Home      |      Weblog      |      Articles      |      Satire      |      Links      |      About      |      Contact

Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > The Fantasy Islam Of The University Of Chicago's Fred Donner (Part 1)

The Fantasy Islam Of The University Of Chicago's Fred Donner (Part 1)

February 1, 2019

The Fantasy Islam of the University of Chicago's Fred Donner (Part 1)


A few years ago we saw the release of a book by Fred M. Donner titled Muhammad and the Believers at the Origins of Islam. Donner was then, and still is, the Professor of Near Eastern History (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Oriental Institute) at the University of Chicago. Donner's book received very positive reviews, e.g.:

In Muhammad and the Believers, the eminent historian Fred Donner offers a lucid and original vision of how Islam first evolved. — Harvard University Press[1]

His new book, "Muhammad and the Believers," is a learned and brilliantly original, yet concise and accessible study of Islam's formative first century. — Max Rodenbeck, New York Review of Books[2]

For those curious about Islam's beginnings, no book is as original and as evenhanded as this succinct read. — Publishers Weekly[3]

A common theme in these three reviews is how "original" Donner's book was. Donner's book was "original" because Donner had based his book on his unique, personal version of Fantasy Islam.

Let's take a look at Donner's book.

Donner's ambivalence about the "traditional" sources

Donner took an approach that is common among those engaging in Fantasy Islam: pick and choose among the Islamic sources.

Donner wrote that he was concerned about the reliability of the "traditional" Muslim sources when it came to information about Muhammad and events during Muhammad's lifetime (pp. 50-51):

The problem is that this detailed picture of Muhammad's career is drawn not from documents or even stories dating from Muhammad's time, but from literary sources that were compiled many years – sometimes centuries – later…There is also reason to suspect that some – perhaps many – of the incidents related in these sources are not reliable accounts of things that actually happened but rather are legends created by later generations of Muslims to affirm Muhammad's status as prophet, to help establish precedents shaping the later Muslim community's ritual, social, or legal practices, or simply to fill out poorly known chapters in the life of their founder…

So Donner was concerned that a certain amount of the information found in the "literary sources" that were written after Muhammad's death was suspect because some of these early Muslim scholars had actually created "legends" about Muhammad, meaning that these scholars had lied about their prophet Muhammad. This is an eye-opening claim because according to Islamic Doctrine it is blasphemy for a Muslim to lie about Muhammad. Donner is also calling into question what we know about the history of Islam, especially during the time of Muhammad.

Unfortunately Donner never listed in his book the "traditional" sources about which he was concerned. But he did list two of the "traditional" sources that he had used for his research (p. 238): The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah) by Muhammad ibn Ishaq, and volumes from The History of al-Tabari by Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Jarir al-Tabari.

In spite of his misgivings about the accuracy of some of the "traditional" sources, Donner concluded (p. 52):

…for the present it remains prudent to utilize the traditional narratives sparingly and with caution.

And utilize them he did. In terms of the early history of Islam, Donner largely relied on "traditional" sources for over a third of his book: e.g., the biography of Muhammad (pp. 39-50); the succession to Muhammad and the Wars of Apostasy (pp. 91-102); early Muslim expansion (pp. 119-133); and the Muslim civil wars and other events during the time period of 655-692 AD (pp. 145-188).

But in the parts of his book where he was writing about what he called the "Believers' movement," he seemed to rely less on "traditional" sources and rather relied heavily on his own understandings and speculation. But as we shall see, there were numerous occasions where one or both of the "traditional" sources he had relied on (ibn Ishaq and al-Tabari) actually contradicted Donner's narrative about the Believers' movement. And we shall also see that many other authoritative Muslim sources contradicted various parts of that same narrative.

The Believers' Movement

The premise of Donner's book was that Muhammad and his early followers started out considering themselves to be a community of "Believers"; the designation "Muslim" was to come later. According to Donner, this early Believers' movement was a monotheistic, ecumenical movement that allowed membership to all who believed in the oneness of "God." It was only decades after the death of Muhammad that the Believers began to emphasize their differences with Jews, Christians, and other religions, and as a result started regarding their religion as exclusively Islam and their members as exclusively "Muslim."

Donner based this claim that Muhammad and his early followers considered themselves to be "Believers" on the Koran itself, which Donner considered to be the best source of information about this "early community." He wrote on pp. 56-57:

The fact that the Qur'an text dates to the earliest phase of the movement inaugurated by Muhammad means that the historian can use it to gain some insight into the beliefs and values of this early community…It is best, therefore, to stick very closely to what the Qur'an itself says for information.

Here is what Donner found in the Koran to support his claim about the existence of the Believers' movement (p. 58):

The Qur'an's frequent appeal to the Believers, then – usually in phrases such as "O you who Believe…" – forces us to conclude that Muhammad and his early followers thought of themselves above all as being a community of Believers, rather than one of Muslims, and referred to themselves as Believers.

Relying on the Koran, Donner outlined the basic beliefs of the Believers' movement (pp. 57-68): 1) Muhammad and his early followers thought of themselves as being a community of Believers rather than one of Muslims; 2) The Believers believed in the "oneness of God"; 3) The Qur'an's strict monotheism condemned the Christian doctrine of the Trinity as being incompatible with the idea of God's absolute unity; 4) Believers believed in the Last Day or Day of Judgement, revelation and prophecy, and God's angels; and 5) Believers had to live piously: engage in regular prayer, charity, fasting (if physically able), pilgrimage, and "proper deportment."

On pp. 70-72 Donner wrote that the early Believers' movement consisted of Jews, non-Trinitarian Christians, and "recent converts from paganism." Donner referred to this third group as "Qur'anic monotheists" and said that the "general term" for those recent converts was "muslim" [sic]. On p. 71 he stated that during the early days of the movement the name "muslim" was so inclusive it was sometimes even applied to some Christians and Jews, although it was later applied exclusively to "‘the new monotheist' Believers who followed Qur'anic law" (the members of the third group).

Donner wrote that the Believers' movement was so inclusive that, "Believing Jews could follow the injunctions of the Torah and Christians the injunctions of the Gospels" (p. 87). This ecumenical movement, founded by Muhammad, continued for some years after his death in the year 632.

But the nature of this movement began to change during the latter part of the 7th Century under the rule of ‘Abd al-Malik (r. 685-705). On p. 203 Donner wrote:

‘Abd al-Malik seems to have encouraged the Arabian Believers to redefine themselves, and the Believers' movement, in a manner that was less ecumenical or confessional and open than it had been originally. The category of "Believer," which hitherto had included righteous monotheists of several confessions, came to be increasingly limited to those who followed Qur'anic law. A boundary began to be drawn between Qur'anic Believers, and those righteous Christians and Jews who had formerly belonged to the Believers' movement…

During this transition the word "muslim" gradually acquired its exclusive, non-ecumenical meaning of today (p. 204), and the Koran assumed a status superior to the Torah and the Bible (p. 206).

But did Muhammad really establish an ecumenical "Believers' movement" that resulted in idyllic relations between members of various monotheistic religions? Let's look into some of the details Donner provided us about this movement.

Christians and Jews in general could be "Believers"?

Donner had written that during the time of Muhammad the Believers' movement was so inclusive that, "Believing Jews could follow the injunctions of the Torah and Christians the injunctions of the Gospels" (p. 87). Donner had also written that the Koran was the best source of information about this "early community," and frequent appeals to Believers by Koran verses "forced us" to conclude that such a Believers' movement had existed.

There are numerous Koran verses that do address "believers" in general. However, it is important to understand that there are also Koran verses that differentiate between Jews and Christians, and "believers." Here are ten Koran verses that specifically stated that Jews and Christians (People of the Book/Scripture) were not "believers" (I have not included the entire verse but have just noted the differentiations being made):[4]

Meccan verse – 74:31 refers to "the people of the Scripture and the believers." This chapter was "revealed" during the time period of 610-613.[5]

Medinan verses:

1) 2:62 – "those who believe," and "Jews and Christians";

2) 2:120 – the "religion" of "Jews" and "Christians," and that of Muhammad;

3) 3:99 – "people of the Scripture" and "those who have believed";

4) 3:110 – "had the people of the Scripture believed, it would have been better for them";

5) 5:51 – "O you who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians as Auliya'";

6) 5:65 – "And if only the people of the Scripture had believed";

7) 5:69 – "Surely those who believe, and those who are the Jews and the Sabians and the Christians";

8) 5:82 – "Surely you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers the Jews…the nearest in love to the believers those who say: ‘We are Christians";

9) 22:17 – "Verily, those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians".

Donner said that the Koran was the best source of information about the early Believers' movement; with these ten verses we can see that a distinction had been made between the People of the Scripture and the "believers" since the early days of Islam.

Nevertheless, throughout his book Donner claimed that "Christians" had been members of the Believers' movement (e.g. pp. 72, 87, 112, 114, 115, 176, and 192).

However, on occasion Donner was careful to specify that the Christian members of the Believers' movement were not Trinitarian Christians (pp. 58-59, 70, and 212-214). But then he appeared to contradict himself by implying that Trinitarian Christians might have actually been a part of that movement during the time of Muhammad (p. 213):

The earliest surviving evidence (other than the Qur'an itself) that the ruling circles of the Believers' movement…were inclined to turn against these Christian doctrines (the Trinity, Jesus as God's son, the divinity and resurrection of Jesus), is found on some early coins…they appear to have been issued during the early years of ‘Abd al-Malik's reign, if not earlier (possible under Mu'awiya[r. 661-680]).

These evidentiary coins were issued decades after Muhammad's death, and according to Donner these coins showed the Believers' movement was then beginning to turn against Trinitarian Christian doctrines. But what about the "earliest surviving evidence": the Koran itself? If Donner wanted to show at what point the Believers' movement actually started turning against Trinitarian Christians, why would he mention, but then ignore the Koran?

Perhaps he ignored the Koran because it was proof that the Believers' movement had actually turned against the Trinitarian Christians during the lifetime of Muhammad. On pp. 58-59 Donner wrote:

But the Qur'an's strict monotheism also condemns the Christian doctrine of the Trinity as being incompatible with the idea of God's absolute unity: "Those who say that God is the third of three, disbelieve; there is no god but the one God…" (Q. [Koran] 5:73).

Donner elaborated on this on p. 59:

…it has been plausibly suggested that the Qur'an's frequent invective against "polytheists" may actually be directed at trinitarian [sic] Christians and anyone else whom Muhammad considered only lukewarm monotheists…the Qur'an makes it clear that the most basic requirement for the Believers was uncompromising acknowledgement of God's oneness…God's essential unity.

There are additional Koran verses showing hostility to Trinitarian Christians, e.g.:

1) 5:72 – Trinitarian Christians are disbelievers;

2) 9:30 – Allah curses Trinitarian Christians;

3) 4:48 and 4:116 – Trinitarian Christians commit the unforgiveable sin of Shirk (ascribing partners to Allah);

4) 4:157-158 – Jesus was not crucified (thus Trinitarian Christians believe in a false religion).

Since these Koran verses were "revealed" to Muhammad, it is clear that the "ecumenical" Believers' movement had turned against Trinitarian Christians in its early days.

But what about the non-Trinitarian Christians that Donner claimed had been part of the Believers' movement? Donner mentioned two such sects.

On p. 11 Donner wrote that the Monophysite Christians:

…considered Christ to have had only a single nature that was simultaneously divine and human. (From their perspective, the key point about Christ was that in him God had truly experienced human agony and death, but being God he was able to rise from the dead).

On pp. 11-12 Donner mentioned the Nestorians, who were "dyophysite" and believed that "Christ had two natures, one divine and one human, which were separate and distinct but combined in a single person."

So both the Monophysites and the Nestorians believed that Christ was both human and divine. However, there are numerous verses in the Koran that specifically state that Christ was only a Messenger/Prophet of Allah and had no divine nature (e.g., 3:49, 4:171, 5:72, 5:75, 9:30, 19:30, 19:35-36, 43:59, and 61:6).

Chronologically speaking, Koran Chapter 19 was revealed in Mecca during the time period circa 610-615,[6] and Koran Chapter 43, also a Meccan chapter, was revealed circa 615-619.[7] The rest of the above verses are from Medinan chapters. We can see then that the Koran's rejection of the divinity of Christ began in the very early days of the Believers' movement, so it is difficult to see how Donner could claim that any Christians maintaining a belief in Christ's divinity could have actually been a part of that movement.

What about the Jews? Let's start off with the first chapter of the Koran, Al-Fatihah. This chapter was revealed in Mecca and was among the first chapters of the Koran to be revealed.[8] Al-Fatihah is a Muslim prayer to Allah, and Muhammad said that any prayer that did not include Al-Fatihah was "invalid."[9] This chapter has only seven verses; here are Verses Six and Seven:

6. Guide us to the Straight Way.
7. The way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray.

Muhammad said that the Straight Way (or Path) is Islam.[10] Muslims then ask Allah not to guide them on the way of those with whom Allah was angry. And with whom was Allah angry? Muhammad said that Allah was angry with the Jews.[11] There were also other later Koran verses talking about Allah's anger with the Jews, e.g.: 2:61and 3:112.

So we can see that from the early days of the Believers' movement Allah was angry with the Jews, so how could a Jew really be a part of that movement? And a later Medinan Koran verse (60:13) was addressed to "you who believe," and prohibited those believers from taking as friends "the people who incurred the Wrath of Allah." According to this verse, Jews were not "believers."

And the Jews actually believed that Allah had a son! Muhammad said that the Jews admitted to worshipping ‘Uzair (Ezra) because they believed he was the son of Allah.[12] And Koran 9:30 states that Allah curses the Jews because the Jews believed that ‘Uzair was the son of Allah. This meant the Jews were joining Trinitarian Christians in committing the unforgiveable sin ofShirk.

According to authoritative Muslim scholars, here are some of the things Muhammad had to say specifically about the Jews:

Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah's Messenger said, "The Hour will not be established until you fight against the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.'"[13]

Muhammad said that the Jews were grave robbers. Al-Bukhari reported this hadith under the heading of "What has been said about Bani Israel":

‘Uqba bin ‘Amir said, "I heard him [Muhammad] saying that the Israeli used to dig the grave of the dead (to steal their shrouds)."[14]

Muhammad even said that Jews would be accompanying the anti-Christ:

Anas b. Malik reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: The antichrist would be followed by seventy thousand Jews of Isbahan wearing Persian shawls.[15]

Muhammad also wanted to expel Jews from the land:

Narrated Abu Hurairah: While we were in the mosque, the Prophet came out and said, "Let us go to the Jews." We went out till we reached Bait-ul-Midras. He said to them, "If you embrace Islam, you will be safe. You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Messenger, and I want to expel you from this land. So, if anyone amongst you owns some property, he is permitted to sell it, otherwise you should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Messenger.[16]

And here are some of the things Muhammad had to say about both Jews and Christians:

Muhammad said that Jews and Christians in general would go to Hell.[17] And he said that on the Day of Resurrection, mountains of sins would be removed from the backs of Muslims and put onto the Jews and Christians:

Narrated Abu Musa: Allah's Messenger said: On the Day of Resurrection, my Ummah (nation) will be gathered into three groups. One sort will enter Paradise without rendering an account (of their deeds). Another sort will be reckoned an easy account and admitted into Paradise. Yet another sort will come bearing on their backs heaps of sins like great mountains. Allah will ask the angels though He knows best about them: Who are these people? They will reply: They are humble slaves of yours. He will say: Unload the sins from them and put the same over the Jews and Christians; then let the humble slaves get into Paradise by virtue of My Mercy.[18]

Muhammad even said that Jews and Christians would take the place of Muslims in Hell:

Abu Burda reported on the authority of his father that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: No Muslim would die but Allah would admit instead of him a Jew or a Christian in Hell-Fire.[19]

Jews and Christians who refused to believe in what Muhammad taught were going to Hell:

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: By Him in whose hand is the life of Muhammad, he who amongst the community of Jews or Christians hears about me but does not affirm his belief in that with which I have been sent and dies in this state (of disbelief), he shall be but one of the denizens of Hell-Fire.[20]

And on his death bed Muhammad said this about Jews and Christians:

It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. Al-Khattab that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) saying: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslims.[21]

Muhammad even stated that Jews and Christians could not be believers unless they became Muslims. Ibn Ishaq, one of Donner's sources, reported Muhammad's message to the envoys of the King of Himyar in the year 630:

If a Jew or a Christian becomes a Muslim he is a believer with his rights and obligations. He who holds fast to his religion, Jew or Christian, is not to be turned from it. He must pay the poll tax[Jizyah] – for every adult, male or female, free or slave, one full dinar calculated on the valuation of Ma'afir or its equivalent in clothes. He who pays that to God's apostle has the guarantee of God and His apostle, and he who withholds it is the enemy of God and His apostle.[22]

And here are some other things the Koran has to say about the Jews and Christians: 1) many of them have enmity and hatred toward Muslims (2:109); 2) they mix truth with falsehood and conceal the truth (3:71); 3) they know that Islam is the true faith but they reject it anyway and hinder those seeking to follow Islam (3:98-99); 4) Allah commands them to believe in Islam and Muhammad, or he will "efface faces and turn them hindwards" (4:47); 5) and if they don't believe in Islam, then they are among the worst of creatures and they will abide in the Fires of Hell (98:6).

Only by selectively ignoring teachings of Muhammad, and selectively picking and choosing among Koran verses could Donner claim that Jews and Christians were among the members of the supposed Believers' movement.

But could "Righteous" Christians and Jews be Believers?

On pp. 69-70 Donner wrote:

Closer examination of the Qur'an reveals a number of passages indicating that some Christians and Jews could belong to the Believers' movement – not simply by virtue of their being Christians or Jews, but because they were inclined to righteousness.

Donner then referred to Koran verses 3:113-116 and 3:199, explaining:

These passages and other like them suggest that some peoples of the book [sic] – Christians and Jews – were considered Believers.

Donner made the mistake of providing his own interpretation of these Koran verses instead of consulting Koran commentaries (tafsirs) written by authoritative Muslim scholars. In reality these verses, and many other related and similarly misinterpreted verses, actually label as "righteous" only those Jews and Christians who had converted to Islam.[23]

The "second coming" of Jesus shows concern for Christians

On p. 212 Donner wrote:

It has been suggested that the Umayyads…may have been especially mindful of the concerns of Christians, some of whom were important supporters of the regime…This may explain why the Believers in Syria appear to have placed considerable emphasis on the role of Jesus, whose "second coming" shows up in Islamic eschatological traditions dating to the Umayyad period[661-750 AD].

The "second coming" of Jesus was a part of "Islamic eschatological traditions" well before the Umayyad period, and it showed no concern for Christians. Here is what Muhammad said would happen when Jesus first returned:

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said, The Prophets are paternal brothers…I, more than any of mankind, have more right to ‘Isa [Jesus], son of Maryam, for there was no Prophet between him and I. He will descend… He will break the cross [destroy Christianity], kill the pig, and banish the Jizyah and will call the people to Islam. During his time, Allah will destroy all religions except Islam…[24]

And, according to Muhammad, Jesus would also be judging mankind by the laws of the Koran:

Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah's Messenger said, "How will you be when the son of Maryam (Mary) [‘Isa (Jesus)] descends amongst you, and he will judge people by the law of the Qur'an and not by the law of the Gospel."[25]

Muhammad said that Jesus would return to earth to destroy Christianity, call people to Islam, and rule by the Koran. So Donner is wrong both in terms of when the "second coming" of Jesus became a part of "Islamic eschatological traditions" and the supposed "concern" it showed for Christians.

On to Part 2

The premise of Donner's book was that Muhammad had established an "ecumenical" movement of "Believers" that included Christians, Jews and others who believed in "one God." But as authoritative Muslim scholars have shown us, Muhammad established the exclusive religion of Islam whose adherents were known as "Muslims," not some ecumenical movement that included adherents of other religions.

In Part 2 we will look at more of the misinformation in Donner's book.

[1] http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674064140

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/books/review/Rodenbeck-t.html

[3] https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-674-05097-6

[4] In this article I am using this Koran translation: Interpretation of the Meanings of The Noble Qur'an, trans. Muhammad Muhsin Khan and Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2007).

[5] The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, trans. Marmaduke Pickthall (1930; rpt. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992), p. 618. I am using Pickthall's categories of the Meccan time period – see p. 7.

[6] The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, p. 308.

[7] Ibid., p. 503

[8] Abu'l-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Wahidi, Al-Wahidi's Asbab al-Nuzul, trans. Mokrane Guezzou (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2008), p. 6.

[9] Abu al-Fida' ‘Imad Ad-Din Isma'il bin ‘Umar bin Kathir al-Qurashi Al-Busrawi, Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), abr. Shaykh Safiur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, trans. Jalal Abualrub, et al. (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2000), Vol. 1, pp. 47, 50, and 79.

[10] Ibid., p. 84.

[11] E.g., Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 1, p. 88; Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Ansari al-Qurtubi, Tafsir Al-Qurtubi: Classical Commentary of the Holy Qur'an, Vol. 1, trans. Aisha Bewley (London: Dar Al Taqwa Ltd., 2003), p. 127; and Abu ‘Eisa Mohammad ibn ‘Eisa at-Tirmidhi, Jami' At-Tirmidhi, trans. Abu Khaliyl (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2007), Vol. 5, No. 2954, p. 281.

[12] Muhammad bin Ismail bin Al-Mughirah al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari, trans. Muhammad Muhsin Khan (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 1997), Vol. 9, Book No. 97, No. 7439, p. 323.

[13] Ibid., Vol. 4, Book 56, No. 2926, p. 113.

[14] Ibid., Vol. 4, Book 60, No. 3452, p. 413. Bani Israel, or Banii Israa'iil, is an expression used in the Koran to refer to the early Jews. See the entry for Israa'iil in Mahmoud Ismail Saleh,Dictionary of Islamic Words & Expressions, 3rd ed. (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2011), p. 102.

[15] Abu'l Hussain ‘Asakir-ud-Din Muslim bin Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naisaburi, Sahih Muslim, trans. ‘Abdul Hamid Siddiqi (New Delhi, India: Adam Publishers and Distributors, 2008), Vol. 8, No. 2944, p. 366.

[16] Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 58, No. 3167, p. 248.

[17] Ibid., Vol. 9, Book No. 97, No. 7439, p. 323. This story is also reported in Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, No. 183, p. 132.

[18] 110 Ahadith Qudsi: Sayings of the Prophet Having Allahs Statements, 3rd ed., trans. Syed Masood-ul-Hasan (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2006), No. 8, titledSuperiority of the believers in the Oneness of Allah and the punishment of Jews and Christians, pp. 19-20.

[19] Sahih Muslim, Vol. 8, No. 2767R1, p. 269.

[20] Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, p. 103, No. 153.

[21] Sahih Muslim, Vol. 5, No. 1767, p. 189.

[22] Muhammad ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), trans. Alfred Guillaume (Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 643. This was similarly reported by al-Tabari, another of Donner's sources: Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari: The Last Years of the Prophet, Vol. IX, trans. and annotated Ismail K. Poonawala (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1990), p. 75. Footnote 518 on this page pointed out that the Ma'afir were a people who

…enjoyed a certain reputation as weavers….The poll tax of a dinar of full weight of the Ma'afir standard could also be paid in articles of clothing of that Ma'afir material.

[23] For details about the actual meanings of this category of Koran verses, see my articles: 1) "Jewish-Muslim coexistence through the Koran? Wishful thinking," Arutz Sheva 7/Israel National News, January 13, 2016; accessible athttp://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/18229; 2) "Fantasy Islam," Arutz Sheva 7/Israel National News, January 24, 2016; accessible athttp://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/18286; 3) "Real Islam is not based on personal interpretations," Arutz Sheva 7/Israel National News, February 8, 2016; accessible athttp://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/18369; and 4) "Koran verses made for the Knesset," Arutz Sheva 7/Israel National News, March 3, 2016: accessible athttp://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/18497.

[24] Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 3, pp. 31-32.

[25] Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 60, No. 3449, p. 412.


Printer-friendly version   Email this item to a friend