User talk:1234567/Archive

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Block removed

Sorry about the auto block, I removed it now. --Axius (talk) 23:29, 25 July 2012 (PDT)

Thanks. I fully understand why you have to do it on a site like this. It was only my own work that I deleted!
Yea that system helps prevent a lot of vandalism (e.g. logs) and saves us time. I added you in a list where it wont monitor any of your edits so it wont happen again. --Axius (talk) 21:00, 30 July 2012 (PDT)

Muhammad and his Wives

Hi 1234567! First off, thanks for creating the new article on Muhammad's wives! The level of detail you went into looks incredible.

That being said, I have added our "under construction" template to it because it's style currently doesn't adhere to the site's guidelines. Articles should be free from sensationalist, emotional, humorous or sarcastic commentary. See this article, for an idea of what we're aiming for.

It would be great if you could edit it to conform with these guidelines. As a rough example, I have edited the conclusion of the article below:

Before:

Muhammad died in June 632 at age 61 with his head in Ayesha’s lap and he was buried in her house. His concubine Tukana was passed on to his uncle Abbas, but the official widows were all forbidden to remarry. Sawda was probably in her fifties; Zaynab was about 42; Maymuna was 39; Ramla was 38; Hind was 35; Hafsa was 25; Juwayriya was 24; Mariya was probably in her twenties; Safiya was 20; and Ayesha was only 18. They were all sealed behind their veils, forbidden ever again to do anything interesting.

Occasionally they defied the veil. Ayesha even started a war against her old enemy Ali, causing ten thousand Muslims to kill each other in one day. This disaster simply confirmed to the Muslim men that when women did anything important, misery followed. So the men banished their women to behind the curtains and then carried on killing each other anyway. Whenever Ayesha recited the verse, “Women, remain in your houses,” she wept until her veil was soaked.

It is easy to laugh at Muhammad, the champion adulterer who lusted after women and took as many as he could. Attempts to demonstrate that his marriages were motivated by politics or charity, or that his wives were old and ugly, collapse quickly. Nor is there much evidence that he treated his wives fairly or kindly, or that they were happy women. Of course this damages Muhammad’s credibility as the world’s greatest Prophet who was supposed to perceive realities beyond the boundaries of his own culture and whose life was the perfect example for humankind.

But there is a serious lesson to draw from this tragic story. One fifth of the world’s population nevertheless believes that Muhammad was a Prophet and the perfect example to the human race. Muhammad’s example as a husband sets the example for Muslim husbands throughout history. Muhammad set a bad example. That is why Muslim women still suffer to this day.

After:

Muhammad died in June 632 at age 61 with his head in Aisha’s lap and he was buried in her house. His concubine Tukana was passed on to his uncle Abbas, but the official widows were all forbidden to remarry. Sawda was probably in her fifties; Zainab was about 42; Maimuna was 39; Ramla was 38; Hind was 35; Hafsa was 25; Juwairiyah was 24; Mariyah was probably in her twenties; Safiyah was 20; and Aisha was only 18. Due to being the widows of Muhammad in addition to being women, their personal freedoms were severely restricted.

Occasionally they defied expectations. Aisha started a war against Ali, causing ten thousand Muslims to kill each other in one day. This confirmed to the Muslim men that when women did anything important, misery followed. Whenever Aisha recited the verse, “Women, remain in your houses,” she wept until her veil was soaked.

Attempts by apologists to demonstrate that Muhammad's marriages were motivated by politics or charity, or that his wives were old and ugly, do not hold up to scrutiny. Nor is there much evidence that he treated his wives fairly or kindly, or that they were happy women.

One fifth of the world’s population nevertheless believes that Muhammad was a Prophet and the perfect example to the human race. Muhammad’s example as a husband has set the example for Muslim husbands throughout history.

Again, thanks for such a great article. --Admin3 (talk) 22:50, 10 September 2012 (PDT)

Okay, I can convert it from "story" to "history" mode. But I'm on a time-budget so it won't happen immediately.
In fact I may be adding more information as I go. I have found several more interesting facts on Muslim sites. However, most of these do not cite sources, and it will take me a while to work out exactly how we know what we think we know.1234567 (talk) 17:01, 11 September 2012 (PDT)
Sounds great. Thanks. --Admin3 (talk) 19:44, 11 September 2012 (PDT)

Page splitting and pseudonym

Hi 1234567. Since the article is very large, I think once you're done, it's best to split it into several pages (a page for each wife etc.). You can see examples of this (we call them "in-depth studies") here and here. We would also need a pseudonym (or real name if you're comfortable with that) for attribution on the "front page" and navigational TOC. Do you have anything in mind? --Admin3 (talk) 05:27, 11 October 2012 (PDT)

I think this is a great idea! Unfortunately I'm not really sure how to use the software, so someone else may have to take responsibility for that. That's the advantage of a wiki - no one person is the author.
Several of the wives already have pages, so we should think how we are going to amalgamate these old articles with some of the new information.
We could perhaps amalgamate this article with the "list of wives" article (on which I've done some work). Make the list the hub article, then link it to separate pages on each wife, plus a page for "Broken Engagements," etc.
You can use the pseudonym Petra MacDonald for the author. This is the English translation of Asma bint Marwan (with the elements reversed).1234567 (talk) 15:25, 11 October 2012 (PDT)

Questions about the Wives articles

Hi 1234567, thanks again for the work you've done on the Women articles. I'm starting to look at them and trying to understand the approach you took and check if there are any issues with following our policies and guidelines. My first questions are about references.

Could you tell me a little about your sources for example:

  1. What were the main/most important sources you used?
  2. How did you have access to them? For example physical books, ebooks, electronic PDF or a website or all of them? Please tell me the type of format for the main sources in #1.

I'm asking this because I'd really like to have access to these sources if possible. I have Gulliume/Ishaq (book) and Tabari (40 volumes).

I'm just doing some random checks and I may do more later.

When you say "Tabari 6:19-26", do you mean the 6th volume and page 19-26? I have the 40 volume set of Tabari and I cant find mention of Khadija in vol 6, page 15.

How about:

The way we format Bukhari on our site is: {{Bukhari|8|76|537}}. But even if your reference was in our format (e.g. Sahih Bukhari 8:73:151), sometimes that website may not have the hadith we're looking for. The way we do this is, if the linked reference doesn't show anything, we try to quote the actual hadith in the reference so its preserved on our site and the user can see it if they want to. This is important.

For the reference you used, that one is available on the USC site. I type {{Bukhari|8|73|151}} and it comes out as Sahih Bukhari 8:73:151. Notice the complete reference for the hadith there "Volume 8, Book 73, Number 151" and note "volume 8". So the format we've used for Bukhari is based on how this website has the reference. So Bukhari references would have to be fixed and for hadiths which are not present on that site, we would need to quote that hadith verbatim in the Reference section.

Guillaume/Ibn Ishaq 155. (ref #38), which says "When they mocked his beliefs, she railed against them with counter-mockery and continued to declare to the world that Muhammad was Allah’s messenger.[38]"

I have Ishaq/Guill and I cant see anything about Khadija there (I'm looking at the book 'the life of Muhammad', translation of Ishaq by Guill, Oxford Univ Press, ISBN 0 19 636033 1). Or did you mean 155 to be the numbering on the sides? There I see some relevant matching information. Is there a reason you went by the side-numbering for Ishaq and not the page numbering?

After this I may do some more random checks and sometime later I'll be talking about policies and guidelines, for example:

  • Sources: We must only talk about what the sources say. We cannot make assumptions, guesses, create facts or any kinds of derivations and embellishments (negative or positive).
  • Anything not related to criticism of Islam does not belong on our site. Neutral information is fine.

thanks, --Axius (talk) 17:21, 12 November 2012 (PST)

hi 1234567, you probably haven't logged in in a while. There are additional problems with the text which need to be discussed (I can talk about those after you've responded to the above). All the text has been moved out of the main article space into WikiIslam:Sandbox/Muhammad and his Wives until the concerns are addressed. --Axius (talk) 03:28, 20 November 2012 (PST)
Examples of problematic statements are "Muhammad liked to play with children and he must have been a good stepfather to Hala and Hind, for they remained unswervingly loyal to him." - (article on Khadija near ref 25, bold emphasis mine). The bolded statement is original research. The kids may have been loyal to him out of fear or cultural reasons. It doesn't necessarily mean he was a good stepfather. There are other statements and more may exist because we haven't looked at all the material, but these kinds of assumptions are not right for our site. We focus on simply "quoting" sources and not editorializing content. Still I believe an effort can be made to save this work and I hope you come back and talk to us about it. --Axius (talk) 20:57, 23 November 2012 (PST)
Hi Axius, sorry I haven't been in touch. I am currently travelling with limited internet access and no access at all to my books (I was using hard-copy English translations of Tabari and Ibn Saad). For this reason it will be difficult for me to do much before January.
I do intend to respond to everything you have written but I would rather not do it on the fly. Some friends who are native speakers of Arabic (non-Muslims now living in a safe country) have offered to help me and I would like their opinion on some of the English translations I have been using. To give quick answers to some of your questions...
I used Poonawalla's translations of Tabari. I have volumes 6, 7, 8, 9 and 39.
I used Bewley's translation of the eighth volume of Ibn Saad, which I'm well aware is a dodgy interpretation of the original, but no other English translation is readily available.
I used an electronic copy of Guillaume/Ibn Ishaq, converted to a word document, because a format that allows the use of CTRL F is the easiest way to track the careers of the minor characters, which throws a great deal of light on facts that can otherwise be overlooked. E.g., the career of Muhammad's divorced wife, Fatima bint Al-Dahhak, suddenly became clear when I searched for her father, whose later adventures are also mentioned in the hadiths. The use of this format is the reason for the page-numbering I cited.
I used this site http://www.searchtruth.com/searchHadith.php for Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Muwatta because, once again, a search function is the best way to ensure that significant minor information is not overlooked.
I will be logging in again but probably not before January.
No problem, let us know when you're back in/after January. Safe travels. --Axius (talk) 07:55, 24 November 2012 (PST)
I am back. Actually I have been back for a while, but I delayed contacting you because I have lent out my copy of Ibn Saad, which impedes my ability to do serious work.
However, it would be foolish to delay indefinitely. I can still fix some of the other referencing - which, I promise you, is all real.
While I was away I accessed a copy of Ali Dashti's Twenty-Three Years. One thing that jumped out at me was that he anticipated several of my conclusions. Although I reached my own conclusions independently, in scholarship the race is to the swift, so of course I shall be adding his work to my references. The other thing that I noticed was that a "mistake" that I had attributed to Dashti was not his mistake at all, but one made in transition by someone (anonymous) who had misinterpreted his list. Unfortunately, the wrong version is now all over the internet and falsely attributed to Dashti. It does pay to read the sources in their original form.
I've also been going over William Muir again. I don't have access to many of the early sources he cites, but he makes some excellent points that, if we can find a way to verify them, are well worth revisiting.

hi 1234567, welcome back (out denting for my convenience). I have some Islamic texts in addition to the volumes/books you mentioned and I can arrange for you to have access to them (let me know if you'd like that). I'd also be interesting in getting some of the texts you have if possible but this sharing can be done later. You don't have to read the text that I posted before and I'll just repeat it here. I'll number the issues for convenience (#4, 5 and 6 are important). You can respond and refer to the issue #:

Yes.

The text for that reference is:

  • Khadija was born around 568 in Mecca. She was Muhammad’s third cousin, their common great-great-grandfather having been Qusayy ibn Kilab, keeper of the Kaaba.[3]

If it means pages 19-26, thats a lot of pages for the short amount of text that is quoted (which means this makes it hard for anyone to cross-check this certain reference). Or let me know if I have it wrong somehow.

I agree this particular reference is clunky. It is the whole history of Qusayy, i.e. everything that establishes him as a historical person. Probably only the first page of the reference was necessary to make my point. In fact I think Muhammad's genealogy is easier to read in Guillaume/Ishaq, but I don't have good access to the first volume of Guillaume. (I have photographs of the pages but nothing like a pdf, let alone a Word file like the one I have of volumes II and III.) Even from Guillaume, however, it is necessary to put together two references to make one fact, i.e. Muhammad's genealogy is on page 1 and Khadija's on page 82, but it is nowhere directly stated that they are cousins.
It would be boring for the reader if I explained how I derived every single conclusion by putting together disparate references (What was Safiya bint Huyayy's connection with the poisoner of Khaybar? How old were the single women sojourning in Abyssinia?) but I can certainly supply more details if you want them.

The way we format Bukhari on our site is: {{Bukhari|8|76|537}}. But even if your reference was in our format (e.g. Sahih Bukhari 8:73:151 [notice this is a USC.edu website]), sometimes that website may not have the hadith we're looking for. The way we do this is, if the linked reference doesn't show anything, we try to quote the actual hadith in the reference so its preserved on our site and the user can see it if they want to. This is important.

For the reference you used, that one is available on the USC site. I type {{Bukhari|8|73|151}} and it comes out as Sahih Bukhari 8:73:151. This is our system for making hadith references for those hadiths which are available on that site. Notice the complete reference for the hadith there "Volume 8, Book 73, Number 151" and note "volume 8". So the format we've used for Bukhari is based on how this website has the reference. The reason why we use this 3 parameter referencing for Bukhari is that the Hadith can be verified with a simple mouse click (as you can see). So Bukhari references would have to be fixed and for hadiths which are not present on that site, we would need to quote that hadith verbatim in the Reference section.

Other references would also have to be fixed for Muslim, Abu Dawud and Muwatta. We would use templates for the hadiths which can be found online on the USC.edu website. Others that are not on the website can be quoted verbatim if possible.

I can fix the references. Everyone knows it's an arduous job but I've had to do plenty of it.
  • (3) Guillaume/Ibn Ishaq 155. (ref #38), which says "When they mocked his beliefs, she railed against them with counter-mockery and continued to declare to the world that Muhammad was Allah’s messenger.[38]"

I have Ishaq/Guillaume and I cant see anything about Khadija there (I'm looking at the book 'the life of Muhammad', translation of Ishaq by Guill, Oxford Univ Press, ISBN 0 19 636033 1). Or did you mean 155 to be the numbering on the sides? There I see some relevant matching information. Is there a reason you went by the side-numbering for Ishaq and not the page numbering? After your response I could possibly post a screenshot of the page.

I didn't realise there was more than one way of numbering the pages. How curious! I just went by the page-numbers in my version. But if there is an alternative numbering system, this is going to cause endless confusion. Maybe you could explain it to me?
  • (4) You have statements like these which are fine:
    • Unlike the informed consent issue, which simply reveals that Muhammad was a product of his culture, this act of paederasty reveals that Muhammad was morally inferior to his own culture. He rejected the moral norms of his wisest contemporaries in order to indulge himself at Aisha’s expense. He demonstrated for once and for all that he had no timeless, universal moral insight to offer the world – in short, that he was not a prophet. - [1]

These are facts because you have referenced that even Jews at the time understood that "a girl should not be touched before puberty".

But you also have things like this:

This shows a problem: There's a significant percentage of content that is actually pro-Islamic or apologetic and it brushes off valid (sometimes obvious and well-known) criticism of Islam. Although I havent looked at your work in detail but this tells me there may be other occurrences.

I hadnt heard of this Fakhita women and even if Muhammad was willing to marry her, it doesnt mean he wouldnt have wanted to marry Khadikha because she came from a powerful woman from a wealthy noble family. (from Wikipedia, I havent confirmed the sources but this is common knowledge that should be mentioned in a section titled "why he married her": "Khadija was from a noble family and at the time of Muhammad, she was a widow. Khadija was a very wealthy woman from inheriting the business her father created"). Yes you have mentioned it in the section but the "why" section refutes the 'wealthy' theory and it portrays Muhammad in a positive light and fully rejects the obvious that Muhammad must have been feeling great to be having marrying Khadija, a powerful wealthy woman. Obviously he gained a lot from that marriage. It was very useful for him.

Even if this certain issue is fixed, it makes me think about what other problems may exist. Its worrying that this kind of approach was used partly in writing it. The way we would approach it is that we would mention she was a wealthy widow from a powerful family. We would not even say "he married her because she was wealthy" (unless we could quote a reputed critic of Islam or a primary source like a hadith). We would only mention the facts and nothing else and we would let the reader judge for themselves (as to why Muhammad married her). This is an important point I want to tell you because thats how we approach things on WikiIslam.

Don't worry about asking me to take things out. I have already decided that I am going to save separately any material that you don't want and write my own e-book. (The counter-jihad is too important to be left in the hands of people who only want to make money out of it, but I still have to pay my bills! It will do me no harm at all to have a little extra material in reserve that you didn't want so I can keep it as a surprise for my commercial work.)
I am not surprised that you haven't heard of Fakhita as she is a minor player in the grand scheme of things. However, her story is as well established as any other fact from Muahmmad's life. Tabari mentions her several times, including volume 39 pp. 196-197. She was the daughter of Abu Talib, who was a poor man. Muhammad wanted to marry her, but Abu Talib gave her to a wealthy man. When Muhammad upbraided his uncle, he was essentially told that the family needed to marry for money. So when Muhammad afterwards told Khadija's servant Nafisa that he wanted to marry but couldn't afford to support a family, this was not just a conventional answer to her question but a reference to a personal disappointment that he had actually experienced.
I am quite certain that Muhammad liked Khadija's money. I suspect a selfish young man like Muhammad would have jumped at the chance to marry a millionaire even if he hadn't liked the woman, although we cannot prove this. But the proposal from Khadija was a piece of luck beyond his wildest dreams that he couldn't possibly have expected. In Fakhita we have clear evidence that he would have willingly married a poor woman if he couldn't find himself a rich one. So the assumption that Muhammad married Khadija only for the money just doesn't seem to be borne out by the facts. At the very least, there was the additional motive that he simply wanted to marry, which is probably a polite way of saying that he was looking for a sexual partner.
BTW, the Wikipedia statement that "Khadija inherited her business from her father" is one of those overworked statements that we all think we know about Islam but in fact is highly doubtful. How could she have inherited the business at a date when her father was still alive? And if he personally "created" the business, why did Khadija's five siblings not take over equal shares? Unless the source material clearly states otherwise, we should consider the possibilities that the business was inherited from her first husband (who came from a clan of prosperous merchants), was set up by her second husband (who was an immigrant but nevertheless prince among his own people) or was the result of Khadija's own personal efforts.

Another example. This is an example of original research (assumptions, deductions, opinions, things that are not present directly in a text):

  • he must have been a good stepfather to Hala and Hind, for they remained unswervingly loyal to him. [2] (see statement after ref # 26)

The kids may have been loyal to him out of fear or cultural reasons. It doesn't necessarily mean he was a good stepfather. There are other statements and more may exist because I haven't looked at all the material, but these kinds of assumptions are not right for our site. We focus on simply "quoting" sources and not editorializing content.

Even if we accept this as an essay/op-ed, things like this would still not be suitable for our site.

There are in fact a couple of hadiths that indicate a warm relationship between Muhammad and his stepsons. Would it be more suitable if I simply quoted them and left the conclusion alone?
Having said that, I actually believe (though it would be difficult to prove this objectively) that the "good relationship" between them was superficial. The stepchildren (including Sawda's son) were never prominent in the Muslim community; we just don't find their names on the lists. As Muhammad was often quite nepotistic, this suggests he was not close to his stepchidren after they grew up.
  • (5) Embellishing text:
    • Juwayriya was sweet-natured, charming and as alluringly beautiful as a fairy; men became infatuated with her at first sight. - [3]

Things like that (bold above) are not suitable for our site. This should be a fact-based serious article, not a script for a movie or a novel which can be good on its own but thats not the approach we use. So things like these would have to be changed. Content should be like what you would see in a reputed newspaper known for rigorous fact-checking, not a novel. If the sources says "beautiful like fairy", only then we can use it as it is and then we make sure the reader knows that this was an actual quote (we would use quotation marks for things like that). Yes content that is suited for a novel may appear exciting/engaging and story-like and newspaper content that is only based on facts and has no opinions may be dry/boring, but we go for facts only and not opinions. This style of writing requires restraint and prevents us from stating opinions and deductions that we have to let the reader see for themselves.

I realise you cited this as possibly typical of other passages - but in this case, it's simply unclear referencing. The words you have bolded are directly from Aisha! I agree that "fairy" (Ghadanfar's translation) is not a particularly good rendering of jinnya, but I'm stumped as to what other English word to substitute. (Elf? Siren? Angel? Veela?) Anyway, I'll go through the whole and make it clear that when I use expressions like that, it's some person's subjective opinion.
  • (6) Style of sourcing

For example:

  • Juwayriya was sweet-natured, charming and as alluringly beautiful as a fairy; men became infatuated with her at first sight. When she stood at the doorway of Muhammad’s tent, Aisha’s heart sank, for she knew Muhammad would react just like all other men. Sure enough, he did. Juwayriya asked Muhammad to arrange her redemption. Muhammad asked: “Would you like something better than that? I will ransom you myself and marry you.” He did not offer to send her back to her father: the choice was to marry Muhammad or to risk his anger by remaining Thabit’s slave. So Juwayriya agreed to marry Muhammad, and he declared her manumitted.[5] - [4]

This is the same location as in #5. Statements that are shown as fact are unreferenced but you have a reference at the end which is:

  • Guillaume/Ishaq 629; Ibn Hisham note 918; Tabari 39:182-183; Abu Dawud 29:3920; Ibn Saad, Tabaqat 117; Ibn Hajar, Al-Isaba 4:265

Why this is wrong: Think of writing 3 pages and giving one combined reference at the end. This makes it really hard to cross-check anything. We dont know which of those statements was found in which source.

Again, I can alter the referencing. But many of the stories are clunky to reference no matter how they are approached. The six references tell the same story almost identically. I could certainly add a reference after each sentence, but each footnote would include four or five of the six total references. Or I could include only one of the references, but I would then have to sacrifice any information not specifically included in that reference.

Again, not all of the content is like that. You have some great stuff which forms a significant portion of the content and these are things that will remain hidden from the public (they will be interesting for Muslims and non-Muslims alike), unless they read your work (or if they buy all those references you have used, which is unlikely). But thats why I really want to attempt to save this work if possible and so I'm discussing it with you to see what can be done.

So I think these are issues that have to be discussed/resolved. In summary:

Minor:

  • I want to make sure we are looking at the same copies of Ibn Ishaq
  • References have to be converted to our template format where possible. For example {{Bukhari|3|4|67}}

Major:

  • Style of references: Any 'Facts' must be referenced individually and combined references should not be used, so cross-checking can be done.
  • Opinions/deductions/assumptions have to deleted from all the content, so we are left with only the facts found explicitly in the sources.
  • No apologetic material must be found (especially if unreferenced). Continuing that thought, neutral content is interesting, valuable and should be retained but also remember that we focus on criticism of Islam.
Now perhaps I've been looking in the wrong places, but this is the nearest thing to a content-policy you have ever given me.

This is all I have for now. Sorry its really long so take your time. I've probably made some mistakes/typos in writing this but here I go. I really want to know what you think about 4, 5 and 6.

As regards sharing texts, I am glad of anything I can get. I have only what is generally available to the public; my copies of Tabari and Ibn Saad were bought from Amazon. I have realised from reading tertiary sources (often very bad ones) that access to Bayhaqi would probably fill in some important gaps, but if a complete English translation exists, I have missed it.
I strongly recommend you add http://www.kister.huji.ac.il/ to your favourites. Professor Kister was a serious scholar who had access to vast resources and had some important insights into Muhammad's relationship with the Jews. You can read his works for free without needing to join anything.
I came across an interesting one the other day that absolutely nails the Muhammad/Aisha relationship. The reason it is not better known is that the Arabic source is so badly cited. Ockley (writing in English in 1708) cites Maracci, and Maracci (writing in Latin in 1698) cites "the book by Abdulrahman Hamdanius". This isn't quite enough information to verify the reference. But if we can track it down and if it turns out to be at all reliable (I know it isn't necessarily, just because it's written in Arabic!) it will be a must-include. You can read Ockley's twice-translated version at the bottom of http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/History_of_the_Saracens/Life_of_Mohammed/Part_I.
I know I haven't answered everything yet, but that is enough for today. I am going to work through the text one wife at a time, so I will begin with Khadija and ignore remarks that do not relate directly to her.
Muir has a very interesting take on Muhammad's "fidelity" to Khadija. He claims that all the suras in the Qur'an that concern the houris of Paradise were written in the period 614-619. I have no way of checking whether this is correct. But if it is correct, it is very significant. It means that in the final years of Khadija's life (when her health was failing and her money was running out) Muhammad was speaking openly about his visions of other women. Yet if Muir is correct, he stopped doing this as soon as he married Sawda, i.e. when he once again had a younger woman and didn't need to fantasise. It might not be a big deal, but it suggests that the marriage of Muhammad and Khadija was less idyllic than is often claimed.

Sahabah, feel free to add any additional input. I could have missed some additional important issues. --Axius (talk) 14:51, 2 February 2013 (PST)

It's hard for me to add much, since the talk pages have been deleted and I've lost all my saved data on the PC. In fact, I wrote a lengthy reply here, only to have my device crash, so I'll have to be brief.
Yeah, material that can be construed as apologetic towards Islam is not suitable, even as an essay. And we obviously want essays to be credible.
What you have to understand is, material that is hosted on WikiIslam will remain here indefinitely (the site isn't going anywhere). It will be read or used as a resource by hundreds of thousands, even millions of readers. It will likely be reposted, quoted or cited by many of websites, blogs and forums. Whilst articles remain, most editors do not. They usually submit their work then disappear. This is fine with us because we only accept referenced and easily verifiable material. If in two years its accuracy is questioned, the editors who are active at that time can easily defend it.
On the other hand, your work could be considered "original research". Tracking down the exact reference for stated facts seems difficult and you seem to infer things and make a lot of assumptions based on your own reading of the text (where you say things like, "most probably, or "likely", etc.). Since we have no idea of what led you to those conclusions, there is no way our editors can defend it. --Sahabah (talk) 17:01, 2 February 2013 (PST)


hi 1234567, I out-dented your quotes and am reproducing them for replies:

I didn't realise there was more than one way of numbering the pages. How curious! I just went by the page-numbers in my version. But if there is an alternative numbering system, this is going to cause endless confusion. Maybe you could explain it to me?

We go by page numbers too. Here's my page 155 [5]. Is this what you have too on your side? I dont see anything about Khadija on both pg 154 and 155. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong book or location. Here's the title page of the book [6]. The line that you wrote is here: [7] (ref 38 in that section)

So the assumption that Muhammad married Khadija only for the money just doesn't seem to be borne out by the facts.

Say he had a choice to marry two women who wanted to marry him. One was K, and the other was also K, but she was as poor as Fakhita. A man who goes after war booty and organizes caravan raids to rob non-Muslims definitely would go after the rich woman. Why did he really marry Khadija? We don't know. We only know the facts: She was from a rich family, he was from a poor one and when he found out K is single, maybe his thinking was "I couldnt get with Fakhita. I'll get a job with Khadija. If I get real lucky, she might just marry me".

So we dont know these things. For our site, we keep these kinds of opinions out because these conclusions can be questioned by anyone. Just stating the facts is enough and the reader should be left to decide the rest for themselves.

At the very least, there was the additional motive that he simply wanted to marry, which is probably a polite way of saying that he was looking for a sexual partner.

Of course. No one says 100% of the motive was money. It could be: 60% money and improving his future prospects and influence, 30% sexual partnership and 10% companionship and so on. Again if another K (who had no money) also proposed to him, he would married the rich K. Even today anyone would do that and would pay importance to money, if other factors were kept equal.

Khadija inherited her business from her father" is one of those overworked statements that we all think we know about Islam but in fact is highly doubtful. How could she have inherited the business at a date when her father was still alive?

Maybe the father said "I'm tired, you can take the reigns, you're pretty good at it.". We dont know what happened. The important thing is: She was a successful business woman and very rich.

Unless the source material clearly states otherwise, we should consider the possibilities that the business was inherited from her first husband (who came from a clan of prosperous merchants), was set up by her second husband (who was an immigrant but nevertheless prince among his own people) or was the result of Khadija's own personal efforts.

Yes those are possibilities. I dont know what the Wikipedia source exactly says but we would go by whatever the source says. Again the important issue is that she was rich. Whether she got rich through a lottery, father or husband, those are interesting details but secondary when studying why Muhammad married her. Muhammad wouldn't really care exactly how she inherited the wealth.

There are in fact a couple of hadiths that indicate a warm relationship between Muhammad and his stepsons. Would it be more suitable if I simply quoted them and left the conclusion alone?
Having said that, I actually believe (though it would be difficult to prove this objectively) that the "good relationship" between them was superficial. The stepchildren (including Sawda's son) were never prominent in the Muslim community; we just don't find their names on the lists. As Muhammad was often quite nepotistic, this suggests he was not close to his stepchidren after they grew up.

Yes, most definitely. We love quotes. In my opinion, any thing that says "this happened" needs a direct reference. So we cannot say "he must have been a good stepfather", unless there's a direct source for it. But as you said, you can refer to those hadiths as they are and not make any conclusions. This way we are being historically accurate without making inferences that may or may not be true (or can be debated). In other words, if something can be debated about and there's no source for it, it should be left out.

The words you have bolded are directly from Aisha!

Then it should be made clear, because to me the words were stated by you.

"it's simply unclear referencing"

It doesn't need to be said that no reference should be unclear. The reader wants to know whether something was an invention by the author, or by the primary source (Aisha). In fact it would have been a lot more interesting and credible, if the reader was told that Aisha described Juwayriya like that.

I agree that "fairy" (Ghadanfar's translation) is not a particularly good rendering of jinnya, but I'm stumped as to what other English word to substitute. (Elf? Siren? Angel? Veela?)

The more accurate and credible way to do this would be to say something like this: Aisha once described Juwayriya as 'jinnya', a word which some arabic dictionaries describe as 'beautiful, fairy like, elf and angel.'

Would you agree that its much better to tell the reader that Aisha described her as jinnya and not you? This isnt just about this certain issue but about others as well. The reader doesnt care for your personal opinions and conclusions. They want to know the facts. When you read a news article, you want to know what really happened. You dont care about the writer's own inventions and original research. Stories that only contain 'facts' are much more valued by the reader than those containing original research. You as a writer may feel good about seeing the article as 'your own' but the reality again is: the reader just wants to know the facts.

Anyway, I'll go through the whole and make it clear that when I use expressions like that, it's some person's subjective opinion.

There should ideally be no subjective opinion in any of the text unless they are opinions of important people in the story (Muhammad's wife, Muhammad, his enemies and so on).

Again, I can alter the referencing. But many of the stories are clunky to reference no matter how they are approached. The six references tell the same story almost identically. I could certainly add a reference after each sentence, but each footnote would include four or five of the six total references. Or I could include only one of the references, but I would then have to sacrifice any information not specifically included in that reference.

Just keep this in mind: If you think something may be and can be questioned by someone, it definitely needs very clear references that can be cross-checked. Wikipedia's principle is similar: "if it can be questioned, it needs a source".

Now perhaps I've been looking in the wrong places, but this is the nearest thing to a content-policy you have ever given me.

We have this [8] on our Guidelines page which says "content on WikiIslam should be based on facts, references and Islamic sources and not support any kind of fringe theories unsupported by the majority of evidence found in recognized translations of the Qur'an, hadith and quotations from Islamic". So we clearly state that content should be based on facts and references and that implies there shouldn't be any original research.

Thanks for your other information. You're definitely more well-read than I am and you're passionate about this subject and you've decided to come to this site. All these things are hard to find in an editor. If you did decide to take out all opinions and anything that is not directly stated in the references and keep it it part of the main content, that would be awesome and ideal for our site and it would make me really happy. But if you want to convert the whole thing to an essay as Sahabah mentioned, that's up to you. --Axius (talk) 19:28, 5 February 2013 (PST)

Considered submitting an essay/op-ed?

Hi there. It's a fairly recent development, but have you considered submitting an essay/op-ed? I know you mentioned how your research proves that all of Prophet Muhammad's wives were young, rather than the Muslim claim that most were old and widowed. So you could trim your work and make it more focused (with the obvious option of submitting further essays to include more of your research). Of course, there are still guidelines to adhere to, but this could be the ideal solution for all sides concerned. At WikiIslam we like to stick to the traditional interpretation of Islam and its history in our critique (for example, the order of revelations, authoritive tafsirs, and certainly the age of Kadijah and other fundamental issues). An essay would allow you to state your findings without them clashing with the site's more orthodox conclusions, and it will even give you space to explain how you came to your own conclusions (e.g. why you think the scholar's take on Kadijah's age is more likely than the commonly accepted one). Take a look at some of our essays here and you can find the submission form here. --Sahabah (talk) 18:02, 1 February 2013 (PST)

An essay is probably the best format for some of what I have to say. For example, it is not really controversial to state that "We don't know Khadija's age." The early traditions offer so many alternatives (everywhere between 25 and 45 when she married Muhammad) that we have to ask some pretty big questions about, "Well, who did know? Were they all inventing this?" But if you don't want this minor point argued in a "fact page" (who cares how old she was really?) I can certainly write an opinion piece about the ages of all Muhammad's wives.
Similarly, if I can follow up some other research I have started, I would like to produce a short piece on the gender balance in the Meccan Muslim community before 627. Long story short, there were far more men than women. The suggestion that the "war casualties" created a surplus of women is modern and not found in the early sources, and it doesn't seem to have any evidence in its favour. My impression is that there was still a majority of men, even after Uhud. But I can see how an opinion like this might rock the boat, and I'm having some trouble tracking references, so it's definitely a future project.
However, I think "biography" pages for Muhammad's wives are needed in addition to opinion pieces. In fact, I would also like to see biography pages for some of the other major players, e.g. Abu Sufyan, Abullah ibn Ubayy, Al-Zubayr ibn Al-Awwam. It is very easy for the casual reader's eyes to glaze over at the sight of all those Arabic names and not recognise them when they reappear. When you track their stories longitudinally, some quite startling portraits emerge.
Yes, essays about the ages of Muhammad's wives and the gender balance in the Meccan Muslim community before 627 would both be most welcome additions to the site. Both are interesting and important topics.
I agree more biographical pages are needed. If they're approached from a traditional angle, it would be great (e.g. our approach to criticism is to use commonly accepted narratives, but to also point out the less savoury details that accompany them).
Good luck with you e-book! If you need any help with it, feel free to leave a message on my talk page. I'd probably not be very useful, but if you need someone to check for typos or maybe just give you their honest opinion, know that I'm more than happy to give you a hand. --Sahabah (talk) 21:24, 4 February 2013 (PST)
Here's my opinion. Sahabah knows that I prefer our main content to essays because essays have personal opinions. Thats why we have this linked disclaimer [9] at the top of every essay says "Views contained in essays/op-eds are not necessarily endorsed by WikiIslam. ... Thus, they may contain original research/theories at odds with the rest of our content. ". Because of the fact that a piece of content only contains facts, WikiIslam stands behind everything that is in that content and essays don't get that support (and respect and success in my opinion). I actually dislike essays for that reason but I do see that they attract readership too. For example this certain essay series [10] imported by Sahabah was picked up by some quickly and linked online on forum(s). Sometimes a reader may relate to something in an essay. But again to me an essay has secondary importance. In the Wives case, the issue is all about history and when history is written about, the reader again wants to know what really happened. For this Factual persuasion series, its pretty clear its an essay series.
So I would really like if the work was improved upon so it can be part of the main content rather than being an essay. The first step in that would be to take out original research (conclusions, assumptions) which is not present in the source. Essays are attributed to a single author. We really want something where everything is fact based and there are no opinions and everything in it is what the site endorses. No one takes (unsourced) opinions seriously unless they are by Ibn Warraq or Tabari and so on. By that I mean, statements like that cant be quoted in a debate because they'll be questioned: Who wrote it? How do they know that? How can we trust this author and believe what they've written? When a piece in a newspaper says "In 1937, 110 people were killed in a landslide", that is a fact and no one doubts that and its more likely to be quoted. If someone says "There were many landslides in that area so many people must have been killed", that is weak as compared to the first. To clarify, Sahabah also likes fact-only articles just like I do too but he also likes essays.
But again -- if you guys want to work on keeping it as an essay that's up to you. If you decide to work on it as being part of the main content, of course essays can be written later too. I really wish I had time to work on this myself and if I did, I would have made it to be part of the main content and not be an essay. There's some really great stuff in what 1234567 has done, many interesting facts and details. --Axius (talk) 19:28, 5 February 2013 (PST)
No, I agree 100% with you. I prefer the no-nonsense, facts only, encyclopedic/counter-apologetic pages over essays. My editing history shows that I'm ruthless when it comes to removing opinions or non-referenced statements from our pages. My concern is that it will end up becoming too much of a hassle for both the author and the site. I'd rather have several new a-grade essays over eventually having nothing at all. Plus, in this instance, the author can argue a point we'd never make, I.e. that all of Prophet Muhammad's wives (including Kadijah) were young women. This would make it an important counter-apologetic piece, and I don't think it being attributed to a single author is an issue there. Ideally we'd have both, essays and encyclopedic pages. --Sahabah (talk) 20:28, 5 February 2013 (PST)
Ok. "that all of Prophet Muhammad's wives (including Kadijah) were young women." - this would also be fine if its not an essay because if we've given the sources for their ages we can make that direct conclusion that they were young and its not original research. I guess its up to 1234567 to decide if she wants to keep it as essays which will have disclaimers at the top, or part of the main content, in which case it needs revisions. --Axius (talk) 18:27, 6 February 2013 (PST)

I have noted your server-change. However, I doubt I shall have anything to post before you revert to your old server because I don't currently have access to my copy of Ibn Saad, which is an essential reference. My friend knows I want the book back, but I imagine it will take a while to organise the transfer. Meanwhile, I am tidying up the article on Khadija but I am not paying attention to any of the other wives. I have found a couple of new references not available in English (I don't count Google Translate!) so I will need to ask my Arabic-speaking friends whether they really mean what they seem to.

Great, thanks for the update. I look forward to seeing what you'll have. We are now on the new server and everything is back to normal. Arabic references sometimes contain things that get whitewashed/altered/softened in translation so that will be interesting. --Axius (talk) 18:25, 12 February 2013 (PST)


This still isn't exactly the way I wanted to write it because there are still a couple of references that I didn't manage to track. But rather than let you think I'd given up, I thought I should let you see what I have at present. I'm hoping there will be a little more to follow.1234567 (talk) 05:05, 31 March 2013 (PDT)

Hi 1234567. Nice to see you active again. I thought it would make it easier for you so I moved your work to as sandbox: User:1234567/Sandbox. Axius may be a little late in replying. Would you like me to rename your account to Petra MacDonald? --Sahabah (talk) 06:33, 31 March 2013 (PDT)
I havent read it yet but looks fine to me? I'll read it soon. I did see this:
If the report of Abdullah ibn Abbas is correct, she was a mere three years older than Muhammad, which hardly qualifies as an age-difference.
My opinion on that: We know Abbas is wrong. Its more commonly known that it was 25 and she was 40. It should be clear that this 3 year difference is a fringe theory. Fringe theories should not be given 'equal' treatment and should not be presented 'equally' visibly along with other facts. So this should be corrected with either removal of this portion, or with the addition that more common references talk about 25/40, or make a new subsection about her age and present all the various theories there along with their proper weights. This may be best because the age difference is frequently talked about.
Other than than it looks great, like the section "Khadija and Polytheism". There's lots of interesting information. Articles like this about Muhammad's most famous/prominent wives will be popular reads. After the remaining changes are made, we can see if we can move it to the main space and it may not even need an author attribution if it doesnt contain any opinions/original research. The pictures look great also. --Axius (talk) 08:59, 31 March 2013 (PDT)
I must admit I've had a U-turn of opinion here. Looking at the source and how it's written, I think the age issue has been handled great and doesn't need amending. Sources for both ages are provided and the readers can make up their mind. Also, after having a quick read through, I agree that this probably will not need to be labeled an essay. I think it would look good as part of the wiki mainspace. If 1234567 (Petra MacDonald) would like to be acknowledged as the original author, we can attribute this the way we do for all of our encyclopedic/counter-apologetic pages where the author requests recognition i.e. through an author category. Well, those are my thoughts. --Sahabah (talk) 16:54, 31 March 2013 (PDT)
Ok I'm fine with that. That age thing is minor I guess (provided there's no bigger issues). After there's the additional changes that 1234567 wants to do, we can make it part of the main space. --Axius (talk) 16:59, 31 March 2013 (PDT)

To avoid confusion, I have now deleted the version that was here and will continue working from the sandbox.

Great. Note that the version in the sandbox is an old version (you've made edits to the article after I copy/pasted it). --Sahabah (talk) 03:59, 1 April 2013 (PDT)
Should I move it to the mainspace now?--Sahabah (talk) 06:45, 2 April 2013 (PDT)
It's up to you, depending on whether you think it looks finished or requires more corrections. I'm afraid I'm the kind of person who is forever nit-picking my own work and will always be finding something that I want to change unless you stop me.
You asked several questions that I tried to answer, but they were lost in cyberspace. Let's try again, in no particular order.
(1) I don't think there is any reason to write an author-name on an encyclopaedia-type article like this one. It will deter other people from making additions. And you know the drill. If someone has a genuine reason for thinking I'm wrong, they should be allowed to contribute. If they just want to jump up and down and complain that Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Saad, Tabari and Bukhari don't show enough respect to the Holy Prophet, you already have a mechanism to stop that kind of non-correction.
(2) For now I'll keep my username as the anonymous 1234567. I think I've mentioned that "Petra MacDonald" is a translation of "Asma bint Marwan" (petra and marwan both mean "stone", and donald and asma both mean "supreme one") but there's no need to invoke Asma's fate upon myself unnecessarily!
(3) I notice you have a preference for standard American spelling. I've made no attempt to pretend I can write in American when I can't. But if you'd prefer to change every instance of "favour" to "favor" and "realise" to "realize", and add American currency equivalents to my pounds sterling, that's up to you.
(4) Tomorrow I'll be seeing my Arab friends and I hope to ask them a couple of translation questions. If they can clear up my issues, I should be able to submit an op-ed essay about the ages of Muhammad's wives. By my calculation, the mean age of a bride of Muhammad was 24, which is not exactly "elderly", even by medieval Arab standards. I will be submitting this as "Petra MacDonald" to emphasise that it's only my opinion. I'm afraid it's ditchwater-dull: "X died in DATE at the age of Y, therefore was born in DATE, and must have been married at age Z..." But some people out there will find it a useful reference, and others will like (or dislike) the conclusion.
(5) You began to ask about how I would define a "primary source". As I understand it, a primary source is an eyewitness account or an actual monument left over from the event. So the Qur'an is the only true primary source for the life of Muhammad. If we could find the original text of the Compact of Medina or of his Delegation Letters, these would also be primary sources. The hadith collections, no matter how high-quality and reliable, are only secondary sources. Ibn Ishaq, of course, is a hadith-collection arranged in a particular way, chronologically rather than thematically. I would concede that a copyist such as Ibn Hisham, Tabari or Al-Hakim is also a secondary source provided we are quite certain he is making an accurate copy of Ibn Ishaq and not altering the words.
As to Ibn Kathir, how to classify him depends on what you want to know. If your question is "How did fourteenth-century Muslim scholars think about Islam?" then Ibn Kathir is a primary source. If your question is "How should we understand the Qur'an?" then Ibn Kathir's tafsir is secondary. If your question is "How should we understand the events described in the hadiths?" then Ibn Kathir is tertiary. For example, his engaging little piece on the wives of Muhammad is tertiary. Really, I would put much of Ibn Kathir's work on a par with that of someone like Sir William Muir. Both were interpreting the secondary sources centuries after the events in the light of their own biases; both had access to a massive amount of information not available to you or me, arranged it logically and did the best they could with what they had. But of course the results were very different. In similar vein, Tabari fluctuates between secondary (when he has a word-for-word quote from a seconary source) and tertiary (when he comments on what he has quoted).
Hence you'll notice that I've cited a lot of rubbish from the internet. I think these quotes are valid primary sources on "how 21st-century Islamo-apologists think about the life of Muhammad." But they are not valid sources of actual information about Muhammad - they are quaternary at best.
(6) Do you want me to tidy up the list of "Wives of Muhammad"? After exhaustively trawling both Ibn Saad and Tabari, I'm fairly confident that I know the names of all the wives known to history (which, of course, is not necessarily the same as all the wives there ever were). I make it that Muhammad slept with 17 different women and had some kind of legal contract or engagement with 13 others. I have the names of 5 women whom he desired but who refused him, and 5 more whose offers he refused. A few other names popularly found on lists of Muhammad's wives are either alternative names for one of the above or mistakes based on misreadings of the texts (I'm fairly certain that he never married Hind bint Utba or Umm Haram, and that there was only one Maymuna, not two). I would suggest making a list of all those who could reasonably be deemed "wives", and a second list of "see also", then linking each name to the wiki-article that will give her biography.
(7) I'm currently working on an article about Aisha. That will be far less trouble than the one about Khadija because the sources are so much more accessible.
(8) And eventually I'll write an article to show that none of Muhammad's wives was a poor widow in desperate need of shelter, but not this week.1234567 (talk) 18:31, 4 April 2013 (PDT)
1. That's fine. Yes, the information is safe from people who simply want to delete things for no good reason
2. No problem.
3. Yeah, I'll convert the proper English to US. I do this for every article.
4. Sounds great. Looking forward to reading it.
5. Thanks for the detailed answers.
6. Okay. If you could add the references, that would be great.
7-8. Again, this sounds great. We're not going anywhere so take your time :) --Sahabah (talk) 04:48, 5 April 2013 (PDT)

List of Wives and Concubines of Muhammad

Hi. Thanks for the article you submitted on the talk page. The only problems I see is that people like Virgin Mary need some sort of quick explanation (i.e. "Engagement arranged in heaven", or something like that) otherwise it will leave readers bewildered. Also, it would be nice to note the reason why some were divorced (i.e. "divorced before consummation because she was "too old"", or "divorced before consummation because she suffering from leprosy"). Apart from that, the changes are positive. Thanks a lot for your work here.

Regardless, I've always felt that page was a little bland and empty. Would you like to expand the list a little by making it more like the List of Killings Ordered or Supported by Muhammad? This way you could include a nice little summary about each person. I will create a template page so you can see what I mean and, if you agree, to fill with the information you have. Also the name is an issue. I don't think "List of Wives and Concubines of Muhammad" quite covers the page's scope. What do you think of "List of Women in Muhammad's Life"? --Sahabah (talk) 13:38, 8 April 2013 (PDT)

I've made that page now: http://wikiislam.net/wiki/List_of_Women_in_Muhammads_Life . Even as an empty shell, I can see that page has the potential to be one of our standout articles. I'll fill what I can to make it easier and quicker for you. --Sahabah (talk) 16:25, 8 April 2013 (PDT)
This new page looks great (or will when its complete). --Axius (talk) 16:42, 8 April 2013 (PDT)
"List of Women in Muhammad's Life" will do until one of us thinks of something better. However, it's somewhat misleading, as we're not including his daughters, aunts or domestic staff.
Yes, the set-up looks marvellous. I have already made tables that look similar to that one for my personal use, so I should be able to write it up as soon as I've worked out how to read the software.
I still want to make individual pages for most of these women. Quite a bit is known about characters like Asma bint Numan and Fatima bint Al-Dahhak (not as much as about Khadija or Aisha, of course, but at least stub-length), and it seems a pity to limit them to a one-liner in a table.
There is at least one extra name (a woman who refused M's proposal on the grounds she was already married) that I'm 99% sure will turn out to be valid, but at present I've mislaid the primary source. I suppose I can just keep adding information of that type as it surfaces? We have already covered ourselves for incompleteness by admitting that we don't know the full number of women. 1234567 (talk) 17:00, 8 April 2013 (PDT)
1. Yes, agreed. I think i made the scope a little wider than it should be. :) We'll try to think of an alternative title.
2. Okay. Yes. If the writing style is scholarly/historian-type, rather than narrative, it would be greatly appreciated.
3. Yes, you can add them as you get hold of the sources. The article will still be "complete" in the wiki sense of the word. I will stop adding those refs and leave you to it. Otherwise we'll have an edit conflict and one of us will lose everything we typed.--Sahabah (talk) 17:26, 8 April 2013 (PDT)
Just a note that you can put more than a sentence in each (2,3, or 4 maybe). Basically pack as much pertinent info in a tiny space as you can.--Sahabah (talk) 17:36, 8 April 2013 (PDT)

The essay submission function seems to be out of action today.

Hi. I'm moving everything to this page (you can continue editing there): Ages of Muhammad's Wives at Marriage. Let me know when you have finished. Thanks.--Sahabah (talk) 05:13, 15 April 2013 (PDT)
I'll check the Essay sumbission page. The apostate submission is also not working probably due to the last software update. --Axius (talk) 05:26, 15 April 2013 (PDT)
I fixed it, thankfully it was an easy fix. This had not been working for the last 2 weeks when I updated the edit monitoring system.--Axius (talk) 18:17, 15 April 2013 (PDT)
Good. I'm sure there's a way round such problems for people like me, but we wouldn't want to make life any harder for the apostates.1234567 (talk) 18:23, 15 April 2013 (PDT)
1234567, like your other two pages, I think this page will be good for the main space. All of your calculations are based on the Islamic sources which is what we require. If you have no objections I will do that.
Also, for future articles, note that we like to include the entire relevant quote from the source rather than only the name and number of a hadith/section of Tabari etc. See the 72 Virgins article's references to get an idea of what I mean.
So, rather than this: <ref>{{Bukhari|4|54|476}}</ref>
We will have this: <ref>"''Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "The first batch (of people) who will enter Paradise will be (glittering) like the full moon, and the batch next to them will be (glittering) like the most brilliant star in the sky. Their hearts will be as if the heart of a single man, for they will have neither enmity nor jealousy amongst themselves; everyone will have two wives from the houris, (who will be so beautiful, pure and transparent that) the marrow of the bones of their legs will be seen through the bones and the flesh.''" - {{Bukhari|4|54|476}}</ref> --Sahabah (talk) 18:52, 15 April 2013 (PDT)
I have no objection to doing this, but it will be a huge amount of information.1234567 (talk) 19:06, 15 April 2013 (PDT)
Also there is no objection to categorising my essay however you like. Note, however, that I did make a few mildly emotive comments on my conclusions. At present I have not much to add to the content, but I am not satisfied with a few of the pictures, so I will spend a little longer looking for good ones.1234567 (talk) 19:09, 15 April 2013 (PDT)
I like the idea of the full quotes too. They're very useful/convenient, especially for content that cannot be readily accessed/checked/read (books, etc). --Axius (talk) 19:37, 15 April 2013 (PDT)
Great. Although I wouldn't trouble myself with looking for new images. We prefer minimal images in pages. A single image can be great. We can use it in our main random image+article template. Two is sometimes necessary. Any more than that (unless it's scientific diagrams) IMO is overkill.--Sahabah (talk) 19:42, 15 April 2013 (PDT)
1234567, about the images, they do make the article visually interesting but sometimes they're not related so some images may not need to be included. Do you have anything to say in defense of them, of why you'd like to include them? In any case we're focusing on the factual statements so if they're not included its ok in my opinion. Maybe they can be included at the end when all the articles have been written. What do you think? --Axius (talk) 04:53, 16 April 2013 (PDT)
I don't feel strongly if you'd prefer not to have them. But in my experience, people are more likely to read an article that has pictures. I have a lurking suspicion that this article is not very interesting. On one hand, it's a list of facts and figures, which is difficult to read. On the other hand, it is impossible to endorse the conclusion unless one has made the effort to do the reading. That is why, despite the ready availability of the information, nobody has ever before published anything similar. So pictures might draw the audience in. But it's not as if I painted them myself. So it doesn't bother me personally if you leave them out.
I think I've filled in all the references now, so I will resist the temptation to make any more changes.1234567 (talk) 05:02, 16 April 2013 (PDT)

I understand your concerns, but I think they are unfounded. What makes an article interesting is the value of its content, and this article has it in spades. A comparative article would be this one (spit into two parts):

It is very long and I'm sure many would consider it difficult to read, but it's one of our most valued articles. And it has not a single image. IMO the wives article looks a whole lot better without the images. With them it make the page a lot more cluttered and vastly lowers its tone. About drawing readers in, I can almost guarantee a page like this will receive a lot of views on WikiIslam. Related sites critical of Islam may not find pages like this to be a success, but then their target audience is usually different to ours. And TBH this site is there for those who want to actually learn accurate facts about Islam. If a reader needs images to keep them interested, then they're at the wrong site. --Sahabah (talk) 12:00, 16 April 2013 (PDT)

It looks pretty good. Thank you for fixing my broken link to the Aisha-apologetics.
Who is Madudi and what is Tafhimul Quran about? I don't have a problem with your adding the detail that Zaynab was Muhammad's cousin; although not strictly relevant to the topic, it adds interest. (But it won't shock a British reader very much. Queen Victoria also married her first cousin.) However, I probably ought to know something about the reference to which I'm supposed to have referred. I have added the early-source references that prove their kinship.
I will be writing more about Zaynab's whole family very soon. There are gaps in her biography (nobody seems to know the name of her first husband, and the popular story that Muhammad built her a nice little workshop for her leather-crafts doesn't seem to be trackable to a primary source) but a ridiculous amount is known about her five siblings.1234567 (talk) 19:30, 16 April 2013 (PDT)
You're welcome. It's a tafsir (The Meaning of the Qur'an) by Abul A'la Maududi. Thanks for adding references to the primary sources! Yeah, those Royals did love their inbreeding, but they're not the founders or lawmakers of the second largest religion. A lot of Muslims deny Muhammad ever married a cousin, and too few non-Muslims are aware of it. --Sahabah (talk) 22:43, 16 April 2013 (PDT)

hi 1234567, after this discussion about images, we made a new policy on images that basically says "any number of images are welcome as long as they are directly related to the article". So there's no limit of 2 images per article any longer. So for example some of the ones you uploaded (File:Khadija.jpg, File:Al-Uzza with Zodiac.jpg, File:Mount Hira Cave.jpg, etc) were great and we would love to have images like that because they are directly related to the article content and are very informative. --Axius (talk) 18:52, 20 April 2013 (PDT)

I think Al-Uzza would look good in an article about the Satanic Verses. In fact, there is around the internet some lovely neo-Pagan artwork featuring Semitic deities, but most of it would attract copyright restrictions. The image I posted here is public domain.1234567 (talk) 23:29, 20 April 2013 (PDT)
I've added it here: http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Satanic_Verses_(The_Life_of_Mahomet) . Yeah, it looks good in that one. However, (Axius can correct me if I'm wrong) neo-Pagan artwork would fall outside of the new policies, even if they were not copyright restricted. --Sahabah (talk) 03:30, 21 April 2013 (PDT)

Al-Uzza & Friends

Any examples of that artwork on a temporary upload or external link? Thanks for adding that image. --Axius (talk) 09:10, 21 April 2013 (PDT)

Okay, that wasn't a no, meaning you would consider it. But wouldn't neo-Pagan (i.e. contemporary pagan) artwork be the same as you considering graffiti artwork if it was of a pagan goddess? Unlike the other image provided by 1234567, it wouldn't have any historical connection to the subject. It would just be for "illustrative" purposes (something the new policies say no to).--Sahabah (talk) 09:18, 21 April 2013 (PDT)
I was just wondering what it looks like. --Axius (talk) 09:25, 21 April 2013 (PDT)
A google search brought up this - everything both ancient and modern. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=Al-Uzza+Al-Lat+Manat&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=K2N0UcPHLdCYiAeh8oDwAQ&ved=0CDoQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=621
Yes, I see what you mean about neo-Pagan artwork being a modern reconstruction that would probably have only tenuous links to the original paganism. (Pace those modern pantheists who think otherwise; but neo-Pagans do not sacrifice their infants to Molech!) The spirit of the reconstruction is not too difficult to hit off in the case of the Arabian trinity, since Al-Uzza is Minerva/Athena and Al-Lat is Ceres/Demeter. Manat has no obvious European parallel (the Graiai? Nemesis?), which explains something about the differences between the two cultures; but she is nevertheless a recognisable "type".1234567 (talk) 15:12, 21 April 2013 (PDT)
Thanks for the link and info. That is definitely way above my level of expertise/knowledge in that area, but it sounds really interesting. --Axius (talk) 10:54, 27 April 2013 (PDT)
Yes, very interesting, but somewhat academic. If Ancient Semitic paganism were still being practised today, we would have to start a WikiSemitism site and write about all the evils of human sacrifice, ritual prostitution and violent raiding. But this isn't the case. The few Neo-Pagans I've met have been very gentle people who try to disbelieve the dark history of the ancient religions and focus on back-to-nature pantheism, healthy eating and meditation. There is no real connection between their beliefs (as shown in the pretty artwork) and the original religions that indirectly inspired them.
By contrast, the problem with Islam is that there are Muslims alive today who try to be exactly like Muhammad.1234567 (talk) 02:07, 29 April 2013 (PDT)

New articles based on your talk page comments

hi 1234567, you had left these two talk page comments: (1) Talk:Polygamy_in_Islam#Muhammad_married_poor_widows_to_save_them_from_destitution and (2) Talk:Polygamy_in_Islam#Muhammad_committed_polygamy_out_of_political_necessity. These two items could be polished and sourced and moved into a new article for example Charity and Political Necessity of Muhammad's Marriages and there can be a combined conclusion like we have here. This new article can then be linked from Polygamy in Islam in the section Muhammad and Polygamy.

Your first edit was a comment here: Talk:Unjust Treatment of Wives (Qur'an 4:129) and maybe that can be used in some way as well in that article Unjust Treatment of Wives (Qur'an 4:129).

Your knowledge of Muhammad and women in his life and your strong interest in this topic is great and I'm glad you decided to come here share and create what you have.

A few other things, if you like:

  • You can create Sandbox links in your user space and use them for as scratchpads for any purpose, e.g. Sandbox 1, Sandbox 2, Sandbox 3 etc, as many as you like. These can be linked on your user page like User:Sahabah has it
  • Old comments on your talk page can be moved into archives: User talk:1234567/Archive
  • Its easy to rename a user (if you'd like to use Petra or anything else, for example), or keep it as it is.

--Axius (talk) 10:49, 27 April 2013 (PDT)

Thanks for the reminder. I am in fact feeling the need of sandboxes.
I was planning to write an article about how none of Muhammad's wives was a destitute widow, a kind of companion piece to the one about how none of them was elderly. While I would also like to write one about how none of the marriages was politically necessary, that one will be more difficult to hit off correctly. It would involve speculation about what would have happened if he had not acted, e.g., if Khadija had lived another 15 years and therefore he had never married any of the others. And of course we never know what would have happened. However, it's pretty obvious to me that if Muhammad had never married any of these other women, the big difference to the progress of Islam would have been close to zero.
I'm currently working on the biographical essay about Aisha. As a biography, it really ought to include some paragraphs about her long widowhood, but I don't have good resources for that at present. I shall probably submit it with only a brief overview of her later life, but add more about this in future, when I have bought a few more books. The stunning thing about Aisha is how she didn't seem to believe in Islam at all, yet she was nevertheless its foremost proponent.
After that, we have a choice. I could just work through all the wives in chronological order (Sawda, then Hafsa, then Zaynab ... etc.). Or I could follow your original brief, which was a request for controversy, and deal with the major scandals first. The existing article about Safiya needs to be tidied, and there are some great little tidbits that are not commonly known (were you aware that the murdered poet Kaab ibn Al-Ashraf was her cousin, almost certainly a person to whom she was close?). And I notice that so far you don't have any single article about Zaynab bint Jahsh. Again, the story as it's usually told is different from what the sources say: Zayd actually had three other wives beside Zaynab, and he was (at least) her second husband.
As for the unjust treatment of wives, I think the story about food distribution belongs in the article about Zaynab. For each wife, I shall be writing about how she got along with her co-wives. So any story that involves interactions between two or more of the wives will be included on the page of the wife whom Muhammad married latest. E.g., I have written about how Aisha (second wife) was jealous of the other women but not included specifics about those women. Aisha's general relationship with Sawda (third wife - at least according to Aisha) will be in the article about Sawda, but the incident in which Aisha and Hafsa (fourth wife) colluded to tease Sawda will be under Hafsa. Mariya (thirteenth wife) will not be mentioned until she gets her own article, even though it was an episode in which all the previous wives were involved.1234567 (talk) 16:00, 28 April 2013 (PDT)