Remembering Uzza

4.4 Mary, What a Strange Thing You Have Done!

(2.5 draft)

Gerry: How long after taking Mecca did the Prophet decide to take the fight to the Byzantines?

Uzza: In the Fall of the same year.

Gerry: That quickly?

Uzza: Muhammad, as I have told you, was a man in a hurry. He also was a man who knew how to seize the day. With eager young warriors from all corners of Arabia flocking to his banner with the promise of booty, and a river of Zakat flowing into Medina, Muhammad wasted no time taking his now well-funded army of more than 30,000 north to the frontier of the Byzantine Empire.

Archie: The Byzantines must have been surprised.

Uzza: Actually, they could not be bothered being somewhat preoccupied with the Persians who coveted the same territory.

Bob: So, what happened?

Uzza: Muhammad and his army made the arduous journey of more than 552 miles north intending to engage the Byzantines at Tabuk, now part of Saudi Arabia, only to find no one there to fight.

Archie: A bit of a waste a time, was it?

Uzza: What is your expression, when life gives you lemons make lemonade. Muhammad was very good at making lemonade during the few times lemons were the fruit of his endeavors. He made friends with the locals who were suitably impressed. Many converted ensuring that the eventual conquest of the land Allah had bequeathed to the children of Abraham a relatively bloodless conquest.

Bob: If Abraham is the father of both the Jews and the Arabs, that would make them joint owners of the Holy Land?

Uzza: Yes, and that is how it is supposed to be.

Bob: Then, why all the fighting between the Palestinians and the Israelis?

Uzza: At Tabuk Muhammad gave an example of how the people who believed in the god that he did should be treated and that is why the Jews did not oppose the conquest of Palestine by the believers. And, why, for more than a thousand years, Jews and believers lived in relative harmony in that now disputed part of the Middle East.

Bob: What happened?

Archie: Israel happened, you moron.

Uzza: Israel was the outcome, not the cause.

Archie: And that cause would be?

Uzza: A British betrayal of the aspirations of both Jews and Arabs.

Gerry: But the British did follow through on their promise of a Jewish homeland?

Uzza: Only after six million Jews were murdered and an opportunity for cementing a nurtured peace between Jews and Arabs that had lasted since Tabuk was squandered. The Faisal–Weizmann Agreement, a joint proposal by the Zionists and the Arabs which would have given the Jews a negotiated home in Palestine in 1919 instead of an imposed one in 1949 was rejected by the British during the Treaty of Versailles negotiations.

Bob: You mean there was a time when the Zionists and the Arabs actually saw eye to eye?

Uzza: Yes.

Archie: And the British did not jump at that opportunity. I don't believe it!

Uzza: They had already agreed in secret negations with the French, the Sykes–Picot betrayal of 1916, to carve up the Middle East between themselves; a Middle East that would be largely liberated by the Arabs of King Faisal to whom they lied. They had no intention of keeping their promise to him that if he fought the Turks, after the war he would be allowed to "unite the Arabs into one nation". Instead, the Arabs were driven out of lands they conquered with their blood by mostly French troops who came to claim what was agreed to during those secret negotiations.

Gerry: Is that the betrayal Islamic State referred to in its propaganda about uniting the Arabs under one nation as Faisal tried to do?

Uzza: Yes, again.

Gerry: Think about it. If a negotiated home for the Jews had been agreed to back in 1919, not only might we have avoided the atrocities of Islamic State, but how many more Jews would have survived the Holocaust.

Bob: But it was Christians who were crucified by these assholes, not Jews.

Archie: All the Jews had left. They knew better than to stick around.

Uzza: There were more than 2,000,000 Syrian Christians and only a few hundred Jews when the Islamic State invaded. It was inevitable that the Christians would become targets. The Jews, unlike at the beginning of Islam when they could have made a difference, today because of their numbers, are insignificant and will be dealt with when the time comes.

Bob: You mean killed?

Uzza: Yes. Unless, they do like Abdullah bin Salam, one of the first Jews to convent to Islam. He not only prospered but became a trusted adviser to Muhammad. It is the Christians who still stand in the way, because of their numbers, of the total subjugation of the West and who had to be shown no mercy if the extremists were to succeed.

Gerry: Crucifying Christians is not in keeping with the example of the Prophet at Tabuk.

Uzza: No it isn’t. Even Allah, in spite of the invectives He showers on Christians for suggesting Jesus is His son, early on betrayed a fondness for the followers of Jesus because, He says, among them are priests and monks who are not arrogant.

Archie: I thought Allah hung around with angels, lots and lots of angels, not monks and priests?

Uzza: He doesn’t have to, to know what they are like. He is God.

Archie: Did Muhammad hang around with priests and monks?

Uzza: As if I didn’t see that one coming.

Archie: Well, did he?

Uzza: Before he announced that he had been chosen by God to be his last and greatest spokesperson at the age of forty, or thereabout, Muhammad accompanied or led trading caravans as far north as Damascus. At twelve years of age he joined his uncle on a business trip to Syria. On the way there, the caravan passed by a Christian monastery near present day Basra where a Christian monk named Bahira invited the merchants to stay overnight. Later that evening, he asked the young Muhammad to sit with the men of the caravan; if not to participate in the conversation, then to just listen.

Remember, this was pre-Islam and after the collapse of most of the Roman Empire. It was a time when people of every faith could get together and without fear, talk about their gods and their religious beliefs.

The future spokesperson for the Almighty would return to this monastery many times during his extensive travels throughout the Middle East. Years later, the former merchant now famous as the Prophet Muhammad, allowed a monk to build a Christian mosque next to his own in Medina.

Bob: A Christian mosque? Isn't that like a church?

Uzza: I guess so.

Archie: Why have we never heard of it?

Uzza: Muhammad, on returning from Tabuk, on the advice of Allah, had the Masjid al-Dirar demolished. But, I would not read too much into its destruction.

Bob: Why?

Uzza: Two reasons. The first being that Muhammad on the way back escaped an assassination attempt and feared that those who would see him dead used the Christian mosque as a place to conspire against him and therefore Allah demanded its destruction as a precaution.

Archie: You would think that having the only god in the universe as your guardian would be precaution enough.

Uzza: [ignores him] The second is, after the believers came into possession of Jerusalem they made sure that both the Jewish and Christian place of worship were not disturbed, therefore you have to assume tht the destruction of the Masjid al-Dirar was for legitimate security concerns.

Archie: Building that dome where the Jews wailed on their wall was not disturbing the place. Give me a break!

Uzza: The Dome of the Rock was built over the rock outcrop where Abraham is said to have offered a son to god. It was built to honour their common ancestor which is why when it was built Jews were invited to worship there as they would in a synagogue. It even honoured the Christians, proclaiming in one of the more than fifty inscriptions that circle the perimeter, and which are said to be Koranic in origin, that the virgin Mary was a Messenger of Allah.

Gerry: I wasn't aware of that.

Uzza: That may be because there is no verse in the Koran that says such a thing.

Gerry: But, you just said that the inscriptions on the Dome were from the Koran.

Uzza: The original Koran, maybe?

Gerry: But, Mary’s story is in the modern Koran. In fact, she is the only woman in the Book whom Allah mentions by name.

Uzza: In the original Koran, she may have been more than just the mother of the lesser prophet Jesus, perhaps a messenger in her own right.

Bob: The Virgin Mary, the only woman mentioned by name in the Koran? That is weird. Why her?

Uzza: Allah could not avoid it for he needed her help to discredit the Christian claim that her son is His son.

Bob: Why again?

Uzza: The entire concept of the Koran is based on a simple premise: God had gotten fed up with sending His instructions on how we should live and how He should be worshipped via prophets who did not communicate His message accurately or were misunderstood by a less than receptive audience.

God’s patience had run out. He would send one last messenger, his greatest messenger, with his final instructions for mankind: the Koran. Anyone who did not heed what this ultimate messenger told them was doomed to an eternity in Hell.

Bob: Sounds like a plan.

Uzza: There was only one problem with this latest divine plan for getting humanity to behave: Jesus. If God had already come down to earth to deliver his message personally in the person of Jesus, then sending another messenger with a final message from on High made no sense. If Muhammad’s claim to be the last and greatest messenger of God was to have any credibility, the Christian claim that Jesus was the Son of God had to be discredited and Mary was central to a strategy to do just that.

In a somewhat convoluted plot, Allah has Mary take the newborn Jesus to see whom He calls “her people” after giving birth under a palm tree with the angel Gabriel, who else, assisting. Her people, when she shows up with a baby and no husband, think it strange and tell her so. It is obvious that Mary has had a child out of wedlock, for her people, who are obviously not close relatives as you might expect, ask her how a sister of Aaron - don’t ask how that makes any sense - a daughter of a father who was a good man and a mother who was chaste could do such a thing.

Mary keeps her cools and points to the baby Jesus who has been placed in a crib. Without being asked, only hours after exiting the birth canal, the infant Jesus loudly proclaims that he is not God’s son but a messenger of Allah. A rebuttal of Christian dogma which Allah himself immediately vouches for as being the truth.

Bob: How does having a baby say that he is not Allah’s son have anything to do with the accusation that Mary is a slut?

Uzza: It is the idea that Jesus denounced from the moment he was born and throughout his life, if the Koran is to be believed, that he is not Allah’s son, and that those who say he is, again according to Allah, are perverts. This denial is central to a story that could not be told without mentioning Jesus’ mother by name.

Archie: That is one precocious baby, I must say. A baby speaking complete sentences almost right after popping out, that is special, even godlike.

Uzza: Jesus was special, not as special as Muhammad, not special like a god is special, but special nonetheless.

Archie: Special like your archenemy is special.

Bob: By not having Mary show up with a husband, the Koran does away with the pretense in the Bible that she had a husband with whom she never had sex - at least, not until Jesus was born. But still, if I was a god who wanted to prove that a woman’s baby was not mine I would not make her out to be a single mother with husband unknown, a sign that she slept around. But that is not what bothers me. What’s with her giving birth under a palm tree, out in the open? That is not realistic.

Archie: And the rest isn’t?

Uzza: It is not only a changed message Muhammad delivered but a change of venue, with the more significant events of the Bible occurring at or near Mecca, the most flagrant being Abraham’s aborted infanticide. As to Gabriel, he may have been the father if a revelation about his appearing before a confined Mary in the form a “well-shaped human being” to tell her of her impending pregnancy is any clue.

Gerry: The fact that Mary had her son deliver one of the more momentous messages of the Koran should have been reason enough for the inscription on the Dome of the Rock.

Uzza: All messengers of Allah delivered messages about His greatness and His short-temper personally, Mary did not do that. There had to be something in another Koran where she did, for her to be considered a messenger.

Gerry: And were would we find this other Koran?

Uzza: What may be a copy of the original Koran was discovered in the walls of the Great Mosque of Sana'a in Yemen with whose construction Muhammad was involved. During renovations in the 1970s, what is known as the Sana'a Manuscripts, was found in the walls. When Yemeni authorities were informed that this possibly earliest Koran contained minor but significant differences from the version that orthodox Islam maintains is the perfect unchanging Word of God, they restricted access to the more than 40,000 pieces of parchment from the earliest days of Islam.

Gerry: You’re saying that the inscription on the Dome of the Rock may be from this earlier version?