Wild Wild Arabia
In an eerily quiet valley, a group of outlaws are anxiously waiting for its prey. A stagecoach, full of money for railroad workers, is expected to pass through the valley. ‘Billy the Kid’ is carrying a dragon pistol at one hip and a sharp knife at the other. His colt rifle dangles at his back as he shifts his position. It’s Billy who first notices a cloud of dust whirling at the end of the trail. Within a minute, the stagecoach emerges and the gang of outlaws attacks the carriage. It does not take long for them to kill all armed guards and loot bags full of money. In the evening, ‘Billy the Kid’ and his outlaw friends are drinking in a saloon, cheering their audacity and the good fortune that they made today.
It’s a typical scene of Western movies, where outlaws are semi-nomadic characters, wandering from town to town, riding horses, carrying guns and robbing stagecoaches or trains. Sheriffs and marshals are the good people working as police officers, who chase these bad guys and kill them in gunfights. The era of lawlessness–fights between outlaws and marshals–is commonly known as the ‘Wild Wild West’ of America .
Fourteen hundred years ago, on the land of “Wild Wild Arabia”, there were no sheriffs or police officers, but a gang of evil people did exist. In the year of 624 AD, a group of bandits were waiting by a coastal road that linked Syria and Mecca . They had slept well that night because Mohammad, the commander of the group, ordered them not to worry. Following morning, they were waiting for a caravan to arrive, full of gold and precious commodities. No, they didn’t have any plans to trade or buy; they wanted their wealth the easiest way–simply robbing them.
They successfully robbed the caravan and returned home with an abundance of riches. This legendary robbery was known as the famous Battle of Badr. Later, they too, like the outlaws of the ‘Wild Wild West’, got drunk. Hamza, one of the members of the gang, was so drunk that he did not realize that he killed and cut two humps of a camel that belonged to Ali, the soon-to-be son-in-law of Mohammad. (Drinking alcohol was not prohibited in nascent Islam; it was banned at a later date.) There is a reference in Hadith, “Narrated Ali: I got a she-camel in my share of the war booty on the day (of the battle) of Badr,..…. Allah’s Apostle started rebuking Hamza for what he had done, but Hamza was drunk and his eyes were red……” (Khumus, Sahi Bukhari).
Whereas the story of ‘Billy the Kid’ of the ‘Wild Wild West’ is somewhat fictitious, the Battle of Badr is a historical fact compiled in the Quran, Hadith and many Islamic books. Muslims always brag about the victory of Mohammad in this battle, assuming he fought against injustice to establish Islam. In reality, this raid had nothing to do with revenge for persecution, as claimed in the Quran. This war was not between oppressed and oppressor, or between good and evil. It was not a defensive war. It even should not be called a war or a battle because the whole conflict was about monetary gain for Mohammad. To put it simply, it was robbery. Later, Muslim propagandists incorporated this raid into Islam as Jihad or holy war.
In the month of September of 622 AD, Mohammad migrated from Mecca to Medina . He was not able to bring any money with him. His first wife, Khadiza, died in 619 AD, while he was in Mecca . What was the profession of Mohammad and his companions after the migration to Medina ? Did Allah send them food through overnight delivery? Did Mohammad use a credit card? He did not even have a house where he could acquire a home equity loan. So, how did they survive?
Throughout the year of 623 AD, Mohammad and his companions made several attempts to rob Meccan caravans and kidnap innocent people. Muslims proudly claims these attacks as ‘military expeditions’, which, of course, are nothing but mugging. Those attacks are of two categories, ’Ghazawaat’ (plural of Ghazawah), and ’Saraayaa’ (plural of Sariya). When Mohammad took part in the action, it was called ‘Ghazawah’ and raids without Muhammad’s presence are known as ‘Sariya’. Islamic scholars vary on the number of these attacks, but it is estimated to be approximately 17 to 27 ‘Ghazawaat’ and 36 to 100 ‘Saraayaa’.
Muhammad hit the jackpot in ‘the awful caravan robbery’, commonly known as Ghazawaat Al-Badr. According to ‘Sirat Rasul Allah 428’ and ‘Tabari VII:29’, “Then the apostle heard that Abu Sufyan b. Harb was coming from Syria with a large caravan of Quraysh, containing their money and merchandise, accompanied by some thirty or forty men.” Mohammad said, “This is the Quraysh caravan containing their property, Go out to attack it, perhaps God will give it as prey,”
The Battle of Badr was an offensive war from Mohammad’s side. He knew that his poor and needy Muhajiruns (those who migrated from Mecca ) would be happy to loot for wealth but he was doubtful about Ansars (Muslims of Medina who invited Mohammad). “So the apostle was afraid that the Ansar would not feel obligated to help him unless he was attacked by an enemy in Medina , and that they would not feel it incumbent upon them to go with him against an enemy outside their territory. (Ishaq 435). Eventually, they agreed and Mohammad was happy to have a group of skilled warriors on his side. They all proceeded towards Badr, hoping to change their fortune.
Meanwhile, “When Abu Sufyan got near the Hijaz, he was seeking news, and questioning every rider in his anxiety, until he got news from some riders that Muhammad had called out his companions against him and his caravan. He took alarm at that and hired Damdam b. Amr al-Ghifari and sent him to Mecca , ordering him to call out Quraysh in defense of their property”. (Ishaq 428).
Ibn Ishaq continues, “Abu Sufyan went forward to get in front of the caravan as a precautionary measure until he came down to the water, and asked Majdi if he had noticed anything. He replied that he had seen nothing untoward: merely two riders had stopped on the hill and taken water away in a skin. Abu Sufyan came to the spot where they had halted, picked up some camel dung and broke it in pieces and found that it contained date-stones. ‘By God,’ he said, ‘this is fodder of Yathrib.’ He returned at once to his companions and changed the caravan’s direction from the road to the seashore leaving Badr on the left, traveling as quickly as possible” (Ishaq 437).
Does it look like Mohammad was playing a defensive game? Often, Muslims complain that their dearest Mohammad, ‘the propane of Islam’, had to fight because he was attacked. Poor Abu Sufyan was desperately trying to save the caravan and called for help. Indeed, help arrived in due course. Ibn Ishaq elaborates, “When Abu Sufayn saw that he had saved his caravan he sent word to Quraysh. ‘Since you came out to save your caravan, your men, and your property and God has delivered them, go back.’ Abu Jahl said, ‘By God, we will not go back until we have been to Badr’. Badr was the site for one of the Arab fairs where they used to hold a market every year. ‘We will spend three days there, slaughter camels and feast and drink wine, and the girls shall play for us. The Arabs will hear that we have come and gathered together, and will respect us in the future. So come on!’ (Ishaq: 438).
What a guy! Drink, feast and girls playing music present a jolly character of Abu Jahl, who cared less about a complicated life. Abu Jahl is probably the most hated name in Islam. Muslims have pictured him as an evil man in the history. It’s true Abu Jahl humiliated Muhammad in Mecca , but only in response to Muhammad’s deliberate insult to the Gods of Quraish. Abu Jahl was beheaded in this battle and his head was, literally, rolled to Muhammad’s feet. Apart from the character analysis of Abu Jahl, the whole situation points to one obvious proof: Quraish, by no means, were offensive and had no plan to attack or kill Muhammad.
When Abu Sufyan thought he had successfully evaded the robbers, he sent a message to the Quraish who had come to protect him and his caravan to return home. However, Abu Jahl and other decided to put an end to the marauding attacks of Muhammad and meet him at Badr anyway. Muhammad was still resting in a temporary hut made by his supporters. With his blessing and the green signal, armed robbers of Islam immediately attacked the caravan; two of them were carrying two black flags. Although it’s not mentioned anywhere in Islamic scriptures, I am confident that each of those two black flags was engraved with a skull and two bones. They plundered the caravan, killed mercilessly, looted all precious goods and took prisoners to make more money as ransom.
Another important aspect of this raid was the ratio of Muslims and Quraish. All historians agree that Quraish outnumbered Muslims at three to one. So, Muslims inadvertently claim it must be a miracle that fewer Muslims defeated a large number of Quraish. Allah was kind enough to support these robbers by sending thousands and thousands of angels, as he claimed in sura ‘Al-Anfal’. This is an interesting sura of the Quran: ‘Al-Anfal’, which means ‘spoils of war’ or ‘booty’, is indeed suggestive and all 75 verses of this sura were made in relating to the Battle of Badr or robbery at Badr, to be exact.
Imagine cheerleader Allah inspiring the Muslims from the sideline of the battle: ‘Go Muslims, Go, kill and plunder’. Well, the actual verse is worse than what I imitated. Allah applauded in verse 8:12 – “Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them.”
The reason of victory was not a miracle. Usually, robbers and murderers are more desperate than normal people. They have nothing to lose if they are caught so they take a chance. We often see dozens of police officers chasing a handful of bank robbers; still, they manage to escape after committing the crime. Most importantly, it was a win-win situation for the Muslims who fought at Badr. If they died they were promised to go to heaven, which is full of see-through virgins; if they survived they would receive the spoils of war. Fleeing from the battle was not a good option, either. While explaining the sura An-Anfal, Ibn Kathir confirms in the ‘tafsir’, “Fleeing from Battle is prohibited, and it’s Punishment: Allah said, while warning against fleeing from the battlefield and threatening those who do it with the Fire.”
In contrast, the people of Quraish were reluctant to fight. They had no intention of shedding blood if their property was safe. When the people of Quraish were asked to fight, they said they wanted to avoid the war. Ishaq describes, “So, all went; not of their nobles remained behind except Abu Lahab. He sent in his place al-As b. Hisham al-Mughira, who owed him four thousand dirhams, which he could not pay. So he hired him with them on the condition that he should be cleared of his debt (Ishaq 432). It clearly shows that the people of Quraish were not bloodthirsty, as Muhammad was; they merely wanted to bring their caravan to safety. They were also worried that another tribe of ‘Abdu Manat b. Kinana’, with whom they had quarreled, may attack them from the rear.
“Booty” is a contemporary slang that refers to butt. There is a nice song, “Shake, Shake, Shake (Shake your booty)”. In this song, the singer inspires the audience to shake their butts and dance. However, Webster’s dictionary defines booty as, “That which is seized by violence or obtained by robbery, especially collective spoil taken in war; plunder; pillage.” Apparently, Mohammad was fond of booty most of his life. He not only went after women’s booty, he also shook his own booty to earn booty. He profusely claimed, “Booty has been made legal for me. (Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah): (Khumus, Sahi Bukhari). Also in the Quran, 008.069. “But (now) enjoy what ye took in war, lawful and good: but fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”
After the successful robbery, the outlaws of ‘Wild Wild Arabia’ confronted each other over their share of the looted goods. Just like we see in action movies, one criminal tries to cheat the others to have all the wealth. Ishaq describes, “Then the apostle ordered that everything that had been collected in the camp should be brought together, and Muslims quarreled about it. ….” (Ishaq: 456).
Allah, the shadow of Muhammad, had to make a special verse, Q 8:01. “They ask thee (O Muhammad) of the spoils of war. Say: The spoils of war belong to Allah and the messenger, so keep your duty to Allah, and adjust the matter of your difference, and obey Allah and His messenger, if ye are (true) believers.” Allah continues (Q.8:41), “And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire (in war), a fifth share is assigned to Allah,- and to the Messenger, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer,……..” It’s beyond anyone’s imagination that God would be greedy enough to take a share of the booty. What the heck will God do with a piece of jewelry? Well, it unquestionably helped Muhammad to support his dozens of wives and run the administration. What an innovative way of earning revenue for a government!
Another prominent and contemporary Muslim scholar, Muhammad al-Ghazali (1917-1996, not the theologian of the twelfth century), writes in his book, ‘Journey through the Quran’, “It is clear that gaining booty in the struggle to Islam, fighting against the enemies of Allah and his messenger, has always been a major means of livelihood for Muslims in situations when the Muslim community is truly fulfilling its role of ensuring ‘the deen is Allah’s alone….” (p.110).
Quraish people surely knew Muhammad very well. They used to call him ‘Mudhammam’, which means a troublemaker or a rascal, instead of Muhammad, meaning the laudable (Ishaq: 234).
It was all about money, power and greed for Muhammad. Religion was simply a tool and an incentive for the mercenaries of Islam, provoking them to sacrifice their lives without hesitation. Muslims of today do not see any problem in Muhammad’s action. Raiding the caravan, killing and kidnapping by the prophet have been justified because it was necessary to establish Islam. Allah, the fantasized figure of Muhammad, validated all unholy scams into holy acts. It’s mind-boggling how a God can approve those crimes and how a prophet can commit such crimes to spread a religion!
Is it only me who sees 1.2 billion pre-programmed robots, without any gray cells beneath their skull?