Leaving Islam




Why this Duplicity, Dr. Zaman?


By Abul Kasem 

Dr. Ahmad Wahid Zaman (AWZ) took almost six months to build a defense to my essay on the wives of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

 (http://www.bangladesh-web.com/news/dec/24/g24122002.htm#A9).  This original article was actually directed to Mr. Parvez Ahmad (of CAIR) who wrote an essay claiming that the information on Muhammad’s wives were based on ‘apocryphal’ writings.  I protested to his contention and requested him to prove his assertions point-by-point by citing authentic sources from Islamic literature, scholarly of course. I even sent him a copy of my essay directed to his personal e-mail.  A few days later, Syed Kamran Mirza (SKM) also posted a similar rebuttal to Mr Parvez Ahmad and sent a personal copy of his essay to him.  Almost six months have elapsed since then.  However, no reply came from Mr Parvez Ahmed.  What were the reasons for his reticence all these months?   I was just wondering - why? 

Naturally, after such a long period of lull, I nearly forgot all about my essay. Then, suddenly comes Dr. AWZ.  He took six months of time to do elaborate research to rebut my essay.  He is determined to demolish my ‘Liliputian’ treatise by a ‘Goliath’, judging from the five (yes, five) volumes of his tome-sized rebuttals.  Dr. AWZ has not yet indicated whether volume five will be the last in the series of his ‘arsenal’ or not. Therefore, we can certainly expect more from him on this. 

In his first volume, Dr. AWZ categorically rejected almost all the authentic sources of Muhammad’s biography such as, Ibn Ishak, Muhammad Wakkidi, Ibn S’ad (Wakkidi’s secretary), Tabari, etc.  I wrote a short rejoinder to this essay (See ‘The suicide of an intellectual a la Islamic style,’ NFB) of him, thanking him for rendering our job easier to demolish the myth surrounding Islam in general and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in particular.

 A few days ago, Syed Kamran Mirza (SKM) too, gave a befitting reply to Dr. AWZ. For SKM’s reply see:

 Should Muslims Reject Some Parts of Qur’an too? (http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/SKM30622.htm

I though that was the end of everything. 

Nevertheless, it was not to be the end of the game. Dr. AWZ diligently penned another four volumes of extremely prolix essays to ‘kill’ my ‘blasphemous’ utterings, although I based everything from the most authentic Islamic sources.   

This is what Dr. AWZ wrote in Volume I of his essay: 

“With these obvious contradictory stories about Prophet Muhammad’s wives, it is very difficult for any reasonable and honest intelligent person to believe in anything and everything what Ibn S’ad had penned down in his famous book "Tabaqat al-Kabir" and quote from that book without further varying from other sources.  But that is what these two gentlemen (AK and SKM) did to prove only their foolishness and naked ignorance of their knowledge. But we understand the reasons. "Necessity knows no law" is their basic motto”.


Please note that SKM and I never ever quoted a single line or a paragraph (in our essays in NFB or other e-fora) from Ibn Sa’d’s book. However, this did not prevent Dr. AWZ to hurl epithets to us using disparaging language, calling us ‘fools’, and ‘ignorant’ people.  Never mind such abusive language, we still hold Dr. AWZ with great respect and we definitely acknowledge his vast knowledge and understanding of the Islamic matters. 

I seldom quote from the book of Ibn S’ad, because I am aware of its contradictory statements and questionable authenticity. Ditto for Wakkidi’s book. That is why Ibn Ishak/Ibn Hisham and Tabari’s works are still considered the most authentic when it comes to Muhammahd’s biography.  In fact, Tabari, very rarely uses references of Ibn S’ad.  Almost two-third of his (Tabari) work on the biography of Muhammad is based on IbnIshak/Ibn Hisham’s narrations and to some extent from Ibn Humayd and Ibn Kalbi’s works. 

We thought Dr. AWZ would steadfastly stick to his gun and will never ever mention ‘questionable’ and ‘problem-maker’ Ibn S’ad and his ‘apocryphal’ information. However, that was not to be the case.  Dr. AWZ has surprised everyone when he used the very ‘unauthentic’ source of Ibn S’ad in his latest (Volume V) of his dissertation. He unceasingly quoted from Ibn Sa’d’s ‘dubious’ work to prove that Rayhana, Saffiya and Mariyah Kibtia were not Muhammad’s sex slaves, but were legally married wives.  I want to ask Dr. AWZ a simple question: why should we trust your version of the story when you have deliberately used the ‘apocryphal’ writings of Ibn Sa’d even though you, in the beginning, clearly stated that his (Ibn Sa’d’s) works are not trustworthy?  Isn’t that a deceptive approach?  One could ruin their scholarship resorting to this kind of dubious approach.  He should clarify as to why he was citing Ibn Sa’d’s work copiously to defend Muhammad’s (pbuh) action vis-à-vis Rayhana, Saffiya, and Mariyah Kibitia.  

For everyone’s information, this is what is written in the front flap of ‘Kitab al-Tabaqat’(Ref.1): 

‘No doubt, many of his narrations included in the Tabaqat are fabricated and untrustworthy and cannot be accepted as authority, but the book is a vast mine of information, and the modern reader will find considerable material which is useful for the early history of Islam.’ 

Here is another surprise. The reason why Ibn Sa’d is not considered authentic is that Ibn Sa’d was a believer of the ‘creation of Qur’an theory. Unbelievable, isn’t it? This is what the translator of Ibn Sa’d’s Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir writes in the introduction of this ancient book: 

“Ibn Sa’d was also considered to be prominent scholar of Fiqh by his contemporaries. It has been stated that he was one of the seven top-most jurists whom Caliph Ma’mun had invited to give their opinion on the occasion of Khalq Qur’an (creation of Qu’ran). All of them corroborated the Caliph’s view that the Qur’an was created. For this reason some of the Muhaddithin were displeased with him”. (Ref. 1, Vol.I,  page xxi-xxii) 

Please do remember that the Muslims believe that the Holy Qur’an is uncreated. They believe that the Qur’an had always existed. Allah has its original manuscript, a copy of which was sent to Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy (pbuh) via archangel Gabriel. 

What punishment does Ibn Sa’d deserve for committing the gravest of blasphemy by asserting that the Qur’an was created?  Isn’t his theory of Khalq Quran smacks the popular belief among Muslims?  Never mind its capability to demolish the entire edifice of Islam. All devotees of Islam please reflect on this. 

Let me now put it very bluntly to Dr. AWZ.  Why is it that, when you find ‘good things’ in the works of Ibn Sa’d, you immediately jump to accept it as authentic (same argument goes for Sahi Ahadith); whereas, whenever we point out ‘bad things’ you right away discard them as simply apocryphal.  You cannot have it both ways, Dr.. Zaman!  What kind of logic is this, Dr. AWZ?  We are at a loss. You even discredited authorities and scholarships of writers such as Ibn Ishak, Tabari, Bukhari…and…. my, my Bibi Aishah, etc., when we used their references to prove the ‘innocence’ of childhood (six years of age) marriage of Aishah with 52 years old Prophet of compassion (pbuh). I can bet with you that you surely will consider these stalwarts of Islam as the most authentic, if we quote something very favourable that pleases you and the Islamists. Am I correct? 

Now, let us come to the topic of concubines (sex slaves) of Prophet Muhhammad (pbuh).  Do you think that I invented this element of Muhammd’s (pbuh) life by myself?  Think again.  Or, was it my figment of imagination? Did I deliberately devise this fib to malign Islam and its Prophet? For your information, it was not a simple task for me. I have given very careful contemplation and I used extreme caution to write a single sentence that may portray the Prophet (pbuh) of Islam as contrary to what the vast majority of Muslims take for granted.  No, it was not my creation.  I have used the most reliable Islamic sources (please read my original essay to be absolutely sure).  Please show me any Islamic Organisation/Mullah that has ever issued fatwa against Ibn Ishak, Ibn Hisham, Tabari, Bukhari, Bibi Aishah and had called their writings/narrations as not authentic. However, you glibly declared them ‘apocryphal’ and ‘untrustworthy’ at your own behest.  Why must we trust you and your sources to be authentic then?  Why must we accept as true your double standard? 

Recently, Syed Kamran Mirza (SKM) wrote a sharp rebuttal (http://www.bangladesh-web.com/news/jun/18/g18062003.htm#A3) to your last four volumes of essay.  In that rebuttal, SKM cited a few samples of contradictory verses in the Qur’an.  If Dr. AWZ is really serious about Islam and its authenticity, then, he must answer SKM’s pertinent questions without any ambiguity and confusion.  There is great anachronism in Dr. AWZ’s writings. If Ahadith contain contradictory narrations he (Dr. AWZ) conveniently rejects that hadis, if Ibn Ishak truthfully mentions some appalling side of Muhammad (pbuh), he readily rejects Ibn Ishak, if Tabari honestly narrates the historical facts that are not palatable, he simply casts away Tabari, if Ibn Sa’d writes contradictory narrations, he swiftly rebuff him. What sort of approach is this Dr. AWZ, would you kindly let us know? 

How about the Qur’an? Are you prepared to reject the Holy Qur’an too, when undeniable contradictory verses are mentioned by SKM?  Or will you look the other way pretending that no one had said anything defamatory against the Holy Islamic Scriptures.  Enough of your duplicity, Mr. Zaman.  We are eagerly awaiting your reply on this matter. 

Let us now come to the issue of concubines of Muhammad once again. You glibly asserted that Muhammad had no concubines or sex slaves even though I cited the proof from Ibn Ishak. You were so angry with Ibn Ishak that you immediately rejected his monumental work that has become immortal not only to the Muslims but also to every one who is seriously interested in the details of Muhammad’s (pbuh) life and work. 

Now, please read the following citations on Muhammad’s concubines or sex slaves. This paragraph is not from Ibn Sa’d, neither from a ‘fool’ (to use your word) like me, nor from an ‘ignorant’ SKM.  This quote is from the book of biography that most Muslims read as the only authentic biography. This is such a great book to the Islamists that it is posted in most Islamic websites. In fact, this book won the first prize among the biographies of Muhammad. 

Let us first read the following lines from the new version (January, 2002) of this book: 

“Besides these, he had two female slaves. The first was Mariyah the Coptic (an Egyptian Christian), a gift from Al-Muqawqis, ruler of Egypt—she gave birth to his son Ibrahim, who died in Madinah while still child, on the 28th or 29th of Shawwal in the year 10 AH..i.e., January, 632 C.E. the second one was Rehana bint Zaid bin ‘Amir bin Khanafah bin Sham’un bin Zaid An-Nadriyah or Quraziyah, a captive from Bani Quraizah. Some people say she was one of his wives. However, Ibn Al-Qaiyim gives more weight to the first version. Abu ‘Ubaidah spoke of two more slave girls, Jamilah, a captive, and another one, a bondwoman granted to him by Zainab bint Jahsh .”( Ref. 2, page 564-565). 

Now, we shall read the same paragraph as was written in the original edition of this celebrated book.  This is what is written on the extra sex partners of the Prophet of mercy (pbuh): 

“Besides these, he had two concubines. The first was Mariyah, the Coptic (an Egyptian Christian), a present gift from Al-Muqauqis, vicegerent of Egypt — she gave birth to his son Ibrâhim, who died in Madinah while still a little child, on the 28th or 29th of Shawwal in the year 10 A.H., i.e. 27th January, 632 A.D. The second one was Raihanah bint Zaid An-Nadriyah or Quraziyah, a captive from Bani Quraiza. Some people say she was one of his wives. However, Ibn Al-Qaiyim gives more weight to the first version. Abu ‘Ubaidah spoke of two more concubines, Jameelah, a captive, and another one, a bondwoman granted to him by Zainab bint Jahsh. [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 1/29]” 

You can verify the above quote by reading the Internet version of this book by clicking here (http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/). 

The intelligent reader will certainly notice the attempt by the author to soften the word ‘concubine’ (in the original version) with the words ‘female slaves’ in the latest version. Nevertheless, he (the author) could not make these two slave girls to be the ‘free woman’ married to the Prophet.  

This is what is written on the back cover of this book (Ref: 2): 

“This book was awarded the First Prize by the Muslim World League at worldwide competition on the biography of the Prophet held at Makkah Al-Mukarramah in 1399H/1979” 

The above two excerpts clearly demonstrate the futile attempt by this ‘famous’ biographer to camouflage the truth.  No matter how much Saifur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri (the author) tried to improve the image of Muhmmad (pbuh) by modifying his sentence (in the revised version of 2002), he could not hide the truth. I should also mention that Saifur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri was no ordinary Muslim. This India-born Islamic scholar was appointed as a research fellow at the Islamic University of Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah and was entrusted with the duty of preparing an encyclopedia on the subject of the life history of the Noble Prophet (pbuh). He is still working there. Therefore, you can even now contact him and check the veracity of what I had written. 

So, who is a concubine?  Here is the definition from the widely used Oxford dictionary: 

Concubine: Woman who cohabits with a man without marriage. 

If we combine the meaning of the both the versions (the original and the sanctified version of 2002) of this ‘great’ biography (most Muslims consider this book as the only authentic source of Muhammad’s biography), we can plainly surmise that Mariyah and Raihana were not only concubines of Muhammad (pbuh) but they were also female slaves to him.  Now, please make up your mind as to what can be a simple word/s for such relationships. Isn’t the words ‘sex slaves’ most accurately describes the status of these concubines of Muhammad?

It is noteworthy that in my original essay, I mentioned only Mariyah and Raihana as concubines (or sex slaves) of the Prophet (pbuh).  In fact, I made an understatement.  I softened the wild sex-play of the Prophet (pbuh) by discarding a few other women concubines.  

Please read those two quotes above one more time.  

The Prophet (pbuh) had at least two other concubines, besides Mariyah and Rayhana that I mentioned. One of them was a present from his wife Bibi Zainab bint Jahsh. Surprise! Surprise!! A married wife of the Prophet (pbuh) presents a concubine to her beloved husband!! What conclusion shall we derive from these examples, Dr. AWZ if you do not mind to elaborate?  

There is more distressing information in this book for the Islamic apologists who invent crazy theories to convert the six years old bride of Muhammad to a young girl of sixteen or nineteen years of age.  On page 562-563 of this book, the author clearly stated that the Prophet of mercy (pbuh) married Aishah when she was six year old and consummated the marriage when she turned nine years of age.  I wonder why the Islamic University of Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah happily accepted this information as true when all the new breed of apologists of Islam vehemently reject any utterance that Aishah was just a six years old little child girl when the Prophet (pbuh) married her, even though, Aishah, herself has testified to this information in several ahadith in Sahi Bukhari and Sahi Muslim.  Not only that the Islamic University of Medinah gleefully accepted what Saifur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri had written but also the Muslim World League has bestowed the author with the first prize of fifty thousand Saudi Riyals for writing such a ‘marvelous’ biography of Muhammad (pbuh), the Prophet of Islam.  When one intently reads the pages of this ‘extraordinary’ book, one simply becomes amazed to notice how liberally the author (I mean Mubarakpuri) has used the works of Ibn Hisham, Ibn Ishak, Tabari as well as some selective works of Ibn Sa’d.  Now, I would request Dr. AWZ to answer why the Islamic University of Madinah and the Muslim world League did not object to Saifur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri’s ‘disinformation’ on Aishah’s age of marriage?  Why don’t you (Dr. AWZ) consider Maulvi (he also hold s the title of A’lim) Mubarakpuri’s writing as ‘foolishness’ and ‘ignorant’ since he wrote the same thing as we (i.e SKM and I) did?  Will you call Al-Mubarakpuri’s scholarly work merely apocryphal?  Would you please tell us why do you practice such a double standard, Dr. AWZ?  Or, is this the teachings of Islam that promotes double talk as and when needed? 

I do not want to bore to death the reader with more facts. Here are my very two specific questions to Dr. AWZ: 

  1. Would you please tell us why did you use materials of Ibn Sa’d’s ‘Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir’ after you had declared them as absolutely unauthentic?
  2. What will be your response to SKM’s assertion of contradictory verses in the Qur’an?

Please take your time to answer those two questions.  There is no need to rush.  We give you plenty of time to do your research.  This essay was not written to disparage or belittle anyone.  We readily acknowledge the profound scholarship of Dr. AWZ on Islamic stuff and we sincerely respect his opinions, though we may not completely agree with them. 


1.      Sa’d, Ibn; Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir (Vol. I , II), Translated by S. Moinul Haq, M.A. Ph.D, Kitab Bhavan, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Darayaganj, New Delhi 110002 (1972). 

2.      Al-Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman; The Sealed Nectar (Ar-Raheequl-Makhtum); revised edition, January 2002; Darussalam, P.O. Box 22743, Riyadh 11416, KSA 



Abul Kasem writes from Sydney. His e-mail address is [email protected]






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