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This antagonism between Muhammad and the Jews was perfectly natural. Not only were they unable to admit his claims, but on one great principle of action they were fundamentally opposed. He, as we shall see, desired to conserve the old Arab customs and even allowed much of the old pagan ceremonial to remain in Islam; they were conservative upholders of the ceremonies of their revealed Law and of the customs based on the interpretations of it. The time had now come when the breach with Judaism must be complete, and Muhammad made changes with, as is alleged by Arabian writers, the express object of abolishing from Islam resemblances to Judaism.1

Coincident with this rejection of the Jews is the attempt to conciliate the Meccans by sanctioning the pilgrimage to the Ka'ba:—

Accomplish the pilgrimage and the visitation of the holy places in honour of God. Sura Al-Baqarah (ii) 192.

كراهة لموافقة النفى التشبية باليهود
quoted by Rabbi Geiger in Judaism and Islam, p. 157. The learned Rabbi proceeds to show in detail how many changes Muhammad made. Amongst others he refers to the prayer (صلاة العشا ) after supper as contrary to the Talmudic orders.
The laws about women conform more to Arabian than to Jewish usage. The permission in Sura Al-Baqarah (ii) 183 is opposed to the directions of the Talmud.
The law laid down in Sura Al-Baqarah (ii) 230 is simply disgusting; so much so that Syed Amir 'Ali considers that it has been abrogated by the next verse (Life of Muhammad, p. 248) ; but it is still the law of Islam. Sir 'Abdu'r-Rahim, says, 'The express object of the law in adding this condition is to discourage such divorces.' Muhammadan Jurisprudence, p. 337. This law Syed Amir 'Ali expounds in his learned work, Personal Law of the Muhammadans, p. 335. As an historian he regrets the Qur'anic injunction and throws doubt upon its authority; but as the trained and practical lawyer he admits its obligation. The actual existing law on the subject is also given in Baillie's Imameea p. 120, and in his Hanifeea, p. 292. It is, however, distinctly opposed to the Jewish law on the subject as stated in Deuteronomy xxiv. 1-4. It is a clear instance of the way in which Muhammad now sought to differentiate Islam from Judaism.

Divine approval is also obtained for the retention of the pagan ceremonies of going round the hills Safa and Marwa:—

Verily, Safa and Marwa are among the monuments of God: whoever then maketh a pilgrimage to the temple, or visiteth it, shall not be to blame if he go round them both. Sura Al-Baqarah (ii) 153.

It is, however, probable that these verses are interpolations here and that they were really revealed later on when the first pilgrimage was made.

This second Sura, Sura Al-Baqarah, then, throws a clear light on the changing policy of Muhammad at this early period of his Madina career and is itself illustrated by the history of the period. It is also an excellent example of the way in which the revelations were timed to meet the exigencies of the varying social and political situations of the Prophet and his cause. It also shows that he had already, at this early stage of his residence in Madina, realized that open war with his countrymen was unavoidable and must soon come. At all events, it was time to prepare the minds of his followers for cares and troubles of this kind and to stimulate their zeal and courage by examples from Jewish history:—

Think ye to enter Paradise, when no such things have come upon you, as on those who flourished before you? Ills and troubles tried them. Sura Al-Baqarah (ii) 210.
Hast thou not thought on those who quitted their dwellings—and they were thousands—for fear of death? God said to them, 'Die'; then He restored them to life, for full of bounty towards man is God. But most men are thankless.
Fight for the cause of God. Sura Al-Baqarah (ii) 244-5.

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