Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Muhammad and the Natural Law: Murder for Prophet-The One-Eyed Bedouin

IBN ISHAQ, MUHAMMAD'S BIOGRAPHER, relates for us a story in his biography of Muhammad which raises another wart on Muhammad's soul. Muhammad had sent two of his Muslim followers--Amr bin Umayya al-Damri and an-Ansari, assassins both, for he rubbed shoulders with such types--to his old home town of Mecca to kill his enemy Abu Sufyan. Unfortunately for them, the townsfolk recognized al-Damri, and the two assassins were chased them out of Mecca.

Muhammad's Name in Arabic Calligraphy

From here, we shall let Ibn Ishaq tell the story:

They got up to pursue us and I told my companion to escape, for the very thing I feared had happened, and so as to Abu Sufyan there was no means of getting at him. So we made off with all speed and climbed the mountain and went into a cave where we spent the night, having successfully eluded them so that they returned to Mecca.

. . . .

[My partner, an-Ansari having left], I went into a cave there taking my bow and arrows, and while I was there in came a one-eyed man of B[anu] al-Dil [i.e., the al-Dil tribe] driving a sheep of his. When he asked who I was I told him that I was one of the B[anu] Bakr. He said that he was also, adding of the B[anu] al-Dil clan. Then he lay down beside me and lifting up his voice began to sing:

I wont' be a Muslim as long as I live,
Nor heed to their religion give.
I said (to myself), "You will soon know!" and as soon as the badu was asleep and snoring I got up and killed him in a more horrible way that any man has been killed. I put the end of my bow in his sound eye, then I bore down on it until I forced it out at the back of his neck. Then I came out like a beast of prey and took the highroad like an eagle hastening . . . .

When I got to Medina . . . [Muhammad] asked my news and when I told him what had happened he blessed me.*
Blessed him? Blessed him? Blessed al-Damri for killing a one-eyed shepherd for composing a couplet against Muslims and Islam?

And this is a man we are to take as al-insan al-kamil, a perfect being?

Any normal man would find this behavior by Muhammad which encouraged and blessed such an act shocking. The Muslim cannot. The Muslim must find it good. The Muslim must imitate it. The Muslim must be happy that this one-eyed badu was killed in this gruesome way for saying nothing other than:

I wont' be a Muslim as long as I live,
Nor heed to their religion give.
The natural law, the law of God writ in our heart which participates in the eternal law of God, if we allow it to tutor us, would have us say, "I won't be a Muslim as long as I live, nor heed to their religion give," and it would not have it quieted. And what? Is that law in our heart also to be put to death, like the one-eyed Bedouin in a cave near Mecca, to please the likes of Muhammad?
*A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2006), 673-75.

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