Encyclopedia of Islam Myths: Islamic Myths About Muhammad's Childhood
Muslims tell all kinds of myths and fairy tales about the childhood of their religious founder Muhammad. Problem is, they are no better than make believe stories old women tell their grandchildren. Unfortunately these stories have been adopted into the mainstream of Islam as fact.
- Nothing is known for certain about Muhammad's childhood. The void has gradually become filled with legends which grow ever more beautiful and edifying with the passage of time. Even the earliest -and most moderate accounts must be treated with great caution. (Mohammed, Maxime Rodinson, 1961, translated by Anne Carter, 1971, p 38-49)
- The oldest collections of historical traditions available to us date from about 125 years after the Prophet's lifetime. Much imagination may have gone to work in the meantime. And yet many facts can be established, as the parties who differ most widely are agreed on the main events of the Prophet's life, the names of his Companions and his wives, their kinship and genealogy, as well as on a great many other things, even down to details which are far from remarkable which nobody would have deemed worth inventing. But there are many points on which we are very far from certain; in particular, it is clear that little was known about the early years of Muhammad's life, and that much has been made up about it. I shall occasionally quote some of these tales, whose only virtue from an historical point of view is that they create a picture of a world not unlike that in which the young Muhammad must have grown up, besides giving us some idea of the way in which later Muslims pictured the life of their prophet. (Mohammed, Maxime Rodinson, 1961, translated by Anne Carter, 1971, p 38-49)
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