Genetic Joyce Studies - Issue 1 (Spring 2001)
Introducing Islam in Finnegans Wake: The Story of Mohammed in VI.B.45
Aida Yared

"Of all qualities [Mohammed] regarded compassion as the most God-like, and every chapter of the Koran, except one, begins with this invocation, "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful." (Holland, 101)

"[Mohammed] says, "Your salutation shall be, Peace." Salam, Have Peace! - the thing that all rational souls long for, and seek, vainly here below, as the one blessing." (Carlyle, 207)

"So the truce, the old truce, and nattonbuff the truce, boys." (FW 336.19)  

While writing Finnegans Wake, Joyce jotted down abbreviated entries in some fifty notebooks1 that he took great care to preserve. The entries are mainly fragments of sentences from books or newspapers that Joyce was reading - or that were being read to him, scraps of conversations, and personal thoughts or commentaries. Their study is essential to our understanding of Joyce’s last published work.

When a given Notebook entry was incorporated into his Work in Progress, the Irish writer was in the habit of crossing it out with a colored crayon. Pages 103-110 of VI.B.45, that deal with Islam, are among the Notebooks pages most heavily marked in this fashion: they can be deciphered only when viewed through an orange-red filter, the color of the crayon used by Joyce in deleting the entries. Their source can be traced back to The Story of Mohammed, a biography of the Islamic Prophet by Edith Holland.2

VI.B.45 was compiled, according to Danis Rose, in Jan-Feb 1938.3 By that time, Joyce was very familiar with Mohammed and the Mohammedan religion. His reading on the topic, as evidenced by his note-taking, spanned the period during which he was working on Finnegans Wake. He owned a copy of the Koran in a French translation by J.-C. Mardrus,4 and took notes from its first few pages in 1926 (VI.B.12.137).5 Other works he had closely read include the Encyclopædia Britannica (article Mecca, VI.B.24.209-216) in 1929-31; The Speeches and Table-Talk of the Prophet Mohammad by Stanley Lane-Poole (VI.B.31.45-69)6 in April-November 1931; and Sir Richard Burton’s The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night,7 which has extensive marginalia on "the manners and customs of Moslem men," and to which Joyce intermittently turned from 1922 to 1939 (Notebooks VI.A, VI.B.28, VI.B.32 and VI.B33). Additional notes on Islam are scattered throughout the Notebooks, and include a sizeable cluster on Islamic rituals (VI.B.31.180-182), taken from a source that is still untraced.

Joyce inserted numerous details of Mohammad’s life and creed - including the origin and structure of the Koran, into Finnegans Wake, where they appear as important components of the framework and collective unconscious of the book.8 The notes from The Story of Mohammed were the closest in time to the publication of Finnegans Wake (1939). Joyce probably took them in the first half of January 1938, as they were used in the revisions of II.3§4-5 for transition (January 18, 1938; JJA 54.253), the second set of Book I galleys (received by Harriet Shaw Weaver on May 16, 1938; JJA 49.287-288), and II.1-II.3§1 galleys.

In this paper, my aim is threefold. First, I would like to examine the historical shift in the Western perspective on Mohammed and the Koran that took place between the eighteenth and early twentieth centuries. During that era, hundreds of books on Islam, including numerous biographies of Mohammed, were published. They initially presented Mohammed as a sham and a blasphemous impostor, and later acknowledged him in turn as a remarkable human being, a hero, a true prophet and a social reformer. My pretext is a negative fact: although Joyce maintained, from 1922 to 1939, an unmistakeable interest in Mohammed and his religion, he never read the central Islamic text of the Koran. Though he owned the translation by Mardrus and did not discard the volume from his library through successive moves and address changes, he only read the Introduction (pp. 1-32); the rest of the pages were left uncut.9 Joyce rather relied on the tangent provided to him by a series of "introductory" works and commentaries. This approach seems representative of the Western perspective on Mohammed and the Koran well within the twentieth century, as part of the larger movement broadly termed "orientalism," in particular outside of theological and academic circles. For this purpose, I will survey the works of various scholars of central relevance to orientalism and Islamic studies; in addition to the authors whose books were annotated by Joyce, I include other influential ones such as Edward Gibbon and Thomas Carlyle, whom Joyce undoubtedly read. Following in Joyce’s footsteps, I will focus on the Introductions or Prefaces to the books I examine, as the introductory notes to a work not only define the purpose of the writer and his or her perception of the subject at hand, but also reflect the prevailing cultural mood of the era during which the writing took place. Second, I will review The Story of Mohammed, and suggest that Joyce’s perspective on Mohammed and the Koran derives from the ideas prevalent at the beginning of the twentieth century, of which the biography by Holland is representative. Third, I will annotate the entries that Joyce took from Holland's book, detailing their source material and the site(s) of their insertion in Finnegans Wake. Along the way, I suggest that Joyce’s note-taking from this work is far from random, as the items that captured his interest overlap, in several places, with his reading of Lane-Poole and his other sources.


From the Birth of Islam to the 17th Century:

Islam, from its inception in the seventh century A.D., was a threat to Western civilization. Sweeping military conquests were made, in the name of Islam, in the first few decades that followed the Prophet’s death. The Mohammedans occupied vast amounts of territory, penetrated into Europe and occupied Sicily and Spain. The Crusades were a large-scale attempt to check the spread of Islam and reclaim the Holy Lands. As late as the seventeenth century, the Mohammedan Ottomans threatened to overtake Vienna.

The confrontation of Islam and Christianity was based on an opposition clearly stated by Albert Hourani in his article "Islam in European Thought".10 For Muslim thinkers, the status of Christianity was clear: Jesus was one in a line of authentic prophets which had culminated in Mohammed, the "Seal of the Prophets," and both religions had essentially a similar message, that of monotheism; however, Islam contended, the Christians had misunderstood the message of their prophet, and ascribed to him a divine origin. For Christians, on the other hand, the matter was more difficult. They knew that Moslems believed in one God - who may be the same God as that of Christianity - but could not accept that Mohammed was an authentic prophet. The coming of Christ foretold in the Scriptures having already taken place, there was no further need for prophets. Besides, Islam denied central doctrines of Christianity such as the Incarnation, the Crucifixion and the Holy Trinity.

Therefore, Christianity looked at Islam with a mixture of fear, bewilderment and uneasy recognition. It did so in a state of ignorance, for outside of limited circles (such as scattered monasteries), Islamic works were not available to the general public. The Koran had been translated only into Latin (Hourani 8). The most commonly held view was that Islam was a false religion: Allah is not God, Mohammed is not a prophet, Islam was invented by men whose motives were deplorable, and it was propagated solely by violence and aggression.

Thus the general perception of Mohammedans in the popular imagination was of savage warriors who spread their religion by the sword. Additional disparaging beliefs were the stated sexual promiscuity of the Prophet, and the fact that Islam allowed polygamy, at least for men. Though James Atherton suggested in The Books at the Wake11 that Joyce was interested in Mohammed as a father figure in part because of his sexual prowesses, such notions had largely disappeared from the popular imagination by the time Joyce was writing Finnegans Wake; only vague and playful echoes of these notions remained in circulation, exemplified in such songs as Kafoozalum (referred to in FW 12.13, 515.25 and elsewhere).

The Eighteenth Century

By the end of the eighteenth century, the military challenge from Islamic forces had abated. New trade and political ties linked European and Near-Eastern institutions, most prominently the Ottoman Empire. Intellectual awareness expanded, in particular academic interest emerged in languages, their origins and their ties; Arabic started to be studied because of its close relationship to the languages of the Bible, Hebrew and Aramaic. Chairs in Arabic studies were created in some universities, and the Koran was translated into English.

The first integral rendering of the Koran into English was a voluminous work by George Sale, published in 1734.12 It had a lengthy and scholarly preface, entitled Preliminary Discourse, that draws on numerous original texts; it was a detailed review of Arabian geography, culture and history, including a biography of the Prophet and a critical analysis of the Koran. Sale was the first to trace back some of Mohammed’s writings and ideas to Judeo-Christian sources. Sale introduces his work by saying: "As Mohammed gave his Arabs the best religion he could, as well as the best laws, I confess I cannot see why he deserves not equal respect - though not with Moses or Jesus Christ, whose laws really came from Heaven, yet, with Minos or Numa, notwithstanding the distinction of a learned writer" and adds that "to be acquainted with the various laws and constitutions of civilized nations, especially of those who flourish in our own times, is perhaps the most useful part of knowledge" (333-iv). He presents Mohammed in a mitigated favorable light: "For an Arab who had been educated in paganism, and had but a very imperfect knowledge of his duties, he was a man of at least tolerable morals, and not such a monster of wickedness as he is usually represented" (29). More positive opinions are ascribed to "eastern historians" who describe Mohammed as "a person of few words, of an equal cheerful temper, pleasant in familiar conversation…" (30). Sale’s publisher finds it necessary to stress in his Preface that the author "does not acknowledge any belief in the divine mission of Mohammed," hastening to point out that Sale was a life-long member of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. Sale’s work was to become an important source of material for subsequent writers - who also often took great liberty to disparage it.

Between 1776 and 1788, Edward Gibbon published The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (a copy of which Joyce owned)13 and he devoted Chapter 50 to Mohammed, presenting him in a favorable light. Mohammed, he believes, had "an original and superior genius, formed in solitude," and his Koran was "a glorious testimony to the unity of God" (230). Gibbon’s endorsement however, carries some reservations: after the "humble preacher" became "a leader of armies" he fell into the trap that power may commonly provide, of initial genuineness giving way to self-delusion and voluntary fraud (244).

Overall, in the eighteenth century, a spectrum of attitudes towards Islam existed. A minority (including Voltaire in France) still considered Mohammed a heretic, a monster of ignorance and vice. But by and large, denigration of Mohammed as a man decreased: his human qualities and achievements started to be recognized; the Koran he had left had drawn a large following and was deserving of study. He was still unacknowledged as a true prophet.

The Nineteenth Century

By the nineteenth century, international relations were changing: trade was expanding, travellers were exploring the Middle East and Africa and bringing back stories. Charles A. Doughty described nomadic life in his Travels in Arabia Deserta, a work that Joyce requested from Harriet Shaw Weaver and most likely read (LettersIII ). John Lewis Burkhardt (1829) and Sir Richard Burton (1893) traveled to the Islamic Holy Lands, and wrote first-hand accounts of their impressions and adventures.

It became commonly accepted that Mohammed and his followers had played an important part in the history of the world. In 1861, Sir William Muir, one of many British officials stationed in India, published a lengthy Life of Mohammad from Original Sources.14 In the opening chapter, he describes his approach to his topic, likening it to the study of ancient Greece: the validity of our knowledge about Islam critically depends on sorting out the sources (variably reliable) from which such knowledge is derived, such as legends, oral tradition, literary works or historical documents. He implicitly endorses the idea that Islam was a meaningful component of world civilization (albeit one removed from contemporary concerns). His bibliography of the Prophet became a classic, and was another important source for Holland’s Story of Mohammed.

At the same time that knowledge of Islamic scriptures increased, the definition of religion was evolving, as Wilfred Cantwell Smith has shown in his book The Meaning and End of Religion. Previously, it had simply meant forms of worship; from the 18th century on, it came to mean any system of beliefs and practices constructed by human beings. If the word is used in this way, there can be different religions, all worthy of rational study and consideration. Christianity was not necessarily unique, the best religion or the only one valid and acceptable (Hourani 14). Islam was acknowledged as a "religion," but Europeans still had a choice of two attitudes towards it.

The first attitude considered Islam as a "false religion," an artificial construct that collated elements from the Judeo-Christian tradition with the aim of supplanting it; Islam was the intellectual brain-child of an opportunistic genius, and a powerful rival (and enemy) of Christianity. In the British empire, incentive was given to the idea of the opposition between Christianity and Islam by the new religious spirit of Evangelism: missions were organized and saw it as their duty to convert non-Christians to the "true faith."

The Rev. Edward Sell, drawing on such a colonial purpose, wrote in The Faith of Islam (1880): "I think the Church has hardly yet realized how great a barrier this system of Islam is toward her onward march in the East".15 Islam was deserving of study largely in order to understand how it impeded the spread of Christianity. Sell adds: "[M]uch that is written on Islam is written either in ignorant prejudice or from an ideal standpoint. To understand it aright, one should know its literature and live amongst its people" (xiv).

The writings of Sir William Muir are similarly imbued with a missionary spirit. In The Mohammedan Controversy (1897), he states: "It is because Mohammedanism acknowledges the divine original, and has borrowed so many of the weapons of Christianity, that it is so dangerous an adversary" (Hourani 19). A detailed knowledge of the Koran, its precepts and sources, could provide strategies for rationally confronting Mohammedans, and this aim became an incentive for scrutinizing Islamic holy texts. In The Coran, its Composition and the Testimony it bears to the Holy Scriptures (1855), Muir diligently analyzes the numerous references to Judaic and Christian scriptures in the Koran, arguing that they are clearly the sources of the "saving part" of the Koran, i.e. its message upholding the precepts of peace and salvation. He argues that the Moslems who "ignorantly and blasphemously" speak against the Bible have misunderstood the teachings of their own Prophet - in effect appropriating and using in turn Mohammed’s argument against Christianity. The "sincere and honest" Moslem cannot but agree that the Koran fully recognizes the authority of the Bible, a sacred book always mentioned by Mohammed "with profound veneration." Muir therefore exhorts Mohammedans not to neglect "the spiritual benefit" that exists in the Old and New Testament and "shut themselves out from their illumination" (239).

The second attitude, widespread outside the Evangelical ranks, regarded Islam as a "true religion;" within its limits, it was an authentic expression of the human need to define the nature of God and the universe. In 1883, Edwin Arnold published the Pearls of the Faith16 where he lyrically states that the Koran "must always be replete with interest for Christendom, since, if Islam was born in the Desert, with Arab Sabæanism for its mother and Judaism for its father, its foster-nurse was Eastern Christianity, and Mohammed’s attitude towards Christ, and towards the religion which bears His name, is ever one of profound reverence and grateful recognition" (iv). Islam may therefore be a variant of Christianity, that "shares the task of the education of the world with its sister-religion" (v). Joyce may have read this work, that lists and explains the 99 names by which Allah is referred to in the Koran (VI.B.31.72).

In 1840, Thomas Carlyle gave a landmark lecture entitled The Hero as Prophet. Mahomet: Islam, later published as part of the collection of essays On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History.17 Of Mohammed he states: "He is by no means the truest of Prophets; but I do esteem him a true one." (279) He finds "sincerity" to be the chief characteristic of Mohammed, and one that alone qualifies him to be a hero: "I should say sincerity, a deep, genuine sincerity, is the first characteristic of all men in any way heroic" (280). False men cannot build a "brick house" that will endure, only a "rubbish heap" and their quackery is like a "forged bank-note. It will not stand for twelve centuries, to lodge a hundred and eighty millions" (279). "This Mohammed, then, we will in no wise consider as an Inanity and Theatricality, a poor conscious ambitious schemer; we cannot conceive him so" (281). Having read the Koran in the "very fair" translation by Sale, Carlyle deems it a "wearisome confused jumble, crude, incondite; - insupportable stupidity, in short! Nothing but a sense of duty would carry any European through the Koran… One feels it difficult to see how any mortal ever could consider this Koran as a Book written in heaven" (299). And yet, it must have merits other than literary since the Arabs "so love it." The main reason, Carlyle argues, is that "if a book comes from the heart, it will contrive to reach other hearts… One would say the primary character of the Koran is that of its genuineness, of its being a bona-fide book" (300). Carlyle reviews Mohammed’s personal qualities such as his frugality and love of prayer, his great political and social achievements for the Arab Nation, and states, in his closing pages, that "this Religion of Mahomet is a kind of Christianity" (310).

Carlyle’s enthusiastic endorsement of Mohammed as a prophet was to have a lasting influence in the English-speaking world; its echoes are evident wherever the words "sincerity" or "hero" are used by later writers. Even the writer of the article Mahomet in the Encyclopædia Britannica (11th edition) found it necessary to insert: "on the question of [Mohammed’s] sincerity there have been different opinions held, and it is not necessary to take any view of this matter" (v. 17 p. 401).

Selected portions of Sale’s Koran were included in 1900 among The World’s Great Classics: Sacred Books of the East18 with an editorial Introduction that stated: "[T]hroughout the whole volume there is a strain of religious resignation, of trust in God, of hopefulness against adversity, of kindliness towards men, which reveal a nobility of ideal, a simplicity and purity in the conception of the Divine being, and the relation of human life, which make the work not without inspiration, even to the thoughtful man of the nineteenth century. The Koran must always be considered one of the greatest documents which reveal the struggle of the human heart after a knowledge of God" (176). An additional introductory piece was a reprint of the text of Carlyle, now entitled Mohammed and Mohammedanism.

The Koran was now viewed as a "classic," a literary work that could be edited, commented upon and anthologized. In 1882, Stanley Lane-Poole published The Speeches and Table-Talk of the Prophet Muhammad,19 one of Joyce’s source books. In the Introduction, Lane-Poole presents his endeavor as an intellectual and scholarly exercise: "Things are constantly being said, written and preached about the Arab prophet and the religion he taught, of which an elementary acquaintance with him would show the absurdity. No one would dare to treat the ordinary classics in this fashion" (v). He blames the lack of Western knowledge about Mohammed on the previous translation by Sale who "put the Koran into tangled English" and published various editions "with most undesirable type and paper… One can hardly blame any one for refusing to look even at the outside of these volumes. And the inside, - not the mere outward inside, if I may so say, the type and paper,- but the heart of hearts, the matter itself, is by no means calculated to tempt a reluctant reader." (vi)

Obviously, Lane-Poole considers the Koran one of the great tenets of world literature that ought to be read, yet he deliberately avoids using the word "Koran" because of "the prejudice which the ill-fated name is apt to excite" (vi)."20 His book is divided in 2 sections: The Speeches, which are selected suras (chapters of the Koran), and The Table-Talk, selections from the hadith (the sayings of the Prophet collected by traditionalists after his death, and additional to the Koran).

Lane-Poole shows a sympathetic understanding for readers "who like their literary food light and easy of digestion" (vi), further adding: "If I were a Mohammadan, I think I could accept the present collection as a sufficient representation of what the Koran teaches (ix)." And Joyce must have agreed. Having cast aside the integral text by Mardrus after cutting open only 32 pages, he used Lane-Poole’s work as the major source for the suras quoted in Finnegans Wake such as The Fatihah "In the name of Allah" (FW 104.1), The Wrapping (FW 20.10), and importantly Thunder that deals with the eschatology of belief and unbelief (FW 62.14). The word "thunder" will again attract Joyce’s attention in Holland’s book, where it is used with a different connotation (see below). From Lane-Poole, Joyce also learned about Islam’s rituals, its cosmology (the earth is akin to a tent, with mountains for tent-pegs, FW 113.19 & 133.34) and its demonology (Jinns are made of fire, and could be pelted by angels to produce shooting stars FW 89.1-2). From both Lane-Poole (VI.B.31-67) and Burton’s Arabian Nights (VI.A.21), Joyce noted down the hadith contending that woman was created out of a crooked rib of Adam, that would break if one attempts to straighten it. He supplemented his knowledge of rituals at the Islamic holy sites with the article Mecca in the Encyclopedia Britannica and Burton’s Arabian Nights. From both Lane-Poole and Holland, Joyce will gather an abundance of details about the private life of the Prophet.

The Twentieth Century

By the beginning of the 20th century, the disciplines of comparative religious studies, comparative mythology and philology were well established, and perpetuated interest in Mohammed and his book. xxx Nöldeke and xxx Rodwell revised the chronology of the Koranic suras (chapters), and their work made the Koran more accessible to  Westerners. Popular works now spoke positively of Mohammed and stressed his great achievements.

David Samuel Margoliouth,21 a Professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford could write in 1906: "I regard Mohammed as a great man, who solved a political problem of appalling difficulty, - the construction of a state and an empire out of the Arab tribes. I have endeavoured, in recounting the mode in which he accomplished this, to do justice to his intellectual ability and to observe towards him the respectful attitude which his greatness deserves" (vii).

The introduction to Rodwell's The Koran (1909) speaks of the "wonderful effect" the Koran has produced on large masses of men; it transformed a number of heterogeneous desert tribes of the Arabian peninsula into a nation of heroes, and then proceeded to create the vast politico-religious organizations of the Muhammedan world which are one of the great forces with which Europe and the East have to reckon to-day" (vii).22

In other words, Mohammed was now perceived as an important social reformer and political leader, especially if gauged by the standards of his community. The next step was the realization that Islam was not a phenomenon restricted to a particular culture in a distant land, but a living reality within the Western world and in dialogical relation with it. In Mohammedanism, Margoliouth estimated the number of Moslems in the world in 1906 to be about 233 millions, or 15.543 per cent of the world population (8); of these 81.5 million were subject to Great Britain, making "Great Britain by far the greatest Moslem power in the world" (23). Mohammedanism was losing its "otherness." As a (naive) example of the inevitable intercourse between East and West, Margoliouth reports that "a friend of the writer has devoted part of his life to rendering Shakespeare into Turkish" and that another had translated the Iliad into Arabic verse (251).

Overall, C. Snouck Hurgronje (1916) perceptively summarized the Western attitude towards Islam up to that point: "Mohammed was represented to the public in turn as a deceiver, as a genius misled by the Devil, an epileptic, as hysteric, and as prophet, was obliged later on even to submit to playing the part of the socialist… These points of view are principally characteristic of the temperament of the scholars who held them" (25). Foreseeing future developments of the twentieth century, he highlights the strength of the Islamic traditions and predicts the failure of missionary expeditions: "There is no reasonable hope of the conversion of important numbers of Mohammedans to any Christian denomination" (147). The aim of the West should rather be to "a friendly fruitful intercourse" (149). Christianity and Islam have so far lived in "mutual misunderstanding," having similarly adopted a "detestable identification of power and right in politics" - Islam through its practice of the jehad or holy war, the West in its prevailing political practices. Hourani 42-43. Overall it is fair to say that Joyce’s readings are situated at the end of the spectrum, and inform his perception of Islam in Finnegans Wake.


Holland’s book (1914) is representative of the early twentieth century attitudes towards Mohammed and Islam. It was published in 1914 simultaneously in Great Britain and in the U.S.A. under different titles, respectively as The Story of Mohammed (George G. Harrap & Co.) and Mohammed (Frederick A. Stokes Company).

The volume was the first in a series titled Heroes of all Times. Harrap's catalog states that "the aim of the authors is to present each hero in proper relation to his environment and the circumstances of his time; to exhibit him as typifying the great movements in the march of civilization of which he was in a measure the expression. The books therefore record in an interesting manner the life and achievement of the central subject in each case, and also give a vivid picture of the age." The series included Alexander the Great, Augustus, Alfred the Great, Thomas Becket and Jeanne d’Arc. Targeting a wide and diverse audience, each volume was issued in 3 different formats that carried different price tags: a School Edition (2s.), a Prize Edition (3s. 6p.) and one bound in Half Leather (4s. 6p.). Ms. Holland wrote The Story of Mohammed when she was 26 years old. She contributed for the same series The Story of Buddha (1918), and later wrote a biography of Shakespeare and several novels.

The Preface to The Story of Mohammed

The Preface starts by recalling the spread of Islam through Asia and Northern Africa. It points out that Mohammed united the Arabs by exorting them to the worship of the True God, after which "the wandering tribes of the desert became a great nation." Their cultural achievements are acknowledged: "during several hundred years the followers of Mohammed were the chief promotors of art, science and literature". True, "More than once the Mohammedan race threatened to overrun Europe," but the reader was reassured that such a possibility had now vanished. The world was in a peaceful status quo, with "many millions" in India, Persia, Afghanistan, Turkey and Egypt being followers of Mohammed. Mohammad could now be examined in the contest of his environment, and his great achievements acknowledged. Hence the stated purpose of the volume: "it is but right that we should know something of the founder of so wide-spread a faith." (5)

Mohammed was now without question a true prophet and a hero, which justified his inclusion in that particular series of publications. He is presented in an unmitigatedly favorable light as a man with a "true and generous nature" (38). Holland’s writing shows the influence of Carlyle’s ideas when she says of the Koran: "indeed every great work which comes from the deepest convictions of a man’s soul may be said to be so inspired" (52).

The Story of Mohammed and its Target Audience

Holland’s audience seems to be specifically the upper class British reader. Her ideal reader has extensively travelled through the British countryside, but probably never left Europe, though he or she has easy access to maps. Throughout the book, the reader is addressed in the second person: "If you look at a map of Asia you will find, in the south-west, the largest peninsula in the world. This is Arabia." (11) On the next page she asks: "Have you any idea what a desert is like?" Contrasting the desolate Arabian landscape with a British one, she continues: "Imagine a land from which all life has disappeared - where there are no hedges, nor trees and flowers, no birds, no insects." She provides practical details: "The distance from Meccah to Yathrib is roughly the same as it is from London to Edinburgh" (pp. 32 and 86). Taking the British life-style as a referent, she says: "But how different were the ways of traveling! To most of us a journey means a few hours in a comfortable railway carriage, or a pleasant time on board a luxurious liner. To a Meccan boy it meant long and weary marches" (34).

Her reader is vaguely familiar with the East as a distant and mysterious place, and her book promises "insight into [a] world of mystery and romance" (17). She describes the arid environment Islam was born in, and the character of its inhabitants: "The people of the East wear bright and beautiful colours - deep blue and orange and flaming crimson - so a crowd has a very different appearance from one you may see in a Western town, where so many people are dressed in black or grey" (89). Understanding the Prophet’s environment seems essential to her story-telling.

Her reader has a referent creed, which is Christianity. When she gets to the subject of Mohammed’s message, Holland implicitly likens Islam to this creed, highlighting the prophet’s belief in a True God, his rejection of idolatry, and the importance he attached to prayer. She points out that the Arabic word "Koran" means the Reading, "as our word Bible means the Book" (52), and notes: "Friday was chosen, later on, as the day to be specially set apart for the service of God, like the Christian Sunday" (90).

Holland seems aware of prejudices her British reader may harbour, for example that Islam is a bellicose belief that is spread by the sword. She suggests apologetically: "When we condemn the Prophet for using the sword, we must remember the circumstances in which he was placed" (109). Mohammed’s actions seem justified by the harsh environment in which he lived. And if he had several wives, it was "according to Arab customs" (63).

Highlights from The Story of Mohammed

Holland’s book is written like a novel. It mixes historical facts, largely taken from the classical Biography of Mohammed by Sir Edward Muir, with personal embellishments undoubtedly added by the author. Describing the childhood of Mohammed, Holland relates how he "screamed with delight" when scaring pigeons away, and how, after his mother's death "sorrowfully" the orphan boy went with a slave girl to tell his grandfather "the sad news." When his grand-father died, Mohammed "wept as he followed the procession."

Holland intended to elicit the sympathy of the reader for the Islamic Prophet, by recounting the struggles that he faced in defining and preaching his new religion in a pagan environment. She relates the personal enmities Mohammed elicited, and enumerates the first believers in the new religion (Mohammed’s wife Khadijah, his cousin Ali, his adopted son Zaid, and his uncle Abu Bakr). She recounts his unrelenting pursuit of what he perceived as a true calling, despite fierce opposition from his own tribe that imposed on him a "ban" that came miraculously undone. She sympathizes with him when his two best friends died in the same year that came to be known as the "year of mourning." She recounts his famous "hijrah" or Flight in 622 AD, the date which started the Islamic calendar. Mohammed at that time left his native city of Meccah, accompanied by fellow companions the "muhajirin," and went as an exile to the city of Yathrib where he was protected by the "ansars" or helpers. Holland makes evident the fierce loyalty of Mohammed’s followers, exemplified by various "pledges" of support such as the "pledge of the steep" or "women's pledge" (so-called because women could have taken it, as it did not call for fighting). Throughout the volume, the humanity of Mohammed is emphasized, and she illustrates with numerous anedotes his "charity" and "kindness of speech" (99). Having drawn a picture of the desolate Arabian environment and its somewhat primitive culture, she portrays Mohammed as a peacemaker: "It seems a wonderful thing that Mohammed born of a fierce and warlike race, a people given to many cruel practices, should have had so much regard for compassion. He thanked God who had put it into men’s hearts to be compassionate to one another" (100-101). All these details captured Joyce’s interest and were noted down. Most of the entries were incorporated into two passages of Finnegans Wake: 5.13-29 (Chapter I.1) and 310.22-311.1; a few others were scattered on pages 105 (I.5), 284-285 (II.2) and 318-319 (II.3).


In annotating the work of Holland, I will follow some of the entries with parallel ones that Joyce derived from Lane-Poole, and indicate deleted ones with an asterisk. The scope of both works and their contents are very dissimilar. From Lane-Poole, Joyce derived general outlines of the Islamic faith, its rituals, its depiction of the judgement day and to a lesser extent personal traits of Mohammed. From Holland, who quotes very little of the original texts, Joyce collected stories that derive from historical facts or the author’s own imagination. Separated by seven years, it is interesting that the overlap is largely with items from Lane-Poole that were not used by Joyce.

Several entries were combined into a single draft insertion:

Our cubehouse still rocks as earwitness to the thunder of his arafatas but we hear also through successive ages that shebby choruysh of unkalified muzzlenimiissilehims that would blackguardise the whitestone ever hurtleturtled out of heaven. Stay us wherefore in our search for tighteousness, O Sustainer, what time we rise and when we take up to toothmick and before we lump down upown our leatherbeds and in the night and at the fading of the stars! For a nod to the nabir is better than wink to the wabsanti. Otherways wesways like the provost scoffing bedoneen [later corrected to bedoween] the jebel and the jypsian [later corrected to jpysian] sea. Cropherb the crunchbracken shall decide. Then we'll know it the feast in a flyday. She has a gift of seek on site and she allcasually ansars helpers the dreamydeary. Heed. Heed.

This was added to JJA 49.292-293 (47476a-134v and 135) and became FW 5.14-26. To avoid repetition, I will collectively refer to the above paragraph when annotating such entries.


VI.B.45: page 103:

o Muhammad
FW 312.20: a maomette to his monetone (JJA 54:259; 47479-169)
The unlighted gangdom
o Joynt
FW 310.31: our hubuljoynted (JJA 54.256-257, 47479-167v and 168, Galley 278).

o hill [underlined with a wavy line]- loss as unshakables
Holland 12-13: In some parts of the desert there are sand dunes -hillocks and mounds of sand as soft as down cushions, blown by the wind into ridges that are just like the waves of the sea.
FW 105.7: By the Stream of Zemzem under Zigzag Hill (JJA 49.428, 47476a-203v, Galley 58).

Postini sacker
o caravanseries
Holland 20-21: The merchants travelled in companies or caravans, for the sake of safety, for there were many dangers to be faced before they could reach the end of their journey. A great part of the route lay through the desert, and here were often plunderers who might fall on the caravans, robbing them of all their treasures. A caravan may be large or small, a large one sometimes numbering over a thousand camels.
FW 285.21: allahthallacamellated caravanseries (xxx)

o palmdate
o goatskin
Holland 21: An oasis may consist of a single well and a few palms, or it may be very large, containing thousands of date palms and villages with many inhabitants. At these fruitful islands the caravan halted, while the weary travelers enjoyed a well-earned rest and replenished their store of water, which they carried in goatskin bags.
FW 112.26: (yet how palmy date in a waste’s oasis!) (JJA 49.442, 47476a-209v, Galley 62).
FW 51:13 (JJA 49:67; 47476a-33)

o Zemzem sacred well
Holland 22: [Story of Hagar and Ishmael] This spring was afterward known as Zem-Zem, the sacred well which is to this day visited by pilgrims.
FW 105.7: By the well of Zemzem under zigzag hill (JJA 49.428, 47476a-203v, Galley 58).
[cf VI.B.31-.47:
Ishmael's tomb/ * Zemzem/ godsent spring
Lane-Poole xxi: Here was Abraham's stone, and that other which marked the tomb of Ishmael, and hard by was Zemzem, the God-sent spring which gushed from the sand when the forefather of the Arabs was perishing of thirst.]

VI.B.45: page 104:

o cubehouse

Holland 22: In the midst of the city stands a very ancient temple… The Kaabah, or Cube House, as this temple is called, is regarded by the Mohammedans as the most sacred place on earth.
FW 5.14-26.

o in black stone
Holland 22-23: At the southeast corner of the building, near the only door, is inserted a mysterious Black Stone, which has been held in reverence by countless generations. A legend tells that it once fell from heaven, and was originally white, until the sins of the world changed it to its present colour.
FW 5.14-26.

o god of the day
o Hubal giant
o 7 winglesss arrows
Holland 23-24: In the sixth century there were 360 idols, one for each day of the Arab year, around and within the Kaabah… One of the most honored was Hubal, the gigantic figure of a man, carved in red stone, and holding in his hand seven wingless arrows. The ancient Arabs often drew lots to decide any important questions, and for this purpose they used wingless arrows.
FW 83.35: having ratified before the god of the day their torgantruce (JJA 49.404-405, 47476a-191 and 192)
FW 284.29 gad of the gidday (JJA 53.321, 47478-342)
FW 285.5: like a seven of wingless arrows (JJA 53.321, 47478-342)
FW 310.31: our hubuljoynted (JJA 54.257, 47479-168).
[cf VI.B.31.48: divining arrows
Lane-Poole xxii: But in spite of all this superstitious apparatus the Arabs were never a religious people. (...) They had their gods and their divining arrows, but they were ready to demolish both if the responses proved contrary to their wishes.]

o Abdallah & Aminah
M'ah [Meccah]
Holland 30: When he was twenty-four years of age Abdallah was married to Aminah, a maiden belonging to a distant branch of his own tribe, the Kuraysh. The year following his marriage was an important one in the history of Meccah.
FW 309.13-14: and as for Ibdullin what of Himana (JJA 54:255, 47479-167).

o Elephant year
Holland 30: A large army advanced upon the city from the South, led by Abraha, viceroy of the king of Abyssinia, who at that time ruled in Yemen. Abraha rode at the head of his troops on a huge elephant, and the site so impressed the Arabs that the year A.D. 570, in which these events occurred, has ever since been known as the Year of the Elephant.

the priests [in the margin are scribbled 3 illegible notations].
Not in Holland.

o bedouin
nurse Halimah
Holland 31: It was the custom in Meccah to give young children into the care of Bedouin women, thus sending them away from the hot and dusty city into the pure air of the desert. The little Mohammed was nursed by a woman named Halimah
FW 5.14-26.

Vale of Al Hijr
Holland 35-36: But of all he saw and heard, nothing so impressed the youthful mind of Mohammed as the stories about the Valley of Al-Hijr [where the tribe of Thamud was cursed and swept off from the face of the earth]. Indeed few could enter the accursed vale of Al-Hijr without a feeling of dread, and travellers would hurry along the wind-swept passes the quicker to escape from that land of evil fame.
[cf VI.B.31.55: Thamud/ Ad
Lane-Poole 187: Ad: an ancient Arab people, destroyed in prehistoric days. Thamud: another tribe, which experienced a similar fate.]

Holland 37: The owner of this caravan was a rich widow named Khadijah [who later married Mohammed. Of note, Khadijah was not Mohammed's cousin as Lane-Poole contends p. xxvi]

VI.B.45: page 105:

o Allamin (faithful)
Holland 37: She [Khadijah] had every reason to be satisfied with her steward, whose honest and upright character was so well known that his fellow-citizen had surnamed him Al-Amin, or the Faithful.
FW 311.2: Allamin (JJA 54.257, 47479-168).
[cf VI.B.31.49: El Amin (the trusty)
Lane-Poole xxvii: what [Mohammad] was is expressed by the nickname by which he was known - "El Amin," the Trusty.]

o Allah ta'Alah (Mosthigh)
Holland 42: He [Mohammad] was not the only one who realized the sinfulness of idolatry; there were other serious-minded men who practiced the ancient religion of Abraham, which means that they worshipped one God, whom they called the Most High God (Allah-ta'alah).
FW 285.21: allahthallacamellated caravanseries (JJA 53:321; 47478-342)

o Jebel Nur (Mt of Light)
Mt Hira
Holland 42-43: at the end of a sandy valley not far from Meccah stands a high cone-shaped mountain. In the old days it was called Mount Hira, but its name was afterwards changed to Jebel Nur, or the Mountain of Light, for it was there that Mohammed first saw the light that was to lead his people into the way of the truth… Some way up the steep side of Mount Hira is a cave to which Mohammed often retired for solitary meditation.
FW 310.24: a lur of Nur (JJA 54.257, 47479-168)
[cf VI.B.31.51: on Mt Hira
Lane-Poole 18 xxxi: he was keeping the sacred month, the God's Truce of the Arabs, in prayer and fasting, on mount Hira.]

The following passage is not annotated by Joyce, but may have been used in FW 18.17:
Holland 44: On the far horizon he beheld the form of the Archangel Gabriel… Holding out a scroll, the Angel commanded him to "Read!" "But I cannot read," said Mohammed, trembling before the heavenly vision. Three times the Angel cried "Read!" and then recited the words that were written on the scroll, proclaiming the greatness of God, the Creator of mankind.

o Islam (strife for righteousness)
Holland 45: He did not pretend that the religion he taught was something new, but called it the faith of Abraham, and the particular name he gave it was Islam, which signifies "striving after righteousness."
FW 5.14-26.

o Zaid / son
Holland 46: Mohammed, touched by his devotion, took Zaid to the Kaabah, the ancient temple of Meccah, and publicly adopted him as a son. [Zaid became one of the early converts to Islam].
FW 29.27 (JJA 49:327; 47476a-153)

o Ali, nephew
Holland 46-47: There was another inmate of the Prophets's house who was one of the early converts to Islam; this was Ali, the son of Abu Talib, Mohammad's [uncle and] kind protector.
FW 319.18: Ali Slupa (JJA 54.267, 47479-173).

o Al Siddek (true)
Holland 47: There were a few other conversions during those early days, the most important being that of Abu Bakr… On account of his faithful and honest nature, Abu Bakr was surnamed "Al Siddick" or "The True".
FW 310.28: the true one (JJA 54.257, 47479-168).

o Muezzin /crier (Bila)
Holland 48: Bilal [a freed slave who converted to Islam] afterwards became famous as the first muezzin; the muezzin is the crier who announces the hours of prayer from a mosque.
FW 310.25: by muzzinmessed (JJA 54.257, 47479-168).
FW 310.25: bilaws below (JJA 54.257, 47479-168).
FW 5.14-26

o Sourats of Koran
Not in Holland. [Holland 51: Nearly all religions have their sacred books. The sacred book of the Mohammedans is called the Koran; it is the work of the Prophet Mohammed, and was written, or dictated, by him at different times during his prophetic career.]
FW 312.34: For the people of the shed are the sure ads of all quorum. (JJA 54.259, 47479-169).

VI.B.45: page 106:

o Mt Arafat thunderous
Holland 52: In his early days as a shepherd Mohammed had lived much with nature; he had seen the pale dawn touch the grim summits of Mount Hira and Mount Arafat, had heard the thunder roll through the sounding passes of the hills.
FW 5.14-26.
[cf VI.B.31.53: speech - thunder
Lane-Poole xlii: That the old eloquence, in spite of repetition and wearing trouble, was not dead, may be seen from the speech called Thunder where the nature painting is as fine as anywhere in the Qur'an.]

Safa Hill
Holland 54-55: On account of the insulting behaviour of their enemies the Moslems […] used to meet secretly in the house of a convert named al-Arkam. This house, situated on the hills of Safa, away from the center of the town, came to be became known as the "House of Islam."

o Omar (giant)
Holland 55: Mohammed's enemy, Abu Jahl, had a nephew called Omar… He was of gigantic height…
FW 319.34: the fierifornax being thrust on him motophosically, as Omar sometimes notes (JJA 54.269, 47479-157).

o wash before dinner
Not in Holland. Holland 56: Ramlah [Omar's sister who had secretely converted to Islam] would not allow [Omar] to touch [a Koranic scroll she was reading] until he had washed and purified himself, as the Moslems are in the habit of doing before prayers.
FW 318.19: I always did me walsh and preechup ere we set to sope and fash (JJA 54:267; 47479-173)

o coffin between Mt & S
Not in Holland
FW 5.14-26.

o Khalif (successor)
Holland 57: Like Abu Bakr, Omar became one of the Prophet's chief advisers; in after years they both succeeded him as head of Islam, or Khalif, a word which means successor.
FW 5.14-26.

Not in Holland

o M. [Mohammed] Hashimite
Holland 58: [T]he greater number of the descendants of Hashim, Mohammed's great grandfather, stood by their kinsman. But the Hashimites, as they were called, could not hope to hold their own againt the rest of the tribe of Kuraysh.
FW 29:33: even hamissim of himashim (JJA 49:326; 47476a-153)

o Sheb (rock)
Holland 58: The mountains on the eastern side of Meccah rise very steeply, like cliffs. quite close to the town, and between their spurs are long narrow ravines called Shebs. The word Sheb means, in Arabic, a rock.
FW 29.26: his shebi bi his shide (JJA 49:327; 47476a-153)

o white ants eat ban - [minus] God's name
Holland 62: When the parchment was unrolled, it was found that most of it had been eaten away by white ants, and the rules of the Ban [written by the non-believers against Mohammed] were unreadable. An Arab historian relates that the only word which was still visible was the name of God.
FW 111.18-19: (locust may eat all but this sign shall they never (JJA 49.441; 47476a-209)

o Year of mourning
Holland 64: With good reason was the year in which these events [the death of Mohammad's wife Khadijah, and of his uncle and protector Abu Talib] took place called the Year of Mourning.
FW 131.26: we darkened for you, faulterer, in the year [of] mourning but we’ll fidhil to the dimtwinkers when the streamy morvenlight calls up the sunbeam; (JJA 49.463; 47476a-220)

Mt Korah
Holland 67: The first forty miles of the road from Meccah to Taif lie along barren and rocky galleys; great boulders are strewn along the path, and it is a long and weary climb to the heights of Mount Korah.


VI.B.45: page 107:

o Taif 2nd city
Mohammed secretly went from Meccah, the first city in Arabia, to Taif.
FW 318.24: Taif Alif (JJA 54.267, 47479-173)
[cf. VI.B.31.51: Taif / Medina / Nebbi
Lane-Poole 21 xx: The time, however, was coming when a distant city would hold out welcoming hands to the Prophet whom Mekka and Ta'if had rejected. As he dwelt-on disconsolately at Mecca, pilgrims from Yethrib (soon to be known as Medina or Medinet-en-Naby, "the Prophet's City") hearkened to the new doctrine.]

Al Lat (idol W)
Holland 68: There was at Taif a famous idol, Al-Lat; it was a large stone figure in the shape of a woman, and was covered with precious stones.
FW 311.02: Allamin (JJA 54:257; 47479-168)

o Jinns m[ade] of fire
Holland 69: The Jinns were regarded as being midway between men and angels; they were made of pure fire, while man was made of clay…

m[arried] Sauda
o n[ame] Ayesha
Holland 70: About this time Mohammed married a second wife, named Sauda, who was the widow of an Abyssinian emigrant. He was also betrothed to Ayesha, the daughter of his friend Abu Bakr, but, as she was still very young, the marriage did not take place till three years later.
FW 284.24: Aysha lalipat beridden on the footplate (JJA 53:321; 47478-342)

o Vale of Mina
FW 318.18: Listeneath to me, veils of Mina (JJA 54:267; 47479-173).
o Yathrib city
Holland 71: The fame of the Prophet who had so disturbed the peace of Meccah had been carried to Yathrib by the caravans that halted there on their way to Syria, so when the pilgrims met Mohammed in the Valley of Mina (close to Meccah) they were eager to hear what he had to say. [But] they told the prophet that they could not invite him to come to their city, as, owing to the constant feuds between the tribes, they would be unable to protect him.
FW 318.25: my youthrib city (JJA 54:267; 47479-173).

o Alakabah
FW 310.28: a luckybock (JJA 53:257; 47479-168)
o (pledge of steep)
FW 310.28: pledge of the stoup (JJA 54.257, 47479-168).
o women's pledge
FW 318.26: a gentlemeant agreement. Womensch plodge.(JJA 54.267; 47479-173)
o not to fight
Holland 73: [T]welve men of Yathrib pledged their faith to Islam, solemnly promising to worship none but the One True God, to lead pure and virtuous lives, and obey the Prophet in all that was right. This was the First Pledge of Al-Akabah, or The Steep, It was afterwards called the "Women's Pledge," because there was no mention of fighting for the cause, and the profession of faith was the same as that made by women on joining Islam.
FW 131:20-21 we strike hands over his bloody [later corrected to bloodliest] war sheet but we are pledged entirely to his green mantle; (JJA 49.463, 47476a-220)

o 2nd pledge


VIB.45: page 108:

o battle of Uhud
o great pledge
Holland 777: Once again, at the battle of Uhud, were the Faithful to be scared by the voice of the Demon of Al-Akabah, crying, "Mohammed has fallen!". Whatever the explanation of that cry, it had the effect of hastily dispersing their assembly, and all hurried back to their several encampments as quickly as possible. Thus was achieved the Second or Great Pledge of Al-Akabah.
FW 285.12 (uhu and uhud!) (JJA 53:321; 47478-342)

o green mantle
Holland 80: Rumors of the plot [by the Kuraysh] having reached Mohammed, he escaped from the back of his house, and took refuge with his friend Abu Bakr. Meanwhile Ali laid himself down on the Prophet's bed, wrapped in his green mantle, to deceive any of the enemy who might chance to look in.
FW 131:20-21 we strike hands over his bloody [later corrected to bloodliest] war sheet but we are pledged entirely to his green mantle; (JJA 49:463, 47476a-220)

o Mt Thaur
Holland 81: [Mohammed and his companions escaped and] arrived at the foot of Mount Thaur, a high mountain about an hour and a half's journey from Meccah.
FW 319.20: Reacher the Thaurd (JJA 54.267, 47479-173).

o paid 100 camels
Holland 82: Discovery of the fugitives would have been well rewarded, for the Kuraysh had offered a hundred camels for the heads of Mohammed and Abu Bakr.
FW 285.21: allahthallacamellated (JJA 53:321; 47478-342)

o Spider's web over cavemouth
Holland 82: It is related that some of the scouts came to the very mouth of the cave [where Mohammed was hiding], and were about to enter when they noticed a thick network of spider's web spun across the opening. Feeling certain that no one could have passed into the cave for a considerable time, they agreed that further search was useles.
FW 131.18: the false hood of a spindler chokes the cavemouth  (JJA 49.463, 47476a-220).

o accacia tree with 2 wild pigeons
o not eat pigeons
Holland 82-83: Another legend tells that a party of armed men, ranging over Mount Thaur, came to the entrance of the cave, and behold! an acacia tree had sprung up just in front of the narrow opening, and two wild pigeons had perched on its branches… To this day the birds are regarded as sacred in the territory of Meccah; flocks of them are always to be seen around the Kaabah, and no one would ever think of hurting them.
FW 131.19: of his unsightliness but the nestlings that liven his leafscreen sing him a lover of arbuties. (JJA 49.463, 47476a-220).

o al Kaswa (the cropeared camel)
Holland 84: Mohammed and the guide rode a camel called "Al-Kaswa," or the Crop-eared… Al-Kaswa came to be famous in the history of Islam, and carried the prophet in several of his battles.
FW 5.14-26
[cf VI.B.31.53: El Kaswa
Lane-Poole xlv: In March 629, about two thousand Muslims, with Muhammad at their head on his famous camel, El Qaswa, - the camel on which he had fled from Mekka - trooped down the valley and performed the rites which every Muslim to this day observes.]

VI.B.45: page 109:

o fieryfurnax
Holland 85: It was the hottest time of the year, when the desert is like a fiery furnace, and the glare intolerable.
[Holland uses the same expression on p. 17].
FW 319.34: the fierifornax being thrust on him motophosically, as Omar sometimes notes (JJA 54.269, 47479-174).

o His Medina-al-Nabi
Holland 89: The city in which Mohammed took refuge was formerly known as Yathrib, but when the Prophet honored this city by making it his home, it received a new name - Medinat al-Nabi, the City of the Prophet, or shortly, Al-Medinah.
[cf VI.B.31.51: Medina / Nebbi
Lane-Poole xxxiv-v: As he dwelt-on disconsolately at Mecca, pilgrims from Yethrib (soon to be known as Medina or Medinet-en-Naby, "the Prophet's City") hearkened to the new doctrine.

o Friday mosque
Holland 90: [T]he procession halted, and Mohammed led the prayers and preached to the assembled people. On the spot where this happened is now a mosque, which is known as the "Friday Mosque." Friday was chosen, later on, as the day to be specially set apart for the service of God, like the Christian Sunday.
FW 5.14-26

o camel shall decide
Holland 90: As Mohammed entered Medinah, he was beset on all sides by the invitations of the Faithful, pressing him to alight and enter their houses… But Mohammed, perhaps fearing to create jealousies by favouring one more than another, said: "The camel shall decide…"
FW 5.14-26

Not in Holland.

o K [crossed out] Choraysh
FW 5.14-26
o Muhajirin fugitives
o ansar helper
Holland 91: There were many exiles from Meccah, who had fled from the persecutions of the Kuraysh; they were known as the Muhajirin or Refugees, while the citizen of Medinah, who were converts, were called Ansars, or Helpers.
FW 5.14-26.
[cf NB31-51: Koreysh
Lane-Poole xxxiii.]

o celebrate praises Allah
o what time thou risest and in the night and at the fading of the stars
Holland 93: Mohammed enjoined his followers to pray five times a day. 1. Before sunrise. 2. When the sun has begun to decline. 3. In the afternoon. 4, A little after sunset. 5. At night fall. These are the regular hours of prayer to be observed by all good Moslems, but many follow the example of their Prophet, and pray at other times as well. For it is written, "Celebrate the praises of thy Lord what time thou risest and in the night and at the fading of the stars."
FW 5.14-26
[cf VI.B.31.64-65
* 5 times of prayer/ after sunset / nightfall / daybreak
afternoon / middle afternoon/
Lane-Poole 194: The Muslim commentators differ as to the applications of these injunctions to the five times of prayer recognized throughout the Muslim world; which are (1) just after sunset, (2) at nightfall, (3) at daybreak, (4) just after noon, and (5) in the middle of the afternoon.]

o Prayer is better than sleep
Holland 94: Before the early morning prayer he added, "Prayer is better than sleep."
FW 5.14-26.

o races Ayesha
Holland 95-96: So young was Ayesha when she became the Prophet's wife that he used sometimes to amuse her by running races with her.
FW 285.10-11 (he wins her hend! he falls to tail!) (JJA 53:321; 47478-342)

o Leather mattress, palm leaves, dates, barley bread, milk honey
Holland 96: The Prophet's bed was a leather mattress, stuffed with palm leaves, which was laid on the floor, and his food as usually dates and barley bread, and sometimes milk and honey were added as a luxury.
FW 318.15-16: Through simpling years where the lowcasts have aten of amilikan honey and datish fruits and a bannock of barney (JJA 54:267, 47479-173)
[cf VI.B.31.50: * dates & water
Lane-Poole xxx: His ordinary food was dates and water, or barley bread.]


VI.B.45: page 110:

o People of shed
Holland 97: Mohammed always shared any food that was given him with the "people of the Shed," as the poorest of the Refugees were called, who had no other shelter than a shed in the courtyard of the mosque.
FW 312.34: For the people of the shed are the sure ads of all quorum. (JJA 54.259, 47479-169).

o Cold of Medina & heat of Mecca merits Paradise
Holland 97: The valley of Meccah is hot and sultry, while Medinah, standing on the edge of a high tableland, is exposed to bitter winds and storms… The winters are intensely cold, and Mohammed once declared that "he who patiently endures the cold of Medinah and the heat of Meccah merits a reward in Paradise."
FW 326.29-30: for, winter you likes or not, we brought your summer with us (JJA 54.277, 47479-161).

o O Sustainer
Holland 99: 'O our Sustainer,' said the angels, 'is there anything in Thy creation stronger than wind?'
FW 5.14-26.

Though Holland’s book is 189 page long, Joyce's note-taking abruptly stops on page 101. Busy with revisions of drafts and a deadline for the publication of Finnegans Wake, he possibly ran out of time.


1. The Notebooks are now at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and have been published in fac simile as part of the James Joyce Archive (Garland Publishing, New York & London: 1978).
2. Edith Holland, The Story of Mohammed.
3. Danis Rose. The Textual Diaries of James Joyce. Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 1995. pp. 30-31. Further references to dating of Notebook entries are taken from this work.
4. J.-C. Mardrus, trans. Le Koran qui est la guidance et le différenciateur. Paris: Eugène Fasquelle, 1926.
5. I am indebted to Geert Lernout for this information.
6. These were annotated by Roland McHugh. A Wake Newslitter. vol XVI, No 4, 51-58, August 1979.
7. Richard F. Burton, trans. The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night with Introduction, Explanatory Notes on the Manners and Customs of Moslem Men and a Terminal Essay Upon the History of the Nights. Burton Club, n.d.
8. Aida Yared. '"In the name of Annah:" Islam and Salam in Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.' James Joyce Quarterly. Vol. 35(2/3), 1998.
9. Thomas E. Connolly. The Personal Library of James Joyce: A Descriptive Bibliography. Monographs in English: No. 6. Buffalo, NY: University of Buffalo, 1955.
10 Albert Hourani (1915-1993) was a historian at Oxford University. In his book Islam in European thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), he examines the relations between European and Islamic thought from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. In particular analyzes how the views of European thinkers and scholars on Islam reflected the dominant philosophical and historical ideas of their age. Further references to this work will be inserted in the text.
11. James Atherton. The Books at the Wake: A Study of Literary Allusions in James Joyce's ‘Finnegans Wake'. London: Faber and Faber, 1959.
12. George Sale. The Koran: commonly called The Alcoran of Mohammed translated into English immediately from the original Arabic with explanatory notes taken from the most approved commentators to which is prefixed a Preliminary Discourse. William Tegg. London: 1863.
13. Edward Gibbon. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, 1919. See Connolly, 16.
14. William Muir, Life of Mohammad from Original Sources, Edinburgh: Grant, 1923.
15. Rev. Edward Sell. The Faith of Islam, 2nd edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co, 1896, p. xvi.
16.Edwin Arnold. Pearls of the Faith, or Islam’s Rosary, Being the Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of Allah. Boston: Roberts Brothers: 1883.
17. Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero-worship and the Heroic in History. London: Chapman and Hall, 1988.
18. Sacred books of the East, Comprising the Vedic Hymns, Zend-Avesta, Dhammapada, Upanishad, the Koran, and the Life of Buddha. Series  The World's Great Classics, Julian Hawtorne, ed. New York, London: The Colonial Press, 1900.
19. Stanley Lane-Poole. The Speeches & Table-Talk of the Prophet Mohammad. London: MacMillan & Co, 1905.
20. For similar reasons, the Joyce readership is presented with A Skeleton Key, and A Shorter Finnegans Wake.
21. D. S. Margoliouth. Mohammed and the Rise of Islam. Series Heroes of the Nations G.P. Putnam’s Sons. London and New York, reprinted 1927 (first published 1906).
22. Rev. John Medows Rodwell. The Koran. Series Everyman’s Library. London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1945 (first published 1909).
23. Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje. Mohammedanism: Lectures on its Origin, its Religious and Political Growth, and Its Present State. Series American Lectures on the History of Religions. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1916.
24. Harrap’s Reference List of Educational and General Books, with Announcements for 1924. London: George G. Harrap & Co, 1924.