Sources of the Quran

Revised by Montgomery Watt




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Sources of the Quran


Chapter 1
The Historical Context

Chapter 2

Mohammed's Prophetic Experience

Chapter 3

The History of the Text

Chapter 4

The external form of the Quran

Chapter 5

The features of Quranic style

Chapter 6

The Shaping of the Quran

Chapter 7
The Chronology of the Quran

Chapter 8
The names of the revealed message

Chapter 9
The Doctrines of the Quran

Chapter 10
Muslim Scholarship and the Quran

Chapter 11
The Quran and Occidental Scholariship



Bell's Introduction to the Quran
Revised by Montgomery Watt

Chapter 1: The Historical Context


1. The international situation

The quran QurŸċn was 'revealed' in the early part of the seventh century AD in the towns of Mecca and Medina in west-central Arabia. About the same time the missioners of Columba were bringing the Christian faith to Scotland and northern England, while those of Augustine of Canterbury were spreading northwards and westwards from Kent. In France the Merovingian kings exercised a largely nominal rule. The Roman empire of the West had succumbed to the barbarians, but the Eastern Roman or Byzantine empire, with its capital at Constantinople, had escaped their ravages. Under Justinian (528-65) the latter had attained a position of settled power and civilization, but in the half-century following his death it had fallen into confusion, partly owing to attacks from without by other barbarians, and partly because of internal troubles and incompetent rulers. 1

In the east Byzantium had a serious rival in the Persian empire of the Sassanids, which stretched from Iraq and Mesopotamia in the west to the eastern frontiers of modern Iran and Afghanistan. Its capital was at Ctesiphon (al - madain MadċŸin), some twenty miles south-east of the site of the later city of Baghdad. The history of the Middle East in the later sixth and early seventh centuries is dominated by the struggle between these two giants. Towards the end of the reign of Justinian a fifty years' peace had been agreed on, but this had not been kept, and the long final war to the death began in 602. Taking advantage of the weakness of the Byzantines, Khosrau II of Persia commenced hostilities alleging as his pretext revenge for the murder of the emperor Maurice, from whom he had, at the beginning of his reign, received aid. Phocas (602-10), who had displaced Maurice, was beset by apathy and active revolt at home and was in no position to ward off the Persian attack. Asia Minor was overrun. At the lowest ebb of the fortunes of Byzantium in 610, Heraclius, son of the governor of North Africa, appeared with a fleet before Constantinople. Phocas was deposed and Heraclius crowned emperor. The tide might be said to have turned.

Nevertheless there were still troubles ahead for the Byzantines. Their European provinces had been overrun by barbarians from the north, and years passed before Heraclius could make headway against the Persians. These meanwhile turned southwards, and conquered Syria and Egypt in 614. The sack of Jerusalem after a revolt against the Persian garrison, the slaughter of the inhabitants, and the carrying off of what was believed to be the true Cross, stirred the emotions of Christians throughout the Byzantine empire, and enabled Heraclius to reorganize his forces. After dealing with the Avars, who threatened Constantinople from the north, he turned in 622 against the Persians. In a series of campaigns in Asia Minor he met with some success, but in 626 the Persians were besieging Constantinople though briefly and unsuccessfully. A bold invasion of Iraq by Heraclius in 627 was crowned by the defeat of a Persian army. Though Heraclius withdrew soon afterwards, the strains produced in the Persian empire by the long series of wars now made themselves felt. In February 628 Khosrau II was murdered, and the son who succeeded him had many opponents and wanted peace. The great struggle was virtually ended, and the Byzantines had had the best of it. The negotiations for the evacuation of the Byzantine provinces dragged on until June 629, and it was September before Heraclius entered Constantinople in triumph. The Holy Rood was restored to Jerusalem in March 630.

The struggle of the two great powers had more relevance to Arabian politics than is immediately obvious. The struggle was indeed comparable to that between the Soviet bloc and the Atlantic powers in the decades after the Second World War. As each side in the latter tried to gain the support of relatively small neutral states, so in the sixth and seventh centuries each side sought to extend its own sphere of influence in Arabia and to reduce that of the other side. Not much could be done with the nomads of the desert except contain them, and this was done by paying semi-nomadic groups on the borders of the desert to stop nomadic raids into the settled country-the Ghassanids on the Byzantine border at Petra and other places, and Lakhmids on the Persian border with their centre at Hira. On the periphery of Arabia, however, there were many possibilities of gaining influence. About 521 the Christian empire of Abyssinia or Ethiopia occupied the fertile highlands of the Yemen in south-west Arabia; and this was done despite theological differences, with the full support and perhaps encouragement of the Byzantine empire. The Yemen remained under the Abyssinians until about 575, when they were expelled by a sea-borne expedition from Persia. Persia also gained control of a number of small towns on the eastern and southern coasts of Arabia. This was normally done by supporting a pro-Persian faction. The incident about 590 associated with the name of uthman ˙Uthmċn al huwayrith ibn-al-Ĝuwayrith is to be regarded as an attempt by the Byzantines to gain control of Mecca by helping this man to become a puppet ruler there. Meccan interest in the struggle of the two empires is reflected in a passage of the quran QurŸċn [30.2/1-5/4], usually taken to be a prophecy of the final victory of the rum Rġm or Byzantines 2; and there may be one or two other references to the war. Some of the later successes of muhammad Muĝammad in Arabia may be due to the fact that, with the decline of Persia about 628, most of the pro-Persian factions turned to muhammad Muĝammad for support and became Muslims.

2. Life in Arabia

The religion of Islam is popularly associated with life in the desert, and, though there is an element of truth in this idea, it is misleading unless properly qualified, Islam has nearly always been first and foremost a religion of townsmen paying little attention to the special needs of agriculturists or pastoral nomads. The first home of Islam was Mecca, then an extremely prosperous commercial centre; and its second home was Medina, a rich oasis with some commerce also. Yet both Mecca and Medina stood in close relationship to the surrounding nomads.

By the end of the sixth century the great merchants of Mecca had gained a monopolistic control of the trade passing up and down the western coastal fringe of Arabia to the Mediterranean. The winter and summer caravans are referred to in 106.2 and traditionally went southwards and northwards respectively. The route southwards went to the Yemen, but there was an extension to Abyssinia, and goods were probably also transported to and from India by sea. This route had probably become important because the alternative route from the Persian Gulf to Aleppo had been made dangerous by the war between the Byzantines and the Persians. In order to be able to use these long caravan routes safely the Meccans had to be on good terms with nomadic tribes capable of protecting the caravans over the various sections of the route. The guarantors were of course paid for their trouble; but the prestige and military power of the Meccans, together with their diplomatic skill, seem to have ensured the smooth working of the system.

The fact that the quran QurŸċn was first addressed to people engaged in commerce is reflected in its language and ideas. A reference to Mecca's commercial prosperity and its caravans has just been mentioned. An American scholar, C.C. Torrey, made a special study of The Commercial-Theological Terms in the quran Koran, 3 and came to the conclusion that they were used to express fundamental points of doctrine and not simply as illustrative metaphors. Among the quranic QurŸċnic assertions of this kind are the following: the deeds of men are recorded in a book; the Last Judgement is a reckoning; each person receives his account; the balance is set up (as for the exchange of money or goods) and a man's deeds are weighed; each soul is held in pledge for the deeds committed; if a man's actions are approved he receives his reward, or his hire; to support the Prophet's cause is to lend a loan to God. 4

While the Meccans were in constant business relations with the nomads, they also had a deeper connection with the desert. It was only a generation or two since they had given up nomadic life to settle in Mecca. In many ways the people of Mecca still retained the outlook of the nomads. The malaise and discontent in Mecca may be largely traced to the tension and even conflict between nomadic mores and the new way of life which commercial activity fostered. It is this nomadic way of life above all which is presupposed in the quran QurŸċn. Nomadism is one of the great achievements of the human spirit. Arnold Toynbee has spoken of it as a tour de force; it presupposes the domestication of animals, especially the camel, and this must have taken place when men were living in oases and partly dependent on agriculture; thus, presumably when conditions in the oases grew more difficult, the owner of camels leaves this for the even more difficult life of the desert or steppe. 5 Only a high degree of excellence in the art of living in community will enable men to make a success of life in the desert. One of the claims to greatness of Islam as a religion is that it took the human virtues or excellences, tempered in the fire of desert life, and made them accessible to other men.

The basis of life in the desert is the pasturing and breeding of camels. The staple food of the nomad is the milk of the camels. It is only occasionally that their flesh is eaten. By selling surplus camels or by receiving fees for guaranteeing the safety of caravans the nomads may become able to purchase dates from the oases, and even luxuries like wine. Sheep and goats were also kept, but these had to remain on the edge of the desert where there were wells. The camel-nomad, on the other hand, could at certain seasons of the year go into the sandy desert (nafudwhere nafġd)where there were no wells. In the rainy season or spring (rabi rabĉ˙) there were many valleys and hollows with plentiful but short-lived vegetation. From this the camels could gain sufficient food and liquid to keep themselves and their owners well fed and free from thirst. Arabian rainfall is erratic, however, and the nomad has to vary his movements according to its incidence in any particular season. Once the spring vegetation has disappeared, the nomad has to go to other tracts of land where there are wells and perennial shrubs. Since the camel is thus so basic to life in Arabia, references in the quran QurŸċn to 'cattle' (anam an˙ċm) should primarily be understood of camels.

Because of the constant pressure of population on food-supplies, the struggle to maintain existence against rivals was unending. For mutual defence against enemies and for mutual help against nature, men banded themselves together in groups, usually based on kinship. Raids by one group upon another were almost a national sport among the Arabs. A favourite practice was to appear unexpectedly with overwhelming force at some point where the other party was weak; the men in charge of the camels would flee-without losing face, since the enemy had overwhelming force-and the raiders would make off with the camels. The size of the effective groups was relatively small; but for certain purposes small groups would act together with other groups on the basis of a real or feigned kinship through descent from a common ancestor. Groups of different sizes are roughly indicated in English by such terms as 'family', 'clan', 'tribe', 'federation of tribes'. A tribe or clan, besides those who were full members by birth, usually had attached to it various other persons who looked to it for protection. This attachment took several forms, such as 'confederate' (halif ĝalif), 'protected neighbour' (jar jċr) and 'client' (mawla mawlċ). The confederate had made an alliance with an individual or group on terms of at least nominal equality, whereas the other attached persons were in some sense inferior.

Protection by the group was an essential feature of life not only in the deserts of Arabia but also in a town like Mecca and an oasis settlement like Medina. It was linked with the idea of retaliation or 'an eye for an eye'-the lex talionis of the Old Testament [Exodus, 21.24f., etc.]. The principle of retaliation, coupled with corporate responsibility, was a relatively effective way of keeping peace in the desert and preventing wanton crime. According to primitive ideas there was no need or obligation to respect human life as such; but a man would avoid injuring or killing another if the latter was of the same tribe, or an allied tribe, or if he belonged to a group that was powerful and certain to exact vengeance. An understanding of this system and its ramifications is necessary for a proper appreciation of many incidents in muhammad Muĝammad's career. He was able to continue in Mecca despite opposition because his own clan of hashim Hċshim, though many members of it disapproved of his new religion, was in honour bound to avenge any injury to him. At the same time the system prevented punishment, as now understood, by the executive body of the municipality of Mecca or Medina. If the head of the council in Mecca, even with the consent of the whole council, had tried to punish an offender, the latter's clan would have felt justified in taking vengeance. In such a case only the head of the offender's own clan could punish him. At various points in the quran QurŸċn concepts from this sphere are applied metaphorically to God. He does not fear the consequences (sc. retaliation) of his punishing the tribe of thamud Thamġd [91.15]; he gives 'neighbourly protection' (yujir yujĉr) to all, but 'neighbourly protection against him is never given (sc. because no one is strong enough' [23.88/90].

The extent of the sense of unity among the Arabs before Islam is a point about which there has been some dispute. There cannot have been anything comparable to Arab nationalism as now understood, since the Arab's basic attachment was to the tribe or clan. There were, however, widely accepted common customs, such as those connected with retaliation. Above all, however, there seems to have been some feeling of having a common language, Arabic; there are several references to the revelations to muhammad Muĝammad as 'an Arabic quran QurŸċn' [12.2; etc.] or as being 'in an Arabic tongue' [46.12/11]. Difficulties implicit in these statements will be considered in a later chapter. It would seem that there were various mutually intelligible dialects, and that the people who spoke them regarded themselves as 'clear-speakers' in contrast to a foreigner who was a 'confused speaker' (ajami ˙ajamĉ). There were also theories of a common descent, or rather of two groups, sometimes distinguished as northern and southern Arabs, each descended from a common ancestor, though the two were not related. 6 Whatever the truth behind these accounts, it seems clear that some of the 'southern' tribes had taken to nomadic life after being settled in the Yemen. There had been in South Arabia for a thousand years a great civilization based partly on trade and partly on elaborate irrigation. The breakdown of the irrigation system, often called the bursting of the dam of marib MaŸrib (and referred to in 34.16/15), is now known from inscriptions to have been rather a series of events, extending at least from 451 to 542, and may have been the result rather than the cause of economic decline. 7 South Arabian influences on Mecca in muhammad Muĝammad's time may have been important, but there is little agreement on this point.

Apart from the Yemen there were a number of oases in western Arabia where agriculture was practised. The chief of these was Medina (literally 'the town'), previously known as Yathrib. The main crop was dates, but cereals were also grown. In agricultural development at Medina and elsewhere a leading part had been played by Jews-an unusual role in the light of medieval European conceptions of the Jew as a trader and financier. Certain Arabs had settled in the oasis of Medina at some time after the Jewish settlement, and these Arabs had become politically dominant. In other oases-tayma TaymċŸ, Fadak, wadi Wċdi l qura l-Qurċ, Khaybar-the settlers were predominantly Jewish. The ultimate ethnic origin of these Jewish tribes and clans is not clear. They had adopted the social forms and customs of the Arabs, and differed only in religion; some may have been Arab groups who had adopted Judaism, and in any case there had been much intermarriage. 8

The religious situation in Arabia about AD 600 was complex. The presence of these settlements of Jews in oases and of a considerable number of Jews in the Yemen led to a gradual spread of some Jewish ideas. There was also much Christian influence, though it was more diffuse. Trade had brought the Meccans into contact with the Byzantine and Abyssinian empires, which were Christian. Christianity had spread in the Yemen, especially when the country was under Abyssinian control. Sections of some of the nomadic tribes had become Christian. Apart from this we hear of only isolated individuals like Waraqa ibn-Nawfal at Mecca, the cousin of muhammad Muĝammad's first wife khadija Khadĉja. This was sufficient, however, to ensure that there was some penetration of Christian ideas into intellectual circles in Arabia. On the other hand, the reason why more Arabs did not become Christian is doubtless in part the fact that Christianity had political implications; the Byzantine and Abyssinian empires were officially Christian (Orthodox or Monophysite), and Nestorian Christianity was strong in the Persian empire. 9

Apart from Judaism and Christianity, there are traces in the quran QurŸċn and elsewhere of forms of the old Semitic religion. Names of particular deities are mentioned [53.19f.; 71.23/2]. These were not comparable to the Greek gods, but were rather local forms taken by the general Semitic worship of male and female powers. 10 In so far as these deities had primarily belonged to an agricultural phase in the life of the Arabs, they were hardly relevant to nomadic society; and stories of the period suggest that the nomads had no profound respect for them. The chief driving power in nomadic life came from what may be called 'tribal humanism', 11 that is, a belief in the virtues or human excellence of a tribe or clan (and its members) and in the transmission of these qualities by the tribal stock. For men whose effective belief was this, the motive behind most actions was the desire to maintain the honour of the tribe. The question of honour is omnipresent in the numerous examples of pre-Islamic poetry that have been preserved.

Apart from tribal humanism and the old paganism, there appears to have been present among some Arabs a form of belief in which a supreme deity or 'high god' was acknowledged in addition to the lesser deities. This may be inferred from a number of passages where polytheists are depicted as admitting that God is creator and provider and as praying to him in a moment of crisis. 12 It is probable that such a belief was widespread, and also that a few people were moving on from this to belief in one God only. In later Muslim works it is assumed that there were a number of such persons-some names are given-and that they used the name of hanif ĝanĉf (singular). In the quran QurŸċn this word is applied primarily to those who professed what is called 'the pure religion of Abraham'-a pure monotheism which was later allegedly corrupted by Jews and Christians, The matter is complex, 13 but the point to be emphasized here is that any 'pure monotheist' prior to muhammad Muĝammad-and there may well have been some-did not call himself a hanif ĝanĉf. In the quran QurŸċn the word belongs to the teaching about the relation of Islam to Judaism and Christianity and not to affairs about AD 600. Nevertheless the quran QurŸċn also gives hints of much religious ferment at that period.



3. Muĝammad's career 14

The career of muhammad Muĝammad is a subject of study in itself and will only be briefly sketched here so as to indicate its main phases in so far as some knowledge of them is necessary for the understanding of the quran QurŸċn. Not surprisingly there are virtually no references to the period of muhammad Muĝammad's life prior to his call to be a prophet. The chief exception is the passage in 93.6-8, which speaks of his orphanhood and poverty. This is explained more fully by the Traditions. When muhammad Muĝammad was born in Mecca about AD 570 his father was already dead, and his mother died when he was about six. He was then under the care of his grandfather abd al muttalib ˙Abd-al-Muŝŝalib, and, when he in turn died, of his uncle abu talib Abġ-Ŝċlib, who lived until a year or two before muhammad Muĝammad's Hijra or emigration to Medina in 622. His poverty may be ascribed to the fact that by Arab customary law a minor could not inherit, so that nothing came to muhammad Muĝammad from either his father or his grandfather. The fortunes of the clan as a whole may have been in decline, since abu talib Abġ-Ŝċlib, for long head of the clan, was apparently not a wealthy man. He did, however, undertake trading journeys to Syria, and muhammad Muĝammad is said to have been to Syria with him. Later he was commissioned by a woman of moderate means, called khadija Khadĉja, to take charge of her goods on a trading journey of this type, and he was so successful that she married him, she then being about forty and he twenty-five. He presumably continued to trade with their joint capital for the next fifteen years or longer.

The next phase of muhammad Muĝammad's career began when he was about forty. His years of poverty must have made him fully aware of the spiritual malaise affecting Mecca as a result of its material prosperity. He is said to have been in the habit of meditating on such matters. About 610 in the course of his meditations he had some strange experiences, and came to the conclusion that he was receiving messages from God to communicate to the people of Mecca. At first the messages were simply remembered by muhammad Muĝammad and his friends, though later some may have been written down by muhammad Muĝammad's secretaries. After his death all that was extant, written or remembered, was collected and written down to constitute the quran QurŸċn as we know it. This simple statement covers many disputed points which will be dealt with later. For a few years after receiving the first revelation muhammad Muĝammad made no public proclamations, but communicated the messages privately to friends sympathetic to the outlook and attitude prescribed in them. The main emphasis was on a call to worship God in gratitude for his goodness to the Meccans as a whole and to each individual. Many of the revealed passages spoke of various natural events as signs of God's goodness.

In due course, however, muhammad Muĝammad had to pass over to a public proclamation of the quranic QurŸċnic message, and this led sooner or later-the chronology of the Meccan period is uncertain-to opposition from the richest merchants in Mecca. Probably even during the phase of private communication the messages had contained a warning that those who disregarded the divine messages would inevitably be punished either in this life or in the life to come. After opposition appeared these warnings became more frequent. Stories of previous messengers or prophets were recounted or alluded to in the messages in order to convince the audience of the certainty of punishment. Presumably because the opposition to muhammad Muĝammad was associated with a recrudescence of the old religion with its idol-worship, the quranic QurŸċnic messages now include a vigorous attack on idols and an insistence on monotheism. The stories of previous messengers also gave encouragement to muhammad Muĝammad and the band of followers that had gathered round him. It is difficult to assess the extent of persecution, but it was bitterly resented by the Muslims, as those eventually came to be known who accepted the quranic QurŸċnic messages. By a process of inference it appears that on the death of abu talib Abġ-Ŝċlib the new chief of muhammad Muĝammad's clan, abu lahab Abġ-Lahab (another uncle), withdrew the protection of the clan from muhammad Muĝammad, alleging that he had forfeited the right to it by asserting that the ancestors of the clan were in Hell. This is doubtless the reason for the fierce attack on abu lahab Abġ-Lahab in sura 111.

Persecution and withdrawal of protection made it impossible for muhammad Muĝammad to continue his mission in Mecca. An opportunity presented itself of migrating to the oasis of Medina some two hundred miles to the north, and muhammad Muĝammad and seventy of his followers decided to go there. This event was the Hijra (latinized as 'hijra Hegira') or Emigration; and the Islamic era begins with the beginning of the Arabian year in which it took place, viz. 16 July 622. 15 Most of the Arabs of Medina made an agreement with muhammad Muĝammad, accepting his claim to be a prophet and recognizing him as chief of the 'clan' of Emigrants. For the first few years at Medina muhammad Muĝammad was far from being ruler of the oasis, since there were eight other clan chiefs of roughly equal status. In time, however, through the military success of the expeditions or razzias undertaken by the Emigrants assisted by the men of Medina, muhammad Muĝammad's power greatly increased.

The first eighteen months or so after the Hijra were occupied not merely with a general adjustment to the new situation by all concerned but more especially by attempts on muhammad Muĝammad's part to gain the support of the Jewish clans and small groups in Medina. Time and again he is instructed in the quran QurŸċn to appeal to them in various forms. Then, when it appears that few of them are going to respond to his appeals, he is told to criticize them, and shown that the religion he is proclaiming is the pure religion of Abraham which the Jews and Christians have corrupted. What is found in the quran QurŸċn is mainly evidence for the intellectual aspects of the dispute between muhammad Muĝammad and the Jews, but there are also a few references to the expulsion of Jewish clans. There are also places where both Jews and Christians are attacked. There was no active hostility against Christians until the last two or three years of muhammad Muĝammad's life, and so it would seem that the criticisms of the Jews were sometimes continued into this period. What is known as 'the break with the Jews' occurred about March 624, shortly before the battle of Badr. The chief outward mark of this realignment of forces in Medina was that the Qibla or direction faced in prayer was changed from being towards Jerusalem, like the Jews, to being towards Mecca. This was an indication that the new religion was to be specifically Arab, and that muhammad Muĝammad was going to rely more on the 'arabizing' party among his followers than upon the 'judaizing' party.

The same month of March 624 also saw the throwing down of the gauntlet by the Muslims to the power of Mecca. Already in January 624 a handful of Muslims had captured a small Meccan caravan from under the noses of the Meccans, as it were. In March, however, a band of just over three hundred Muslims led by muhammad Muĝammad himself won a surprise victory at Badr over a much larger force from Mecca and killed about half the leading men of Mecca. This was a challenge to the Meccan commercial empire which the great merchants could not ignore. About a year later they invaded the Medinan oasis and had the better of the fighting near mount uhud Uĝud, but failed to inflict very heavy losses on muhammad Muĝammad, far less to dislodge him. The quran QurŸċn reflects both the exhilaration of the Muslims after the victory of Badr, which seemed to them God's vindication of their cause, and their dismay after uhud Uĝud when they feared that he had abandoned them. There are rather fewer references in the quran QurŸċn to the later incidents in muhammad Muĝammad's struggle with the Meccans. In 627 they besieged Medina for a fortnight along with nomadic allies, but had no success. In March 628 muhammad Muĝammad attempted to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca with 1,600 men; though he was stopped by the Meccans and had to postpone his pilgrimage to the next year, he signed a treaty with them at hudaybiya al-Ĝudaybiya which put an end to hostilities. An incident between nomads allied to the two sides was construed by muhammad Muĝammad as a breach of the treaty, and he marched on Mecca with 10,000 men in January 630 and entered the city as conqueror with virtually no fighting. He showed great leniency to his former enemies, the Meccans, and most of them became his associates in the final phase of his career and acknowledged him as the Messenger of God.

This final phase was constituted by the expansion of muhammad Muĝammad's authority into most regions of Arabia, and his 'reconnaissance in force' of one of the routes used in the subsequent Arab expansion beyond Arabia. Even before 630 a few nomadic tribes had become muhammad Muĝammad's allies and had recognized his political as well as his religious authority. Two or three weeks after his victorious entry into Mecca muhammad Muĝammad took his 10,000 Muslims and also 2,000 Meccans to a place towards the east called hunayn Ĝunayn, and there met a concentration of nomads hostile both to himself and to the Meccans. For some time the issue of the battle hung in the balance, but it ended in the absolute rout of muhammad Muĝammad's opponents. After this there was no possible concentration of nomads in Arabia (apart from the north) which could take the field against the Muslims. Soon most of the tribes of Arabia began sending deputations to Medina to seek alliance with muhammad Muĝammad. By the time of his death on 8 June 632 he was effective ruler of most of Arabia, though in the case of several tribes there was also a strong faction hostile to him, who were biding their time to throw off the yoke of Medina. It would seem, however, that for some years before his death muhammad Muĝammad had realized that the extension of his rule and of what may be called the pax islamica over the nomadic tribes of Arabia must go hand in hand with an outlet for their energies into regions beyond Arabia. In this connection it is to be noted that the greatest of all muhammad Muĝammad's expeditions, that to tabuk Tabġk in the north, seems to have had as its strategic aim the opening of the route for expansion into Syria. This expedition, which is mentioned at several points in sura 9, lasted from October to December 630 and comprised 30,000 men. On the whole, however, the quran QurŸċn has few references to this last phase.

Annex A

Chronology of muhammad Muĝammad's career

c. 570 birth at Mecca

c. 595 marriage to khadija Khadĉja

c. 610 first revelation

c. 613 beginning of public preaching

c. 619 deaths of khadija Khadĉja and abu talib Abġ-Ŝċlib

16 July 622 beginning of era of Hijra

September 622 arrival in Medina

c. February 624 change of qibla

March 624 battle of Badr

March 625 battle of uhud Uĝud

April 627 siege of Medina

March 628 treaty of hudaybiya al-Ĝudaybiya

January 630 conquest of Mecca; battle of hunayn Ĝunayn

October-December 630 expedition to tabuk Tabġk

March 632 pilgrimage of farewell

8 June 632 death

Annex B

hanif Ĝanĉf

The word hanif ĝanĉf occurs twelve times in the quran QurŸċn, two of these instances being of the plural hunafa ĝunafċ'. The basic usage is doubtless that in 3.67/0, where it is said that Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian but a hanif ĝanĉf, a muslim, not one of the 'idolaters'. There are similar historical statements about Abraham worshipping God as a hanif ĝanĉf in 6.79 and 16.120/1, but the word muslim is not used there. Next there are a number of explicit or implicit commands to muhammad Muĝammad and the Muslims to follow the creed or religion of Abraham as a hanif ĝanĉf [2.135/29; 3.95/89; 4.125/4; 6.161/2; 16.123/4]. In the remaining passages [10.105; 22.31/2; 30.30/29; 98.5/4] there is no mention of Abraham, but the command is given to muhammad Muĝammad (or the Muslims or the people of the Book) to serve God 'as a hani ĝanĉ, not one of the idolaters'. Thus the word is connected solely with Abraham himself or with 'the religion of Abraham' as that is conceived in the quran QurŸċn and, as applying to Islam, contrasted with Judaism and Christianity as well as with paganism.

Later Muslim scholars always take the word in this sense, sometimes also using hanif ĝanĉf as equivalent of 'Muslim', and the hanifiyya ĝanĉfiyya as equivalent of 'Islam'. The latter word was found instead of Islam in ibn masud Ibn-Mas˙ġd's copy of the quran QurŸċn at 3.19/17. Muslim scholars also tried to show that there were men just before muhammad Muĝammad who were seeking the hanifiyya ĝanĉfiyya or pure monotheism. There certainly appear to have been men seeking a purer or more adequate religion, but they cannot have called themselves by the name of hanif ĝanĉf since, had they done so, the name could not have been equated with 'Muslim'. It seems that pre-Islamic Arab poets used hanif ĝanĉf for 'pagan' or 'idolater', and this was certainly the Christian usage, derived from Syriac by taking the plural hunafa ĝunafċŸ to represent the Syriac plural hanpe ĝanpé. Christians used this point in mocking criticism of Muslims, and the latter seem eventually to have abandoned calling themselves hunafa ĝunafċŸ.  A much fuller discussion will be found in EI, art. hanif ˙ĝanĉfŸ.