Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World

Article excerpt

The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World TRANSLATED BY JOHN ANDREW MORROW ANGELICO, 466 PAGES, $21.95

The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World is a translation of, and commentary on, documents that purport to be "covenants" the Prophet Muhammad made with Christian communities, assuring them of their protection. Forged by Christians intent on proving to their Muslim overlords that the Prophet himself had guaranteed their well-being and the preservation of their property, they are all quite late.

The earliest copies of "the covenant of the Prophet with the monks of Mt. $inai" date to the sixteenth century (over nine hundred years after the death of Muhammad). The "covenant of the Prophet with Assyrian Christians" dates to the seventeenth century (and is in an Islamic Persian script that did not exist in Muhammad's day), and the "covenant of the Prophet with the Christians of the world," which includes twenty-two signatures meant to be those of the Prophet's companions, dates to the sixteenth.

The "covenants" are interesting for what they reflect of the history of Christians living under Muslim rule. …

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