Vedic Past of Pre-Islamic Arabia – Part 7
The innumerable strokes of Mohammad’s bloody sword, still could not sever Arabia’s ties to its ancient Vedic heritage. When the tribe of Hawazin heard that the Muslims had taken Mecca, they made preparations to fight. They were led by Malik Ibn Auf, chief of the clan of Bani Nasr and accompanied by the Beni Saad and Thaqeef tribes. The Prophet of Islam in his usual insidious way had planted spies among the unsuspecting tribespeople to discover all their plans for attack. He was determined to teach these insolent rebels a lesson. Armed in full armour and protected by an impenetrable cohort of defenders, he descended upon the Hawazin with an army of 12,000 fresh converts, who were drooling at the prospect of fresh loot & women.
The brave Hawazin numbering 4,000 hid out in the ravines around the valley of Hunain and lay in wait. As the Muslims poured down the valley in the twilight of dawn, men suddenly sprang out from the hills on both sides & took them completely by surprise.
Map of areas in Muhammad’s path of conquest
Cries of “Victory to Al-lat!!” filled the air. In a scene which strikes one as something straight out of Rajput history, the sounds came from the front guard of the Thaqeef who held the Black banner signifying a fight to the death in honor of their Vedic goddess .
The leading contingents of the Muslims panicked & fled back wildly up the valley towards the pass by which they had entered it, throwing into complete chaos those behind them who were still coming. The Prophet & his cohort of defenders were caught by the retreating mass & swept away, but somehow managed to flee to the foot of the hills on one side of the valley. Muhammad clung to a rock, trembling with fear & fury. “Where are you going! Where are you going! Rally to me! I AM the Apostle of God! O citizens of Medina! O helpers! Which one of you will become a martyr for the sake of Muhammad, the Messenger of God!”, he screamed pathetically. The traitorous chief of Mecca, Abu Sofian was secretly delighted & whispered gleefully to a fellow Meccan, “Nothing can stop these Muslims from fleeing now, except the Sea.” His companion joyfully exclaimed ” Indeed has not this evil sorcery (Islam) come to an end today! ” At this point a group of the forcibly converted Meccans in the Prophet’s army, pushed their way forward in a desperate attempt to kill him. An alarmed fully armoured Muhammad cowered behind a rock as his bodyguards fought them off. Gradually however the sheer advantage of numbers turned the tide in the Muslims’ favour. They started beheading all the tribesmen. The Women & children of the Hawazin , had accompanied their men to watch & cheer them on from the caves on the hills. The Muslims attacked these innocents immediately, much to the Prophet’s glee, who leered ” Now the oven is hot for you”. Upon seeing their loved ones being beheaded before their eyes, the Hawazin Tribesmen lost heart & readily gave up their lives. Thousands lost their lives & the ones who survived were enslaved in the customary Islamic fashion.
After this victory Muhammad turned his attention to the Thaqeef who had taken such an active part in the Battle of Hunain . He was enraged at their bravery and persistent loyalty to their beloved goddess Al-lat(Durga). The Thaqeef were from Taif, a small but extremely prosperous town. In 619, the Prophet had tried to persuade the people of Taif to shelter him when he was fleeing from Mecca in fear, but they had clearly refused. Muhammad was determined to get his revenge on them, one way or another.
The city of Taif was principally famous for its gardens & vineyards. Due to its location among the mountains, the city had a temperate climate that was ideal for growing grapes and pomegranates. Taif was famous for these fruits as well as for honey. Muhammad set out with his army and besieged the city. But a few catapults and the siege of a prosperous fortified city such as Taif were not going to affect the courageous Thaqeef. After eleven days of the siege had passed, they calmly sent out a messenger to tell Muhammad that the city had enough rations to last them 2 years of siege. An enraged Muhammad then made an exceptionally cruel decision. The Prophet decided if he couldn’t have the spoils of Taif, no one else could and therefore “ordered his glorious companions to fell the date trees and to destroy every vineyard of this place”. Such an action is equivalent to mass murder in the dry environs of Arabia where it is difficult to find vegetation. Thus a unique ecosystem that had been carefully nurtured by the sweat and blood of the brave Thaqeef was ruthlessly obliterated. They were left with heaps of ash in place of the fruit of years of hard work, thanks to the “Messenger of Peace”! After a fortnight Muhammad had to raise the siege on Taif. An enraged & frustrated Muhammad swore that he would teach a bitter lesson to the Thaqeef who had defied him so persistently. He was forced to retreat and head back towards Medina.
Present day town of Taif, still famous for its superb grapes
n the meantime the Prophet had not lost sight of his primary goal of destroying every remnant of Vedic culture. His “holy & prophetic lordship” had sent out many of his glorious companions to destroy any traces of Vedic culture that still existed. Every idol was shattered, every temple burned, every Priest massacred. To describe the horrendous effect of such an assault on the existent culture of a religion, is impossible. So many temples were destroyed that no count remained. Later Muslim historians ensured that the world never got to know about the magnitude of the cultural genocide that the Prophet had perpetuated. To this day we know about only a handful of the desecrated shrines. Some of these accounts are listed below:-
1) The Temple of Dhu-l-Khalasa:
This temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva, Dhu-L-Khalasa stood for “The One of Kailash”. It was situated in Yemen and called “Al Kaba Al Yamaniya” meaning the Yemeni equivalent of the Meccan Kaaba. The Prophet’s helper Jarir set out with a force of 150 cavalrymen from the Ahmas Tribe. In Jarir’s words: ” We dismantled it and burnt it to the ground and killed whoever was present there.” Jarir also sent a message to Muhammad saying ” By Allah, I did not leave that place till it was like a scabby camel!”. Plenty of valuables and rare perfumes were robbed. The beautiful statue of Dhu-L-Khalasa (Shiva), a white piece of marble in which a crown was carved, was used as the stepping stone under the mosque at Tabala.
2)The Temples of Fils & Ruda in Tai:
Ali Bint Abi Talib went to the Temple of Fils to destroy it by order of Muhammad. He took 200 horsemen with him. Ali tortured and murdered many people present there, and then enslaved the survivors. This Temple stood on Mount Aja’ (“Aja” is another name for Brahma) and contained images of the Mother Goddess. Ali obtained two swords from the temple, one named Rasub and another called Makhzam, both swords were extremely valuable. The Temple of Ruda was looted & destroyed in the same manner.It was dedicated to Lord Rudra (Shiva) and contained a beautiful jet black Shivling. The Shivling was smashed into its base and the temple razed.
3) The Temple of Al-Uzza of Banu Sulaim: The leader of the Tribe of Banu Sulaim was a treacherous man who was bought out by Muhammad. The Prophet gave him a huge estate to bribe him.Ghadi Bint Abd Al Uzza thus went to the Temple of Al-Uzza belonging to his tribe and smashed the image to pieces in front of his horrified Tribespeople. All the protesters were killed on the spot.
4) The Temple of Uzra:
The Tribe of Banu Uzra had a Temple for their God Uzra. Uzra is derived from the Sanskrit word “Ujras” which means “the month of Kartik”. Since we know that Lord Shiva’s son Kartikkeya was worshipped in the Kaaba, it is plausible to assume that this Temple was dedicated to none other than Kartikkeya . The Priests of this Temple turned out to be quite intelligent, They sent a group to the Prophet & appealed to his Ego by saying that the idol of Uzra had spoken & declared Muhammad to be the True Prophet. Immediately Muhammad said ” This looks to be a believing Jinn”. In this way the Banu Uzra ensured their survival. There is no indication of whether this particular Temple survived or not.
Arabic sculptures of Lord Shiva who was called “Suwa” & “Ruda” and Al-Uzza (Goddess Durga)
This was of course only the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of accounts of the destruction of Vedic Temples, remain unrecorded and thus unknown to us. The Prophet of Islam was at his most powerful at this period. His Megalomania was beginning to manifest itself in the extreme. Muhammad’s desire to be treated as the ultimate Lord of the world was being fulfilled. He surrounded himself with the sycophants who grovelled the most and himself started believing that he was indeed God on earth. Allah had already started taking second place to Muhammad in the Koranic Surahs. The following two examples reveal how his megalomania had taken over Muhammad’s mind.
1)This is a Hadith (#118) from Sahih Bukhari, one of the respected books that accounts the Prophet’s behaviour:
“Allah’s Apostle came to us at noon and water for ablution was brought to him. After he had performed ablution, the remaining water was taken by the people and they started smearing their bodies with it (as a blessed thing). The Prophet offered two Rakat of the Zuhr prayer and then two Rakat of the ‘Asr prayer while an ‘Anza (spearheaded stick) was there (as a Sutra) in front of him. Abu Musa said: The Prophet asked for a tumbler containing water and washed both his hands and face in it and then threw a mouthful of water in the tumbler and said to both of us (Abu Musa and Bilal), “Drink from the tumbler and pour some of its water on your faces and chests.”
Muhammad would give the dirty water from his abolutions to the Muslims, who would in turn smear it all over themselves as if it were holy water!
2) Muhammad used to have a secretary by the name of Abdallah Ibn Saad who used to take down the sayings of the Koran at his dictation. At one point Muhammad was coming up with a divine verse & could not finish it. Abdallah absent-mindedly completed it for him and was shocked when Muhammad said “Yes that’s it”, since the Koran was supposed to be a divine revelation from Allah himself & only Muhammad was supposed to be privy to those words. Abdallah immediately abjured Islam & fled to Mecca. During the conquest of Mecca his name was on top of the list of people to be killed. However his foster-brother Uthman pleaded for his life, at which the prophet kept silent. After Uthman had gone, Muhammad shouted at his followers “By God I kept silent all this time so that one of you may go upto that dog & cut off his head!” The bewildered followers asked Muhammad why he had not made a signal to them to do this. At this Muhammad gritted his teeth and hissed “A Prophet does not kill by making mere signs”
Madain Saleh, one of the few temple remains of Arabia’s Vedic past
By now the first pilgrimage season after the Muslim Occupation of Mecca had come round. Muhammad came up with new revelations which were read out to the assembled crowds at Mina. In short, the declaration was that idolaters had four months in which to convert, after these 4 months, Muhammad was free of all responsibilities towards them. They would be attacked, killed & plundered wherever they were found. Next he stipulated in the usual cruel manner, that only Muslims could attend the pilgrimage, henceforth non-muslims would not be allowed to enter the confines of Mecca. With this the Prophet snatched away one of Sanatan Dharma’s holy shrines and closed it from the world forever. In my next article I will relate the subsequent horrors committed by Muhammad in the name of Islam.
Note: The Works “The Life & times of Muhammad” by Sir John Glubb, “Mohammed” by Anne Carter “The History of Al-Tabari, Volume 7” by Michael Fishbein and “Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them? – Volume 2” by Sita Ram Goel have been used to compose this article.