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Historical Distortions by the Christians

Historical Distortions by the Christians

Historical Distortions by the Christians

Some Orientalists have distorted the event of Mu¦ammad's encounter with Ba¦¢r¡, claiming that during this visit, Mu¦ammad learned the teachings of the Torah and the Gospel.[1] Will Durant, rather subtly, refers to this event:

“When Mu¦ammad was twelve years old, his uncle Ab£-±¡lib took him with a caravan to Bu¥r, a city in Damascus. He probably learned some aspects of Judaism and Christianity during this journey.”[2]

To answer these irrational claims and distortions, the following points should be considered:

(1) Historians unanimously acknowledge that Mu¦ammad (¥) was illiterate.

(2) At that time, he was less than thirteen years old.

(3) The interval between this visit and his prophethood was a long time.

(4) His meeting with Ba¦¢r¡ was rather short; it included the monk’s questions and Mu¦ammad's replies. How would it be possible to imagine that an illiterate boy within a short period of time could have learned the aspects of Judaism and Christianity so well that he could have presented it as a complete religion at the age of forty?

(5) Had Mu¦ammad (¥) learnt anything from the monk, the aggressive and excuse-seeking Quraysh would have used it against him. However, there is no sign of this aggression against him in the history of Islam. Quoting Quraysh's accusations and answering them, the Qur'¡n does not make any reference to such an event.

(6) If such a thing were correct, how come those people on the caravan did not refer to it?

p(7) If such an account were correct, why did Christian natives of Damascus not claim at that time that they had been Mu¦ammad's instructors?

(8) If this claim were correct, Islamic teachings would be the same as those of the Torah and the Gospel. However, these teachings are not only contradictory, but also most of the Jewish and Christian ideas and teachings of the Torah and the Gospel have been rejected by the Holy Qur'¡n.[3] Once, `Umar ibn al-Kha§§¡b asked the Holy Prophet to let him write down the narrations which he had heard from the Jews. The Holy Prophet remarked,

“Are you confused in your own religion like the Jews and the Christians? I have brought you this holy and luminous religion. If Moses were alive, he would follow my way now.”[4]

In Medina, where a great number of Jews used to live, Mu¦ammad (¥) used to show his disagreements in many religious plans and orders with the Jews[5] so much so that they used to say “This man wants to disagree with us in all of our programs.”[6]

Constan Virgil Giorgio, a Christian who desired to spread lies against Islam, has narrated the event with so many distortions and illogical details that his account is not only contrary to any standard of thinking but also in disharmony with the claims of the Christians themselves. He writes:

“Ibn Hush¡m, an Arab narrator, writes: Contrary to people's beliefs, Ba¦¢r¡ was not Christian; he was Manichean, a follower of a man called Mani who claimed prophethood at the time of the Sasanids. Bahram I, the Sasanid King, ordered him to be crucified across the entrance of Gondi Shapur in Khuzestan in 276 AD. Mani and his followers, including Ba¦¢r¡, believed that God is not in the monopoly of a specific nation; rather, he belonged to men all over the world. This is because all the world nations belong to Him and God will send a prophet to a nation to speak with the people in their own language whenever He wishes so.”[7]

By the name Ibn Hush¡m, the writer most probably refers to `Abd al-Malik ibn Hush¡m (213 AH), the author of the famous book al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah, one of the significant documents of the history of Islam. However, there is neither any mention of the word Manichean relating to this issue in Ibn Hush¡m's book nor in any older Islamic sources. This man is introduced as either Christian or even rarely Jew. Now the question is: How did Giorgio get this information?

Furthermore, Manichaeism did not have any follower in Damascus; the center for Manichaeism was Iran. In the word of a scholar, Manichaeism is ascribed to Ba¦¢r¡ for purpose of establishing that Islam has imitated the uniqueness of God and the universalism of Islam from Manichaeism. During the last centuries, Islam has been confronted with similar issues. It is not important for the accusers to ascribe the most advanced form of thoughts to the weakened religions because these old religions do not have genuine followers to be proud of. Islam stands so high that the world of Christianity even centuries after the Crusade campaigns, still worries about the expansion of Islam and tries helplessly to de-emphasize Islam's glories.[8]

[1] Gustav Le Bon, The Islamic And Arab Civilization, pp. 101, Ignáz Goldziher, Doctrine and Law in Islam, pp. 25; Mu¦ammad Ghazz¡l¢, Trial of Goldziher the Zionist, pp. 47; Karl Brockleman, History of Muslim Peoples, pp. 34; Treason in Historical Accounts 1:220-225

[2] Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, pp. 207.

[3] Qur’¡n 4:47,51,171; 5:72-73; 9:630.

[4] Shaykh `Abb¡s al-Qumm¢, Saf¢nat al-Bi¦¡r 2:727; Ibn al-Ath¢r, al-Nih¡yah f¢ Ghar¢b al-¦ad¢th wa’l-Athar 5:282.

[5] Murta¤¡ al-`ªmil¢, al-¯a¦¢¦ mi S¢rat al-Ras£l al-A`¨am, pp. 106.

[6] °alab¢, op cit, 2:332.

[7] Mu¦ammad, a prophet who should be re-evaluated, pp. 5. This book includes weak points, errors and distortions which decrease the scientific value of its content. The style of the translator, too, is quite peculiar; see Nashr D¡nish Magazine, eighth year, Issue, 2, pp. 52, Article: a phenomenon called Zabihollah Mansuri, written by Karim Emami.

[8] Mu¦ammad, the last of the prophets 1:188, the article of Sayyid Ja`far Shah¢d¢. Some contemporary Iranian historians have raised some doubts on the issue of the Holy Prophet’s visit to Ba¦¢r¡, such doubts and disturbances should be taken care of. We shouldn’t that even if we superficially believe that this visit has not taken place, nothing is taken away from the grandeur of the Holy Prophet, because there were numerous other predictions of the coming prophet beside Ba¦¢r¡. The reason why we have brought up the claims of the Orientalists here is to show that they have used this issue to make some distortions in the history of Islam.

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