Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Really? I thought I had come across it as a brand new discovery. What a shame. But what relevance does the translation of the Bible have?
But neither of these contradict what historians have said. Waraqa used to study the Hebrew scriptures and he had his personal writings in arabic.
Except the historians you cited claimed that the Bible was not translated into Arabic until much later. Now I agree if you discount the aHadith, the first texts are much much later. But if you believe the aHadith are historically valid texts then there must have been Arabic Bibles, perhaps only partial, well before Gaon.
No, none of them do. Signing one's name does not prove literacy, there are many illiterate people who know how to sign, and one can dictate letters, they don't have to be hand-written, and being a tradesman does not prove anything about literacy. I have heard this nonsense several times, believe me.
Well I am not interested in arguing what is bound to be a highly emotive subject that can only get me into trouble. But there are Hadith that say he did more than sign his name. He crossed bits out for instance
Volume 3, Book 49, Number 863:
When the Prophet intended to perform 'Umra in the month of Dhul-Qada, the people of Mecca did not let him enter Mecca till he settled the matter with them by promising to stay in it for three days only. When the document of treaty was written, the following was mentioned: 'These are the terms on which Muhammad, Allah's Apostle agreed (to make peace).' They said, "We will not agree to this, for if we believed that you are Allah's Apostle we would not prevent you, but you are Muhammad bin 'Abdullah." The Prophet said, "I am Allah's Apostle and also Muhammad bin 'Abdullah." Then he said to 'Ali, "Rub off (the words) 'Allah's Apostle' ", but 'Ali said, "No, by Allah, I will never rub off your name." So, Allah's Apostle took the document and wrote, 'This is what Muhammad bin 'Abdullah has agreed upon: No arms will be brought into Mecca except in their cases, and nobody from the people of Mecca will be allowed to go with him (i.e. the Prophet ) even if he wished to follow him and he (the Prophet ) will not prevent any of his companions from staying in Mecca if the latter wants to stay.' When the Prophet entered Mecca and the time limit passed, the Meccans went to 'Ali and said, "Tell your Friend (i.e. the Prophet ) to go out, as the period (agreed to) has passed." So, the Prophet went out of Mecca. The daughter of Hamza ran after them (i.e. the Prophet and his companions), calling, "O Uncle! O Uncle!" 'Ali received her and led her by the hand and said to Fatima, "Take your uncle's daughter." Zaid and Ja'far quarrel ed about her. 'Ali said, "I have more right to her as she is my uncle's daughter." Ja'far said, "She is my uncle's daughter, and her aunt is my wife." Zaid said, "She is my brother's daughter." The Prophet judged that she should be given to her aunt, and said that the aunt was like the mother. He then said to 'All, "You are from me and I am from you", and said to Ja'far, "You resemble me both in character and appearance", and said to Zaid, "You are our brother (in faith) and our freed slave."
Can you name some other Christians in Makkah whom Prophet Muhammad pbuh would have heard the stories from? We agree it cannot be Waraqa since he died within a few days yet the revelation continued for 23 years.
Except that Muhammed must have known Waraqa quite well. Mecca was a small place after all. They were related. And there were other "hanif" around who had studied Christianity. The ideas were in the air. Which is not to say that Muhammed copied them or anything like that. It is just that it is not true that it was impossible for him to have heard Biblical stories. For instance,
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 169:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar:
The Prophet met Zaid bin 'Amr bin Nufail in the bottom of (the valley of) Baldah before any Divine Inspiration came to the Prophet. A meal was presented to the Prophet but he refused to eat from it. (Then it was presented to Zaid) who said, "I do not eat anything which you slaughter in the name of your stone idols. I eat none but those things on which Allah's Name has been mentioned at the time of slaughtering." Zaid bin 'Amr used to criticize the way Quraish used to slaughter their animals, and used to say, "Allah has created the sheep and He has sent the water for it from the sky, and He has grown the grass for it from the earth; yet you slaughter it in other than the Name of Allah. He used to say so, for he rejected that practice and considered it as something abominable.
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Zaid bin 'Amr bin Nufail went to Sham, inquiring about a true religion to follow. He met a Jewish religious scholar and asked him about their religion. He said, "I intend to embrace your religion, so tell me some thing about it." The Jew said, "You will not embrace our religion unless you receive your share of Allah's Anger." Zaid said, "'I do not run except from Allah's Anger, and I will never bear a bit of it if I have the power to avoid it. Can you tell me of some other religion?" He said, "I do not know any other religion except the Hanif." Zaid enquired, "What is Hanif?" He said, "Hanif is the religion of (the prophet) Abraham who was neither a Jew nor a Christian, and he used to worship None but Allah (Alone)" Then Zaid went out and met a Christian religious scholar and told him the same as before. The Christian said, "You will not embrace our religion unless you get a share of Allah's Curse." Zaid replied, "I do not run except from Allah's Curse, and I will never bear any of Allah's Curse and His Anger if I have the power to avoid them. Will you tell me of some other religion?" He replied, "I do not know any other religion except Hanif." Zaid enquired, "What is Hanif?" He replied, Hanif is the religion of (the prophet) Abraham who was neither a Jew nor a Christian and he used to worship None but Allah (Alone)" When Zaid heard their Statement about (the religion of) Abraham, he left that place, and when he came out, he raised both his hands and said, "O Allah! I make You my Witness that I am on the religion of Abraham."
Narrated Asma bint Abi Bakr: I saw Zaid bin Amr bin Nufail standing with his back against the Ka'ba and saying, "O people of Quraish! By Allah, none amongst you is on the religion of Abraham except me." He used to preserve the lives of little girls: If somebody wanted to kill his daughter he would say to him, "Do not kill her for I will feed her on your behalf." So he would take her, and when she grew up nicely, he would say to her father, "Now if you want her, I will give her to you, and if you wish, I will feed her on your behalf."
So clearly Muhammed met people who had heard about Christian and Jewish ideas. Their concerns were, no surprise, often his concerns as well. This does not mean that Muhammed copied anything from anyone or anything like that. Let me distance myself from such claims utterly as there is no proof or evidence of such claims. But he did live in an environment that was not entirely unacquainted with such accounts.