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I am 27 years old, I make $100,000 a year, I live in Houston, Texas, and I work as an attorney
I wish we could have more in savings right now, but I never came from an enviroment that encouraged responsible savings, nor have I ever had the privilege of having enough to put in savings. Until now. My husband has come from a place of privilege, so he's gotten to see firsthand what it's like to not have it.
Section One: Assets and Debt
Retirement Balance: $6,622.23 in a 401K I get through work. I just started qualifying for the 401K in April of this year. I contribute 10%. My employer does not match anything, unfortunately. I’m not sure how much my husband has in his teacher account. Additionally, I have $1,300 in a Roth IRA I started at my old job which had no benefits. I haven’t contributed to my IRA in a few months because…
Equity if you're a homeowner: We just bought a house at the end of September! We did not intend on buying a house yet, but an offer came up in my hometown that was too good to pass up. We bought the house for $120,000, we put down about $6,500, and the house is estimated to be worth about $180,000 without any repairs (of which it needs many.) We do not intend on living in this house, because I don’t want to live across the street from my parents. Hopefully, repairs will be done before the end of the year and we can start getting renters in. The current plan is to rent it out for a year, and then sell it.
Joint Savings account balance: $1,000.00. See above. We’ll work on replenishing this once repairs are done.
Joint Checking account balance: $11,588.05 in our joint account on the date of publishing, following receipt of my $8,000 bonus last month. We are about to pay $8,000 to fix the foundation in our house, so we have everything in our checking account. Additionally, we’ll have to pay for labor to pull out the rugs, paint, etc. And we need to buy new appliances because the appliances in the house are definitely the original from 1968.
Credit card debt: None. Everything is paid off monthly on both accounts. I think we both individually pay about $2,000 per month on our credit cards. Sometimes less, rarely more. I don't ask him what he buys, and he doesn't ask me either.
Student loan debt: $218,719.16 for my undergrad (about 9K left) and law degree (the rest). I am a first generation college graduate and my parents had nothing to provide me except their love and support. They always told me education was the most important thing, and for that, I am eternally grateful. It’s just another payment, and I wasn’t going to let that stop me from living the life I wanted. For now, I am on an income based repayment plan and hopefully it will be forgiven in 2030.
My husband has no student loan debt, which is great because I have enough for both of us.
Extra: My husband has a trust left behind by his grandpa. He has never touched it, and does not have plans to, until maybe we buy the house we will actually live in.
Section Two: Income
I got my first job in college because I was a young graduate and never had a high school job. I worked at the university dining hall making 8.50/hour. It was a glamorous year. The following two years, I worked for an attorney in town and decided that I wanted to go to law school. I made 10/hour for about a year and a half, and then 12/hour when I graduated and kept working there until I left for law school.
During law school, I did not work, because it was just not feasible. I had internships in the summers, of which three were paid. One was a federal judge internship, where I was paid a stipend at the end of the time, and they also paid for parking. One was back at the firm I worked at in undergrad, and I got paid a lump sum to be a legal assistant for half a summer. The third was at the city attorney’s office, and they paid $20/hour. I had never gotten paid that much in my life and I was thrilled.
Out of law school, I started working at a plaintiff’s law firm, and I made $55,000 until I passed the bar, at which point, I got a raise to $80,000. I hated being a plaintiff’s lawyer, and got out after six months. After that, I worked at an insurance defense firm, where I made $65,000 for six months as a trial period, and then $80,000 again. That firm environment was not healthy, and I got out after about a year and a half. I was unemployed for about three months and got by on my savings. Then I got the job I have now, where I bill less hours, and make more money. I have been at this job for a little over a year.
Main Job Monthly Take Home:
5,552.04 (me) 3,331.96 (h) after taxes, health insurance (we each pay our own), etc.
Side Gig Monthly Take Home
We both tutor (him math, me English) on the side with a friend who organizes it all. Our profits have increased each month since we started. In August, we made $190, in September we made $593, and in October we made $775. Current November profits are $916 and the month is only halfway done. I anticipate that this number will keep increasing as we get more students. This money is used on house expenses. Maybe after we get renters in, this money will go towards student loans.
Any Other Monthly Income Here
None yet! Hopefully our time as landlords starts soon!
Section Three: Expenses
Rent / Mortgage / HOA fees: $1,900.00 in rent for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1100 sq. ft. apartment, including all water, sewage, valet trash, and pet rent. $1,015.00 for our mortgage while we are repairing and having to pay for it on our own, and no HOA fees. Once we start renting the house out, we will not have double payments.
Renters / home insurance: Renters is $35.23/month. Home insurance was paid for the first year as part of closing. It was $1,200 for the first year.
Retirement contribution: none that wasn’t previously discussed.
Savings contribution: TBD once the house is done. It was previously around 10% of my paycheck and I think my husband contributed the same.
Investment contribution: TBD once the house is done. It was previously $75/month. I also have an acorns account that probably gets about $15-20/month. It currently has about $220 bucks in it, but I have had to withdraw from that account when times were hard.
Debt payments: Currently nothing. Focusing on the house for now.
Donations: I donate $10/month to the ACLU. We also foster kittens through our local shelter.
Electric: $102.39 last month. This bill is starting to go down now that it’s *finally* cooling off
Cellphone: $70.66/month for me. My husband is still on his parents’ plan.
Groceries: We spend about $60/week on grocery delivery from Imperfect Foods. Every couple of weeks we’ll go to the grocery store and pick up anything we didn’t get delivered. Those days can range from $40-$100, and it’s only every few weeks.
Gas: Maybe $50/month? My commute is short, and I don’t go to any other places anymore.
Eating in: $40-70/week. We’ll order food once a week. It helps me feel normal and not like my life is a never ending series of cooking and cleaning.
Netflix: $14.99. I pay for it for myself and my parents and brother
Hulu: $11.99. Same
Spotify: $14.99. Family plan for me and my husband because he didn’t use spotify beforehand
HBONow. I think it’s $15.00. My husband pays for this
We mooch off of someone for Disney+
Book of the Month: $10.00/month. I love to read, but at a truer level, I love to own books. I will never get through my reading list, but I’ve come to terms with it.
Winc: $60.00/every other month
Gym membership: $42.22 for the Peloton classes, and $74.78 for the bike itself. I got it for 0% APR and it will be paid off in three years. If it were not for the house, I would have paid this all off already. It’s been a great purchase and I fully recommend it.
Pet expenses: between $80-100/month. The cats are bougie and get fancy food from PetCo. One is also fat, but we’re still working on that. This may increase depending on if we have fosters, which we do right now.
Car payment / insurance: My Rav4 payment is $334/month and car insurance is $90/month. My husband’s car is paid off and I think his dad still pays the car insurance because it’s cheaper that way. (P.S. if anyone has advice on refinancing your car, please share! The thought terrifies me)
Regular therapy: I think my insurance is covering my co-pay right now because I am not paying anything for therapy right now.
Paid hobbies: None. The Peloton is my paid hobby.
I’d like to note that most of my expenses are paid on my credit card and then paid off every month. I may not be able to use those sweet, sweet points yet, but once we are free, I’ll be at an airport as often as possible.
Section 4: Money Attitudes
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If so, how did you pay for it?
Yes, there was always the expectation that I attend university. My parents both immigrated to the US in their early 20s and did not attend college. They both always told me that education was the most important thing, and the only thing I could take with me. In application, this got a little more complicated because my parents did not know how higher education worked. I had to do all the research regarding college applications, the SAT, scholarships, FAFSA, etc. because they didn’t know how any of it worked. When I applied for FAFSA the first time, my mom had me sit down and read all the fine print to make sure I knew what was happening. However, once I applied to law school, my parents asked why I didn’t just go to law school, and why I had gone to undergrad. It took some explaining for them to realize that I needed a Bachelor’s degree before going to law school. I had to pay for all of it through loans.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have around money? Did your parents educate you on finances?
My parents were not great, and still are not great, at finances. I knew my mom spent too much money on the credit cards, and my dad has frequently pulled out of his 401k. My dad told me too many details about the household finances that I did not need to know as a child.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I got my first real job in college because my parents could not support me.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Constantly. See above for my dad using me as an emotional support daughter.
Do you worry about money now?
In theory yes, because I’ve never known how to not worry about money, but in practice, I recognize that I am living a life my parents could have never dreamed of, and I am not irresponsible with my money. I could stand to be a little more frugal, but I worked hard to enjoy my life now, not later.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became financially independent at the age of 17, when I got dropped off at my dorm. My parents gave me $200, and that was it. I think they may have bought me groceries once after that.
Section Five: DIARY TIME!
I asked my husband to wake me up early because the foster kittens needed to go to the vet. Quarantine has wrecked any aspirations I used to have about being a morning person. Now I am bitter and groggy. He kisses me goodbye, and goes off to work.
Okay, I’m up. I feed the foster kittens, feed our cats, and do some chores I will not have time to do later today, mainly dishes and general clean up around the apartment.
I get dressed and make myself breakfast. Two eggs, two vegan bacon slices, and an avocado. I let the kittens out for a while so they can get some energy out.
I’m off to the free vet at the animal shelter. The kittens have had soft stool for a while, but since they are older than the ones I normally get, I hoped they would resolve it on their own. Alas, they did not, and it is time to get it resolved. While driving over there, I make some calls for my volunteer work which I have not had time to make previously. I volunteer with Child Advocates, which is the Houston branch of CASA. Three calls total, and that’s off my plate, finally.
No one has come out to help me at the shelter, so I have to get out to find someone.
Medication obtained, and I need to go back home to administer medication and drop them off.
Kittens medicated, and I’m off to work.
Work! Why they made us come back into the office is beyond me, but at least I get my triple screens.
My husband is a teacher, and I asked for his google classroom link because I just wanted to hear his voice during the day. We’ve both been going through it lately, so the support is appreciated on his end as well. I keep his algebra class on in the background while I work.
My mind starts to wander, and I open ASOS to browse. I buy a dress that I’ve been eyeballing for a few days, and I justify it as a birthday present to myself. I can probably wear it to work.
I’ve put off eating long enough. I go downstairs to the cafe and get a salad and some chips. I am participating in a weight loss challenge at work, so I try to eat healthy. I also run into my coworker downstairs and we chat on our way back up. I also FINALLY fill my water bottle today. I’m permanently dehydrated, it’s fine.
My husband’s geometry class. I sit in again, and even participate a little bit!
Time to head home. I’m beyond exhausted. And I should still have a long night ahead of me. Instead, I drive around the neighborhood park for Pokémon Go related reasons and it makes me feel better.
Normally on Tuesdays, I spend the whole night logging my billing. I should do it as I go, this I know, but I hate doing it and I don’t want to. So I do it on Tuesdays and usually spend the entire evening doing it. Right now, I would rather sit and cry, but instead, I start making pasta sauce for spaghetti squash.
I turn on Dancing with the Stars and all three kittens fall asleep on me. I am trapped forever now.
Dinner time! Homemade sauce with mushrooms and greens, all on top of spaghetti squash. I make sure to have plenty for leftovers. My husband and I turn on game shows because it feels like a mindless tv night. Billing? Who is she? I will regret this later. Meanwhile, my husband and I talk about how down we’re feeling, and try to make each other feel better. They say the first year of marriage is the hardest, but nobody planned for a global pandemic.
I do a face mask for the first time in forever. My skin went to absolute shit after switching to the mini pill in May, and I finally went to the dermatologist to fix it. It’s been about a month and a half with spironolactone, Epiduo, and sulfur face wash. My skin purged terribly, and I could not stop picking at it. So I do a brightening face mask to help even out the skin tone. My husband records a video for class, and I keep Jeopardy on in the background. RIP Alex Trebek. Around this time I stare at my briefcase some more. This is the first time in eight months I have not done my weekly billing timely and I feel the laptop boring into my soul. However, the exhaustion goes down into my bones. There is no shaking this. I’ve been feeling like this for a while, and my therapist said it was probably depression. She also frequently tells me to do self care, which I am terrible at. With all this in mind, I resolve to be okay with not billing tonight and just exist for the rest of the night.
I start getting ready for bed. Nighttime face routine, brushing teeth, feeding kittens, and putting the food away. I’m exhausted, and I go to bed.
Daily Total: $98.91
I barely registered when my husband left this morning, and I start to come into consciousness. This is a more normal start time for me. Yes I got eight hours of sleep, but I do not feel any less tired.
My birth control alarm goes off so I have to get up.
I check my work email and see that I missed a call from someone I needed to speak with ASAP. I call him from my cell phone. He doesn’t need to know that my hair is sticking out like a Cynthia doll and that my vision is still blurry. I get things resolved, all is good. Meanwhile, I feed the cat squads and pop some waffles in the toaster. I promptly forget about them and shower quickly. I grab the waffles after showering, taking the rest of my meds, moisturizing, brushing teeth, etc etc. As I’m about to head out the door, I realize I still need to medicate the kittens. I do that quickly, and head out the door.
I’ll be real. I don’t feel bad about leaving for work after 9. My commute is exactly 10 minutes long and they don’t care when I show up, as long as I do the hours. Being a lawyer has plenty of stress and exhaustion, but this part is pretty chill.
Oh look, I’m at the office.
I log in to see my husband, but apparently he left work early because he didn’t feel good. I text him to see if he needs anything.
As I work, I munch on some pomegranate seeds that I cut out my poms last night. Why did I wear white pants today though?
Lunch time! I heat up some spaghetti squash and sauce and go back to my office. All the legal assistants were sitting in the break room and it was too many people for my comfort. To be fair, all the legal assistants sitting together was already too many people for my comfort before the pandemic.
Zoom call with a client for deposition prep. It goes fine, no issues. This is important.
Deposition. First half hour, the client could not get the sound to work, so I just called him on my cell phone and put that up to my computer to work as the sound. We get through half an hour of deposition and then his phone dies. We try to get him back for twenty minutes before we just call it and agree to reset. I am mortified. It’s not my fault, but I’m still the lawyer and we take responsibility for the mistakes. I call my boss and let him know what happened.
After that debacle, I work a little bit longer and then head home to make sure my husband is okay. As I pull into the parking lot, I note there is a food truck downstairs! My husband said he wanted to order food tonight, so maybe we can do this instead so as to not pay for delivery fees.
Tutoring! This student has a test on Lord of the Flies tomorrow, so we go over her test review. I read Lord of the Flies in the eighth grade, so I tried to skim over it before tutoring, but I do have to rely on Sparknotes for some details. I can easily discuss themes with her, and she feels much better.
My husband went downstairs while I tutored and got us dinner on his credit card. He is tutoring a different girl now for math, so I eat half my veggie burger while he works. I lay down on the sofa and read Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby for a while.
Time to turn on the Bachelorette. It’s Tayshia’s first episode, and we’re ready for it. My husband is also a little in love with her, and I completely understand. Honestly, same.
Sometime around 11:45, I doze off on the sofa. My husband gets me up and I relocate to the bed without brushing my teeth or moisturizing. It’s one of those nights.
Daily total: $0 from me. I didn’t ask how much the burgers were.
I wake up feeling surprisingly rested. Maybe I’ll do a quick ride on the Peloton!
LOL nope. I fell asleep again. But this time, I resolve to at least do an arm workup for the tricep challenge on peloton. I feed the cat parade first and turn on a 10-minute class. After that, I get dressed, and even put on makeup! Man, I feel like a woman. I balance this out by running out of time to eat breakfast. Oh well.
Work! I left a pear here, so that’s my breakfast.
Joining the algebra class again. They’re learning the formulas for horizontal and vertical lines and I actually remember this! But my office neighbor is here and in a hearing, so I keep the volume down low.
Lunch! More leftover spaghetti squash. It was a huge squash and I’m getting as many meals out of it as I can.
After three and a half days, I finally finish medical record review in one case. Time to move onto medical record review for a different case. There are more records in this one.
I’ve gotten through two hundred more pages, so I go make some matcha. I keep a jar of matcha green tea latte mix from Trader Joe’s at work so I can make that whenever the mood strikes.
Not so embarrassing confession: I still play Pokemon Go. I rarely spend money on it, but I don’t have a remote raid pass, so I put up the ninety-nine cents to get it.
I work until 6, at which time I have therapy. I stay at my office for therapy, because I’m too lazy to drive back home beforehand. We talk about the holidays, fears, my parents, and continued burnout. I resolve to talk to my husband about not going to his family’s for Thanksgiving.
Therapy’s done, so I pack up and go home. I leave my work laptop at work because I need to be better about boundaries.
My friend wanted to do a ride together on the Peloton. I let her pick, which was a mistake. She chooses an Alex Toussaint ride and we nearly die. While we ride, I ask my husband to peel sweet potatoes and press tofu. I should have asked him to press tofu earlier, but I didn’t figure out dinner until an hour ago.
I boil the sweet potatoes and start making sauce for the tofu. Sauce is miso, fig jam, peanut butter, soy sauce, and honey. *Chef’s kiss* I also boil some ears of corn. Once I mash the sweet potatoes, I grab a mandarin and juice it. This is the best dinner I’ve made in ages. Baked tofu with miso sauce, sweet potato mash with orange juice, corn, and salad. I’ve peaked. While we eat, my husband and I talk about the holidays. He has students in person again, aside from the online classes, so he can’t realistically isolate anymore. His parents are older, and his brother just had a baby. We know his family really wants to see us, but it’s just not safe. The US just hit 150,000 cases today.
We make the call to my mom first, because we had previously discussed taking my 14-year-old brother. My parents are not very celebratory this year (heyo therapy), so we wanted to make sure he was fed. My mother understands. This was the easy call to make.
Then we make the call to his mom. We express our concerns, and she is much more understanding than I thought she would be. We also mention that Christmas will likely not be possible, but we know this will be a longer conversation to have with her later.
Finally, my husband calls his aunt. That conversation is not as chill. Biggest thing is that she assumed I don’t want children because of my career and that women can be lawyers and have kids. She did not know she was on speaker. I am LIVID.
After all these calls, I finally shower, do my nighttime routine, feed kittens, and get ready for bed.
Bed time. Except that the big cats get all grumpy and are fighting with each other, so they keep us up for a while. UGH
Daily Total: $0.99
Not as rested as yesterday, not as tired as Wednesday. I’ll take it. Same old morning routine: cats, clothes, etc. Today, I remember the veggie breakfast sausages and heat two up to take with me.
Work! I eat my veggie sausages and a plum. If you’re keeping track, that’s four different fruits this week. I also check my bank account! Payday! The foundation guy still hasn’t cashed his check though, which is annoying.
I go heat up my lunch, which should finally finish up the spaghetti squash. As I walk around, I see that there are two other lawyers here and two legal assistants. It’s a ghost town. I’m tempted to leave. I also see that Barack Obama’s new book is about to come out, so I pre-order it.
Because of the ghost town status, I leave. I have errands to run and a Friday to enjoy. Regardless, I will still work at home.
I saw a few recipes I want to try this weekend, so I pop over to Whole Foods right by the office and get the ingredients I don’t already have at home. It’s mostly specialty vegetables and fresh spices. I even buy salmon, which I almost never cook.
I get home and medicate the kittens, which I did not do before leaving this morning. I put away the groceries, and my husband gets home! Yay! He lays down on the sofa, and I pull out my laptop to finish working for the day.
I finish working for the day and start a load of laundry
I do a ride with my other friend. The theme is weird, but I get a great sweat in.
I use the fancy ingredients to make coconut miso salmon curry and some plain rice. It is AMAZING!! Maybe this is the best dinner I’ve made in a while. Martha Stewart who? Meanwhile, my husband puts on the latest episode of the Mandalorian. I didn’t watch the first season with him, but I’ve enjoyed watching this with him. After that’s done, I finish Wow, No Thank You and start Anxious People.
Bed time! Same old routine. We have a long day ahead of us.
Daily total: $107.63
My birth control alarm will never let me sleep in.
But I do get to sleep a little while longer. However, today is my birthday party/friendsgiving and we have so much cleaning to do. I heat up some tea, and my husband makes us toaster waffles, and we sit for a little while.
To be clear, when I say party, I mean, hanging out with the same few people I’ve seen all of quarantine. There will be eight other people there aside from my husband and I, so there will be a total of 10 people in my apartment. (And five cats). I even considered cancelling this after we had to call the family and tell them we weren’t going to Thanksgiving. But I’m already bummed I don’t get to go to the Texas Renaissance Festival this year, so a small get-together is as good as it gets.
The theme here is powerpoint party, and even though I sent out the information two weeks ago, I have not prepared my powerpoint. I spend three hours prepping my powerpoint. It is informative, it is dark, it is ready.
Well, kind of. About two hours in, I notice my laptop has stopped charging. I JUST GOT THIS CHARGER A MONTH AGO. I have known the end was coming for my laptop soon enough, but I kept trying to hold it off. My laptop is already four years old, and it would not be worth it to replace the battery. I don’t like using my work laptop for personal things, but I don’t have another option, and my husband is still working on his presentation as well, so I grab my work laptop and finish it off. Let’s see if I purchase a new laptop this upcoming week. (Recommendations are always welcome. I currently have a Dell XPS 13 Touch, and I’ll probably just get a new one of those unless a better recommendation comes along).
We start the deep clean. I get busy in the kitchen and my husband cleans the bathroom. Vacuuming, mopping, rug cleaning, etc. and soon, our apartment is spotless.
While we’re cleaning, my mom texts me and confirms the foundation guy picked up his check.
I still need a few more things so I shower quickly and head to Kroger to get the last things I forgot at Whole Foods. I am unfortunately out of time to work out, so that won’t happen today.
Paper plates, cups, tin foil, and more tofu. I’m not trying to do all those dishes tomorrow.
I also go to Spec’s to get more alcohol. It’s the only place that has mead, and I’m trying to recreate those Ren Fest vibes as best I can.
Time to start cooking. Everyone is bringing a little something, so the weight is not on me to do it all. I am making vegetarian shepherd’s pie, tofu roulade, and roasted cauliflower. I’m very anxious. I’ve never been a fan of hosting parties, and COVID has only confirmed that I prefer being a homebody. Insert cooking montage here.
One of my friends arrives early and helps me finish prepping. The roulade is not going well, which is disappointing.
Everyone has arrived, and we start eating.
Presentations are shown, laughs ensue, and good times are had by all. Powerpoint themes:
- Poetry of Catullus (Catullus is a fuckboi)
- Crimes Each Duggar Would Commit (this was me)
- Loch Ness (by my friend who honeymooned in Scotland and is learning Scottish)
- The Republican Party’s Path To Victory (It’s a shitpost. It’s one slide and it’s Jeb!)
- Do Tapirs Exist? An Exposition (Spoiler alert: Yes)
- The Spy Kids Trilogy and Why They’re The Greatest Movies to Ever Exist (undisputed best slideshow of the night)
I don’t remember exactly when the party ended, but it was a reasonable enough hour. I take my makeup off and go to bed.
Daily total: $119.16
Birth control alarm. UGH. I am hungover and feeling it.
I move to the sofa so I can watch tiktoks without waking up my husband. I will not move from this spot very much all day.
We don’t really eat breakfast today, because we are still full from last night. Around lunchtime, we heat up some more food from last night.
I watch Big Mouth all day because season 4 is coming out in a few weeks. It’s just as weird and uncomfortable as I remember it being.
I also cuddle with kittens all day, and they are SO CUTE. I LOVE THEM.
7:00 p.m. ish
I finally get up to be semi-productive. I load the dishwasher and leave the pots and pans for my husband to wash later. We still ended up using all our utensils, serving spoons, and small plates for cake.
I also start dinner. We actually finished most of the food we had made yesterday at lunch. I make ramen and guss it up with shiitake mushrooms, miso (lots of miso this week), kimchi, and rice cakes. Easy, tasty, satisfying.
Around this time, I go back to my laptop. It is not charging. UGH.
After dinner, and more tv, I finally shower, and finally feel like a normal person. I read for a little while before bed.
What a lazy Sunday. It’s exactly what I needed.
Daily total: $0
I’m up and mostly rested.
I get out of bed, and finally do a chore I’ve been putting off all week: repotting my money tree to take back to the office.
After that, it’s the same old morning routine: cats, plants, packing lunch, getting dressed. But today, makeup and breakfast both happen. Who is she????
Additionally, I joined a weight loss pool at work that started a month ago. I weigh myself for the weekly check-in. Despite the feast I had this weekend, I still managed to lose a pound. This is pretty consistent with what I’ve done all month. Overall, four pounds lost. I wish it would go faster, but it’s fine. I’m healthy, I’m active, and I eat well.
Work! My money tree fell over in the car and dirt got all over the ground. Great. And the tree is falling out of its new pot. I awkwardly repot it in my car, and then in my office. Hopefully it’s okay. Otherwise, I have a specific research topic to answer, and a report due tomorrow.
I also bring my personal laptop and hope it will charge here. No such luck. I order a replacement charger AGAIN, but this time it’s free of charge. I also start doing research on how much it’ll take to replace my laptop. I do need it for tutoring, so it’s not like I can put it off much longer. There are Black Friday deals going on already. There’s also a Best Buy nearby, so I’ll go look after work.
I eat a plum and go look at my credit card statement. I usually pay it off every two weeks, to align with paychecks, so I pay off my credit card. I note that there’s a Classpass charge on my card. I saw the email a few weeks ago and forgot to cancel. I cancel my membership, but the $60 charge is already on my card. UGH
I also get an email confirming our Imperfect Foods order and the charge that comes with it.
I heat up some of the ramen from yesterday. It’s fine. Our work microwave isn’t very good. I eat a mandarin as well.
I am almost finished with the document review in this case, but I ordered some tables for my office plants last week, and they came in over the weekend. I assemble those and arrange my plants. Since it’s my birthday tomorrow, I get to go to the plant store.
I drive on over to Best Buy and check out the Dell selection. They only have Inspirons on display. What a waste of time. I also goofed on the way over here and had to do a big loop on the highway to get here, so I’m extra annoyed. Afterwards, I call my husband and he already knows that I’m going to suggest ordering in. He gets me.
I get home and plop on the sofa. He wants something hearty, but I want the opposite. We find a good compromise and I put the order in.
Food is here! He got a BBQ brisket sandwich, and I got a brussel sprout salad. Compromise. We watch the latest Last Week Tonight. John Oliver blows up 2020 and it’s exactly what this year deserves. Trash TV and kitten cuddles for the rest of the night. Too tired to read.
Time for bed. Teeth, face, etc.
Daily total: $164.37
Food + Drink: $310.89
Fun / Entertainment: $30.22 (book and pokemon go)
Home + Health: $0.00
Clothes + Beauty: $89.95
GRAND TOTAL: $491.06
Aside from the alcohol and extra party purchases, this was a pretty standard week. I have been doing better about not buying clothes when I’m sad, but I also normally buy used clothing and not a new dress for $90. I am very much a creature of habit, which I did not realize until I wrote it all out. I am excited about our financial future, and although we aren’t putting much into savings right now, I know that’s temporary.
How Islam was a product of Muhammad's brain
However, in many situations the Quran acts as a guide for simply Muhammad's life. When something is going wrong in Muhammad's life, God reveals a verse targeting that specific thing. When Muhammad wanted something, God revealed a verse for that thing, and many examples which I will get into
From learning about all of these cases, my hypothesis is the following
Muhammad suffered from epilepsy, revelation was simply a product of his frustrations, desires, thoughts, life events and ideas.
Regarding Muhammad's epilepsy, it is a very long topic - a good resource would be some of the following videos
The point I want to focus on is how revelation was a product of Muhammad's brain.
Muhammad preached monotheism in a place where pagan worship was the norm. Would this suggest that monotheism was a message to Muhammad from God?
This is not the case. Monotheism was not an unknown concept, Muhammad likely had several monotheistic influence prior to prophethood.
Pre-revelation, Muhammad was already against pagan worship. He found people that pray to Al Uzza,Al-Lat silly, and couldn't tolerate them (This is mentioned in The Sealed Nectar pg 81, as well as ibn Hisham 1/128, At-Tabari 2/161 and Tahdhib Tarikh Dimashq).
Coincidentally, Al Uzza and Al-Lat are also mentioned in the Quran in Surah Najm (53:19-20). Here we see our first example of Muhammad's thoughts making their way into the Quran. These thoughts were not divine as they existed prior to revelation.
Regarding monotheistic influence, we have the following examples
- Most obvious one, Muhammad was inspired by Ibrahims religion. Use the same Kaabah allegedly, often mentioned in the Quran, several hadith (mentioned in durood shareef etc)
- Many similarities between the Quran and zoroastrianism, suggest influence of Zoroaster in Muhammad's life
- Zaid bin Amr
- Was alive during the Prophet's time and a member of the Quraish tribe, but died before prophethood
- He was against the religions of pre-islamic Arabia
- He was in seek of Abraham's religion
- He was against Al-Lat and Al-Uzza
- Was alive during the Prophet's time and a member of the Quraish tribe, but died before prophethood
If there are as many as you claim,
I renounce al-Lat and al-Uzza, both of them,
as any strong-minded person would.
I will not worship al-Uzza and her two daughters …
I will not worship Hubal, though he was our lord
in the days when I had little sense."
- The message he sought before Muhammad, was the same as the message of Muhammad
- Waraqah bin Nawfal
- Muhammad's cousin, Christian priest
- Visits to Syria
- Met many Christians at age 9, with Abu-Talib. These included Bahira
- Maysarah, Khadijah's servant who assisted Muhammad (ibn ishaq)
Alcohol, Meat, and Music
In Islam, alcohol, pork, non-halal meat is all forbidden. In addition, there are hadith which suggest that instruments are from shaitaan(Bukhari 2:15:70).
Are all these ideas from God, or do they have some connection with Muhammad's life?
Regarding Alcohol, prior to prophethood Muhammad did not have a liking for alcohol, he also only ate meat slaughtered in a specific way
"He kept himself aloof from drinking wine, eating meat slaughtered on stone altars.." (Sealed Nectar pg 81)
Regarding music, when Muhammad first started preaching, the disbelievers in an aim to astray people away from Muhammad used music to entice people away.
This is mentioned in Ad-Durrul-Manthur, in the tafsir of Surah Luqman. That Ibn Abbas related that An-Nadr used to purchase female singers who would through their songs, entice away form Islam anyone developing least attachment to the Prophet.
After this event, Allah revealed these Ayahs in surah Luqman
"And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks(music,singing,etc) to mislead from the path of Allah"
Doesn't it seem very obvious where these restrictions came from now? Was it God, or was it simply Muhammad's views developed pre-revelation followed by events in the life of Muhammad.
When Muhammad first started preaching, he preached from a mountain and called people of mecca to gather around him and listen to what he has to say (he was preaching .
When Abu Lahab came and saw that Muhammad was just preaching, Abu Lahab said "Is this what you have gathered us for?"
After this, Allah revealed verses cursing Abu-Lahab. Doesn't this seem very convenient?
"When the Verse:--'And warn your tribe of near-kindred, was revealed, the Prophet (ﷺ) ascended the Safa (mountain) and started calling, "O Bani Fihr! O Bani `Adi!" addressing various tribes of Quraish till they were assembled. Those who could not come themselves, sent their messengers to see what was there. Abu Lahab and other people from Quraish came and the Prophet (ﷺ) then said, "Suppose I told you that there is an (enemy) cavalry in the valley intending to attack you, would you believe me?" They said, "Yes, for we have not found you telling anything other than the truth." He then said, "I am a warner to you in face of a terrific punishment." Abu Lahab said (to the Prophet) "May your hands perish all this day. Is it for this purpose you have gathered us?" Then it was revealed: "Perish the hands of Abu Lahab (one of the Prophet's uncles), and perish he! His wealth and his children will not profit him...." (111.1-5)
Think about it this way, Abu Lahab was a clear threat to Islam, he told people not to believe Muhammad. Obviously Muhammad would've been offended by Abu Lahab, it makes a lot of sense for him to want Abu Lahab to be cursed, also if people think that Abu Lahab is cursed by Allah, it makes it easier for Muhammad to continue spreading his message." (Bukhari 4770)
Also, to put this into perspective, what relevance does Abu Lahab being punished have to all of humanity? Why does this need to be in the Quran?
Facing backlash/claims from the disbelievers
Throughout his time preaching in Makkah, Muhammad had several critics notably of the Quraish. People would call Muhammad things like soothsayer, poet, witch, etc
What was the result? You guessed it! These things make their way into the Qur'an right after Muhammad comes across them
- Al Walid, and the Quraysh's plan to stop Muhammad's preaching
- According to Ibn Hisham (1/271). There was an advisory council led by Al-Walid to hinder pilgrims from Muhammad's call(story also found in The Sealed Nectar page 102). In which Al-Walid plotted for ways to hinder Muhammad's call, including calling him a soothsayer etc. These were the verses revealed to Muhammad shortly after
- "Verily he thought and plotted, so let him be cAursed. How he plotted. And once more let him be cursed, how he plotted! Then he thought, then he frowned, and he looked in a bad tempered way then he turned back and was proud then he said. This is nothing but magic from that of old: this is nothing but the word of a human being" (74:18-25)
- According to Ibn Hisham (1/271). There was an advisory council led by Al-Walid to hinder pilgrims from Muhammad's call(story also found in The Sealed Nectar page 102). In which Al-Walid plotted for ways to hinder Muhammad's call, including calling him a soothsayer etc. These were the verses revealed to Muhammad shortly after
- Umaiyah bin Khalaf
- Umaiya used to talk bad about Muhammad, and Muhammad prayed to Allah to take revenge on him as well as other people from the Quraish (Bukhari 520)
- After this the verses of surah Humazah were revealed
- "Woe to every slanderer and backbiter" (104:1)
- Akhnas bin Shuraiq
- When Muhammad visited the city of Taif, he asked for Asylum from people which included Akhnas Ibn Shurayq, he refused
- He also used to speak ill about the character of the Prophet
- The Quran then directly references him(Ibn Hisham 356) , in these verses
- "And obey not everyone who swears much, and is considered worthless, a slanderer , going about with calumnies, hinderer of the good, transgressor, sinful, cruel after all that base-born(of illegitimate birth)" (68:10-13)
Not hard to theorize what's happening here, people are critiquing Muhammad, Muhammad's frustrations build up, and then come out in the form of revelation which aims to lessen the negative influence being caused by the disbelievers
There are several examples of verses being abrogated in the Quran (nansakh). This simply means, Allah revealed a verse, however revealed a more relevant verse after, that was more suited to the times. Quran is timeless, but obviously it couldn't have had verses that were consistent for all 23 years of prophethood (imagine how many abrogations there would be in 1400 years)
To see all the abrogations you can check here: https://wikiislam.net/wiki/List_of_Abrogations_in_the_Qur%27an
However here is one I wanted to point out
"It is not lawful for thee (to marry more) women after this, nor to change them for (other) wives, even though their beauty attract thee, except any thy right hand should possess (as handmaidens): and Allah doth watch over all things."
"O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makka) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her;- this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess;- in order that there should be no difficulty for thee. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
So in one situation Allah is forbidding marrying more wives, yet in another verse Allah is allowing the Prophet to marry anyone that he wishes to wed.
In 33:50 it also says that this condition is only for the Prophet and not for all believers.. Does it get any better for Muhammad than that?
Muhammad desires a wife, however the Quran prevents him from having more wives, what is the solution? Quran verse allowing only Muhammad to have more wives!
Praying for disbelievers
One of the most influential people in Muhammad's lives was his uncle Abu Talib. He cared for him while he was an orphan, and was one of the only people to grant Muhammad protection while the Quraysh were all against Muhammad.
However, Abu Talib did not die as a muslim. Could Muhammad pray for Abu Talib?
At first you'd think so, if Allah is most merciful. Perhaps Muhammad also thought this which is why he made the dua
"By Allah, I will persistently beg pardon for you till I am forbidden to do so by Allah"
However, his mind likely changed after some time passed. It's very hard to imagine Muhammad thinking of Abu Talib being in hell, the moment of Abu Talib's death. Yet it makes sense for Muhammad to after having thought about it, having developed a different idea, and not thinking it makes sense for a disbeliever to be prayed for. Thus resulted in the revelation of the following ayahs
"It is not for the Prophet and those who have believed to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they were relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of Hellfire."
"Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided."
As well as him saying the following things
"Messenger of Allah, have you benefited Abu Talib in any way for he defended you and was fervent in your defence? The Messenger of Allah (may peace he upon him) said: Yes; he would be in the most shallow part of the Fire: and but for me he would have been in the lowest part of Hell." (Muslim 209a)
"I heard Abbas say: I said: Messenger of Allah, verily Abu Talib defended you and helped you; would it be beneficial for him? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Yes; I found him in the lowest part of the Fire and I brought him to the shallow part." (Muslim 209b)
"A mention was made of his uncle Abu Talib before the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) He said: My intercession may benefit him on the Day of Resurrection and he may be placed in the shallow part of the Fire which would reach his ankles and his brain would be boiling." (Muslim 210)
These are hard to read, imagine saying these about your uncle that cared for you throughout your life as an orphan. Maybe we should reconsider whether Muhammad was even mentally stable
The Quran speaking against Muhammad
Muslim apologists often make the claim, "why would Muhammad be making the Quran up, if there are verses in the Quran speaking against him"
Well first, I am not claiming that Muhammad is being malevolent necessarily, rather that the Quran is just based on his thoughts.
This is the verse that is mentioned
"O Prophet, why do you prohibit [yourself from] what Allah has made lawful for you, seeking the approval of your wives? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful." (66:1)
First off, this verse isn't really saying anything negative about Muhammad, in fact it's just giving him more freedom.
Second, it is very common for people to regret things, or for them to think that they have said something wrong or made a mistake. In this case, Muhammad may have felt like he shouldn't be prohibiting himself, as he is the prophet of God. For this reason it is perfectly reasonable to believe that there were some situations where Muhammad felt he had an inaccurate judgement, and again this came up in the Quran
Also, even if we don't accept the claim of Muhammad thinking he made a mistake. Muhammad might very well have been malevolent, and him criticizing himself in the Quran could have just been a way to improve his credibility as simply a prophet?
Not allowing guests to visit unexpectedly
"O you who have believed, do not enter the houses of the Prophet except when you are permitted for a meal, without awaiting its readiness. But when you are invited, then enter; and when you have eaten, disperse without seeking to remain for conversation. Indeed, that [behavior] was troubling the Prophet, and he is shy of [dismissing] you. But Allah is not shy of the truth. And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind a partition. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts. And it is not [conceivable or lawful] for you to harm the Messenger of Allah or to marry his wives after him, ever. Indeed, that would be in the sight of Allah an enormity." (33:53)
Again this seems to be very much linked to Muhammad's personal life, and thus remaining consistent with the hypothesis, that it very well could have just been a product of Muhammad's mind.
Perhaps there is something Muhammad is hiding, there must have been some reason Muhammad did not want guests to visit his house unexpectedly, but there was no way of him telling that to his people, without them asking why. The solution to this is to attribute this to God, thus ruling out any inquiry by Muhammad's followers.
Stories of Prophets being tested, and messages of paradise
The muslims faced several tough times, losing battles, being persecuted etc
How can muslims stay motivated if they are going through tough times? Perhaps by hearing stories of other people that have gone through tough times?
This is exactly what happened.
Stories of prophets were revealed following situations in which Muslims were being persecuted
From The Sealed Nectar Pg 156-160
- "The Verses and Chapters of the Noble Quran were attractively, forcefully, and successively revealed at that depressing and critical stage, supporting and advancing arguments on the truth and soundness of the principles of Islam, round whose axis the whole Call of Muhammad was revolving" (156)
- "There would be revealed verses telling identical stories of past Prophets with their people and the sufferings and pains they had experienced. The Verses would also include suggestive clues to the final tragic end of the Makkan disbelievers indicating their evil destination yet and at the same time, bearing glad tiding to the believers" (158)
"Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said,"When is the help of Allah ?" Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near." (2:214)
"Do the people think that they will be left to say, "We believe" and they will not be tried?" (29:2)
Regarding those who migrated:
"And those who emigrated for [the cause of] Allah after they had been wronged - We will surely settle them in this world in a good place; but the reward of the Hereafter is greater, if only they could know." (Quran 16:41)
Stories of prophets
"Certainly were there in Joseph and his brothers signs for those who ask" (12:7)
"And those who disbelieved said to their messengers, "We will surely drive you out of our land, or you must return to our religion." So their Lord inspired to them, "We will surely destroy the wrongdoers." (14:13)
Allowing Muhammad to marry Zaynab
There are many things Muhammad could've stopped himself from, that would make him more credible as a prophet. Marrying Zaynab bint Jahsh was one of them.
Muhammad adopted his free'd slave Zaid Ibn Harithah (later Zaid Ibn Muhammad, then back to Ibn-Harithah LOL). Zaid then married Zaynab
However, for some reason Muhammad also ended up wanting to marry Zaynab.
How do you marry your adopted son's wife without everyone being against you? The answer is a Quran verse!
The Quran reveals in Surah 33 verse 37
"And when thou saidst unto him on whom Allah hath conferred favour and thou hast conferred favour: Keep thy wife to thyself, and fear Allah. And thou didst hide in thy mind that which Allah was to bring to light, and thou didst fear mankind whereas Allah hath a better right that thou shouldst fear Him. So when Zeyd had performed that necessary formality (of divorce) from her, We gave her unto thee in marriage, so that (henceforth) there may be no sin for believers in respect of wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have performed the necessary formality (of release) from them. The commandment of Allah must be fulfilled."
It is common understanding that Muhammad treated all his wives equally, and it is believed that this verse encourages us to treat our wives equally
"If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one" (4/3)
However, for Muhammad it may have been difficult since he had 11 wives, coincidentally this verse is revealed
"You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive whom you will. And whomsoever you desire of those whom you have set aside (her turn temporarily), it is no sin on you (to receive her again), that is better; that they may be comforted and not grieved, and may all be pleased with what you give them. God knows what is in your hearts. And God is Ever All-Knowing, Most Forbearing. (33:51) "
It's mentioned in Ibn Ishaq's biography that there was a point in which Muhammad mentioned that the idols Al-Laat, al Uzza, and Manat had their intercessions approved, which then resulted in the Quraysh being delighted and telling others that "Muhammad had spoken of our Gods in splendid fashion" (Ibn Ishaq pg 165/166)
However these verses were then claimed to be "satanic", and thus Allah made up for Muhammad's "slip of tongue"
"Never did We send an apostle or a prophet before thee, but, when he framed a desire, Satan threw some (vanity) into his desire: but God will cancel anything (vain) that Satan throws in, and God will confirm (and establish) His Signs: for God is full of Knowledge and Wisdom." (22:52)
Again, nothing divine.. Just a way to keep Muhammad's message authentic
Attachment of Allah with Muhammad in Quran
If Allah is an eternal being, responsible for creating everything, it makes sense for him to be worthy of worship, but then how does Muhammad get his credibility, and how does he get people following him? Behold the following verses
"O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and the messenger when He calleth you to that which quickeneth you, and know that Allah cometh in between the man and his own heart, and that He it is unto Whom ye will be gathered." (8:24)
"Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace." (33:56)
"O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result." (4:59)
"He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah ; but those who turn away - We have not sent you over them as a guardian." (4:80)
I hope all these can make clear to you why the hypothesis mentioned is a valid one. Let me know what you guys think