Cultural, Human Rights, International, Religious, Technical

An egregious claim on Queen’s ancestry

Following the sad demise of H M The Queen Elizabeth II yesterday (8 September 2022), the rumour mongering and alt-truth traders have gone overdrive with the egregious claim that the Queen was, in fact, a descendant (বংশধর) of Prophet Muhammad. Why this dubious and totally mendacious claim has now surfaced is not clear. But it may be that some narcissistic Islamists want to tag on with the Queen and lay claim that Queen was one of them, as descendant of Prophet Muhammad, hence the religion Islam is highly respectable!

This claim was around since at least 1986, when the self-publicity seeker genealogist Harold B. Brooks-Baker, publisher of Burke’s Peerage, laid the claim. This story appeared in Al Ousboue, a Moroccan newspaper and then the British tabloid newspapers like The Daily Mail and The Daily Express, thriving on fake and sensational news, recycled the news and that came to the notice of deplorables in Britain. It may have since then managed to crawl its way into the Google website and an uninitiated person by the name Faruque Miah extracted it from there, albeit unknowingly and innocently, to make a headline splash in our Group – the World Vision.

Before going into the nitty gritty of the claim, let me dwell on the broad outline of the claim. The broad outline was that Queen was the descendant, or as Faruque Mia puts it ‘বংশধর’, of Prophet Mohammad. Now, how do we define a বংশধর’ or descendant? A son is the descendant (or বংশধর) of his father, but a daughter is not. The daughter’s children will go by her husband’s family and by her husband’s father, not by her own father. So descendance follows the male lineage, not the female lineage. In fact, a female does not have a descendant lineage; that may be unfortunate but that is the social customs. In other words, a male may have descendant, but a female cannot.

Now Prophet Muhammad did not have any surviving son beyond infancy period. So, he did not have a descendant or বংশধর to take the realm. His daughter, Fatima, (from Prophet’s marriage to Khadija), got married to Ali, Prophet’s cousin and their children either son or daughter would not qualify to be Muhammad’s descendants or বংশধর. In fact, that was the main reason why Husayn, son of Ali from the marriage to Fatima had been killed in Karbala when he wanted to take up Ali’s (fourth Khalifa) throne. This caused Islam to split into Shiia and Sunni. Prophet Muhammad’s other marriages (to Aisha (Abu Bakr’s daughter), Hafsa (Umar’s daughter) did not produce any children. So, Prophet did not have any descendant to talk about. How could Queen or anybody else in the world could be Prophet’s descendant 43 generations later?  

 Now Islamists might say, it is not the direct descendant they are talking about when linking Queen to Prophet, it is the tenuous indirect relation. They may claim, Queen was the indirect descendant. Any technically knowledgeable person would point out that if someone traces a person’s indirect lineage back far enough, he would discover that all sorts of people are related to each other eventually. Queen and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman or Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the great train robber may be related if one traces 43 generations! There is a significant difference between being directly descended from someone (through male lineage) or simply being related to them. The Observer newspaper in the UK tried to put this in perspective by demonstrating that a child born now would have had 1,024 grandparents in the ninth generation. Compare that to the Queen, who is purported to be the 43rd great-granddaughter of Prophet Mohammad. There was no genetic tracing at all, just fictitious claim by Harold B. Brooks-Baker. Even if it was true, then Queen would be one of many hundreds of millions of great-grand daughters that may have come in 43 generations. With no historical records and no genetic evidence, it is well-nigh impossible to establish the relation between the 11th century Muslim prince and 20th century British Protestant Queen, let alone the 7th century Bedouin Prophet.