Remembering Uzza

3.4 For God and Booty

(1st draft)

Uzza:  On January 630, less than two years into a ten year non-aggression pact, Muhammad at the head of an army numbering at least ten thousand, marched on Mecca.

There is no one to hinder the march of the believers as between them and the holy city are tribes who have converted to Islam or are allies of the Muslims; Khaybar having convinced many, the Bedouins in particular, that in Muhammad they have a winner who will deliver on his promise of wealth and women for fighting under his banner on behalf of Allah.

Bob: So much for treaties with Muslims?

Archie: In a bar fight if you don't finish off the other guy when he is down, usually by a few kicks to the ribs or to the head if you want to kill him, and he gets up, you're the dead man. Allah understood this when He said not to ask for peace when you have the upper hand, but finish them off.

Gerry: But, Uzza told us that He also said that you should not break a treaty.

Uzza: Unless you fear treachery, and Muhammad, from what we have been told, was convinced that the Meccans had been supplying arms to the Banu Bakr, a tribe allied with the Meccans which has been fighting a tribe allied with the Muslims, the Banu Khuzah.

Archie: In everything this Allah says, paranoia seems to run deep, as the man said. From beating your wife to beating the other guy, it's all about what's on your mind?

Gerry: Not so much what's on your mind, but what you think is on the other person's mind.

Archie: That's paranoia, d'oh!

Gerry: Uzza, what were the Meccans thinking? They had to be aware of the precarious position they were in and that the worst thing they could do was give the Prophet, whom you said had only a few years to bring about Judgement Day and avoid anytime as a zombie, a reason to attack?

Archie: Give it up Gerry, it was all a pretense.

Uzza: What we know for sure is that the Meccans vigorously protested their innocence and offered to compensate Muhammad and the believers, to no avail, for any damage the Banu Bakr may have caused.

Archie: There you go...

Bob: I feel a Mecca morning coming on.

Uzza: The horde of holy warriors descending on the villages and towns of the Peninsula intent on slaughter, destruction and plunder, with Muhammad announcing to their inhabitants their imminent annihilation in his god's name must have been terrifying. But Mecca was not Khaybar.

Bob: Because there were no Jews to speak of?

Uzza: No, that wasn't it. Mecca was not a community of farmers. Mecca was still a force to be reckoned with if they put up a fight, and Mecca still had powerful friends. Muhammad was no fool, he had to know a full frontal assault like at Khaybar could prove disastrous for the believers, many of whom were leery about attacking sacred Mecca. He had to get the Meccans to surrender without a fight, and quickly.

Bob: And how would he do that?

Uzza: Muhammad was not bound by convention, he did what he needed to do to win and then made sure you were never in a position to challenge his authority again as he progressed to his next objective, always with the ultimate objective in mind. He was both brilliant in war and peace by using a tactic of the Arabs to avoid bloodshed, and that was the fear of death.

Bob: But the Muslims were not afraid of death?

Uzza: But their opponents were. And the believers have been using this fear to their advantage to this day.

Bob: You mean they sent suicide squads inside Mecca to kill men, women and children wherever they found them?

Uzza: The suicidal warrior, an invention of the Tamil Tigers by-the-way, was adopted by holy warriors later. They did what I believe the Meccans at Medina tried to do, intimidate the believers into giving up without a fight, by convincing them that they would lose if it came to that, and that they probably would lose their lives.

Archie: Not a great tactic when fighting people who would like nothing better than to die like a Klingon in battle.

Uzza: Yes, but the pagans of Mecca were no Klingons, they enjoyed the life they had here and were in no hurry to find out what awaited them in the Hereafter.

Gerry: Muslims as Klingons that is an interesting comparison.

Bob: And a wrong one. Klingons were happy to die in battle fighting other warriors not defenceless women and children. Holy warriors, as Worf might say, "have no honour."

Gerry: The Meccans, I'll bet could have used a few Klingons like we could use a few right now?

Uzza: What also worked in Muhammad's favour was that the hapless Meccan leader at the Battle of the Trench still held sway over the Meccans, and he was no Klingon, let me tell you. With nothing to stop him but the determination of free men to remain free, Muhammad parked his army, when he arrived at nightfall, just outside the city. Countless campfires were lit so as to confuse the enemy as to size of his army. With everything in order, he invited the hapless Abu Sufyan for a visit. During his time among the believers Muhammad made sure he was constantly surrounded by thousands of heavily armed holy warriors, some on parade, other executing mock attacks in the shimmering firelight making them even more menacing, spontaneously stopping whatever they were doing to shout that blood-curdling cry, Allahu Akbar, announcing an imminent slaughter in Allah's Cause, as it does today.

Gerry: Impressive.

Uzza: Suitability cowered, Muhammad offered to spare the lives of all Meccans who laid down their arms and stayed in their homes or sought refuge in the Ka'ba while the believers occupied the city.

Bob: Is that what Muhammad meant when he said "I have been made victorious with terror."

Uzza: If terror is offering not to kill people or harm them if they do what is asked of them, after demonstrating that you are powerful and ruthlessness enough to do so, usually through prior violent pitiless acts.

Bob: So the Prophet was the first terrorist in Allah's Cause?

Uzza: I did not say Muhammad was a terrorist. I only offered a definition of terrorism. It is up to you to decide if his actions fit the definition.

Archie: My mind's made up.

Bob: So it worked, the terror?

Uzza: You mean the demonstration of strength.

Bob: If you want to call it that.

Uzza: On the advice of their commander Abu Sufyan who tells them that the situation is hopeless, the Meccan surrender en masse, except for Sufyan's wife who remains defiant, most agree to become believers, knowing that this is their only protection. But, not before obtaining a concession from Muhammad that they may continue worshipping the goddesses al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat.

Gerry: And he agreed to this?

Uzza: Yes, after a quick consultation with Allah.

Archie: Am I missing something here? Muslims don't worship women.

Uzza: No they don't. The next morning Muhammad said that was all the devil's doing; that the devil had intruded on his conversation with Allah and that in the morning God had set him straight.

Archie: I give up. Muslims will believe anything.

Uzza: What is referred to as The Satanic Verses, verses that confirmed the existence of female goddesses who were entitled to be worshipped, were stricken from the Koran.

Bob: But, that was a condition for the Meccans to become Muslims. Nobody objected?

Uzza: What could they do, the believers were in control of city and their weapons had been confiscated.

Bob: Did the Prophet at least keep his promise not to kill anybody?

Uzza: He is Muhammad and this is Islam, what can I say.

Archie: What do you mean by that?

Uzza: You did not mock Muhammad if you had no protectors and you valued your life. Remember Badr. And you did not leave Islam for the same reason. Those ordered killed on sight had done one or the other.

Gerry: Who were these doomed individuals?

Uzza: One was a fellow by the name of Khatal. He had once been Muhammad collector of the obligatory charity the Zakat, but later abandonned Islam and returned to Mecca. He was one of six men and four women put to death on Muhammad's orders. Two of the four women put to death were singers in Khatal’s household who, years earlier as young girls, had sang satirical songs about him. This may, in part, explains Muhammad's pathological aversion to women singers.

Archie: This guy had issues.

Gerry: Obligatory charity. How can charity be obligatory? Isn't charity by definition voluntary?

Uzza: In your world, perhaps.

Archie: Yeah, not your bizarro world where logic is illogical, wrong is right, good is bad.

Uzza: Bizarro world. I don't understand.

Gerry: Bizarro was superman's opposite. He lived on a "bizarro world" where up was down, left was right, go meant stop, goodbye meant hello... Bizarro is a term often used to describe a person or thing that uses a twisted form of logic.

Uzza: That is not the world people like me and like my father before me have embraced.

Archie: Sorry, I didn't mean your personally.

Bob: Who decided how much of this Zakat you paid.

Uzza: Muhammad. He even wrote a letter before he died for people in the newly conquered territories detailing how much Zakat was owed on livestock such as cattle and goats. You even paid Zakat on goods you intended to trade.

Gerry: A sales tax.

Uzza: I guess so.

Bob: And who did you pay this Zakat to?

Uzza: To Muhammad directly or via Zakat collectors like the unfortunate Khatal.

Archie: What happened to you if did not contribute to the voluntary charity?

Uzza: You could expect a visit from a deputation of holy warriors who would make you an offer you could not refuse.

Archie: That is extortion!

Uzza: If you say so, but Islamists would not agree.

Gerry: Extortion is "obtaining something", today its money mostly, "through force or threats", so Archie has a point.

Uzza: A voluntary charitable contribution demanded by God and enforced by those who believe in him cannot be extortion.

Archie: Here we go again.

Uzza: It's the Sharia. The law is the law. Get used to it, for you will soon be living under it.

Bob: We will still have to pay income tax, if we pay the Zakat?

Uzza: Yes, probably. The Zakat may have made the Ayatollahs into billionaires but the Iranians still have to pay regular income tax. They do, I believe, get to deduct what the clergy extorts, I mean collects in God's name.

Bob: Tell us more about what happened after the Muslims took over Mecca.

Uzza: One of the first thing Muhammad did was take away a Meccan woman's right to chose. At a special ceremony, he had the women of Mecca pay him homage and promise, among other things not to commit adultery, and like the men before them not to oppose him in any matter.

Archie: Issues, this man had issues, women his biggest.

Gerry: Why bring up adultery at this time?

Uzza: The women of Mecca slept around. That was not a secret, and Hind was no exception.

Bob: And their husbands were okay with this. They did not have them stoned to death?

Uzza: They may not have always approved, but most of the pre-Islamic Arabs, especially the fun loving tolerant people of Mecca, were not barbarians.

Archie: Who is this Hind person?

Uzza: Sorry, she was the wife of Abu Sufyan. She was the only woman among those assembled with the men of Mecca to hear their conqueror deliver his instructions, to leave her face and hair uncovered. When Muhammad demanded the women of Mecca swear to stop "fornicating" with men other than their husband, she rose to ask if it was possible for a free woman to commit adultery.

Bob: What did she mean by that?

Uzza: Like the free married men of Mecca who slept with other women, she may have felt that a free women was entitled to do the same, it was her choice and many of the fair-minded men of Mecca, before Islam, seem to agree. God I love that woman.

Bob: Because you like to sleep around?

Uzza: No, and if I did, it is no one's business but my own. No, it is because she defended women's rights when they were threatened, unlike the women of today who see covering their features as empowering them, when it is about empowering men who, like Muhammad would tell them what to wear, what to do and with whom they can do do it with. Sometimes I hate my sex.

Archie: You and the Prophet.

Gerry: I heard that when he went to the Ka'ba, the Prophet destroyed the statues and relics of more than 300 religions?

Uzza: He did more than that. On the walls were paintings of prophets and other revered people. He had the walls washed and ordered everyone to destroy any statues and reproductions of the living and the dead they had in their homes.

Bob: Why?

Uzza: Allah, in many ways, for a god who claims to be the most omnipotent of the omnipotent is somewhat insecure in his omnipotency, afraid that people will be distracted by the worship of inanimate things like statuettes from worshipping his greatness.

Archie: As opposed to worshipping a ghost you can't see.

Uzza: Also, art that imitates life is considered an act of creation and therefore an arrogant infringement of a god's prerogative. With the destruction of the so-called idols and most forms of art, the burden placed on women by the surrogate of a god who never knew intimacy and the changing of the pilgrimages from a time of celebration of life by the many to a celebration of anything but by another arrogant fraternity who lay claim to being god's pets, from one day to the next all-embracing Mecca changed from a vibrant welcoming community to a bleak, uninviting place.

Archie: Except for Muslims.

Uzza: Except for the believers. The cleansing of the Ka'ba was followed by the cleansing of Arabia thereby bringing an end to the most enlightened civilization the Middle East has ever known.

Gerry: Cleansing. That is a bit much isn't?

Uzza: It is what it is. Cleansing is intolerance in action, whether it be intolerance for another race or intolerance of people of another religion or no religion at all. Muhammad actions at the Ka'ba and shortly later when he issued an edict that all Arabs had to become Muslims within four months or face death or enslavement at the hands of the believers speak for themselves.

Gerry: But that is not like ethic cleansing; like what was done by the NAZIs.

Uzza: The only difference is that the Jews could not change their race to save their lives. Your civilization is now facing its own cleansing. The funny thing is, it is your unthinking tolerance of intolerance, not unlike that of the Meccans, that has brought you to the brink of extinction.

Gerry: You're not saying that Western Civilization should have indulge in a little cleansing of its own like the Serbs did at Srebrenica?

Uzza: Of course not. All they had to do was not let the intolerant in.

Gerry: You mean a Muslim band like Trump wanted?

Uzza: NO! All you had to do was ask a few questions of Muslims immigrants as a first step to avoided welcoming Islamists.

Archie: And those questions would be?

Uzza: I have given this some thought.

1. In the Koran, Allah says that "Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him"

Do you agree?

2. In the Koran, Allah confirms that he sent Muhammad with what He refers to as "the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may exalt it above every other religion."

Do you believe that it is your duty as a believer, wherever you are, to do the same?

3. Prophet Muhammad said: "I have been made victorious with terror."

Do you believe that terrorism is a legitimate weapon in Allah's Cause?

4. In the Koran, Allah says it is okay to lie if it will further His Cause.

Would you lie to further Allah's Cause?

A yes to any of the above would automatically disqualify a person as an immigrant or a refugee.

Archie: I would only ask one question: "Yes or No! Do you swear by the Koran?" That's it. Answer yes, and you don't get in.

Uzza: Somewhat simplistic, but better than no questions at all.

Bob: What is the second step?

Uzza: Deport anyone whose actions betray their allegiance.

Bob: I'll drink to that.

Archie: [raising his glass] And to the well-meaning pussies who gave up without a fight.

Uzza: The Meccans were not pussies, to use your derogatory terms. And you will remember, it was a pussy who tried to get the men to resist. If they had had a leader like the one who rushed to retake Mecca from the believers instead of the cowardly Sufyan, things would have been a lot different.

Gerry: Are you saying that if the Meccans had held out for any length of time the cavalry was waiting to rush in and save the day?

Uzza: I would not have put it quite that way, but yes. One reason Muhammad wanted a quick surrender was because he could not waste time or holy warriors in battle when he knew that Mecca's friends would be riding to its rescue if it was attacked.

Bob: And who would that be?

Uzza: Warriors from four tribes allied with the Meccans. They had a brave but unfortunately inexperienced commander who made the mistake of placing the women and children and property, mostly livestock, at the rear of the advancing troop thinking this would make them fight harder knowing what they would lose if the believers prevailed.

Bob: Why was it a mistake?

Uzza: It not only interfered with military maneuvers which might have saved the day, but the sight of all the booty to be had, may have been more of an incentive for the believers to fight harder. Anyway, they lost which left no effective opposition to Muhammad's plan to Islamicize the Arabian Peninsula then take the fight to the Byzantines.

Gerry: And the Meccans joined in, doing to the rest of the Arabs what the Prophet had done to them?

Uzza: He did provide a tried and true incentive. The booty from what is known as the battle of Hunayn was immense, a reported six thousand captives, mostly women and children, forty thousand sheep and goats, four thousand ounces of silver and twenty four thousand camels, of which he gave the lion's share to the Meccans.

Gerry: That must not have gone over too well with those who spilled blood and guts in Allah's Cause.

Uzza: It almost caused the believers to revolt. Islamic scriptures are clear on the concept. If you kill the enemies of Allah you are entitled to their property. And should you yourself be killed while killing in Allah's Cause a privileged placed in a hedonistic Paradise where you will be able to fornicate your brains awaits you.

Muhammad explained to his upset warriors, what is known in Islam as Mu'allafatul Qulub using the booty, and the Zakat if necessary, to foster an appreciation of all that Islam has to offer.

Bob: And they bought it?

Uzza: Why not? After all, there was more where that came from.

Gerry: Some people fight for king and country, others for a sometimes obscure notion of liberty, freedom and human rights with no guarantee of an interesting sexual afterlife, or any afterlife at all. Holy warriors, it's for God and Booty, or so it would seem.

Uzza: Sometimes it makes me sick to my stomach when I am reminded, like now, that so many people, 10s of millions of men women and children over the years, killed in cold-blood by merciless young men mostly on the promise of sex and things in this world and an eternal life of debauchery in the next as my god's appreciation for believing in him and killing those who didn't.

Archie: Maybe it's the booze. A little too much too drink perhaps.

Uzza: And it's not over. It will never be over! The killing will go on even after the last unbeliever has been robbed of his life and all his things. Another glass of wine Archie. I need to forget.