: Ronald Victor Colonel Bodley

16-09-2012, 07:11 AM
R. V. C. Bodley Ronald Victor Colonel Bodley was a lieutenant who joined the British army in 1908 and promoted until he became a colonel. He worked in the British army unit in Iraq and then in East Jordan in 1922. He also worked as an advisor of the Masqat monarchy in 1924. He was the first to cross the Empty Quarter and explore its mysteries in 1930-1931. After he left the service, he went to live among the desert Arabs. He wrote much about the desert and the East. From the most important of his books, a mention may be made of The messenger; the life of Mohammed; Sahara; The soundless Sahara; Indiscreet travels East, and others.
From The messenger; the life of Mohammed:
The proof of this friendly relationship is that, with the exception of Spain, all the countries which the Moslems penetrated between the seventh and fourteenth centuries have remained faithful to the cause of Islam and regard Makkah as the center of their civilizations[1] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn1).[2] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn2)
He was ahead of time
Were he (Muhammad) to include mutilation (of bodies) as one of his preachings, argues Bodley, he would have just kept one of the traditions common in his own time and known among the Christians during and after it. When the Crusaders invaded the holy land in 1099, they left behind them death and destruction everywhere they came upon. But, when Saladin defeated them, he did not exact retribution from them nor did the Muslims ruin the places they conquered unlike what the ecclesiastical fighters had previously done with them. On the contrary, whenever the Muslims trod a land, a new thing higher and better than before was created.[3] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn3)
A higher position
About the laws of personal states in Islam he tells that they placed the woman in a position higher than hers in any western country at the time. A Muslim man in those days had no authority over his wifes possessions unlike the husband in many European communities. About 1300 years ago, Islam made a woman free and independent from her husband to dispose of her possessions.[4] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn4)
Although Bodley does not accept polygamy, he says: It is no more fair to represent polygamy as part of Islam than, for example, to represent slavery as part of Christianity. Slavery coexisted with Christianity and tried to justify itself by Christianity even until the end of the nineteenth century. The same can be said about polygamy and Islam, with the difference that polygamy united families instead of disuniting them and made of the home a sacred institution.[5] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn5)
Indeed, We will be its guardian
What is important is that the Quran is the only work which has survived for over twelve-hundred years with an unadulterated text. Neither in the Jewish religion nor in the Christian is there anything which faintly compares to this.[6] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn6)
The Qurans mystic essence
It has also a mystic essence which had an astonishing effect on the Arabs. It transformed the simple shepherds, merchants and nomads of Arabia into warriors, empire builders, constructors of cities like Baghdad, Cordoba and Delhi, scholars, dictators and mathematicians. It was undoubtedly this book which helped these men to conquer a world greater than that of the Persians or Romans in as many tens of years as these predecessors had taken centuries.[7] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn7)
Under the shadows of Islam
Mohammed's order relative to the Moslem attitude toward Christianity has, with few exceptions, been maintained. This is contrary to what Occidentals generally suppose.
To the average American or European who professes a religion, any faith which is not Christian is wrong. Even within the Christian fold, the various denominations consider each other as respectively misguided. There is little tolerance between church and chapel and none between cathedral and mosque. This is not so with Islam.
While the Moslem faith unconditionally condemns idolatry, it unreservedly recognizes Christianity.
In the second srah of the Quran and again in the fifth, Mohammed wrote: {Verily, they who believe, and the Jews and the Sabeans and the Christians whoever of them believeth in God and the last day, and doth what is right, on them shall come no fear, neither shall they be put to grief. . . . And thou shalt certainly find that those to be nearest in affection to them (who believe in Islam) are those who say, We are Christians.} [Al-Midah 82]
Discussing the conditions under which Jews and Christians could remain on Moslem soil and be considered part of the community, Mohammed added: "He who wrongs a Jew or a Christian will have me as his accuser.
Again and again he recommended this tolerance toward the faith which so resembled his own. In all his treaties with Christians, he invariably guaranteed their liberty of worship.
When Umar became caliph and captured Jerusalem, he gave rigid injunctions that neither Christians nor their churches should be harmed. When the Moslems invaded Spain in the eighth century, everything Christian was respected. It continued to be so until the disintegration of the Arab rule in Europe during the fifteenth century. It did not continue when the Christians regained the upper hand. Forced conversions by the Holy Inquisition took the place of Moslem benevolence.[8] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn8)
This pilgrimage is a witness
Pilgrimage is the greatest witness to the democracy of Islam, says Bodley. There gather the Muslims be they Europeans, Asians or Africans, be they humble or emirs, merchants or fighters, putting on the same simple lower garment which Mohammed and his followers wore in the farewell Hajj in 632 A.D. They all get the same food, share the same tents and are treated without discrimination whether they come from the farther ends of Sierra Leone or from the palace of the ruler of Hyderabad: they all are Muslims.[9] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn9)
The great ruler
Although he (Mohammed) ruled the Arabian Peninsula, he received no harm from sharing food with a slave or a date with a traveler.[10] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn10)
Simplicity of Islam
Bodley admired the simplicity of Islam so much that he expected it was not to spread in Europe even if Abd-ar-Rahmn al-Ghfiqi was not defeated by the allied forces under the leadership of Charles Martel in the battle of Poitiers in 732 A.D. This is simply because the Europeans were complex and far from the spirit of nature, whereupon Islam befits a people not complex whose spirit is close to nature, and so were the Arabs and Mohammed.[11] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn11)
Like rain which benefits wherever it is
The Muslims were like a rain which always enriches any place it comes upon. Of a surety, Europe owes its renaissance to the grandsons of the Companions of Mohammed, who carried the beacon of civilization when Europe was sunk in the darkness of the medieval ages. The engineering glory of Damascus, Persia, Seville, Granada and Cordoba was an indirect outcome of the foundation laid by Mohammed.[12] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn12)
Great and humble
The desires of Mohammed were so simple that it was possible for him to abstain from them. But even, he was also a man of the world and was not to be bothered by the luxuries of western or eastern communities. He loved as we did and had children. Although he was an invincible horseman, he was so humble that he always mended his sandal, patched up his garment and joked with others. Despite the fact that he knew within himself that he was a leader, he never inclined to the exteriors nor did he aspire to found something like the court or allow for anyone to ascribe to him divine or supernatural attributes.[13] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn13)
A far-fetched achievement
The Arabs were composed of independent tribes and each had its traditions and dialect whose members were on the alert to defend against others a feeling which the Arabs still have till the present time, with which it is quite impossible for an Arab central government to be established. Nevertheless, that somebody belonging to the desert dwellers led all those tribes and gathered them together under one banner to sacrifice their lives in defense of it is quite amazing. Then what do you think if this man belonged to the town dwellers whom the Bedouins used not to revere so much? That is indeed incredible![14] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn14)
A touch of beauty
Mohammed was agile, sweet in talk, inclined to deal with people kindly, interested in his clothes and smartness, had a dress for tents and another for journey, gave much care to his clothing and turban even at home and his garment was always clean. Although he preferred the white of clothes, he put on garments of bright colors towards the end of his life.[15] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn15)
A high taste
His shaking of hands with others, like his smile, was a truthful expression of his good feelings. He always caught hold of the hand and never was the one to withdraw his own first. He was very loyal to his friends and never breached a covenant. He was truthful in his sympathy for children and animals and, whenever he walked, the children would turn round him. He ordered his followers to be kind to animals.
Mohammed was not to talk uselessly, even though he welcomed truly those who faced him. He behaved according to his Arab nature and never spoke unless his speech was useful. He declared that it is out of faith to refrain from idle speech.[16] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn16)
An enemy of sluggishness
Mohammed was known to have been neither lazy nor sluggish since his early childhood till he died.[17] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn17)
The superstition of epilepsy
Whether it was epilepsy, malaria or even a spiritual unconsciousness, this would be of no significance. In spite of what has been said about this issue, in no way was epilepsy to make anyone a Prophet or lawgiver nor did it elevate anyone to the position of respect and authority. In the past, the one suffering from this state was considered to be mad or possessed by jinn. If there is anyone entitled to be clearheaded and fully conscious, it would undoubtedly be Mohammed.[18] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn18)
Could an imposter be loyal?
Historians dispute as to whether Mohammed started his life as an inspired Prophet or an opinionated imposter. But the answer is with Khadjah: it was not reasonable that she would choose a man to lead her caravans, administer her business and then as a husband if this person was an imposter, be he opinionated or not. It was also not reasonable that this imposter, who had such a wide-range influence on the family, not to seize this golden opportunity which was available to him. Furthermore, it is not understood how such a personality as that of Mohammed, whom they described as the opinionated imposter, should remain loyal to Khadjah till she died. It was not fit for a slanderer to neglect the concrete physical happiness of a nonconcrete spiritual inspiration.[19] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn19)
The indication of abstention
That Mohammed kept firm on his principle and did not submit to all the pressures inflicted upon him is indeed the greatest indication of his abstention from worldly benefits.[20] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn20)
That is a slight cause, even though it is a prudence
Despite the fact that Bodley does not accept polygamy, he sees in it the great wisdom of the Messenger of Allh [peace be upon him]: One of the most unjust criticisms by non-Moslems of Mohammed is in this matter of polygamy. I have often heard it said that Islam is successful because of its sensuality. Apart from the fact that no great religion could owe its success to any such accompaniment, Mohammed had nothing to say in the matter. He did not make the manners of Arabia and he was too astute to imagine that he could remake them or unmake them at once.[21] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn21)
A stupendous feat
It must never be forgotten that what, in Judaism and Christianity, were the results of long and gradual development, in Islam was accomplished by the deed of a single man and was completed in a single generation. This is apt to be lost sight of but the feat is stupendous. Not even Jesus can be credited with anything approaching a similar achievement. Not even Paul.[22] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn22)
No old lady will enter Paradise
Mohammed was given to great courtesy when speaking to women. One remark of his must hold the record for tact and politeness. To an old lady who asked him how she could enter paradise, he replied: "Old ladies do not enter paradise. When you reach paradise you will be young!" According to the Quran, paradise will have two gardens: {In each two fountains flowing. In each two kinds of every fruit. On couches with linings of brocade shall they recline and the fruit of the two gardens shall be within easy reach. Therein shall be the damsels with retiring glances, whom nor man nor jinn hath touched before them. . . .} and so on, throughout the fifty-fifth srah.[23] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn23)
The eternal influence
Till now, non-Arabs are influenced by the Arab individuals propriety, tenderheartedness, good hospitality and generosity by which the Arabs excel all other nations since it expresses a truthful soul. Although thirteen centuries passed since Mohammed gave his lessons of moral character in Madnah, they have not been forgotten.[24] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn24)
A great miracle
To him who does not know the Arabs closely, this achievement seems of greater significance. The Arabs, by nature, are lawless and, when an Arab individual works or fights, he does so prompted by his personal passion. Furthermore, the Arab individual lacks the spirit of the group. The way Mohammed united the Arabs in an unconquerable community is one of his great miracles in which all favor returns to him.[25] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn25)
The question of slavery
He was unable to abolish slavery in total all at once, as was his case with polygamy[26] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn26). But, he lightened the laws of slavery, encouraged emancipation and commanded to manumit all slaves who embraced Islam, and that no shame should blemish a freed slave. In fact, a freed slave has all the same rights and opportunities of persons who are free by birth. Before his death, the Messenger of Allh enjoined good treatment to slaves saying: Your slaves are your brothers, whom Allh has put under your control. He, who has his brother under his control, should feed him from what he eats and dress him from what he dresses. You should not overburden them and, if you overburden them, you should help them.[27] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn27)
He did not take retaliation
Mohammed was not to take retaliation from the Quraysh nor did he like to harm a people who had previously persecuted and inflicted harm on him. Regardless of the huge army he led (to conquer Makkah), he did not like that a brother should kill his brother and a man his family.[28] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn28)
He never changed
Nothing of that which took place in those last months[29] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn29) was to change his lifestyle. Although he attained enormous wealth and increased in glory and majesty, this was not to change his conduct even in the least. At the time he gave wealth to the poor, he celebrated the glory with the same coarse and simple food in the same humble houses which had no furniture round the mosque. Also, the democratic relations between the king who had no crown and his soldiers remained the same as they were at the time of hardship and persecution.[30] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn30)
A great familys father
When the Islamic army returned from Tabk, Mohammed did not behave like a winning hero. The people had no sooner surrounded his mule than he went on talking to each by his name and left the people hanging in his stirrup and riding in front of and behind him. He was like a great familys father having returned from a hunting journey.[31] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn31)
Neither division into castes nor racism
Mohammed put an end to all differences between castes, races and those based on color.[32] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn32)
The ridicule of history
Unless he was inspired, how could a man bring to existence this international brotherhood? Would the ridicule of the enemies of Islam not turn against themselves? How could an imposter invent a creed which flourished and grew much after his death? The number of those who embrace Islam increase by 250,000 annually[33] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn33) and this is not due to any pressure or terrorism.[34] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftn34)

[1] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref1) Bodley does not mention the true reason lying behind that, i.e. this period witnessed the commencements of the European colonization of the territories of the Islamic world which imposed its religion by force and torment so much that Islam started to fade away and disappear even under coercion and oppression esp. in some non-Arab-speaking areas.

[2] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref2) R. V. C. Bodley, The messenger; the life of Mohammed, 95.

[3] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref3) Ibid. 147.

[4] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref4) Ibid. 222.

[5] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref5) Ibid. 91-92.

[6] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref6) Ibid. 236.

[7] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref7) Ibid. 238-239.

[8] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref8) Ibid. 314-315.

[9] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref9) Ibid. 339.

[10] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref10) Ibid. 339.

[11] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref11) Ibid. 340.

[12] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref12) Ibid. 147.

[13] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref13) Ibid. 15.

[14] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref14) Ibid. 23.

[15] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref15) Ibid. 43.

[16] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref16) Ibid. 43.

[17] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref17) Ibid. 52.

[18] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref18) Ibid. 58-59.

[19] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref19) Ibid. 63-64.

[20] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref20) Ibid. 81.

[21] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref21) Ibid. 91.

[22] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref22) Ibid. 91.

[23] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref23) Ibid. 97.

[24] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref24) Ibid. 138.

[25] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref25) Ibid. 140.

[26] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref26) This is because Bodley is not satisfied with polygamy in Islam. There is no blame on a non-Muslim or even a westerner in this issue.

[27] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref27) It is narrated on the authority of Abu Tharr. Al-Bukhri, no. 30; Muslim, no. 1661.

[28] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref28) Ibid. 190.

[29] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref29) After the conquest of Makkah and subjection of the Arabian Peninsula.

[30] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref30) Ibid. 301.

[31] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref31) Ibid. 305.

[32] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref32) Ibid. 305.

[33] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref33) At the time this book was written by Bodley.

[34] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36644#_ftnref34) Ibid. 339.