Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mohammed and the Treasure of the Nadir Tribe

This account of the treasure of the Nadir tribe is taken from the early orthodox Muslim biography of Mohammed, the Sirat Rasul Allah. Translation by A. Guillaume, Oxford University Press, 3rd printing 1970 as The Life of Muhammad.
Kinana b. al-Rabi, who had the custody of the treasure of B. al-Nadir, was brought to the apostle [by which they mean Muhammad] who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came [alternate reading: was brought] to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle [by which they mean Muhammad] said to Kinana, "Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?" he said Yes. The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle [by which they mean Muhammad] gave orders to al-Zubayr b. al-`Awwam, 'Torture him until you extract what he has,' so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.

I expect probably two more examples along these lines (variety of topics) before I actually get around to any commenting. The examples are necessary before the commenting because many Westerners are not aware of much history besides European and American history. Some of the key events in the histories of other cultures are completely unknown to many of us.

1 comment:

codepoke said...

Oh yeah! You've got my attention with this series.

I listened to the book on tape, "Islam" by Karen Armstrong. Even her decidedly friendly perspective was frightening, so I am very much going to enjoy your (always) balanced take. I'm glad I have a bit of a framework in place for it.