I went to a prayer breakfast this morning. The guest speaker was Congressman Joe Wilson from South Carolina. As a member of the house Armed Services Committee he's done some traveling to South West Asia (read Iraq). He related a story that while he was there and visiting Babylon, and a University at Babylon, that a decsendent of the Prophet Muhammad said that he thought the US had fulfilled a Quaranic verse about an eagle cleanising the land of Islam.
Well, right away my BS Meter pegged. I'd seen this once before and looked it up on Snopes. Just to be sure I did a word search of several translations of the Quran and the word "eagle" doesn't even appear.
So, either Rep Joe Wilson is full of sh*t,
or the "descendant of Muhammad was pulling his leg...
what do you think.
In fairness...I'm going to do a word search of the Hadith as well. OK, just completed the seach, finding nothing. What did Snopes say?
Here it is:
Claim: Quranic verse speaks of the "wrath of the Eagle cleansing the lands of Allah."
Example:[Collected on the Internet, 2003]
Quran (9:11) -- For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace.
Origins: No, this isn't a legitimate quotation from the Quran (or Koran), the sacred text of Islam. The chapter and verse citation quoted above is a leg-pull , an obvious play on the USA's (the Eagle) launching of military action against Afghanistan and Iraq (the "lands of Allah") in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks on America organized by Osama bin Laden (the "son of Arabia awakening a fearsome eagle"). That the chapter and verse selection match the date of the terrorist attacks (9:11) is another giveaway to the joke.
Depending upon which translation of the Quran one uses, the section corresponding to chapter 9, verse 11 actually reads something like this:
But if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, they are your brethren in faith; and We make the communications clear for a people who know.
Very interesting. I have no idea about the origin of the saying, and it may be difficult to find inasmuch as oral tradition is still very active in most Moslem countries.
Being a "descendent of the Prophet", however, is hardly a clue to secure information. In Islam it is a very common nobiliary title, applying to hundreds of thousands of people. In Iran, for instance, every person with "Seyyed" in his/her name is supposed to be a "descendent of the Prophet": my wife is, and her knowledge of Islam is very limited. An academic grade from the madraseh (theological school) would have been much more meaningful...
It was posted at 8:41 South Carolina time. SMOOCHES!
I sent the Congressman an email saying it may not be wise to use this story too often. A friend of mine, a Muslim who converted to Christianity, says that in his experience in the Middle East it's more than possible this "descendant" of Muhammad did indeed say this, trying to curry favor with the US...I've experienced similiar things myself.
I once heard a radio "newsstory" that sounded like it was an outrageous fabrication, and I searched all over the net for any other wire service or reputable news source to corroborate/support it. I could find nothing, so I emailed the station and advised them to quit reporting the story until they could do so. Turns out it was, indeed, a hoax.
Another sort-of related complaint/news story situation. Within 8 weeks of 9/11, my son's 5th grade class got their social studies "newspapers", a special edition dealing with the tragedy. The whole angle of the issue seemed to be to calm students' anger toward Muslims. The terrorists were NOT Muslims, just people calling themselves that. The intent was admirable, but the truth is a lot more complex than what they presented. I called the principal and also emailed the newspaper to point out how they had done a disservice to the students, as years down the road they would discover that indeed, Muslim extremists/fundamentalists had done this.
Understanding those issues is difficult for 10-year olds, but covering up truth is worse in the long term.