Coin hoard

What is money?

Why do we have money?

Money was invented because trade would be difficult without it. For example, if you are a hatter in need of legal advice, then without money, you have to find a lawyer who craves for a hat. That is unlikely to happen. Maybe there is a fisherman dreaming of a hat, but he can’t give you legal advice. Maybe there is a lawyer in need of a hairdo instead of a hat. With money all these problems disappear like magic. You can buy the services of the lawyer so that she can go to the barber. After that the barber can buy some fish so that the fisherman can buy a hat from you.

Despite these mind-blowing advantages humans didn’t need money for a long time because they lived in small bands and villages where everyone depended on each other and everyone helped each other. This meant, for example, that when a fisherman needed a hat, you would make a hat for him, and if you needed anything, someone else would provide it to you. You did someone a favour so that he or she was obliged to do something back. Villagers produced most what they needed themselves. Trade with the outside world was limited and was done with barter.

Uses of money

Later cities, kingdoms and empires emerged. People living in cities, kingdoms and empires didn’t know each other so it became difficult to track whether or not everyone was contributing. Favours and obligations didn’t suffice. They were replaced by a formal system for making payments and tracking contributions and obligations. Commerce and tax collection needed a means of payment as well as administration. It is therefore not a coincidence that writing and money were invented around the same time in the same area. The earliest writings were bookkeeping entries. Money has the following uses:

  • buying and selling stuff (payment) so money is a medium of exchange
  • saying how much something is worth so money is a unit of account
  • keeping track of contributions and obligations (saving and borrowing) so money is a store of value.
catdog
Nickelodeon character CatDog

Money being a medium of exchange as well as a store of value is like your pet being a cat as well as a dog. The result is not really a success. The parts of the pet may often quarrel, for example because the dog part wants to play while cat part wants to sleep. If someone keeps money for a rainy day, and doesn’t spend it, others cannot use this money for buying stuff. And this really can be a big problem. A simple example can explain this.

Imagine that everyone decides to save all his or her money. Nothing would be bought or sold any more. All businesses would go bankrupt and everybody would be unemployed. All the money that has been saved would buy nothing because there isn’t anything to buy any more. This is a total economic collapse.

In reality it doesn’t get that bad because people will always spend on basic necessities like tablets and mobile phones, and perhaps food if they have some money left. When people only spend money on necessities there is an economic depression, which is not as bad as a total economic collapse but still very bad. Saving can make you poorer, but only when there are too many savings already.

The value of money

Money has no value when there isn’t any stuff to buy or when there aren’t any other people to trade with. Imagine that you get the offer to be dropped alone on a remote and uninhabited island in the Pacific with 10 million euros. Probably you would decline the deal, even if you can keep your mobile phone. It is other people and stuff that give money its value. But how? The answer is remarkably simple. The value of money is just a belief.

People are willing to work for money and sell their stuff for money. And because others do this, you do the same. For example, you may think that euro notes have an appalling design as well as an unpleasant odour, but nevertheless you desire to own them because other people want them too. The value of the euro is based on the belief that other people accept euros for payment.

This is just a belief as the following example demonstrates. Suppose that you wake up one day to hear on the news that the European Union has been dissolved overnight. Suddenly you may have second thoughts about your precious stockpile of foul smelling unstylishly decorated euro bank notes.

Smeagol from The Lord of the Rings

You may ask yourself in distress whether or not your precious bank notes still have any value. What is the value of the euro without the European Union? You may find yourself hurrying to the nearest phone shop in an effort to exchange this pile of bank notes for the latest model mobile phone.

And to prove this point even further, suppose that the phone shop gladly accepts your euros. Suddenly they become desirable again and you may start to have second thoughts about that latest model you are about to buy. It may not remain hip for much longer, so you may change your mind again and prefer to keep your precious euros because there may be a newer model next month. So, because the shop wants your euros, you wants them too.

Types of money

At first money was an item that people needed or desired. Grain was one of the earliest forms of money. Everybody needed food so it was easy to make people believe that others accept grain for payment. In prison camps during World War II cigarettes became money because they were in high demand. Even non-smokers accepted them because they knew that other people desired them very badly. For that reason cocaine can be money too.

Wares like grain, cigarettes and cocaine have disadvantages. They degrade over time so  they aren’t a very good store of value. This makes them a great medium of exchange because people won’t save them. An example can demonstrate this. Imagine that apples are money and you want to buy a house. A house costs 120,000 apples but your monthly salary is just 2,500 apples of which you can save 1,000. It takes 10 years of saving to buy a house. Soon you will discover that apples rot and that you will never be able to buy a house. Then you will spend all your apples right away.

Saving is difficult with apples. This is where gold and silver come in. Gold and silver have not much use, but humans were always attracted to shiny stuff. Gold is rare so a small amount of gold can have a lot of value because some people feel a strong desire for this shiny stuff. Gold and silver coins can be made of different sizes and purity so that they are suitable for payment and can be used as a unit of account.

More importantly, gold and silver do not deteriorate in quality like apples, grain or cigarettes. They do not even rust after 1,000 years. This makes gold and silver an excellent store of value. But this should make us suspicious. A perfect cat makes a lousy dog so a perfect store of value can fail the test for being a good medium of exchange. People can store gold and silver so that there is less money available for buying and selling stuff. And this can cause an economic depression as we have seen.

Governments create money too, for example by printing “10 euro” on a piece of paper. Governments require by law that this money should be used for payments and taxes. This makes people believe that others accept this money too. Government money is called fiat currency or simply currency. The authority of a government is limited to the area it controls so in the past government currencies had little value outside the country itself unless this money consisted of coins containing gold or silver.

In fact, another reason why gold and silver are attractive as money, is that the value of gold and silver does not depend on the authority of a government. This made gold and silver internationally accepted as money. In the 19th century most government currencies could be exchanged for a fixed amount of gold. This is the gold standard. The gold standard boosted trade because gold was internationally accepted as money.

Most money is debt

Debts can have value and so debts can be money too. This may seem strange or even outrageous, but money is just a belief. For example, money is the belief that you can exchange a hat for money and then exchange this money for legal advice. Hence, if you believe that the debtor is going to pay, you can accept his or her promise to pay as payment. And if others believe this too, you can use this promise to pay someone else.

So if the fisherman promises you to pay next week for the hat you just made, you could say to the lawyer that you expect the fisherman to pay in a week, and ask her if you can pay in a week too. The lawyer could then ask the same of the barber and the barber could ask the same of the fisherman. If all debts cancel out then there is no need for cash. Most money we currently use is debt. In most cases debts don’t cancel out and there are many more people involved so that it would be complicated to keep track of all debts and savings. That is where banks come in.

Featured image: Close up of coin hoard CC BY-SA 2.0. Portable Antiquities Scheme from London, England (2010). Wikimedia Commons.

Other images: Nickelodeon character CatDog, Smeagol character from The Lord of the Rings [copyright info]

parking licence

Events in my life related to 11 September

 

All these accidents
That happen
Follow the dot
Coincidence
Makes sense
Only with you

State of emergency
How beautiful to be
State of emergency
Is where I want to be

– Björk, Joga

Accidents, emergency, coincidence and connecting the dots. Behind it all could be some kind of love affair. Emergency and 11 September are closely linked to each other, not only because of the number 911 being the emergency services telephone number in the United States. Was someone destined to make sense of these coincidences? If there are messages hidden in pop-music then this could be true. In any case, there have been a few peculiar coincidences related to 11 September in my life.

Marcel is my brother in law and 11 September is his birthday. On 11 September 2001 he turned 33 years old. My sister Anne Marie had booked a trip to New York for them both as a birthday present. In the morning she told him that they were going to New York the next weekend. That afternoon the terrorist attacks took place. They had to cancel the trip. They went to a holiday park in the Netherlands instead.

On 11 September 2010, just after midnight, I turned around in my bed. Suddenly the bed collapsed, leaving me wondering on the ground. After standing up I saw that the time was 0:33. A few moments later I realised that it was 11 September and that Marcel had turned 33 on 11 September 2001. That was nine years before while nine is three times three. On the same day two plane incidents occurred at Eindhoven Airport.1 And the lady who appeared to be God lives in a suburb of Eindhoven, a peculiar coincidence.

On 11 November 2009 (11/11/11 as 2 + 0 + 0 + 9 = 11) I went to the town hall to pick up my new parking licence. The number of the parking licence turned out to be 009011. It was valid until 27 November 2011. If you compress the numbers as numerlogists often do, then 27 November refers to 9/11 as 2 + 7 = 9 and November is the 11th month of the year. The years (20)09 and (20)11 also refer to 9/11. The remaining digits are 20 and 20 = 9 + 11.

The initials of my last name are KI. When translated into digits (A=1, B=2), you get: 11/9 or 11 September in European notation. My first name starts with B, which can be translated into 2. Hence, my initials consist of the numbers making up the emergency services number 911 and 112. Perhaps that is not impressive but the following will make you wonder. I was born on the Iepenstraat, which means Elm Street in English. The horror picture A Nightmare on Elm Street was released on 9 November 1984 (11/9 American notation) in the United States and on 11 September 1986 (9/11 American notation) in the Netherlands. Now that is peculiar.

In the spring of 2011 I saw a German car with licence plate KLE-KI-911 in Leeuwarden while biking to my work. This car passed by a few times around the same time near the same spot. The first time I only noticed the number 911 so seeing the car multiple times made me notice the extent of the coincidence. KLE are the first three letters of my last name, while KI are the initials of my last name. Dutch licence plates linking my name to 9/11 in this way do not exist. The car appeared in the Netherlands where I was going to my work some 200 kilometres from the home town of its owner.

In the spring of 2013 I put the apartment on the ground floor of our house up for rent. A young woman applied for it. She was born on 11 September 1990 it turned out, and so she had turned 11 years old when the attacks of 11 September 2001 took place. A few days later I called her to informe her that she could rent the apartment. When I called her, her father had just been hospitalised. He died a few days later.

Featured image: Plumes of smoke billow from the World Trade Center after the September 11 attacks. Michael Foran (11 September 2001). Public Domain.

1. Vliegtuig in problemen landt op vliegveld Eindhoven. Nu.nl (2010). [link]

The law of large numbers

Probability

Humans are good at attributing a cause but bad at guessing the likelihood of an event. A psychologist named Daniel Kahneman came up with an example. It is about a study of the incidence of kidney cancer in the 3,141 counties of the United States. The research revealed a remarkable pattern. The incidence of kidney cancer was the lowest in mostly rural, sparsely populated counties in traditionally Republican states in the Midwest, the South, and the West.1 So what do you make of that?

You probably came up with a few reasons why kidney cancer is less likely to occur in these counties, such as a healthy rural lifestyle or low pollution levels. But you probably didn’t think of randomness. Consider then the counties in which the incidence of kidney cancer is the highest. These counties were also mostly rural, sparsely populated, and located in traditionally Republican states in the Midwest, the South, and the West.1

The apparent contradiction can be explained by the fact that those counties all had small populations. And with smaller populations greater deviations from the average can be expected. Our intuition easily makes connections of causality but our reason doesn’t come into action to check whether or not it could just be randomness. We are inclined to think that some cause makes unusual things happen while these could just be random events.

In the summer of 1913 the ball fell on a black number twenty-six times in a row at the roulette wheel at the Casino de Monte-Carlo. Some people lost a fortune by betting that the ball would fall on a red number the next time. They didn’t realise that the chance of the ball falling on a red number never changed. The ball doesn’t remember where it fell the previous times. If we represent black with a B and red with an R, and assume for simplicity’s sake that there is no zero, it is possible to represent falling twenty-six times in a black number like this:

B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B

The probability of the next twenty-six numbers being black is one in 67,108,864. That’s a long shot. What might surprise you is that the following combination of black and red numbers is exactly as likely to occur:

R B B R B R R B R B B R R B R R B R B B R R B B R B

You wouldn’t be thrilled if that happened unless you became a millionaire by betting on this particular sequence of twenty-six. And even then you didn’t think of the 67,108,863 sequences that didn’t materialise. We tend to consider only the things that did happen, but we rarely think of all the things that could have happened but didn’t. That might explain why events like the ball falling on a black number twenty-six times in a row impress us. And I am even more impressed because twenty-six happens to be my lucky number.

Try to imagine all what could have happened but didn’t happen. Imagine the probability of you sitting here and now reading this page, but as a prediction from 3,600 years ago. Imagine Joseph telling the Pharaoh: “I see (your name comes here) reading a pile of papyrus pages, not real papyrus pages, but images of papyrus pages appearing on something that looks like a clay tablet. It is named The Plan For The Future. But don’t be afraid, dear Pharaoh, for it will happen 3,600 years from now. But if we don’t set up this grain storage, it won’t happen at all, so we must do it. And by the way, Egypt will starve if we don’t.”

The odds for this prediction to come true weren’t one in 67,108,864, and also not one in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 either. Even if you add considerably more zeroes to that number, the odds still remain far smaller. The probability is so close to zero that nobody can tell. Nevertheless you are sitting here reading this text. So how could this happen? The answer to this mystery is that so many things could have happened but didn’t happen, but something had to happen, and that’s what happened. It would have been impossible for Joseph to make this prediction unless the future is predetermined.

The licence plate on Franz Ferdinand’s car

So what to make of the reference to the end date of World War I on the licence plate number on Franz Ferdinand’s car? Franz Ferdinand was killed in his car and the assassination triggered the war. Some chance event helped the perpetrator. Franz Ferdinand’s chauffeur took the wrong turn after three conspirators had already failed. This gave him the opportunity to strike. He was hindered by the crowd surrounding him so he couldn’t aim very well. Nevertheless he managed to kill both the archduke and his wife with just two shots. This sequence of events was already remarkable.

The licence plate number makes it even more inconceivable. It might be possible to guess the end date of World War I by chance if you know when it starts. If you assume that the war wouldn’t take longer than twenty years, a random guess of the end date would be right one in 7,305 times. But something doesn’t add up here. The assassination succeeded after a series of mishaps, so if it were a prediction that accidentally turned out right, it would also imply a prediction of the assassination succeeding, Franz Ferdinand being killed in this car, and it being the trigger for the first world war.

That’s hard to do. And so Mike Dash in the Smithsonian noted: “This coincidence is so incredible that I initially suspected that it might be a hoax.”2 And because it isn’t a hoax, investigative minds should have probed other options. Conspiracy theorists didn’t take notice either, even though this incident fits into their schemes.

There is a story about a Freemason named Alfred Pike, who allegedly disclosed a secretive plan to bring about the New World Order and predicted both world wars with uncanny precision already in 1871. Alas, nobody ever heard of this plan before 1959. It is hoax. In the Netherlands they call it a monkey sandwich story. The licence plate number could have added some credibility to it. But then again, the truth is overrated. It matters more what people believe.

Seeing meaning when there isn’t any

“Everything is just random,” some pundits are eager to explain, “but because your mind is wired to see meaning, you see meaning. AIII 118 is just a random sequence of characters, but you attached meaning to it.” This book might be a random sequence of characters too, and yet you think it isn’t. Others might argue: “The language of Austria is German. Armistice in German is Waffenstillstand, so why doesn’t it read WIII 118, or even better, W 11 11 1918?”

If someone gives you a message, you don’t quibble about such details. If I say “hello” to you, you are not going to discuss with me why I didn’t say “hi” instead, unless you are a philosopher with a lot of time on your hands. Great Britain, the United States and France, which were all major participants in the war. These countries use the word armistice. It might be better to ask yourself how many sequences of characters with a length of six to eight are possible, and how many of them could refer to date of the armistice ending the war? That’s only a small portion for sure.

The law of small numbers

Everything is random and weird coincidences happen by chance. This is the law of large numbers. Pundits use the birthday problem to demonstrate that weird coincidences happen more often than we think. If you happen to share a birthday with another person in a small group, it might strike you as odd, but the chance of someone sharing a birthday with another person is already 50% in a group of 23. What they don’t tell you, is that the chance of you being one of those persons is a lot smaller. Weird coincidences are likely to happen, but less likely to happen to you. So if they happen to you all the time, it would be hard to explain as mere randomness.

And the law of large numbers may not apply to the licence plate number on Franz Ferdinand’s car. It applies to large numbers. How many historic events are out there that equal the importance of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Armistice of 11 November 1918 or D-Day? The answer probably is: “Not many.” It is less likely that meaningful coincidences happen to such major historic events. To make it even harder to believe, the licence plate number coincidence not only implies a prediction of the end date of the war, but also the success of the assassination attempt, and this event being the trigger for the war.

Only a few historic events equal the importance of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and the end of World War I. Perhaps this is just randomness like the incidence of kidney cancer varying wildly in small population samples. There are only a few historic events of similar importance. But D-Day is one of those few events, and the scheme surrounding D-Day is even more puzzling. This is a like four people out of a population of six suffering from kidney cancer and this population being the royal family of the country. Perhaps this is just randomness, but an experienced physician would consider that it runs in the family.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was predicted. The coincidences surrounding the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 are truly dumbfounding. So if you are God, and you want your minions to notice, then what are your options? Framing the question like this makes the answer appear obvious. Indeed, there are countless other options, but asking why this particular path is chosen is as meaningless as asking why I said “hello” instead of “hi”. If you took a certain course of action to a certain aim, there are countless others you didn’t take. So if God wants us to take notice, we live in interesting times.

1. Thinking, Fast and Slow. Daniel Kahneman (2011). Penguin Books.
2. Curses! Archduke Franz Ferdinand and His Astounding Death Car. Mike Dash (2013). Smithsonian. [link]

Church tower in pond

Psychics, mediums, and premonition

Our intuition processes more information than we realise. Sometimes this seems like magic. For example, when you drive your car, you may suddenly discover that you travelled a long distance without being aware of it. This is more likely to happen when you are a frequent driver. Research has demonstrated that many abilities can be trained to the point that they become a subconscious process. An important domain of our intuition is social information. Most humans intuitively read body language and facial expressions and adapt their actions to the clues other people give while not being aware of it. It may be that mediums are so good at asking the right questions to influence people’s minds and reading people’s body language and facial expressions that they appear psychic.

A medium named Char appeared regularly on Dutch television between 2002 and 2010. She did readings and claimed to contact the dead. Sometimes she appeared to retrieve specific information that only the person receiving the reading and the deceased person could have known. In 2008 journalists from the Dutch television programme Zembla investigated her performances. People wanted to hear that their deceased loved ones were doing fine, and guess what, they were always doing fine up there somewhere.

Zembla claimed that the best parts of the readings were shown so that her performance on television appeared better than it was in reality. Char was often wrong but many of these situations weren’t aired. Also James Randi weighed in. Randi is sceptical of paranormal claims. He argued that much of the information she retrieved was extracted from the people receiving the reading. It was Zembla’s intent to expose Char as a fraud so it wasn’t fair journalism. The episode of Zembla is on YouTube. It is in Dutch with some parts in English.

Now it happens to be that the name Char equals the first four characters of the word charlatan. Notice the word characters in the previous sentence because this word starts with the same four characters. Interestingly, I am discussing Char’s character, so this is indeed a funny coincidence. Yet, I still remember quite a few guesses she made that defy conventional explanation, and left the people receiving the reading dumbfounded. It seemed impossible to extract this information from the persons receiving the reading. Zembla didn’t address these cases. If these had been incidents of fraud, for example, if there had been actors involved in the programme, Zembla would have mentioned it.

So what to think of these unexplained cases? Can mediums sometimes make better guesses than chance allows for? If we assume this universe to be a simulation running a script then it must be possible. A so-called gift can just be a sequence of coincidences that aren’t really coincidences because of the script. And this can make a medium believe that he or she has a gift. An incident in my life showed how a premonition can come true. It can’t be explained in a conventional way. On 9 February 2009 Western Europe was hit by a heavy storm of the kind that happens only once in a decade or so. I predicted such a storm on this exact date two months earlier. Only I feared that it would strike the Netherlands while it ended up in Northern France, a miss of 400 kilometres (250 miles). But that is still remarkable and beyond mere chance.

I made the prediction on 19 December 2008 on an internet message board:
https://www.maroc.nl/forums/het-nieuws-van-de-dag/260485-9-februari-2009-de-duistere-zijde-de-maan-1-print.html

It is in Dutch so I made a translation that can be found here:
http://www.naturalmoney.org/feb9darkside.html

On 9 February 2009 the Airport of Paris had to be closed because of the storm:
https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2009/feb/09/paris-airports-closure

How the prediction came to be is a peculiar story. In the autumn of 2008 I had a psychosis in which it appeared that God is a lady I once met on the campus of the University of Twente. What happened could highlight how mediums can sometimes make predictions that defy conventional explanation. Somehow I did get a hunch that a super storm might strike the Netherlands on 9 February 2009 and that large parts of the Netherlands would be flooded. The hunch was triggered by an article on an alternative news website about a programme called the webbot that allegedly had made accurate predictions in the past. In the autumn of 2008 the webbot predicted that in the first half of 2009 large areas of land would be permanently flooded. The article did not mention any specifics about the location but the word ‘permanently’ suggests that the area is below sea level. That narrowed it down to the Netherlands.

The date of 9 February came up as I believed it to be the birthday of the lady who appeared to be God during the psychosis. After the hunch materialised, more so-called clues came in confirming the suggestion. For instance, a blogger on the website Sargasso.nl had written on 2 September 2008 (2/9) about a storm that would strike the Netherlands on 9 February 2009 (9/2) and that large parts of the Netherlands would be flooded. The numerical coincidence of the dates was also a bit peculiar, and that scared me. A flooding of the Netherlands would put millions of lives in danger. This is the link to the article in Dutch (you might need Google translate to read it):
http://sargasso.nl/wat-als-het-toch-fout-gaat/

The article features some cool graphics showing parts of the Netherlands being flooded on 9 February 2009. It was intended as a what if scenario, not as a prediction, but as I already suspected that an epic storm would hit the Netherlands on this specific date, I saw this as an eerie warning sign. And I didn’t come across the website or the information before I had the premonition. I found it as a result of looking for clues confirming my suspicion.

On 13 December 2008 my son Rob and I went to Enschede and we visited the campus of the University of Twente were I lived as a student and where I met the lady who appeared to be God. Rob didn’t know of my premonition because I hadn’t discussed it with him. On the campus was a work of art, a church tower in a pond that refers to flooded land (see featured image). It was evening and it was dark. The moon was shining. There was a thin layer of ice on the pond. Suddenly Rob told me that he saw the coastline of the Netherlands reflected in the moonlight on the ice surface. I couldn’t see this at first but Rob kept on pointing at the ice until I saw the coastline too. The Dutch coastline has a shape that is unlikely to be mimicked by some random accident.

Lage Landen album cover
Album cover of Lage Landen of Boudewijn de Groot

This freaked me out as the church tower in the pond refers to flooded land while the storm could threaten the coastline of the Netherlands. There would be a lunar eclipse on 9 February 2009. That was an eerie coincidence. There were a few more coincidences that pushed me into making the prediction. For instance, there is an album from Boudewijn de Groot named Lage Landen (Low Countries). The 11th track named Lage Landen is about a super storm hitting the Netherlands. The song suggests that the storm will hit on a Monday while 9 February 2009 was a Monday. Monday is the day dedicated to the Moon (Moon-day). This is another peculiar coincidence because of the lunar eclipse and the coastline of the Netherlands being reflected in the moonlight.

There is some interesting numerology in it. The song being the 11th track lasting 5:55 minutes is a peculiar coincidence (see picture). The date 9 February 2009 refers to 11:11. The date 9 February 2009 can be rewritten as 9-2-2009 while 9 + 2 = 11 and 2 + 0 + 0 + 9 = 11. Many people see 11:11 on clocks and I did too. When I first came to the campus during the introduction weeks, I stayed at Calslaan 9-2. This was the most notorious residence hall on the campus by far. The combination of this address being a reference to 9 February, it being the most notorious residence hall, the campus being the place where I met the lady who appears to be God, and her birthday being 9 February, makes this coincidence remarkable.

I issued the warning a few days later on 18 December 2008 even though it seemed nearly certain that it would be ignored. Normally I don’t have predictive powers but this prediction was far more accurate than chance allows for. As a prediction it was pretty useless nonetheless. Luckily I wasn’t taken seriously. Imagine that people had been evacuated because of this. That is why I don’t venture into making more predictions. At least the incident sheds some light on why mediums can be more accurate than chance allows for, while they make many misses at the same time.

Featured image: Church tower in pond on the campus of the University of Twente. Source Unknown. [copyright]

Khadijah, mother of the believers

Mother of the Believers was the title given to the wives of Muhammad but it best suits Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. She was a wealthy merchant and a widow. She was also Muhammad’s employer. Muhammad was twenty-five and Khadijah was forty when she proposed to him. The marriage between Khadijah and Muhammad was both happy and monogamous. When he was without her on his journeys, Muhammad never felt a desire for other women. They had six children of which four daughters survived. Only after the death of Khadijah Muhammad re-married but he didn’t have children with his later wives.

This post is part of a series called God Is A Woman And Jesus Was Her Husband. It is advised to read the other articles first in the order suggested below:

After receiving his first revelation from what appeared to be the Archangel Gabriel Muhammad returned home to Khadijah in a state of terror. He told her what happened. She comforted him and supported him from then on. Khadijah’s moral support made Muhammad believe in his mission and her financial support for the early Muslim community was indispensable for the survival of Islam. Apart from a wife Khadijah was like a mother to Muhammad, which might be very similar to the relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus as well as Eve and Adam. She may have been Muhammad’s boss in more than one way as she may have been an avatar of God.

Evidence in the Quran for God being a woman is hard to find but the Quran claims that God is the greatest schemer1 and capable of deception.2 The existence of different religions and theological disputes are part of the plan, the Quran claims. Jesus is called Son of Mary in the Quran3 while Christians call him Son of God. This is remarkable because the name of God may have been Mary, a secret only God could know.

Sura 74 of the Quran is named The Hidden Secret or The Cloaked One. It is claimed that the number 19 is related to a hidden secret. The Arabic name for Sura 74 can both be translated to a hidden secret as well as a man wearing a cloak. The man wearing a cloak is Muhammad. The number 19 seems to refer to the number of angels guarding hell.4 But what could be the hidden secret? Explanations of Islamic scholars on the matter aren’t very convincing. Curiously, Sura 19 is named Mary. The hidden secret may be that God was a woman named Mary. The cloak may refer to God appearing to be a man while secretly being a woman.

Featured image: top small written Arab phrase “Umm ul Muminin”(Mother of the believers) then in centre Big written “Khadijah” and bottom small written Arab honoric (phrase or salawat) “Radhi allahu anha”.

1. for instance, Quran 3:54 [link], 7:99 [link], 8:30 [link], 10:21 [link], 13:42 [link]
2. for instance, Quran 4:88 [link], 5:41 [link], 11:34 [link], 14:4 [link]
3. for instance, Quran 2:87 [link], Quran 4:171 [link], Quran 61:6 [link]
4. Quran 74:31 [link]