Dear fellow brothers! Do we know how Allah implemented prayers, fast and the Hajj pilgrimage etc. in Islam? We think that Allah introduced them all of a sudden at one go. But it is not. Muhammad implemented or rejected in stages, according to the temperament of relationships with the communities, from whom they was copied. In the next two articles, let us unearth the facts on the stages of ‘Fasting’ during the 23-year-long prophetic carrier of our prophet Muhammad.
FACTORS THAT TURNED MUHAMMAD FROM A NORMAL TO EVIL PERSON
No human being is a born evil. Circumstances turn him/her good or bad. Muhammad was the victim of circumstances. He had lost his ‘supposed’ father before he was born. (I said “supposed” because Islamic sources create confusions regarding Muhammad’s paternity. It is too long to discuss this issue here.)
His patents abandoned him, and he was brought up in the isolated desert away from his ‘parents’. Born fatherless, he also lost his mother at the early age of about 5, and soon lost his doting grandfather. He was brought up under the mercy of his uncle Abu Talib and used to experience the scoldings of his aunt, Abu Talib’s wife Fatima. When he grew up, he wished to marry Abu Talib’s daughter Umm Haani, she too insulted him for being poor. These incidents turned him into an evil person—hating human beings in general and women in particular.
As the first step, he married a women twice widowed and 15 years his senior, namely the wealthy merchandise Khadijah. After marriage also he was fully controlled by his wealthy wife. Muhammad allegedly had four daughters out of his marriage with Khadija. Given little importance given to three of those daughters other than Fatima in Islamic literature, it is doubtful whether those three daughters were born to him.
These are the main factors that turned Muhammad rebellious against all and motivated him to become what he was.
MUHAMMAD’S FIRST ATTEMPT TO ‘ATTAIN’ (POWER) ALLAH
To gain the custodianship of the wealthy-generating temple of Kaaba in Mecca, Muhammad insulted all the Pagan Gods except Allah, housed in the same temple. The Meccans showed willingness to hold joint custodianship of the Kabaa with him, but he rejected the offer because he wanted to absolute power and ownership of the rich revenue-generating ‘Kaaba’. To attain his goals, he deceived the Pagans in every possible way he could.
MUHAMMAD’S ‘LOVE’ TOWARDS PAGAN RITUALS
The following are the sequence of his deceptions with the Pagans of Mecca:
1) Up to the age of 40, he said prayers in the Kaaba that used to hold 360 idol-gods in it. He continued his prayers and prostrations in the same temple even after his claim of receiving ‘prophethood’ from Allah.
2) After arriving in Medina, for the first 17 months, Muhammad, ‘unhappy’ with the idol-worship in Kabaa, prayed toward the Jewish temple at Jerusalem, following the Jewish community of Medina. Then when his relationship with the Jews soured, Muhammad turned back to prostrating towards the Kaaba again, still housing idols. This continued until one year prior to his death.
3) While offering prayers and prostrated in the Kaaba after allegedly attaining his ‘Prophethood’, Muhammad used to seek help of the three daughters of Allah – goddess Al-Lat, Al-Manat and Al-Uzza.
Then Allah revealed (Sura 53:19-20) …..and when he came to the words “Have you thought Al-Lat and Al-Uzza and Al-Manat, the third, the other?” Satan cast on his tongue – because of his inner debates and what he desired to bring to his people – the words: “These are the high-flying cranes; verily their intercession is to be hoped for.” (Al-Tabari, Annals 1.1192-1193 = Tabari VI:108-109)
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
The Prophet I prostrated while reciting Sura 53/ An-Najm and with him prostrated the Muslims, the pagans, the jinns, and all human beings. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 2:177)
4) Muhammad also usurped and Islamized the entire Hajj rituals of the Pagans only a couple of years before his death, which we Muslims continue to do until this day. Before Islam, Pagan rituals at the Kaaba, such as Umrah and Hajj, were major revenue-generating occasions for the custodians of the Kaaba, and by usurping and incorporating those same rituals into Islam, Muhammad retained the traditional income-generating religious festivals of the Pagans. Let us consider the following verses in this context:
Then pass on at a quick pace from the place whence it is usual for the multitude so to do and ask for Allah’s forgiveness. For Allah is Oft forgiving Most Merciful. (Quran/ Sura Al-Baqra 2:199)
In this verse, Allah instructs Muslims to follow the Hajj rituals, which the Pagan Quresh of so-called ‘Jahiliya’ used to practice (whence it is usual for the multitude so to do). If the rituals of the Pagans, which they have been observing for centuries already, are to be followed, then what is the need of a new ‘prophet’ here?
As part of the Hajj rituals, we Muslims walk between two mountains seven times, the so-called Tawaf. It is also a pre-Islamic practice. Let’s see what the Quran and the Hadith say about the special mountain walk.
Narrated ‘Asim: I asked Anas bin Malik: “Did you dislike performing Tawaf between mountain Al-Safa and mountain Al-Marwa?” He said, “Yes, as it was of the ceremonies of the days of the Pre-Islamic period of ignorance, till Allah revealed: ‘Verily! Al-Safa and Al-Marwa are among the rites (or symbols) of Allah. It is therefore no sin for him who performs the pilgrimage to the Ka’ba, or performs ‘Umrah, to perform Tawaf between them.’ ” (Quran 2.158) (Sahih Al-Bukhari/ Vol 2:710)
5) Muhammad adopted the pagan ritual of fasting on Ashura, the 10th of pagan month Muharram.
Narrated 'Aisha: 'Ashura' (i.e. the tenth of Muharram) was a day on which the tribe of Quraish used to fast in the pre-Islamic period of ignorance. The Prophet also used to fast on this day. (Sahih Al-Bukhari 5:172 & 3:116)
Narrated 'Aisha: (The tribe of) Quraish used to fast on the day of Ashura' in the Pre-lslamic period, and then Allah's Apostle ordered (Muslims) to fast on it …." (Sahih Al-Bukhari 3:117)
Narrated Aisha: “Quraish used to fast on the day of 'Ashura' in the Pre-lslamic period, and Allah's Apostle too, used to fast on that day….” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 3:220)
In another hadith, Ibn ‘Abbas is reported to have said that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “The one that keeps a fast in the month of Muharram will receive the reward of thirty fasts for each fast.” (Tabarani)
The above hadiths conclusively prove that Muhammad embraced the Pagan rituals while he was in Mecca (prior to his abandonment) so as to please the Meccans in his aim of acquiring the custodianship of the rich revenue-generating idol-temple of Kaaba. If we Muslims thinks that Muhammad had brought a revolutionary new concept of God, then who compelled him to adopt the same, old polytheistic Pagan rituals?
MUHAMMAD’S HATE TOWARDS PAGANS’ ‘ASHURA’
After his rather unsuccessful endeavor of preaching Islam in Mecca for thirteen years, Muhammad came under increasing restrictions to preach his religion due to his misbehavior and insult of the Pagans’ religion, Gods and customs, he had to emigrate to Medina for finding a greener pasture for preaching his faith. With his emigration to Medina, Muhammad threw away all the Pagan customs that he had adopted until then. The following hadith explains how he treated the Pagan Ashura Fast after arriving in Medina.
Abu Qataada (RA) has related that the Prophet (SAW) has reported to have said: “It is my thought that by fasting on the 10th of Muharram Allah (SWT) will pardon the sins of the past year”. (Tirmidhi)
That means Muhammad himself has assumed that there would be great benefits in practicing this Pagan fasting ritual, which was not instructed to him by his ‘pupet’ Allah. Now let us see how he ditched the Ashura fasting.
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: The Prophet observed the fast on the 10th of Muharram ('Ashura), and ordered (Muslims) to fast on that day, but when the fasting of the month of Ramadan was prescribed, the fasting of the 'Ashura' was abandoned. 'Abdullah did not use to fast on that day unless it coincided with his routine fasting by chance. (Sahih Al-Bukhari 3:116)
Ten years after leaving Mecca, Muhammad became successful in capturing the city and the Kaaba. After capturing the revenue-generating Kaaba, Muhammad destroyed the 360 idols as they were vestiges of idolatry but kept the Black Stone, as well as the Pagan system of prayers, fasting, Haj rituals and all other Pagan rituals with slight modifications as the situation demanded. Muhammad, as a prophet, had nothing new to deliver to his followers. Neither did he ever bother about it, as he grew stronger in his military might. Whoever showed guts to question him on religious matter were murdered. The saying, ‘Might is right’, was put in perfect application by Muhammad.
In sum, Muhammad tried hard for thirteen years in Mecca to become the religious leader of the city in his greedy aim of becoming the sole custodian of rich revenue-generating temple of Kaaba during which he adopted and practiced many Pagan religious rituals in order to impress the Pagans to join his creed. His efforts failed, and left Mecca to try his luck in Medina. With his departure from Mecca, he also departed from Pagan rituals, which he incorporated into his new cult.
In the next article, I will discuss about Muhammad’s ‘love’ for embracing the rituals of the Jews, including their fasting, and again throwing those rituals into trash-bin, when he failed to win over them to his creed.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4A | Part 4B | Part 4C | Part 4D | Part 4E | Part 4F | Part 4G | Part 4H | Part 5A | Part 5B | Part 5C | Part 5D | Part 5E | Part 5F | Part 5G | Part 5H | Part 5I | Part 5J | Part 5K | Part 5L | Part 5M