Why have theories linking Queen Elizabeth to Prophet Muhammad surfaced now?

Sajeda Momin
Sajeda Momin - Special to Al Arabiya English
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Can Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain be the 43rd great granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad as has been suggested by genealogists? Opinions are divided on the answer, but what is more important is why this connection is being highlighted now.

A Moroccan weekly, Assahifa al-Ousbouia recently published a detailed family tree that traces Queen Elizabeth’s lineage to Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abbad, the first independent ruler of Seville in the Al-Andalus region of Spain, and from him all the way back to the Prophet Muhammad through his eldest grandson Hasan ibn Ali, born to his daughter Fatima.

The family tree suggests that Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abbad’s granddaughter, Princess Zaida converted to Christianity taking on the name Isabella and married King Alfonso IV of Castille in the 11th century.

It was through their children that the Prophet’s bloodline entered the British royal family in 1375 with the birth of Richard of Conisburgh, the son of Isabella Perez of Castille who was married to the Earl of Cambridge.

If this is correct than even Queen Victoria of whom the current Queen is a direct descendent, King George I, II and III, Mary Queen of Scots and Edward IV of England all had Prophet Muhammad’s blood flowing through their veins.

Historians suggest that the connection is possible as marriages between Spanish and British royals have been common through the centuries and both the current British and Spanish royal families descend through Queen Victoria, thus concluding that even the Spanish royals share a lineage with the Prophet.

“It may be quite possible for the Queen’s ancestors to be Hasan ibn Ali’s descendants. After Prophet Muhammad’s death, his family and Hasan ibn Ali’s descendants migrated to various parts of the world, especially North Africa,” Ahmed Versi, Editor-in-Chief of the UK’s largest circulated Muslim newspaper The Muslim News told Al- Arabiya.

“There has been continuous contact between the Muslim world and England and Europe through the ages,” added Versi.

The author of the article in Assahifa al-Ousbouia, Abdel-Hamid al-Awni, also propounds the theory that “the blood of the Prophet runs through the veins of kings who ruled Morocco, Andulasia and Europe”.

The claim makes the world’s longest-reigning living monarch, Queen Elizabeth a cousin of both King Mohammed VI of Morocco and King Abdullah II of Jordon.

Queen Elizabeth waves next to Prince Charles and Prince William during a special concert to celebrate her 92nd birthday at the Royal Albert Hall in London on April 21, 2018. (Reuters)
Queen Elizabeth waves next to Prince Charles and Prince William during a special concert to celebrate her 92nd birthday at the Royal Albert Hall in London on April 21, 2018. (Reuters)

The connection was first published in 1986 by Burke’s Peerage, one of the top genealogical publishers of the world for the last 190 years. Harold Brooks-Baker, the publishing director and an authority on British royalty had then written to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher calling for increased security for the royal family.

“The royal family’s direct descent from the Prophet Mohammed cannot be relied upon to protect the royal family forever from Moslem terrorists”, Brooks-Baker wrote to Thatcher.

Realizing that the link would come as a surprise to many he added, “It is little known by the British people that the blood of Mohammed flows in the veins of the Queen. However, all Moslem religious leaders are proud of this fact”.

Genealogical records

Genealogical records of early-medieval Spain also support the claim and it has also been verified by Ali Gomaa, the grand mufti of Egypt.

So the question that many are asking is why has this “truth” surfaced now. Some warn that it is a secret plot to revive the British Empire with the help of Muslims who revere the Prophet’s descendants.

Others argue that is just propaganda used by the British monarchy to appease the growing number of Muslim “subjects”. Awni claims the connection “builds a bridge between two religions and kingdoms”.

While Buckingham Palace, as expected, has not reacted to the claim, there is no denying that Prince Charles is intrigued by Islam. He is a patron of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies where he reportedly greets audiences with Assalamu Alaykum.

Prince Charles, who is the heir to the British throne, has said he wants a multi-faith coronation and to be ordained as a “defender of faiths”, instead of just defender of Christianity. The British monarch is also the head of the Church of England.

Lesley Hazleton, a British-American journalist and author of several books on Islam including The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad says the link is a “well-meaning interfaith spin”.

It is “a reaction to the demonization of Islam in the West, especially in the United States”, says Hazleton, and reveals a hope that the Queen might lend “respectability” to a major world religion. What still remains unanswered is why these yet unconfirmed theories have surfaced now.

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