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Reader comment on item: White House Nonchalance toward the Middle East
in response to reader comment: CHALLEGE 6W: Answering Lisa and more

Submitted by Rashid (Canada), Apr 7, 2006 at 18:12

Believe it or not I am very familiar with Islamic history. I hold a PhD in it.

Correct it's Abu Bakr. This kind of thing happens to me a lot lately, oddly enough, even with the most familiar names. Sometimes I can't even recall historical names altogether. I am 70 years old. I havn't read anything of substance in the last few years.
Indeed this little slip hurts my credibility quite a bit. But I don't need to prove anything.

As to authenticity of the material, to be exact, nothing is authentic. It has all been written, as you may know centuries after the facts on the basis of traditions, by authors, some of whom were more reliable than others depending on their isnads AND their antecedents (i.e what else they wrote). If you are familiar (or have been) with a lot of their writings, you come to appreciate that these writings always reflect the authors' personal feelings,emotions and biases to the point where you can make a reasonable assessment of their personality AND their reliability. When a Tabari bad mouths Ibn Ishaq, for example, disapproving someting the latter wrote, from the reasons he gives and the rest of his diatribe together with your prior knowledge of both authors, you get a some good picture

To me, It does not matter whether or not we have material from the horse's mouth. If I can "read" dismay, astonishment, exalted sentiment or any other emotion, it suffices. The "BUT, O Messanger, she is ONLY six", whether Abu Badr actially said it or not, does not matter. A reliable author (may be a great man of Islam) said it. To me that is the same. Others may and did express it it differently. Still the same.

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