however. It is obvious to any instructed intelligence that in the case of many a great man the signs of his subsequent greatness were discernable even in his early life. And in so far as a great religious figure is concerned it is not at all unlikely that God sets his mind in the right direction from his boyhood. Enquiries made with persons newly embracing a monothestic religion but previously belonging to another religious community reveal that in many cases they had developed an abhorrence of the polytheistic practices of their communities and avoided those practices since an early stage of their lives. The present writer interviewed a young Bengali Hindu convert to Islam studying at the Madina Islamic University. He stated that he began to dislike and avoid the worship of idols when he was 8 or 9 years of age, embraced Islam when he was about 12 years, left home, travelled to Pakistan with the help of a benefactor and after finishing his secondary education there joined the Madina Islamic University and graduated this year (1991).[13] Another young convert to Islam, formerly belonging to a Christian family at Leicester, England, who also studied for some time at the Madina Islamic University, related to the writer a similar story of his early abstinence from the Christian forms of worship. The idea of a boy belonging to a polytheistic society yet not practicing polytheism is thus not at all “foolish” as Jeffery so confidently asserts.

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His statement about the nature of Muslim criticism of tradition also is untenable. The Muslim criticism was not concerned “solely” with the examination of isn?d; and even if that were so, that is no justification for a total dispensing with the examination of the authority on which a particular tradition purports to be based, as the orientalists seem to do. The accusation originally made by Muir and since then echoed by many including Jeffery that there was a proneness on the part of the Muslim authorities of the old to suppress any report derogatory to their Prophet is absolutely unjustifiable. There never was any attempt to suppress anything. On the contrary, the attempt was to collect and preserve anything and everything that was available and in circulation. In fact there could be no attempt as such to suppress anything; for the writing down or circulation of traditions was no centralized affair and there conceivably be no machinery to prevent an individual from writing down and transmitting a report or information he cared to collect. Suppression of anything under the circumstances was out of the question. It was because of this absence of any plan or feasibility to supervise and control the issuance of tradition, and because it was found that many spurious traditions were led of necessity to formulate criteria to distinguish the genuine from the spurious traditions. The sheer historical fact is that there was no means of controlling the issuances of traditions while there was an abundance and unbridled growth of spurious traditions. The emphasis on isn?d is an outcome of this historical fact; and it is this fact which makes it absolutely necessary to strictly examine especially those very traditions that seem to run counter to the generally accepted facts about the Prophet’s life or supply contradictory and inconsistent information on any particular point.

On the basically faulty assumption that there was a proneness on the part of the Muslims to suppress any report discreditable to their Prophet the orientalists generally go to the opposite extreme of exhibiting a proneness on their part to treat as genuine anything that appears to reflect discreditably on the Prophet. Jeffery’s statement that the traditions which are farthest from the idealising tendency are a priori the most likely to be genuine is symptomatic of this attitude. Even the existence of an idealizing tendency and th likelihood of the opposite type of traditions being genuine do not by themselves constitute sufficient grounds for doing away with any critical examination of the latter in respect of both isnad and other aspects. After all, Muslims do not readily accept the so-called idealizing traditions on the face of them without subjecting them to any test. That a little careful examination of the traditions cited by Jeffery in support of his view, in respect of both isnad and matn, reveals their weaknesses and the hazard in treating them as conclusive on the points at issue would be seen presently.

Jeffery’s first evidence is the report of Qat?dah noted by Al-Maqdis?[14] and relating to the name of the Prophet’s first born of Khadijah (r.a.). It is defective in many ways. This Qat?dah (ibn Di’?mah, d. 117/118H.) is generally considered a deceptive (mudallis) narrator who, it is further on record, quoted some thirty different persons as his informants but from whom he has never heard anything.[15] In the present instance it is not even mentioned from whom he received this particular information. More important still, there is a gap of about two hundred years between Al-Maqdis? (d. 355 H.) and Sa’?d ibn ‘Ab? ‘Urubah (d. 156/157 H.) who is said to have received the information from Qat?dah. Yet Al-Maqdis? does not mention how or through which sources he received the latter’s report. This is all the more remarkable because he mentions the book of Ibn Ish?q as the source while saying that the latter’s statement on the subject differs from that of Sa’?d ibn ‘Ab? ‘Urubah.[16] Apart from this consideration of the isnad, the text itself exhibits its weakness. Al-Maqdis? writes: “According to a report of Sa’?d ibn ‘Ab? ‘Urubah from Qat?dah she (Khadijah, r.a.) gave birth to ‘Abd Man?f for the Messenger of Allah(P) in the J?hiliyyah and she gave birth for him in Isl?m to two sons and four daughters, Al-Q?sim and ‘Abd All?h, and these two died in their childhood. And in the book of Ibn Ish?q it is stated that his two sons died in the J?hiliyyah.” [17]

Now, the most important thing to note about this text is that while it specifically states that the two sons, Al-Q?sim and ‘Abd Allah, who are said to have been born in Islam, died in their childhood, it does not say what happened to the alleged ‘Abd Man?f who is said to have been born brefore them in the J?hiliyyah. The emphasis laid on the death in childhood of the two other sons implied that the so-called ‘Abd Man?f did not so die. But history does not know of any son for the Prophet attaining age or surviving him. Hence the statement in the report is clearly a mistake or confusion on the part of the person who made or transmitted it.

That there has been some confusion or mistake appears all the clearer from the fact that in the S?rat Mughalt?y it is unequivocably stated that Khadijah (r.a.) gave birth to a son named ‘Abd Man?f (or ‘Abd All?h) for her first husband ‘At?q ibn ‘A’id.[18] The report under consideration appears to hav confused this ‘Abd Man?f as the Prophet’s first son, because he subsequently married Khadijah (r.a.). It may also be noted in this connection that Ibn ‘As?kir (d. 571) quotes a report from the same Qat?dah which says that only four sons were born to the Prophet of whom the eldest was named Al-Q?sim. [19] In this report there is no mention of ‘Abd Man?f at all.

Thus, to sum up, the report given by Al-Maqdis? on the supposed authority of Qat?dah does not agree with another of the same Qat?dah’s report on the same subject cited by Ibn ‘As?kir. Secondly, there is no mention of Qat?dah’s informants nor does Al-Maqdis? mention how he received the report said to have been transmitted by Sa’?d ibn ‘Ab? ‘Urubah who had died about a couple of centuries before him. Thirdly, the report implies that the alleged ‘Abd Man?f did not die in childhood while the other two sons of the Prophet did so. But history does not record any son of the Prophet attaining maturity or surviving him. Fourthly, Al-Maqdis?’s information is in conflict with that given by all the earlier authorities including Ibn Ish?q. It would be both arbitriary and unfair to assume that all those earlier authorities were parties to suppressing such an important fact relating to the Prophet as the existence and name of another son for him. Last but not least, if there was an eldest son other than Al-Q?sim, the Prophet’s kunya would have been “‘Ab? so-and-so” instead of ‘Ab? Al-Q?sim, for the kunya of a person was invariably after his first-born child. Even Al-Maqdis? notes that ‘Ab? Al-Q?sim was the Prophet’s kunya.[20] For all these reasons the report under discussion is not at all credible.[21]

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Jeffery’s second argument that the Prophet, before his call, had married three of his daughters to three idolatrous husbands without anyone noticing at the time any difference in his faith is equally ineffective. There was no prohibition in pre-Islamic Arab society on marriages between persons or families of different religious persuasions. That prohibition in Islam came much later on. Previously to that development such marriages took place in the Arabian society without any noticeable objections being raised or any qualms of conscience being exhibited by any quarter. For instance, the Yathribite leader Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf’s mother was a Jewess of Banu al-Nad?r, while his father, Ashraf, was a polytheist of Banu al-Nabh?n. Similarly, though Zayd ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl was a monotheist (han?f) not practising polytheism, no one objected to his son Sa’?d being married to the polytheist Al-Khatt?b’s daughter (‘Umar ibn al-Khatt?b’s sister) F?timah before the coming of Islam. Again, Waraqah ibn Nawfal, though a monotheist and a Christian, did not find any difficulty in living peacefully and as a normal member of his polytheistic family and clan. That ‘Abu Lahab and his wife persuaded their wives to disband their marriages to the Prophet’s daughters was due not really to his change as such in his religious belief, but because he openly denounced the old faith, preached a new one and summoned his people to accept it. The enmity of ‘Ab? Lahab and the others were excited by this latter aspect of the Prophet’s activities. Had he remained silent with his own faith and not attempted to change the faith of his people, no objection would perhaps have been raised against him at all, neither by ‘Ab? Lahab nor by the others. Jeffery’s argument ignores this fact and also the peculiar marital practices in pre-Islamic Arabia. It also fails to distinguish between the state of one’s silent and unobtrusive non-observance of polytheistic practices on the one hand and the state of one’s open and challenging denunciation of the popular religion coupled with the promulgation of a new faith and steps to secure converts to it, on the other.

As regards the third argument that Muhammad(P) by his arbitration and action in resetting the Black Stone participated in rebuilding the Ka’ba “the House of that al-L?t, al-‘Uzz? and Man?t” against whom he “fulminated” subsequently, Jeffery is mistaken in two ways. The Ka’ba was not the house of Al-L?t, Al-‘Uzz? and Man?t. They and their shrines were situated respectively at Ta’?f, Nakhala and Qudayd (near the Red Sea coast between Makka and Madina) though they were revered by the Quraysh.[22] Nor was the Ka’ba at Makka sanctified and revered by the Makkans and Arabs in general as the house of their idols, though a good number of them were indeed placed in and around it. In fact a number of shrines of their idols at different places also were called ka’bas, such as the Ka’ba at Najran, the Ka’ba at Sind?d (between K?fa and Basra)[23] and the Ka’ba al-Yamaniyyah at Dh? al-Khalasah[24] . In so far as the Ka’ba at Makka was concerned, however, the Arabs held it in special esteem as ascribed it to the preeminent position not as the shrine of any particular idol or as the house of their idols in general, but as the House of Allah and because of its association with the memory of Prophets Ibrah?m and Isma’?l. It was also only to this Ka’ba that the Arabs, despite their lapse into idolatry, performed ‘umrah and hajj in pursuance of the Abrahamic tradition. Hence the Prophet’s arbitration and action in re-setting the Black Stone to the Ka’ba was no participation in the building of an idol house, nor is it at all an evidence of his following at that time “peacefully the religion of his people”.

Jeffery’s fourth plea is the report of Musnad (iv, 222) which Margoliuth cites and which speaks of a neighbour’s overhearing the Prophet’s conversation with Khadijah in which he (the Prophet) refused to worship Al-L?t and Al-‘Uzz?. The faulty nature of Margoliuth’s conclusion on this report, particularly the grammatical objections to applying the neighbour’s remark “those were the idols which they used to worship and then go to bed”, to the Prophet and his wife, have been shown above. [25] Jeffery attempts to support Margoliuth’s conclusion in three ways: (a) He mistranslates the Prophet ‘s statement in the report in order to make it conform to his conclusion (b) He puts forward an excuse to avoid the grammatical objections to taking the neighbour’s remark as applying to the Prophet and his wife; and (c) he makes a few observations about the implications of the report as a whole to support his conclusion.

Jeffery translates the Prophet’s statement: (Iyya Khad?jah wa All?hu l? ‘a`budu al-L?t wal ‘Uzz?, wa All?hu l? ‘a`budu ‘abadan) as: “Oh Khad?jah: By Allah, I will not worship Al-L?t nor Al-‘Uzz?: by Allah I will not perform worship again” [26] This translation is faulty in three ways. In the first place, he renders the verb l? ‘a`budu in both places of the statement in the future tense which is contrary to the grammatical rules. It is to be noted that in this statement the verb ‘a`budu is used twice and both in the imperfect (mud?ri) form. In Arabic this form is used to mean either the present (h?l) or the future (mustaqbal) tense. But the general rule is that where in the same statement the verb occurs in the same mud?ri form, the first use is to be taken in present (h?l) tense and the second in the future (mustaqbal) tense. In addition to this general rule, this is to be so specially and invariably when there are clear indications that the second use of the verb has to be taken in the future tense. In the statement under reference, the verb ‘a`budu in the second place, is followed by the expression ‘abadan which unmistakably indicates that here the verb is in the future tense. The first use of the verb in the statement must therefore be taken to be in the present tense (h?l). On these simple rules the correct translation of the Prophet’s statement (… wa All?hu l? ‘a`budu al-L?t wal ‘Uzz? , wa All?hu l? ‘a`budu ‘abadan) would be: “By Allah, I do not worship Al-L?t and Al-‘Uzz?: by Allah I will never worship (them).” The verb in the first instance must be taken in the sense of a simple present tense because in the second instance it is earmarked as the future tense by using ‘abadan with it. And as it cannot be assumed that the Prophet was simply saying that he was at the moment not engaged in the act of worshipping these idols, the first half of the statement must be taken to be an assertion of his habit and practice and the second half as an emphatic refusal to do so in future. In other words the Prophet stated that it was not his practice to worship those idols nor would he ever worship them.

The second fault in Jeffery’s translation is his disregard or side-tracking of the meaning of l? . .. ‘abadan which stands for “never”. Instead of correctly rendering the meaning of this expression Jeffery imports, and this is the third fault of the translation, the word “again” here, translating the clause as: “I will not perform worship again”. The use of l? with ‘abadan in Arabic invariably means “never”; never does the expression mean “again”. Jeffery makes this three-fold incorrect translation?rendering the verbs in the future tense in both places, side-tracking the meaning of l? . .. ‘abadan and importing “again” in its stead?obviously to imply that while the Prophet used previously to worship those idols, he now asserted that he would henceforth not do so “again”. Such a meaning is totally unjustified by the text.

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In addition to this twisting in the translation of the text Jeffery advances an excuse to circumvent the grammatical objections to applying the last sentence of the report, the neighbour’s remark, “These were the idols which they used to worship, and then go to bed” to the Prophet and his wife by saying that a modern writer is likely to be meticulous in his use of duals and plurals “but anciently it was not so”. He further says that the whole tradition would be pointless “if it does not refer to the household of Muhammad and Khadija, and if pressed we could always argue that the plural is used to include the family.”[27]

The excuse offered by Jeffery to disregard the grammatical objections is simply poor and unacceptable. The narrators of traditions do not at all appear to be such weaklings in Arabic usage as to be careless about the rules regarding duals and plurals in verbs. Jeffery himself betrays an awareness of the weakness of his position when he says: “if pressed we could always argue that the plural is used to include the family.” Yes, the plural is used for the family, i.e. Khad?jah’s parental family or the Quraysh family in general, not the family constituted by Khad?jah or her husband on their marriage.

And this in fact brings us to Jeffery’s observations about the implications of the tradition in general. He says that the tradition raises the veil from Muhammad’s(P) domestic life for a moment and that it comes from that period in his “spiritual development when he was beginning to feel the futility of idol worship” either under the influence of “the purer religion around him” or “of those shadowy persons the Han?fs”. [28]

The tradition might be raising the veil for a moment from the domestic life of Muhammad; but it does not come from the period of his supposed particular spiritual development under the influences mentioned. For if the Prophet, after having worshipped the idols with Khad?jah for any length of time, had subsequently developed a new attitude towards them she would have been well aware of it and the conversation on the subject would have taken a different form. At least Khad?jah would not have cut short of the subject by saying “leave that Al-L?t, leave that Al-‘Uzz?” and would rather have sought some explanation for her husband’s new attitude. Nor would the Prophet have replied in the manner he did but would have used some other words indicating the reason for his new attitude, especially as he was talking to his wife. Thus the tenor and purport of the conversation make it amply clear that it took place, if at all, at the very initial stage of their marital life when the Prophet was confronted for the first time with a situation which neccessitated a statement of his attitude towards the idols. Most probably it took place when he spent the night for the first time with Khad?jah’s parental family or it was the annual occasion falling for the first time after their marriage when the Quraysh used to pay homage to those idols. This explanations of the incident having taken place at the initial stage of their married life would fit in well with everything in the report. It would agree with the correct meaning of the Prophet’s statement, as noted above, without the need for manipulating it in order to make it conform to a particular preconception. There would be no need to inpute ignorance of grammatical knowledge to the early narrators of traditions, nor would the report be otherwise pointless, as Jeffery imagines. By all canons of consideration the report must be related to a situation at the initial stage of the Prophet’s married life with Khad?jah.

In arguing that the tradition comes from a time when Muhammad began to feel the futility of idol worship Jeffery in effect admits that in so far as this particular report is concerned it shows that the Prophet henceforth did not adore the idols and ceased worshipping them. This admission, together with the fact that the incident must have taken place not long after the Prophet’s marriage with Khad?jah, invalidate Jeffery’s three previous arguments too. For, when it is recognised that the Prophet saw the futility of idol worship and ceased doing so at least since an early stage of his married life, it cannot be consistently be argued that he nonetheless named his children, when born, after the idols; nor that he, by his arbitration in resetting the Black Stone to the Ka’ba only five years prior to his call to Prophethood, participated in building a house for the idols; nor that he was still a polytheist when he gave his daughters in marriage to polytheists!

As regards the remaing two points (e & f), namely the tradition regarding Zayd ibn Amr ibn Nufayl’s refusal to partake of meat offered to idols and the tradition which alleges that the Prophet once offered a grey sheep to Al-‘Uzz?, Jeffery does not add any new argument or observation. These two traditions have already been discussed in detail; so no further discussion of them is called for.

References

[1] Professor Dr. Muhammad Mohar Ali makes mention of (and addresses) Arthur Jeffery’s article halfway through the chapter (pp. 203-214) that forms as his rebuttal to the work of the Orientalist D.S. Margoliuth on the Prophet’s early life. The choice of title for this excerpt is, therefore, our own. Refer also to the next footnote ? Ed.

[2] See Muhammad Mohar Ali, Sirat Al-Nabi and the Orientalists, Vol. IA, pp. 183 – 203 for a full treatment of Margoliuth’s allegations. The following footnotes are from the work itself ? Ed.

[3] MW., XX, 1930, 226-234. Ed. ? See also this article at Answering (Attacking-)Islam.

[4] ibid., 226

[5] ibid., 227-228

[6] Jeffery writes “al-Qatada” which is a mistake. The name is simply Qat?dah.

[7] Jeffery, op. cit. , 228-229

[8] ibid., 229-230

[9] ibid., 230-231

[10] ibid., 231-232

[11] ibid., 232-233

[12] ibid., 233-234

[13] The convert’s name is Muhammad Safiullah (his previous name was Paresh Chandra Sil), son of Sri Sukumar Chandra Sil, of village Gabua, P.O. Mankaran, Badarpur, Dist. Patuakhali.

[14] Mutahhar ibn T?hir al-Maqdis? (d. 355 H.), Kit?b al-Bad’ wa al-T?r?kh, ed. Huart, Paris, 1899, reprinted Beirut, 1916, p. 136

[15] Tahdh?b al-Tahdh?b, VIII, 351-356, especially p. 356.

[16] See the next note.

[17] Al-Maqdis?, op. cit., 139.

[18] See also Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Diy?r al-Bakr? (d. 966 H.) T?r?kh al-Kham?s, Part I. Beirut, n.d. p. 263

[19] Ibn ‘As?kir, quoted in Mughalt?y, Al-Zahr al-B?sim, MSS, Leiden Univ. Or. 370 (photocopy with Madina Islamic University), fol. 96

[20] Al-Maqdis?, op. cit.

[21] It may be noted that there is another such report emanating from Hish?m ibn ‘Urwah (d. 145/146 H.) which says that Khad?jah (r.a.) gave birth for the Prophet to two sons before Islam, named respectively ‘Abd al-‘Uzz? and Al-Q?sim but both of them died before the coming of Islam (Bukh?r?, Al-T?rikh al-Sagh?r, ed. Mahmud Ibrahim Zayd, Part I, Cairo, 1397/ 1977, p. 4). This report too is incredible on the grounds that that it is technically mu’dal , i.e. more than one of its narrators previous to Hisham ibn ‘Urwah are missing, while some of the others subsequent to him, like Ism?’?l (ibn ‘Abd All?h ibn ‘ Abd All?h ibn ‘Uways) is not dependable (see Tahdh?b al-Tahdh?b, I., pp. 310-312, No. 568).

[22] See Ibn Hish?m, I., 83-85; Ibn al-Kalb?, Kitab al-Asnam, p. 13, 16, 44; Y?q?t, Mu’jam al-Buldan, IV, 16; V, 4, 204.

[23] Ibn al-Kalb?, Kitab al-Asnam, 44-45; Ibn Hish?m, I. 83

[24] Bukh?r?, nos. 4355, 4356, 4357.

[25] Supra, pp. 196-200

[26] Jeffery, op. cit. , 231

[27] Ibid., 232

[28] Ibid., 231

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