There was some clueless minister on TV yesterday telling everyone that they should “cut Opie a break” and not take The Da Vinci Code so seriously. Like many people, he just doesn’t get it. Let me tell a story to illustrate a point:
Maria was shocked! “You mean the whole thing was a fraud?” she asked. “Yes,” said Abdur. “Last year the private letters of Khadija, Muhammad’s favorite wife, were discovered in the famous ‘Dome of the Rock’ in Jerusalem. The letters have been carbon dated by scientists and proven to be genuine. Just before her death, Khadija wrote letters to her uncle, the King of Abyssinia, and, in pangs of guilt, confessed that she and Muhammad had fabricated the all stories about his visions and the sayings in the Qur’an as a way to seize power in Medina and Mecca.”
“You mean Muhammad wasn’t really a prophet?” asked Maria. “I’m afraid not,” said Abdur. Maria was stunned. “That’s hard to believe,” she responded, “Why haven’t we heard of this before?” “Well,” said Abdur, stroking his beard thoughtfully, “Muhammad’s closest followers intercepted the letters.”
“So they knew the truth!?” Maria interrupted. “Yes, but they didn’t want to reveal the secret because that would have destroyed their own basis for power. On the other hand, they were afraid to destroy letters written by Muhammad’s favorite wife, so they simply hid them in the Dome of the Rock. In the anguish over the “Prophet’s” later death, the letters were soon forgotten.”
“The secret was well hidden until the crusaders conquered Jerusalem. When the Knights Templar discovered the letters and presented the evidence to Saladin, he paid a fortune to purchase the letters and to keep the contents quiet. It is simply a fact of history, my dear, that the Knights Templar went to Jerusalem as poor men, and returned to Europe very wealthy.”
“Anyway,” Abdur continued, “powerful Muslim leaders began hearing rumors that the Knights Templar had secretly kept some of the most incriminating letters. You didn’t think Muslim military expansion was just about power and land, did you, Maria? On the contrary, military force was a desperate attempt to stop the secret from spreading, but when that didn’t work, Rahman II, the Muslim general, traveled secretly across the border to Spain where he met with Philip IV, the King of Aragon.”
“Within days of that meeting, the Knights Templar were summoned to Spain and, upon arrival, were immediately arrested and executed. The remaining letters were confiscated and hidden again in the Dome. In return for Philip’s help, Muslim armies then retreated from the borders of Spain and the secret was finally safe—safe, that is, until the letters were accidentally discovered again last year!”
In the story above, Muhammad, Khadija, Philip IV, the uncle in Abyssinia, the Dome of the Rock, Aragon, Mecca, Medina, the crusades and even the arrest of the Knights Templar are all historical events, people, or places—yet not only is the story entirely fictional it is historically ridiculous, and, if presented seriously it would qualify as a pack of lies.
You see, it is very easy to produce a story that might sound plausible to those who don’t know any better. But for anyone to actually publish a novel like this, and have the audacity to claim, or even to imply, that it was based on fact, would be incredibly malicious, hateful and irresponsible—and Muslims would rightly be outraged.
Yet this is precisely what Dan Brown has done with his Da Vinci Code novel. Make no mistake about it, The Da Vinci Code book is not just fiction, it is either an incredible display of historical ignorance, or it is a vicious pack of lies! Nevertheless, I’ll be the first one in line this afternoon to see the movie and will begin a series of critiques on Monday.