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Author Topic: Muhammad's Orthodox Uncle?  (Read 3082 times) Average Rating: 0
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Antonious Nikolas
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« on: June 25, 2004, 02:27:52 PM »

I have heard that the uncle of Muhammad's first wife, Khadija, was a bishop of one of the Syriac traditions, and that it was he who inspired Muhammad to look into monotheism.  Later, Muhammad adapted some of his teachings, mixed with Christian and Jewish teachings he picked up in his travels on the caravan, and synthesized them as he needed to create Islam.  Also, I have heard that the term Qur'an ("recitation") comes from a Syriac term ("Quryana" or something similar) meaning "lectionary", and that the Qur'an was indeed adapted in part from a Syriac Christian lectionary.  

Do any of our friends of the Syriac Orthodox tradition (or anyone else) know a little more about this?
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2004, 02:51:27 PM »

I just started reading that Prophet of the Sword book and I think it mentioned that he was taught basics of Christianity by some monks in the northern area of the Saudi peninsula.  I'm not completely sure, but I'm pretty sure that's all the book said - somewhat vague.
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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2004, 02:57:58 PM »

Interesting.  I read similar things in Crone & Cook's Hagarism, but that dealt more with borrowings from Judaism.  I'd love to learn more about this.  The reason I posted the topic here in the OO forum was because I figured that the Syriac speakers may have some traditions dealing with this.
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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2004, 04:17:07 PM »

Peace,

a very good book to read (unfortunately in arabic) is " A priest and a Prophet" by Abou Mossa El-Hariri, a muslim Lebanese writer who was killed by fundamentalists. Another excellent book is " Islam is a christian heresy" by Ilias El-Murr, a syrian writer. These books solemnly base their finding on the islamic books Muslim confess as their authentic books, so the validity of their conclusion is hardly disputed.

The uncle of Khadiga, Muhamed first wife, is named "WARAQA Ibn Nufeel".He  His offical title was the "Bishop of Mekka". He is also a distant uncle to Muhamed himself. He was NOT Orthodox though, he was the follower of the Ibonian heresy which only confesses one of the apocryphic bibles "Bible to the Hebrew" as the bible for the NT and has a theology very similar to the theology of the Arians.
It is true that he was the Mastermind after Muhamed. Interesting enough, that all Islamic references state that after the death of Waraqa, the Quran inspiration stopped for about four years.
The reason for starting this new "religion" was most probably to unit the people of Mekka under one religious leadership. There were many Jewish people and many "christians" believing many heresies like the Arian, Nestorian and Ibonian heresies. Waraqa was from a  very rich family, the leaders of the Mekka tribes.  
If you read the Quran carefully, before it turned out to be a political method for Muhamed to control, the word prophet is never mentioned. It just say :preacher, reminding of virtues,.... Muhamed became a prophet after Waraqa died.

Now, it has to be noted that Muhamed and Khadiga, the cousin of Waraqa, were married by the Bishop himself. IT WAS A CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE, and that is why Muhamed never married another wife. As you know, only christians can be married by a Bishop (well, at that time ), which makes Muhamed probably a christian himself at one point of time.

Another thing: The name Muhamed never evenr appeared in any of the ancient arab names before Islam. In arabic, if one change the second letter by another one , his name will be "BAPTIZED" in arabic.

Is it possible Muhamed was "christian"?
« Last Edit: June 26, 2004, 06:03:10 PM by Stavro » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2004, 07:19:46 PM »

Peace Stavro!

Wow!  That is fascinating!  A couple of questions:

1.) I know you said "A Priest & A Prophet" is available only in Arabic, but is "Islam is a Christian Heresy" available in English, and if it is, could you direct me to a copy?

2.) Could you tell me a little about the Ibonian heresy and the "Bible to the Hebrews" or direct me to books or websites about them?

This really makes it sound like Muhammad started as a Christian, but then became "prophet" of a "new faith" when Waraqa died to suit his political aspirations.

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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2004, 04:00:53 PM »

Peace Antonious,
I don't think the "Islam is a christian heresy" is available in English. We, who know arabic, are not doing a good job in translating books that might be of great value to mankind.

Your conclusion is right and this opinion is maintained by many scholars. Many believe that Muhamed started out as an Ibonian " christian", who was hoping to be able to unit the many "christian" sects under one religious leadership. It seems that lust for power changed the whole goal. However, in the verses of Quran, specially the ones at the beginning, are very peaceful towards the "christians".

The Ibonian heresy is discussed in some details in Origen's books and I think St.Ireneous also discusses it in his books against heresies. I have to confirm this. I am also not sure whether a complete copy of the "Bible of the Hebrew" still exists. It is supposed to be taken from St.Matthew's Gospel, but it is like an amplified version, and also in many verses falsefied.

The heresy maintains:

1- The Lord Jesus Christ is not the son of God, he is a superior being , superior to all prophets. It is close to the Arian heresy and the heresies of Paul of Samasota, and in some instances it turns Nestorian. The maintain the the Messiah left Jesus before the Cross.

Current Islam:
In Islam, there is a special place for Issa (Arabic for Jesus) that no one can miss, although the muslim scholar tried their best to dodge it and downplay his position. Some verses are striking, like "Issa (Jesus) the Spirit of God and His Word". Muslims do not know what His Word means.

2- They deny the Trinity

Current Islam:
Deny the Trinity, of course. One difference between Christianity (the Orthodox faith, of course) and Islam in their view of God. Muslims maintain that God's attributes can be "admitted" to his person, meaning, they are not eternal. Although they do not confess that clearly, their theology just confirm that.

3- They maintain all Jewish rites as in the OT. This is very important, as Islam also has taken many of it. They don't eat Pork, like muslims, no wine, have to wash before prayers, have a degrading look towards women, have divorce, ...

It is interesting.

Peace,
Stavro
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2004, 07:02:20 PM »

We, who know arabic, are not doing a good job in translating books that might be of great value to mankind.

I would think that such publications would be next to impossible to produce in Egypt and other Islamic societies (even those which pretend to be secular).  The responsibility would probably fall to those in the lands of immigration.  I'd hate to think of the repercussions for the Church in Egypt should an Orthodox scholar even seem to be doing such work.
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2004, 04:29:19 PM »

I have heard that the uncle of Muhammad's first wife, Khadija, was a bishop of one of the Syriac traditions, and that it was he who inspired Muhammad to look into monotheism.  Later, Muhammad adapted some of his teachings, mixed with Christian and Jewish teachings he picked up in his travels on the caravan, and synthesized them as he needed to create Islam.  

At the end of the 6th and the beginning of the 7th century, Qas Ibn-Sa-ida Al-Ayadi, bishop of Najran, was praised for his wisdom, poetry and the art of speech. Another famous man is named Waraqa Ibn Naufal Ibn Assad (who died about the year 611). He was the bishop of Mekka that was full of Christians. He was the cousin of Khadidga, daughter of Khuailid, the wife of Muhammad, the prophet. Most of the Christians of Mecca, Yemen and Najran were members of the Syrian Orthodox Church. The majority of Qurash was Christian. (The Christians were called 'Nazarians' after Jesus.) As manifold as the different dogma of the Christians of the Arab peninsula might have been, they exercised a great influence upon their Arab Muslims there.

The Martyrs of the Furrow who are mentioned in the Quran are the Himyarite martyrs, the Syrian-Christian Arabs of Najran, who were persecuted by Mashruq the Jew, known as Dhu Nuwas, and thus gained martyrdom. Islam From the View of the Scientists of the Syrian Church All of the Syrian scientists who occupied themselves with the biography of the prophet Muhammad described his qualities and noble character traits. Because of lack of space we will content ourselves with the testimony of Bar Haebraus, Maphrian of the East (1286 A.D.) who summarized the life of the prophet Muhammad in his book Chronicle of the Dynasties as follows : "(Muhammad Ibn Abdallah, Peace be upon him) The biographies of Muhammad mentioned that he is from Ishmael, the son of Abraham, whom Hagar gave birth to . . . He was born in Mecca in the year 882 (after the Seleucid era that is 571 A.D.). When he was about two years old, his father Abdallah died. His mother, Amina, the daughter of Wahab, stayed with him for six years. After her death his grandfather Abdul Muttaleb took him and vouched for him. When he was about to die, he asked his son Abu Talib to take care of him. When he was nine years old, his uncle took him along to Syria.

When they arrived in Bosra, a clairvoyant monk called Bahira met them and stepped towards them. When he came to the child, he held his hand and said: 'This boy will become a great man, and his fame will go across borders because when he came he was shaded by a cloud.' When he was 25 years old an honorable, noble and rich woman called Khadija offered that he run her business in Syria. She wanted to pay him more than anyone else. He took the offer. Then she wanted to marry him and offered herself in marriage. She was 40 years old when he married her. They lived 22 years together. Then she died in Mecca. When Muhammad turned 40 he began his mission. After the death of his uncle and his wife, the tribe of "Quarisch" harmed him so he emigrated to Al-Medina (which is Yathrib). In the first year of his emigration he was celebrated by the people and they supported him against his enemies in Mecca . . . In the 10th year of his emigration he went on his last pilgrimage and in this year he got sick. Two days before the end of the month Safar, on a Monday, he died at the age of 63. The people of Mecca wanted to bury him in Mecca where he was born. The population of Al-Medina, however, wanted to bury him in their city because he emigrated there. Others, for their part, wanted to bury him in Jerusalem because that was the place where prophets were buried. In the end all parties agreed to bury him in Al-Medina in the same room where he had died."

Source: A Short Overview of the Common History of the Syrian Church with Islam through the Centuries", Patriarchal Journal, Vol. 33 - June 1995 - No. 146, pp. 322-344.

http://www.syrianorthodoxchurch.org/library/Articles/history.htm
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2004, 09:13:50 AM »

Interesting Thomas, this history seems quite complimentary to Muhammad, and it seems as if the Maphrian Bar Hebraeus regarded him as a worthy Christian.  Is this an accurate assessment, or am I misinterpreting the writing?  Also, this piece seems to imply that Waraqa was an Orthodox Christian and not an Ibonian, in contradiction to Stavro's post.  What do we make of this?
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2004, 03:39:44 PM »

Hmmmm......
Thanks Thomas for providing another view to the story. It seems to me though that the teachings of Muhamed, the position of CHrist in Islamic "theology", and many other things to suggest his membership in a rather heretical group than the Orthodox Church.
One other thing, the abstract provided by you is the position of the muslims on many issues, like to try to prove MUhamed's prophethood by portraying the era he lived in as expecting a prophet or a great man and collect quotes about him in that effect from monks, priests, his contemporary men and his family and ascribing miracles to his birth and to his father, for example.

The story of Buhaira. and Ques Ibn Saada is mentioned more than the story of Waraqa, for obvious reasons. The muslim writers want to deny that Waraqa had any influence on MUhamed. His omittance in the Islamic history is very suspecious indeed. By drawing the attention to Buhaira and others (Nestorian by the way), they will have a strong case in proving that Muhamed was influenced by none other than Allah's inspiration, because he met these men a few times only.

By the way, upon Muhamed's death, he was left three days until he began to deteriorate. Nobody attended his funeral from the closest friends "Suhaba" because they were very busy in deciding his follower.

Peace,
Stavro
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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2004, 07:25:40 PM »

Fascinating Stavro.  A friend of mine who is very well studied about such matters informed me that Waraqa, according to the sources of the Syriac Church, was Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite).
 
As to Muhammad's name, the word for baptism in Aramaic is Mamouditho.
This is the noun version of the verb. So...Baptism = Mamouditho
Dunk(ed) = Mamoud.
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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2004, 01:06:00 AM »

Stavro / Nikolas

Thanks for the informations. It is a big asset to my limited
knowledge. Keep posting
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« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2004, 01:38:22 AM »


A friend of mine who is very well studied about such matters informed me that Waraqa, according to the sources of the Syriac Church, was Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite).


Nikolas-
I would think that Mecca was under the influence of the Church of the East at the time. There is a very strong tradition that a renegade Church of the East monk Sargis Bahura was Mohammad's teacher and introduced him to the Jewish & Christian scriptures. You can read more about this in an article published by Prof. Sidney Griffith in the Hugoye http://syrcom.cua.edu/Hugoye/Vol3No1/HV3N1Griffith.html

Quote

As to Muhammad's name, the word for baptism in Aramaic is Mamouditho.
This is the noun version of the verb. So...Baptism = Mamouditho
Dunk(ed) = Mamoud.


Iwas told by an SOC person from Damascus a while back that there is some manuscript in an ancient Damascus church that claims that Bahura was in fact the father of Muhammad. and that he was sired by illegitimate liason with an Arab woman. Bahura was expelled from the monastery and groomed Muhammad. as the leader of a sect. The father and son fell out. The story is that the father was murdered and thrown into the devil's well which is the place where the Hajji's throw stones on their pilgrimage to Mecca. I don't know how authentic this story is or whether there is indeed such a document. Of course, you could get murdered for even trying to find out!

Qu'ran comes from Qeryono - the Syriac word for lectionary or bible readings
(Read more at http://syrcom.cua.edu/Hugoye/Vol6No1/HV6N1PRPhenixHorn.html
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