Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires by Juan Cole

Muhammad Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires by Juan Cole

 
A few introductory words about Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires, a recent book by Juan Cole, professor of history at the University of Michigan (you can read the book as preview by opening the above link and then CLICKING on the picture inside):

In the midst of the dramatic seventh-century war between two empires, Muhammad was a spiritual seeker in search of community and sanctuary.

Many observers stereotype Islam and its scripture as inherently extreme or violent – a narrative that has overshadowed the truth of its roots. In this masterfully told account, preeminent Middle East expert Juan Cole takes us back to Islam’s-and the Prophet Muhammad’s-origin story.

Cole shows how Muhammad came of age in an era of unparalleled violence. The eastern Roman Empire and the Sasanian Empire of Iran fought savagely throughout the Near East and Asia Minor. Muhammad’s profound distress at the carnage of his times led him to envision an alternative movement, one firmly grounded in peace. The religion Muhammad founded, Islam, spread widely during his lifetime, relying on soft power instead of military might, and sought armistices even when militarily attacked. Cole sheds light on this forgotten history, reminding us that in the Qur’an, the legacy of that spiritual message endures.

A vibrant history that brings to life the fascinating and complex world of the Prophet, Muhammad is the story of how peace is the rule and not the exception for one of the world’s most practiced religions.”

Here is an interesting interview with Juan Cole about his book:

https://www.juancole.com/2018/10/muhammad-peace-jews.html

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How hadiths insult and demonise the Prophet

How hadiths insult and demonise the Prophet

 
In our study on The Muhammad of the Quran, along with True Muhammad versus False Muhammad, we observed that Muhammad is better represented by the Quran – an existentialist document and an authenticated, contemporary diary that instantaneously records Muhammad’s ongoing experience during his prophetic mission to the Arabs and the world – rather than by all those legends, rumours and anecdotes of contradictory hadiths and sira, written centuries after his time on the basis of long chains of unreliable oral transmissions, distorted by amnesia, confabulations and conjectures, often with dubious motives and intentions.

Now, looking into all those recorded rumours and trashes contained in hadith books that both idolize and demonise the Prophet Muhammad, we can see why the Quran presaged the Hadith-whisperers as Prophet’s enemy (6:112; cf. 25:30-31; 7:194-204). And why the most aggressive weapon in the hands of the Islamophobes to attack Islam is Hadith.

The Quran testifies to the high moral character of Muhammad (e.g., 68:4). Contrast this with the examples below that demonstrate how hadiths, including the so-called sahih hadiths, constantly insult and demonise him:

  1. Muhammad is a torturer
  2. Muhammad is a plunderer
  3. Muhammad is a warmonger
  4. Muhammad is a mass murderer
  5. Muhammad is an aggressor
  6. Muhammad orders to burn people and houses with fire
  7. Muhammad orders to kill apostates
  8. Muhammad is a terrorist
  9. Muhammad orders to kill someone who posed no threat
  10. Muhammad allows killing through deception and lying
  11. Muhammad promotes rape of female captives of war
  12. Muhammad is a hate-preacher
  13. Muhammad is an anti-Semite
  14. Muhammad is suicidal
  15. Muhammad is bewitched
  16. Muhammad suffers from delusion and hallucination
  17. Muhammad is a megalomaniac
  18. Muhammad is a sex maniac
  19. Muhammad fondles his wives while in menses
  20. Muhammad promotes polygyny
  21. Muhammad is a wife beater
  22. Muhammad allows wife beating
  23. Muhammad is a male chauvinist
  24. Muhammad portrays women as inferior
  25. Muhammad makes women slaves to their husbands
  26. Muhammad insults and derogates women
  27. Muhammad is a rapist
  28. Muhammad is a homophobe
  29. Muhammad is a cross-dresser
  30. Muhammad is a deceiver
  31. Muhammad is a hypocrite
  32. Muhammad is a liar and oath-breaker
  33. Muhammad forgets his promise
  34. Muhammad is dispraised
  35. Muhammad is unjust and holds double standard
  36. Muhammad gives himself extra favours
  37. Muhammad is a nepotist
  38. Muhammad and his companions prosper through war booties
  39. Muhammad is a music hater
  40. Muhammad lacks sense of humour
  41. Muhammad laughs at genitals of a killed man
  42. Muhammad laughs while cursing Jews
  43. Muhammad laughs at someone’s dream of having head cut off
  44. Muhammad is a hater of art
  45. Muhammad breaks all statues, icons and images
  46. Muhammad asks to destroy heads of statues even if not idols
  47. Muhammad is a hater of dogs
  48. Muhammad is a paedophile
  49. Muhammad is a child abuser
  50. Muhammad is a child killer
  51. Muhammad promotes slavery and okays flogging of slaves
  52. Muhammad is a slave trader
  53. Muhammad calls debtors liars and promise-breakers
  54. Muhammad condones violence during prayer
  55. Muhammad makes contradictory comments
  56. Muhammad is a briber
  57. Muhammad is Mary’s Husband
  58. Muhammad is a racist
  59. Muhammad is a white man
  60. Muhammad is ungrateful
  61. Muhammad spits into drinks
  62. Muhammad spits on child’s face and mouth
  63. Muhammad spits into wounds
  64. Muhammad spits into eyes
  65. Muhammad spits on dead body
  66. Muhammad is dwarf and fat
  67. Muhammad is unclean and has lice in his head
  68. Muhammad makes unscientific statements
  69. Muhammad fabricates the Quran
  70. Muhammad discriminates between messengers

 

1. Muhammad is a torturer

Some people of ‘Ukl or ‘Uraina tribe came to Medina and its climate did not suit them. So the Prophet ordered them to go to the herd of (Milch) camels and to drink their milk and urine (as a medicine). So they went as directed and after they became healthy, they killed the shepherd of the Prophet and drove away all the camels. The news reached the Prophet early in the morning and he sent (men) in their pursuit and they were captured and brought at noon. He then ordered to cut their hands and feet (and it was done), and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron, They were put in ‘Al-Harra’ and when they asked for water, no water was given to them.” Narrated by Abu Qilaba, attributed to Anas. Bukhari 1:4:234; also Bukhari 7:71:590

The Messenger said, “Get him away from me and cut off his tongue.” Ishaq:595

2. Muhammad is a plunderer

The Prophet (sa) said, “My livelihood is under the shade of my spear, and he who disobeys my orders will be humiliated by paying Jizya.” Footnote: “Under the shade of my spear” means “from war booty”. Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar. Bukhari 4:88

3. Muhammad is a warmonger

Expeditions Led by Allah’s Messenger: In this year, according to all Sira writers, the Messenger personally led the Ghazwa of Alwa. (A Ghazwa is an Islamic Invasion in Allah’s cause consisting of an army unit led by the Prophet himself.) He left Sa’d in command of Medina. On this raid his banner was carried by Hamzah. He stayed out for fifteen days and then returned to Medina. The Messenger went on a Ghazwa at the head of two hundred of his companions in October, 623 and reached Buwat. His intention was to intercept a Quraysh caravan with a hundred men and twenty-five hundred camels. Tabari, Vol.7, p.15

4. Muhammad is a mass murderer

The Jews were made to come down, and Allah’s Messenger imprisoned them. Then the Prophet went out into the marketplace of Medina, and he had trenches dug in it. He sent for the Jewish men and had them beheaded in those trenches. They were brought out to him in batches. They numbered 800 to 900 boys and men. Ishaq 464; also Bukhari 5:59:362 and Muslim 19:4364

5. Muhammad is an aggressor

God’s Messenger said: “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.” Reported by Ibn Umar. Bukhari 1:2:24

6. Muhammad orders to burn people and houses with fire

Allah’s Messenger sent us in a mission (i.e. an army-unit) and said, “If you find so-and-so and so-and-so, burn both of them with fire.” When we intended to depart, Allah’s Messenger said, “I have ordered you to burn so-and-so and so-and-so, and it is none but Allah Who punishes with fire, so, if you find them, kill them.” Narrated by Abu Huraira. Bukhari 4:52:259

The Prophet said, “Certainly I decided to order the Mu’adh-dhin (call-maker) to pronounce Iqama and order a man to lead the prayer and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses.” Narrated Abu Huraira. Bukhari 1:11:626

7. Muhammad orders to kill apostates

The Prophet said, “If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.” Reported by Ikrima, attributed to Ali. Bukhari 4:52:260

Allah’s Messenger (sa) said, “The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.” Narrated by `Abdullah. Bukhari 9:83:17

Allah’s Apostle said, “During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, where-ever you find them, kill them, for who-ever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.” Narrated by ‘Ali. Bukhari 9:84:64

8. Muhammad is a terrorist

Allah’s Messenger said, “I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand.” Abu Huraira added: Allah’s Messenger has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them). Narrated Abu Huraira. Bukhari 4:52:220

9. Muhammad orders to kill someone who posed no threat

An infidel spy came to the Prophet while he was on a journey. The spy sat with the companions of the Prophet and started talking and then went away. The Prophet said (to his companions), “Chase and kill him.” So, I killed him. The Prophet then gave him the belongings of the killed spy (in addition to his share of the war booty). Narrated Salama bin Al-Akwa. Bukhari 4:52:286

10. Muhammad allows killing through deception and lying

The Prophet said, “Who is ready to kill Ka’b bin Ashraf (i.e. a Jew).” Muhammad bin Maslama replied, “Do you like me to kill him?” The Prophet replied in the affirmative. Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say what I like.” The Prophet replied, “I do (i.e. allow you).” Narrated Jabir. Bukhari 4:52:271

11. Muhammad promotes rape of female captives of war

We got female captives in the war booty and we used to do coitus interruptus with them. So we asked Allah’s Messenger about it and he said, “Do you really do that?” repeating the question thrice, “There is no soul that is destined to exist but will come into existence, till the Day of Resurrection.” Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri. Bukhari 7:62:137

Narrated Buraida: The prophet sent Ali to Khalid to bring the Khumus ((one fifth) of the booty) and I hated Ali, and Ali had taken a bath (after a sexual act with a slave girl from the Khumus). I said to Khalid, “Don’t you see this (i.e. Ali)?” When we reached the prophet I mentioned that to him. He said, “O Buraida! Do you hate Ali?” I said, “Yes” He said, “Do you hate him, for he deserves more than that from the Khumus.” Bukhari 5:59:637

12. Muhammad is a hate-preacher

The Prophet said: The best of the actions is to love for the sake of Allah and to hate for the sake of Allah. Abu Dawud 40:4582

The Prophet said: If anyone loves for Allah’s sake, hates for Allah’s sake, gives for Allah’s sake and withholds for Allah’s sake, he will have perfect faith. Narrated by Abu Umamah. Abu Dawud 40:4664

Allah’s Messenger said: Do not salute them (non-Muslims) first, and when you meet them on the road, force them to go to the narrowest part of it. Reported by Abu Hurayrah. Abu Dawud 41:5186; also Muslim 26:5389 and 26:5390

13. Muhammad is an anti-Semite

The Messenger (sa) said: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him. Narrated Abu Huraira. Muslim 41:6985, Bukhari 4:56:791

The Prophet said, “A group of Israelites were lost. Nobody knows what they did. But I do not see them except that they were cursed and changed into rats, for if you put the milk of a she-camel in front of a rat, it will not drink it, but if the milk of a sheep is put in front of it, it will drink it.” Narrated Abu Huraira. Bukhari 4:54:524

The Prophet burned the garden of date palms of (the Jewish tribe) Bani an-Nadir. Reported by Ibn Umar. Bukhari 4:52:263

14. Muhammad is suicidal

After a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while and the Prophet became so sad as we have heard that he intended several times to throw himself from the tops of high mountains and every time he went up the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear before him and say, “O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah’s Messenger in truth” whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would return home. And whenever the period of the coming of the inspiration used to become long, he would do as before, but when he used to reach the top of a mountain, Gabriel would appear before him and say to him what he had said before. Bukhari 9:87:111

15. Muhammad is bewitched

Once the Prophet was bewitched so that he began to imagine that he had done a thing which in fact he had not done. Narrated Aisha. Bukhari 4:53:400

A Jew from Banu Zuraiq who was called Labid b. al-A’sam cast spell upon Allah’s Messenger (sa) with the result that he felt that he had been doing something whereas in fact he had not been doing that. (This state of affairs lasted) until one day or during one night Allah’s Messenger (sa) made supplication (to dispel its effects). Reported by A’isha. Muslim 26:5428

16. Muhammad suffers from delusion and hallucination

Jabir b. Samura reported Allah’s Messenger (sa) as saying: I recognise the stone in Mecca which used to pay me salutations before my advent as a Prophet and I recognise that even now. Muslim 30:5654

Narrated ‘Aisha: Allah’s Messenger said, “O Aisha! This is Gabriel sending his greetings to you.” I said, “Peace, and Allah’s Mercy be on him.” ‘Aisha added: The Prophet used to see things which we used not to see. Bukhari 8:73:220

17. Muhammad is a megalomaniac

The Prophet said: None of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father, his children and all mankind. Narrated Anas. Bukhari 1:2:14; also Bukhari 1:2:13

Narrated Abu Said Al-Mualla: While I was praying, the Prophet passed by and called me, but I did not go to him till I had finished my prayer. When I went to him, he said, “What prevented you from coming?” I said, “I was praying.” He said, “Didn’t Allah say: O you who believes Give your response to Allah and to His Messenger (8.24)?” Bukhari 6:60:226; also Bukhari 6:60:1 and Bukhari 6:60:170

The Prophet said: I have been given five things which were not given to any one else before me. 1. Allah made me victorious by awe by His terrorizing my enemies. 2. The earth has been made for me. 3. Booty has been made lawful for me yet it was not lawful for anyone else before me. 4. I have been given the right of intercession. 5. Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation only but I have been sent to all mankind. Bukhari 1.331

18. Muhammad is a sex maniac

The Prophet used to pass by (have sexual relation with) all his wives in one night, and at that time he had nine wives. Narrated Anas bin Malik. Bukhari 7:62:142

Anas bin Malik said: “The Prophet used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were eleven in number.” I asked Anas, “Had the Prophet the strength for it?” Anas replied, “We used to say that the Prophet was given the strength of thirty (men).” Narrated Qatada. Bukhari 1:5:268

Allah’s Messenger (sa) saw a woman, and so he came to his wife, Zainab, as she was tanning a leather and had sexual intercourse with her. He then went to his Companions and told them: The woman advances and retires in the shape of a devil, so when one of you sees a woman, he should come to his wife, for that will repel what he feels in his heart. Narrated Jabir. Muslim 8:3240

Then we reached Khaibar; and when Allah enabled him to conquer the Fort (of Khaibar), the beauty of Safiya bint Huyai bin Akhtab was described to him. Her husband had been killed while she was a bride. So Allah’s Messenger selected her for himself and … took her for his wife. Narrated Anas bin Malik. Bukhari 4:52:143

19. Muhammad fondles his wives while in menses

‘Aisha said, “Whenever Allah’s Apostle wanted to fondle anyone of us during her periods (menses), he used to order her to put on an Izar and start fondling her.” ‘Aisha added, “None of you could control his sexual desires as the Prophet could.” Reported by Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Aswad on the authority of his father. Bukhari 1:6:299

20. Muhammad promotes polygyny

The Prophet said, “Solomon (the son of) David said, ‘Tonight I will sleep with seventy ladies each of whom will conceive a child who will be a knight fighting for “Allah’s Cause.’ His companion said, ‘If Allah will.’ But Solomon did not say so; therefore none of those women got pregnant except one who gave birth to a half child.” The Prophet further said, “If the Prophet Solomon had said it (i.e. ‘If Allah will’) he would have begotten children who would have fought in Allah’s Cause.” Shuaib and Ibn Abi Az-Zinad said, “Ninety (women) is more correct (than seventy).” Narrated by Abu Huraira. Bukhari 4:55:635

Narrated Said bin Jubair: Ibn ‘Abbas asked me, “Are you married?” I replied, “No.” He said, “Marry, for the best person (i.e., Muhammad) of this nation of all Muslims, had the largest number of wives.” Bukhari 7:62:7

21. Muhammad is a wife beater

Narrated ‘A’isha: The Messenger of Allah (sa) … struck me on the chest which caused me pain (when she left the house one evening without his permission). Muslim 4:2127

22. Muhammad allows wife beating

The Prophet (sa) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife. Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab. Abu Dawud 11:2142 and 11:2141; also Ibn Majah 3:9:1986

A woman came to the messenger and begged him to stop her husband from beating her. Her skin was bruised so badly that it was greener than the green veil she was wearing. The messenger did not admonish her husband, but instead told her to return to him and submit to him as long as he is not impotent. On seeing her bruises, Aisha said, ‘I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women’. (summarised) Bukhari 7:72:715; also Muslim 4:2127

When Umar came to the messenger of Allah (sa) and said: Women have become emboldened towards their husbands, he gave permission to beat them. Reported by Iyas bin ‘Abd Allah bin Abi Dhubab. Abu Dawud 2141; also Ibn Majah 9:1985

23. Muhammad is a male chauvinist

Allah’s Messenger said, “Evil omen is in the women, the house and the horse.” Narrated Abdullah bin ‘Umar. Bukhari 7:62:30; also Bukhari 7:62:31 and 7:62:32

“After me I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women.” Narrated Usama bin Zaid, attributed to the Prophet. Bukhari 7:62:33

“I stood at the gate of Paradise and saw that the majority of the people who entered it were the poor … Then I stood at the gate of the Fire and saw that the majority of those who entered it were women.” Narrated by Usama, attributed to the Prophet. Bukhari 7:62:124

The tradition (of the Prophet) is that if someone marries a virgin and he has already a matron wife (with him), then he should stay with the virgin for seven days; and if someone marries a matron (and he has already a virgin wife with him) then he should stay with her for three days. Narrated by Anas. Bukhari 7:62:140

When the Prophet heard the news that the people of the Persia had made the daughter of Khosrau their Queen (ruler), he said, “Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler.” Narrated by Abu Bakra. Bukhari 92:50

24. Muhammad portrays women as inferior

The Prophet said (to some women), “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.” Narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri. Bukhari 1:6:301

The Prophet said (to some women), “Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said, “Yes.” He said, “This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.” Narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri. Bukhari 3:48:826

25. Muhammad makes women slaves to their husbands

“A woman should not fast except with her husband’s permission if he is at home (staying with her).” Narrated by Abu Huraira, attributed to the Prophet. Bukhari 7:62:120

“If a man invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her till morning.” Narrated by Abu Huraira, attributed to the Prophet. Bukhari 7:62:121

“If a woman spends the night deserting her husband’s bed (does not sleep with him), then the angels send their curses on her till she comes back (to her husband).” Narrated by Abu Huraira, attributed to the Prophet. Bukhari 7:62:122

“It is not lawful for anyone to prostrate to anyone. But if I would have ordered any person to prostrate to another, I would have commanded wives to prostrate to their husbands because of the enormity of the rights of husbands over their wives.” Ibn Majah 1:595

“No human should prostrate to another, and if it were permissible for a human to prostrate to another I would have ordered a wife to prostrate to her husband because of the enormity of his rights over her. By God, if there is an ulcer excreting puss from his feet to the top of his head, and she licked it for him she would not fulfill her rights.” Reported by Anas b. Malik, attributed to the Prophet. Ibn Hanbal, Musnad 3:200

“If a woman dies while her husband was pleased with her, she will enter Paradise.” Narrated by Umm Salamah, attributed to the Prophet. Tirmidhi 286

26. Muhammad insults and derogates women

“Prayer is invalidated by (the passage of) a woman, a donkey and a dog.” Narrated by Abu Hurayrah, attributed to the Prophet. Muslim 511; also Bukhari 1:9:490

“Finding a good woman among women is similar to finding a white crow among a hundred crows.” Attributed to the Prophet. Bukhari, Ahmad b. Hanbal’s Musnad, Nisa’I, cited by al-Ghazali

“If the body of the husband is covered with pus and his wife licks it with her tongue, she still will not be able to pay her debt to him.” Attributed to the Prophet. Ahmad b. Hanbal’s Musnad, 12153; al-Jaami’, 7725

“The woman is like a rib; if you try to straighten her, she will break. So if you want to get benefit from her, do so while she still has some crookedness.” Narrated by Abu Huraira, attributed to the Prophet. Bukhari 7:62:113

“I advise you to take care of the women, for they are created from a rib and the most crooked portion of the rib is its upper part; if you try to straighten it, it will break, and if you leave it, it will remain crooked, so I urge you to take care of the women.” Narrated by Abu Huraira, attributed to the Prophet. Bukhari 7:62:114

“The stipulations most entitled to be abided by are those with which you are given the right to enjoy the (women’s) private parts (i.e. the stipulations of the marriage contract).” Narrated by ‘Uqba, attributed to the Prophet. Bukhari 7:62:81

27. Muhammad is a rapist

When Allah’s Messenger saw her (Safiya), he said (to Dihya): Take any other woman from among the prisoners. … He then granted her emancipation and married her (Muhammad takes Safiya after battle of Khaibar for himself from Dihya who had already chosen her). Muslim 008:3325. A long narration of this alleged event is also found in Bukhari 1:8:367

28. Muhammad is a homophobe

The Prophet (sa) said: There is nothing I fear for my ummah more than the deed of the people of Loot. Narrated by Jaabir. Tirmidhi 1457

29. Muhammad is a cross-dresser

The Prophet said (to Um Salamah): O Um Salama! Do not hurt me with Aisha; for by Allah, the inspiration did not descent on me while I was in the coverings (lihaf) of any of you (women) except Aisha. Narrated by Abdullah ibn Abdel Wahab. Bukhari 3941

30. Muhammad is a deceiver

I am the best of plotters. I deceived them with My guile so that I delivered you from them. Ishaq:323

31. Muhammad is a hypocrite

The Messenger of Allah forbade facing the Qiblah when urinating. But I saw him, one year before he died, facing the Qiblah (while urinating). Narrated by Jabir. Ibn Majah 1:325:1

The Prophet got married while he was in the state of Ihram. Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas. Bukhari 7:62:49 (in a state of ihram, the focus should be God, not marriage)

32. Muhammad is a liar and oath-breaker

We stayed for a short while, and then I said to my companions, “Allah’s Messenger has forgotten his oath. By Allah, if we do not remind Allah’s Messenger of his oath, we will never be successful.” So we returned to the Prophet and said, “O Allah’s Messenger! We asked you for mounts, but you took an oath that you would not give us any mounts; we think that you have forgotten your oath.’ He said, ‘It is Allah Who has given you mounts. By Allah, and Allah willing, if I take an oath and later find something else better than that then I do what is better and expiate my oath.’ Narrated by Zahdam. Bukhari 7:67:427

33. Muhammad forgets his promise

They came to the messenger and called upon him to answer these questions. He said to them, ‘I will give you your answer tomorrow,’ but he did not say, ‘if God will.’ So they went away; and the messenger, so they say, waited for fifteen days without a revelation from God on the matter, nor did Gabriel come to him, so that the people of Mecca began to spread evil reports, saying, ‘Muhammad promised us an answer on the morrow, and today is the fifteenth day we have remained without an answer.’ Sirat Rasul Allah, p. 133

34. Muhammad is dispraised

Allah’s Messenger said: Doesn’t it astonish you how Allah protects me from the Quraish’s abusing and cursing? They abuse Mudhammam and curse Mudhammam while I am Muhammad (and not Mudhammam). Narrated by Abu Huraira. Bukhari 4:56:733

35. Muhammad is unjust and holds double standard

If one murders a Muslim, he should be killed for retribution, but if he murders a disbeliever, he is fine and no retribution is required:

The Messenger of Allah said: It is not permissible to kill a Muslim except in one of three cases: A adulterer who has been married, who is to be stoned; a man who kills a Muslim deliberately; and a man who leaves Islam and wages war against Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, and His Messenger, who is to be killed, crucified or banished from the land. Narrated by ‘Aishah. Nasa’i 5:45:4747

The Prophet (sa) said: A believer should not be killed in retaliation for the murder of a disbeliever, and a person who has a treaty should not be killed during the time of the treaty. Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas. Ibn Majah 3:21:2660

36. Muhammad gives himself extra favours

Muhammad is teased by his wife when he allegedly gives himself extra privileges and immunities, through convenient revelations:

Narrated Aisha: I used to look down upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah’s Messenger and I used to say, “Can a lady give herself (to a man)?” But when Allah revealed: “You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily).’ (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), “I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires.” Bukhari 6:60:311

37. Muhammad is a nepotist

I heard Allah’s Messenger who was on the pulpit, saying, “Banu Hisham bin Al-Mughira have requested me to allow them to marry their daughter to Ali bin Abu Talib, but I don’t give permission, and will not give permission unless ‘Ali bin Abi Talib divorces my daughter in order to marry their daughter, because Fatima is a part of my body, and I hate what she hates to see, and what hurts her, hurts me.” Narrated by Al-Miswar bin Makhrama. Bukhari 7:62:157

38. Muhammad and his companions prosper through war booties

Whenever a dead man in debt was brought to Allah’s Messenger he would ask, “Has he left anything to repay his debt?” If he was informed that he had left something to repay his debts, he would offer his funeral prayer, otherwise he would tell the Muslims to offer their friend’s funeral prayer. When Allah made the Prophet wealthy through conquests, he said, “I am more rightful than other believers to be the guardian of the believers, so if a Muslim dies while in debt, I am responsible for the repayment of his debt, and whoever leaves wealth (after his death) it will belong to his heirs.” Narrated by Abu Huraira. Bukhari 3:37:495

One of the arguments put forward by Umar was that he said that the Messenger of Allah (sa) received three things exclusively to himself: Banu an-Nadir, Khaybar and Fadak. The Banu an-Nadir property was kept wholly for his emergent needs, Fadak for travellers, and Khaybar was divided by the Messenger of Allah (sa) into three sections: two for Muslims, and one as a contribution for his family. If anything remained after making the contribution of his family, he divided it among the poor Emigrants. Narrated by Umar ibn al-Khattab, attributed to Malik ibn Aws al-Hadthan. Abu Dawud 19:2961

Whenever Allah’s Messenger (sa) ordered us to give in charity, we used to go to the market and work as porters and get a Mudd (a special measure of grain) and then give it in charity. (Those were the days of poverty) and today some of us have one hundred thousand. Narrated by Abu Masud Al-Ansar. Bukhari 2:24:497

39. Muhammad is a music hater

The Messenger of Allah said: Among my ummah there will certainly be people who permit zinaa, silk, alcohol and musical instruments… Bukhari 75:5590

Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: The bell is the flute of Satan. Reported by Abu Huraira. Muslim 024:5279; Abu Dawud

The Messenger of Allah said: When my Ummah begin doing fifteen things, they will be inflicted with tribulations, and (from those 15 things He said): When female singers and musical instruments become common. Reported by Ali ibn Talib. Tirmidhi

The Messenger of Allah said: Song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage. Reported by Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud. Bayhaqi

The Messenger of Allah said: On the day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress. Reported by Anas. Ibn Asakir & Ibn al-Misri

Ibn ‘Umar heard a woodwind instrument, and he put his fingers in his ears and kept away from that path. He said to me, O Naafi’, can you hear anything? I said, No. So he took his fingers away from his ears and said: I was with the Prophet (sa) and he heard something like this, and he did the same thing. Narrated by Naafi’. Abu Dawud

40. Muhammad lacks sense of humour

The Prophet (sa) said: If you knew that which I know, you would laugh little and weep much. Narrated by Anas. Bukhari 8:76:493

41. Muhammad laughs at genitals of a killed man

When a polytheist set fire to (i. e. attacked fiercely) the Muslims, Allah’s Messenger (sa) said to him (Sa’d): shoot an arrow. (Sa’d said) … I drew an arrow and I shot a featherless arrow at him aiming his side that he fell down and his private parts were exposed. Allah’s Messenger (sa) laughed that I saw his front teeth. Reported by ‘Amir b. Sa’d on the authority of his father. Muslim 31:5932

42. Muhammad laughs while cursing Jews

Ibn ‘Abbas reported: I saw the Messenger of Allah (sa) sitting neat the Black stone (or at a corner of the Ka’bah). He said: He (the Prophet) raised his eyes towards the heaven, and laughed, and he said: May Allah curse the Jews! He said this three times. Abu Dawud 23:3481

43. Muhammad laughs at someone’s dream of having head cut off

Jabir reported that a person came to Allah’s Messenger (sa) and said: Allah’s Messenger, I have seen in the state of sleep as if my head had been cut off. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (sa) laughed and said: When the satan plays with any one of you in the state of sleep, do not mention it to the people. Muslim 29:5642

44. Muhammad is a hater of art

I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sa) say: The people who will be the most severely punished before Allah on the Day of Resurrection will be the image makers. Narrated by ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood. Bukhari 5606; Muslim 2109

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Those who make these images will be punished on the Day of Resurrection. It will be said to them, Give life to that which you have created! Narrated by ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar. Bukhari 5607; Muslim 2108

The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: Allah, Most High said: And who is more unjust than those who try to create the likeness of My creation? Let them create a seed or a small ant! Narrated by Abu Hurairah. Bukhari 5609; Muslim 2111

45. Muhammad breaks all statues, icons and images

The Messenger of Allah never left in his house anything containing the figure of a cross without destroying it. Narrated by ‘Aisha. Abu Dawud 34:132

Ali said to Abu Al-Hayyaj Al-Asadi: I am dispatching you with what the Prophet dispatched me: That you not leave an elevated grave without levelling it nor an image without erasing it. Narrated by Abu Wa’il. Jami at-Tirmidhi 10:85

The Prophet entered Mecca and (at that time) there were three hundred-and-sixty idols around the Ka’ba. He started stabbing the idols with a stick he had in his hand and reciting: “Truth (Islam) has come and Falsehood (disbelief) has vanished.” Narrated by ‘Abdullah bin Masud. Bukhari 3:43:658

46. Muhammad asks to destroy heads of statues even if not idols

The Messenger of Allah said: Gabriel came to me and said: I came to you last night and was prevented from entering simply because there were images at the door, for there was a decorated curtain with images on it in the house, and there was a dog in the house. So order the head of the image which is in the house to be cut off so that it resembles the form of a tree; order the curtain to be cut up and made into two cushions spread out on which people may tread; and order the dog to be turned out. The Messenger of Allah then did so. Narrated by Abu Hurayrah. Abu Dawud 34:139

47. Muhammad is a hater of dogs

The Prophet said: Angels do not enter a house which has either a dog or a picture in it. Narrated by Abu Talha. Bukhari 4:54:539

Allah’s Messenger ordered that the dogs should be killed. Narrated by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar. Bukhari 4:54:540

Allah’s Messenger said: If somebody keeps a dog, he loses one Qirat (of the reward) of his good deeds everyday, except if he keeps it for the purpose of agriculture or for the protection of livestock. Narrated by Abu Huraira. Bukhari 4:54:541

48. Muhammad is a paedophile

A’isha reported: Allah’s Messenger married me when I was six years old, and I was admitted to his house when I was nine years old. Muslim 8:3310

49. Muhammad is a child abuser

The Prophet (sa) said: Command a boy to pray when he reaches the age of seven years. When he becomes ten years old, then beat him for prayer. Narrated by As-Saburah. Abu Dawud 2:494 and 2:495

50. Muhammad is a child killer

Narrated Atiyyah al-Qurazi: I was among the captives of Banu Qurayzah. They (the Companions) examined us, and those who had begun to grow hair (pubes) were killed, and those who had not were not killed. I was among those who had not grown hair. Muslim 38:4390

Narrated As-Sab bin Jaththama: The Prophet passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa or Waddan, and was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, “They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans).” Bukhari 4:52:256

51. Muhammad promotes slavery and okays flogging of slaves

The Prophet said: If a slave serves his master sincerely and worships his Lord (Allah) perfectly, he will get a double reward. Reported by Abdullah. Bukhari 3:46:726; also Bukhari 3:46:722, Bukhari 3:46:727

The Prophet said: None of you should flog his wife as he flogs a slave and then have sexual intercourse with her in the last part of the day. Narrated by ‘Abdullah bin Sam’a. Bukhari, 7:62:132; also Bukhari, 8:73:68

52. Muhammad is a slave trader

A man pledged that his slave would be manumitted after his death. The Prophet asked, “Who will buy the slave from me?” No’aim bin ‘Abdullah bought the slave and the Prophet took its price and gave it to the owner. Narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdullah. Bukhari 3:41:588

53. Muhammad calls debtors liars and promise-breakers

The Prophet said, “A person in debt tells lies whenever he speaks, and breaks promises whenever he makes (them).” Reported by Aisha. Bukhari 1:12:795

54. Muhammad condones violence during prayer

The Prophet said: If while you are praying, somebody intends to pass in front of you, prevent him; and should he insist, prevent him again; and if he insists again, fight with him (i.e. prevent him violently e.g. pushing him violently), because such a person is (like) a devil. Narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri. Bukhari 4:54:495

55. Muhammad makes contradictory comments

Two men came from the east and delivered speeches, and the Prophet (sa) said: Some eloquent speech has the influence of magic. Bukhari 7:62:76

The Prophet (sa) said: I have been given the keys of eloquent speech and given victory with terror. Bukhari 9:87:127

But elsewhere he allegedly condemns people who are gifted with this magic of eloquent speech:

The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: Allah the Exalted hates the eloquent one among men who moves his tongue round, as cattle do. Abu Dawood 5005

56. Muhammad is a briber

So the Quraish and the Ansar became angry and said, “He (i.e. the Prophet) gives the chief of Najd and does not give us.” The Prophet said, “I give them so as to attract their hearts (to Islam). Bukhari 4:55:558

57. Muhammad is Mary’s Husband

The Messenger said: In heaven, Mary mother of Jesus, will be one of my wives. al-Siyuti 6/395

The Messenger said: God married me in paradise to Mary the daughter of ‘Imran and to the wife of Pharaoh and the sister of Moses. Tabarani

58. Muhammad is a racist

Allah’s Messenger said, “You should listen to and obey, your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian slave whose head looks like a raisin.” Narrated by Anas bin Malik. Bukhari 9:89:256; also Bukhari 1:11:662 and 1:11:664

59. Muhammad is a white man

While we were sitting with the Prophet in the mosque, a man came riding on a camel. He made his camel kneel down in the mosque, tied its foreleg and then said: “Who amongst you is Muhammad?” At that time the Prophet was sitting amongst us leaning on his arm. We replied, “This white man reclining on his arm.” The man then addressed him, “O Son of ‘Abdul Muttalib.”… Narrated by Anas bin Malik. Bukhari 1:3:63

60. Muhammad is ungrateful

People used to come from their abodes and from Al-‘Awali (i.e. outskirts of Medina up to a distance of four miles or more from Medina). They used to pass through dust and used to be drenched with sweat and covered with dust; so sweat used to trickle from them. One of them came to Allah’s Messenger who was in my house. The Prophet said to him, “I wish that you keep yourself clean on this day of yours (i.e. take a bath).” Narrated by Aisha. Bukhari 2:13:25

61. Muhammad spits into drinks

Then Allah’s Messenger (sa) called for a cup of water and washed his hands in that and face too and put the saliva in it and then said: Drink out of it and pour it over your faces and over your chest and gladden yourselves. Muslim 44:236

62. Muhammad spits on child’s face and mouth

Narrated Mahmud bin Rabi`a: When I was a boy of five, I remember, the Prophet (sa) took water from a bucket with his mouth and threw it on my face. Bukhari 1:3:77

The first child born in the Islamic Land (i.e. Medina) amongst the Emigrants was `Abdullah bin Az-Zubair. They brought him to the Prophet. The Prophet (sa) took a date, and after chewing it, put its juice in his mouth. So the first thing that went into the child’s stomach, was the saliva of the Prophet. Narrated by Aisha. Bukhari 5:58:249; also Muslim 2148

63. Muhammad spits into wounds

Narrated Yazid bin Abi Ubaid: I saw the trace of a wound in Salama’s leg. I said to him, “O Abu Muslim! What is this wound?” He said, “This was inflicted on me on the day of Khaibar and the people said, ‘Salama has been wounded.’ Then I went to the Prophet (sa) and he puffed his saliva in it (i.e. the wound) thrice, and since then I have not had any pain in it till this hour.” Bukhari 5:59:517

64. Muhammad spits into eyes

They said: Allah’s Messenger, his (‘Ali’s) eyes are sore. He then sent for him and he was brought and Allah’s Messenger (sa) applied saliva to his eyes and invoked blessings and he was all right. Reported by Sahl b. Sa’d. Muslim 44:53

65. Muhammad spits on dead body

The Prophet (sa) came to (the grave of) `Abdullah bin Ubai after his body was buried. The body was brought out and then the Prophet (sa) put his saliva over the body and clothed it in his shirt. Narrated by Jabir. Bukhari 2:23:360

66. Muhammad is dwarf and fat

I saw AbuBarzah who came to visit Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad. Then a man named Muslim who was there in the company mentioned it to me. When Ubaydullah saw him, he said: This Muhammad of yours is a dwarf and fat. The old man (i.e. AbuBarzah) understood it. So he said: I did not think that I should remain among people who would make me feel ashamed of the company of Muhammad (sa). Thereupon Ubaydullah said: The company of Muhammad (sa) is a honour for you, not a disgrace. Narrated by AbuBarzah, attributed to AbdusSalam ibn AbuHazim AbuTalut. Abu Dawud 40:4731

The messenger made for a rock on the mountain to climb it. He had become heavy by reason of his age, and moreover he had put on two coats of mail, so when he tried to get up he could not do so. Talha b. ‘Ubaydullah squatted beneath him and lifted him up until he settled comfortably upon it. Ibn Ishaq

67. Muhammad is unclean and has lice in his head

Allah’s Messenger used to visit Um Haram bint Milhan, who would offer him meals. Um-Haram was the wife of Ubada bin As-Samit. Allah’s Messenger, once visited her and she provided him with food and started looking for lice in his head. Narrated by Anas bin Malik. Bukhari 4:52:47

68. Muhammad makes unscientific statements

The Prophet said: If a housefly falls in the drink of anyone of you, he should dip it (in the drink), for one of its wings has a disease and the other has the cure for the disease. Narrated by Abu Huraira. Bukhari 4:54:537

Allah’s Messenger said: The first portent of the Hour will be a fire that will bring together the people from the east to the west; the first meal of the people of Paradise will be Extra-lobe (caudate lobe) of fish-liver. As for the resemblance of the child to its parents: If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife and gets discharge first, the child will resemble the father, and if the woman gets discharge first, the child will resemble her. Narrated by Anas. Bukhari 4:55:546

The Prophet said: Fever is from the heat of the hellfire; so abate fever with water. Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar. Bukhari 4:54:486

Narrated Abu Dharr: I was sitting behind the Messenger of Allah who was riding a donkey while the sun was setting. He asked: Do you know where this sets? I replied: Allah and his Apostle know best. He said: It sets in a spring of warm water. Abu Dawud 4:32:3991

69. Muhammad fabricates the Quran

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: During the lifetime of the Prophet we used to avoid chatting leisurely and freely with our wives lest some Divine inspiration might be revealed concerning us. But when the Prophet had died, we started chatting leisurely and freely (with them). Bukhari 7:62:115

70. Muhammad discriminates between messengers

The Prophet said: I am the most honourable messenger; on the Day of Judgement only I will think of my people. Bukhari 97:36

A Muslim and a Jew quarreled. The Muslim taking an oath, said, “By Him Who has preferred Muhammad over all people…!” The Jew said, “By Him Who has preferred Moses, over all people.” The Muslim raised his hand and slapped the Jew who came to the Prophet to tell him what had happened between him and the Muslim. The Prophet said, “Don’t give me superiority over Moses, for the people will become unconscious (on the Day of Resurrection) and I will be the first to gain consciousness to see Moses standing and holding a side of Allah’s Throne. I will not know if he has been among those people who have become unconscious; and that he has gained consciousness before me, or he has been amongst those whom Allah has exempted.” Narrated by Abu Huraira. Bukhari 4:55:620

 

Muhammad the true messenger

The Muhammad of the Quran

Muhammad is better represented by the Quran, an authenticated diary, rather than by the unreliable rumours of hadiths and sira.

True Muhammad versus false Muhammad (part-1)

Here are some of our observations about the true, real, historical Muhammad according to the Quran and the false, imaginary, mythical Muhammad according to the Hadith and sira.

True Muhammad versus false Muhammad (part-2)

Here we continue our observations about the true, real, historical Muhammad according to the Quran and the false, imaginary, mythical Muhammad according to the Hadith and sira.

Can Muhammad of hadiths be a prophet of God?

An online discussion on the issue whether Muhammad of hadiths can be a prophet of God.

Miraj from the Book of Viraz?

The story of the Night Journey is un-Quranic in origin and anti-Quranic as concept. It has its possible roots in the Book of Viraz. Also, various other sources have been suggested …

Was Muhammad an epileptic?

There are circumstantial reports that when Muhammad experienced his ‘trances’, his body underwent certain physical signs of stress that are similar to signs of seizure.

Muhammad cartoons controversy: what does the Quran say?

The Quran instructs its followers to deal with mockers and rude people in a most peaceful manner, with patience, tolerance and restraint.

The Muhammad of the Quran

The Muhammad of the Quran

 

Muhammad is better represented by the Quran – an existentialist document and an authenticated, contemporary diary that instantaneously records Muhammad’s ongoing experience during his prophetic mission to the Arabs and the world – rather than by legends, rumours and anecdotes of contradictory hadiths and sira, written centuries after his time on the basis of long chains of unreliable oral transmissions, distorted by amnesia, confabulations and conjectures, often with dubious motives and intentions.

Below we will go through some of our understandings about the true, real, historical Muhammad of the Quran in an attempt to differentiate him from the false, imaginary, mythical Muhammad of Hadith and sira.

 

The messenger was simply a human

According to the Quran,  Muhammad1 was simply a human (3:144, 6:50, 7:188, 17:93, 18:109-110, 38:65, 41:6, 46:9), while he was a messenger and the Seal of the prophets2 (33:40), who, as traditionally understood, brought to the humanity the final testament. Thus he is reputedly the last prophet (nabi), though NOTnecessarily the last messenger (rasool) (33:40,10:47-48; cf. 3:81, 7:35, 33:7, 33:40, 40:28-44, 72:7)!

Though some interpreters find the terms ‘nabi’ and ‘rasool’ in the Quran as essentially interchangeable, others notice some difference between the two. According to the latter, ‘nabi’ (prophet) is a more specific term to mean a divine informer and spiritual leader who brings an updated law/ scripture (21:73; cf. 2:113, 3:79, 3:81, 6:89, 29:27, 45:16, 57:26). In contrast, ‘rasool’ (messenger) is a more general term to vaguely describe any person who conveys a divine message or confirms an existing scripture (3:81, 2:101, 23:51, 36:14). Moreover, the word ‘rasool’ is also used in the Quran to denote the Quran as a messenger itself (65:10-11), as well as to denote the message-bearing Forces (7:37, 22:75, 35:1), couriers among invisibles (6:130) and even royal ambassadors and envoys4 (12:50, 27:35). Thus, to them, all nabis are rasools but not all rasools are nabis.

It is important to observe that the Quran nowhere deals with Muhammad the person, but deals only with Muhammad the messenger, whom it clearly separates from his person, e.g.: It is not you (the person) whom they are rejecting, but it is God’s messages (the messenger) that the transgressors deny/ And rejected were the messengers before you. 6:33-34. Thus it never refers to his food habit, beard or turban or similar other daily matters related to his human person – which is a product of socio-economics, culture and traditions of a particular place and time – but only refers to those specific events and issues that are related to his mission as a monotheist messenger.

That is why the Quran never addresses Muhammad by his personal name, but rather addresses him in the second person by several designations – all related to his role as a ‘messenger’, e.g. messenger (5:41, 5:67), prophet (8:64, 9:73, 33:1), servant (2:23, 17:1), caller (46:31, 3:193), announcer (2:119, 7:188), bearer of glad tidings (17:105, 25:56), warner (2:119, 7:188, 34:46, 38:65), reminder (88:21), witness (2:143, 22:78) and ‘a light-giving lamp’ (33:46). Sometimes it calls him by adjectives related to his state of mind at a given time, e.g. ‘the enwrapped’ (73:1) and ‘the enfolded’ (74:1). Also, four times it refers to him in a third person with the name/designation Muhammad (‘Praised’; 3:144; 33:40; 47:2; 48:29) and once with the name/designation – ‘prophesied’ by Jesus – Ahmad (‘Praised’, 61:6; this praise has only a relative meaning, since, in absolute sense, ‘All praise is due to God alone. 1:2).

His sole duty was to deliver the message

According to the Quran, the sole duty of Muhammad the messenger was to deliver to the humanity the divine message, the Quran (5:92, 5:99, 13:40, 16:35, 16:82, 24:54, 29:18, 42:48, 64:12). However, he is not commanded, expected or specifically authorised to explain the Quran (75:16-21, 25:33). He has brought no other book (68:35-38) because he has no other message apart from the Quran (10:15).

He was not authorised to act as a divine lawmaker

According to the Quran, as Muhammad was not authorised to share in divinity or in divine judgement (6:114, 10:35-36, 12:40, 18:26, 28:88, 30:30, 30:43, 98:5), he was not allowed to deliver any of his own teachings in God’s name or to claim any of his personal sayings to be inspired by God (69:43-46, 17:73-75).

Thus – as he was not a divine co-legislator – he was not authorised to issue on his own any divine law or to make anything religiously legal or illegal, or to prohibit anything which is not prohibited in the Quran (66:1).

He was an active reformer with sound mind and high moral standard

The Quran confirms that Muhammad was a person of sound mind and a high moral standard that deserved an unfailing reward (68:2-4).

It depicts him as a literate and probably well-educated gentile (2:44; 2:78; 3:20; 3:75; 7:157; 25:5; 29:48; 44:14; 62:2; 68.1-10; 69:44-45; 96:1-5), who from a poor orphan prospered to a successful wealthy man (93:6-8).

While referring to many of his life events related to his mission as a prophet and an active reformer – like revelation, preaching, suffering, emigration, battles (Badr 3:121-123, 8:9-10, 8:42; Uhud 3:143-144, 3:152; Ahzab 33:10; Khaybar 48:15; Hunayn 9:25; Tabuk 9:81) and victory5 (110:1) – it praises his patience over his frustration at the indifference and hostility wherewith his social environment reacted to his Truth (18:6, 16:127, 70:5), and praises his kindness and good leadership qualities (3:121, 3:159; 9:40, 21:107) and his bravery and constant remembrance of God during the war (33:21).

While citing examples of the Prophet’s upright attitude and actions of high moral standard, the Quran powerfully and descriptively captures his courtesy, generosity and soft-heartedness (3:159, 6:54, 21:107, 9:128, 10:65, 27:70, 5:41, 28:56). Thus we learn from the Quran that he was sincere about his own human shortfalls (3:144, 6:50, 7:188, 10:49, 17:90-93, 29:50, 34:50, 46:9). That he was continuously seeking divine guidance (10:35-36, 17:57). That he presented his past life as proof of his claim of honesty (10:16, 40:66, 42:52). That he was so decent and gentle in manner that he hesitated asking over-staying guests to leave his house (33:53). That he disliked violence (2:216). And that, while he was too worried about the lost humanity (18:6, 6:104, 6:107, 10:99, 33:48, 73:10, 88:21-22), his grief over people was so intense that at times it even weighted heavy on his own health (18:6).

However, though the Quran thus persistently appreciates and inspires him (36:4, 68:4, 93:4, 108:1), it also criticizes and reprimands him on several occasions for errors he commits (8:67-68, 9:43, 9:113-114, 33:37, 66:1, 80:1-11; cf. 18:23-24, 6:34-35, 16:37,  28:56, 17:73-75).

It warns his followers to avoid his errors (3:18; 3:159; 60:4. 42:21) and – because obeying the messenger is limited to obeying his message (60:12) – it allows them in other matters to respectfully disagree with his personal opinions, considering him as a mere mortal like them (3:79, 33:37, 33:53, 60:12).

Despite the natural fallibility and limitations as a human, Muhammad attained such a spiritual awareness, which qualified him to receive the final testament, that the Quran designates his mission as ‘a Light-giving beacon’ (33:46) and ‘a mercy for the worlds’ (9:61, 21:107, 28:46; which refers to his message rather than person, 7:203, 12:104, 25:1). With outstanding qualities of head and heart, his life was and remains a great example of righteousness and an inspiration for all (33:21, 68:4-6).

He was a ‘good example’ in some aspects, similar to ‘good examples’ like Abraham and other true monotheists

The Quran describes Muhammad as a ‘good example’ (‘oswatun hasana’) for God-conscious people in his courage and God-mindedness during the war (33:21) – in the same way as it describes Abraham and his monotheist followers as ‘good examples’ (‘oswatun hasana’) for God-conscious people (60:4-6).

Here it is important to remember that the Quran constantly defines Islam as ‘the way of Abraham’ (‘Millat Ibraheem’; 2:120, 2:130, 2:135, 3:95, 4:125, 6:161, 12:37, 12:38, 16:123, 22:78) rather than ‘the way of Muhammad’. Thus Muhammad was neither an introducer of Islam, nor an innovator (46:9, 3:144, 38:65, 47:19), as he was asked throughout to strictly follow Abraham as a role model of Islam (6:159-164, 4:125, 22:78).

He was not superior to other messengers

The Quran rejects the false doctrine that Muhammad is superior to, or the leader of, all other prophets (2:136, 2:285, 3:84, 3:144, 4:152, 46:9). In fact, like other messengers, he was also only kindly chosen by God for revelation (16:2-3), a mercy which He could have withdrawn from him any time if so willed (17:86).

Though some messengers may excel others in one respect or other – e.g. in qualities and skills (2:253; cf. ‘We did bestow on some prophets more gifts than on others: for example, We gave to David the Psalms. 17:55’) so that they can suit their specific time and place – one should acknowledge all messengers as equal, without distinguishing between them (2:136, 2:285, 4:152, 33:40).

This is because any special reverence for one particular messenger naturally results in neglect or indifference to another or all other messengers. This puts the messengers in unfair competition that fosters supremacy complex and intolerance, and eventually produces unnecessary judgment, fancy lies and idols. This is potentially dangerous and divisive and, therefore, against the Unitarian concept of Islam.

As the Quran thus never designates Muhammad in superlative terms and never puts him in comparison or competition with others, it never describes him as the best prophet or the best human on Earth.

He had mystic experiences but no supernatural power

Though the Quran contains references to some of Muhammad’s mystic experiences as a prophet, apparently related to his entranced absorption while he was receiving ‘revelation’ (17:1, 17:60, 53:4-18; cf. 2:23, 4:163-165, 7:203-204, 36:69-70, 42:7, 73:5), the Muhammad of the Quran has no special or supernatural power and never claims any miracle apart from the Quran (6:35-37, 6:109, 7:188-198, 10:49, 13:7, 13:27, 17:90-93, 20:133, 29:50-51).

While insisting that his real and only miracle is the everliving miracle of the Quran itself, as this is only what really counts (29:50-51), the Quran highlights the futility of various instant miracles as proofs of revelation, because – not only that a temporary, physical miracle, though may serve only as a proof for those who witness it, means little to others – previous messengers were rejected by people despite those alleged miracles (17:59).

He had no knowledge of the future or the ‘unseen’ and has no power to mediate or intercede

The Quran asserts that Muhammad – apart from what is revealed through the Quran – had no foreknowledge of the future and had no knowledge of the ‘Unseen’ (3:44, 6:50, 7:188, 10:20, 11:49, 12:102, 27:65, 30:2, 46:9, 72:27, 79:42-44, 81:24).

Also, he serves neither as an extra guide apart from the Quran (10:35-36) nor as a spiritual link that makes his devotee any closer to God (3:79-80, 3:144, 6:50, 17:57, 39:3, 40:12, 46:9, 46:28, 72:21-23, 79:42-44).

Contrary to the traditional belief, the true Muhammad is powerless like any other created being (7:188, 10:49) and lacks any knowledge about even his own fate or fate of others in God’s ultimate judgement (46:9).

Moreover, in contrast to the popular belief, he is not authorised to intercede on the Judgement Day, when there will be no mediator or intercessor whatsoever (2:48, 2:254, 6:51, 5:109, 6:94, 6:164; 7:53, 7:188, 10:49, 39:43-45, 63:6, 66:10). So, those who believe that Muhammad would save them would be eventually rejected by their idol itself (5:109, 2:48).

Ironically, a Quranic allegory states that if there were any intercession by the messenger at all, it would only be a negative one, in the form of testimony to the truth: he would condemn his people for deserting the Quran, not for deserting his ‘sunna’ (25:30). 

He was not infallible and was not above criticism

According to the Quran, Muhammad was not infallible, because – freedom from faults being an exclusive prerogative of God – every human being is bound to err at times (48:2, 93:7, 42:52, 35:45, 42:5, 47:19, 7:180, 17:57).

As Muhammad’s pre-prophetic mind-set was exposed to polytheism due to a pagan setting (40:66) – when he possibly followed some of the pre-Islamic traditions of his people (4:79; 9:117; 33:37; 40:66; 42:52; 66:1; 80:1-10; 93:7) – his lifestyle and manners during that period were, understandably, far from being exemplary (93:7, 42:52).

Then, even as a prophet, because he is still a human, he is not immune to faults, and, like any human, his personal words and deeds – related to his own life-style, individual opinions, local culture, traditions, customs, habits etc as a mortal, living in a particular time and place – are also subject to possible errors (3:79, 33:37, 34:50).

In other words, his personal actions and opinions were not to be imitated because he also committed mistakes as he was only a human and hence susceptible to human weaknesses.

Please note that there are quite a few instances where the Quran criticizes and reprimands the Prophet for mistakes he committed (8:67-68, 9:43, 9:113-114, 33:37, 66:1, 80:1-11; cf. 18:23-24, 6:34-35, 16:37, 28:56, 17:73-75).

Thus, as a naturally fallible human, the Muhammad of the Quran also must consult people around him in daily issues to reach a better decision (3:159, 5:12, 27:32, 39:18, 42:38, 58:11), must consider himself fully responsible, like everyone else, for following the divine judgment (3:161, 5:48-50, 12:98), and must always seek God’s forgiveness for his own human shortfalls (47:19, 110:3).

This persistent emphasis in the Quran on Muhammad’s humanness (6:48, 7:188-198, 10:49, 21:3, 25:7, 38:65) is in tune with the important Quranic concept3 that no created being has or could have any share, however small, in any of the Creator’s qualities or powers.

Therefore, the Quran constantly warns about idolizing Muhammad by his followers (6:19, 6:70, 6:94; cf. 2:48,123,254; 2:149-150; 2:285; 4:79; 7:53; 9:117; 10:3; 17:73-74; 33:37; 38:65; 39:44; 40:66; 41:6; 43:86; 66:1; 74:48; 80:1-10; 93:7; cf. 6:22-24, cf.12:103, 43:36-37, 45:6-11, 18:103-104).

SUMMARY

Above we have gone through some of our understandings about the true, real, historical Muhammad of the Quran, in an attempt to differentiate him from the false, imaginary, mythical Muhammad of Hadith and sira.

Here is a summary:

♦ The messenger was simply a human.

♦ His sole duty was to deliver the message.

♦ He was not authorised to act as a divine lawmaker.

♦ He was an active reformer with sound mind and high moral standard.

♦ He was a ‘good example’ in some aspects, similar to ‘good examples’ like  Abraham and other true monotheists.

♦ He was not superior to other messengers.

♦ He had mystic experiences but no supernatural power.

♦ He had no knowledge of the future or the ‘unseen’ and has no power to mediate or intercede.

♦ He was not infallible and was not above criticism.

Related articles:

True Muhammad versus false Muhammad (part-1)

True Muhammad versus false Muhammad (part-2)

***********************************

Note 1

The word ‘muhammad’ occurs four times in the Quran (3:144; 33:40; 47:2; 48:29; ‘muhammadur rasululah’ appears in 48:29), while the word ‘ahmad’ occurs once (61:6). There are people who feel that the word ‘muhammad’ in the Quran doesn’t refer to the name of a person but refers to an attribute, i.e. praiseworthiness. And, in their opinion, this is because what we actually get in the Quran are the adjectives ‘muhammadun’, ‘muhammadeen’ and ‘ahmadu’, but not the proper noun ‘muhammad’. Here are some of their arguments: http://biblicalmullahs.blogspot.ae/2015/10/chapter-13-muhammad-not-mentioned-in.html?m=1 . Taking this further, while suspecting that much of the Islamic traditions on Muhammad were in fact oral and unrelable, a few Muslims in recent years have questioned even the existence of Muhammad. So there’s a hypothesis doing the rounds that Muhammad is only a character invented by hadith literature and that outside it there is no evidence of him being a real, historical person. To debunk this claim and to respond to the question about the existence of historical Muhammad, independent of the Quran and Islamic traditions, one may find the following link useful: “Dated Texts Mentioning Prophet Muḥammad From 1-100 AH / 622-719 CE” http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/earlysaw.html

In our opinion, the word ‘muhammad’ in the Quran refers to a real person, a human messenger, whose ongoing experience is recorded in the Quran during his prophetic mission to the Arabs and the world (cf. Muhammad is but a messenger, like many messengers that have passed before him. If he dies or gets killed, will you turn back on your heels? 3:144). Now, though we may not be sure whether the word ‘muhammad’ (or even ‘ahmad’, which has a similar meaning) was originally used by the Quran and the people around this real person as his proper name, or whether it was used as a title to highlight his status or as an attribute to denote his widely appreciated moral character, the word apparently referred to the real, historical person, whom we know as Muhammad. Likewise, the verse 61:6 (“whose name will be Ahmad/ ‘even more praised’)” doesn’t necessarily imply a proper name, though, once again, it refers to an actual person. Please note that, translated here as name, the word ‘ism’ in Arabic may also refer to attribute.

Note 2

The Quran calls Muhammad ‘the Seal of the prophets’ (‘khatama annabiyeen’, 33:40). To some people, this means not ‘the final prophet’ but ‘a witness over previous prophets’, i.e., someone who, like a seal, authenticates the previous prophets. In support of their view, sometimes they refer to the recently found original copy of the Aramaic version of the Quran (a copy of the hafsa codex dated to 40 years after the Prophet’s death), which allegedly suggested a similar meaning. However, as a seal (khatam) marks the end of a document – and as the term khatam is also synonymous with khitam (the “end” or “conclusion” of a thing) – for now, we are comfortable with the traditional understanding of ‘khatama annabiyeen’ (‘the Seal of the prophets’) in 33:40 as ‘the last of the prophets’, which apparently refers to Muhammad as the one who brought to the humanity the final testament. Note: the root ‘khtm’ occurs 8 times in the Quran, in 4 derived forms: makhtum (83:25, ‘sealed’); khatam (33:40, ‘the Seal’), khitam (83:26, ‘end’, ‘conclusion’, ‘seal’) and khatama (2:7, 6:46, 36:65, 42:24, 45:23, ‘to set a seal’).

Note 3

There can be a last prophet but not last messenger. This is because, in line with God’s unceasing creative activity, message-bearing (messengership) is an unending, ongoing process which is being carried out by messengers from humans as well as from natural agents (7:37, 22:72-76, 35:1). Thus, messengership is not only universal (21:25, 16:2, 16:36, 19:58, 35:24, 98:5) but is also continuous. To various extents we all are messengers.

Note 4

Here is an example how the word ‘rasool’ is used in Arabic. Indian Prime Minister Nehru was accorded with a warm welcome on his visit to Saudi Arabia in 1956 when a large gathering of hundreds of Arabs shouted: “Marhaba Nehru Rasool Al Salam” (Welcome Nehru, O messenger of Peace).

Note 5

Is Mecca, the reputed hometown of Muhammad, the same place as Bacca, the said sanctuary of Abraham? Joseph Islam writes: “It is asserted by the majority of Muslims that both Bakkah and Makkah are a reference to the same place. This argument is difficult to accept as there is no proof that this is the case from a Quranic scrutiny. … It is important to note that the mention of ‘Bakkah’ as the original sanctuary is being confirmed during a dialogue with the People of the Book who would have had recourse to their own scriptures.” His following article contains some food for thought: Abraham’s original sanctuary – at Makkah or Bakkah?; see also: Is Makkah the original location for the masjid al-haram?

Can Muhammad of hadiths be a prophet of God?

Can Muhammad of hadiths be a prophet of God

 

Asitava Bhowmik:

Here are 10 reasons why Mohammed is NOT a prophet of God:

♦ It is impossible that a man in his mid-50’s could engage in sexual intercourse with a nine-year-old child, and be a prophet of God.

♦ It is impossible that a man could finance his religious and political community by robbing the trade caravans that passed through his area on their annual trips between Arabia and Syria, and be a prophet of God.

♦ It is impossible that a man could encourage his adopted son to divorce his wife so that he, the father, could marry her, and be a prophet of God.

♦ It is impossible that a man could lie to his wife to get her out of the house so that he could sleep with the slave girl he had given her as a gift, and be a prophet of God.

♦ It is impossible that a man could behead 800 Jewish men who had lived in his city for centuries for the simple reason they refused to accept him as their leader, and be a prophet of God.

♦ It is impossible that a man could trade the Jewish wives and daughters of the men he had just beheaded for weapons and horses, and be a prophet of God.

♦ It is impossible that a man could be so fearful of criticism that he would send a man at night to kill the mother of a nursing child because of the poems she had written against him, and be a prophet of God.

♦ It is impossible that a man could sentence a woman to death by having her limbs attached to camels that moved in opposite direction pulling her apart, then behead her and parade her severed head through Medina, and be a prophet of God.

♦ It is impossible that a man could torture a young Jewish tribal leader to death to obtain his money, and then “marry” his 17-year old widow the same night, and be a prophet of God.

♦ It is impossible that a man could allow his followers to have sex with their female slaves as well as their prisoners of war, whether or not they were married, and be a prophet of God

Siraj Islam:

Well, all these info are based on contradictory and unreliable sira and hadith hearsays. True Mohammad is depicted in the Quran, not in the hadiths. A study of the Quran with careful consideration of the context DOES PROVE that Mohammad was indeed a prophet of God.

Asitava Bhowmik:

So now you are rejecting Hadith?

Siraj Islam:

Dear Asitava, yes, the Quran itself rejects all hadiths as a reference for Islam. In fact, wherever the word ‘hadith’ appears in the Quran to denote anything besides the Quran – in all the 20 instances – it is always used in a negative sense and in a tone of strong disapproval (4:42, 4:78, 4:87, 4:140, 6:68, 7:185, 12:111, 18:6, 23:44, 31:6, 33:53, 34:19, 39:23, 45:6, 52:34, 53:59, 56:81, 66:3, 68:44, 77:50). Here are a few examples:

And whose HADITH is more truthful than God’s? 4:87

Then in which HADITH after this will they believe? 7:185

This is not a fabricated HADITH, but a confirmation of what is before it, and a detailed explanation of everything, and a guide and a mercy to a people acknowledging. 12:111

And among the people there are those who purchase baseless HADITHS to divert from the way of God without knowledge, making mockery of it. 31:6

God has been sending down the best HADITH, a Book, fully consistent. 39:23

These are God’s messages that We recite unto thee in truth. So, in which HADITH after God and His messages will they believe? 45:6

Then in which HADITH after this will they believe? 77:50

Please note that, I repeat, Muhammad is better represented by the Quran – an existentialist document and an authenticated, contemporary diary that instantaneously records Muhammad’s ongoing experience during his prophetic mission to the Arabs and the world – rather than by legends, rumours and anecdotes of contradictory hadiths and sira, written several hundred years after him on the basis of long chains of unreliable oral transmissions, distorted by amnesia, confabulations and conjectures, often with dubious motives and intentions.

Asitava Bhowmik:

I can prove from Quran also that many ayats came to satisfy Muhammads self interest. Also let us see the ayats of violence in Quran (from Muhammad): Quran 2:191-193, 2:216, 3:56, 3:151, 4:89, 5:33, 8:12, 8:39, 8:57, 9:5, 9:14, 9:29, 9:30, 9:73, 9:111, 9:123, 17:16, 25:52, 47:3-4, 48:17, 48:29, 61:4, 66:9

Siraj Islam:

Yes, some of the ayats may appear to satisfy Muhammad’s self-interest and some ayats definitely allow violence (though only for self-defence). But they can be only understood if they are read carefully and within the full context, as the Quran instructs us:

High above all is then God, the Sovereign, the Ultimate Truth! And, therefore, hasten not with the Quran before it has been revealed unto thee in full, but say, ‘O my Sustainer, increase me in knowledge.’ 20:114

As to the verses on violence, e.g., Karen Armstrong observes: “In the Koran, therefore, the only permissible war is one of self-defense. Muslims may not begin hostilities (2:190). Warfare is always evil, but sometimes you have to fight in order to avoid the kind of persecution that Mecca inflicted on the Muslims (2:191; 2:217) or to preserve decent values (4:75; 22: 40). … Hostilities must be brought to an end as quickly as possible and must cease the minute the enemy sues for peace (2:192-3)”.

Her ‘Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time’ and W. M. Watt’s ‘Muhammad at Medina’ and ‘Muhammad Prophet and Statesman’ are some of the books that contain balanced discussions on the issues you have raised.

Anyway, many thanks for your thoughtful arguments and kind response.

Online discussion between Asitava Bhowmik and Siraj Islam on 24.05.2013

 

Miraj from the Book of Viraz?

Miraj from the Book of Viraz

 

Striking similarity between the story of Viraz and the story of Miraj

The story of Viraz

The Book of Arda Viraz (Arda Viraz-namag) is a Zoroastrian religious text of Sassanid era. It was originally written in Middle Persian language probably during the reign of King Ardashir I (226-240 AD).

It describes the extra-terrestrial dream-journey of a Zoroastrian priest Arda Viraz through the next world.

The book is divided into five sections: Introduction, Journey to Heaven, Paradise, Hell, and an Epilogue. Its text is comparable to Dante’s Divine Comedy and the Book of Revelation (the New Testament) in relaying the nature of a supernatural world beyond humanity’s perception.

Arda Viraz (the ‘righteous hero’) is the hero of the story. He is chosen for his piety to undertake a journey to the next world in order to verify the truth of Zoroastrian religion, after a period when the land of Iran had been troubled by the presence of confused and alien religions.

Viraz drinks wine and the hallucinogen ‘mang’, after which his soul – accompanied by an archangel Bahman – travels to the next world where he is greeted by Den, a beautiful woman, who represents his faith and virtue …

Crossing the chinvat-bridge (the sirat), he is then conducted by ‘Srosh, the pious and Adar, the angel’ through the star track, moon track and sun track – places outside of heaven reserved for the virtuous who have nevertheless failed to conform to Zoroastrian rules …

Then Viraz finally reaches his god Ahura Mazda, finding him sitting on the throne in the 7th sky. Ahura Mazda shows him the paradise and its dwellers, the souls of the blessed (ahlav). Each person is described living an idealized version of the life he or she lived on earth, as a warrior, agriculturalist, shepherd or other profession. With his guides he then descends into hell to be shown the sufferings of the wicked …

Having completed his visionary journey, Viraz is told by Ahura Mazda that the Zoroastrian faith and rituals are the only true way of life and that they should be preserved in both prosperity and adversity. And that people must mandatorily pray five times a day.

Here is a quote from the Book of Arda Viraz: “Then I saw the souls of those whom serpents sting and ever devour their tongues. And I asked thus: ‘What sin was committed by those, whose soul suffers so severe a punishment?’ Srosh the pious, and Adar the angel, said, thus: ‘These are the souls of those liars and irreverent (or ‘untruthful’) speakers who, in the world, spoke much falsehood and lies and profanity.” (Section 4, Hell)

The story of Miraj

The whole event of Muhammad’s heavenly night journey is mentioned in great detail in two very long hadiths (narrated by Malik bin Sasaa in Sahih al-Bukhari, volume 4, Book 54, Hadith number 429 and by Anas b. Malik in Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 309).

Here is a brief account of the story:

The journey begins at a time when Muhammad was in the Masjid al-Haram, when the archangel Gabriel came to him, and brought Buraq, the traditional heavenly steed of the prophets. Buraq carries Muhammad to the Masjid Al Aqsa, the ‘Farthest Mosque’, in Jerusalem. Muhammad alights, tethers Buraq to the Temple Mount and leads a prayer with all the prophets, where on God’s command he is tested by Gabriel.

It was reported by Anas b. Malik that Muhammad said: “Gabriel brought me a vessel of wine and a vessel of milk, and I chose the milk (note that Viraz started his ascension, in contrast, after drinking wine). Gabriel said: ‘You have chosen the Fitrah (natural instinct)’.” This part of the journey of Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem is called the Isra.

In the second part of the journey, the Miraj (an Arabic word that means “ladder”), Buraq takes him to the heavens, where he tours with Gabriel; at each of the seven levels of heaven, he meets and speaks with the earlier prophets such as Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist and Jesus. Then, as Muhammad visits the paradise and hell, he is taken to Bait-al-Ma’mur (God’s House) and then to Sidrat al-Muntaha – a holy tree in the seventh heaven that even Gabriel is not allowed to pass.

Thereafter Muhammad alone continues his journey to meet God and finds Him sitting on a throne, who instructs him that Muslims must pray 50 times a day. However, on Muhammad’s way back to Earth, Moses urges him to ask God for a discount considering it as a too much of a burden for the people; Muhammad goes between Moses and God 9 times, until it is reduced eventually to 5 times a day.

The Sunnis and other groups belonging to mainstream Islam believe that Muhammad’s night ascent – the Isra and Miraj – was physical yet spiritual, though many sects and offshoots belonging to Islamic mysticism interpret it to be an out-of-body experience through nonphysical environments.

“If you study the longest story told in Bukhari, there you will find Muhammed ascending and descending numerous times between the sixth and seventh heavens, between Moses and God, trying to get as much of a discount possible, in the number of prayers. This bargain between God and Muhammed, which was supervised by Moses, is reminded to the public at least once a year during the celebration of the “Night of Miraj.” The message given to the audience is simple and polytheistic: “If it were not for Muhammed’s bargain on your behalf, you would end up praying 50 times a day (one session every 28 minutes, day and night); and you would suffer greatly.” Whether this story was originally made up by a Jew to insult the intelligence of Muhammed and exalt Moses, it is adopted by gullible Muhammedans to praise the mercy of their prophet (more merciful than God!), and to justify their belief in his power of intercession and negotiation with God on their behalf. The reporters and collectors of this story, including Bukhari, were the archenemies of prophet Muhammed and his monotheistic message. See 2:285; 3:159; 6:112; 68:42.” (20:41, Quran: A Reformist Translation)

The story of Miraj is un-Quranic and anti-Quranic

Some scholars unsuccessfully try to find support for the traditional understanding of Miraj in the following verses of chapter 17:

Glory be to the One who took His servant by night from the Restricted Temple to the Farthest Temple which We had blessed around, so that We may show him of Our signs. 17:1

And when We said to you: “Behold, your Sustainer encompasses all mankind.” And We did not make the vision that We showed you except as a test for the people, and the tree that was accursed in the Quran (‘the tree of zaqqum or Bitterness’, 37:62-65, 44:43, 56:52; cf. prophetic vision about ‘the tree of Unity’, 48:26-29). And We alert them, but it only increases their transgression. 17:60

But that the above references have nothing to do with the story of Miraj is confirmed by the ongoing context in the same chapter 17, which describes these references as parables (mathal), while dismissing any demand for ‘climbing to heaven’ or ‘performing miracles’ as irrelevant for Muhammad, a human messenger:

And We have detailed for mankind in this Quran all kinds of PARABLES, yet most people refuse (the inner truths), except the covering (the literal reading)!

And they say: We will never believe you unless you make a spring gush forth for us from the earth …

Or unless you have a house of gold, or unless you climb up into the heaven; and (even if you do climb) we will not believe your climbing unless you send down for us a book that we can read. Say: Glory be to my Sustainer. Am I anything other than a human messenger? 17:89-90, 93

Also attempts have been made to connect 17:1 and 17:60 with the following vague reference to the vision of ‘angel of revelation’, though the connection once again is uncertain and difficult to prove:

And indeed, he saw him in another descent,/ At the ultimate boundary,/ Near it is the garden of promise,/ The whole place was overwhelmed,/ The sight did not swerve, nor go blind./ He certainly saw from the great signs of his Sustainer. 53:13-18

No doubt, any unbiased reader, not influenced by tradition, will find these references as imprecise and metaphorical, probably illustrating some intense, transcendental experience of the Prophet. These may allude to various things – from his entranced absorption while he was receiving revelation (17:60, 53:1-18) to a deeper, spiritual meaning of his immigration journey from Mecca to Medina (17:1, while this verse may even refer to Moses and his ‘isra’, i.e. traveling in the dark towards light, 17:1-5). The ‘Farthest Temple’ cannot be the Dome of the Rock or the Masjid Al Aqsa of Jerusalem, since this was built during the time of Omar. Also see http://quransmessage.com/lailatulmiraj.htm

One thing is certain: Miraj cannot be physical

Miraj cannot be physical due to a very simple but serious reason:

A physical Miraj confines God in space-time. As a concept thus blasphemous and overtly idolatrous, it seriously violates the teaching of the Quran.

So the story of the Night Journey is un-Quranic in origin and anti-Quranic in content. It has its possible roots in the Book of Viraz. Also, various other sources have been suggested alongside this, including the Christian tradition regarding the radiant transfiguration of Jesus in a high mountain prior to his meeting with ancient prophets (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36) and the Jewish traditions regarding the Ascent of Isaiah (Isaiah, 7-11) and the Ascent of Moses to the Seven Heavens and visiting Paradise and Hell  (see Midrash Gedullat Mosheh).

Muhammad cartoons controversy: What does the Quran say?

Muhammad cartoons controversy


Tapan Chakraborty: When Muslims respond to Muhammad cartoons with anger and violence, aren’t they doing it according to the instructions of the Quran?

Siraj Islam: Thanks Tapan. No, I do not think Muslims who are responding to Muhammad cartoons with anger and violence, are doing it in accordance with the instructions of the Quran.

In fact, the Quran instructs its followers to deal with mockers and rude people in a most peaceful manner, with patience, tolerance and restraint:

The true servants of the Beneficent are those who walk upon the Earth humbly, and when the ignorant ones address them, they say: “Peace!” 25:63

And those who do not bear false witness, and if they pass by vain talk they pass by with dignity. 25:72

When you hear God’s messages being rejected and ridiculed in, then do not sit with them until they move on to a different topic. 4:140

And when you see those who engage in mocking Our messages, then turn away from them until they move on to a different topic. 6:68

You shall most certainly be tried in your possessions and your selves, and you shall hear from those who were given the Book before you and from the polytheists much hurt; but if you are patient and aware, then this indeed will be a matter of great determination. 3:186  

And incline not to the rejecters and the hypocrites, and do not mind their hurtful talk, and place your trust in God; for God suffices as an advocate. 33:48

Thus Muslims are not allowed to punish people for their insults and mockery of Islam (e.g. for drawing a CARTOON about the Prophet). Rather they are asked to ‘counter evil with good’ and to ‘leave these people alone to be dealt with by God alone:

Hold to forgiveness, and enjoin kindness; and leave alone those who choose to remain ignorant. 7:199

And endure with patience whatever they say, and depart from them with a decent departure.

And leave Me alone to deal with those who give the lie to the truth, while they enjoy the blessings of life. And bear with them for a little while. 73:10-11

But not equal are the good and the bad response. You shall resort to the one which is better. Thus, the one who used to be your enemy may become your best friend. 41:34

To these We grant twice the reward for that they have been patient. And they counter evil with good, and from Our provisions to them, they give.

And if they come across vain talk, they disregard it and say: “To us are our deeds, and to you, your deeds. Peace be upon you. We do not seek to behave like the ignorant ones.” 28:54-55

So people who react with impatience or violence against those who insult Islam are actually behaving like ‘ignorant ones’ (28:55) and not following the real teaching of Islam. This is because any intolerant behavior against these people is against divine law (2:8-12, 2:204-206) that acknowledges freedom of choice, opinion and expression.

It is important to observe here that the Quran directly condemns this sort of intolerant behaviour as behaviour of ‘IGNORANT ONES’.

Well, regarding recurrent apostasy, persistent rejection of the Truth and insult on ‘God and His messenger’, the Quran highlights only their moral consequences (3:85-90, 4:137, 33:57; cf. 7:180). But – since there is no compulsion in religion (2:256) – the Quran NEVER and NOWHERE prescribes any worldly punishment for apostasy or rejection or insult, while confirming that there is always room for repentance (3:89).

Please bear in mind that, time and time again, the Quran denounces imposition of faith and promotes tolerance and freedom of opinion, creed and expression of thought:

See: 2:38, 2:62, 2:111-112, 2:113-115, 2:135-136, 2:138-2:141, 2:142-143, 2:148, 2:213, 2:253, 2:256, 2:285, 3:19, 3:64-65, 3:103, 3:113-115, 3:199, 4:36, 4:90, 4:122-125, 4:135-137, 4:140, 4:162, 5:8, 5:48, 5:69, 5:105, 6:52, 6:102-108, 6:149, 7:35, 7:199, 10:11, 10:19, 10:41, 10:99-100, 13:38, 15:85, 16:9, 16:93, 16:125, 17:53-54, 17:84, 18:29, 21:92-93, 22:40, 22:67, 23:51-54, 24:35-36, 24:41, 25:63, 29:46, 29:69, 31:15, 31:22, 40:78, 42:5-10, 42:14-15, 42:23, 45:14-15, 45:17, 51:7-8, 60:8, 70:3-5, 73:10, 78:3-4, 88:21-22, 92:1-4, 95:6, 98:4-5, 109:6 and so on.

These are God’s messages that We recite unto thee in truth. So, in which HADITH after God and His messages will they believe? 45:6