Remembering Uzza

38 The Christian Mosque of Medina

(3rd draft)

UzzaGerry: 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 wail on their wall was not disturbing the place. Give me a break!