UI – Part 199 – If Muhammad Lived Longer
Muhammad was 62 when he died (570 to 632AD). It was unexpected and he had no succession plan. His uncle’s son Ali believed he, since in the blood line of Muhammad, so to speak, by marrying his daughter Fatima, of 1st wife Khadija, was the rightful heir. However Muhammad’s wife Aisha, about 20 at his death, was not a fan of Ali and was instrumental in part in having her father, Abu Bakr, become the 1st to follow Muhammad. The first Caliph was Abu Bakr. Aisha lived through the reign of the first 4-5 Caliphs. She died in 678AD.
The Caliphs were Abu Bakr (632-634), Umar (634-644), Uthman (644-656), Ali (656-661), Muawiyah (661-680). Without going into a history of the Caliphs (Comments on the Caliphate) it should be noted that a division occurred between Ali and Muawiyah. The Shia followed Ali. The Umayyad Dynasty followed Muawiyah – or the Sunni.
Muhammad’s military leaders who became the 1st 3 Caliphs, especially Umar (Farooq the Great-The one who distinguishes between right and wrong[i]) and Uthman, I contend, initiated the future course of Islam taking it from an effort to have the Arabs, the Arabian Peninsula, become godly, to a form of imperialism in the name of Allah.
Under Umar the Empire of the Brothers of Muhammad (the Islamic empire) expanded at an unprecedented rate. The area to the East, once the Sassanid Persian Empire, was conquered. More than two thirds of the Eastern Roman Empire, the area along the southern Mediterranean, were vanquished too. He dominated Jerusalem.
Under Uthman followers of Muhammad continued to expand the Empire and he is credited for the take-over of what is today Iran.
Easy Goes It
What must be understood is the ease by which the many conquests were accomplished. To the commanders they succeeded because Allah was on their side. Allah made possible the expansion, so they thought, believed and proclaimed. Having learned their military trade under Muhammad, developed and practiced as marauders of caravans in the area, they embraced the idea they were continuing in his footsteps changing the world for Allah. At the same time they enjoyed the power of their achievements and oversight roles, as well as the spoils of war called for in their Scripture. They operated without a Scripture, no Quran, informing those captured they were under the rule of Allah. Where there were Christians and Jews the people had their Bible, Old Testament and New. The Manichaean’s had Scripture. Those conquered were accustomed to being over-thrown, but also respectful of their faith. As it turned out this would be different.
One other note. The areas conquered had been devastated, the population significantly reduced within the last 60-80 years by the Plague. Recovery was slow and the population bases were vulnerable. For the conquerors the pickings were rather easy.
Umar saw a need for the Book, as did Abu Bakr, as the process began immediately after Muhammad’s death to compile sayings contained in the heads of the Sahaba, the Companions, and have it available for those captured. The religious leaders were to be placed among the people – a Book to follow. It became apparent too that this was the opportunity to establish Laws, rules for those under new management. Umar formulated the basis for Islamic Law which then evolved. Did it begin with Muhammad, yes, but what is in Sharia today are many interpretations, adaptations, and introductions of useful restraints to be imposed and enable greater control, containment of the people and any dissent that may arise. The Law went well beyond a reflection of Muhammad’s habits and decisions.
Uthman is credited with completing a compiled Quran, destroying by fire any duplicates, remnants or alternative Scripture to have but one universal document. It is said the final was written in the language of the Quraysh tribe, the family of Muhammad and Uthman, using calligraphy. A limited number of Books were copied, all the same, and distributed to major centers of control under the authority of the Brothers of Muhammad, the religious guides, to make known to the captives this was to be the religion of the land and the Laws to be applied – a theocracy.
Had the Prophet Lived
Had Muhammad lived beyond 632 the protocol for imperialism may have been different. His focus was the Arab Peninsula. He did not take his conquest beyond areas to the West, such as today, Mecca, or further south, not even as far as today, Saana, Yemen. There is little known of Muhammad leading his military north to Damascus or East to Persia. His objective was the Peninsula and his family city – thought of today as Mecca. In light of that as a theory the world objective for Allah may have been altered, and the military, fighting nature of Islam, may have been toned down as a base was established by Muhammad. His policies of peace, often cited by commentators today as a Religion of Peace, may have evolved. Muhammad’s vengeance may have been sated when Abu Sulyfan yielded and converted the Meccan tribes.
Filling A Void
There was a vacuum in the areas conquered by the Caliphs created by the Plague in the mid-500’s. 1/3 of the population died in the Byzantine Empire and areas along the coastal areas of the Mediterranean. Ships carrying cargo also carried the flea infected rats transmitting the disease and causing the epidemic of devastating proportions along the shore of the Med. A second outbreak saw the disease take over parts of Persia. The armies of Heraculus and Khorad were reduced in numbers and recruits from the Arabian Peninsula, never before sought, were now filling the ranks of their armies. The Peninsula itself fared so much better as the nature of trade to that area did not require the transport system that carried and provided the environment and food source for diseased rodents. It made it easy when the anxious and opportunistic military Caliphs decided to take their show on the road. The forces they controlled became accustomed to the wealth and pleasures possible as raiding bands with Allah accompanying them. To feed their appetite, maintain order, and appease their desires moving into new arenas was necessary. So Islam established itself. They filled a vacuum they believed Allah made possible for them.
Was the rat actually Satan?
A Different World
If Muhammad lived to 75 or 80 the world may have been much different. He may have planned for his succession. He did not. The outcome is as it is, and man intervened to take advantage of an opportunity. The early Caliph’s prevented the masses under their thumb to consider any alternative way of life other than that they imposed. As their control worked, they were encouraged and emboldened, their methods and regulations were expanded. The superiority they felt was reflected in their ideology and the thinking, even today, and in the Quran, that Muslims are superior to all others, religious or pagan. They will not relinquish the hold they have on the pigeons following. Let them believe Allah is God, but for those in the chair of the stronghold of government, Allah is their justification for suppression, oppression and rewards than result in millions, billions in foreign banks and foreign lands. Travel to countries outside their realm of influence can enable lifestyles in total contrast to the way dictated for those in the darkness of their shadows. They hide the truth to not expose their personal way of life. It is a ruse.
Pray for Peace
We will never know if Muhammad intended a world of peace. A world all for Allah is all we know as a demand from that of the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates, Al Qaeda and its warriors. They insist it is what a Muslim must accept. It is not freedom, but accept that. It is hardship and poverty, except for the few at the top of the realm, but accept that. It is not to question, so accept that. It is to live a 7th century existence, while the major-domos of society live in modern splendor.
May those who minds have been opened to history, literature, and opportunity find the light of Christ shining before them to guide them to a life of peace and understanding.
Grace and Peace
[i] Wikipedia – Umar