Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (Armenian: Հայոց ցեղասպանություն, Hayots tseghaspanutyun), also known as the Armenian Holocaust and the Armenian Massacres, was the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of about 1.5 million of its minority Armenian subjects inside their historic homeland, which lies within the present-day Republic of Turkey. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities rounded up, arrested, and deported 235 to 270 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders from Constantinople to Ankara, the majority of whom were eventually murdered. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre. Other indigenous and Christian ethnic groups such as the Assyrians, the Ottoman Greeks and the Maronite Christians were similarly targeted for extermination by the Ottoman government, and their treatment is considered by some historians to be part of the same genocidal policy. Most Armenian diaspora communities around the world came into being as a direct result of the genocide.

Raphael Lemkin was explicitly moved by the Armenian annihilation to define systematic and premeditated exterminations within legal parameters and to coin the word genocide in 1943. The Armenian Genocide is acknowledged to have been one of the first modern genocides, because scholars point to the organized manner in which the killings were carried out in order to eliminate the Armenians, and it is the second most-studied case of genocide after the Holocaust.

Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, denies the word genocide as an accurate term for the mass killings of Armenians that began under Ottoman rule in 1915. It has in recent years been faced with repeated calls to recognize them as genocide. To date, 29 countries have officially recognized the mass killings as genocide, as have most genocide scholars and historians.

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Bahá’í

The Bahá’í Faith is a monotheistic religion which emphasizes the spiritual unity of all humankind. Three core principles establish a basis for Bahá’í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, that there is only one God who is the source of all creation; the unity of religion, that all major religions have the same spiritual source and come from the same God; and the unity of humanity, that all humans have been created equal, coupled with the unity in diversity, that diversity of race and culture are seen as worthy of appreciation and acceptance. According to the Bahá’í Faith’s teachings, the human purpose is to learn to know and to love God through such methods as prayer, reflection and being of service to humanity.

The Bahá’í Faith was founded by Bahá’u’lláh in 19th-century Persia. Bahá’u’lláh was exiled for his teachings from Persia to the Ottoman Empire and died while officially still a prisoner. After Bahá’u’lláh’s death, under the leadership of his son, `Abdu’l-Bahá, the religion spread from its Persian and Ottoman roots, and gained a footing in Europe and America, and was consolidated in Iran, where it suffers intense persecution. After the death of `Abdu’l-Bahá, the leadership of the Bahá’í community entered a new phase, evolving from a single individual to an administrative order with both elected bodies and appointed individuals. There are probably more than 5 million Bahá’ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories.

In the Bahá’í Faith, religious history is seen to have unfolded through a series of divine messengers, each of whom established a religion that was suited to the needs of the time and to the capacity of the people. These messengers have included Abrahamic figures—Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, as well as figures from Indian religions like Krishna, Buddha, and others. For Bahá’ís, the most recent messengers are the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh. In Bahá’í belief, each consecutive messenger prophesied of messengers to follow, and Bahá’u’lláh’s life and teachings fulfilled the end-time promises of previous scriptures. Humanity is understood to be in a process of collective evolution, and the need of the present time is for the gradual establishment of peace, justice and unity on a global scale.

The word Bahá’í  is used either as an adjective to refer to the Bahá’í Faith or as a term for a follower of Bahá’u’lláh. The word is not a noun meaning the religion as a whole. It is derived from the Arabic Bahá’ (بهاء), meaning “glory” or “splendor”. The term “Bahaism” (or “Baha’ism”) is still used, mainly in a pejorative sense.

Three core principles establish a basis for Bahá’í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of humanity. From these postulates stems the belief that God periodically reveals his will through divine messengers, whose purpose is to transform the character of humankind and to develop, within those who respond, moral and spiritual qualities. Religion is thus seen as orderly, unified, and progressive from age to age.

God

The Bahá’í writings describe a single, personal, inaccessible, omniscient, omnipresent, imperishable, and almighty God who is the creator of all things in the universe. The existence of God and the universe is thought to be eternal, without a beginning or end. Though inaccessible directly, God is nevertheless seen as conscious of creation, with a will and purpose that is expressed through messengers termed Manifestations of God.

Bahá’í teachings state that God is too great for humans to fully comprehend, or to create a complete and accurate image of, by themselves. Therefore, human understanding of God is achieved through his revelations via his Manifestations. In the Bahá’í religion, God is often referred to by titles and attributes (for example, the All-Powerful, or the All-Loving), and there is a substantial emphasis on monotheism; such doctrines as the Trinity are seen as compromising, if not contradicting, the Bahá’í view that God is single and has no equal. The Bahá’í teachings state that the attributes which are applied to God are used to translate Godliness into human terms and also to help individuals concentrate on their own attributes in worshipping God to develop their potentialities on their spiritual path. According to the Bahá’í teachings the human purpose is to learn to know and love God through such methods as prayer, reflection, and being of service to others.

Bahá’í notions of progressive religious revelation result in their accepting the validity of the well known religions of the world, whose founders and central figures are seen as Manifestations of God. Religious history is interpreted as a series of dispensations, where each manifestation brings a somewhat broader and more advanced revelation that is rendered as a text of scripture and passed on through history with greater or lesser reliability but at least true in substance, suited for the time and place in which it was expressed. Specific religious social teachings (for example, the direction of prayer, or dietary restrictions) may be revoked by a subsequent manifestation so that a more appropriate requirement for the time and place may be established. Conversely, certain general principles (for example, neighbourliness, or charity) are seen to be universal and consistent. In Bahá’í belief, this process of progressive revelation will not end; however, it is believed to be cyclical. Bahá’ís do not expect a new manifestation of God to appear within 1000 years of Bahá’u’lláh’s revelation.

Bahá’í beliefs are sometimes described as syncretic combinations of earlier religious beliefs. Bahá’ís, however, assert that their religion is a distinct tradition with its own scriptures, teachings, laws, and history. While the religion was initially seen as a sect of Islam, most religious specialists now see it as an independent religion, with its religious background in Shi’a Islam being seen as analogous to the Jewish context in which Christianity was established. Muslim institutions and clergy, both Sunni and Shia, consider Bahá’ís to be deserters or apostates from Islam, which has led to Bahá’ís being persecuted. Bahá’ís describe their faith as an independent world religion, differing from the other traditions in its relative age and in the appropriateness of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings to the modern context. Bahá’u’lláh is believed to have fulfilled the messianic expectations of these precursor faiths.

Human beings

The Bahá’í writings state that human beings have a “rational soul”, and that this provides the species with a unique capacity to recognize God’s station and humanity’s relationship with its creator. Every human is seen to have a duty to recognize God through His messengers, and to conform to their teachings. Through recognition and obedience, service to humanity and regular prayer and spiritual practice, the Bahá’í writings state that the soul becomes closer to God, the spiritual ideal in Bahá’í belief. When a human dies, the soul passes into the next world, where its spiritual development in the physical world becomes a basis for judgment and advancement in the spiritual world. Heaven and Hell are taught to be spiritual states of nearness or distance from God that describe relationships in this world and the next, and not physical places of reward and punishment achieved after death.

The Bahá’í writings emphasize the essential equality of human beings, and the abolition of prejudice. Humanity is seen as essentially one, though highly varied; its diversity of race and culture are seen as worthy of appreciation and acceptance. Doctrines of racism, nationalism, caste, social class, and gender-based hierarchy are seen as artificial impediments to unity. The Bahá’í teachings state that the unification of humanity is the paramount issue in the religious and political conditions of the present world

Shoghi Effendi, the appointed head of the religion from 1921 to 1957, wrote the following summary of what he considered to be the distinguishing principles of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings, which, he said, together with the laws and ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas constitute the bedrock of the Bahá’í Faith:

The independent search after truth, unfettered by superstition or tradition; the oneness of the entire human race, the pivotal principle and fundamental doctrine of the Faith; the basic unity of all religions; the condemnation of all forms of prejudice, whether religious, racial, class or national; the harmony which must exist between religion and science; the equality of men and women, the two wings on which the bird of human kind is able to soar; the introduction of compulsory education; the adoption of a universal auxiliary language; the abolition of the extremes of wealth and poverty; the institution of a world tribunal for the adjudication of disputes between nations; the exaltation of work, performed in the spirit of service, to the rank of worship; the glorification of justice as the ruling principle in human society, and of religion as a bulwark for the protection of all peoples and nations; and the establishment of a permanent and universal peace as the supreme goal of all mankind—these stand out as the essential elements [which Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed].

The following principles are frequently listed as a quick summary of the Bahá’í teachings. They are derived from transcripts of speeches given by `Abdu’l-Bahá during his tour of Europe and North America in 1912. The list is not authoritative and a variety of such lists circulate.

  • Unity of God
  • Unity of religion
  • Unity of humanity
  • Unity in diversity
  • Equality between men and women
  • Elimination of all forms of prejudice
  • World peace and a New world order
  • Harmony of religion and science
  • Independent investigation of truth
  • Principle of Ever-Advancing Civilization
  • Universal compulsory education
  • Universal auxiliary language
  • Obedience to government and non-involvement in partisan politics unless submission to law amounts to a denial of Faith.
  • Elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty
  • Spiritual solutions to economic problems

With specific regard to the pursuit of world peace, Bahá’u’lláh prescribed a world-embracing collective security arrangement as necessary for the establishment of a lasting peace.

Mystical teachings

Although the Bahá’í teachings have a strong emphasis on social and ethical issues, there exist a number of foundational texts that have been described as mystical. The Seven Valleys is considered Bahá’u’lláh’s “greatest mystical composition.” It was written to a follower of Sufism, in the style of  `Attar, The Persian Muslim poet, and sets forth the stages of the soul’s journey towards God. It was first translated into English in 1906, becoming one of the earliest available books of Bahá’u’lláh to the West. The Hidden Words is another book written by Bahá’u’lláh during the same period, containing 153 short passages in which Bahá’u’lláh claims to have taken the basic essence of certain spiritual truths and written them in brief form.

Covenant

The Bahá’í teachings speak of both a “Greater Covenant”, being universal and endless, and a “Lesser Covenant”, being unique to each religious dispensation. The Lesser Covenant is viewed as an agreement between a Messenger of God and his followers and includes social practices and the continuation of authority in the religion. At this time Bahá’ís view Bahá’u’lláh’s revelation as a binding lesser covenant for his followers; in the Bahá’í writings being firm in the covenant is considered a virtue to work toward. The Greater Covenant is viewed as a more enduring agreement between God and humanity, where a Manifestation of God is expected to come to humanity about every thousand years, at times of turmoil and uncertainty. With unity as an essential teaching of the religion, Bahá’ís follow an administration they believe is divinely ordained, and therefore see attempts to create schisms and divisions as efforts that are contrary to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Schisms have occurred over the succession of authority, but any Bahá’í divisions have had relatively little success and have failed to attract a sizeable following. The followers of such divisions are regarded as Covenant-breakers and shunned, essentially excommunicated.

Canonical texts

The canonical texts are the writings of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh, `Abdu’l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice, and the authenticated talks of `Abdu’l-Bahá. The writings of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh are considered as divine revelation, the writings and talks of `Abdu’l-Bahá and the writings of Shoghi Effendi as authoritative interpretation, and those of the Universal House of Justice as authoritative legislation and elucidation. Some measure of divine guidance is assumed for all of these texts. Some of Bahá’u’lláh’s most important writings include the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, literally the Most Holy Book, which is his book of laws, the Kitáb-i-Íqán, literally the Book of Certitude, which became the foundation of much of Bahá’í belief, the Gems of Divine Mysteries, which includes further doctrinal foundations, and the Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys which are mystical treatises.

History

Bahá’í timeline
1844 The Báb declares his mission in Shiraz, Iran


1850 The Báb is publicly executed in Tabriz, Iran


1852 Thousands of Bábís are executed
Bahá’u’lláh is imprisoned and forced into exile


1863 Bahá’u’lláh first announces his claim to divine revelation
He is forced to leave Baghdad for Constantinople, then Adrianople


1868 Bahá’u’lláh is forced into harsher confinement in `Akká, Palestine


1892 Bahá’u’lláh dies near `Akká
His will appointed `Abdu’l-Bahá as successor


1908 `Abdu’l-Bahá is released from prison


1921 `Abdu’l-Bahá dies in Haifa
His will appoints Shoghi Effendi as Guardian


1957 Shoghi Effendi dies in England


1963 The Universal House of Justice is first elected

Bahá’í history follows a sequence of leaders, beginning with the Báb’s declaration in Shiraz, Iran on the evening of 22 May 1844, and ultimately resting on an administrative order established by the central figures of the religion. The Bahá’í community was mostly confined to the Persian and Ottoman empires until after the death of Bahá’u’lláh in 1892, at which time he had followers in 13 countries of Asia and Africa. Under the leadership of his son, `Abdu’l-Bahá, the religion gained a footing in Europe and America, and was consolidated in Iran, where it still suffers intense persecution. After the death of `Abdu’l-Bahá in 1921, the leadership of the Bahá’í community entered a new phase, evolving from a single individual to an administrative order with both elected bodies and appointed individuals.

The Báb

On the evening of 22 May 1844, Siyyid `Alí-Muhammad of Shiraz, Iran proclaimed that he was “the Báb” (الباب “the Gate”), referring to his later claim to the station of Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam of Shi`a Islam. His followers were therefore known as Bábís. As the Báb’s teachings spread, which the Islamic clergy saw as a threat, his followers came under increased persecution and torture. The conflicts escalated in several places to military sieges by the Shah’s army. The Báb himself was imprisoned and eventually executed in 1850.

Bahá’ís see the Báb as the forerunner of the Bahá’í Faith, because the Báb’s writings introduced the concept of “He whom God shall make manifest”, a Messianic figure whose coming, according to Bahá’ís, was announced in the scriptures of all of the world’s great religions, and whom Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, claimed to be in 1863. The Báb’s tomb, located in Haifa, Israel, is an important place of pilgrimage for Bahá’ís. The remains of the Báb were brought secretly from Iran to the Holy Land and eventually interred in the tomb built for them in a spot specifically designated by Bahá’u’lláh. The main written works translated into English of the Báb’s are collected in Selections from the Writings of the Báb out of the estimated 135 works.

Bahá’u’lláh

Mírzá Husayn `Alí Núrí was one of the early followers of the Báb, and later took the title of Bahá’u’lláh. He was arrested and imprisoned for this involvement in 1852. Bahá’u’lláh relates that in 1853, while incarcerated in the dungeon of the Síyáh-Chál in Tehran, he received the first intimations that he was the one anticipated by the Báb.

Shortly thereafter he was expelled from Tehran to Baghdad, in the Ottoman Empire; then to Constantinople (now Istanbul); and then to Adrianople (now Edirne). In 1863, at the time of his banishment from Baghdad to Constantinople, Bahá’u’lláh declared his claim to a divine mission to his family and followers. Tensions then grew between him and Subh-i-Azal, the appointed leader of the Bábís who did not recognize Bahá’u’lláh’s claim. Throughout the rest of his life Bahá’u’lláh gained the allegiance of most of the Bábís, who came to be known as Bahá’ís. Beginning in 1866, he began declaring his mission as a Messenger of God in letters to the world’s religious and secular rulers, including Pope Pius IX, Napoleon III, and Queen Victoria.

In 1868 Bahá’u’lláh was banished by Sultan Abdülâziz a final time to the Ottoman penal colony of `Akká, in present-day Israel. Towards the end of his life, the strict and harsh confinement was gradually relaxed, and he was allowed to live in a home near `Akká, while still officially a prisoner of that city. He died there in 1892. Bahá’ís regard his resting place at Bahjí as the Qiblih to which they turn in prayer each day.

Bahá’u’lláh wrote many written works taken as scripture in the religion of which only a fraction have been translated into English. There have been 15,000 works both small and large noted – the most significant of which are the Most Holy Book, the Book of Certitude, the Hidden Words, and the Seven Valleys. There is also a series of compilation volumes of smaller works the most significant of which is the Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh.

`Abdu’l-Bahá

`Abbás Effendi was Bahá’u’lláh’s eldest son, known by the title of `Abdu’l-Bahá (Servant of Bahá). His father left a Will that appointed `Abdu’l-Bahá as the leader of the Bahá’í community, and designated him as the “Centre of the Covenant”, “Head of the Faith”, and the sole authoritative interpreter of Bahá’u’lláh’s writings. `Abdu’l-Bahá had shared his father’s long exile and imprisonment, which continued until `Abdu’l-Bahá’s own release as a result of the Young Turk Revolution in 1908. Following his release he led a life of travelling, speaking, teaching, and maintaining correspondence with communities of believers and individuals, expounding the principles of the Bahá’í Faith.

It is estimated that `Abdu’l-Bahá wrote over 27,000 works mostly in the form of letters of which only a fraction have been translated into English. Among the more well known are The Secret of Divine Civilization, the Tablet to Auguste-Henri Forel, and Some Answered Questions. Additionally notes taken of a number of his talks were published in various volumes like Paris Talks during his journeys to the West.

Bahá’í administration

Bahá’u’lláh’s Kitáb-i-Aqdas and The Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Bahá are foundational documents of the Bahá’í administrative order. Bahá’u’lláh established the elected Universal House of Justice, and `Abdu’l-Bahá established the appointed hereditary Guardianship and clarified the relationship between the two institutions. In his Will, `Abdu’l-Bahá appointed his eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, as the first Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, serving as head of the religion until his death, for 36 years.

Shoghi Effendi throughout his lifetime translated Bahá’í texts; developed global plans for the expansion of the Bahá’í community; developed the Bahá’í World Centre; carried on a voluminous correspondence with communities and individuals around the world; and built the administrative structure of the religion, preparing the community for the election of the Universal House of Justice. He died in 1957 under conditions that did not allow for a successor to be appointed.

At local, regional, and national levels, Bahá’ís elect members to nine-person Spiritual Assemblies, which run the affairs of the religion. There are also appointed individuals working at various levels, including locally and internationally, which perform the function of propagating the teachings and protecting the community. The latter do not serve as clergy, which the Bahá’í Faith does not have. The Universal House of Justice, first elected in 1963, remains the successor and supreme governing body of the Bahá’í Faith, and its 9 members are elected every five years by the members of all National Spiritual Assemblies. Any male Bahá’í, 21 years or older, is eligible to be elected to the Universal House of Justice; all other positions are open to male and female Bahá’ís.

International plans

In 1937, Shoghi Effendi launched a seven-year plan for the Bahá’ís of North America, followed by another in 1946. In 1953, he launched the first international plan, the Ten Year World Crusade. This plan included extremely ambitious goals for the expansion of Bahá’í communities and institutions, the translation of Bahá’í texts into several new languages, and the sending of Bahá’í pioneers into previously unreached nations. He announced in letters during the Ten Year Crusade that it would be followed by other plans under the direction of the Universal House of Justice, which was elected in 1963 at the culmination of the Crusade. The House of Justice then launched a nine-year plan in 1964, and a series of subsequent multi-year plans of varying length and goals followed, guiding the direction of the international Bahá’í community.

Annually, on 21 April, the Universal House of Justice sends a ‘Ridván’ message to the worldwide Bahá’í community, which generally gives an update on the progress made concerning the current plan, and provides further guidance for the year to come. The Bahá’ís around the world are currently being encouraged to focus on capacity building through children’s classes, youth groups, devotional gatherings, and a systematic study of the religion known as study circles. Further focuses are involvement in social action and participation in the prevalent discourses of society. The years from 2001 until 2021 represent four successive five-year plans, culminating in the centennial anniversary of the passing of `Abdu’l-Bahá.

Demographics

A Bahá’í published document reported 4.74 million Bahá’ís in 1986 growing at a rate of 4.4%. Bahá’í sources since 1991 usually estimate the worldwide Bahá’í population to be above 5 million. The World Christian Encyclopedia estimated 7.1 million Bahá’ís in the world in 2000, representing 218 countries, and 7.3 million in 2010 with the same source. They further state: “The Baha’i Faith is the only religion to have grown faster in every United Nations region over the past 100 years than the general population; Baha’i was thus the fastest-growing religion between 1910 and 2010, growing at least twice as fast as the population of almost every UN region.” This source’s only systematic flaw was to consistently have a higher estimate of Christians than other cross-national data sets.

From its origins in the Persian and Ottoman Empires, by the early 20th century there were a number of converts in South and South East Asia, Europe, and North America. During the 1950s and 1960s, vast travel teaching efforts brought the religion to almost every country and territory of the world. By the 1990s, Bahá’ís were developing programs for systematic consolidation on a large scale, and the early 21st century saw large influxes of new adherents around the world. The Bahá’í Faith is currently the largest religious minority in Iran, Panama, and Belize; the second largest international religion in Bolivia, Zambia, and Papua New Guinea; and the third largest international religion in Chad and Kenya.

According to The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2004:

The majority of Bahá’ís live in Asia (3.6 million), Africa (1.8 million), and Latin America (900,000). According to some estimates, the largest Bahá’í community in the world is in India, with 2.2 million Bahá’ís, next is Iran, with 350,000, the US, with 150,000, and Brazil, with 60,000. Aside from these countries, numbers vary greatly. Currently, no country has a Bahá’í majority.

The Bahá’í Faith is a medium-sized religion and was listed in The Britannica Book of the Year (1992–present) as the second most widespread of the world’s independent religions in terms of the number of countries represented. According to Britannica, the Bahá’í Faith (as of 2002) is established in 247 countries and territories; represents over 2,100 ethnic, racial, and tribal groups; has scriptures translated into over 800 languages; and has an estimated seven million adherents worldwide. Additionally, Bahá’ís have self-organized in most of the nations of the world.

The Bahá’í religion was ranked by the Foreign Policy magazine as the world’s second fastest growing religion by percentage (1.7%) in 2007.

Social practices

Laws

The laws of the Bahá’í Faith primarily come from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, written by Bahá’u’lláh. The following are a few examples of basic laws and religious observances.

  • Prayer in the Bahá’í Faith consists of obligatory prayer and devotional (general) prayer. Bahá’ís over the age of 15 must individually recite an obligatory prayer each day, using fixed words and form. In addition to the daily obligatory prayer, believers are directed to daily offer devotional prayer and to meditate and study sacred scripture. There is no set form for devotions and meditations, though the devotional prayers written by the central figures of the Bahá’í Faith and collected in prayer books are held in high esteem. Reading aloud of prayers from prayer books is a typical feature of Bahá’í gatherings.
  • Backbiting and gossip are prohibited and denounced.
  • Adult Bahá’ís in good health should observe a nineteen-day sunrise-to-sunset fast each year from 2 March through 20 March.
  • Bahá’ís are forbidden to drink alcohol or to take drugs, unless prescribed by doctors.
  • Sexual intercourse is only permitted between a husband and wife, and thus premarital, extramarital, and homosexual intercourse are forbidden.
  • Gambling is forbidden.
  • Fanaticism is forbidden.
  • Adherence to ritual is discouraged, with the notable exception of the obligatory prayers.
  • Abstaining from partisan politics is required.

While some of the laws from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas are applicable at the present time and may be enforced to a degree by the administrative institutions, Bahá’u’lláh has provided for the progressive application of other laws that are dependent upon the existence of a predominantly Bahá’í society. The laws, when not in direct conflict with the civil laws of the country of residence, are binding on every Bahá’í, and the observance of personal laws, such as prayer or fasting, is the sole responsibility of the individual.

Marriage

The purpose of marriage in the Bahá’i faith is mainly to foster spiritual harmony, fellowship and unity between a man and a woman and to provide a stable and loving environment for the rearing of children. The Bahá’í teachings on marriage call it a fortress for well-being and salvation and place marriage and the family as the foundation of the structure of human society. Bahá’u’lláh highly praised marriage, discouraged divorce and homosexuality, and required chastity outside of marriage; Bahá’u’lláh taught that a husband and wife should strive to improve the spiritual life of each other. Interracial marriage is also highly praised throughout Bahá’í scripture.

Bahá’ís intending to marry are asked to obtain a thorough understanding of the other’s character before deciding to marry. Although parents should not choose partners for their children, once two individuals decide to marry, they must receive the consent of all living biological parents, whether they are Bahá’í or not. The Bahá’í marriage ceremony is simple; the only compulsory part of the wedding is the reading of the wedding vows prescribed by Bahá’u’lláh which both the groom and the bride read, in the presence of two witnesses. The vows are “We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God.”

Work

Monasticism is forbidden, and Bahá’ís attempt to ground their spirituality in ordinary daily life. Performing useful work, for example, is not only required but considered a form of worship. Bahá’u’lláh prohibited a mendicant and ascetic lifestyle. The importance of self-exertion and service to humanity in one’s spiritual life is emphasised further in Bahá’u’lláh’s writings, where he states that work done in the spirit of service to humanity enjoys a rank equal to that of prayer and worship in the sight of God.

Places of worship

Most Bahá’í meetings occur in individuals’ homes, local Bahá’í centers, or rented facilities. Worldwide, there are currently seven Bahá’í Houses of Worship, with an eighth near completion in Chile, and a further seven planned as of April 2012. Bahá’í writings refer to an institution called a “Mashriqu’l-Adhkár” (Dawning-place of the Mention of God), which is to form the center of a complex of institutions including a hospital, university, and so on. The first ever Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in `Ishqábád, Turkmenistan, has been the most complete House of Worship.

Calendar

The Bahá’í calendar is based upon the calendar established by the Báb. The year consists of 19 months, each having 19 days, with four or five intercalary days, to make a full solar year. The Bahá’í New Year corresponds to the traditional Persian New Year, called Naw Rúz, and occurs on the vernal equinox, near 21 March, at the end of the month of fasting. Bahá’í communities gather at the beginning of each month at a meeting called a Feast for worship, consultation and socializing.

Each of the 19 months is given a name which is an attribute of God; some examples include Bahá’ (Splendour), ‘Ilm (Knowledge), and Jamál (Beauty). The Bahá’í week is familiar in that it consists of seven days, with each day of the week also named after an attribute of God. Bahá’ís observe 11 Holy Days throughout the year, with work suspended on 9 of these. These days commemorate important anniversaries in the history of the religion.

Symbols

The symbols of the religion are derived from the Arabic word Bahá’ (بهاء “splendor” or “glory”), with a numerical value of 9, which is why the most common symbol is the nine-pointed star. The ringstone symbol and calligraphy of the Greatest Name are also often encountered. The former consists of two five-pointed stars interspersed with a stylized Bahá’ whose shape is meant to recall the three onenesses, while the latter is a calligraphic rendering of the phrase Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá (يا بهاء الأبهى “O Glory of the Most Glorious!”).

The five-pointed star is the symbol of the Bahá’í Faith. In the Bahá’í Faith, the star is known as the Haykal (Arabic: “temple”‎‎), and it was initiated and established by the Báb. The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh wrote various works in the form of a pentagram.

Socio-economic development

Since its inception the Bahá’í Faith has had involvement in socio-economic development beginning by giving greater freedom to women, promulgating the promotion of female education as a priority concern, and that involvement was given practical expression by creating schools, agricultural coops, and clinics.

The religion entered a new phase of activity when a message of the Universal House of Justice dated 20 October 1983 was released. Bahá’ís were urged to seek out ways, compatible with the Bahá’í teachings, in which they could become involved in the social and economic development of the communities in which they lived. Worldwide in 1979 there were 129 officially recognized Bahá’í socio-economic development projects. By 1987, the number of officially recognized development projects had increased to 1482.

United Nations

Bahá’u’lláh wrote of the need for world government in this age of humanity’s collective life. Because of this emphasis the international Bahá’í community has chosen to support efforts of improving international relations through organizations such as the League of Nations and the United Nations, with some reservations about the present structure and constitution of the UN. The Bahá’í International Community is an agency under the direction of the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, and has consultative status with the following organizations:

  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
  • United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)

The Bahá’í International Community has offices at the United Nations in New York and Geneva and representations to United Nations regional commissions and other offices in Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Nairobi, Rome, Santiago, and Vienna. In recent years an Office of the Environment and an Office for the Advancement of Women were established as part of its United Nations Office. The Bahá’í Faith has also undertaken joint development programs with various other United Nations agencies. In the 2000 Millennium Forum of the United Nations a Bahá’í was invited as the only non-governmental speaker during the summit.

Persecution

Bahá’ís continue to be persecuted in Islamic countries, as Islamic leaders do not recognize the Bahá’í Faith as an independent religion, but rather as apostasy from Islam. The most severe persecutions have occurred in Iran, where over 200 Bahá’ís were executed between 1978 and 1998, and in Egypt. The rights of Bahá’ís have been restricted to greater or lesser extents in numerous other countries, including Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Morocco, and several countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Iran

The marginalization of the Iranian Bahá’ís by current governments is rooted in historical efforts by Muslim clergy to persecute the religious minority. When the Báb started attracting a large following, the clergy hoped to stop the movement from spreading by stating that its followers were enemies of God. These clerical directives led to mob attacks and public executions. Starting in the twentieth century, in addition to repression that impacted individual Bahá’ís, centrally directed campaigns that targeted the entire Bahá’í community and its institutions were initiated. In one case in Yazd in 1903 more than 100 Bahá’ís were killed. Bahá’í schools, such as the Tarbiyat boys’ and girls’ schools in Tehran, were closed in the 1930s and 1940s, Bahá’í marriages were not recognized and Bahá’í texts were censored.

During the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to divert attention from economic difficulties in Iran and from a growing nationalist movement, a campaign of persecution against the Bahá’ís was instituted. An approved and coordinated anti-Bahá’í campaign (to incite public passion against the Bahá’ís) started in 1955 and it included the spreading of anti-Bahá’í propaganda on national radio stations and in official newspapers. In the late 1970s the Shah’s regime consistently lost legitimacy due to criticism that it was pro-Western. As the anti-Shah movement gained ground and support, revolutionary propaganda was spread which alleged that some of the Shah’s advisors were Bahá’ís. Bahá’ís were portrayed as economic threats, and as supporters of Israel and the West, and societal hostility against the Bahá’ís increased.

Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 Iranian Bahá’ís have regularly had their homes ransacked or have been banned from attending university or from holding government jobs, and several hundred have received prison sentences for their religious beliefs, most recently for participating in study circles. Bahá’í cemeteries have been desecrated and property has been seized and occasionally demolished, including the House of Mírzá Buzurg, Bahá’u’lláh’s father. The House of the Báb in Shiraz, one of three sites to which Bahá’ís perform pilgrimage, has been destroyed twice.

According to a US panel, attacks on Bahá’ís in Iran increased under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights revealed an October 2005 confidential letter from Command Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Iran ordering its members to identify Bahá’ís and to monitor their activities. Due to these actions, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights stated on 20 March 2006, that she “also expresses concern that the information gained as a result of such monitoring will be used as a basis for the increased persecution of, and discrimination against, members of the Bahá’í faith, in violation of international standards. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that this latest development indicates that the situation with regard to religious minorities in Iran is, in fact, deteriorating.

On 14 May 2008, members of an informal body known as the “Friends” that oversaw the needs of the Bahá’í community in Iran were arrested and taken to Evin prison. The Friends court case has been postponed several times, but was finally underway on 12 January 2010. Other observers were not allowed in the court. Even the defence lawyers, who for two years have had minimal access to the defendants, had difficulty entering the courtroom. The chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said that it seems that the government has already predetermined the outcome of the case and is violating international human rights law. Further sessions were held on 7 February 2010, 12 April 2010 and 12 June 2010. On 11 August 2010 it became known that the court sentence was 20 years imprisonment for each of the seven prisoners which was later reduced to ten years. After the sentence, they were transferred to Gohardasht prison. In March 2011 the sentences were reinstated to the original 20 years. On 3 January 2010, Iranian authorities detained ten more members of the Baha’i minority, reportedly including Leva Khanjani, granddaughter of Jamaloddin Khanjani, one of seven Baha’i leaders jailed since 2008 and in February, they arrested his son, Niki Khanjani.

The Iranian government claims that the Bahá’í Faith is not a religion, but is instead a political organization, and hence refuses to recognize it as a minority religion. However, the government has never produced convincing evidence supporting its characterization of the Bahá’í community. Also, the government’s statements that Bahá’ís who recanted their religion would have their rights restored, attest to the fact that Bahá’ís are persecuted solely for their religious affiliation. The Iranian government also accuses the Bahá’í Faith of being associated with Zionism because the Bahá’í World Centre is located in Haifa, Israel. In fact it was the Iranian leader Naser al-Din Shah Qajar who banished Bahá’u’lláh from Persia to the Ottoman Empire and Bahá’u’lláh was later exiled by the Ottoman Sultan, at the behest of the Persian Shah, to territories further away from Iran and finally to Acre in Syria, which only a century later was incorporated into the state of Israel.

Egypt

Bahá’í institutions and community activities have been illegal under Egyptian law since 1960. All Bahá’í community properties, including Bahá’í centers, libraries, and cemeteries, have been confiscated by the government and fatwas have been issued charging Bahá’ís with apostasy.

The Egyptian identification card controversy began in the 1990s when the government modernized the electronic processing of identity documents, which introduced a de facto requirement that documents must list the person’s religion as Muslim, Christian, or Jewish (the only three religions officially recognized by the government). Consequently, Bahá’ís were unable to obtain government identification documents (such as national identification cards, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, or passports) necessary to exercise their rights in their country unless they lied about their religion, which conflicts with Bahá’í religious principle. Without documents, they could not be employed, educated, treated in hospitals, travel outside of the country, or vote, among other hardships. Following a protracted legal process culminating in a court ruling favorable to the Bahá’ís, the interior minister of Egypt released a decree on 14 April 2009, amending the law to allow Egyptians who are not Muslim, Christian, or Jewish to obtain identification documents that list a dash in place of one of the three recognized religions. The first identification cards were issued to two Bahá’ís under the new decree on 8 August 2009.

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The Great Peacemaker – Dekanawidah / Skennenrahawi

The Great Peacemaker (Skennenrahawi in Mohawk), sometimes referred to as Deganawida or Dekanawida (as a mark of respect, some Iroquois avoid using his personal name except in special circumstances) was, along with Jigonhsasee and Hiawatha, by tradition the founder of the Haudenosaunee, commonly called the Iroquois Confederacy. This was a political and cultural union of five Iroquoian-speaking Native American tribes residing in the present-day state of New York and northern Pennsylvania. The union created a powerful alliance of related Iroquoian peoples around the Great Lakes.

Historians believe the confederacy may have formed in the 12th century. In the early 18th century, the Tuscarora, also an Iroquoian-speaking people, migrated north from the Carolinas and joined the Confederacy as the sixth nation.

The Great Peacemaker’s name means “Two River Currents Flowing Together”. Some of the numerous legends about the Great Peacemaker have conflicting information. It is reported that he was born a Huron, and by some accounts, his mother was a virgin, making the birth miraculous. Others say he was born an Onondaga and later adopted by the Mohawk. By all accounts, he was a prophet who counseled peace among the warring tribes, and he called for an end to ritual cannibalism. According to some legends, his first ally was Jigonhsasee. She lent her home for the meeting of the leaders of the rival tribal nations, acting as a kind of United Nations. The Great Peacemaker’s follower Hiawatha, a Onondaga renowned for his oratory, helped him achieve his vision of bringing the tribes together in peace.

According to the archaeologist Dean Snow, the Great Peacemaker converted Hiawatha in the territory of the Onondaga; he traveled alone to visit the Mohawk tribe who lived near what is now Cohoes, New York. Other traditional accounts hold that the Great Peacemaker consulted with Jigonhsasee about which tribal leaders to approach and she facilitated that meeting to create the confederacy.

According to some legends, initially the Mohawk rejected the message of the Great Peacemaker, so he decided to perform a feat to demonstrate his purity and spiritual power. After climbing a tree high above Kahon:ios (Cohoes Falls), the Great Peacemaker told the Mohawk braves to chop the tree down. Many onlookers watched as the Great Peacemaker disappeared into the swirling rapids of the Mohawk River. They believed he had died but the next morning found him sitting near a campfire. Greatly impressed by the Great Peacemaker’s miraculous survival, the Mohawk became the founding tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy.

The tribes gathered at Onondaga Lake, where they planted a Tree of Peace and proclaimed the Great Binding Law of the Iroquois Confederacy.

The dates Dekanawida lived, and thus the founding of the Confederacy, have not been identified with certainty. Historians and archeologists have researched an incident related in the oral history of the founding of the Confederacy. As recorded by later scholars, one account relates there was a violent conflict among the Seneca, who were the last Iroquois nation to join the confederacy as a founding member. Their violence stopped when the sun darkened and the day seemed to turn to night. Since 1902 scholars have studied the possibility that this event was a solar eclipse, as William Canfield suggested in his Legends of the Iroquois; told by “the Cornplanter” . As scholars have learned more about the representation of natural events in oral histories, scholars into the 21st century have noted eclipses that could serve to date the founding of the Confederacy, in addition to the archeological evidence. Scholars referring to an eclipse have included (chronologically): Paul A. W. Wallace, Elizabeth Tooker, Bruce E. Johansen, Dean R. Snow, Barbara A. Mann and Jerry L. Fields, William N. Fenton, David Henige, Gary Warrick, and Neta Crawford.

Since Canfield’s first mention, and the majority view, scholars have widely supported a date of 1451 AD as being of a known solar eclipse and the likely founding date based on this oral account and other evidence. Some argue it is an insufficient fit for the description, and favor a date of 1142, when there was also a documented solar eclipse. A few question dating the founding of the confederacy based on the mention of the eclipse.

Archeological investigation has contributed to discussions about the founding date, as its evidence can be dated and correlated to natural events. In 1982 archeologist Dean Snow said that evidence from mainstream archeology did not support a founding of the confederacy for any dates of an eclipse before 1350 AD (thus ruling out the 1142 AD date.) By 1998 Fenton considered an eclipse earlier than the 1451 AD majority view unlikely, but possible as long as it was after 1000 AD. By 2007/8 reviews considered an 1142 AD eclipse as a possible point of reference, even if most scholars supported 1451 AD as the safe choice.

The Great Peacemaker worked all his life to bring his vision to fruition. He prophesied that a “white serpent” would come to his people’s lands and make friends with them, only to deceive them later. A “red serpent” would later make war against the “white serpent”, but an Indian boy would be given a great power. He would be accepted as a chosen leader by the people of “the land of the hilly country.” The boy stays neutral in the fight, and he speaks to the people, who number as the blades of grass, but he is heard by all. After a season, a “black serpent” would come and defeat both the “white” and “red serpents”. According to the prophecy, when the people gathered under the elm tree become humble, all three “serpents” would be blinded by a light many times brighter than the sun. Deganawidah said that he would be that light. His nation would accept the “white serpent” into their safekeeping like a long-lost brother.

The Great Peacemaker established a council of clan and village chiefs to govern the confederacy. In each tribe, which had matrilineal kinship systems of descent and property-holding, power was shared between the sexes. Men held the positions of hereditary chiefs through their mother’s line; clan mothers ruled on the fitness of chiefs and could depose one they opposed. Most decisions in council were made by consensus, to which each representative had an equal voice. Early anthropologist Lewis H. Morgan attributed the regional dominance achieved by the Iroquois to their superior organization and coordination compared to other tribes; George Hunt also thought there was a factor of economic determinism, with their need for furs for the European trade and their superior geographic position controlling most of central and western New York. The oral laws and customs of the Great Law of Peace became the constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy, established by the 16th century or earlier.

Some members of the Bahá’í Faith have connected the signs of a Prophet, as described by Bahá’u’lláh (Prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith), with the Peacemaker. As such, many Native American Bahá’ís in North America (and some non-Native) revere the Peacemaker as a Manifestation of God.

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Great Law of Peace – Gayanashagowa

Gayanashagowa

1. The number of chiefs in this Confederation of the Five Nation Indians are 50 in number, no more and no less. They are the ones to arrange, to legislate and to look after the affairs of their people.

2. The Mohawks, an Indian Nation, forms a part of the body of this Five Nation Indians Confederation, and their representatives in this Confederation is 9 chiefs.

3. The Oneidas, an Indian Nation, forms a party of the body of this Five Nation Indians Confederation, and their representatives in this Confederation is 9 chiefs.

4. The Onondagas, an Indian Nation, form a part of the body of this Five Nation Indians Confederation, and their representatives in this Confederation is 14 chiefs.

5. The Cayugas, an Indian Nation, forms a part of the body of this Five Nation Indians Confederation, and their representatives in this confederation is 10 chiefs.

6. The Senecas, an Indian Nation, forms a part of the body of this Five Nation Indians Confederation, and their representatives in this confederation is 8 chiefs.

7. When the Five Nation Indians Confederation chiefs assemble to hold a council, the council shall be duly opened and closed by the Onondaga chiefs, the Firekeepers. They will offer thanks to the Great Spirit that dwells in heaven above: the source and ruler of our lives, and it is him that sends daily blessings upon us, our daily wants and daily health, and they will then declare the Council open for the transaction of business, and give decisions of all that is done in the council.

8. There are three totems or castes of the Mohawk Nation, viz. the Tortoise, the Wolf and the Bear. Each has 3 head chiefs, 9 in all. The chiefs of the Tortoise and Wolf castes are the council by themselves, and the chiefs of the Bear castes are to listen and watch the progress of the council or discussion of the two castes; and if they see any error, they are to correct them and explain where they are wrong; and when they decide with the sanction of the Bear castes then their speaker will refer the matter to the other side of the council fire, to the second combination chiefs, viz The Oneidas and Cayugas.

9. The council of the five Nations shall not be opened until all of the 3 castes of the Mohawk chiefs are present. If they are not all present it shall be legal for them to transact the business of the council if all the 3 totems have one or more representatives present, and if not it shall not be legal except in small matters; for all the 3 castes of the Mohawk chiefs must be present to be called a full council.

10. The business of the council of the Five Nation Indians is transacted by two combination of chiefs; viz first the Mohawks and Senecas, and second the Oneidas and Cayugas.

11. When a case or proposition is introduced in the council of the Five Nations, the Mohawk chiefs with the Senecas shall first consider the matter, and whatever the decision may be; then the speaker will refer the matter to the other side of the council fire; to the second combination chiefs, the Oneidas and Cayugas, for their consideration, and if they all agree unanimously then the speaker of the council shall refer the matter to the Fire-keepers; and it is then their duty to sanction it; and their speaker will then pronounce the case as passed in council.

12. If a dissension arises between the two combination chiefs in council, and they agree to refer the matter to the Fire-keepers to decide, then the Fire-keepers shall decide which of the two or more propositions is most advantageous to their people, and their decision is final.

13. When any case or proposition has passed unanimously between the two combination chiefs, and the case or proposition is then referred to the Fire-keepers for their sanction: and if the Fire-keepers see that the case or proposition is such that it will be injurious and not to the advantage of their people, then they will refer the case or proposition back to the Mohawk chiefs, and point out where it would be injurious to the people and then they will reconsider the case. When it is right the case is then referred again to the Fire-keepers and then they will pass it.

14. When there is a case, proposition, or any subject before the council of the Five Nation Indians, no chief or chiefs has any right to stand up to speak without permission from the council, and if he has anything to say by way of explanation, he can do so in a low tone to the combined chiefs whereof he is a member.

15. When anything is under the consideration of the council, they must agree unanimously if possible before it is referred to the other side of the council fire, to the second combination chiefs; otherwise it would be illegal so to do by one or more chiefs, unless sanctioned by the rest of the combined chiefs of which he or they is a member.

16. The speaker of the council of the Five Nations council shall be appointed from time to time when it is necessary, by the first combined chiefs (viz the Mohawks and Senecas) during the day or days when the council is in session.

17. The duty of the speaker of the council as aforesaid is to order the Fire-keepers to open and close the council, and to address the council when necessary and to refer cases, propositions, etc. to the second combined chiefs and to the Fire-keepers, and to proclaim sanctioned cases, or anything when passed by the council.

18. A speaker of the Fire-keepers shall be chosen from time to time, as occasion shall require; by the Onondaga chiefs themselves.

19. The speaker of the Second Combined Chiefs appointment, shall be on the same condition as the speaker of the Fire-keepers.

20. Each of the Principal chiefs has one war chief and a runner, and should war break out, then the office of the principal chief ceases during the war. The war chiefs will take their places and council for the Five Nations until the end of the war; then the office will cease and the principal chiefs shall resume their places and their duties as before.

21. If the Principal chief desires to have anything to do with the war, this he can do by giving up the emblem which he received by his relatives when he was first made chief.

22. The duty of the messenger or runner is to carry tidings from place to place by order of the Five Nation Indians Confederation session, or by his superior chiefs.

23. If the Principal chief does fail in his judgement in the five Nation Indians Confederation council, of course the duty of his war chief is to assist him, and he is bound to listen.

24. The duty of the Head Principal Chief of the Onondagas, Ododarho, is to keep the Five Nation Indians Confederation council fire clean all around, that no dust or dirt is to be seen. There is a long wing of a bird and a stick is placed by his side, and he will take the long wing and sweep or dust the dirt away from the council fire, and if he sees any creeping creature crawling towards the Five Nation Indians council fire, he will take the stick and pitch the crawling creature away from the fire, and his cousin chiefs of the Onondagas will act with him at all times, and the crawling creature signifies any case or proposition or subject brought before the Five Nation Indians council which would be ruinous and injurious to their people, and they are to reject anything which on the nature would be ruinous and injurious and not to the advantage of their people, and they are to consider first by themselves during the council, and then call the attention of the council to the fact, case or proposition, and the council are not to receive it after it had been rejected by the council.

25. The Fire-keepers of the Five Nation Indians Confederation council the Onondaga principal chiefs are combined together by themselves expressly to open and close the Five Nation Indians Confederation council and to sanction, and decide any case, proposition, subject, point or points, when referred to them and all the chiefs must be present during the session, and agree unanimously, for one or two or more chiefs to sanction, and to give decision is illegal if the rest of their cousin chiefs are present and the council shall not be organized if the Onondaga chief of chiefs are not present to open and close the council, but if he or they shall not sanction, or give decision on any case, proposition, subject, point or points until all the rest of their cousin chiefs shall be present.

26. The duty of the two head Seneca chiefs (viz, Kennonkeridawi and Deyoninhohakarawen), who are stationed at the door of the Five Nations Indians Confederation session, is to watch and if they see any crawling creature entering in the session they will disallow to enter in the session. Crawling creature signifies any case of proposition which brought before the session would be ruinous, or injurious to the people; and also if they see stranger near the door they will bring the stranger in their session and ask what is their message have they with them.

27. If any one of the Five Nation Indians confederation chiefs should die, and there being no member in the caste fit for the office to succeed him, then the chiefs of the Five Nation Indians shall take the emblem of chieftainship and put it in another family of the same caste as the deceased chief, until such time as they shall have a member qualified for the office, then the emblem of chieftainship shall be restored to the said family, on the female side.

28. If the principal chief or chiefs of the Five Nation lndians Confederation disregards (this) constitution of the Five Nation Indians, then his female relatives will come to him and warn him or they to come back, and walk according to this constitution. If he or they disregards the warning after the first and second warnings, then she will refer the matter to the war chief, and the war chief will now say to him: “So, you did not listen to the warnings, now it is just where the bright noonday sun stands and it’s before that sun’s brightness I now discharge you as a chief and I now dispossess you of the office of chieftainship. I now give her the chieftainship for she is the proprietor, and as I have now discharged you as a chief, so you are no longer a chief, you will now go where you want it to go, and you will now go alone, and the rest of the people will not go with you for we know not of what kind of a spirit has got in you, and as the Great Spirit could not handle sin, therefore he could not come to take you out of the presence in the place of destruction, and you will never be restored again to the place you did occupy once.” Then the war chief will notify the Five Nation Indians confederation of his dismissal and they will sanction it.

29. Kariwhiyho, the good message is the love of the Great Spirit, the Supreme Being. This Kariwhiyho is the surrounding guardian of the Five Nation Indians Confederation principal chiefs. And this Kariwhiyho, it loves all alike the members of the Five Nations Indians Confederation, and other nations of Indians that are attached to it through customary way of treaties, and if the Five Nation Indians Confederation principal chiefs were to submit to laws and regulations made by other people, or course he or they the chief or chiefs are now gone through outside the boundary of the Kariwhiyhos surrounding guard, but their chieftainship fell off from their heads, and it remains inside the Five Nation Indians Confederation, and he or they are now gone outside of the Kariwhiyho’s surrounding guard alone without his or their chieftainship, the emblem of his or their chieftainship, their authority and honour.

5 arrows US coin

30. There is 5 arrows bound together. This is the symbol of union, power, honour and Dominion of the Five Nations Indians confederation, and if one of the 5 arrows was to be taken out then the remainder is easily broken asunder. This signifies if one of the Five Nations were to emigrate to a distant country of course they now withdrawn from the Confederation, therefore the Power of the Five Nation Indians confederation decreased.

31. Adodarho, the head chief of the Ononadagas or Fire-keepers, it is them are entrusted the care of the Five Nation Indians Confederation council fire, and if there is any business to be transacted, they will send a messenger to the head chief of the Fire-keepers Adodarho; and state the nature of the business to him. Then Adodarho will call his cousin chiefs together and hold a council by themselves and consider the matter, and if they find that the matter is worth the consideration of the council of the Five Nations, then Adodarho will send a messenger and notify the rest of the chiefs of the five nations to assemble at their council house, or wherever their residence where the council fire is kept, and its smoke ascends up perpetually to the sky, this it signifies that other Indian Nations are allies to the Five Nation Indians confederation, and as an imperial council fire, and when the chiefs assemble together and the council fire opened according to their rules, then the Fire-keepers will announce to the council the nature business for which they came together to consider.

32. And when the Five Nation Indian chief dies, the council will be adjourned 10 days if it is in session, and if it is not in session it will not be summoned before the 10 days expire; and if the 3 Brothers, viz; Mohawks, Ononadagas and Senecas, should lose one by death of their number, then the 4 brothers Yadathewah, Oneidas and Cayugas, shall come to the residence of the deceased chief on the 10th day and comfort and cheer up their spirits again and if it is to Yadathawah that loses one of their number then the 3 Brothers will perform the ceremony according to their customs by passing a certain number of strings of wampum. During the ceremony is in progress, a successor must be pointed out to them. Then the female relatives of the deceased chief shall select one out of kindreds fit for the office of a chief. And if they are not ready, then they will postpone it until another time, and when they are ready; all the chiefs will assemble together to perform a long ceremony of what is called Okayondontshera to install the new chief or chiefs.

33. Yohhedodaoe, this is the title of a chief, and it is a peculiar way of how he becomes chief when a warrior assists the chiefs in their councils and otherwise, and he is found to be a wise councilor in war and peace, and of sober habits trustworthy and honest, then the chiefs will place him among the rest of the chiefs; as a chief and proclaim in their council, that such a one has become what is called Wakadinedothese he now becomes a chief. And also if a warrior do exploits that will tend to the advantage and interest of his people, he also will become Yonedodaoe amongst them as well, so his class of chiefs are not of the same order as the principle chiefs; for when he departs this life no one is to take his place or succeed him, and if he does wrong in their councils he could not be put out of the council, but he will not be allowed any more to speak in their council, and if he resign his office no one is able to prevent him.

34. If the Five Nation Indian Confederation chief die, then, his comrades will send a messenger to notify the rest of the confederate chiefs to attend his funeral.

35. When the Five Nation Indians Confederation chief get sick, and as he is now approaching unto death, then his female relatives, or his comrade chiefs will come and dispossess him (of) the emblem of his chieftainship.

36. You can create an install a new chief or chiefs when you will hear my words again, and the way that you will hear my words again is when you will read the wampums, for it is the wampums that tells all my Laws, Rules, Customs, which I gave you, the Five Nations Indians, on this occasion you can create and install a new chief in the first combined chiefs, the second and the third as well.

37. And when one is made chief, his skin are said to be seven Niyoroekarake (each of the seven is six inches) in thickness and they were made so when they were made a chief or chiefs. This symbolizes, that when they are in council and engaged in their duties they will not willingly offend, and they are not easily to be offended, and they are not to take offence in anything that might be said in council against them; but to go one calmly, and of a good conscience to deliberate whatever is before them to council!.

38. The title of the Five Nation Indians Confederation principal chiefs are Lords, and this title was from the beginning when the Confederation first established.

39. And if any of the chiefs resign his office as a chief, he shall tell his Brother chiefs, and if he selects one to take his place and be a chief instead, and his Brother chiefs accepts his resignation and one to fill his place, but he will not be made a chief, until sanctioned by his female relatives.

40. The Great Spirit the Supreme Being has chosen to Mohawk Nation as head in this Confederation, for it is with them that the Confederation originated. Therefore if the Mohawk chiefs disallow anything, or protest any case or proposition that is brought before the council it shall not be lawful for the council to pass it, for has chosen them to be the leader of this Confederation government, and all the affairs of the Five Nation Indians, and others that are united  with them are in their hands; and he has given the Mohawk chiefs a calm and tender hearts towards their people, and if any difficulty arise amongst them the people the chiefs in council will settle it for them.

Among the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois – that is to say the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca, the Oneida, and the Tuscarora) the Great Law of Peace is the oral constitution whereby the Iroquois Confederacy was bound together. The law was written on wampum belts, conceived by Dekanawidah, known as The Great Peacemaker, and his spokesman Hiawatha. The original five member nations ratified this constitution near modern-day Victor, New York, with the sixth nation (the Tuscarora) being added in c. 1722.

The laws were first recorded and transmitted not in written language, but by means of wampum symbols that conveyed meaning. In a later era it was translated into English and various accounts exist. The Great Law of Peace is presented as part of a narrative noting laws and ceremonies to be performed at prescribed times. The laws called a constitution are divided into 117 articles. The united Iroquois nations are symbolized by an eastern white pine tree, called the Tree of Peace. Each nation or tribe plays a delineated role in the conduct of government.

Attempts to date the founding of the Iroquois Confederacy have focused on a reported solar eclipse, which many scholars identify as the one that occurred in 1451 AD though some debate exists with support for 1142.

The narratives of the Great Law exist in the languages of the member nations so spelling and usages vary. William N. Fenton observed that it came to serve a purpose as a social organization inside and among the nations, a constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy or League, ceremonies to be observed, and a binding history of peoples. Fenton also observed some 9 common points focusing more simply on the narrative story line,: though Christopher Vecsey identified 22 points shared across some two dozen versions of the narrative or parts of the narrative both direct and indirect:

Narrative

  1. The Migration and Separation of the People (pre-history of the area)
  2. The Birth and Growth of Deganawida
  3. The Journey to the Mohawks, the Situation, and the Mission Explained
  4. The Mother of Nations Accepts Deganawida’s Message
  5. The Cannibal Converts
  6. The Prophets Prove Their Power
  7. Tadadaho the Wizard Prevents Peace
  8. Hiawatha’s Relatives Are Killed
  9. Hiawatha Mourns and Quits Onondaga
  10. Hiawatha Invents Wampum
  11. Hiawatha Gives the Mohawks Lessons in Protocol
  12. Deganawida Consoles Hiawatha
  13. Scouts Travel to Tadadaho
  14. Deganawida and Hiawatha Join Oneidas, Cayugas, and Senecas to Mohawks
  15. The Nations March to Tadadaho, Singing the Peace Hymn
  16. Deganawida and Hiawatha Transform Tadadaho

Constitution of the Confederacy and social order of the member peoples

  1. Deganawida and Hiawatha Establish Iroquois Unity and Law
  2. Deganawida and Hiawatha Establish League Chiefs and Council Polity
  3. The Confederacy Takes Symbolic Images
  4. The League Declares Its Sovereignty (the Constitutional laws of the Confederacy)

Ceremony

  1. The Condolence Maintains the Confederacy ( a sequence of ceremonies for grieving over a deceased chief and appointing a new one)
  2. Deganawida Departs

Barbara Mann has gathered version featuring conflicting but harmonized elements (who does what varies but what happens is more consistent than not,) or stories that tell distinct elements not shared in other versions, into a narrative she includes in the Encyclopedia of the Haudenosaunee published in 2000.

Cayuga

An untranslated version has been posted by the Smithsonian Institution.

Another is mentioned being presented to Michael Foster.

Mohawk

There are several Mohawk versions that made it into print and several of those were printed more than once.

Horatio Hale published one in 1883 he traced somewhat earlier which was reprinted by William N. Fenton, following Arthur Caswell Parker, in 1968.

J. N. B. Hewitt published one in 1928 based on a much earlier fragment.

Joseph Brant and John Norton commented on details of the narrative as early as 1801 and published since.

Dayodekane, better known as Seth Newhouse, arranged for some versions that were published differently near 1900 – first from 1885 included in a book by Paul A. W. Wallace in 1948, and a second version published in 1910 by Arthur C. Parker.] Fenton discusses Newhouse’ contributions in a paper in 1949. Wallace also published a separate book without stating his source in 1946 called “The Iroquois book of Life – White Roots of Peace” which was later revised and extended with endorsements by Iroqouis chiefs and an Iroquoian historian John Mohawk in 1986 and 1994.

Oneida

Oneida versions have been noted in various places. One from New York, has been echoed/summarized by the Milwaukee Public Museum. Another has been published by the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin in two sections. Another account is also reported.

Paula Underwood, an oral historian who traces her history to an Oneida ancestor, was also related to Benjamin Franklin. Her familial oral history describing Shenandoah’s close relationship and collaboration with Benjamin Franklin on the writing of the US Constitution was published in 1997.

Onondaga

Parts of Horatio Hale’s work The Iroquois Book of Rites is said to have Onondaga sources. J. N. B. Hewitt recorded Chief John Buck and included his presentation in 1892.

John Arthur Gibson shared several versions that have gathered notable awareness among scholars like Fenton and others. His first version was in 1899. Gibson then participated in a collective version with many Chiefs from the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve in 1900 which was reprinted a number of times: first in 1910/1, and then included in another work. A final version was offered to Alexander Goldenweiser but wasn’t finished translated and published until 1992 by Hanni Woodbury.

Seneca

Newspaper editor William Walker Canfield published a book The Legends of the Iroquois in 1902 based on found notes he was given purporting to be written from comments of Cornplanter reportedly to an employee of the surveyor company Holland Land Company, perhaps John Adlum, known friend of Cornplanter. It is the primary source of the mention of a solar eclipse.

Another Seneca version was given by Deloe B. Kittle to Parker and was published in 1923.

Tuscarora

There is a version attributed by Wallace “Mad Bear” Anderson of the Tuscarora published in 1987. However, there is a claim this was borrowed.

United States Constitution

Some historians, including Donald Grinde of the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, have claimed that the democratic ideals of the Gayanashagowa provided a significant inspiration to Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and other framers of the United States Constitution. They contend that the federal structure of the U.S. constitution was influenced by the living example of the Iroqouis confederation, as were notions of individual liberty and the separation of powers. Grinde, Bruce Johansen and others also identify Native American symbols and imagery that were adopted by the nascent United States, including the American bald eagle and a bundle of arrows. Their thesis argues the U.S. constitution was the synthesis of various forms of political organization familiar to the founders, including the Iroquois confederation.

Franklin circulated copies of the proceedings of the 1744 Treaty of Lancaster among his fellow colonists; at the close of this document, the Six Nations leaders offer to impart instruction in their democratic methods of government to the English. Franklin’s Albany Plan is also believed to have been influenced by his understanding of Iroqouis government. John Rutledge of South Carolina, delegate to the Constitutional Convention, is said to have read lengthy tracts of Six Nations law to the other framers, beginning with the words “We, the people, to form a union, to establish peace, equity, and order…” In October 1988, the U.S. Congress passed Concurrent Resolution 331 to recognize the influence of the Iroquois Constitution upon the American Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The extent of the influence of Six Nations law on the U.S. Constitution is disputed by other scholars. Haudenosaunee historian Elizabeth Tooker has pointed to several differences between the two forms of government, notably that all decisions were made by a consensus of male chiefs who gained their position through a combination of blood descent and selection by female relatives, that representation on the basis of the number of clans in the group rather than the size or population of the clans, that the topics discussed were decided by a single tribe. Tooker concluded there is little resemblance between the two documents, or reason to believe the Six Nations had a meaningful influence on the American Constitution, and that it is unclear how much impact Canasatego’s statement at Lancaster actually had on the representatives of the colonies. Stanford University historian Jack N. Rakove argued against any Six Nations influence, pointing to lack of evidence in U.S. constitutional debate records, and examples of European antecedents for democratic institutions.

Journalist Charles C. Mann has noted other differences between The Great Law of Peace and the original U.S. Constitution, including the original Constitution’s denial of suffrage to women, and majority rule rather than consensus. Mann argues that the early colonists’ interaction with Native Americans and their understanding of Iroqouis government did influence the development of the U.S. constitution and the Suffragette movement.

Example articles

§37: There shall be one war chief from each nation, and their duties shall be to carry messages for their chiefs, and to take up arms in case of emergency. They shall not participate in the proceedings of the Council of the League, but shall watch its progress and in case of an erroneous action by a chief, they shall receive the complaints of the people and convey the warnings of the women to him. The people who wish to convey messages to the chiefs of the League shall do so through the war chief of their nation. It shall always be his duty to lay the cases, questions, and propositions of the people before the council of the League.
§58: Any Chief or other person who submit to Laws of a foreign people are alienated and forfeit all claim in the Five Nations.
§101: It shall be the duty of the appointed managers of the Thanksgiving festivals to do all that is needful for carrying out the duties of the occasions. The recognized festivals of Thanksgiving shall be the Midwinter Thanksgiving, the Maple or Sugar-Making Thanksgiving, the Raspberry Thanksgiving, the Strawberry Thanksgiving, the Corn Planting Thanksgiving, the Corn Hoeing Thanksgiving, The Little Festival of Green Corn, the Great Festival of Ripe Corn, and the Complete Thanksgiving for the Harvest. Each nation’s festivals shall be held in their Longhouses.
§107: A certain sign shall be known to all the people of the Five Nations which shall denote that the owner or occupant of a house is absent. A stick or pole in a slanting or leaning position shall indicate this and be the sign. Every person not entitled to enter the house by right of living within upon seeing such a sign shall not enter the house by day or by night, but shall keep as far away as his business will permit.
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Grattan Fight

The Grattan Massacre, also known as the Grattan Fight, was the opening engagement of the First Sioux War, fought between United States Army and Lakota Sioux warriors on August 19, 1854. It occurred east of Fort Laramie, Nebraska Territory, in present-day Goshen County, Wyoming.

A small detachment of soldiers entered a large Sioux encampment to arrest a man accused of taking a migrant’s cow, although such matters by treaty were to be handled by the US Indian Agent. After one of the soldiers shot Chief Conquering Bear and killed him, the Brulé Lakotas returned fire and killed a total of 29 soldiers, Lieutenant John Grattan, and a civilian interpreter. The massacre, as it was called by the American press, is considered an early, significant event in the Plains Indian Wars.

In the late summer of 1854, about 4,000 Brulé and Oglala were camped near Fort Laramie in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of 1851. On August 17, a cow belonging to a Mormon traveling on the nearby Oregon Trail strayed and was killed by a visiting Miniconjou named High Forehead. Lt. Hugh Fleming, the senior officer of the small garrison, consulted with the chief, Conquering Bear, to discuss the loss of livestock. Lt. Fleming was evidently unaware, or chose to ignore, that such matters were, by the terms of the Treaty of 1851, to be handled by the local Indian Agent, in this case John Whitfield, who was due to arrive within days with annuities with which restitution could be made.

Aware that the matter did not really concern the military, Conquering Bear attempted to negotiate, offering a horse from his personal herd or a cow from the tribe’s herd. The cow’s owner persisted in demanding $25 instead. Lt. Fleming asked the Sioux to arrest High Forehead and deliver him to the fort, which Conquering Bear refused; he had no authority over the Miniconjou and did not want to violate their tradition of hospitality. The day’s talk ended in stalemate.

Second Lieutenant John Lawrence Grattan, of the U.S. 6th Infantry Regiment, a recent graduate of West Point and supernumerary waiting for a vacancy in the regiment, led an armed detachment into the Indian encampment to take custody of High Forehead and bring him back to the fort. Grattan was inexperienced and contemptuous of the Lakotas’ ability as warriors. This was his first encounter with the Sioux. A commander at Laramie later recalled, “There is no doubt that Lt. Grattan left this post with a desire to have a fight with the Indians, and that he had determined to take the man at all hazards.” In Grattan’s party were a sergeant, a corporal, 27 privates and a French-Native American interpreter named Lucienne Auguste; the military forces had two artillery pieces in addition to arms.

Red Cloud.

By the time the detachment reached the encampment, Auguste was intoxicated from drinking along the way, as he feared the encounter. Grattan broke his bottle and scolded him. Auguste was not well liked by the Sioux; he spoke only broken Dakota, and had little grasp of other dialects. As they entered the encampment, he began to taunt the Sioux, calling their warriors women, and saying the soldiers were not there to talk, but to kill them all. James Bordeau, who owned the nearby trading post and observed the encounter, later told of it.

Historians estimate the encampment had some 1,200 warriors out of the total 4,800 population. According to Bordeau, Lt. Grattan began to realize the risk, and stopped to discuss the situation with the trader. Bordeau advised him to talk directly with Conquering Bear and let him handle the situation. Grattan seemed to understand and continued on into the encampment. Going first to the lodge of High Forehead, he ordered him to surrender to the US forces. High Forehead said he would die first.

Grattan went to Conquering Bear, saying the Sioux should arrest the guilty party and turn him over. Conquering Bear refused but tried to negotiate, offering a horse as compensation for the cow. Bordeau reportedly said the interpreter Auguste taunted the Sioux, and failed to fully or accurately translate Conquering Bear and Grattan’s comments, as there seemed to be confusion between them. Conquering Bear asked that the trader Bordeau act as interpreter, as the Sioux trusted him and his language ability. Called by the Sioux, Bordeau rode to the meeting place; later he said he could see the situation was out of hand. As Grattan pressed Conquering Bear, numerous Sioux warriors moved into flanking positions around the soldiers. Bordeau returned to the trading post, where he told associates to get arms, as a fight was coming.

Ending the discussion, Grattan began walking back to his column. A nervous soldier fired his gun, shooting a Sioux. The warriors started shooting arrows while leaders tried to take control. Conquering Bear was mortally wounded and died nine days later near the Niobrara River. The Sioux warriors quickly killed Grattan, 11 of his men, and the interpreter. A group of some 18 soldiers retreated on foot trying to reach some rocks for defense, but they were cut off and killed by warriors led by Red Cloud, who was then a rising War chief within the Sioux. One soldier survived the massacre but later died of his wounds. The 28 killed soldiers are buried at Fort McPherson, Nebraska, while Lt. Grattan is buried in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Conquering Bear was the only Lakota who was killed. Bordeau was spared both because he was married to a Brulé Sioux woman, and he had a friendly relationship with the tribes.

The enraged warriors “rampaged throughout the night, swearing to attack other whites.” They rode against Fort Laramie the next morning but withdrew; they looted the trading post but did not harm Bourdeau. On the third day after the US attack, the Brule and Oglala abandoned the camp on the North Platte River and returned to their respective hunting grounds. On the fourth day, the military asked Bourdeau to arrange a burial party. His team went to the scene and found that the slain soldiers had been ritually mutilated. Grattan’s body was identified by his watch and was returned to the post for burial. The remains of the troops were interred at the site in the same shallow grave.

The soldiers’ remains were later exhumed and re-interred at Fort McPherson National Cemetery, where a white marble monument was erected in their memory. Grattan’s remains were moved later to Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery in Kansas. A historical marker was later erected about one-half mile from the site of the events (see photo above.)

The U.S. press called the event the “Grattan Massacre.” Accounts generally ignored the US soldiers’ instigation of the event by shooting Conquering Bear in the back, and Grattan’s violation of the treaty provisions. When news of the fight reached the War Department, officials started planning retaliation to punish the Sioux. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis characterized the incident as “the result of a deliberately formed plan.”

Col. William S. Harney was recalled from Paris in April 1855 and sent to Fort Kearny, where he assembled a command of 600 troops consisting of troops from the 6th Infantry, 10th Infantry, 4th Artillery, and his own 2nd US Dragoons. In all he had four mounted companies led by Lt. Col. Philip St. George Cooke and five companies of infantry under Major Albemarle Cady. They set out on August 24, 1855 to find and exact retribution on the Sioux. Harney was quoted as saying, “By God, I’m for battle—no peace.”

Warned by Thomas S. Twiss of the Indian Bureau that the army had put a force in the field, half of the Lakota camped north of the Platte came into Fort Laramie to be treated as friendly. The other half, generally led by Conquering Bear’s successor Little Thunder, remained at large, considering themselves peaceful but aware of Harney’s approach and continuing to harbor warriors sought by the army. Harney engaged them in the Battle of Ash Hollow (also known as the Battle of Bluewater Creek) on September 3, 1855, in which U.S. soldiers killed a number of Brulé Sioux in present-day Garden County, Nebraska. The village of 230 persons was caught between an assault by the infantry and a blocking force by the cavalry.

Harney returned to Fort Laramie with 70 prisoners. On October 25 the three warriors sought by the expedition surrendered themselves, were held for a year at Fort Leavenworth, then released. Harney ordered the tribes to send representatives to a treaty council at Fort Pierre in March 1856, where a treaty was signed on terms dictated by the War Department. However Twiss tried to undermine the treaty and Harney had him removed from office without possessing the legal authority to do so. Commissioner of Indian Affairs George W. Manypenny then successfully lobbied the Senate to reject the treaty and Twiss was reinstated. Nevertheless, the specter of Harney restrained the Lakota for nearly ten years.

Historians such as Griske believe the following nearly quarter-century of intermittent warfare on the Great Plains was triggered by the Grattan massacre. Others suggest numerous factors, especially US desire for control of lands that were Sioux territory, as to make warfare inevitable.

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Red Cloud

Beginning in 1866, Red Cloud orchestrated the most successful war against the United States ever fought by an Indian nation. The army had begun to construct forts along the Bozeman Trail, which ran through the heart of Lakota territory in present-day Wyoming to the Montana gold fields from Colorado’s South Platte River. As caravans of miners and settlers began to cross the Lakota’s land, Red Cloud was haunted by the vision of Minnesota’s expulsion of the Eastern Lakota in 1862 and 1863. So he launched a series of assaults on the forts, most notably the crushing defeat of Lieutenant Colonel William Fetterman’s column of eighty men just outside Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming, in December of 1866. The garrisons were kept in a state of exhausting fear of further attacks through the rest of the winter.

Red Cloud’s strategies were so successful that by 1868 the United States government had agreed to the Fort Laramie Treaty. The treaty’s remarkable provisions mandated that the United States abandon its forts along the Bozeman Trail and guarantee the Lakota their possession of what is now the Western half of South Dakota, including the Black Hills, along with much of Montana and Wyoming.

The peace, of course, did not last. Custer’s 1874 Black Hills expedition again brought war to the northern Plains, a war that would mean the end of independent Indian nations. For reasons which are not entirely clear, Red Cloud did not join Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull and other war leaders in the Lakota War of 1876-77. However, after the military defeat of the Lakota nation, Red Cloud continued to fight for the needs and autonomy of his people, even if in less obvious or dramatic ways than waging war.

Throughout the 1880’s Red Cloud struggled with Pine Ridge Indian Agent Valentine McGillycuddy over the distribution of government food and supplies and the control of the Indian police force. He was eventually successful in securing McGillycuddy’s dismissal. Red Cloud cultivated contacts with sympathetic Eastern reformers, especially Thomas A. Bland, and was not above pretending for political effect to be more acculturated to white ways than he actually was.

Fearing the Army’s presence on his reservation, Red Cloud refrained from endorsing the Ghost Dance movement, and unlike Sitting Bull and Big Foot, he escaped the Army’s occupation unscathed. Thereafter he continued to fight to preserve the authority of chiefs such as himself, opposed leasing Lakota lands to whites, and vainly fought allotment of Indian reservations into individual tracts under the 1887 Dawes Act. He died in 1909, but his long and complex life endures as testimony to the variety of ways in which Indians resisted their conquest.

Red Cloud’s War (also referred to as the Bozeman War) was an armed conflict between the Lakota and the United States in the Wyoming Territory and the Montana Territory from 1866 to 1868. The war was fought over control of the Powder River Country in north central Wyoming.

The war is named after Red Cloud, a prominent Sioux chief who led the war against the United States following encroachment into the area by the U.S. military. The war ended with the Treaty of Fort Laramie. The Sioux victory in the war led to their temporarily preserving their control of the Powder River country.

 

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Battle of the Trench

Muhammad orders Muslims to defend Medina from attack, after Banu Nadir and Banu Qaynuqa tribes form an alliance with the Quraysh to attack him as revenge for expelling them from Medina. The Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir states: “The reason why the Confederates came was that a group of the leaders of the Jews of Banu Nadir, whom the Messenger of Allah had expelled from Al-Madinah to Khaybar, including Sallam bin Abu Al-Huqayq, Sallam bin Mishkam and Kinanah bin Ar-Rabi`, went to Makkah where they met with the leaders of Quraysh and incited them to make war against the Prophet”

The Battle of the Trench (Arabic: غزوة الخندق‎, translit. Ghazwah al-Khandaq) also known as the Battle of the Confederates (Arabic: غزوة الاحزاب‎, translit. Ghazwah al-Ahzab), was a 27 – day long siege of Yathrib (now Medina) by Arab and Jewish tribes. The strength of the confederate armies is estimated around 10,000 men with six hundred horses and some camels, while the Medinan defenders numbered 3,000. The battle coincided with harsh winter weather of January/February 627.

The largely outnumbered defenders of Medina, mainly Muslims led by Islamic prophet Muhammad, dug a trench, which together with Medina’s natural fortifications, rendered the confederate cavalry (consisting of horses and camels) useless, locking the two sides in a stalemate. Hoping to make several attacks at once, the confederates persuaded the Muslim-allied Medinian Jews, Banu Qurayza, to attack the city from the south. However, Muhammad’s diplomacy derailed the negotiations, and broke up the confederacy against him. The well-organized defenders, the sinking of confederate morale, and poor weather conditions caused the siege to end in a fiasco.

The siege was a “battle of wits”, in which the Muslims tactically overcame their opponents while suffering very few casualties. Efforts to defeat the Muslims failed, and Islam became influential in the region. As a consequence, the Muslim army besieged the area of the Banu Qurayza tribe, leading to their surrender and the execution of all their men.

The defeat caused the Meccans to lose their trade and much of their prestige.

The battle is named after “trench”, or khandaq, that was dug by Muslims in preparation for the battle. The word khandaq (خندق) is the Arabized form of the Persian word kandak (meaning “that which has been dug”). Salman the Persian advised Muhammad to dig a trench around the city. The battle is also referred to as the Battle of Confederates (غزوة الاحزاب). The Qur’an uses the term confederates (الاحزاب) in sura Al-Ahzab to denote the confederacy of pagans and Jews against Islam.

After their expulsion from Mecca, the Muslims fought the Meccan Quraysh at the Battle of Badr in 624, and at the Battle of Uhud in 625. Although the Muslims neither won nor were defeated at the Battle of Uhud, their military strength was gradually growing. In April 626 Muhammad raised a force of 300 men and 10 horses to meet the Quraysh army of 1,000 at Badr for the second time. Although no fighting occurred, the coastal tribes were impressed with Muslim power. Muhammad also tried, with limited success, to break up many alliances against the Muslim expansion. Nevertheless, he was unable to prevent the Meccan one.

As they had in the battles of Badr and Uhud, the Muslim army again used strategic methods against their opponents (at Badr, the Muslims surrounded the wells, but did not deprive their opponents of water since Ali did not want to follow the footsteps of the Meccan army; at the Battle of Uhud, Muslims made strategic use of the hills). In this battle they dug a trench to render the enemy cavalry ineffective.

The reason for this battle was to defend Medina from attack, after Banu Nadir and Banu Qaynuqa tribes formed an alliance with the Quraysh to attack him as revenge for expelling them from Medina during the Invasion of Banu Qaynuqa and Invasion of Banu Nadir. The Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir states: “The reason why the Confederates came was that a group of the leaders of the Jews of Banu Nadir, whom the Messenger of Allah had expelled from Al-Madinah to Khaybar, including Sallam bin Abu Al-Huqayq, Sallam bin Mishkam and Kinanah bin Ar-Rabi`, went to Makkah where they met with the leaders of Quraysh and incited them to make war against the Prophet”

Early in 627, the Jews of Banu Nadir met with the Arab Quraysh of Makkah. Huyayy ibn Akhtab, along with other leaders from Khaybar, traveled to swear allegiance with Safwan at Makkah.

The bulk of the Confederate armies were gathered by the pagan Quraysh of Makkah, led by Abu Sufyan, who fielded 4,000 foot soldiers, 300 horsemen, and 1,000-1,500 men on camels.

The Banu Nadir began rousing the nomads of Najd. The Nadir enlisted the Banu Ghatafan by paying them half of their harvest. This contingent, the second largest, added a strength of about 2,000 men and 300 horsemen led by Unaina bin Hasan Fazari. The Bani Assad also agreed to join, led by Tuleha Asadi. From the Banu Sulaym, the Nadir secured 700 men, though this force would likely have been much larger had not some of its leaders been sympathetic towards Islam. The Bani Amir, who had a pact with Muhammad, refused to join.

Other tribes included the Banu Murra, with 400 men led by Hars ibn Auf Murri, and the Banu Shuja, with 700 men led by Sufyan ibn Abd Shams. In total, the strength of the Confederate armies, though not agreed upon by scholars, is estimated to have included around 10,000 men and six hundred horsemen. In January 627 the army, which was led by Abu Sufyan, marched on Medina.

In accordance with the plan the armies began marching towards Medina, Meccans from the south (along the coast) and the others from the east. At the same time horsemen from the Banu Khuza’a left to warn Medina of the invading army.

The men from Banu Khuza’a reached Muhammad in four days, warning him of the Confederate armies that were to arrive in a week. Muhammad gathered the Medinans to discuss the best strategy of overcoming the enemy. Meeting the enemy in the open (which led to victory at Badr), and waiting for them inside the city (a lesson learnt from the defeat at Uhud) were both suggested. Ultimately, the outnumbered Muslims opted to engage in a defensive battle by digging deep trenches to act as a barrier along the northern front. The tactic of a defensive trench was introduced by Salman the Persian. Every capable Muslim in Medina including Muhammad contributed to digging the massive trench in six days. The ditch was dug on the northern side only, as the rest of Medina was surrounded by rocky mountains and trees, impenetrable to large armies (especially cavalry). The digging of the ditch coincided with a near-famine in Medina. Women and children were moved to the inner city. The Medinans harvested all their crops early, so the Confederate armies would have to rely on their own food reserves.

Muhammad established his military headquarters at the hillock of Sala’ and the army was arrayed there; this position would give the Muslims an advantage if the enemy crossed the trench.

The final army that would defend the city from the invasion consisted of 3,000 men, and included all inhabitants of Medina over the age of 15, except the Banu Qurayza (the Qurayza did supply the Muslims with some instruments for digging the trench).

Battle of Khandaq (Battle of the Trench)

The siege of Medina began in January 627 and lasted for 27 days. Since sieges were uncommon in Arabian warfare, the arriving confederates were unprepared to deal with the trenches dug by the Muslims. The Confederates tried to attack with horsemen in hopes of forcing a passage, but the Medinans were rigidly entrenched, preventing such a crossing. Both of the armies gathered on either side of the trench and spent two or three weeks exchanging insults in prose and verse, backed up with arrows fired from a comfortable distance. According to Rodinson, there were three dead among the attackers and five among the defenders. On the other hand, the harvest had been gathered and the besiegers had some trouble finding food for their horses, which proved of no use to them in the attack.

The Quraysh veterans grew impatient with the deadlock. A group of militants led by ‘Amr ibn ‘Abd Wudd (who was thought to be equal to a thousand men in fighting) and Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl attempted to thrust through the trench and managed to effect a crossing, occupying a marshy area near the hillock of Sala. ‘Amr challenged the Muslims to a duel. In response, Ali ibn Abi Talib accepted the challenge, and was sent by Muhammad to fight. Both the fighters got lost in the dust as the duel became intense. Finally, the soldiers heard scream(s) which hinted decisive blows, but it was unclear which of the two was successful. The slogan, ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is the greatest) from the dust confirmed Ali’s victory. The confederates were forced to withdraw in a state of panic and confusion. Although the Confederates lost only three men during the encounter, they failed to accomplish anything important.

The Confederate army made several other attempts to cross the trench during the night but repeatedly failed. Although the confederates could have deployed their infantry over the whole length of the trench, they were unwilling to engage the Muslims at close quarter as the former regarded the latter as superior in hand-to-hand fighting. As the Muslim army was well dug in behind the embankment made from the earth which had been taken from the ditch and prepared to bombard attackers with stones and arrows, any attack could cause great casualties.

The Confederates then attempted several simultaneous attacks, in particular by trying to persuade the Banu Qurayza to attack the Muslims from the south. From the Confederates, Huyayy ibn Akhtab, a Khaybarian, the leader of the exiled Jewish tribe Banu Nadir, returned to Medina seeking their support against the Muslims.

So far the Banu Qurayza had tried their best to remain neutral, and were very hesitant about joining the Confederates since they had earlier made a pact with Muhammad. When Akhtab approached them, their leader refused to allow him entry.

Akhtab eventually managed to enter and persuade them that the Muslims would surely be overwhelmed. The sight of the vast Confederate armies, surging over the land with soldiers and horses as far as the eye could see, swung the Qurayza opinion in the favour of the Confederacy.

News of the Qurayzah’s supposed renunciation of the pact with Muhammad leaked out, and Umar promptly informed Muhammad. Such suspicions were reinforced by the movement of enemy troops towards the strongholds of the Qurayza. Muhammad became anxious about their conduct, and realized the grave potential danger the Qurayza posed. Because of his pact with the Qurayza, he had not bothered to make defensive preparations along the Muslims’ border with the tribe. The Qurayza also possessed weaponry: 1,500 swords, 2,000 lances, 300 suits of armor, and 500 shields.

Muhammad sent three leading Muslims to bring him details of the recent developments. He advised the men to openly declare their findings, should they find the Banu Qurayza to be loyal, so as to increase the morale of the Muslim fighters. However, he warned against spreading the news of a possible breach of the pact on the Qurayza’s part, so as to avoid any panic within Muslim ranks.

The leaders found that the pact indeed had been renounced and tried in vain to convince the Qurayza to revert by reminding them of the fate of the Banu Nadir and Banu Qaynuqa at the hands of Muhammad. The findings of the leaders were signaled to Muhammad in a metaphor: “Adal and Qarah“. Because the people of Adal and Qarah had betrayed the Muslims and killed them at the opportune moment, Maududi believes the metaphor means the Qurayza were thought to be about to do the same.

Muhammad attempted to hide his knowledge of the activities of Banu Qurayza; however, rumors soon spread of a massive assault on the city of Medina from Qurayza’s side which severely demoralized the Medinans.

The Muslims found themselves in greater difficulties by day. Food was running short, and nights were colder. The lack of sleep made matters worse. So tense was the situation that, for the first time, the canonical daily prayers were neglected by the Muslim community. Only at night, when the attacks stopped due to darkness, could they resume their regular worship. According to Ibn Ishaq, the situation became serious and fear was everywhere.

Quran describes the situation in surah Al-Ahzab:

Behold! they came on you from above you and from below you, and behold, the eyes became dim and the hearts gaped up to the throats, and ye imagined various (vain) thoughts about Allah! In that situation were the Believers tried: they were shaken as by a tremendous shaking. And behold! The Hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease (even) say: “Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusion!” Behold! A party among them said: “Ye men of Yathrib! ye cannot stand (the attack)! therefore go back!” And a band of them ask for leave of Muhammad, saying, “Truly our houses are bare and exposed,” though they were not exposed they intended nothing but to run away. And if an entry had been effected to them from the sides of the (city), and they had been incited to sedition, they would certainly have brought it to pass, with none but a brief delay! … They think that the Confederates have not withdrawn; and if the Confederates should come (again), they would wish they were in the deserts (wandering) among the Bedouins, and seeking news about you (from a safe distance); and if they were in your midst, they would fight but little… When the Believers saw the Confederate forces, they said: “This is what Allah and his Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger told us what was true.” And it only added to their faith and their zeal in obedience.

Immediately after hearing the rumors about the Qurayza, Muhammad had sent 100 men to the inner city for its protection. Later he sent 300 horsemen (cavalry was not needed at the trench) as well to protect the city. The loud voices, in which the troops prayed every night, created the illusion of a large force.

The crisis showed Muhammad that many of his men had reached the limits of their endurance. He sent word to Ghatafan, trying to pay for their defection and offering them a third of Medina’s date harvest if they withdrew. Although the Ghatafan demanded half, they eventually agreed to negotiating with Muhammad on those terms. Before Muhammad began the order of drafting the agreement, he consulted the Medinan leaders. They sharply rejected the terms of the agreement, protesting Medina had never sunk to such levels of ignominy. The negotiations were broken off. While the Ghatafan did not retreat they had compromised themselves by entering into negotiations with Medina, and the Confederacy’s internal dissension had thereby been increased.

At about that point, Muhammad received a visit from Nuaym ibn Masud, an Arab leader who was well respected by the entire confederacy, but who had, unknown to them, secretly converted to Islam. Muhammad asked him to end the siege by creating discord amongst Confederates.

The whole was a battle of wits in which Muslims had the best of it; without cost to themselves they weakened the enemy and increased the dissension.
— William Montgomery Watt

Nuaym then came up with an efficient stratagem. He first went to the Banu Qurayza and warned them about the intentions of the rest of the Confederacy. If the siege fails, he said, the Confederacy will not be afraid to abandon the Jews, leaving them at the mercy of Muhammad. The Qurayza should thus demand Confederate leaders as hostages in return for cooperation. This advice touched upon the fears the Qurayza had already harbored.

Next Nuaym went to Abu Sufyan, the Confederate leader, warning him that the Qurayza had defected to Muhammad. He stated that the Jewish tribe intended to ask the Confederacy of hostages, ostensibly in return for cooperation, but really to hand over to Muhammad. Thus the Confederacy should not give a single man as hostage. Nuaym repeated the same message to other tribes in the Confederacy.

Nuaym’s stratagem worked. After consulting, the Confederate leaders sent Ikrimah to the Qurayza, signaling a united invasion of Medina. The Qurayza, however, demanded hostages as a guarantee that the Confederacy would not desert them. The Confederacy, considering that the Qurayza might give the hostage to Muhammad, refused. Messages were repeatedly sent back and forth between the parties, but each held to its position stubbornly.

Abu Sufyan summoned Huyayy ibn Akhtab, informing him of Qurayza’s response. Huyayy was taken aback, and Abu Sufyan branded him as a “traitor”. Fearing for his life, Huyayy fled to the Qurayza’s strongholds.

The Bedouins, the Ghatafan and other Confederates from Najd had already been compromised by Muhammad’s negotiations. They had taken part in the expedition in hopes of plunder, rather than any particular prejudice against Islam. They lost hope as chances of success dwindled, uninterested in continuing the siege. The two confederate armies were marked by recriminations and mutual distrust.

The provisions of the Confederate armies were running out. Horses and camels were dying out of hunger and wounds. For days the weather had been exceptionally cold and wet. Violent winds blew out the camp fires, taking away from the Confederate army their source of heat. The Muslim camp, however, was sheltered from such winds. The enemy’s tents were torn up, their fires were extinguished, the sand and rain beat in their faces, and they were terrified by the portents against them. They had already well nigh fallen out among themselves. During the night the Confederate armies withdrew, and by morning the ground was cleared of all enemy forces

Following the retreat of the Confederate army, the Banu Qurayza neighbourhoods were besieged by the Muslims, in revenge for their treachery. After a 25-day siege of their neighbourhood the Banu Qurayza unconditionally surrendered. When the Banu Qurayza tribe surrendered, the Muslim army seized their stronghold and their possessions.  On the request of the Banu Aus, who were allied to the Qurayza, Muhammad chose one of them, Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh, as an arbitrator to pronounce judgment upon them. Sa’ad, who would later die of his wounds from the battle, decreed the sentence according to the Torah, in which the men shall be killed and women and children enslaved. Deuteronomy 20:10-14 says:

When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies.

Muhammad approved of this decision, and the next day the sentence was carried out.

The men – numbering between 400 and 900 – were bound and placed under the custody of Muhammad ibn Maslamah, while the women and children were placed under Abdullah ibn Salam, a former rabbi who had converted to Islam.

Ibn Ishaq describes the killing of the Banu Qurayza men as follows:

Then they surrendered, and the Apostle confined them in Medina in the quarter of d. al-Harith, a woman of B. al-Najjar. Then the Apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches. Among them was the enemy of Allah Huyayy b. Akhtab and Ka`b b. Asad their chief. There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900. As they were being taken out in batches to the Apostle they asked Ka`b what he thought would be done with them. He replied, ‘Will you never understand? Don’t you see that the summoner never stops and those who are taken away do not return? By Allah it is death!’ This went on until the Apostle made an end of them. Huyayy was brought out wearing a flowered robe in which he had made holes about the size of the finger-tips in every part so that it should not be taken from him as spoil, with his hands bound to his neck by a rope. When he saw the Apostle he said, ‘By God, I do not blame myself for opposing you, but he who forsakes God will be forsaken.’ Then he went to the men and said, ‘God’s command is right. A book and a decree, and massacre have been written against the Sons of Israel.’ Then he sat down and his head was struck off.

Several accounts note Muhammad’s companions as executioners, Umar and Al-Zubayr in particular, and that each clan of the Aws was also charged with killing a group of Qurayza men.

According to Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad, one woman who had thrown a millstone from the battlements during the siege and killed one of the Muslim besiegers, was also beheaded along with the men. Ibn Asakir writes in his History of Damascus that the Banu Kilab, a clan of Arab clients of the Banu Qurayza, were killed alongside the Jewish tribe.

The spoils of battle, including the enslaved women and children of the tribe, were divided up among the Muslims that had participated in the siege and among the emigrees from Mecca (who had hitherto depended on the help of the Muslims native to Medina.

As part of his share of the spoils, Muhammad selected one of the women, Rayhana, for himself and took her as part of his booty. Muhammad offered to free and marry her and according to some sources she accepted his proposal, while according to others she rejected it and remained Muhammad’s slave. She is said to have later become a Muslim.

Scholars argue that Muhammad had already decided upon this judgment before the Qurayza’s surrender, and that Sa’ad was putting his allegiance to the Muslim community above that to his tribe. One reason cited by some for such punishment is that Muhammad’s previous clemency towards defeated foes was in contradiction to Arab and Jewish laws of the time, and was seen as a sign of weakness. Others see the punishment as a response to what was perceived as an act of treason by the Qurayza since they betrayed their joint defense pact with Muhammad by giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the Muslims.

The failure of the siege marked the beginning of Muhammad’s undoubted political ascendancy in the city of Medina. The Meccans had exerted their utmost strength to dislodge Muhammad from Medina, and this defeat caused them to lose their trade with Syria and much of their prestige with it. Watt conjectures that the Meccans at this point began to contemplate that conversion to Islam would be the most prudent option.

The main contemporary source of the battle is the 33rd Surah of the Quran. The most trustworthy source for the reconstruction of the life of the historical Muhammad is the Quran.

The Sunni Muslim Mufassir Ibn Kathir mentions that is about this incident in his book Tafsir ibn Kathir, and his commentary on this verse mentions the reason and event of the Battle, his commentary is as follows:

Allah tells us of the blessings and favors He bestowed upon His believing servants when He diverted their enemies and defeated them in the year when they gathered together and plotted. That was the year of Al-Khandaq, in Shawwal of the year 5 AH according to the well-known correct view. Musa bin `Uqbah and others said that it was in the year 4 AH. The reason why the Confederates came was that a group of the leaders of the Jews of Banu Nadir, whom the Messenger of Allah had expelled from Al-Madinah to Khaybar, including Sallam bin Abu Al-Huqayq, Sallam bin Mishkam and Kinanah bin Ar-Rabi`, went to Makkah where they met with the leaders of Quraysh and incited them to make war against the Prophet . They promised that they would give them help and support, and Quraysh agreed to that. Then they went to the Ghatafan tribe with the same call, and they responded too. The Quraysh came out with their company of men from various tribes and their followers, under the leadership of Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb. The Ghatafan were led by `Uyaynah bin Hisn bin Badr. In all they numbered nearly ten thousand. When the Messenger of Allah heard that they had set out, he commanded the Muslims to dig a ditch (Khandaq) around Al-Madinah from the east. This was on the advice of Salman Al-Farisi, may Allah be pleased with him. So the Muslims did this, working hard, and the Messenger of Allah worked with them, carrying earth away and digging, in the process of which there occurred many miracles and clear signs. The idolators came and made camp to the north of Al-Madinah, near Uhud, and some of them camped on the high ground overlooking Al-Madinah, as Allah says:

(When they came upon you from above you and from below you,) The Messenger of Allah came out with the believers, who numbered nearly three thousand, or it was said that they numbered seven hundred. They had their backs towards (the mountain of) Sal` and were facing the enemy, and the ditch, in which there was no water, was between the two groups, preventing the cavalry and infantry from reaching them. The women and children were in the strongholds of Al-Madinah. Banu Qurayzah, who were a group among the Jews, had a fortress in the south-east of Al-Madinah, and they had made a treaty with the Prophet and were under his protection. They numbered nearly eight hundred fighters. Huyay bin Akhtab An-Nadari went to them and kept trying to persuade them until they broke the treaty and went over to the side of the Confederates against the Messenger of Allah . The crisis deepened and things got worse… [Tafsir ibn Kathir on Quran 33:10]

The event is referenced in the Sunni, Hadith collection Sahih al-Bukhari, it mentions the death of Sa’d ibn Mu’adh, as follows:

On the day of Al-Khandaq (battle of the Trench) the medial arm vein of Sa’d bin Mu’ad was injured and the Prophet pitched a tent in the mosque to look after him. There was another tent for Banu Ghaffar in the mosque and the blood started flowing from Sa’d’s tent to the tent of Bani Ghaffar. They shouted, “O occupants of the tent! What is coming from you to us?” They found that Sa’d’ wound was bleeding profusely and Sa’d died in his tent. Sahih al-Bukhari, 1:8:452

The Sahih al-Bukhari collection also mentions that after the battle, Muslims were to carry out offensive attacks against their enemies:

On the day of Al-Ahzab (i.e. clans) the Prophet said, (After this battle) we will go to attack them (i.e. the infidels) and they will not come to attack us.” Sahih Bukhari, 5,59,435

The event is also mentioned in the Sahih Muslim Hadith collection as follows:

‘Abdullah b. Zubair reported on the Day of the Battle of the Trench: I and Umar b. Abu Salama were with women folk in the fort of Hassan (b. Thabit). He at one time leaned for me and I cast a glance and at anothertime I leaned for him and he would see and I recognised my father as he rode on his horse with his arms towards the tribe of Quraizah. ‘Abdullah b. ‘Urwa reported from Abdullah b. Zubair: I made a mention of that to my father, whereupon he said: My son, did you see me (on that occasion)? He said: Yes. Thereupon he said: By Allah, Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) addressed me saying: I would sacrifice for thee my father and my mother.Sahih Muslim, 31:4940

The incident also is mentioned in the historical works by writers of the third and fourth century of the Muslim era. These include the traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad, and quotes attributed to him (the sira and hadith literature), which provide further information on Muhammad’s life. The earliest surviving written sira (biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him) is Ibn Ishaq’s Life of God’s Messenger written some 120 to 130 years after Muhammad’s death. Although the original work is lost, portions of it survive in the recensions of Ibn Hisham and Al-Tabari. Another early source is the history of Muhammad’s campaigns by al-Waqidi (d. 823).

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