Biography of the Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad) Seriously Mangles History. Part Two: From Birth to Marriage

Fatima
by

Damien F. Mackey

 

The ‘life’ of Mohammed will be shown to consist of, to a large extent, a string of biblical episodes (relating to, for instance, Moses; David; Job/Tobias; Jeremiah; Jesus Christ), but altered and/or greatly embellished, and re-cast into an Arabian context.

This has been achieved with the greatest of skill, conflating all of these disparate sources, and re-arranging them into a thrilling epic of literary magnificence.

 

 

The Neo-Assyrian Factor

 

Whilst it is not to be commonly expected for ancient Assyria to be discussed in the context of the Prophet Mohammed, given that the Assyrian empire had dissolved in the C7th BC, and here is Mohammed supposedly in the C7th AD, I found reason to raise this issue in Part One:

https://www.academia.edu/12500381/Biography_of_the_Prophet_Mohammed_Muhammad_Seriously_Mangles_History

Why?

Because an event that is said to have taken place in the very year that Mohammed was born, c. 570 AD, the invasion of Mecca by ‘Abraha[s] of the kingdom of Axum [Aksum], has all the earmarks, I thought, of the disastrous campaign of Sennacherib of Assyria against Israel.

Not 570 AD, but closer to 700 BC!

Lacking to this Qur’anic account is the [Book of] Judith element that (I have argued in various places) was the catalyst for the defeat of the Assyrian army. But that feminine detail is picked up, I believe, in the story of the supposedly AD heroine, Gudit (possibly Jewish), who routed the Axumites. Hence read: Gudit = Judith; and Axum can substitute for Assyria. If that famous biblical incident involving neo-Assyria is some sort of chronological marker for the very beginning of those “biblical episodes” pertaining to Mohammed (as mentioned above), then the era of king Sennacherib of Assyria must be our (revised) starting point. And, indeed, it is there that we find one who displays some striking resemblances to Mohammed: he is Tobias, the son of Tobit, who was born at this time, and whom I have identified with the prophet Job. His father Tobit tells us about this arduous time for his family, continuing on into the reign of Sennacherib’s successor, Esarhaddon (Tobit 1:18-22):

I [Tobit] also buried any whom King Sennacherib put to death when he came fleeing from Judea in those days of judgment that the king of heaven executed upon him because of his blasphemies. For in his anger he put to death many Israelites; but I would secretly remove the bodies and bury them. So when Sennacherib looked for them he could not find them. Then one of the Ninevites went and informed the king about me, that I was burying them; so I hid myself. But when I realized that the king knew about me and that I was being searched for to be put to death, I was afraid and ran away. Then all my property was confiscated; nothing was left to me that was not taken into the royal treasury except my wife Anna and my son Tobias.

But not forty days passed before two of Sennacherib’s sons killed him, and they fled to the mountains of Ararat, and his son Esarhaddon reigned after him. He appointed Ahikar, the son of my brother Hanael over all the accounts of his kingdom, and he had authority over the entire administration. Ahikar interceded for me, and I returned to Nineveh. Now Ahikar was chief cupbearer, keeper of the signet, and in charge of administration of the accounts under King Sennacherib of Assyria; so Esarhaddon reappointed him. He was my nephew and so a close relative.

Ahikar and Luqman

 

More needs to be said about the immensely important Ahikar, too, because his wisdom – for much of which he would have been indebted to his uncle Tobit – has been drawn upon in the Qur’an (http://archive.org/stream/TheStoryOfAhikar/Ahikar_djvu.txt):

….

ON THE USE OF THE LEGEND OF AHIKAR

IN THE KORAN AND ELSEWHERE.

We pass on, in the next place, to point out that the legend of Ahikar was known to Mohammed, and that he has used it in a certain Sura of the Koran.

There is nothing a priori improbable in this, for the Koran is full of Jewish Haggada and Christian legends, and where such sources are not expressly mentioned, they may often be detected by consulting the commentaries upon the Koran in obscure passages. For example, the story of Abimelech and the basket of figs, which appears in the Last Words of Baruch, is carried over into the Koran, as we have shown in our preface to the Apocryphon in question. It will be interesting if we can add another volume to Mohammed’s library, or to the library of the teacher from whom he derived so many of his legends.

The 31st Sura of the Koran is entitled Lokman (Luqman) and it contains the following account of a sage of that name.

* We heretofore bestowed wisdom on Lokman and commanded him, saying, Be thou thankful unto God: for whoever is thankful, shall be thankful to the advantage of his own soul: and if any shall be unthankful, verily God is self-sufficient and worthy to be praised. And remember when Lokman said unto his son, as he admonished him.

….

O my son, Give not a partner unto God, for polytheism is a great impiety.

♦ ♦♦♦♦♦

O my son, verily every matter, whether good or bad, though it be of the weight of a grain of mustard-seed, and be hidden in a rock, or in the heavens, God will bring the same to light: for God is clear-sighted and knowing.

O my son, be constant at prayer, and command that which is just, and forbid that which is evil, and be patient under the afflictions that shall befall thee: for this is a duty absolutely incumbent upon all men.

♦ ♦♦#♦♦

And be moderate in thy pace, and lower thy voice, for the most ungrateful of all voices surely is the voice of asses.’

♦ ♦♦#♦♦

Now concerning this Lokman, the commentators and the critics have diligently thrown their brains about. The former have disputed whether Lokman was an inspired prophet or merely a philosopher and have decided against his inspiration: and they have given him a noble lineage, some saying that he was sister’s son to Job, and others that he was nephew to Abraham, and lived until the time of Jonah.

Others have said that he was an African: slave. It will not escape the reader’s notice that the term sister’s son to Job, to which should be added nephew of Abraham, is the proper equivalent of the ἐξάδελφος by which Nadan and Ahikar are described in the Tobit legends.

Job, moreover, is singularly like Tobit.

A few comments are due here. Concerning the last statement “Job … is singularly like Tobit”, that is because, I believe, that Job was Tobias, the very son of Tobit.

Most interesting, too, that “Lokman … was a sister’s son to Job”. In my ten part series, “Friends of the Prophet Job”, I tentatively identified Ahikar with “Bildad the Suhite” (https://www.academia.edu/12171292/Friends_of_the_Prophet_Job._Part_Two_Bildad_the); Lokman, with “Zohar the Naamathite” (https://www.academia.edu/12373380/Friends_of_th); and the Aesop (who will be mentioned below) also with Zophar the friend of Job (https://www.academia.edu/12373952/Friends_of_the_Prophet_Job._Part_Three_Zophar_th).

Now, returning ‘Ahikar in the Koran’:

That [Lokman] lived till the time of Jonah reminds one of the destruction of Nineveh as

described in the book of Tobit, in accordance with Jonah’s prophecy. Finally the African slave is singularly like Aesop … who is a black man and a slave in the Aesop legends. From all of which it appears as if the Arabic Commentators were identifying Lokman with Ahikar on the one hand and with Aesop on the other; i.e. with two characters whom we have already shown to be identical.

The identification with Aesop is confirmed by the fact that many of the fables ascribed to Aesop in the west are referred to Lokman in the east: thus Sale says: —

‘The Commentators mention several quick repartees of Luqman which agree so well with what Maximus Planudes has written of Aesop, that from thence and from the fables attributed to Luqman by the Orientals, the latter has been generally thought to be no other than the Aesop of the Greeks. However that may be (for I think the matter may bear a dispute) I am of opinion that Planudes borrowed a great part of his life of Aesop from the traditions he met with in the east concerning Luqman, concluding them to have been the same person, etc. …’. *

These remarks of Sale are confirmed by our observation that the Aesop story is largely a modification of the Ahikar legend, taken with the suggestion which we derive from the Mohammedan commentators, who seem to connect Lokman with Tobit on the one hand and with Aesop on the other.

Comment: In all of this we find ourselves firmly grounded in the neo-Assyria era of the C8th BC.

The article now focusses upon the relevant Qur’anic text:

Now let us turn to the Sura of the Koran which bears the name Lokman, and examine it internally: we remark (i) that he bears the name of sage, precisely as Ahikar does: (ii) that he is a teacher of ethics to his son, using Ahikar’s formula ‘ ya bani ‘ in teaching him: (iii) although at first sight the matter quoted by Mohammed does not appear to be taken from Ahikar, there are curious traces of dependence. We may especially compare the following from Ahikar: ‘ O my son, bend thy head low and soften thy voice and be courteous and walk in the straight path and be not foolish And raise not thy voice when thou laughest, for were it by a loud voice that a house was built, the ass would build many houses every day.’

Clearly Mohammed has been using Ahikar, and apparently from memory, unless we like to assume that the passage in the Koran is the primitive form for Ahikar, rather than the very forcible figure in our published texts. Mohammed has also mixed up Ahikar’s teaching with his own, for some of the sentences which he attributes to Lokman appear elsewhere in the Koran. But this does not disturb the argument. From all sides tradition advises us to equate Lokman with Aesop and Ahikar, and the Koran confirms the equation. The real difficulty is to determine the derivation of the names of Lokman and Aesop from Ahikar ….

Some of the Moslem traditions referred to above may be found in Al Masudi c. 4 : ‘ There was in the country of Ailah and Midian a sage named Lokman, who was the son of Auka, the son of Mezid, the son of Sar. ….

Comment: The mention of “Midian” in association with Lokman is also most significant in my context, because as I have argued in:

A Common Sense Geography of the Book of Tobit

https://www.academia.edu/8675202/A_Common_Sense_Geography_of_the_Book_of_Tobit

it was from Midian (wrongly given as “Media”) that the Naphtalian clan of Tobit and some of his relatives hailed.

Continuing with the article:

Another curious point in connexion with the Moslem traditions is the discussion whether Loqman was or was not a prophet.

This discussion cannot have been borrowed from a Greek source, for the idea which is involved in the debate is a Semitic idea.

But it is a discussion which was almost certain to arise, whether Lokman of whom Mohammed writes so approvingly had any special … as a prophet, because Mohammed is the seal of the prophets.

And it seems from what Sale says on the subject, that the Moslem doctors decided the question in the negative; Lokman * received from God wisdom and eloquence in a high degree, which some pretend were given him in a vision, on his making choice of wisdom preferably to the gift of prophecy, either of which was offered him.’ Thus the Moslem verdict was that Lokman was a sage and not a prophet.

On the other hand it should be noticed that there are reasons for believing that he was regarded in some circles and probably from the earliest times as a prophet. The fact of his teaching in aphorisms is of no weight against this classification: for the Hebrew Bible has two striking instances of exactly similar character, in both of which the sage appears as prophet. Thus Prov. XXX. begins :

* The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy*

and Prov. xxxi begins :

*The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.’

Both of these collections appear to be taken from popular tales*, and they are strikingly like to the sentences of Ahikar.

….

At the conclusion of the Syntipas legends, when the young man is solving all the hard ethical problems that his father proposes to him, we again find a trace of Ahikar, for he speaks of the ‘ insatiate eye which as long as it sees wealth is so ardent after it that he regards not God, until in death the earth covers his eyes.’ And amongst the sayings of Ahikar we find one to the effect that * the eye of man is as a fountain, and it will never be satisfied with wealth until it is filled with dust.’ Dr Dillon points out that this is one of the famous sayings of Mohammed, and if that be so, we have one more loan from Ahikar in the Koran.

Cf Sura 102, ‘The emulous desire of multiplying [riches and children] employeth you, until ye visit the graves.’ ….

[End of quotes]

Mecca, Nineveh

 

In Part One, “Mecca”, which archaeologically could not have any bearing upon Abraham, was re-cast as “Jerusalem; the name Mecca having been derived, it was suggested, from the Arabic Muqa (Mecca) in Bayt al-Muqaddas …”.

And the Ka’aba (meaning “Cube”) was identified as the “Holy of Holies”, the most sacred place in the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusaalem.

Thus it is not entirely surprising to find the “Meccans” having their own Levite-like custodians of the holy place (http://sheikyermami.com/2014/01/global-warming-is-a-fraud-the-mohammedan-winter-is-here-to-stay/): “Mohammed … was descended from the noble but impoverished family of Hashim, of the priestly tribe of Koreish, who were the chiefs and keepers of the national sanctuary of the Kaaba”.

Even the name, Hashim, looks like the Hebrew, Ha Shem (“The Name”, it being a term for God).

We also learned in Part One that Mohammed had encountered a young man from Nineveh – quite an anomaly. And the pair discussed the prophet Jonah whom Mohammed called his “brother”.

Tobit, for his part, well knew of the prophet Jonah, having warned his son, Tobias (14:4): “Go into Media [sic], my son, for I surely believe those things which Jonah the prophet spoke about Nineveh, that it shall be overthrown”.

I would re-set the childhood of Mohammed, therefore, to the reign of king Sennacherib of Assyria, and have Tobias/Job as a major biblical matrix for it. Tobias’s/Job’s long life in fact, which extends – according to my revision – from Sennacherib to beyond the Fall of Nineveh, will suffice to encompass “biblical episodes” attached to Mohammed from his birth to his marriage to Khadijah bint Khuwaylid.

 

My primary source here, serving as a biography of Mohammed, will be Yahiya Emerick’s Muhammad (Critical Lives), Alpha, 2002:

 

Birth of Mohammed

Given as c. 570 AD, the “Year of the Elephant”. But revised here to the reign of Sennacherib. Mohammed’s parents are traditionally given as ‘Abdullah and Aminah, or Amna. Now, this information is what really confirms me in my view that Tobias is a major influence in the biography of Mohammed, because the names of Tobias’s parents boil down to very much the same as those of Mohammed. Tobit is a Greek version of the name ‘Obad-iah, the Hebrew yod having been replaced by a ‘T’.

And ‘Obadiah, or ‘Abdiel, is, in Arabic ‘Abdullah, the name of Mohammed’s father.

And Amna is as close a name as one could get to Anna, the wife of Tobit (as we read above).

Tobias (my Job) is the biblico-historical foundation for the young Mohammed!

In articles of mine such as:

Similarities to The Odyssey of the Books of Job and Tobit

https://www.academia.edu/8914220/Similarities_to_The_Odyssey_of_the_Books_of_Job_and_Tobit

I have drawn many parallels between the Hebrew and Greek tales, showing how Odysseus and his son, Telemachus, can sometimes resemble, respectively, Tobit and his son, Tobias; the goddess Athena can sometimes assume the part played by the angel, Raphael {In the ‘life’ of Mohammed, we are going to find one “Maysara” performing a service akin to that of the angel Raphael in the Book of Tobit}; the cruel Poseidon is the demon, Asmodeus; there are the many suitors, as with Penelope, with Sarah; and then there is the common factor of the dog, given the name of “Argos” in The Odyssey.

These extremely popular and much copied books of Tobit and Job have also influenced Mesopotamian literature, in one case of which Ahikar himself may even have been involved:

Friends of the Prophet Job. Part Two: Bildad the Suhite.

(ii) Babylonian Job.

http://www.academia.edu/12233762/Friends_of_the_Prophet_Job._Part_Two_Bildad_the_Suhite._ii_Babylonian_Job

Egypt – according to the Testament of Job, the prophet Job had been a “king of Egypt” – and who knows where else? Well, in Arabia, for another example, as is being proposed in this article. And we are finding the Prophet Mohammed to have been no more real a person (though less obviously mythical) than was Odysseus, or Telemachus.

Now, as explained in my “Odyssey” article, it can happen that events associated with the biblical original, for example, the father, can be, in the mythological version, attributed to someone else, say, the son. And we now find that to be the very case in the biography of Mohammed. For, whereas Mohammed is thought to have been orphaned and to have been raised by his grandfather and uncle, in the Book of Tobit the father was orphaned (Tobit 1:8): “I [Tobit] would bring it and give it to them in the third year, and we would eat it according to the ordinance decreed concerning it in the law of Moses and according to the instructions of Deborah, the mother of my father Tobiel, for my father had died and left me an orphan”. {“Deborah” here may be a distant ancestor, possibly even the famous Deborah of the Book of Judges, given her close association with the tribe of Naphtali (e.g., Judges 4:10; 5:18), Tobit’s tribe (Tobit 1:1)}.

Now poor ‘Abdullah, the father of Mohammed, in an episode that harkens back to the era of the Judges, to Jephthah’s terrible vow (Judges 11:30): ‘… whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering’, was elected by his father, ‘Abdel Muttalib, as the one of his ten sons to be sacrificed to God in thanksgiving.

Ultimately ‘Abdullah was spared that grim fate, due to an encounter between ‘Abdel Muttalib and the shamaness, Shiya – Emerick tells about this Shiya on p. 19.

Here we may have a reminiscence of king Saul of Israel’s clandestine visit to the witch of Endor (I Samuel 28:7).

Indeed, a further facet of the Jephthah story will recur again, later, in the quite different context of who will have the honour of placing the fabled Black Stone of the Ka’aba back on the eastern wall after repairs. (This whole wall building episode is like that of Nehemiah). Emerick recounts it on p. 48. Abu Umayyah will advise the assembled crowd to wait for the next person who will come through a nearby gate in the courtyard of the Ka’aba. That person was, as fate would have it, Mohammed himself.

The situation of Mohammed, born into a Qureish environment of universal idol worship, and with the Jews as a separate entity, is very much the situation of Tobit and his little family, whose the tribe of Naphtali (separate from the Jews) had completely apostatised (Tobit 1:4): ‘When I was in my own country, in the land of Israel, while I was still a young man, the whole tribe of my ancestor Naphtali deserted the house of David and Jerusalem’.

Again, ‘Abdullah’s involvement in caravan trading into Syria is entirely compatible with what Tobit tells us about himself in 1:12-14: ‘Because I was mindful of God with all my heart, the Most High gave me favor and good standing with Shalmaneser, and I used to buy everything he needed. Until his death I used to go into Media, and buy for him there’ – compatible especially given my identification (in my “Geography of Tobit”) of “Media” as Midian, including Bashan, “a part of the province of Damascus”:

As with Tobit’s genealogy, with the repetition of names of the same root (Tobit 1:1): ‘I am Tobit and this is the story of my life. My father was Tobiel …’, so was the case with Mohammed’s grandfather, ‘Abdel Muttalib, and his son, Abu Talib.

The account of the pregnancy of Mohammed’s mother is predictably extraordinary, and one might be inclined to think of, for example, the pregnancy of Elizabeth with John the Baptist, and of the Virgin Mary with Jesus. If so, it would be only one of many borrowings from the Gospels, in this case Luke’s. Emerick tells of it (pp. 21-22):

About two months after her husband left [having joined a caravan trade to Syria], Aminah called her servant … “I’ve had a strange dream! I saw lights coming from my womb, lighting up the mountains, the hills, and the valleys all around Mecca”. Her servant then predicted: “You will give birth to a blessed child who will bring goodness”.

In Luke 1:11-17, we read about the miraculous encounter of the Baptist’s father, Zechariah, the Aaronite priest, with an angel who will be identified in v. 19 as “Gabriel”:

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Common to the ‘life’ of Mohammed here are the visitation by the angel Gabriel (who also figures in the Book of Daniel); the avoidance of alcohol; and the exultation of the child.

Further on in Luke’s Gospel it will be the Virgin Mary whom the angel Gabriel will address (Luke 1:30-32): ‘You [Mary] have found favor with God. You will become pregnant, give birth to a son … He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High’.

Luke 1:28 is sometimes translated as [Mary’s being] “Highly Favoured”.

Now, according to Emerick (p. 29): “Highly Praised is the translation of the Arabic name Muhammad, which was an unusual name in Arabia at that time”. This name was given to the child by his grandfather, who had, in the ancient Israelite fashion of going around Jericho “seven times” (Joshua 6:15), walked with the new born baby “seven times around the Ka‘bah”. It was then that ‘Abdel Muttalib named the child, connecting him with an ancient House – as with the angel Gabriel’s (Luke 1:32-33): ‘The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end’. The joyful ‘Abdel Muttalib exclaimed: “Blessed child, I shall call you Highly Praised. The birth of this child coincided with the glory and triumph of the Ancient House, blessed be he?”

As in the story of Moses (Exodus 2:7-9), a wet nurse is provided for the child. “Aminah, frail from her depression and weakened by the arduous childbirth, engaged a wet nurse in the city …”. And also as with Moses (v. 10), “Muhammad would be raised by a foster mother …”. Whereas both Moses and Jesus had to be saved from the wrath of a monarch, the situation baby Mohammed was faced with was (p. 30): “An epidemic … going around the city …”. When it was safe to return, after some years had elapsed, exactly as with the young Jesus (Matthew 2:19-21), Mohammed came home.

Youth of Mohammed

When the aged ‘Abdel Muttalib died, Mohammed was taken in by his uncle, Abu Talib, who, more than Mohammed’s short-lived father, ‘Abdullah (despite the common name), represents Tobit and his wise and kindly mentoring of the young Tobias. Emerick (p. 33): “Abu Talib took Muhammad in and treated him with great affection. Although Abu Talib was poor, he and his wife …”. Cf. Tobit 4:21: ‘We’re poor now, but don’t worry. If you obey God and avoid sin, he will be pleased with you and make you prosperous’.

In a famous story, an old priest, in the fashion of Samuel choosing to anoint the young David from amongst the sons of Jesse, will pick out the 12-year old Mohammed amongst many. Emerick tells of it (pp. 34-35):

Around the year 582, Abu Talib decided to join the great caravan going to Syria in order to boost his finances. …. After a couple of weeks of long, hard travel, the caravan and its attendants decided to make camp in a region called Bostra, just short of Syria. Just ahead on the road was a small Christian monastery where a solitary monk by the name of Bahira lived. …. He sent an invitation to the men of the caravan to come to the monastery for a banquet, asking that everyone attend. When the merchants arrived, the priest looked them over and found nothing special about any of them. He asked if everyone from the caravan was present and was told that everyone was there except a small boy who was left behind to watch the animals. Bahira requested that he also be invited, so someone went to fetch young Muhammad.

Compare (the strikingly similar) I Samuel 16:10-11:

Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

Like David, too, Mohammed (later) tended sheep (Emerick, p. 40): “Muhammad’s humble occupation as a shepherd impressed upon him the value of hard, honest work”.

But there is also a recorded incident in the otherwise unknown boyhood of Jesus (the Good Shepherd) at the age of twelve – and it, too, involves travellers (Luke 2:41-42): “Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.”

Emerick continues with the story of Bahira, with the boy Mohammed now present (p. 35): “After Muhammad joined the gathering, Bahira watched the boy carefully and noted his physical features and behaviour. He seemed to have an otherworldy look in his eyes, a strength in his bearing”.

David also had fine eyes and a good appearance (I Samuel 16:12): “Now [David] was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome”.

On pp. 56-57 Emerick, still in connection with the Bahira story which is here accepted as being quite “historically tenable”, will make this notable admission:

A fair amount of literature exists on the portents and signs prior to the rise of Muhammad as a religious leader. These writings may be based more on retrospective idealism than proven facts. One can logically assume that Muhammad had no knowledge of his future significance and that premonitions and recognition of his greatness by his contemporaries were greatly exaggerated. Beyond the episode with the monk Bahira when he was twelve, which was related not only by Abu Talib but also by several of his associates and thus gains more credibility, little except the predictions of a man named Waraqah seem historically tenable. The abruptness and unexpectedness of Muhammad’s rise may be simply inexplicable.

[End of quote]

Why I think that it might be very important for Islam to defend the veracity of the Bahira incident is because he is the one who would proclaim Mohammed as “the last prophet” in God’s great scheme of things. Thus Emerick (p. 35):

…. Muhammad boldly told the monk that he hated the idols. This statement impressed the aged Christian further. Then he asked for the boy to lift his shirt, and the monk found a birthmark on his back, just between the shoulder blades. Bahira looked at the spot, which was about the size of a small egg, and declared, “Now I am most certain that this is the last prophet for whom the Jews and Christians [sic] await …”.

It is interesting that both Bahira and the Waraqah referred to above, seemingly lone individuals, non-Jews, but monotheists, are either Christian (Bahira) or, like Waraqah (Emerick, p. 31): “… [an] unaffiliated monotheist who also had some knowledge of Christianity”.

Marriage of Mohammed

 

The golden thread in the ‘life’ of Mohammed of the Book of Tobit (combined with Job) continues on, I believe, into the account of his marriage to the widowed beauty, Khadijah, also given as ‘Siti Khadijah’ (http://kelantan.attractionsinmalaysia.com/SitiKhadijahMarket): “Siti Khadijah Market (Pasar besar Siti Khadijah), as its name implies, is a local wet market. Its name after Prophet Muhammad’s wife, [who] is known for her entrepreneurial skill, as this market is mostly run by women”. In the Testament of Job the prophet’s wife is similarly called “Sitis” (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2010/jul/26/judaism-job-philosoph): “Job’s first wife is Sitidos (Sitis). Her name may have the same root as the word Satan in Hebrew or Sotah (unfaithful wife). She is a princess and Job a tribal leader”.

She is, I have argued, the same as the wife of Tobias, Sarah, meaning “princess”, “lady”:

Job’s Wife as Sarah of Book of Tobit

http://www.academia.edu/12073444/Did_Job_s_Wife_really_say_to_the_Prophet_Curse_God_and_die_Part_Two._Job_s_Wife_as_Sarah_of_Book_of_Tobit

Sarah was apparently, then, just like Khadijah, a woman of high status. She was likewise beautiful and full of quality, as described by the angel Raphael (Tobit 5:12): “She is sensible, brave, and very beautiful; and her father is a good man”. That father, Raguel, I have tentatively identified in my series, “Friends of the Prophet Job”, as Eliphaz (https://www.academia.edu/12159726/Friends_of_the_Prophet_Job._Part_One_Eliphaz_the_Temanite). Just as with Khadijah, whose former husbands had died (Emerick, p. 41): “… Khadijah … married not once but twice …. Each husband died in turn, leaving her with a huge personal fortune”, likewise (though rather more spectacularly) Sarah (Tobit 3:8): “Sarah had been married seven times, but the evil demon, Asmodeus, killed each husband before the marriage could be consummated”.

The poor and rather insignificant Muhammad got his big break in life when that lowly life of his would – like with the young Tobias – converge with that of his future wife. And it similarly involved a journey to Syria for business purposes. When (as Emerick tells, p. 42): “In about the year 595, Khadijah announced that she would hire a local man to lead a particularly important caravan to go to Syria”, Abu Talib suggested to Muhammad that he should apply. “Abu Talib, always on the lookout for opportunities for his own or any family member’s advancement, suggested to his nephew Muhammad that he try to get a job with Khadijah’s caravan”.

The part played by Abu Talib in this situation reminds one of Tobit, who instructed his son (Tobit 4:20-21): ‘Tobias, I want you to know that I once left a large sum of money with Gabrias’ son, Gabael, at Rages in Media. We’re poor now, but don’t worry. If you obey God and avoid sin, he will be pleased with you and make you prosperous’. In my “Geography of Tobit” I have proposed that “Rages” here equates geographically with the city of Damascus. Tobias was now a young man of marriageable age, and Muhammad was “twenty-five years old and still living with his uncle …” (Emerick, p. 42). Muhammad, similarly as with Tobit, “saw this caravan as an excellent opportunity to earn money …”.

“Abu Talib confidently told his nephew that he could get him double the salary of the man already hired … two camels”. And he duly informed Khadijah of it, “… we won’t accept less than four”.

Tobias, on the other hand, wants to give the disguised angel, who had guided him on the way, not “double the salary”, but “half of everything we brought back with us” (Tobit 12:2). And whilst that “two camels” can be found also in Tobit 9:1-2: “Then Tobias called Raphael and said to him: “Brother Azariah, take along with you four servants and two camels and travel to Rages”,” we see from this text that those “four servants” have been ‘reincarnated’ in the Islamic version as “four [camels]”.

Khadijah here refers to Muhammad as “a close relative”. We find the identical description in Tobit 6:10-11, where the angel tells Tobias: ‘Tonight we will stay at the home of your relative Raguel. He has only one child, a daughter named Sarah, and since you are her closest relative, you have the right to marry her’.

Just as Tobit had looked out for a suitable travelling companion for his son, and had found in the angel-disguised-as-Azariah a good character (Tobit 5:13): ‘… you are from a good family and a relative at that! …. Your relatives are fine people, and you come from good stock. Have a safe journey’, so, in Maysara – whose name is phonetically compatible with Azariah – does Abu Talib perceive a good character and worthy travelling companion (Emerick, p. 43): “Abu Talib knew of Maysara’s good character and encouraged his presence on the journey”. Khadijah, who “was known for rejecting all suitors” (p. 44), though for reasons less dramatic than in the case of Sarah’s loss of all suitors, now married the younger Muhammad, whose fortunes had just increased exponentially (p. 45): “not only was he suddenly getting married, his fortunes were also taking a dramatic turn for the better”.

So had the angel informed Tobias about Sarah (6:11): “… you have the right to marry her. You also have the right to inherit all her father’s property”.

“Muhammad and Khadijah would have six children together, two boys and four girls”. Tragically, the life of the sons would be cut off early, just as with Tobias/Job.

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