3. King Numan
The Prophet Muhammad’s Signet Ring, though small in size has great significance and perceived value, particularly to religious scholars of Christianity and Islam. From metallurgical analysis the Prophet’s Signet Ring is apparently made of bronze, an amalgam of copper and tin. Its precise date and method of manufacture cannot accurately be quantified. Its design however provides a vital clue as to its age and purpose. Whether this is a manmade or God given object is impossible to tell. It certainly is a one off, as nothing quite like it has ever been recorded or seen since.
The ring takes its place in history alongside other items attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, some of which are now permanently on display in Cairo and other items at the Hagia Sophia,Constantinople.According to ancient Nestorian accounts the ring that we now know as the Prophet Muhammad’s ring originated in Al-Hira, capital of Hira, then a willing vassal of the Persian King?Between 390AD – 418AD Hira was ruled by the charismatic King Noman 1st . King Numan had no specific religious inclinations, but in later life he was drawn to Christianity. His contact with Christians and Christianity generally was later to influence him in a way few would have predicted.He was scholarly and well read, influential in government and by Roman accounts a wily negotiator. During his reign he brought economic prosperity and political stability to the land even though external insurgency pressures mounted on his extensive borders. The lucrative East West Oriental trade routes that passed through northern Hira needed to be permanently protected. For this he employed a well equipped and professionally trained army made up of a combination of regular soldiers and conscripts which were mainly recruited from the border territories. The Romans considered this body as being an efficient and highly mobile strategic asset. Local knowledge coupled with an effective intelligence network enabled it to deal in a very effective manner against most forms of attack. This force also collected protection money, toll and taxes from travellers and traders passing thorough the territory.
chronicler said that he witnessed and marvelled at the grandeur of the city, its fine buildings, and
sanitation systems and admired the wonderfully paved streets. Apart from the architecture he also
demonstrated his prowess at chariot racing. An experienced horseman since childhood he
particularly appreciated the skill of the Roman charioteers. The Hira one and two man chariots were both lightweight units, very mobile and could be used either over rough and smooth terrain whereas the racing chariots that he saw in Rome were much heavier and more ruggedly constructed. He was used to riding pure bred Arabs, with an average height of 14 hands. These compact horses were much prized for their beauty, endurance and speed.
Numan visited several liveries and training facilities that supported the charioteers who raced at the Forum Maximus and other stadia. Prior to leaving Rome he was gifted two pairs of four white
stallions each of which had been specifically bred to race the heavy, four in hand war chariots. These vehicles had a lot or hand forged ironwork in the wheels and body section making them incredibly strong. Whilst joining in a training session in the Forum in handling and racing techniques he suffered a near fatal accident. A slower moving chariot veered directly into his path and as it did he was thrown out of the reins and into the path of parallel chariot that was then manoeuvring to overtake him. In the ensuing contact his leg was severely crushed by the inside metal wheel rim of
the overtaking chariot. The ensuing glancing blow crashed against the tail section of his foot plate
and made contact with his body and legs. Within moments of the accident attendants rushed to the
scene. Later, he acknowledged that their prompt and professional action was a critical factor which
led to a near complete recovery.
The resident medical unit on duty on that day were well equipped and properly trained for such an
occurrence. These medics were professional, and in comparative terms well paid, their services
being in continuous demand for these high profile contests. Much like modern sportsmen the top
charioteers were an elite group and commanded great personal followings, particularly amongst the
betting community. Wagers placed on such races were often of staggering value.
As a result of the accident Numan never regained the full use and mobility of his left leg. This event
had a profound and lasting effect on him. He repeatedly acknowledged the fact that had it not been
the case that medical attention had been promptly administered by well qualified Christian surgeons
and nursing staff his life could well have been lost on that fateful day. Following a period of convalescence in a villa on the coast he and his entourage were escorted home. When reunited with
his family he was a changed man, wiser for the experience. Shortly after returning home he set up a
medical facility within his palace where the public were given free access to advice and treatment by imported Roman medical staff most of whom were Christian.
From about 410AD King Noman 1st was influenced by an austere Christian monk, Simeon the Stylite, born 389AD in Sis, a small village between Syria and Cilicia. His miraculous powers drew multitudes from the region and beyond. The King, formerly a heathen had tolerated increased Christian activity in his kingdom but had not yet converted. A marked change occurred in 418 AD when the king had a revelation, a visitation from the Archangel Gabriel. His initial interpretation of the vision was blurred; he likened it to a vivid day time dream. However, immediately following the event he noticed that his splendid gold rings of office and other jewellery had been removed from his body and in its’ place was a small, far less regal bronze signet ring. Gazing skywards he saw a glowing silver cloud with the distinctive profile of a man’s head. He took this as confirmation that it was a sign from God.
Immediately thereafter he renounced his throne and all his earthly possessions. That very night he
secretly left his kingdom, packing a few personal items and leaving by a side entrance incognito. He
wandered in a westerly direction, finally stopping at a place called Bustra. There he found a cave or cell where they took permanent residence as a hermit monk in a small cave which is located near Neatrajana Bustra. Bustra was capital of the Province of Arabia, later to be called Bostra, now in Syria. This occurrence happened some 23 years after the Roman Empire had been divided, making
Bostra then part of the Byzantine, Christian Empire. Successive monks thereafter took up residence
in this cave.
named Bahira. As incumbent monk Bahira was guardian and custodian of the ancient religious scrolls and artefacts and most importantly of all the Signet Ring which had been passed forward by the preceding inhabitants of the cell.
4. Prophet Muhammad
The Prophet Muhammad (570-632AD) was born in Mekkah (Hejaz) now Saudi Arabia. At the age of six he was orphaned and thereafter was brought up by his uncle, Abu Talib a leader of the Hashimite tribe. Islamic Hadiths recount that at about the age of about nine (circa 581AD) the young man went his uncle to Damascus. As the Mekkahn caravan approached Bostra the monk noticed a small, low hanging cloud which appeared to be following the caravan as it slowly meandered its way across the desert. When the meandering camel train came to a rest the young boy, Muhammad went towards a tree and as he did so its branches bent around him offering further protection from the sun. All this was witnessed by Bahira who knew that such a portent was of high significance, and on seeing the double miracle he beckoned the traveller’s over and offered them food and drink. At fist the leaders in the group ventured forward leaving the young Muhammad behind. Later, he too was beckoned forward to join the group. Once there Bahira realised the significance of the boy’s presence. As Muhammad neared the dwelling Bahira pointed out to the others in the group that the boy had no shadow. They were equally amazed at this revelation. Why they did not notice the fact is not adequately explained within the Hadiths which were produced some time after the Prophet Muhammad’s demise. Thereafter Bahira called Muhammad “the boy without a shadow”.
Bahira meeting the Prophet Muhammad
Like Waraqah before him, Bahira too felt that the coming of the Prophet would be in his lifetime. He enquired as to who the group were, where they came from and where they were going. The group engaged for some time in deep conversation, sharing food and beverage. It soon became apparent that the event that he had witnessed was due to the presence of Muhammad. During the
conversation Bahira advised the elders within the group that the young man was destined to greater things and as such every effort was to be made to protect him from harm’s way. Before they parted Bahira went to the back of his cell and withdrew from amongst his prized possessions some scrolls and a leathern pouch containing King Noman 1st signet ring. This he placed on the young man’s finger, the fit was perfect. Upon their departure, Bahira made a solemn promise to the group that he would visit them in Mekkah at his earliest convenience.
A small basilica named after the monk now marks this place, its’ dome replicating the dome shape
on the face of the Signet Ring. The nearby al Mabrak Mosque recalls a later visit by the Prophet
Muhammad to Bostra; this building can be found outside the city, to the North West. Upon his
return to Mekkah Muhammad returned to his domestic duties, tending his uncle’s goats and sheep
and sometimes taking shelter in a cave high up on Mt Hira (Jalab Nor-hill of light). It was here that the Prophet Muhammad witnessed his first revelations. Following his death for reasons more to do with safe keeping than any other close friends and family members interned some of the Prophet’s childhood possessions within a makeshift site on the upper flank of Mt Hira. The location of this ‘shrine’ was then apparently lost to Islam.
Following an amateur and somewhat hasty excavation in the 13 th century some items of value were deliberately removed from the site which was by then in a ruined state with a heavy overload of loose stones and rubble concealing the pit. This fact coupled with the specific location was recorded in a bundle of 13th century Latin parchments. These documents originated in the Vatican where they had been translated and copied. According to the Hadiths, after the Prophet’s death the ring along with other personal items were removed by his Companions. The whereabouts of these items was never accurately specified.
The text within the manuscript and accompanying sketch map within the Latin documents
spotlighted the location of what was described as being a desecrated shrine which was located
adjacent to and at the base of an inclined gallery located beneath a niche on the upper tier of the
South East buttress. By then, some six hundred years after the death of the Prophet all that
remained at the place was a weathered heap of dust and dry weathered stones. During the summer of 1803-4 Robert Purnell, a British traveller accompanied by an African Muslim manservant scrambled up the hill and made a detailed excavation of the site. His preliminary excavation was productive. Several tons of stones were removed to a depth of over six feet. A crushed metal box was found amongst other less important and broken items, many of which were immediately discarded. Robert recovered from the ground an uncut yellow diamond, a lead phial, a small ceramic lamp, and most significantly, the Prophet’s Signet Ring all of which remained within the family collection until the 21st century. A silver broach and some the damaged casket within which some of the objects had been placed have since been lost.
chain of custodians. Following a lengthy and detailed process of due diligence including crypto
analysis the Trustees were able to confirm their best hopes. Their findings have since been
corroborated by various Islamic experts, each of whom has put their individual theories forward.The work leading up to full authentication demanded the skills of academics, historians and religious experts. Following on from that study a decision was made by the custodians, the Purnell-Skey Trustees to commence a process which, hopefully will lead to the successful and permanent transfer of the three Islamic Artefacts back to Muslim ownership.
Much of the data so gleaned to-date will form the basis for a more wide ranging and fully integrated
study. It is hoped that such research may later be used as background material for publications, and
educational purposes. The Trustees have agreed that the ‘story’ leading up to and post the finds may, in the near future be presented to a wider audience. At the time of the hand over associated
rights and research documentation will be passed over to the incoming custodians. To safeguard the
fabric of the find the Trustees have applied some limited pre-conditions to the transfer. These
conditions dictate that the new custodian will be a Muslim or an approved Islamic entity. That this custodian shall agree to continue the Purnell-Skey research programme and build upon its findings, and, post the transfer will display the items for public viewing and in the process will take all measures necessary to safeguard the Artefacts from harm or theft. Discussions have been on-going with various Muslims and Islamic parties, all of whom have expressed an interest in this undertaking. It is now merely a matter of time before a suitable person or entity will be appointed as the new Custodian.
From the time of his meeting Bahira the Prophet had a wide ranging sphere of influence and took
counsel from many factions. In 628 AD the Prophet Muhammad granted a personal Charter of
Privileges to the Christian monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. This specific edict is topical to-day as it focuses on basic rights, or as one may apply them to-day, human rights. It consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.
In essence the wording of the Charter was simple, and to the point. It said:
This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity,
near and far, we are with them.
sacredness of their covenants.
5 The Shrine of Abdullah and Cave of Hira
For those wishing to visit the very site where Robert Purnell recovered the Signet Ring then this is a
still a real possibility. The hillside is easily accessed and hikers who are permitted to scramble over
the rocks in the vicinity of both the cave and the shrine. The rocky terrace where the ‘shine’ is located can still be identified by the mass of loose stones which are scattered about the place. To the authors knowledge in recent years no official survey has been conducted on the site. A thorough scientific evaluation would therefore be extremely useful as metal detectors and other sophisticated geo-physical instrumentation, equipment and data interpretation systems would quickly determine whether any additional material is secreted beneath the stones. Such a study could be undertaken by professional archaeologists in an unobtrusive and sensitive manner. Such data, might well include the nearby cave. By combining all available historic and present data in one comprehensive study future researchers into the subject would be provided with an authoritative single source, rather than multiple pieces of fragmented data.
Curiously, the location of the shrine is very close to the cave where the Prophet Muhammad
witnessed his various revelations. As such one must assume that at the time when those who dug
beneath the stones to secrete the horde the area would have attracted pedestrian traffic to the
nearby cave and as such would have been relatively open to the casual or inquisitive observer.
Chance dictated that this was not the case, albeit until many centuries later when a part of the horde was uncovered. At present there are no restrictions to this area and those who wish to do so may inspect the very site for themselves and draw their own conclusions from firsthand experience.
From a conservation point of view it would be preferable if the area was secured until such time as a thorough examination of the site is carried out by the appropriate experts.
This small hillside cave is within easy reach from Mecca. Mt Hira or Jabal Nur is about 3km from
Masjidil Haram. Upon the mountainside is the cave known as ‘The Cave of Hira’. This is a small
marked spot on the mountainside about a one hour’s scramble from the base. It is the place where
all agree that the Prophet received his revelations, the first of which came when he was a young
shepherd. Seeking shelter from wind and rain Mohammed took cover in what he always referred to
as his home, whilst eating a handful of dates from his pocket he felt a presence close to him but in
the gloom could not at first discern a the shape of a figure. Only when turning around did he see a
glimmering white silhouette of a winged person? His initial reaction was one of great surprise; he fell back against the wall, shaking as he did so. With that he tried to talk but could not utter a word, his tongue refusing to move. The heavenly figure then spoke to him, the words uttered was quite unlike anything that he had ever heard before; simple sentences of great clarity and meaning were then delivered. Illiterate, unable to read or write his education whilst lacking in academic learning was already developed in other areas. Since a child he had opposed the concept of idolism. He had made it known to his uncle and others that religion as such would have to change and adapt to new belief. The angel said that the message was the word of ‘Allah’ and Mohammed was to deliver it to all mankind. With that the angel vanished leaving the stunned Mohammed shaking on the floor of the cave. It was some time before he could collect himself. That night, returning to his home he described the occurrence to his wife, swearing her to secrecy. Whilst he begged she to offer an explanation she refused to be drawn, and rather that present an argument suggested that instead, thinking that her beloved husband was unwell put him bed and administered an infusion to drink. The following morning Mohammed woke, in his mind he could visualise the angel as clear as day, the words he recounted and memorised.
The experience was not relayed to others and in all other respects his life continued as it had done
previously. Work expanded in the caravan business where he enjoyed the benefit of travel and
exposure to different cultures and traditions. Life moves on from the time he was shepherd boy
tending his uncle’s flock on the hillside outside Mekkah. For some time he was frightened of
returning to his cave and sought refuge in other places. But, sometime later when passing nearby his curiosity got the better of him and he ventured forth and peered inside. All was quiet save for the buzz of insects. The young man sat down and made him comfortable. A ball of grasses wrapped in his food cloth made a temporary pillow. The mid-day heat was oppressive and from a vantage point near the cave entrance he could keep an eye on his flock and at the same time shelter from the sun.
He awoke with a start when a blinding flash struck the darkened cave, there directly before him was the most beautiful image, an archangel who announced herself as being a messenger from God. The young man was petrified and cowered behind the rocks as the archangel approached him. As with the angel the archangel’s message was clear and concise. Mohammed was too frightened to move but summoned up the courage to talk. He asked why me, why am I the one you speak with I am just a simple man and know nothing of the power of the Almighty. In calming tones the Archangel said that he would, over time be given the words, which he would remember and relate to all others. Each visitation would be delivered by an angel of a higher order. And so it happened, over time Mohammed experienced a series of revelations and through this contact the word of Allah was delivered to mankind. As a young man living and working in the countryside with animals and crops Muhammad would have been very well versed in the husbandry associated with livestock, particularly camels and other beasts of burden. The camel, over and above all other animals provided both the town’s folk and Bedouins with transportation, meat and clothing.
Over time rudimentary methods had been developed to saddle camels. By about 1,000 BC camels are recorded to having been saddled for both human and freight transportation. Apart from the horse the camel is the only animal capable of travelling long distances over large tracts of barren
land. This fact created commercial and transportation opportunities for the people of Saudi Arabian
Traditionally, the Hejaz region was made up of compote of tribes ruled and led by their respective
clan leaders, the sheikhs. The Sabeans of Southern Arabia had their own religious beliefs. Other areas held communities of Christians, Jews and along the gulf coast were Nestorians while in the Yemen were the Syrian Orthodox Christians.
The birth of the Prophet in Mekkah in 570 AD marked a turning point in world history. Born into the influential Quraysh tribe he was well positioned to benefit from the wealth and security offered by this prosperous clan. Their influence in the region was both political and commercial and was largely mixed up with water rights for the pilgrimage and caravan travel to Yemen and Syria. His father Abd Allah died before the child was born and as such his uncle Abu Talib, a leader of the Hashimite clan became his protector. During his youth he helped out with domestic and shepherding duties for his uncle. His schooling was limited, he was never formally taught to read or write. When he was twenty five he married a wealthy widow. At about this time he received a revelation from an angel. His religious beliefs were apparent from an early age when he preached against idolism. Using the knowledge given by the angel and the verses or sura he formulated a new religion based on a social and spiritual order.
His preaching went against established customs including killing of unwanted offspring and lax,
unregulated marital arrangements. The concept of their only being one God was not particularly
welcome by those who practiced idol worship and the associated pilgrim traffic that came with it.
Whilst the authorities did not direct their vengeance directly towards him they targeted his followers
and rigorously persecuted them. In this hostile environment the Prophet sent his followers abroad to
Ethiopia where they sought refuge there. The King, a Christian sympathised and offered sanctuary.
In 619AD his uncle and childhood mentor and guardian died and with it he upped sticks and left
Mekkah for Yathrib some 320 km away to the north. His departure or Hijra marks the beginning of the Muslim lunar calendar. During the period between 619AD and 630AD he was involved in
numerous skirmishes with various tribal groups and the Quraysh. As his strength and following
increased he gained confidence and moved first to At Taif and Khaybar both surrendering to his army after prolonged sieges. A process of negotiation and gradual conversion then took place
particularly with Pagans who he expected to turn to his new religion. Christians and Jews upon
payment of a tax were allowed to remain outside his religious order. Following the Prophet’s death a close follower Abu Bakr assumed authority until his death in 634 AD.
The Prophet had no spiritual successor. As God’s sole messenger there could be no successor as
such; however, temporal authority and associated duties were, thereafter assigned to caliphs.Caliphs ruled the Islamic world until 1258AD when the Mongol army descended on Arabia and killed off the ruling class. Subordinate caliphs from Yathrib then re-named Madinat took over the charge.This city became known as Al Madinah al Munawwarah, or the illuminated city. There wealth and influence expanded as unified Muslim armies fought for territory against the Roman and Persian armies, the final span of which stretched from Spain to Pakistan in the East. After the assassination of the third caliph, Uthman the Muslim world split. Power then moved towards the West. After Ali, the Umayyads established themselves in Damascus where a line of caliphs was established. The other power base was Baghdad where the Abbasids held court.
The Prophet Muhammad lived in a society which has changed little over hundreds of years. The
relationships within families were well structured with very close bonds binding the members together. To understand the forces that bound the community’s together one must appreciate that
necessity was the driving reason. Security, food and water, grazing rights all had to be found and in place and for this communal action were needed.
A widely quoted Bedouin saying is “Me against my brother, My brothers and me against my cousins, then my cousins and me against strangers”. This saying signifies a hierarchy of loyalties based on closeness of kinship that runs from the nuclear family through the lineage, the tribe, and even, in principle at least, to an entire ethnic or linguistic group (which is perceived to have a kinship basis). Disputes are settled, interests are pursued, and justice and order are maintained by means of this organizational framework, according to an ethic of self-help and collective responsibility. From this structure grew the Macoraba and other organisations which extended the family reach The individual family unit (known as a tent orbayt) typically consisted of three or four adults (a married couple plus siblings or parents) and any number of children.
When resources were plentiful, several tents would travel together as a goum. These groups were
sometimes linked by patriarchal lineage, but were just as likely linked by marriage (new wives were
especially likely to have male relatives join them), acquaintance or even no clearly defined relation
but a simple shared membership in the tribe.
The next scale of interactions inside tribal groups was the ibn ‘amm (cousin) or descent group,
commonly of three to five generations. These were often linked to goums, but where a goum would
generally consist of people all with the same herd type, descent groups were frequently split up over
several economic activities, thus allowing a degree of ‘risk management’; should one group of members of a descent group suffer economically, the other members of the descent group would be
able to support them. Whilst the phrase “descent group” suggests purely a lineage-based arrangement, in reality these groups were fluid and adapted their genealogies to take in new members.
Arabic(Sheikh The largest scale of tribal interactions is of course the tribe as a whole, led by a literally, “elder”). It was at this level that the Macoraba operated. The tribe often claims descent from one common ancestor—as mentioned above. This appears patrimonial but in reality new
groups could have genealogies either real or invented to tie them in to this ancestor. The tribal level
is the level that mediated between the Bedouin and the outside governments and organizations.
Bedouins traditionally had strong honour codes, and traditional systems of justice dispensation in
Bedouin society typically revolved around such codes. The bisha’a, or ordeal by fire, is a well-known Bedouin practice of lie detection. Bedouins are well known for practicing folk music, folk
dance and folk poetry. As such Bedouins made up the majority of all who came and lived in Mekkah. The common bond and understanding that persisted enabled the city to grow in prosperity and size.During this period Mekkah remained the spiritual focus of Islam mainly due to its pilgrim status, this having been established well before the birth of the Prophet. From an administrative perspective Medinah conducted the majority of business, held the judiciary and imposed law. It became both an intellectual and literary centre. The four Orthodox schools of Islam or schools of law are Malik ibn Anas-Africa and Indonesia Sunni – Hanafi / Shafii / Hanbali – Iraq. Islamic practice in Saudi is generally limited to that of the Wahhabi order, which follows the strict Hanbali School of the Sunni branch of Islam as interpreted by its founder Muhammad Ibn Al-Wahab, a puritanical 18 th c religious reformer and zealot. Celebration of the Mawlid (Prophets Birthday) and visits to tombs and shrines of renowned Muslims is a crime and discouraged but in the west the Sufis engage in this practice openly. There is institutionalised discrimination against the Shi’a. The government is responsible for the maintenance of mosques and pays the imams. The Mutawwa’in receives central government funding and the General President of the Mutawwa’in holds the rank of cabinet minister. The spreading of Muslim teaching which is not deemed to be in conformance with officially prescribed interpretation is outlawed and punishable in law. Offenders are either imprisoned or face other reprisals.
A concession to the Shi’a permits them to participate in the annual Ashura celebrations. Shi’a books
are banned and the private construction of Shi’a Mosques due to their insistence for the inclusion of
Shia’ motifs on the walls. The job of keeping the pilgrimage routes open falls on the caliphs. After
the 13th c the overland route to Mekkah declined, pilgrims favouring the sea route in order to bypass Najd and the predatory Bedouin therein.
The Prophet Muhammad received his first revelation at the cave on Mt Hira during Ramadan, which was the traditional month of retreat. It was one night towards the end of the period when there came to him an Angel in the form of a man. The Angel instructed him to recite but he refused, saying that he was not a reciter.
The Angel said,
Muhammad then recited the words as instructed. He told his aged uncle Waraqah about the revelation and feared that he would be branded a liar. The second revelation commenced with a
single letter and followed by a Divine Oath, sworn by the pen. When produced, the Qur’an
maintained these code letters which were inserted to provide an indication of order. The Angel had
told Muhammad that the pen was the primary means of communicating God’s teaching. The Angel
said that the first thing that God made was the pen. He created the tablet and said to the pen – “Write My Knowledge” and the pen responded saying “What shall I write”? He said “Write my
Knowledge of My Creation till the day of resurrection”. The pen traced the words as spoken. The first Oath, the Oath of the pen is followed, by that which they write. And amongst what the Angels’ write in Heaven with lesser pens on lesser Tablets is the Qumran’s celestial archetype. The collective mass of these revelations is referred to as the glorious recitation or, the Qur’an, written on an inviolable tablet. In total the Qur’an consists of 114 surahs of unequal length. The longest consisting of 285 verses and the shortest just three. Two missing Sura ‘the Lamb’ and ‘the Band’ only surfaced in the early 1600’s and as such have been added to the collection only in recent times. These two Oaths are followed by the Divine reassurance. After the first two Messages there was a period of waiting before subsequent revelations were delivered. With the third came the first command. The religion as such was now established on the basis of ritual purification and prayer. After the Khadihah the first converts were the young Ali, then aged ten years and Zayd and the Prophets’ close friend Abu Bakr, from the clan of Taym.
The Prophet Muhammad would have been aware of the fact that the communal tribal reserve,
represented by a significant amount of gold coins and bullion had built up over time by the Mekkan
Elders, or Sheikhs had been protected by the nine orders of angels. His confrontation with the Angel who delivered the revelation would therefore have been well within his acceptance range and