Are you a real Muslim and how


1In this post I would like to analyze a tradition that is sometimes called the "story of the election" (qissat al-takhyîr) 1 is designated. According to this tradition, an angel who "still stands above Gabriel" has a voice without a name, or the Lord himself calls upon the Prophet Muhammad to decide whether he wants to be a king or a servant as a prophet. This alternative forms a contrast between two prophetic types, both of which shaped the traditional image of Muhammad: As a "royal prophet", Muhammad is the epitome of sovereignty and thus follows on from the model of holy royalty in the Bible and the Koran; as a "serving prophet" he embodies the ideal of submission to God, which is expressed in the Bible and in the Koran in the title "servant of God" or "servant of God". In the Qur'an this epithet denotes both prophets who have their kingshipmulk) received from God, as well as prophets who were not kings.2 The distinction, or rather the opposition, between king and servant is further developed in tradition and takes on important political and theological connotations that concern both the nature and the function of the prophet . The »Tale of Choice« stages the tension between these two components of his picture in the form of a temptation story. Much like the story of Jesus' temptation in the desert3, it reflects a debate about the nature and function of the founder that goes back to the first phase of the community, but has continued to develop over the course of its history. In this debate, different typological interpretations of the person who founders of religion come together, i.e. different ways of locating him in salvation history by illuminating his relationship to the biblical figures. The determination of a type is equivalent to the development of an iconography, whether it is developed in texts or in images. As we shall see, the attitude of the prophet, according to the traditions handed down in pious milieus, competes with a royal iconography, which is attested not only by individual texts but also by a few miniatures. These types survive the times and adapt to ever new contexts. At the beginning of the 20th century, these old symbols were charged with new meanings in the context of the modern contrast between the political and the religious. Shortly after the abolition of the Ottoman “caliphate” in 1924, the Egyptian lawyer 'Alî' Abd al-Râziq cites the “story of the election” as one of the traditional testimonies to the fact that “the prophet was not a king and the sovereign Power neither strived for nor longed for ”.4 The fact that the prophet did not want to be a king means for this author that it is not the task of Islam to decide on the form of government. This would reinforce the separation of politics and religion that, Abd al-Râziq defends against the emerging theories of the Islamic state. This must also be remembered because ‘Abd al-Râziq is mostly seen as the mouthpiece of Western conceptions without taking into account his roots in his own tradition. The traditional portrayal of Muhammad as a “royal prophet”, on the other hand, is still cited by some Western researchers as proof that “the separation of politics and religion has no right to exist for Islam”, 5 indeed that Islam is characterized by an “extraordinary [ …] The fusion ”of the political and the religious.6 Contrary to these schematizations, the“ story of the election ”testifies to the complexity of that traditional representation, which cannot be reduced to a specific political theory. Rather, the image of Muhammad conveys different conceptions of the relationship between the two powers, ranging from merging to unity in difference to division.

2Before examining the contrast between the two figures of the royal and the ministering prophet in the "Tale of Election," let us consider the subject of the temptation of power, as the traditional narrative of the life of the prophet does Sîra, unfolded. This topic comes up here at three decisive moments: in the two tests of the authenticity of his prophetic claim to which Muhammad is subjected in his arguments with the Quraish of Mecca and the Jews of Medina, and in the decision between this world and the otherworldly, to which he is called upon at the hour of his death. As we shall see, each of these three episodes shows our subject in a different light.

3 After the Sîra of Ibn Ishâq / Ibn Hishâm, the unbelieving Quraish Muhammad invited them to Mecca at the beginning of his prophecies in order to tempt him: If he were about money, they would make him the richest man among them; if honor be his aim, they would appoint him their elder; but be it sovereignty, then to their king (wa in kunta turîdu bihi mulkan mallaknâka ‘alaynâ). They then present him with several challenges: he has to prove by miracle that he is the Messenger of God; he should show his favor and his position with God by asking Him to send an angel; or he should finally let "the sky fall in pieces" over them. Muhammad rejects these temptations and challenges: “I do not do this and do not ask anything from God for me […]. I was not sent to you for this. ”7

4This narrative brings together a number of verses from the Qur'an in which the unbelievers refuse to believe the prophet because he is merely a man like everyone else.8 The Quraysh are of the opinion rather: “God is too great to be his messenger Human as we could be «; a messenger must be different from the rest of the people (yatamayyazu) like the angels who worship the unbelievers. 9 The Sîra supplements the denial of the angelic nature of the prophet in the Koran with the refusal to regard him as royal, giving the subject the form of a temptation story, the model of which could be the temptation of Jesus in the desert

5Like the story of the temptation of Christ by the devil, the story of the temptation of Muhammad by the Quraish informs us about the nature of his person and the aim of his mission - »Good news and threats to you (bashîr nadhîr) ", he replies to his" tempters ": I have conveyed my message to you, it is up to you to accept or reject it. According to another review of the Sîra Ibn Ishâqs appears to Muhammad the moment the Quraish conspire to kill him, the Archangel Gabriel and tells him: “God has commanded the heavens, the earth and the mountains to obey you. If you will, command the heavens to fall on their heads, the earth to devour them, and the mountains to crush them. "But the Messenger of God replies:" I give my community a respite (u’akhkhir): Perhaps God turns to them. "11 Following this episode, the biblical narrative of the punishment of the Korah's band is cited, in which Moses shows himself relentlessly, and God comments:" My servants have begged you, and you have she did not belong. If they had turned to me, I would have heard them. ”12 Muhammad stands out here from Moses through his indulgence and gentleness and shows his resemblance to Jesus.13

6Muhammad's indulgence and gentleness go well with his quality as a preaching and admonishing prophet who is rejected and persecuted by his own. The situation changed after the hijra, when he exercised a rule recognized by his community and achieved military victories with the help of angels. The nature of the prophet's power is precisely the theme of the second story of Temptation in the Sîra, in which Muhammad is confronted with the Jews of Medina. In this context, the contrast between prophecy and kingship is presented in a new light. In Medina, the rabbis put Muhammad to the test by letting him judge adultery: if he recognizes stoning, i.e. the punishment prescribed by the Torah, then he is a true prophet (nabî), but if he condemns to scourging, public humiliation and exile, then he is only a king (malik) .14 By choosing the first alternative, Muhammad updates the example of Moses and revives the Mosaic Law.15 In contrast to the temptation of Mecca, which emphasizes Muhammad's indulgence and informs us about the human nature of the Messenger, the Temptation of Medina predicts that he is in a position of power and explains its character to us: He is not a king, but a prophet because he does not enact laws, but merely applies the divine law.16 Muhammad did not establish a monarchy, but a nomocracy .

7 In these first two stories, temptation is a test of the truthfulness of Muhammad's prophecy. She responds to a polemical objection that has accompanied Islam from birth and according to which Muhammad is not a real prophet, but a king.17 The situation is different in the story of the death of Muhammad, in which the rejected offer does not come from the enemy. but from God, and tempting the faithful companions of the Prophet. In this chapter of the Sîra the topic of choice is taken up three times. The first place is right at the beginning, in the section on the outbreak of his illness. According to one of ‘Abdallâh b. ‘Amr b. According to al-sÂ's tradition, Muhammad retired one night to pray in the ’al-Baqî cemetery, apologized for the believers who fell in battle, announced future disputes (fitan) and finally explains to his companion, a freedman (mawlâ) named Abû Muwayhiba:

»› I have been given the keys to the treasures of this world (mafâtîh khazâ’in al-dunyâ) and the eternal lingering in it (wa l-khuld fîhâ) 18 and then Paradise was offered, and I was given the choice (khuyyirtu) to decide for myself or for the encounter with my Lord and Paradise. ”His companion replies:“ I beg you, take the keys to the treasures of this world, the eternal lingering in it and Paradise! ”Yes Muhammad replies: ›No, by God, Abû Muwayhiba! I have decided to meet my Lord and paradise! ‹« 19

8Muhammad alludes to this decision once more as he climbs up to his pulpit to announce his final words: “God has given one of his servants the choice between this world and the one near him, and he has chosen the one near God . ”Abû Bakr bursts into tears because he is the only one who understands that Muhammad is speaking of his imminent death.20 Finally, the subject of election appears one last time in 'Â'isha's account of the Prophet's death.21

9The offer of the "keys to the treasures of this world" and the "eternal lingering in it" in the first of these texts are reminiscent of the biblical prophecies of the accession of the Messiah King to the throne, 22 which are sometimes used as testimony for the arrival Muhammad are cited.23 The vision of the offering of the keys is also counted by a canonical tradition among the evidences of favor reserved for the prophet: "I was with the sum of the words (jawâmi ‘al-kalim) sent out, I used terror (ru‘b) won victory, and while I was sleeping the keys to the treasures of this world were brought to me and pressed into my hand (utîtu bi-mafâtîh khazâ’in al-ard fa-wudi‘at fî yadî)«.24

10 In this episode the Sîra However, Muhammad rejects the favor against the wishes of Abû Muwayhiba. The reaction of this companion has a parallel in the protests of ‘Umar and other companions when they received the news of Muhammad's death. ‘Umar initially denies:

"Some hypocrites claim that Muhammad died, but by God, Muhammad did not die, but went to his Lord like Moses the son of Amram, who stayed away from his people forty days (ghâba) and then returned again (raja‘a) after he had already been said dead, by Allah, the Messenger of God will also return like Moses and cut off the hands and feet of those who said him dead. "25

11A group of companions not named by name also closed themselves to the news of the Prophet's death with the words: “How can it be that he dies before he has triumphed over men (wa lam yazhar ‘alâ al-nâs) «, That is, before he conquered the world? In contrast to ‘Umar, these companions compare Muhammad with Jesus and say that he" rose "like him and" will return "(rufi‘a […] wa-la-yarji’anna).26

In the narrative of the last days of Muhammad, the motif of choice serves to give meaning to the circumstances of his death. The traditions edited by Ibn Hishâm aim to confirm the point of view that finally prevailed among the Sunnis: the Prophet left neither an heir nor an inheritance and formally did not appoint a successor, even if he showed his preference for Abû Bakr by various signs Has. The story of the election is deliberately placed in front of a chapter that addresses these problems as the motto. By renouncing, Muhammad rises above the worldly vicissitudes of his community, which is on the verge of glorious conquests and the abyss of civil wars. Muhammad is the founder of the "better community", but he is not the first "king" of the Islamic empire. By his choice of death, he turns out to be like Moses and Jesus, who left disciples but did not establish dynasties. Like Moses, who dies before entering the promised land, Muhammad dies before the conquests27 and meets the angel of death.28 Abû Muwayhiba's reaction is also reminiscent of Peter's dismay at Jesus' announcement of suffering.29

13The chapter on the last days of the Prophet in Ibn Hishâms Sîra ends with the controversy between Abû Bakr and ‘Umar over the reality of his death. Abû Bakr, who is the only one who understands the allusion to the "choice" of the servant in Muhammad's last speech, proves to be the most suitable man through his sober reaction to the death of the Prophet and his steadfast response to 'Umar's protests, to make the community more loyal. Successor «without leading any extravagant claims. 'Umar, on the other hand, who goes so far as to speak of the "secrecy" and "return" of the prophet, are ascribed messianic features because of his conquests, especially of Jerusalem, which makes him appear like a David The choice of Muhammad made in Chapter gives Abû Bakr right from the start against 'Umar and at the same time confirms the superior merits of the former. Muhammad's renunciation functions in this context as a lesson for those of his most loyal companions who might be tempted by the charms of this world. In a variant of the hadith of choice, this lesson is addressed to ‘Umar himself. One day, he regretfully compares the unadorned prophet to the pomp of the Chosraus and Caesars. Muhammad corrects him by telling him that he has chosen to be a ministering prophet. 31

Contrary to the idea that Muhammad was the founder of a universal kingdom, the last before Judgment Day, his "choice" of death shows his agreement with other biblical models. In contrast to the polemical confrontation with the enemy, the aim here is not to defend the authenticity of Muhammad's prophecies, but to define the ultimate meaning of his mission and to determine who is his most loyal heir. Muhammad could avail himself of the offer of the "keys to the treasures of this world" without contradicting his status as a true prophet, but in this case would enjoy a lower rank than he really deserves.

The numerous variants of the story of the election can be traced back to three themes: the humiliation of the king, the belittling of his guardian angel, and the praise of the servant. In the following, they will be examined one after the other.

16 The ancient collections of traditions on asceticism (zuhd) lead the story of the election in terms of two aspects of Muhammad's behavior: his table manners and the way he (minbar) preaches. The Prophet's demeanor is not only important to good practice (sunna), but also because it characterizes his prophetic type. This is clearly evident in Ibn Sa‘d (d. 230/845), in which the chapter on "Eating Habits" (ma'kal) of the Prophet follows two chapters, one of which is his announcement in the Torah and Gospel and the other of which his character (khuluq) illuminated.

17 Ibn Sa‘d's chapter on the announcement of Muhammad in the Torah and Gospel32 brings together a number of traditions that paraphrase the description of a "servant of God" in Isaiah 42. The description of the "servant" as someone who does not scream or shout and whose voice will consequently not be heard in the streets (Isaiah 42: 2) is one of the most important biblical testimonies for the last prophet In a systematic form in which works on the "signs of prophecy" are incorporated, these biblical proclamations already play an important role in the oldest Islamic tradition.34 Ibn Sa'd describes the biblical proclamation of the last prophet in the version of Ka'b al-Ahbar (died approx. 32/652) as well as in that of the companion 'Abdallâh b. ‘Amr b. al-‘Âs, who is also the transmitter of the story of the ’al-Baqî‘ cemetery. According to this latest version, when asked about the description of Muhammad in the Torah, said Companion replied:

»It is described in the Torah in the same way as in the Koran:›O Prophet, We have sent you as a witness and a messenger of goodness and a warner‹(33.45). But in the Torah it says: 'O Prophet, We have sent you as a witness, a messenger of goodness, a warner, a refuge for the Gentiles. You are my servant and my envoy, I have called you 'the one who inspires confidence' (al-mutawakkil). He is neither strict nor brutal (laysa bi-fazz wa lâ ghalîz), he doesn't scream in the squares (wa lâ sakhkhâb bi-l-aswâq), he does not ward off evil with evil (wa lâ yadfa‘u al-sayyi’a bi-l-sayyi’a), 35 but he forgives and forgives (wa lâkin ya‘fû wa yaghfiru).‹«36

18 Modesty, gentleness, compassion, these decisive characteristics of the last prophet preached by the Bible correspond exactly to the character of Muhammad. Because Ibn Sa’d read the chapter on Muhammad’s character traits (akhlâq) directly follows the Isaiah quote in the course of his editing, he suggests that the figure of the "servant" corresponds most closely to the inner habitus and natural disposition of the prophet. The preferred witnesses to describe this habitus are the companions, especially those who have known him privately: his wives and his young servants. The Prophet's wives are asked in particular what character he is "at home" (fî baytihi) showed "when he withdrew to himself" (idhâ khalâ fî baytihi), as well as "his behavior in intimacy" (‘Amaluhu fî l-sirr).37

When asked about the "domestic" character of the prophet, ‘’isha repeats the description of the Torah almost word for word:

“He was the best person in character. He was not vulgar and was not improper (lam yakun fâhishan wa lâ mutafahhishan), he didn't shout in the squares (wa lâ sakhkhâb fî l-aswâq), and he did not reward evil for evil (wa lâ yajzî bi-l-sayyi’a mithlahâ), but he forgave and forgive (wa lâkin ya‘fû wa yasfahu).«38

20These special features distinguish the “servant” from the “tyrant”: “The prophet had qualities that do not exist in tyrants (kânat l-nabî khisâl laysat fî l-jabbârîn) «, Says the successor (tâbi ‘) 39 Hamza b. ‘Abdallâh b. ‘Utba fest. 40

21The concept jabbârûn deserves a brief digression. In our context this is jabbarlike the king, the opposite of "servant" .41 The negative meaning that our traditions associate with this expression corresponds to the Koranic usage. They are in the Koran jabbârûn "Hünen" (K 5:22), and jabbar generally means “tyrant” or “violent” (e.g. 11:59; 14:15) .42 John the Baptist and Jesus are extolled for having none jabbar are (19.14 & 32), and God reminds Muhammad not to jabbar because his mission is not to compel people into his allegiance (50:45). Indeed it is Al-Jabbar a divine name (59.23) that man appropriates only at his own risk. Fakhr al-Dîn al-Râzî explains: “It is said of a proud and haughty person that he jabbar is when he lacks humility and does not bow to anyone. This name is rightly due to Allaah. ”43

22However, the attribute jabbar can also be applied to humans in a positive sense. This is especially true of the messianic prophecies of the Bible, which Islamic sources regard as announcements of Muhammad's appearance. Here translates the Arabic jabbar the Hebrew gibbor ("Mighty", "hero"):

"The Lord goes into battle like a hero (ka-l-jabbar), he kindles his passion like a warrior. "44

»Belt, you hero (ayyuhâ l-jabbâr), your sword around your waist, for your laws and your rule (sunna) depend on the fear that your right arm inspires. "45

23'Alî al-Tabarî (3rd / 9th century) relates these two passages in the Bible to Muhammad and argues that the divine attributes here designate a human being.46 Qastallânî (d. 923/1517) also refers to Psalm 45: 4 Muhammad and sees in him “an express written testimony to the fact that Muhammad is a sharia and a sunna and that they will be established by his sword. What the jabbar as far as is concerned, he is the one who rightly forces people with the sword (yujbiru) and by compulsion (yes) dissuades from unbelief. «47

24These privileges of Muhammad correspond to one of the definitions of the divine name al-Jabbar:

»Al-jabbar is the one who forces you to do something, that is, he forces you to do what whoever wants. It is said that the Sultan forced someone to carry out his order when he forced him to do something that he disliked. You have to know that to force someone in this sense to do what he disgusts is stronger than just forcing or bringing him to something. […] In this sense indicates al-jabbar Allaah as the one who compels creatures to do what he has decided and urges them to do it whether they want to or not. «48

25Jabbar is, in short, the sovereign as the representative of divine power. According to 'Alî al-Tabarî, a conscript of the caliph al-Mutawakkil who had converted from Christianity, the biblical prophecies of the messianic kingdom apply not only to Muhammad, but in particular to the arrival of the Abbasid dynasty.49 His religious apologetics are actually at the same time a political one, as the title of his work suggests, »The Book of Religion and the Empire (kitâb al-dîn wa l-dawla) «. It can be assumed that the pious traditionists, if, according to Qur'anic custom, Muhammad gave any »jabbârûn-Qualities «on this Bible-inspired characterization of Muhammad as jabbar react.

26 After these explanations, let us come to the use of the term jabbar back to Ibn Sa’d's chapter: The description of the prophet's attitude to eating takes an important place there. Anas b. Mâlik relates: »The Messenger of God sat on the ground. He ate on the floor. "50 The prophet's speech makes it clear that this attitude is that of the servant:" I eat as the servant eats, I sit down as the servant sits, for I am nothing but one Servants. "51" The Prophet, "adds the narrator," was just standing ready when he sat down to rise again (kâna yajlisu muhtafizan).«52

A few pages on, his table manners are the subject of a separate chapter. The first five lore it cites revolve around how he sits down to eat. The first two state categorically: “It has never been seen that the Messenger of God propped himself up with his elbows (muttaki’an) «; he proclaims it himself: "I don't eat with my elbows propped up" .53

28The following three traditions explain in more detail that Muhammad did not stop eating with his elbows propped up until after heavenly intervention. After this tâbi ‘ ‘Atâ’ ibn Yasâr (d. 103/721) Muhammad was admonished by Gabriel:

“Gabriel came to Muhammad when he was at the highest point of Mecca with propped elbows (muttaki’an) ate. He said to him: 'Muhammad! [This is] the way kings eat (akl al-mulûk)! ‹So the messenger of God sat down.« 54

According to the traditionist and jurist Ibn Shihâb al-Zuhrî (d. 124/741) from Medina, on the other hand, the abandonment of the royal attitude was the result of an election:

We have been told: 'When an angel came to the prophet who had never come before and never came again afterwards. He said to him: Your Lord gives you the choice (yukhayyiruka) whether you are a royal prophet (nabî malik) or serving prophet (nabî ‘abd) want to be. The Prophet looked at Gabriel as if to seek advice (ka-l-mustashîr lahu), and the latter gave him a sign to humiliate himself (ashâra ilayhi an tawâda ‘). So the Prophet replied: Dear Serving Prophet. 'Zuhrî said: It is said that the Prophet, after saying these words, did not eat propped up until he left this lower world. "55

In all these traditions, the prophet's attitude gives an immediate visual impression of his prophetic type. Their symbolism is dominated by the contrast, borrowed from the Bible, between the "servant" or the "prophet" on the one hand and the "kings" or "tyrants" on the other: to eat while crouching on their heels, in constant readiness to eat to be raised again, corresponds to the eating habit of the "servant", 56 is to be eaten with propped elbows "the way of eating of kings (akl al-mulûk) «Or tyrants (jabbârûn); it is despicable "because it corresponds to the behavior of those who want to show their greatness (al-muta’azzimîn) by following the example (asl) imitate the Persian kings. "57

Another series of narrations with a pietistic tendency in which the hadith of choice appears is the use of the staff in the sermon. In this case, too, we find the story of choice in connection with traditions, in which the abandonment of this practice is presented as the result of an admonition by an angel or by God:

“Gabriel or another angel appeared to the prophet when he was holding a pointer (qadîb) seized. He said to him: 'Don't break your heads (qurûn, literally horns) of your community (umma)!‹«58

»The Prophet took a palm branch (‘Asîb min nakhl) to silence people. Then God revealed to him: 'O Muhammad, do not break your heads (qurûn) Your community! ‹Since then the prophet has not been seen with the branch.« 59

“Ibn Jurayj (d. 150/767) said: I asked‘ At'60: 'Did the Prophet, when he preached, take a stick (‘Asâ) supported? ‹› Yes, he said, he supported himself on it. ‹Ibn Jurayj also said:‘ Umar b. ‘Atâ’ reported to me: ›The Prophet used a palm branch without leaves (‘Asîb min jarîd al-nakhl) to silence people and give them signs. Then God revealed to him: 'O Muhammad, why are you breaking your heads (qurûn) your sheep (ra‘iyya)? ‹So he threw it away. Then Gabriel and Michael came to him and Michael said, 'Your Lord gives you the choice of being a royal prophet or a servant prophet.' The prophet looked at Gabriel, who gestured for him to humiliate himself. Then the prophet replied: 'Undoubtedly a servant prophet!' So Gabriel said: 'You are the prince of the sons of Adam (sayyid walad dam), you are the first to whom the earth will open (tanshaqqu ‘anhu al-ard) [at the resurrection], and the first of those who will intercede (awwal man yashfa‘u).‹«61

32This last tradition strings together two originally presumably independent stories: In the first, the prophet is asked to give up a repulsive practice; in the second, Michael suggests the choice between the two prophetic models, and Gabriel advises him. The fact that Michael appears as the first angel is remarkable, because usually this angel is either nameless or he is identified with Isrâfîl. The conclusion with the announcement of the intercession and the eschatological triumph of the prophet changes the tenor of the tradition: The emphasis is no longer on the prophet's correction, but on the reward that he contains for voluntarily renouncing the kingship. Because of this eschatological outcome, the hadith does not have the function of one sunna to justify, but to attest to the unique status of Muhammad.

33 It seems that the traditions in which the prophet is led, by exhortation or by his own choice, to follow the sunna of the "servant" to the correction of a competing representation of his person, which is connected with a royal imagery. The depiction of Muhammad sitting on his pulpit with a staff was an important part of this imagery.62 The pious traditionists countered this with the image of a prophet who not only sat on the ground and ate, but his minbar never used as a seat either. 63

34The minbar and the pointer (qadîb) were insignia of the sovereignty of the caliphs.64 Since the time of the Umayyads, the passing on of these two objects, which are said to have belonged to the Prophet, along with his seal and cloak, symbolized the continuity between the caliphs and Muhammad.65 Thus both were a sign of the legacy of the prophet and at the same time closely linked to monarchical power in the ancient and late ancient Middle East. 66

In the classic Sunni tradition, the subject of Muhammad's renunciation is sometimes turned in an anti-Shiite way. The Maliki lawyer Hammâd b. Ishâq (d. 267/880) the right of Muhammad's daughter Fâtima to inherit Fadak's lands that were spoiled from the campaign against the Khaybar oasis, and claims that the clearest evidence against the claims of the Shiites is Muhammad's refusal to to accept the "treasures of the earth". Those who considered the property of Muhammad to be a personal property that his loved ones could inherit would turn him into a "royal prophet" rather than a "renouncing prophet" (nabî zâhid) do. But Muhammad as "one of the prophets who were the kings of the world (ahad mulûk al-dunyâ min al-Anbiyâ ’) "To look at would be to violate one's dignity (ta‘ana) .67 The legal scholar thus takes a position with regard to another famous controversy in which Abû Bakr opposed the day after the death of the Prophet ‘Alî. Contrary to the demands of Fâtima and Abbâs ’, Abû Bakr appealed to a Hadith by Muhammad:“ We have no heirs; what we leave behind is intended for alms. ”‘ Alî, in turn, had replied with a quotation from the Koran: “And Solomon inherited David.” 68

The monarchy of David and Solomon, the prime example of the type of "royal prophet" in the Islamic tradition, represented the model of the amalgamation of royal and religious power not only for the followers of 'Alî, but also for the caliphs since the Umayyads .69 The agreement of Muhammad with this prophetic type is a commonplace of classical political doctrine.70 Rare miniatures showing Muhammad sitting cross-legged on the throne and which were made in Turkish and Persian courts from the 13th century onwards, attest to the continuation of this Model after the end of the Abbasid caliphate. 71

37 Those who renounced the founding phase72 did not limit themselves to rejecting royal, profane models borrowed from royal, profane models in the name of the Sunnah. Rather, they go so far as to devalue the figure of David: According to ancient Koran commentaries with a pietistic tendency, this is not one khalîfa, but a malikbecause he has shed blood.73 The tradition according to which Muhammad was instructed to abandon his regal demeanor can be compared to the scene of King David's repentance. In Christian iconography, the scene of David's humiliation is sometimes depicted as the king's descent from his throne. In the miniature of a Byzantine psalter from the 10th century, for example, you can see David, seated on his throne on the left, listening to Nathan’s reproaches, 74 while the king bows down to earth in the gesture of repentant in the picture on the right

David pénitent, Ms. Grec 139, f. 136v.

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Division occidentale

38 As part of his analysis of this motif in Byzantine ideology, Gilbert Dragon has shown that the humiliation of the emperor follows the model of the humiliation of the biblical king, but does not always have the same meaning. On the one hand, it can serve to illustrate the theory of the "two powers" and deny the sovereign any priestly privilege. This is the case in the confrontation between Bishop Ambrose of Milan and Emperor Theodosius I after he committed a massacre of rebellious residents of Thessaloniki. Here the bishop, like a new Natan, accuses the emperor of his crimes and denies him access to the place of worship, stating that “the purple makes emperors, but no priests” .76 On the other hand, the sovereign's repentance was viewed as “imperial Act "understood through which the emperor, who recognized his mistakes and prostrated himself before the" king of kings ", immediately proved to David as a" servant of God "and not as a" tyrant "in such a way that the theatrical repentance of the Confidently transformed into an apotheosis. 77

39This is also the case in the Qur'an, where David, after his prostration, was immediately recognized by God as khalîfa, as his deputy is installed.78 The repentance scene in the Koran is distinguished by the absence of the prophet Nathan. David, who is both servant and king, 79 does not need any further representatives of God in order to be corrected in his mistakes and recognized in his functions. "Servant", the epithet of the Davidic king in the psalms, is also a title with which the Umayyad caliphs adorned themselves, 80 who came to their offices without any priestly mediation because they themselves embodied both powers.81 The pietistic tradition, however, does away with it Natan in a way put his place back in. In an exemplary dialogue, ‘Umar asks Muhammad's Persian mawlâ Salmân: "Am I a king or a caliph?" Salmân gives him an answer that makes him burst into tears: "If you have taxed the Islamic countries with a dirham, or more or less, and have used this dirham for purposes, who contradict the law, then you are a king and not a caliph. ”82 Salman plays a role here similar to that of the Israelite prophets as they appear in the Islamic Bible stories: They are not kings themselves, but advisors and moral overseers of kings. 83

40 Although the pietistic criticism of kingship has left deep marks in the classical Sunni tradition, this tradition could not endorse the devaluation of the figure of the royal prophet without the legitimacy of Islamic power and its justification in divinis to question. Ibn Taymiyya states in his commentary on the hadith of choice that he is a "disapproval of kingship" (dhamm al-mulk) implies, 84 but makes every effort to weaken its scope. The superiority of the Messenger of the Prophet over the King of the Prophets had led to exaggerations "to the point that one of the people of the book undermined the prophecy of David and Solomon (ta‘ana), just as many people undermine the authority of the powerful and the rich ”.85 This is wrong, notes Ibn Taymiyya, because the characters Joseph, David and Solomon prove that one can be king and prophet at the same time. In the same way, one can be king and caliph at the same time.86 Rehabilitating biblical kingship effectively amounts to defending the legitimacy of the Umayyads.87

41Ibn Taymiyya offers an original reading of the hadith of choice in which, instead of contrasting king and servant sharply, he makes a threefold distinction. For him there are three kinds of prophets: those whom one does not believe or owe obedience and who wield no power, and those whom one obeys and who wield dominion. These latter in turn are divided into two categories: the ministerial messenger (‘Abd rasûl), who does not establish the law but applies the book of God, and the king of the prophets (nabî malik) who is entitled to command what he wants, like Solomon. Muhammad, like Moses, belongs to the first category. 88

42Other theologians recognize a correspondence between Muhammad and the type of royal prophet, but relativize their meaning. Mâwardî writes that Muhammad, like other kings of the prophets, wages jihad with the sword and that this violence is necessary because "the evil spirits can only be found through terror (rahba). 89 On the other hand, he explains that Muhammad prefers forgiveness to violence when he has the choice, even within the scope of his individual rights.90 In the same spirit, Qastallânî explains: When it means that Muhammad is "neither harsh nor brutal" As in Isaiah's preaching, which corresponds to K 3,159, this concerns the »noble nature (tab'), true to which he was created (jubila ‘alayhi) «, Or his relationship with the believers; if, on the other hand, he was instructed to be harsh, as in K 9.73, this would affect his duty to correct (mu‘âlaja) or his relationship to the unbelievers.91 According to a scheme that, as we have seen above, emerges in Ibn Sa'd, the characteristics of the "king" and those of the "servant" are assigned to the public space and the private sphere, respectively. yes even the outer and the inner dimension. The contrast between these properties is represented by a spatial metaphor in which the two opposing poles can exist side by side without one having priority over the other - unlike the distinction between the two types of the persecuted prophet and the victorious prophet, which are chronologically separated from one another by the transition from the Meccan to the Medinic period.

43 In the version we shall now examine, the figure who humbles himself is not Muhammad, but Gabriel. This version is sometimes incorporated into an ascension narrative:

“The Prophet had just gathered with his companions when Gabriel clapped him on the shoulder. 'Then,' said the Prophet, 'he led me to a tree with something like two bird nests on it. As soon as we sat down, he on one side and me on the other, the tree grew until it filled the horizon and carried us high enough that I could have touched the sky with an outstretched hand. At this point a line was released and the light went down (duliya bi-sabab fa-habata al-nûr). Gabriel passed out like a bedside rug (ka’annahu hils), 92 which made it clear to me that he was even more scared than I was. Then it was revealed to me: 'Serving prophet or royal prophet? Because you come to paradise [in any case] (fa-ilâ al-janna mâ anta). ‹Gabriel gave me while lying down (mudtaji ‘) a sign: certainly serving prophet! ‹« 93

44 Variants of this can be found in the collections of cosmological or angelological traditions:

“When the Messenger of God was with Gabriel and face to face (yunājîhi) spoke to him, the horizon of the sky tore open. Gabriel made himself very small, pulled arms and legs to his body and crouched on the floor (yatadâ’al wa yadkhul ba‘duhu fî ba‘d wa yadnû min al-ard). An angel appeared before the Messenger of God and said to him: 'O Muhammad, your Lord greets you and lets you choose whether you want to be a royal prophet or a servant prophet.' The Messenger of God said: Gabriel gave me a hint the hand to humiliate me. I understood that he was giving me advice and replied: 'Serving Prophet!' Then this angel rose to heaven and I said: 'O Gabriel, I wanted to question you, but the state in which I saw you it was superfluous for me to ask you the question. Who is he, O Gabriel? '' He is Isrâfîl, 'he said. ›[...] I didn't think he would have come down before the last hour. The only reason I made myself as small as you saw it was because I was afraid the last hour had come. '”94

The special feature of these versions is that Gabriel does not content himself with guessing Muhammad with a wink, but crouches down and crouches in front of an angel standing over him. By humiliating him, Gabriel gives Muhammad the correct answer, 95 but at the same time expresses his own fear. The image of "making yourself small" is reversed - without the motif of choice - in a Persian variant of the story of the Ascension (mi‘râj) of the Prophet again: Unlike Muhammad, Gabriel gradually "restricts" himself until he reaches a level that is unattainable for him:

“Gabriel became - with his great strength, which enabled him to tear down lots of land with a single wing without harming him - as small as a sparrow. Muhammad said to him: 'Let's go one step further.' Gabriel took another step and he became as small as a mosquito. […] What does this mean? In spite of his grandeur, what will become of Gabriel after these two steps? How can he, who was unable to endure the disobedience of sinners, intercede for them? ”96

46In Islam, Gabriel is not only the angel of revelation, but also of punishment and war. This late version of the mi‘râj