Anton Haddad and the Convent of Muhammad to the Christians

Anton F. Haddad

Thank you so much to Dr. Muhammad al-Ahari from Chicago, who has very kindly written an article for Hira Cumorah. It is a blessing indeed to have such a distinguished scholar and writer, sharing his knowledge and thoughts with us.

By Dr. Muhammed al-Ahari (Chicago)

Anton F. Haddad (1861-1924) was a Christian Arab who was an early Baha’i writer in the United States. Haddad graduated in 1882 with a B.A. from the Syrian Protest College in Beirut (later known as the American University of Beirut). He married in 1890 and had two children, a boy and a girl.

Haddad came to the United States in 1893 and later spread the Baha’i’ Faith with his friend Ibrahim George Kheiralla. He was also an associate of Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb, and gave several speeches on Islam and Christianity at Webb’s Manhattan-based Islamic Propagation Center in the 1890s. He later worked with Lant and other former associates of Webb.

The following brief mentions of his work were found in William Abdullah Quilliams’s The Crescent and Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb’s Muslim World. In the Crescent we read,

“ACCCORDING to Mr. Anton Haddad, “for the last 60 years, not a single Mohammedan or Druze in Syria has been converted to Christianity,” on the other hand, sixty thousand persons belonging to the sect of Nowsayre Christians, near Latagnia (Syria), have recently been converted to Mohammedanism. This failure on the part of Church-Christianity in the presence of the astonishing success achieved by Islam must have its cause. Is this due to the inability of the Church-Christian missionaries or to the intrinsic truth and beauty of Islam?”

While Webb had the following remarks in issues 6 and 7 of his Muslim World,

HEADQUARTERS OPENED

“THE first public meeting at Islamic Head the quarters, 458 West 20th Street, New York, was held on Friday evening, October 6. There was a large attendance. An introductory address was made by Mr. Webb, and words of welcome to Islam in America, were made by Mr. Emin L. Nabakoff, Mr. Leon Landsberg and Mr. J. A. Lant.  These were followed by further remarks by Mr. Webb on the organization of the Moslem Brotherhood in the United States.

The meeting on Sunday afternoon, October 8, was also a gratifying success. Islam was ably expounded by Mr. Webb. A paper was read by Mr. A. Haddad, a Syrian Christian, entitled, “Why I believe in Mohammed.” Many questions concerning Islam were asked by persons in the audience, and answered briefly or at some length, as the case required, by Mr. Webb.

These meetings will be continued every Friday evening at 8, and every Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p. m. Friday evenings, Islamic doctrines and customs; Sunday afternoons, brief addresses and replies to questions concerning Islam.

On Friday night, October 13, Mr. A. Haddad will read a paper on “The Christian Missionaries of Syria,” which will throw some light on their methods that will be interesting.

Mr. Webb spoke before the Parliament of Religions, Chicago, September 20 and 21, at Chickering Hall, New York, September 29, at the Y.M.C. A. Hall, Brooklyn, September 30, and Lee Avenue Academy of Music, Brooklyn, October 1; also, at five other towns and cities since. He will lecture in the vicinity of New York for societies or will hold parlor meetings in or near the city if requested to do so, for such remuneration only as will cover expenses.

Haddad later returned to Lebanon where he had served as the English language Secretary of War Office from 1885-1892. Haddad travelled to Egypt (where he was introduced to the Baha’i’ Faith), France, Belgium, England, and the United States. He later left the Baha’i’ Faith and served as a Protestant Christian Minister in his homeland. He died in 1924 at ‘Ayn-Zhalta, Lebanon.

Sources:

Haddad, Anton, 1895 Jan. 2 (5) The Crescent (Liverpool)

Muslim World Vol. 1: No. 6

Note in Webb’s the Muslim World Vol. 1, No. 7.

Haddad, Aton (1902). The Oath of Mohammad to the Followers of the Nazarene. Published by Baha’i Board of Counsel, N. Y.

The Oath of Mohammad to the Followers of the Nazarene

Translated by Anton F. Haddad, 1902;

Published by Baha’i Board of Counsel, N. Y.

As an of the injustice and intolerance which has characterized the attitudes of Christians toward the Great Prophet Mohammad, and to prove how unfortunate is their error in attributing hatred and cruelty to him in dealing with the followers of the Nazarene, I wish, for the sake of Truth and Christian enlightenment, to quote Mohammad’s words, his valid oath and covenant concerning them.

This oath, entrusted by Mohammad to his Caliphs, is an expression of his authoritative command to them as to their attitude toward the followers of the Christ through the whole world. The oath referred to was issued by the Prophet Mohammad to the Christian Monks at St. Catherine in the Sinai. A copy of it was translated into Turkish, while the original is still preserved in the treasury of the Sultan in Constantinople. This same Turkish copy was translated into Arabic by Naufal Effendi Naufal, a Christian of Tripoli, Syria; which translation is recorded in a book written by him and known as Sunnajatu’t-Tarab.

The oath is as follows,

“This letter is issued by Mohammad ibn Abdullah, the Messenger, the Prophet, the Faith, who is sent to all the people as a trust on the part of God to all His creatures, that they may not have no plea against God hereafter – Verily God is the Mighty, the Wise.

“This letter is directed to the embracers of Islam, and who disobeys that which is therein will be consider a disobeyer and a transgressor to that whereunto he is commanded. He will be regarded as one who has corrupted the oath of God, disbelieved His testament, rejected His Authority, despised His Religion, and made himself deserving of His Curse, whether he is Sultan or any believer of Islam.

“Whenever monks, devotees and pilgrims gather together, whether in a mountain, valley, or den, or frequented place, plain, or church, or in houses of worship, verily we are back of them and shall protect them, and their properties, and their morals, by Myself, by My friends and by My assistants, for they are My subjects and under My protection.

“I shall exempt them from that which may disturb them; of the burdens that is paid by others as an oath of allegiance. They must not give anything of their income except that which pleases them – they must not be offended, or disturbed, coerced, or compelled. Their judges should not be changed or prevented from accomplishing their office, nor the monks disturbed in exercising their religious order, or people of seclusion stopped from dwelling in their cells.

“No one is allowed to plunder their pilgrims, or destroy or spoil any of their churches, or houses of worship, or take anything contained within these houses and bring it to the houses of Islam. And he that takes anything there from, will be one who has corrupted the oath of God, and, in truth, disobeyed his Messenger.

“Poll taxes should not be put upon judges, monks, and those whose occupation is the worship of God; nor is any other thing to be taken from them, whether it be a fine, a tax, or any unjust right.

“Verily I shall keep their compact in the East or the West, in the North or the South, for they are under My protection and the testament of My safety, against all things which they abhor.

“No tax or tithe should be received from those who devote themselves to the worship of God in the mountains, or from those who cultivate the Holy Land. No one has the right to interfere with their affairs, or bring any action against them – Verily this is for ought else and not for them; rather, in the seasons of crops, they should be given a Qadah for each Ardab of wheat (about five bushels and a half) as provision for them, and no one has the right to say to them that this is too much, or ask them to pay any tax.

“As for them that possess properties, the wealthy and merchants, the poll tax must not exceed12 dirhams a year (i.e. about 45 cents).

“They shall not be imposed upon by anyone to take a journey; or be forced to go to wars or carry arms; for the Muslims have to fight for them. Do not dispute or argue with them but deal with them according to the verse revealed in the Qur’an, “Do not dispute or argue with the People of the Book but in that which is best.” Thus, they will live favored and protected from everything which may offend them by the callers to religion (Islam), wherever they may be and in any place they may dwell.

“Should any Christian woman be married to a Muslim, such marriage should not take place except after her consent, and she must not be prevented from going to church for her prayers. Their churches must be honored, and they must not be prevented from building churches and repairing convents,

“They must not be forced to carry arms or stones; but Muslims must protect them and defend them from other. It is positively incumbent upon every one of the Muslim nation not to contradict or disobey this oath until the Day of Resurrection and the end of this world.”

This is the oath which Muhammad ibn Abdullah gave to the Christian nation, the fulfillment and promulgation which has been agreed upon by all the witnesses who have hitherto attached their names. It was signed by the great assistants of Mohammad as follows:

Ali ibn Abi Talib

Abu Bakr ibn Kahafat

Omar ibn al-Khatab

Othman ibn Affan

Abu-ul-Darda

Abu Hairarat

Abdullah ibn Masoud

Abbas ibn Abdul Mutalib

El-Fadl ibn Abbas

Ezzubair ibn El-Ewam

Talhat ibn Abdullah

Said ibn Maath

Said ibn Abada

Thabit ibn Nafees

Zaid ibn Thabit

Abu Hanifah ibn Attaba

Hashim ibn Obeid

Mazamm ibn Qoreish

El-Harith ibn Thabit

Abul Azamm ibn Hassan

Abdullah Ibn Omar ibn al-Aas

Amaar ibn Yasir

This oath was written by the hand of `Ali ibn Abi Talib in the worship place of the Prophet in the third day of Muharrem in the second year of al-Hijrah.”

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