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Bartholomew of Edessa’s Refutation & Rebuttal of Islamic Hagarenes


 

Introduction


This lengthy work was written by a little known Orthodox hieromonk named Bartholomew from Edessa (modern day Iraq and Syria) some time in the 9th century. Outside of the author's name there are no details about this writer's life other than that he identifies himself as an Edessene. However, we can see that he was “well-versed in the writings and customs of the Chaldeans, Arabs, Muhammadans” and the Qur'an in general [1]. Hieromonk Bartholomew wrote a “Refutation or Disputation Against the Hagarenes [Muslims], in which, not without great acumen and biting wit, he elegantly expounds upon the absurdities of the Qur’an and the birth, life, manners, rituals, and doctrines of Muhammad. This work was translated from Greek into Latin by Stephanus Le Moine and it finds its place among his Miscellaneous Sacred Works, in Leiden, 1685.” This work was published in the Patrologia Graeca, Volume 130 in 1860 but until now has never been translated outside of the original Greek and Latin since its original writing by Hieromonk Bartholomew twelve-hundred years ago. To my knowledge this is the first and only publication of this text in the English language. Please forgive any textual faults. I am aware that some of the Arabic names are not properly translated, however, that will be updated in the near future.

 

Bartholomew of Edessa’s Refutation & Rebuttal of Hagarenes


And so I, [Bartholomew] found these things written in your Quran. And you [Muslims] say, "Why do you confess Christ as God, who was crucified on the cross and placed in the tomb? And then how did you receive God, the Creator of all things, into a woman's womb, and how did He who created all things come forth as a man, and you call the earthly Mary 'Theotokos'?" How can you even say that she is the Mother of God and that God's Son was born from her? If He is the Son of God, how can she who gave birth to Him be called the one who bore God? And you Christians say, "We know God as substance without cause, the most powerful cause, most true, superior to all other substances and natures, without beginning and without end, truly without beginning, is altogether uncreated." For what is without beginning is called uncreated. Since the God of all has, as you Christians say, the attribute of being unoriginated and born, how did He come into being? Having a begotten Father, how did He become a Father? And show us how God begot the Son. If you say from eternity, being yesterday-born yourselves, how do you know things that are from eternity? Who revealed such a generation to you?

Jesus Christ the Theanthropos, The Holy Theotokos and Saint John the Baptist

And again you Christians say, "The begotten Son is co-beginning with the Father," and how can there be another birth and still uncreated? Rather, the begotten is created. And since the God of all exists before the ages, and is one, not three, therefore, He has a common name, not common. And since you use common names, how do you again bring up a common name? Furthermore, the three persons have their own nature and essence. And again, how do you Christians say that your God united with man, and became man, and a perfect God, how is that so? If fire is put to wood, the essence of divinity is not mingled with human nature. And again, I hear you saying Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, since you say there is only one. And if you can gather and call them two, three, four, or more. And again, why do you venerate carved wood and images as divine? Why do you mix bread and wine and give them to humans for the forgiveness of sins and receive gifts from them? But you baptize others in water, and likewise you do not receive gifts. Why did you hide the Gospel that was sent down and write a new one? And how, after your Lord ascended into the heavens, did He send the Holy Spirit to the apostles? How did He not grant this to them before the ascension? And why, when you sin, do you run to a sinful man confessing your sins, saying, "Forgive me, the sinner"? Why, in your last breaths, do you partake of bread and wine, saying, "Henceforth, I am a partaker of Paradise"? But even the name of our Muhammad was written in your Gospel, and you erased it.


To which I myself, Bartholomew of Edessa, a monk, utterly ignorant of the Christians’ beliefs, and the least of all, respond without shame despite your foolishness, with which audacity and complete disregard for the sacred, you dare to open your mouth against us, asserting that Christians worship three gods, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Now, face to face, I refute and disprove each of your erroneous statements. For you claim that the Gospel was sent down from God in heaven, and from that you weave contradictions, falsely judging and condemning us Christians. But relying on God and His grace, I will now expound everything against those who commonly boast and spread such falsehoods, as if we blasphemously worship three gods, and similar things that if one were to believe, their sins will not be forgiven in this present or future age.


As for myself, I, Bartholomew of Edessa, say to you: Whoever does not recognize the rational and immortal Son of God is worthy of being cast into the Gehenna of fire. Why then do you call God compassionate and merciful? Indeed, He is the same whom you Arabs call the Morning Star or Phosphorus, and who is referred to as Zebo, Venus, Saturn, and Camar. You call them gods, and I can prove this against you from your own scriptures. Your gods are created and possess a created nature, they are corruptible, they are idols and the works of human hands. And the very name that you designate as “merciful and compassionate” in the beginning of your Al-Quran, is used to designate those whom you call in your language Allah, Samet, Tsamet, which clearly signifies the whole round shape, fashioned like a hammer. Just as you accept this, what form and figure is assumed by it among you. Those who worship such a god are the ones deserving of the torments of Gehenna; but those who know, love, and confess the name of the rational, living, and immortal God become heirs of the kingdom of God and paradise. As for the matters about which you questioned me, I will answer all of them afterwards.

Qur'an

But first, permit me to pose questions to you about your new god and the faith you embrace. How and from where did your knowledge come to you? By what means, with what doctrine and theology were you imbued? No one has ever seen the God whom we Christians worship, neither angels, nor prophets, nor any human has beheld Him, nor has He frequently revealed Himself to any mortal or earthly creature, as you foolishly assert that God often greeted and continues to command your Muhammad to be saved every day. However, if you claim to know God through the ministry of Muhammad, it follows that he is the leader and fulfiller of your life; hence, you call him the prophet and apostle of God. Yet, it is well known to everyone that Muhammad was neither a prophet nor an apostle of God, but only an adopted son of Abdullah and a servant of Khadijah, her camels he cared for and led to Damascus laden with various goods, and he traveled from place to place to conduct business and administer her affairs.


If your Al-Quran testifies to this, that he lived for a span of thirty-two years without faith. For it states that he lived forty-seven years, the last fifteen of which he lived most religiously, but the intervening thirty-two years he lived without God, without law, impiously, and subject to the worst doctrines. Moreover, he himself married ten wives and had sixteen captive concubines. Now, I ask you, tell me when he had these wives, truly was it during the time of his impiety, or did he begin to study and live a religious life? If memory serves, show something by which this can be proven. Furthermore, Muhammad himself was conceived through sin and human seed, and he himself sinned and engaged in procreation; how then do you say he was the brother of Christ, when not only was he a sinner, but also a most hostile enemy of God, as you yourself acknowledge and confess? For before embracing a religious life, he was a thief, a robber, a night-time assailant of the roads, who killed many who fell into the traps he had set with violent death.


Moreover, because of his wives and his impotent and unrestrained sexual intercourse, he used to buy herbs to arouse his passion and unbridled lust; so much so that he would never be satisfied and would engage in these depraved desires throughout the course of his life, using these practices as a means to gain profit and advantage for himself. "Why then do you call him a prophet and apostle of God, who was most impure, tainted with every stain of crimes, a thief, unjust, a murderer, and a robber? Tell me, please, what prophecy and apostleship signify. It is certain, and God knows, that you are entirely ignorant of this unless you have previously learned it from a Christian. Oh shameless and audacious one! You confess that Muhammad, for a period of thirty-two years, was not a prophet, did not prophesy, was not an apostle, did not teach, was not a worshiper of God, did not pray, did not know God, but after the passage of those years, he was imbued with divine knowledge. But if you were to deny all of these as if they did not occur within that thirty-two-year span, then why, using the same reasoning, would I as a Christian not deny the things you claim happened to Muhammad during those fifteen years that followed the thirty-two years?

Ancient Ruins of Edessa

But first, please teach me how he came to know God and in what form? For if you say that God sent His angel to him to teach him and imbue him with the knowledge of God, it follows that the angel himself was an apostle of God to the people and to Muhammad, and therefore Muhammad was a liar and a deceiver. And since you call him a prophet, show me what he prophesied, in what manner he delivered his oracles, what he commanded, and by what sign and miracle he presented himself. For I am familiar with all your books and have examined them. If he was a prophet, as you claim, when he was about to fall from the horse he was riding and his upper and lower teeth were to be shattered and broken by such a fall and crash, why did he not foresee this and prophesy it? Again, if he was a prophet, when he was to engage in battle with Chabara and was to be defeated and routed by him, and all of his camps were to be conquered, why did he not foresee this? In fact, defeated and fleeing, he took refuge in a cave where he hid for three days and three nights and barely managed to escape. And for your utmost embarrassment, you narrate that an angel covered the cave’s entrance with a thick spider’s web, which when those who were diligently seeking him noticed, he covered the cave’s entrance with a spider’s web. How is this not a prophecy? Why did he not prophesy that none of his four sons would live long and not signify to the people and the cavalry the things that were witnessing his flight?


“How did he not predict that the Chorasiotes, after some interval of time, should be bound to the tail of a wine-intoxicated myrrh-scented camel, and that his life and sides should be wretchedly torn apart and broken? And I affirm this not by my domestic and personal testimony, but the Chaldeans themselves who were there testify about him, and we ourselves have learned. But you will claim that we are lying, but if we speak not the truth, show us his prophecy, and tell us where his prophecies are written. For I have read your Quran, and I have found no prophecy of Muhammad in it, but only some brief homilies and sermons about Adam, Eve, Seth, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Lot, Jonah, Moses, Aaron, Joshua son of Nun, Solomon, Joseph, Enoch, Elijah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, Saint Mary, Saint Anne his mother, Joachim, the holy apostles, especially Simon Peter, whom in your language is called Simeon Sapha.


Even your Quran speaks both truth and falsehood. Truth arose from the teachings that Muhammad had from Pachura, but lies and falsehood flowed from the writings of Othman. From which we know that your book was not sent from heaven, because sometimes it speaks the truth and at other times falsehoods. And these arguments certainly convince us that Muhammad was neither an apostle nor a prophet. For one is a prophet, another is an apostle. So, how can your Muhammad be both a prophet and an apostle? When someone comes from Babylon to the Sultan with letters, do they call him a postman or a prophet? But when someone stands somewhere surrounded by a great crowd of people, and prophesies, and performs signs and miracles and shows them, what do we say? Is this the prophecy of a prophet or the prophecy of an apostle? Certainly, an apostle entirely presents himself as an apostle, but a prophet, through his prophecy, signs, and miracles, makes himself known. And we have such a one as a prophet, who narrates both future and past, and who renders himself conspicuous by signs and miracles. But of such things, we are not aware in Muhammad, that he be distinguished by the names of prophet and apostle. But if you yourself know this and wish to convey it, for I, indeed, do not know. But if you know, show me where and in which book this is written.


For I have gone through and perused all your books, but I have found nothing useful in them, rather, all entirely worthy of mockery and ridicule. Especially what is said in the Quran, that Muhammad existed before the ages. But when asked by you where he existed, you reply that he was hidden between mud and water. Who then, O Hagarene, is more impious, you or I? Where did you learn that before the ages there was water or that mud existed? Furthermore, why do you not blush when you assert that the name of Muhammad was written around the throne of God? But where was your Muhammad when God was, and His throne was? But the throne of God is heaven and earth, whereas the name of Muhammad contains only three syllables. So, how could they be circumscribed around the vastness of this throne? You will say they were circumscribed by God, but you are mistaken.”

Conquest of Banu Qurayza (Tabari/Ibn Kathir) Surah Al-Ahzab 33:26-27: "He brought those People of the Book who supported them down from their strongholds and put panic into their hearts. Some of them you [believers] killed and some you took captive. He passed on to you their land, their houses, their possessions, and a land where you had not set foot: God has power over everything."

Once again, you say that Muhammad extended one of his profane feet to Jerusalem, but with the other, he trod the heavens next to God and sat as close to His side as one eyebrow is to another, freely conversing with God and knowing Him, just as God knew him. For this is what I have read in your Quran. So, when such absurdities are contained in your Quran, how can you claim that he was sent down from heaven and descended? But if you boast that Muhammad descended from heaven after conversing with God and still found his bed warm and hot, when I, a Christian, ask you to produce a witness for this matter, you will say that only Fatimah, Muhammad’s daughter, can confirm this with her testimony. Yet, when a woman among you is lawfully and rightfully married, twelve witnesses are usually called upon. However, here, you produce no witnesses other than Muhammad’s daughter.


Since his ascension occurred without witnesses, how can you testify that he ascended to heaven? How can you confirm his ascension with the testimony of only Fatimah? The testimony of a woman lacks strength and credibility for establishing faith. Therefore, he ascended secretly at night to heaven, without any witnesses. And his ascension is as true as his prophecy. But tell me, did he marry and have a wife before or after his ascension? Why are you not ashamed? And again, how do you assert, as if taken from your Quran, that if Muhammad had not existed, and if God had not pursued him with the utmost love, God would never have created the throne, angels, heaven, earth, sun, moon, stars, and no human beings would have ever existed? Most wicked one, who is more impious and atheistic, you or I? Where was Muhammad when there was the throne and seat of God, and God was sitting upon it, with angels, heaven, earth, and all earthly creatures praising and hymning, and he was sitting above the throne?


Thus, you must deny God’s love for Adam, whom He formed, and his descendants, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all our forefathers, Noah, Moses, Joshua son of Nun, David, Solomon, Zachariah, John the Baptist, whom your Quran mentions, and even the Word of God Himself, Jesus Christ. But it is said of your Quran: It came forth from God and is His Word, just as He exists without a beginning. However, I will demonstrate that your Quran, which the Ottomans transmitted and taught, is false. Your Quran states in the beginning of its preaching about a table that all things that befall humans, whether good or bad, proceed from God. If you make God the author of all good and evil, then thieves, sorcerers, murderers, and those who perish by violent death are all preordained by God to become such. Foolish one, if you believe the Quran to be the Word of God, how can the Word of God pronounce falsehoods? And if good and evil come from God, on the Day of Judgment, how can the just and the unjust be separated and distinct? Yet the righteous are destined for paradise, while sinners suffer punishments.


If both good and evil originate from God, why was Adam expelled from paradise? Why did the devil fall, saying, “I will set my throne above the clouds of heaven and be like the Most High”? If both evil and good have God as their author, why did Sodom and Gomorrah face devastation due to their deeds, and why did they perish in their sin? Similarly, at the time of Noah’s flood, why did the world perish? And why will only one, as you assert, out of the seventy-two tribes and families of the Islamic generation attain paradise, while the others are condemned to torment and punishment? You see how you lie, and your Quran neither has its origin from God nor descended from heaven, as you deliriously claim. For you depict God Himself as unjust, declaring that good and evil originate from God. Yet, He judges good and evil and renders to each according to their deeds. You say: Whoever does not wash their anus and then their mouth cannot enter paradise, as your Quran states and believes. Furthermore, it asserts that one who consumes pork will not attain the blessedness of paradise because God’s paradise would then be contaminated. And again, you claim that a man who intends to marry must do so in the presence of ten witnesses to make the entire affair legitimate. But why do you require ten witnesses for the lawful union of a husband and wife, yet none to affirm the dignity of your prophet who conversed mouth to mouth with God? Yet, you neither know God nor a prophet nor an apostle, nor do you know signs or miracles, and your Quran is not the Word of God.


In reality, you do not know God, for I did not find the name of the Creator, the Rational, and the Immortal God in your Quran, only the name of the God whom the Arabs worshipped before the coming of Muhammad, namely the morning star or planet Venus. You do not have a prophet, for you have shown nothing that would pertain to his prophecy or where such writings could be read, as we have prophecies of prophets in which past and future events are narrated before any work was spread or any writing from which they could draw. But Muhammad was neither an apostle nor a prophet, for it is not established by us whether he ascended to the heavens or descended. You do indeed testify that the angel of God came to Muhammad, and thus it would follow that the angel was the apostle, not Muhammad himself. Neither signs nor miracles from him can you produce from the Quran itself. I found nothing in it that exuded and breathed the Word of God, only fabrications and profane discourses.

Muhammad's encounter with the heretic Nasorean monk Baḥīrā, a famous story from early Muslim biographical traditions

And please, tell me, how could the Word of God be in a book, like your Quran, or a volume, and how could your Quran become the co-eternal Word of God Himself? In the street, I encountered many children who were carrying the Quran, and when one of them wanted to withdraw privately due to necessity, they would place the Quran next to themselves and sit. Otherwise, throughout the day, the children have the Quran, and sometimes they step on it, sometimes they play games with it, and sometimes they push and hit each other with it. So, how could the Quran be the Word of God and co-eternal with God Himself? Why do you not agree with someone who says that Jesus Christ raised the dead, removed and abolished sins, and presented Himself as the Word of God co-eternal with Him through various signs and miracles? Instead, you condemn Him as an atheist. How dare you assert that Muhammad, Christ, Adam, and the prophets are all of the same order, of equal rank and dignity before God? And when your Quran itself, through Pachura’s own words, states that Christ is the Word of God, why do you claim that He was created, like Muhammad and others? And if Christ is the Word of God, why do you call Him a prophet? Where do we find in your Quran these two names, Jesus Christ, that is, God and man? Who is referred to as both prophet and apostle?


Christ is the Word of God and co-eternal with God. How can the name of God, pure and immortal, correspond to the name of the one born in sin, who knows sin and died in sin? We are not convinced that Muhammad was powerful in both words and deeds, as Christ once was. Your Quran asserts that Jesus Christ was not crucified, nor died, so that the miracle of His resurrection would not be confirmed. It claims that Jesus exists immortal, just like God. But this is an error and deception. Even if you deny His crucifixion and resurrection, you can never deny the resurrection of those He raised from the dead. This sign is sufficient evidence that, by giving life to the dead, He Himself was not subject to death. But just as God Himself is immortal. If He is indeed immortal, the Creator, and the One who restores life to the dead to their original state, how can you consider Him similar and equal to Muhammad? Not Muhammad ascended to heaven with jubilation and acclamations. Nor did the angels proclaim anyone else, uncreated and begotten, with their shouts, except our Lord Jesus Christ. Only at Christ’s birth did these voices burst forth: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men, for today a new infant is born, who is God before the ages.” Oh, one susceptible to errors, hear the greeting of the archangel Gabriel as he adores the most holy Virgin.

"There is also the superstition of the Ishmaelites which to this day prevails and keeps people in error, being a forerunner of the Antichrist. They are descended from Ishmael, [who] was born to Abraham of Agar, and for this reason they are called both Agarenes and Ishmaelites. [...] From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, devised his own heresy"

Indeed, “The Lord is with you; the power of the Most High will overshadow you,” as heard and drawn from the eleventh chapter of the book or writing of Zacharias: “And the Virgin was in the temple, and the angel of the Lord served her food.” From the same writing of Zacharias, again: “All heavenly things were moved at the birth of the new child who was God before the ages; therefore, the angels sang hymns, the shepherds marveled, the earth became a cave, the wilderness a manger, a star was worshipped, and the Magi offered gifts.” Such was the nativity of the Word of God. But let us add the Quran itself, which speaks thus: “After the Word of God was born, perhaps He was in conversation with soldiers and then took clay and formed certain creatures, both birds and reptiles, endowed with full senses.” However, in the entire Quran, there are no praises for Muhammad or his mother Amina, as are found concerning our Lord Jesus Christ and His holy Mother, the Mother of God. How then can you call him the brother of Christ? Or how can you equate another prophet to Christ, when they are works of the Word of God? And since they are circumscribed, mortal, and corruptible, how can they be equated with the Word of God, which is without beginning or end?


But why, when I assert that Christ is the Son of God and the Word of God, do you argue that Adam is also the Word of God? When I say that Christ performed signs and miracles, was born without seed, and remained untainted by any sin, why do you claim the same for Adam? Why do you assert that if no traces of sin appear in Christ, the same could be said of John, and that this should not be considered extraordinary? And when I declare that Christ raised the dead, why do you say that Elijah also did the same? And when I affirm that the Lord ascended into heaven, why do you respond that this is not paradoxical or outside the order of things and examples, when the same also happened to Enoch? But I, a humble monk from Edessa, am ready to refute and confound all the falsehoods you present. Oh, most foolish one, if Adam is to be compared to Christ because, like Christ, the first man was formed without seed, by your reasoning, the first donkey, the first dog, and the first serpent should also be compared to Adam and Christ, and they should not be considered of inferior kind; for just like Adam, these animals were formed without seed. Yet, I will remind you again that Adam himself was a creation and the work of the Word of God, while the Word of God is Christ Himself. So how can you consider them equal and similar? Adam was a servant, a minister, and he transgressed God’s command, and after his sin, he was expelled from paradise. How then could he be similar to the Word of God, which is immortal, without sin, and eternally occupies the same place it has occupied from eternity?


I told you that Christ was born without seed and never subject to sin; yet, you argue that the same could be said of John. But you are lying; for even if John did not sin and did not engage in procreation, he was nonetheless born from seed, in the natural manner in which humans are conceived. So, how can he be compared to Christ? I said that Christ exercised His power in performing various signs and miracles; however, you claim that Moses did the same. But you are mistaken. Moses could not perform miracles in the name of Christ. Firstly, he spoke to Pharaoh in the Hebrew language, saying, “Aia, Aser, Aia, Aspaot, nisit me ad te,” which means God, Lord, Holy Spirit. These words clearly indicated his own servitude, in which he acknowledged a superior and Lord; in fact, he even revealed the Holy Trinity by saying, “God, Lord, and Holy Spirit.” And he performed miracles only temporarily, with prayers and tears. Because of his disobedience later, he did not see the Promised Land and died peacefully outside of it. In regard to this, your Quran speaks of “Batelmuqatim,” the Promised Land. However, Christ raised the dead without prayers and supplications, for He simply commanded Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, to come forth: “Lazarus, come out.” So, how can Enoch be compared to Adam, Moses, or any other creature?


Moreover, when I said that Christ was distinguished by equal glory and miracles, and that there was nothing trivial or devoid of all truth in Christ, and if Enoch achieved the same freedom and glory of destiny, you rightly claim. But it is evident from your writings that this is false. For your Quran states that Enoch is now in a certain high place, and in your Quran itself, I found that this place is paradise. Therefore, it follows that Enoch is only in paradise. As for the Lord, in the Quran, it is stated that God called Jesus Christ to occupy a position above the highest heavens, and in our Gospel, it is written: “Lord, the Cherubim were astonished by your ascension, seeing you walking and sitting upon the clouds.” So, what comparison can be made between him and Enoch?


Moreover, observe carefully that none but Christ ascended with jubilation, acclamations, and the sound of trumpets; He who descended from heaven, returned again in glory to the heavens where He had been before, as recorded in the writings of our prophets. For just as the Lord descended and ascended to heaven. How then could Enoch be similar to Him? Therefore, Muhammad, earthly, created, servant, mortal, and corruptible, did not ascend into heaven. And do not delude yourself excessively with this error, as if it were true that Muhammad ascended into heaven, because his daughter Fatima attempted to confirm this through her testimony.


Furthermore, you claim that Christ also used prayers, but whoever prays must be considered a servant of God. However, hear me, the Edessan, responding. I have repeatedly proven this to you, and your Quran confirms this with its own testimony, that Christ is the Word of God. And in this matter, you should not be overly concerned; indeed, the whole host of heavenly powers and all of humanity honor, praise, and adore God the Word. This Word dwelt in flesh, and that flesh became the temple of God. And this Word, as appropriate to God, resurrected the dead while existing in this temple, namely, in the flesh, and so forth.


As it is written, whoever confesses will be counted among the citizens and residents of paradise. Woe to the entire Muslim community because of such a doctrine. For whoever hears these words and believes that such things occur in paradise, will be submerged in sin like water gushing forth and covering grass. However, since I know very well that all Muslims utter such words and hold such beliefs, just as you claim that seventy of their tribes and families will be subjected to punishment while only one will attain paradise, show me how this can happen if you know it. But if you are not aware of this, I myself will tell you and explain it to you.


Therefore, Muhammad said that seventy-two tribes are destined for punishment, but one for the pleasures of paradise, because, he claims, seventy-two are those of the Muslim community in terms of public worship, and outwardly they profess to speak the truth about Muhammad, but secretly they assert that Muhammad’s people are deceived by him and deceive in return. And I will tell you the names of these tribes and their designations: Chasisimi, Separi, Ismaeli, Moutani, and the rest that follow. But let us not engage in lengthy circumlocutions of words. I reiterate that, in your language, your seventy-two tribes deny Muhammad. However, all of us profess a single faith and devoutly honor Christ. If your seventy-two tribes and languages reject and disapprove of Muhammad, what truth will they bring forth? Surely, either many or at least one will lie. And there is no need for you to claim that the faithful and the chosen will confess the truth. For I will also dissolve and refute this answer.

Fragments of an old Qur'an at the University of Birmingham. Oxford researchers testing date shows that this Qur’an is to have existed even before the existence of Muhammed himself.

Tell me then, O Hagarene, why do you insult and slander God Himself, asserting that God wrote these words around His throne? There is no true faith other than the faith of the chosen Muslims. This, indeed, I found written in your Quran. O one who strays from the truth, no one has ever seen God, nor beheld His throne. Who then has informed you that these things were written and inscribed around the throne of God? If you say that you learned this from your own Quran, your Quran certainly lies completely. For where were all the Muslims when God’s throne existed, and He who sits upon it, who covers the waters above Him and encompasses all things? Now tell me, O believer, by what title do you contend to rejoice among all other nations? Are you not the highest salvation of faithful men, the true and right way to eternal life, the foundation of the salvation of soul and body, and the pure path to God, as shown above? Yet you recognize and confess a God devoid of reason and life, and you worship and revere Him with divine devotion, as previously demonstrated. Add to this that you have no prophet or apostle; by what means, then, can you declare and prove yourself chosen? You have no priesthood, no grace, no temple, no remedy for curing the ills of soul and body, no psalms, no prayers. If I were to lie, make it clear that my falsehood and deceit are evident. Recognizing these facts, how can you enter the kingdom of heaven and become a participant in God’s grace? You are far removed from all these things.


Indeed, this is the doctrine that Muhammad promulgated: when you intend to engage in prayer after performing ablution, take a jug or a vessel made of clay, oblong in shape with a neck that holds water. Place your right hand on your anus and buttocks, and with your left hand pour water over them, cleansing the area. With the same finger you use to cleanse your buttocks, cleanse your mouth. Then wash your face and both hands up to the elbows, and finally wash your eyebrows and ears, and lastly your feet. If you are wearing shoes, you should remove them before washing your feet to avoid inconvenience, then shake them off and put them back on. If you are wearing a gold ring, remove it before prayer. If you don’t have a ring, you can start praying immediately. And if you carry a garment made from the skin of a cat or a wild animal, make sure to remove it before prayer. And if a Muslim has consumed wine throughout the day and still wishes to pray, he should carefully inspect his clothes. If he notices any wine stains on them, he should immediately cleanse them with soap and water and then proceed with the prayer. But I will counter: What nonsense and foolishness this is! For this is like cleaning and washing the outside of a barrel that is filled with wine on the inside.


Thus, with your abdomen burdened and filled with wine, you do not become contaminated, but you consider yourself entirely polluted by the drops that stain your clothes. And again, with curses, you denounce and continue prayers contaminated by the wearing of a ring, the skin of a cat, and even the very paradise tainted with wine and pork. However, Muhammad’s doctrine presses on this as the culmination and essence of his teachings, namely: “When you approach the mosque, spread a handkerchief or cloth before you, so that your face does not become tainted or soiled by the color or the ground of the mosque. If you are outside the mosque and do not have a cloth, take off and spread your upper garment and offer your prayer on it. Let your prayer be as follows: ‘Who is God great like our God, and there is no God but our God, and Muhammad is the Apostle of God. Amen.’ Then proceed, bend your knees and say, ‘We bless you, O God, who are the Lord and the arbiter of all things, who are the abyss of mercy and who will be the judge on the last day, incorruptible by any gifts and bribes. O King, grant us the straight paths which you have shown to the saints, that we may walk in them, not like those who have strayed from the straight path due to anger and error. Amen.’ Perform three genuflections while sitting, then rise and say it three times: ‘Who is God great like our God.’ Afterward, sitting, you will celebrate and magnify God three times, then you will greet to the right side, saying, ‘Peace be upon us,’ and repeat the same words to the left side, adding, ‘With the mercy of God.’ With these actions completed, you may depart. This is your entire method of prayer, your entire discipline, and the entirety of the wisdom you have gleaned from Muhammad, and beyond that, you cannot offer anything else.”


However, I provide you with witnesses by which it is clear that all these things – spoken, written, and said – were prevalent among the Arabs before Muhammad. Indeed, these words, ‘With God the Merciful and Compassionate,’ which you Muslims are accustomed to recite and command your followers, and this hymn, this psalmody, and these words, ‘Who is God great,’ etc., even astronomy, lunar positions, calculations, syllogisms, medical wisdom, verses, scholia, or observations – all these things were cultivated by the Arabs many years before Muhammad’s emergence. Yet, every bit of wisdom devised by Muhammad, and his preaching, is based on one proclamation: ‘Muhammad is the Apostle of God.’ You cannot accuse me of lying. Learn this from Muhammad himself. He says, ‘If anyone does this and confesses it, he shall become a dweller of paradise. And if anyone does not purify himself with water, he should not be so audacious as to dare to pray. And if anyone touches and embraces his wife, he must not only cleanse his fundament and buttocks, but from head to toe, for the purpose of offering prayers and attaining paradise.’


And another of Muhammad’s teachings is as follows: ‘When water is lacking, one should use dust or earth in its place.’ Pay careful attention, for he who wanted to instruct you in the right way says so. If you happen to be stuck in a field without water to irrigate it, or on a mountain, you are entirely deprived of the ability to pray. And if death suddenly seizes you, you are clearly doomed unless you obey the command of your prophet, which allows and commands that in the absence of water for cleansing, you may use dust or earth in place of water, and thus purify your fundament. Now, Hagarene, tell me, when you gather dust with your hand, and with your hand rub and cleanse your buttocks, does not your hand seem to roll and become contaminated? Yet it is sanctioned by your Muhammad that once you have purified your fundament, your mouth and face should also be immediately purified with the same hand. So that, with your crushed and purified fundament, you must immediately bring that hand to your mouth and face, and repeat this five times. This must be done every day. If, therefore, you happen to traverse a place where there is no water, and you cleanse yourself with dust only five times, what odors will you have to inhale through your nostrils, down to the very core? And this paradise, so eagerly awaited and desired by you, emits such a delightful fragrance through these fervent desires. But tell me again, if you find yourself stuck on the pinnacle of a high mountain where there is neither water nor earth, and sudden, unexpected death overtakes you, you will, indeed, perish, O atheist, for you will be completely deprived of the ability to pray in this state. I am well aware that one who does not pray does not have God as his portion.

Section of a Qur'an Manuscript 14th-15th Century

From the aforementioned and written matters, I have amply demonstrated that you are truly an atheist, venerating an irrational God, devoid of reason and spirit. Hence, you can observe that the wisdom, doctrine, and preaching of Muhammad are utterly useless, wrapped in obscurity and darkness, confused and pure chaos. Thus, you remain ignorant of the true sanctification of the soul and body. Woe unto you, simpletons! I have shown you the nature of your prayer, and from your doctrine, you can deduce this yourself. I have revealed your complete destruction. I shall again manifest this same ruin to you, and the perdition and annihilation of your soul and body, and how you refuse salvation from the sins and crimes you have committed. For with such preaching Muhammad has completely bound you, that indeed you must wash your entire body from head to feet with water or dust. Indeed, dust or earth must be used with a measured quantity in a suitable vessel arranged for this purpose, so that neither more nor less than what is appropriate is used and poured.


But now I tell you, neither water nor dust or earth can bring about the healing of the soul. If you claim that the soul is holy, then there is no need for it to be sanctified by water or dust. I, on the other hand, say justly that the soul is united to the body. How, then, do you assert that the soul is sanctified by God, but the body, when it is contaminated, must be washed and cleansed with water every day? If you claim that this is done because of contamination from sin or impurities, and therefore water must cleanse it before you engage in prayer, I also argue and say that the soul and the body are one and the same in terms of sanctification, and both are purified and sanctified by God – both the soul and the body, as they both partake in stains and impurities. And anything that is sanctified but becomes contaminated does not remain sanctified; instead, what is contaminated is sanctified and purified. And if any sacred thing should happen to be contaminated, it can never be sanctified through force or the aid of water. You now see how you deviate and stray from the straight path of truth.


Again, tell me why you claim that your Quran is the Word of God, uncreated, and that it came from heaven. I know only the Word of God which is the light from light. And how could the simple and incomprehensible nature be united with your book, such a thin and subtle essence with something of such density and thickness, with your volume that is often stepped on and is the work of human hands? How, then, do you call that the Word of God which is not created and which comes from heaven? But the body of my Christ is not the work of man, nor is it something that can be stepped on. Why, then, do you not tolerate and approve of me when I assert that the Word of God is united to flesh and that it is generated, not created? If your book is thrown into a well or some other place where it cannot help itself and free itself from that danger, how can you call it by the name of the Word of God? And if our Lord freed Himself from the fury of the Jews and ascended to the heavens to establish His seat and place there, why would we not call that the Word of God? If you were to say, “We cannot comprehend, perceive, or understand the Word of God except through the thickness and opacity of a book,” why do you not accept my statement, which is supported by various testimonies, in which I assert that the Word of God is united to flesh and is begotten, but not created? By this reasoning, we find in the thickness and density of flesh the immaterial and most subtle substance of God, and we know its glory as the very glory of the Word of God.


Why, then, do you burden us with accusations, branding us as sorcerers and impious, particularly because we acknowledge the awe-inspiring signs and countless miracles by which the very material and divine flesh of the Word of God has revealed itself? But you cannot boast of anything similar from your Quran. Just as you cannot conceive of a subtle and invisible substance in any way other than associating it with the density and thickness of your Quran’s physical body, I, as a Christian, cannot comprehend and see the Word of God except through the corporeal density of His own body. And how can Muslims say, “We want to see our Creator and Fashioner on the day of judgment”? But I argue to you, when you set out for Mecca to pray and diligently inquire and insist to see Muhammad’s tomb, and offer a certain salutation to those who dwell there, they tell you with the intent to dissuade you from this course that at the very moment you see the tomb, you will be blinded and your eyes will be deprived of sight.

Masjid al-Haram Mosque, Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Consequently, your prophet is far from being able to assist you; rather, he promotes your ruin and downfall. So, on the day of judgment, if you were to see God Himself, as you contend will happen, you will experience Him ready and prepared for your perdition, casting you into the fires of hell. Yet, you claim Muhammad is a man of God, one who supposedly learned to act unjustly from God? Throughout his entire life, instead of being a source of liberation and salvation, he created injuries and ruins for others, and even after his death, he still persists in the same, continuing to strike you with blindness and obscuration rather than illumination, as you yourself assert. Oh, how far you stray from the truth, unable to perceive the divinity in this present time! Why do you not assert that the Word of God, coeternal with God, we truly see in flesh, in which He raised the dead, restoring the decayed and non-existent back to their original state, and resurrected His own dead flesh as God? How, then, do you claim that Muhammad is equal to Him? But before God, there is something even clearer that I can press against you.


When you are about to engage in prayer and supplication, you have your feet on the ground, and beneath your feet lies Muhammad in the earth, consumed by decay and worms, dissolved and disintegrated. Yet you raise your hands and extend them to heaven, where the Word of God resides, along with His throne and the Holy Spirit; and you strike and tread upon the place where Muhammad lies with your feet, while towards the exalted heavens you raise your hands, invoking the celestial hosts, angels, archangels, Cherubim, and Seraphim, who with hymns and acclamations celebrate the greatest and most powerful God, along with the Word and the Spirit. Observe, O Hagarene, the place you tread upon is where the deceased Muhammad lies, and the lofty place to which you extend your hands is the one that resounds with the aforementioned hymn and harmony. So why do you call Muhammad and Christ equal in dignity? Why do you not feel ashamed and embarrassed? How can the eternal, immortal one be similar to the mortal, dead, and corrupt? How can the Word of God, the maker and creator of all things, be equated with the work and earthly creation, with Muhammad who is an impostor and who taught you to sanctify your soul and body with water?


Listen to this parable: A certain man was clothed in a white robe or garment, but as he journeyed on a path filled with mud and filth, he fell to the ground on a rough terrain of stones and rocks. His clothing was stained with mud and filth, and his foot was crushed by the impact with a certain stone. Some individuals, seeing him in this predicament, lifted him up and led him away. They removed his garment, cast it into water, and washed it with soap and ointment, restoring it to its original splendor and brightness. However, water and ointment could not heal the wounded and crushed foot; only the skill of an experienced physician, who took upon himself the burden of time and care, could restore it to its former health and well-being.


Your prophet, on the other hand, has instructed you with such a doctrine that all the ailments of the soul and body are to be cleansed, washed, and removed with water. Now, if water could not heal a visible and tangible wounded foot, how could it possibly cleanse and sanctify an invisible soul? If you say that prayer is the sanctification of the soul, why then does it not also sanctify the body? Now, I tell you something even more appropriate: it is more fitting to first heal the wound of the foot and then proceed to washing and cleansing the garment. Similarly, the primary concern should be the care of the soul, that it may be made holy and illuminated. Subsequently, a method for washing the body with water and ointment should be considered.


Woe unto you, wretched portion of the impending judgment! Does the soul, when called to paradise, say, “Come, O buttocks, come to paradise”? Yet when someone dies and is buried, corroded, reduced to putrefaction and worms, emitting a foul stench and completely decaying, such a body gives off such a putrid odor that those who come near it are instantly overcome by the foul smell. What benefit then does it serve for a person to wash their buttocks every day with such care? Therefore, the prophet David says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” And when Moses fasted for forty days and nights, his breath began to smell, and he emitted an unpleasant odor from his mouth. He took leaves from a certain tree with which he wanted to moisten and cleanse his lips, and immediately the anger of God erupted, saying, “Why did you cleanse your lips with leaves? Go and fast another forty days, for I desire sanctification not of the body but of the soul. If your mouth stinks, what is it to me? You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Mosaic of the Seraphim in Hagia Sophia

Now, O Hagarene, tell me, since God tolerated and allowed the foul-smelling mouth of the prophet Moses and did not command the prophet to wash and cleanse his mouth with water, how can you assert with such audacity that the soul and body are purified and sanctified by water? You are mistaken. For when you sin, not only is the body contaminated, but the soul is also tainted by the stain of sin. If you cleanse and remove the filth of the body with water, how does this water purify and cleanse the invisible soul from sin? And how is it that you prioritize the care and cleansing of the body five times a day while neglecting the soul? Does the soul not surpass the body in dignity? Indeed, the situation is analogous to the parable of the garment and the foot. The garment can be cleaned and whitened, but the wounded and crushed foot cannot be aided by water alone; it requires the expertise of skilled physicians and the efficacy of potent herbs.


Now I wish to press another point. You have a tomb, surrounded by a wondrous armor, adorned with various pearls and gold, but within it is filled with foul odor and worms. Once again, I will question you: When a child is born from the womb of its mother, its body is cleansed with water. However, its body is soft and cannot yet pray. I mention this to prevent you from using this as an opportunity to assert that the soul is sanctified through prayers until the very moment of death. I have shown you that neither the body nor the soul is sanctified by water. If you claim that a newborn child must be circumcised and thus sanctified, I respond that even in this, the sanctification of the body or the soul does not reside. Instead, the Israelites had this practice as a distinctive mark of their nation and lineage. Again and again, I tell you that anyone who teaches a God devoid of reason himself lacks knowledge and piety, as I have demonstrated to you above.


Once again, I will question you about the twenty-four myriad prophets that you often boast about. Please provide their names, what each of them prophesied, the miracles by which they became renowned, the time period they lived in, and under whose rule they existed. The entire world consists of seventy-two languages, as is well known. If you can recall the names of your prophets according to the number of languages in the whole world, we will believe you. Yet, now you can’t even list a hundred prophet names. Listen to a story from an Edessan that I will tell you. One day, a certain monk named Zecchetes, resting in a contemplative state, approached a Calepitarum with the hope of receiving a donation or alms from him. He asked if he would be willing to donate a coin for each name of the prophets he could remember, relying on the monk’s love for God and the prophets. The Calepitarum agreed to this request.


So, after collecting a substantial amount of money in front of him, Zecchetes implored him to recite the names of the prophets, promising to receive a coin for each name he mentioned. As he received a few coins and recalled the names of some prophets, his memory suddenly failed him, and he couldn’t proceed further, even when urged and pressed by the monk. In this way, he was tested and ridiculed by the Calepitarum, and the agreement was abandoned and rejected. If Christians had been present at that time, wouldn’t they have mocked and laughed at you? Since you are unaware of the names of the prophets, how can you audaciously claim that such a great number of prophets existed among you, and why do you not feel ashamed to demand as many coins as there are prophet names, which you cannot even recall and are entirely unfamiliar with? But you persist in your false claims, stating that Adam was the first prophet and Muhammad the last. Foolish and deviating far from the path of truth. In various instances, I found you saying that Muhammad existed before the foundations of the world were laid and, when asked by me where he lived, you assert that he was hidden between clay and water. But if that were the case, how could he be posterior to Adam in time, if he supposedly existed before the creation of the world? You contradict yourself. O one devoid of all knowledge, why do you not feel ashamed?


But I will question you again: tell me where and when Muhammad was born, where he went, where he died and left his humanity, or how his father or grandfather were named. You do not know these things, and yet I am not ignorant of them; in fact, I know them well. Perhaps your knowledge is as limited as ours. But if our knowledge is unfamiliar to you, listen to your own history and learn from me not only who his father or grandfather were, but listen further and learn his generations, going upward and backward. I, indeed, can teach my son, but he cannot do the same for me. Similarly, you cannot know about Muhammad as accurately as we Christians can; for we precede Muhammad by far in history, and matters concerning him are clearly known to us. So tell us if you are aware of this: which feast is celebrated in memory of his birth and assumption into heaven? Tell me the solemn day set for commemorating his birth, death, or burial; what psalms and odes are sung in honor of his death? I have read through all your books, yet I have found no argument or written declaration praising and hymning the events associated with his life. Neither his mother Jemena was greeted by Gabriel, nor did the power from on high dwell in her, and she did not become a guarantor, nor did the Holy Spirit call her holy, and before giving birth, she remained a virgin, and after giving birth, she remained a virgin. If it were not written so, that she was bought as a slave by many men. How do you make this slave, and holy, and blessed, and immaculate Virgin, the Mother of the Word of God, equal, just as there is no equality in them? In this way, Muhammad is also equal to Christ, because Muhammad did not raise the dead, nor did he raise the four-day-dead Lazarus like Christ did, nor did he open the eyes of a blind person from birth, nor did he cleanse the lepers, nor did he heal the deaf and mute by his presence, nor did he calm violent winds and raging waves, nor did he walk on water as on dry land, nor did he enter his disciples through closed doors, nor did he transform in front of his disciples, nor was he without sin, nor immortal, nor a righteous judge. How do you make him equal to Christ? Because Muhammad has not done such a thing, nor anything of the sort. He neither possessed truth nor righteousness, but rather, he showed and commanded all injustice and ordered all those who do not call him the Apostle of God to be killed. And you say shamelessly that Muhammad and Jesus Christ are the same. But I tell you about the life of Muhammad.


The one called Abd al-Muttalib was not from the lineage of the Muslims, nor did they know him, nor did they recognize him. But we Christians who believe in the rational and living God, and exist with Him as heirs of the earth, we know him and have recognized him. Furthermore, you need to learn from me about everything you do not know. Muhammad was the son of Abd Allah, Abd Allah the son of Abd al-Muttalib, Abd al-Muttalib the son of Hashim, Hashim the son of Abd Manaf, Abd Manaf the son of Qusayy, Qusayy the son of Kilab, Kilab the son of Murrah, Murrah the son of Ka'b, Ka'b the son of Lu'ayy, Lu'ayy the son of Ghalib, Ghalib the son of Fihr, Fihr the son of Malik, Malik the son of Al-Nazr, Al-Nazr the son of Kinanah, Kinanah the son of Khuzaymah, Khuzaymah the son of Mudrikah, Mudrikah the son of Ilyas, Ilyas the son of Mudar, Mudar the son of Nizar, Nizar the son of Ma'ad, Ma'ad the son of Adnan.


Now listen, foolish one, to the genealogy of Muhammad's grandfather Abd al-Muttalib, until the end of Muhammad. And what I have said, and what I am about to say, I tell you from Chaldean writings and write for you. Muhammad's father Abd Allah bought his wife Jemena, Muhammad's mother, from the tax of the Arabs, from the daughter of Lion. And when she gave birth to Muhammad, she died ten years later. And Muhammad was raised without a mother by Abd al-Muttalib, and when he was twenty-five years old, he took ten wives and six captive concubines. His first wife was Khadijah, the daughter of Khuwaylid, his second was Sawda, the daughter of Zama'a, his third was Aisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, his fourth was Hafsah, the daughter of Umar, his fifth was Zaynab, the daughter of Khuzaymah, that is, of Bubeke who sat with Muhammad, his sixth was Umm Salamah, the seventh was Zaynab the Egyptian, the eighth was Maria the Copt, the ninth was Juwayriyah, the tenth was Umm Habibah, and so on. And behold, I am telling you how he married them and from where.

A depiction of Khadījah and Muhammad by the 16th-century calligrapher Lutfi Abdullah

Khadijah drew water and watered the camels, and when Muhammad came, she covered her face with her cloak and walked over him. So Muhammad said to her, "I thank you, your faith is great." And he sent to her father, saying, "Give me your daughter in marriage." And when her father heard this, he rejoiced greatly and sent her to him with soured milk, so that he would eat and bless. And he took the milk and ate it, and deflowered her. As for Sawda, she was taken from his household's servitude, and he deflowered her. But when Muhammad passed by there, he asked a girl for water, and without any delay, he asked her if she would agree to marry him. Khadijah answered, "Indeed, I can see your face, but I still dare not approach you; are you not that prophet who was born among the Quraysh tribe?" He replied, "Yes, I am the very one." And he approached the girl's father and obtained her for marriage from her father. He married Amtalmem as if she were a servant in his household, and she was born in his house. After he had deflowered and taken her virginity before, he later joined her in marriage.


He took Hafsa from Umar, the son of Al-Khattab. And he took Zaynab, the daughter of Khuzaymah, from her husband, Abu As, the son of Rabiah. And Zaynab, the Egyptian, from the castle called Busr in the land of Damascus, while he was going to her master's house. And when Muhammad left with his own camels and his master's reward, he saw her and loved her, and taking her, brought her to his own house. And he took Zayta, who was throwing water out of her water jar from the housetop, and her cheeks were red. He loved her, and holding her hand, said to her, "No one has power over you except me," and he deflowered her. And when this girl's father heard about it, he was very pleased and came and fell at his feet, saying, "Where did you come from, Apostle of God, that you should be called my son-in-law?" Muhammad said to him, "Rise, for it is written thus." And Muhammad begot both male and female children. His first son was Tayyib, his second was Tahir, his third was Qasim, his fourth was Ibrahim, and the female was Fatimah.


However, none of his children were granted a long life. Only Fatima fed on the ethereal and vital air of the day. Why then did he not raise his deceased children in the presence of the Arabs, so that they, astonished by the contemplation of these miracles, would believe in him? And if he was a prophet, as you claim, why did he not perform this? He handed over his wife Phatima to Ali, the son of his brother Abdullah. Ali, in turn, had two children with Phatima: the elder named Chasanem and the younger named Chuseinem. When Muhammad passed away, a certain Mebias arose, who had enmity with Muhammad, and he had a son named Jasit, a very powerful ruler. Mebias sent some individuals to kill Ali’s sons, Chasanem and Chusainem. They poisoned the elder and killed the other with a sword. All these things are well known to me. Therefore, if, as I just mentioned, Muhammad was a prophet, tell me why he did not prophesy about the deaths of his sons and grandsons, and why, after fulfilling his humanity, they were eventually destined for such and such a fate? At the time of Muhammad’s death, his successor and caliph was Apupacher, who ruled for six and a half years. After him, the caliphate was held by Omer, the son of Aphu, for twelve years. Then came Ali, who ruled for twelve of his forefathers’ names. After him, Catapap ruled for a period of six years. Following him, Othmanes Abutalip ruled for four years. Thus, I tell you, if I were to narrate shameful and disgraceful deeds again, the Euphrates itself would fail, even if it supplied me with ink for flowing streams.


Now listen to the life and customs of Abd al-Muttalib, the grandfather of Muhammad. During that time, he resided in the Marada region. When his father Asem caused him troubles and constantly vexed him with complaints and reproaches, Abd al-Muttalib went to Sephora among the Corasiotes, a tribe connected by blood and lineage. He had with him ten male children and three daughters. The first was named Amases, the second Ampas, the third Abdullah, the fourth Ampeicap, the fifth Aplucadep, the sixth Aputsal, the seventh Amptulcasem, the eighth Amptuale, the ninth Saphuan, and the tenth Amptoulas. This was the father of Muhammad. Amptulnutalipes, the grandfather of Muhammad, had a brother named Corase, who bore the name of their great-grandfather. Corase lived in the land of Cham, a two-day journey away from Marada, where his brother had a fixed residence. Corase was blessed with numerous offspring, having ten daughters and three sons. The youngest daughter was named Lialule, which means “Gem” or “Pearl.” She was loved by Amptulas, the father of Muhammad, and the son of Amptulmutalep, the brother of Corase. When Amptulas was infatuated with her, he revealed his plan to his father and said, “Ask your brother Corase to grant me his daughter’s hand in marriage as an annual offering according to my vows.” Now Corase was extremely wealthy, far surpassing his brother Amptulmutalep in wealth. Amptulas was ruling and said, “Your uncle flourishes in riches, and he feeds vain and proud hearts; I, on the other hand, am in straitened circumstances, and whenever I broach this matter to him, he will immediately meet me with contempt and reproach.” He persisted and urged his father to seek the hand of his cousin, his brother’s daughter, in marriage, for whom he was burning with love. Overwhelmed and defeated by his son’s insistent requests, the father finally disclosed the entire matter to his brother and asked for his daughter’s marriage to be joined to Amptulas, his own son.

Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib Great Grand Father of Muhammed

However, the angered brother retorted, “By the God of heaven and earth, if you were not my full brother, I would surely banish you from these lands and compel you to leave immediately.” From then on, he harbored the most intense enmity against him. Amptulmutalep had an exceptional and well-known dog, which, upon entering Corase’s premises, he killed and buried deeply under a mound of earth to conceal the deed. Corase, on the other hand, owned an extraordinarily beautiful and swift horse, which was even faster than the celestial wind when it was harnessed to a chariot. As Amptulmutalep and his father were pondering the situation, they deemed it necessary to not let the act of killing the dog go unnoticed. They also realized that Amptulas couldn’t bear to hide this injustice and endure such great pain. Taking a basket with him, he approached Corase, concealing his true intention and projecting an air of peace and goodwill, for Arabs highly value peace as a matter of great importance. Observing, the Corasiotes saw him coming with a basket, performing all the gestures of peace, they became less concerned, assuming he did not harbor ill intentions and was considering peaceful resolutions. Therefore, they received him as a most welcome guest. However, during the night, he sprang from his bed, rose up, and with a knife, killed the horse. Then he swiftly fled and saved himself in flight. The next morning, when the Corasiotes awoke and left their beds, they found the horse dead, pierced by various wounds.


Thus Corase said, “Amptulas concealed his anger and desire for revenge, feigning peace with us; therefore, we were not burdened with any concern or worry to keep an eye on him.” Amptulas, however, returned to his father and eagerly recounted all that had transpired. His father advised, “Now there is nothing left for us to do but prepare ourselves swiftly for the imminent battle.” In reality, Corase, accompanied by a large crowd of people and various chariots and armed forces, attacked his brother with fierce warfare. Many fell on both sides, and victory remained uncertain and precarious. Weakened by inferior strength and overcome by intense fear, Amptulmutalep’s father fled to Mecca, a journey of ten days, along with his son and the remnants of his people; for many had perished in various battles.


When he had established settled abode in the deserts of Mecca, after a span of three years, he once again acquired animals, slaves, and merchandise, and having become thoroughly acquainted with all the regions, they began to engage in trade and commerce. It was the custom among the Arabs that individuals, according to their means, would purchase numerous captives, mainly young women of flourishing age, and particularly Hebrews, with whom they would engage in intercourse. When these captives became pregnant, they would raise the offspring of superior appearance, and then sell them for a high price in public markets and fairs. Therefore, on a certain day, Zayd ibn Haritha al-Kalbi, son of Muhammed, said to his father: “Father, I want you to arrange a marriage for me.” Indignantly, the father replied, “May you be accursed, and the wife you will be united with, and the children you will procreate with her. For in your lifetime, we have been driven from our homeland and have become refugees, and we will not end our exile unless with our lives.” After a certain interval of time, he again vexed his father with the troublesome matter, saying, “Come with me to the marketplace and buy a captive woman whom God will provide for us, and she shall not be united to me in marriage.” And setting out for the marketplace, they diligently searched through all the corners of the marketplace, and Amptulas found the captive woman whom he bought. The cobbler who was selling the slave or captive woman said, and he confirmed this with a solemn oath by the awesome God, that this captive woman had been sold more than twelve times. Overjoyed at this news, they led her home. After a short period of time had passed, they sent her into the field to pasture the camels according to the custom prevailing among the Arabs. Every morning, she carried the daily food in a basket on her shoulder, and at every evening hour, she used to bring the same basket filled with camel dung back to her master’s house.


And as I have mentioned before, she served, and Amptulas had relations with her. And when she was carrying her womb, either because of Amptulas or because the camel herders in the mountains were accustomed to her, the time finally came for her to lay down her womb and give birth. So, following her usual custom, she set out for the mountain to tend to the camels and there she gave birth to Muhammed. Then, in the evening, as she was returning according to her custom, she filled the same basket with camel dung and placed the newborn Muhammed on top of it, and thus she returned to her master’s house. When the grandfather saw Muhammed, he said, “Anathema upon the father and mother, for we have been expelled from our homeland because of the father’s guilt, and we have been left bereft of wives.” But in the usual manner, every day she set out for the mountain to pasture the camels, and she carried Muhammed with her to nurse him. After three full years had passed,


Muhammed’s father went out hunting, and he brought a wild sheep home from the hunt. But as he was preparing to slaughter it and was following it, a snake attacked him and bit him, and he died immediately from the venomous bite. Then, after another five years, Muhammed’s foster-father Davus passed away. Taking the orphaned Muhammed with her, the servant woman left and went to a certain friendly place, where she met Abdullah, her husband’s brother, and told him all that had happened to them. Abdullah, however, said, “I will provide sustenance for my kinsman Muhammed, and you shall serve in my own household.” And for a span of ten years, she stayed with her mother there, supporting herself. But later, her mother passed away, and Muhammed was left alone to be cared for by his uncle Abdullah. This care was imposed upon him so that, along with other shepherds, he would tend and pasture sheep and camels. After he had performed this duty for ten years, his mistress appointed him to travel from one region to another with camels, to manage her property, promote her interests, and diligently report back to her. This service was rendered for a span of five years. Now, when he was pasturing camels in the mountains, there was a certain idle monk there who adhered to the Nestorian doctrine, and his name was Pachura. Near the cell he occupied, a pit had been dug. And as Muhammed approached and departed every day for water, he would always ascend to the well. And when he saw the idle monk there, he engaged in conversation with him and inquired about various matters regarding the Christian faith.

The Heretic Nestorius

The monk, however, responded to everything and narrated things to Muhammed as quickly as he could remember them, and when he returned home, he would recount everything to the Arabs, adding: “Thus says the Lord.” But one day, when he found some Arabs sitting in a circle, he wanted to sit with them and engage in various discussions. However, immediately seized by dizziness, he fell to the ground and prostrated himself, rolling and writhing, grinding his teeth and frothing at the mouth. This is something that is very familiar to you Muslims, and you are accustomed to doing it very often, especially those among you who are called Phoracida. For they gather in groups, carrying musical instruments, lyres, and tambourines, wearing garments made of hemp on their heads and upper parts, and drinking boiled wine. And when they all stand up straight together, the musicians play their instruments, while the Phoracida dance with their eyes closed and their faces down to the ground. The common people and the crowd, along with their children, applaud with their hands and strike the air with immodest shouts. They dance with their heads lowered, and eventually they fall down, grinding their teeth in misery and foaming at the mouth as if in a rabid and frenzied state. They claim to do this as imitators of Muhammed and as a form of servile behavior.


The onlookers around them cry out, “An angel! An angel!” meaning that an angel has spoken to them. On the following day, if any of them has a greater amount of foam on their mouth, they seek out someone from the bystanders. Once identified, they immediately rush to that person’s feet, grab hold of them, and kiss them, asserting that they have seen an angel, just like Muhammed. I am ashamed of this whole fabricated and poorly stitched-together tale. Can you accuse me of lying about these matters, O Hagarene? But to return to Muhammed himself, when he returned to himself and was asked how the events he had just experienced had occurred, he replied, “I saw an angel, and upon seeing him, I was so disturbed.” At that time, Abdullah, who had raised Muhammed, was present there. He returned home and approached his wife, advising her with these words: “Henceforth, do not treat Muhammed as a servant or a hireling, for today he has seen an angel.”


But each day, Muhammed would return to the idle monk and learn many things from him, which he would later narrate to the people, thus indoctrinating them. On a certain evening, Abdullah, fearing that Muhammed might have hidden some deceit in his words, approached him, saying: “I have nourished and nurtured you for a long period of time. Therefore, in return for my services towards you, tell me sincerely what you saw when you fell to the ground, foaming and writhing.” Muhammed replied, “This is the beginning of my prophecy, and, my lord, I wish to fast for a period of thirty days and nights, abstaining completely from food, so that I may become thin and subtle like an angel. When an angel approaches me, I will be able to engage in conversations and dialogues with him more easily.”


However, in secret and unnoticed, he was being provided with sustenance by Pachuram each day. And this monk, in order to eventually lead him to baptism, supplied him with food. In the evening, Muhammed would return well-fed and with a full belly, pretending not to want to dine. Then his uncle, Abdullah, finally said to him: “I want you to explain your entire method of acting to me. For I see you departing to the mountains each day, returning in the evening exhausted and worn out, and yet you eat absolutely nothing. So, disclose to us the nature of this ritual and exchange.” To this, Muhammed responded: “If you wish me to explain whatever this matter is, gather the people and inhabitants of Mecca first, and on the following day, when I return from the mountains, I will declare everything in the presence of all, with a numerous crowd of people standing by.” They were unaware that he was being instructed and nourished by Calogerus or the monk, and the Arab monk did not dare to reveal to the Arabs what Muhammed was studying and practicing with him, in the hope that he might eventually turn away from this and that the danger to the Arabs would be avoided through this silence.


Then, Abdullah proceeded to Mecca, gathered the people, and addressed the prominent and noble individuals of the people, saying, “A prophet has risen among us, namely Muhammed, who can easily endure a thirty-day fast. Therefore, come and witness this great miracle.” Upon hearing that an ordinary man could endure a thirty-day fast without harm, they glorified God greatly, and immediately, news of this miracle spread throughout the entire Arabia. So, they gathered and came with Abdullah, who said to them, “Sit here, for evening is approaching, and the prophet will come.” As Muhammed arrived, everyone stood up and rushed to meet him, with Abutalip, Abdullahes, the one who had nourished and raised him, exclaiming, “The sun of Arabia has arrived, the one who fasted for thirty days without faltering!” Upon hearing this, the crowds were seized with awe and trembling.


Muhammed then spoke these words: “Listen, Abdullah, you who have shown me kindness and nourished me. Listen, I say to you and your people. When I returned to Damascus for the last time and lost my camel, you received me with blows and drove me out of your house. In sorrow and wandering, I came to a Royal Well, dug by the royal command. Immediately, I lay down and surrendered myself to sleep. I had a dream and saw the sun descending from above, bowing down, and I was worshipping in its humble and prostrate light. On the following morning, I awoke in fear, and with uncertainty about what had transpired, I did not reveal the whole matter to anyone. Therefore, I went to the mountains, where I used to pasture the camels, and when I had ascended and found a rock, I sat down upon it. There, I began to contemplate my vision, considering it as a mere shadow and a vain thing. Suddenly, a voice burst forth from heaven, saying, ‘Muhammed, do not let anxious thoughts trouble you concerning the vision. Go, subject yourself to a thirty-day fast, and then return here so that I may tell you what you are to do.’”


At that time, Abdullah went to Mecca, gathered the people, and addressed the leaders and nobles of the sons of Arabia, saying, “One of us has risen as a prophet, namely Muhammed, who can easily endure a thirty-day fast. Therefore, come and witness this remarkable phenomenon.” Upon hearing this, they greatly praised God upon realizing that a mere mortal could endure a fast of thirty days, and immediately the news of this miracle spread throughout the whole of Arabia.

So, they gathered and came with Abdullah, who said to them, “Sit here, for the evening is about to come.” As Muhammed arrived, they all rose and rushed to meet him, with Abdullah, his patron and nurturer, exclaiming, “The most welcome sun of Arabia has come, who has fasted for thirty days without exhaustion!” Upon hearing these words, the crowds were seized with awe and trembling. Then Muhammed spoke, addressing Abutalipes, “Listen, kind Abutalipes, you who have nurtured and cared for me. Listen, I say, both you and your people. When I returned to Damascus for the last time and lost my camel, you received me with blows and expelled me from your house. In my grief and wandering, I arrived at a royal well dug by the king’s command. There, I lay down and surrendered myself entirely to sleep. I had a dream in which I saw the sun descending from above and bowing down, and I adored it. When I awoke the next morning, I trembled with fear, and, in my pondering, I did not reveal the whole matter to anyone.”


“Therefore, I went to the mountains as usual, where I used to pasture the camels. As I ascended, I found a rock, sat under it, and began to contemplate my vision, considering it as mere shadow and vanity. Suddenly, a voice from heaven burst forth, saying, ‘Muhammed, let not anxiety trouble you about the vision. Go, subject yourself to a thirty-day fast, and then return here so that I may tell you what you should do.’” He promised a certain sign or token, so that all may be persuaded and convinced. Muhammed replied, “Tonight, come to me, and I will present a miracle to be witnessed by all. You will see the moon split into two parts, one radiating in the east and the other in the west.” So, they gathered, and as darkness enveloped the atmosphere, Muhammed said, “I have performed the miracle, but you were unable to see it, for you are unworthy to witness my miracle with your eyes.”


And up to this point, the memory of this event is preserved among you, and it is recorded in your written books. Another of Muhammed’s uncles, Abu Taalib will, also stood there and declared that he would in no way believe unless he saw at least some slight miracle. I ask you to perform this easy thing that you claim. You say that with a single step, you can ascend to the heavens and with a single motion of your foot, you can shake the earth. Therefore, lift yourself up from the ground and hang in the air at a distance of three palm lengths, so that I can move and shake my staff under your feet. If you do this, we will believe with the utmost certainty everything you have narrated from beginning to end.”


Seeing the incredulity of his uncle and realizing that he couldn’t escape in any way, Muhammed cried out to the people, “Abu Taalib will, even if my uncle, is punished with immediate death.” The wiser ones among the people advised, “If something wrong has come from your uncle, why don’t you admonish him? But if he has spoken rightly and truly, why do you want him to be killed by the people with the harshest sentence?” Many others, however, in their sheer foolishness and madness, cried out in mockery, “The Prophet speaks the truth, which is also confirmed by his own testimony and the testimony of his daughter Fatima, who saw him ascending to the heavens.” Thus, seizing a sword, Muhammed drew it against his own uncle, and the enraged crowd, influenced by his example, also drew their swords and stabbed his uncle, along with many others who were also slain. Can you openly declare, O Muslim, whether I am lying or not? And from that time until now, this barbaric doctrine has spread: Whoever does not believe in and confess Muhammed to be the Apostle of God and a prophet is immediately put to death with a sword. This has prevailed for six years, and due to the fear of death, many have gathered who support and defend Muhammed’s cause.


When the Arabs who were living there heard that such a large number of people were unjustly perishing, they gathered among themselves and formed a group, then they attacked the followers of Muhammed, breaking them in battle and using their camels to defeat them in the land of Midian. Muhammed, fleeing, found a cave in which he hid for three days and nights before finally escaping unharmed. Yet you shamelessly claim that while hiding in the cave, he was covered by spiderwebs to avoid danger. How can you expect me to believe in all your delusions and present them to you honestly? Muhammed fled again and entered a city or fortress along with the crowds who had easily believed his doctrines. He sought refuge in an inn or lodging, and due to the death threat the Arabs had imposed on him, he remained hidden there for a long time. These Arabs eventually found another of Muhammed’s uncles, Abu Bakr, and seizing him, they demanded, “Tell us where Muhammed is hiding.” Abu Bakr, swearing an oath, replied, “If you release me, I will find Muhammed for you. By the merciful and compassionate God, I will bring him to you bound by hands and arms.”


So Abu Bakr came to Muhammed and said to him, “I have come to you to lead you bound and captive to the Arabs.” Muhammed, rising, embraced Abu Bakr with his arms and held him so tightly and firmly that he seemed about to lose consciousness. Abu Bakr pleaded, “Have mercy on me, mighty servant of God, now I recognize you as a prophet and apostle of God.” Muhammed responded, “If you speak the truth, O Abu Bakr, let us unite and join our efforts and plans.” Abu Bakr agreed, “Arm yourself with your people and come with me so we can defeat the Arabs. They are unprepared and at ease.”


Immediately, they rushed to arms, and Abu Bakr, along with Muhammed, launched a sudden attack on the Arabs, breaking their ranks, and Muhammed emerged as the victor from that moment on. Seeing Muhammed as the prevailing force, crowds flocked to him day by day. Muhammed again recruited an army from the younger and more distinguished men, and upon arriving in Mecca, he defeated the Arabs, captured the city and fortress, and with increased strength, occupied all the surrounding regions. He established a law that anyone who did not confess Muhammed as the prophet and apostle of God would be punished with death. A multitude followed his banner, embracing his doctrine. In this manner, he occupied various regions and cities of the Arabs, and eventually arrived at a place called Tsumtsum, which means “deep well.” Adjacent to the well was a city or fortress called Susaita, meaning “black stone” and “darkness.” After capturing it, they seized an old woman along with her seven children as captives.

Abū Bakr ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbī Quḥāfa

But they addressed her thus: “You and your children, believe in Muhammed and in his God, for he is the prophet and apostle of God.” She responded to them: “I beseech you, let me see him immediately and confer with him.” When she was brought before Muhammed, she said, “Why do you call yourself a prophet and apostle, and what kind of God do you have? I indeed have Venus and the morning star as my deities, but you, what kind of God do you have and worship?” Muhammed replied, “There is another God who has servants Michael and Gabriel. I am his apostle.” The old woman said, “Where does this God you announce dwell?” Muhammed raised his palms towards the stars and answered, “He dwells in the heavens.” The old woman pressed on, “Do you alone know him, or does your people also know him? Does his voice resemble the voice of earthly humans, or is it distinct from it?” Muhammed replied, “Neither do I know God, and the leaders of the people could not even rise to know him. An angel does not speak to me, and I do not hear his voice.” The old woman continued, saying, “When the angel approaches and speaks, do you alone hear him, or do the people also hear him? If everyone hears, then all are apostles of the archangel, and you cannot boast of any special grace or benefit. But if you alone hear, the archangel is the apostle, and you are nothing at all. Therefore, you can no longer call yourself an apostle.”


Muhammed replied, “Calm yourself, lest you and your children perish by the sword.” The old woman said, “Fear the God you know.” Muhammed then said, “First, decide that my children should be beheaded; as for me, I will undergo the punishment you desire. Lest, perhaps, my surviving children, moved by foolishness and mental weakness, believe in your false doctrines after me and renounce the worship and knowledge of our God.” Muhammed continued, “Just utter these words: ‘Muhammed is the prophet and apostle of God,’ and I will let you and your children go unharmed.” The old woman responded, “May it never be that such words even once escape us.” Furious, Muhammed ordered the execution of the children, and their bodies were piled upon their mother’s body. At this, Muhammed’s uncle and nurturer, Abu Taalib, intervened: “Certainly, great injustice befell that old woman and her children. If she was lying and mistaken, she should have been argued with and taught. But if her faith was true, why did you choose to kill her instead of letting her go unharmed?” Muhammed said, “Indeed, you nursed me, but I will show that I am doing God’s will, and yet you dare to contradict it. Be careful, for with all memory and consciousness of your favors removed, I could end your life immediately.” Abutalipes said, “I do not believe in that God whose deeds you perform.” Muhammed responded, “So you do not believe I am a prophet of God?” Abu Taalib said, “May it be far from me to believe that!” Filled with rage, Muhammed ordered him to be killed on the spot, which was carried out.


Moreover, the truth is attested by the customary practice and tradition that is usually observed among your abominable rituals. For you bring forth a single sign from those who enter Mecca to pray. They are accustomed to striking this place with stones. When questioned why Muslims throw stones in this manner, they respond that it is done because Abu Taalib refused to believe in Muhammed. Another sign by which I will refute you is this: Near that place is the well of Tsumtsum, which has a great abundance of water. People who approach it often draw water from it and cast it away. And you, impostor and deceived one, pelt this sacred place with stones. When you return to Mecca, you draw water from this well, which you keep for yourself as a blessed item, and you often carry it to other regions. When asked by me about the nature of this water and from where you obtained and collected this blessing, you reply: “It is the water of Zumzum, because there, the son of Abraham, overcome by sleep, slept. Upon waking from his slumber and feeling thirsty, without water to quench his thirst, he struck the ground with his heel, and immediately water began to gush forth and flow. Adjacent to it is an altar, to which people approach and stay for three days, crying out in a disordered voice and offering prayers to God, saying: ‘What do you command?’” And when questioned by me a third time why you engage in these practices, you respond that it is because God united Adam and Eve in marriage at that place. With these fabrications, delusions, and other absurdities, you heap up your foolishness and nonsense. Oh, the absurdity and recklessness by which God is made an atheist!


But I continue. After Muhammed had killed that old woman with her children and Abu Taalib, he returned with his army to the city of Medina, where he amassed a great wealth of goods and acquired riches. He then spoke to the crowds, saying that the Archangel of God had appeared to him, commanding him to go to the province and land of Marada, to the descendants of his ancestors, and to lead them away from the errors in which they are now immersed. As I depart from you, I leave Abu Bakr with you to guide, teach, and strengthen you in what you have heard. Let not sorrow overcome you, for I will return shortly; meanwhile, Abu Bakr shall care for you. He went from place to place and from province to province.


By the providence of the living and wisest God, he arrived at a place where his grandfather and the Sabeans had fought against each other. They asked him who he was and where he came from. He replied, “I am of the tribe of the Sabeans.” They persistently questioned him to ascertain his true identity and the name by which he was known. They asked, “By what evidence do you prove that you are an inhabitant of the region you mention and that your grandfather lived there?” He told them the name of the place, Marada. He explained that it so happened that two brothers were engaged in a war, causing his grandfather to flee and seek a new dwelling elsewhere. From these words, they perceived that he was telling the truth.

A 19th Century drawing of the Al-Masjid an-Nabawī Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. The Mosque of the Prophet was originally founded in 622 CE by Muhammad

They asked him what his name was. He replied, “I am called Muhammed, and I am a prophet and apostle of God.” They said to him, “Rumor has reached us that a prophet has risen from the city of Medina; are you that very person?” He immediately responded, “Indeed, I am that very person. Furthermore, hear from me a tremendous mystery: God has shown such love towards me that I have been taken up to the highest heavens, along with my own shoes, and I sat near God as closely as one eyebrow is to the other.” And I recognized Him, and I was recognized by Him. He called me a prophet and appointed me as such, saying, “Without the love with which I pursue you, neither heaven nor earth would have been created. Indeed, your name is inscribed around my throne, and it is adorned with His characters as if boasting and glorifying.”


Upon hearing these things, those standing around ridiculed him, shedding tears and sighs from their deepest hearts, saying, “If you speak the truth, and there is no deceit in your words, please tell us how you ascended to heaven.” He told them, “I placed one foot in Jerusalem like a ladder, and with the other, I penetrated the very heavens.” Upon hearing this, they all exclaimed in unison, “Glory be to God, the compassionate and merciful, who willed that a mere earthly being should ascend to the heavens in a single step! We offer the utmost gratitude to the most powerful morning star, the merciful and compassionate God, who, with His mercy, has chosen and raised a most excellent prophet from the tribe of the Sabeans, just as He has chosen and raised you.”


He remained with them for a span of twelve days, conversing with them and delivering various discourses each day. As they were talking among themselves, they said to him, “O Muhammed, chosen of God, our grandfather once possessed a truly remarkable mare, which no second one in all of Arabia could match. But then your father, Abtulas, came to our grandfather and others with human greetings and kindness, aiming to deceive them while they were unsuspecting and unguarded.” And indeed, rising in the night, he stabbed the mare with a sword, and secretly fled from there. Thus, the cause of evil and conflict arose, as he had so embittered the brothers against each other. Now, we earnestly beseech you that, as you are chosen by God, you may truly know God Himself and that He may always hear you. Raise the mare from the dead, the one your father killed. If you do this, we will ask nothing more of you. We request this not so much out of a desire to recover the mare as to see a miracle by which the Arabs may be moved to believe that you are indeed a prophet and apostle of God.


Muhammed said, “Show me the grave where the mare is buried.” They all answered with one voice, “It was not a human being to be buried; it was a mere beast, a dumb animal. We cast it outside, and it became food for barking and voracious animals.” Muhammed said, “Since you do not know where its grave is, how do you expect me to raise it from the dead?” They all replied, “You are a prophet and chosen by God, and you do not know where this mare lies? It is far from likely that you can bring it back to life. But we will find it ourselves.” And when they had sent some people, they found a camel intoxicated with incense and wine. When they brought it, they said to Muhammed, “You are truly the son of the one who, under the name of your grandfather, deceived us with greetings.” Therefore, they seized him by the hands from behind and said, “You claim that you ascended to the heavens; now, leap high up into the air and shake yourself on the back of the camel in such a way that you do not strike it with your feet. Then we will believe that you truly ascended to heaven.”


However, after many attempts and failing to impress them with this experiment, they all said to him, “You came to us with his deceitful salutation and wanted to lead us away from our faith.” But I, a monk from Edessa, will openly explain to you what your faith and their faith are. For they say to Phosphorus, “Who is a great God like our God? And there is no God just and kind except our merciful and compassionate God. Glory to the power of the Moon, O Lord, O Lord, do not separate us and do not remove us from Your mercy, but deliver and save us with Your mighty strength. Amen.” And these are the names of distinguished men among the Arabs: Theodoulus, Theocharistus, Theoctistus, and Theosterictus, and Theodorus. Up to these times, there is a certain family of Arabs called Colpiota or Sculiotae, and they hold a faith in which they curse Muhammed with anathemas.

Miniature from Rashid-al-Din Hamadani's Jami al-Tawarikh, c. 1315, illustrating the story of Muhammad's role in re-setting the Black Stone in 605

Once again, these crowds confront Muhammed, saying, “Since you could not overcome a camel by leaping, at least show us a small sign and miracle.” He, still bound in chains, replied, “You will not be recipients of miracles, and I will not perform any miracle before you, for you are unbelievers and incredulous.” They immediately retorted, “You yourself are an unbeliever, for you have unjustly killed many. And they tied him to the tail of an intoxicated camel, which, pierced vehemently with spikes, they released across fields and meadows. That camel, accustomed to being moved by shadows, now fleeing, dragged him along, now crushed his head with its feet.”


He was trampled and crushed by that camel in such a way that he finally met a wretched death. This is the life of him and his ancestors, as I have narrated to you, O Muslim. And you, first of all, confess that out of the entire Muslim community, seventy-two families or tribes reject Muhammed and strike him with the bitterest anathemas. Secondly, you assert that four of his uncles denied him and refused to have faith in him as an impostor, which is why they were unjustly killed by him. The first of his nurturers was Abdullah, the second was Abu Taalib, the third was Amptoulcalepes, and the fourth was Meebias. A simple and rustic woman, along with her seven children, refuted him and considered him worthless. But we Christians, heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and messengers and priests of the true faith, tirelessly following in the footsteps of the prophets, reject the curse and profanity of Muhammed. We renounce him as foolish, vain, and an impostor.


However, I continue. When the Muslims journey to the city of Medina to perform their sacred rites and prayers, they ask the inhabitants of the place, saying: “Show us the tomb of Muhammed, so that we may reverence it and kiss it in submission.” But those inhabitants reply: “And who can dare to approach that tomb with such audacity? For anyone who looks upon it is immediately blinded.” However, this is merely an occasion and pretext, and the entire affair is false, concocted to deceive the people and prevent them from attaining knowledge of the truth, thus sending them to entirely despise, futile and absurd superstitions.


For outside the city of Medina, they built and erected a circular wall through which there is no access, and among all they spread the rumor that the tomb of Muhammed is preserved there, but no one can approach it lest their curiosity be compensated with the loss of their sight. And this deception has persisted and prevailed among the succeeding generations of Muslims. But Abu Bakr, in anticipation of Muhammed’s return, waited for a long time. When the people saw that he did not return, they forgot him and said: “Bring the writings that Muhammed entrusted to you, so that they can be gathered together and form a single volume.” Abu Bakr succeeded Muhammed and obtained the position and dignity of caliph or vicar. And indeed, Otman was an outstanding and celebrated scribe. Abu Baker appointed him to collect all of Muhammed’s writings and compile them into a single volume, which is now widely known as the Quran. And he executed this as it had been decreed.


And the prototype of this book, written by the hand of Otman himself, is still preserved today in the trulla (chapel) of the Church of John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the city of Damascus, in a place called Tsemeen, which is the location of a synagogue. And where your Quran is, it contains countless countless trifles and fabrications, such as that Abraham smashed the idols, Moses split the sea and made a way for his people to cross on dry land. And Pharaoh drowned in the waters, Noah made an ark, Jonah was swallowed by a whale, Christ resurrected the dead, Joseph inherited Egypt, David composed the Psalms, Solomon understood the languages of beasts and birds, and Muhammad ascended to heaven, met with Christ, and encountered him. When he ascended to heaven, what is written? The throne of God, there is no God but God, and Muhammad is the Apostle of God.

The death of Muhammad. From the Siyer-i Nebi, c. 1595.

Somewhere in your Quran, God says: “Greetings to you, O Muhammed, with your family and your entire people.” But elsewhere your Quran says: "Mary ate the fruit of dates and became pregnant." O Muslim, since you boast that your Quran descended from heaven and that it is the word of God, coeternal with God as you assert, why then do these not contain oracles and comforting, exhortative, decrees, laws, and judgments that would reflect the majesty and wisdom of God? Like what God said to Moses: “Do this and that,” instructing and commanding everything with the utmost wisdom. But your book, as you yourself do not deny, says: “This one ate fruit, that one went to sleep, another washed his garments, another went down into the depths of the heavens, another broke idols, and another says: ‘Do not eat pork’; another says: ‘Insert your finger into your anus and wash yourself, then shake your finger and put it back into your mouth’; to another it is said: ‘Do not empty your bladder during prayer while wearing a gold ring or clothing adorned with the skin of a feline.’” All of these things are truly indecent, and I ask how God could speak in vain, profane, and erroneous matters.


Pay attention, therefore, and understand: You are everywhere revealed as false and impostors. Mockingly, I assert that you do not possess sacred things, nor the temple of God, nor an altar, nor divine grace, nor baptism, nor psalmody, nor the remission of sins, nor the kingdom of heaven, nor paradise. No one attains these among you. Instead, only one of you ascends to some elevated place, placing one finger on his anus and the other on his buttocks, and shouts loudly: “God is great! God is great!” And in his confession, he declares: “There is no god but God, and I profess that Muhammed is the apostle of God.” These things were known among the Arabs long before Muhammed appeared, except for this alone, that Muhammed is the apostle of God. After this confession, the man enters a mosque and stands before the people, as mentioned before, and recites the prayer by bending over. Such is a mosque among you.


When its foundations are laid, baths and washrooms are also built, for the Muslims to achieve future salvation. They have water for the use of their buttocks, which is prepared and arranged with great contention, and they prepare themselves for prayer. The mosque is spread with carpets like a bed, so that it will not be contaminated by the touch of walking people. But above the carpets, there are constructions made of wooden boards around the mosque. The surrounding parts and the sitting area next to the mosque do not defile or soil. Others remove their sandals from their feet and keep them out of sight. I also know that when you enter a mosque, you usually carry a towel with you, which you unfold and spread out in front of you, so that you can devote yourself to prayer. In this way, your face will not be defiled by the inclinations and prostrations with incense. However, since the entire mosque is covered with carpets and mats, what necessity remains to bring a towel in order to avoid the danger of contamination and defilement by impurities? Woe to you, promoters of such doctrines! You, who hold such beliefs, how dare you torment Christians with these unwelcome and indecent requests, asking what and how they believe? Indeed, the whole sum of the salvation of your souls is resolved into this alone, namely, to say: “In the name of the merciful and compassionate God.”


The End of the Impure Life of Muhammed.

 

References


[1]. Bartholomew of Edessa, “Bartholomew of Edessa’s Refutation & Rebuttal of Hagarenes,” in Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 104, trans. Jacques Paul Migne (1857-1866) & Subdeacon Nektarios (2023) (Paris: Imprimerie Catholique, 1857), 1382.


[2]. Ibid., 1382.


[3]. Ibid., 1382-1446.







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