Were certain Christian monks the source of Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) knowledge?

In our last session we discussed the general theories followed by the critics of Islam about the sources of the Qur'an. In this article we refute the myth of Prophet (PBUH) learning from particular individuals, considering the each case. Following are the priests and monks whom the Prophet (PBUH) met ;

a- Bohera

b- Nastura

c- Warqa bin Nawfal

And we shall tackle the case of each one of them separately.


JM Rodwell, it seems, was too excited about this issue. He wrote about the response of People of Mecca to the Prophet (PBUH);

“They accused him of having confederates, and even specified foreigners who had been his coadjutors. Such were Salman the Persian, to whom he may have owed the descriptions of Heaven and Hell, which are analogous to those of the Zendavesta; and the Christian monk Sergius, or as the Muhammadans term him, Boheira.” (ONLINE SOURCE)

The most detailed narration about Prophet’s (PBUH) meeting with Bohera is given in Jami’ Tirmidhi;

Abu Musa Ash’ary (RA) narrated: Abu Talib set forth for Syria and the Prophet (PBUH) travelled with him, elders of the Quraysh were part of the caravan. When they reached the monk, he came down (his hermitage). They unfastened the saddles of their animals and he came to them though before that they used to pass by him, he never came out and never paid attention to them. As they were unpacking their saddles, he mingled among them till he came to Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) and held his hand, saying, “He is the chief of the universe. He is the Messenger of the Lord of the worlds. Allah has sent him as mercy to the worlds.” The elders among the Quraysh asked him how he could say that and he answered, “While you were coming down the hillock, none of the stones and trees missed prostrating before him, and these two (objects) do not prostrate but to a Prophet. And I recognize him by the Seal of Prophethood on the upper bone on his shoulder, firm like an apple.’ Then he went away and prepared a meal for them. When he brought it to them, the Prophet (PBUH) had taken the camels to graze. He said, “Send for him.” He came while a small cloud cast its shadow over him. When he came to the people, he found that they had preceded him to the shade of the trees. When he sat down, the tree bowed towards him and cast its shade over him. The monk pointed out, “Observe the tree bowing to him.” The narrator reported that while he was standing among them, he entreated them that they should not take him to Rome, “for, when the Romans see him, they will recognize him from the descriptions and will kill him.” Then he turned and suddenly seven Romans came whom he received and asked, “What has brought you here?” They said, “We have come, that this Prophet will emerge this month. We have left no road but sent people there. When we received news of him, we were sent on your path, this one.” He asked, “Is there anyone behind you and better than you?” They repeated that they were informed that he was on his path-that one.

The monk asked them, ‘Think if God decides to do something, can one of mankind avert it?” They said, “No.” So, he said, “Pledge allegiance to him and support him.” Then he asked (the Quraysh) I adjure you by Allah, who is his guardian? They said, “Abu Talib.” So he did not cease to adjure him till he sent him back. (Jami’ Tirmidhi, Hadith 3640)

I need not explain anything regarding this narration for it evidently refutes any notion of Prophet (PBUH) learning anything from him. So it was all about reading the actual and the most detailed narration and you, the reader, I hope know well the absurdity of using this incident to maintain that Prophet (PBUH) learnt anything from him.

I want to ask;

1- Where in the story is the mention of the Prophet (PBUH) learning from or even asking the monk anything?

2- So when the Prophet (PBUH) never inquired anything from the monk how could he be his teacher or source?


He was another monk to whom the Prophet (PBUH) is said to have met before announcement of the Prophethood.

He was a monk from the region of Busra in Syria. The incident about meeting with him is also of the same nature as that of Boheira (See Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, Tarikh Tabari etc.). Infact the meeting with him was of even shorter duration and it is inconceivable that during that short period so much knowledge of the Judeo-Christian tradition was passed on the Prophet (PBUH) that he used it for more then two decades subsequently. Infact to assume that even a single letter was learnt by the Prophet (PBUH) from him is nothing more than wishful thinking. All such notions make nothing more than a perfect display of the frustration of those allergic to the Truth.

Warqah bin Nawfal:

He was a Christian, said to be well versed in early scriptures and to whom the Prophet (PBUH) was taken after the first revelation and knowing the story he remarked that he thought the angel that came to the Prophet (PBUH) was the same who visited Moses (PBUH).

Here is an account of Prophet’s (PBUH) contact with Warqa bin Naufal.

“Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza, who, during the PreIslamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqa, "Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!" Waraqa asked, "O my nephew! What have you seen?" Allah's Apostle described whatever he had seen. Waraqa said, "This is the same one who keeps the secrets (angel Gabriel) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out." Allah's Apostle asked, "Will they drive me out?" Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said, "Anyone (man) who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly." (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 3)

This is all about contact between the Prophet (PBUH) and Warqa bin Naufal. Does this prove the Prophet (PBUH) learnt anything from him? You, the reader, be the judge. And here is frank admission from one of the most notorious anti-Islamic sites;

“So, does this prove that Waraqa taught Muhammad? No, it does not.”

The conjecture that follows this admission is not worthy to be considered at an academic level.

Salman the Persian:

Further, let me respond briefly to the stupidity of Mr. Rodwell who in the above quoted passage says; ‘Salman the Persian, to whom he may have owed the descriptions of Heaven and Hell, which are analogous to those of the Zendavesta. I do not know what similarity he found between the descriptions of the Heaven and the Hell in Islamic sources and those of Zendavesta but such speculative bubbles only help us put these liars to shame. It is an established fact that Salman, the Persian, met the Prophet (PBUH) only after his emigration from Makkah to Medina while many of the chapters that deal with descriptions of the Heaven and Hell were revealed in Makkah.

The most wonderful part is that Mr. Rodwell was the person who arranged the surah according to their order of revelation in his translation of the Holy Qur’an.

Here I reproduce the references under the heading “heaven” in the index given at the end of Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation of the Holy Qur’an:

Heaven 2:25,3:15,3:136,3:181,3:195,3:198

- family in 13:23,40:8

- filled with mighty guards and flames 72:8

- immortal youths in 56:17,76:19

- parents united with offspring 52:21,56:36

- pure spouses in 2:25,3:15,4:57,36:56,43:70

- several 2:29,2:164,3:129,6:73,6:101,17:44,55:30,65:12,67:3,71:15,78:12

- virgin mates of modest gaze 37:48-49,38:52,55:56,55:72-74,56:22,56:34-36,78:33

Consider the Surah numbers in the index and check for the Surahs that are labeled as “Meccan” in the translation of Mr. Rodwell himself. He agreed that following surahs are “Meccan.” This can be verified opening the page for each Surah HERE.

13, 37, 38, 36, 40, 43, 52, 56, 55, 67, 71, 72, 73, 78

But still he conveniently neglects these important facts to spread confusion through lies. Verily the West owes a lot to such fraudsters for the misgivings it has about Islam and Muslims.


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