Remembering Uzza

23 A Big Deal of a Treaty

(3.2 draft)

UzzaBob: With the Meccans gone, the Jews no longer an issue, what did the believers do to celebrate?

Archie: BOOTY TIME! With more than a thousand defenceless females and the Prophet's approval, what do you think they did?

Bob: What does Archie mean by "the Prophet's approval"?

Uzza: You don't miss a thing do you Archie? Remember earlier when I said that Muhammad asked holy warriors not to practice coitus interruptus when raping their captives?

Bob: Yes.

Uzza: That meant he did not object to rape per se, just that the rapist should not withdraw to avoid impregnating the victim and thereby deprive Allah of the opportunity to make a baby. This is called his silent approval and it has the same force in law as if he had shouted "go out and rape and multiply." And that is exactly what Islamic State did when it raped all those captured Yazidi women and girls.

Bob: They were rewarding themselves for killing their husbands and fathers, just like the Muslims of Medina who killed the Jews?

Uzza: Yes, but they were not breaking any laws.

Gerry: Another argument for Western jurisprudence which condemns immorality not condone it.

Uzza: The Sharia, which means God's law, cannot, by definition, condone immorality. Therefore, what holy warriors do to their female captives is both legal and moral.

Gerry: You don't have a problem with what was done to the Yazidi females?


Archie: No need to shout. We get it. People who do these things are insane and the laws they live by just as crazy.

Uzza: I did not say that.

Archie: Of course you didn't. We understand.

Uzza: And, if there was what you called "booty time", after the elimination of potential enemies, it would only have provided a temporary respite from what was still a dire situation for the believers.

Bob: How's that?

Uzza: The Meccans and the Jews of Khaybar, a large farming community to the north of Medina to which many of the Jewish exiled had fled, had agreed to come to each other's aid if either was attacked by the believers. Both cities also instituted the equivalent of an economic blockade. Not only were the Muslim caravans confined to Medina but so were their raiding parties. Not only could the believers no longer depend on plunder to make ends meet, but Muhammad had destroyed much of the orchards of the oasis city and exiled or slaughtered its farmers.

Archie: Serves him right.

Uzza: Something had to give. The believers appeared to have no choice. Unless they broke the blockade by attacking either Khaybar or Mecca, many of the warriors who became believers for the plunder and the sex, with starvation a definite possibility, will leave, or worse, change sides, making the fall of Medina and the defeat of the believers inevitable.

Bob: Who did they attack first?

Uzza: Khaybar, but not before giving the Meccans what they most wanted, a negotiated peace that avoided, for now, unnecessary Arab bloodshed and set Khaybar adrift. He would deliver the olive branch in person.

Archie: Calling for peace, from what you have told us so far, is not what Muslims do.

Uzza: Allah told the believers not to call for peace if they had the upper hand; but He also said it was okay to lie in His Cause. A lie in His Cause at this point seemed the appropriate thing to do if the believers were to survive to fight another day.

Gerry: It wasn’t a lie if Muhammad intended to keep the peace.

Uzza: Many believers thought it was a lie to catch the Meccans off guard when informed of Muhammad's plans to go to Mecca, not to fight but to perform the lesser pilgrimage.

Bob: But it wasn't?

Uzza: No, it wasn't; but neither was it about the pilgrimage. He invited the believers to accompany him on this 800 km round-trip trek. Except for the Bedouins who became believers for the booty, most of his follower joined him. Those who will accompany him are only allowed a sheathed sword and must follow the ritual preparation, much of it borrowed from the pagans, such as fasting, shaving your head and body hair, wearing a simple robe without decorations of any kind and abstaining from sexual relations.

Gerry: That is definitely not preparing to do battle.

Uzza: On February 628, Muhammad and an estimated fourteen hundred men leave Medina for Mecca. Somehow, they manage to avoid a large force sent to intercept them and make it to the outskirts of the city. Uthman, Muhammad’s son in law, accepts to go and talk to the Meccans. When he is late in returning, rumours start to circulate that he has been killed or is being tortured.

Again, to everyone's astonishment, except perhaps Muhammad, a short time later, a delegation from Mecca arrives. A ten-year non-aggression treaty is signed, the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. Under Hudaibiyah, believers will be allowed to perform the pilgrimage the following year and every year during which the treaty is in force.

It is during the signing of this treaty that we get the best indication from a credible witness that Muhammad was not a total illiterate. His scribe wrote, where Muhammad was to put his imprimatur "These are the terms on which Muhammad, Allah's Apostle agreed."

The Meccans objected, saying that if they believed he was really Allah's Apostle, they would have no objections to him visiting the Ka'ba anytime. When Muhammad's scribe refused to change the wording, he took the treaty from him, rubbed out what the Meccans found objectionable and wrote in what met with their approval.

Bob: So, Muhammad could read and write?

Uzza: Reputable scholars agree that Muhammad was not a total illiterate, that he could write his name and perhaps read at a rudimentary level. Does that make him literate? I don't know.

Archie: The treaty allowed the Muslims to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. Big deal!

Uzza: The big deal was that the treaty no longer committed the Meccans to come to the aid of the Jews of Khaybar if they were attacked.

Archie: That is a big deal!

Uzza: So that is what Muhammad did. Having made peace, if only a temporary one, with his Arab kin, he wasted no time in attacking Khaybar.