Friday, 22 May 2009

An odd example of dhimmitude

I am a voracious reader and generally have several books on the go at any one time. One I started to read today is Churchill's Wizard's - The British Genius for Deception 1914-1945 which covers a subject area that I find fascinating. I started to read the Preface and was surprised by this passage of prose:
"The hadith or proverb - 'al-harb khuda', attributed to the Prophet Muhammad - peace be upon him - also means 'war is deception'."
I was struck by the use of two phrases. The first was calling Muhammad/Mohammed/Muhammed "The Prophet" not "the Islamic Prophet" or "the Muslim Prophet" or "the person Muslims consider to be the Prophet" but "The Prophet" - as if there could be no doubt. The second was the use of the phrase "peace be upon him", this is the phrase that practising Muslims often say after saying (or hearing) the name of a prophet of Islam, most usually Muhammed (1). Why is a non-Muslim using such a phrase, I wondered, would he similarly describe Jesus as "The Messiah"? Somehow I doubted that Nicholas Rankin would (but I will report back when I finish his book should he mention Jesus at all).

Maybe part of the explanation for this curious choice of wording can be gleaned from the start of Nicholas Rankin's potted biography at the start of the book:
"Nicholas Rankin spent twenty years broadcasting and feature-making for the BBC World Service, where he was Chief Producer and won two UN awards."

(1) Wikipedia informs me that:
"* (Arabic: عليه السلام ʿAlayhis salaam - A.S.) "Peace be upon him": This expression follows after naming any prophet other than Muhammed, or one of the noble Angels (i.e. Jibreel, Mikaeel, etc.)

* (Arabic: صلى الله عليه وسلم ṣall Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam - S.A.W. or SAAW) "May Allah bless him and grant him peace." : This expression follows specifically after saying the name of the last prophet of Islam, Muhammed."

which is interesting and not previously known to me.

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