Muhammad the prophet – Jesus the man

Muhammad the prophet – Jesus the man

Advent-cum-Mawlid: church holds joint birthday celebration for Mohammed and Jesus

Mawlid (or Milad) is the Islamic festival commemorating the birthday of Mohammed. The only thing it has in common with Christmas is that it isn’t actually the day the celebrated baby was born. Yet All Saints Church in Kingtson upon Thames thinks there’s an interfaith syncretised opportunity to be found in holding a joint birthday celebration for both Mohammed and Jesus – so they put the flags out for both, rejoicing in both, eulogising both, solemnising both, glorifying both, honouring both:

mawlid advent

But note how this event is “Marking the birthday of Prophet Mohammed”, but not looking forward to the birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mohammed gets his prophethood, while Jesus gets neither his prophethood nor his priesthood; neither his kingship nor his messiahship. It’s the exalted Prophet Mohammed along with plain old Jesus, because to have added any of his claims to divinity would, of course, have alienated many Muslims (if they hadn’t already been alienated by the haramcelebration), which wouldn’t have been very interfaith or sensitively missional, would it?

 

 

See the full article here

Perverse Sexual Habits of Muhammad

Perverse Sexual Habits of Muhammad

Muhammad and his sexual habits

This piece looks at Muhammad and a large part of his life – his sexual habits.  I doubt anyone can look at his life and say he was a prophet from God.  He used his power and influence to indulge his sexual desires, when these were question he had a revelation from Allah allowing him to indulge his carnal desires.

 

An Account by Fr. Zakaria Botros

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Part 1

Father Zakaria Botros recently ran a show dedicated to discussing the question of morality and how it is—or should be—one of the hallmarks of “prophethood.” At the start, he posed the focal question of the show: “Was Muhammad the prophet a moral man—the most upright man, worthy of being emulated by the world?”

He opened the show by relying on an Ibn Taymiyya quote, which evaluated the signs of prophethood. Taymiyya asserted that there are many false-prophets, such as Musailima “the Liar,” a contemporary of Muhammad. Taymiyya concluded that many of these so-called prophets are, in fact, “possessed,” and that the only way to determine the authenticity of any prophet is by examining his biography (sira) and deeds, and see if he be found worthy of the title.

Being that this is the first of several episodes devoted to examining the concepts of morality and prophethood (with the notion that the former reinforces the latter), the theme for this particular episode was “purity” (tahara): “Was Muhammad a ‘pure’ man?”—in this context, a question concerning his sexual mores (or lack thereof).

After the preliminaries, Botros looked at the camera and gave a stern warning: “This episode is for adults only! I am going to discuss many things that make me blush for shame, so please: have the women and children leave the room.”

He then asked Muslims watching to keep in mind the question “Is this the prophet I follow?” as he delineated some of Muhammad’s sexual habits.

First, from the Koran, Botros read verses unequivocally stating that Muhammad is the paragon of all virtue and morality, such as “And most surely you [Muhammad] conform (yourself) to sublime morality [68: 4].” He further quoted the ulema, such as Ibn Kathir, all insisting that Muhammad was the “Noblest of all humanity, and the greatest of prophets.”

Botros and his ex-Muslim cohost—the priest had insisted that it be a man for this particular show, lest he be too ashamed to delineate Muhammad’s sexual habits—discussed Koran 4:3, which “limits” a Muslim’s wives to four, plus “what your right hands possess,” that is, slave-girls.

That was apparently not good enough for Muhammad, asserted Botros; an entire verse had to be “revealed” justifying more women for him (Koran 33:50). In fact, Father Botros has carefully compiled a list of all the women—66 are known—to have had sexual relations with Muhammad.

Botros said that was only normal: according to Sirat Al-Halabi, Muhammad can have a woman no matter what, even against her will; and if Muhammad desired a married woman, her husband would have had to divorce her. According to Ibn Sa’ad, who wrote another authoritative biographical account of Muhammad, “The prophet did not die till all women were permitted him” (see Kitab Al Tabaqat Al Kubra, v.8, 194).

The co-host, rather abruptly, interjected – “What of all those rumors that Muhammad exhibited homosexual tendencies?”

Botros dropped his face in his hands and mumbled, “So you still insist we discuss that?” The co-host was adamant, saying it was for Muslims’ own good to know everything.

Thus Botros, after profusely apologizing to his Muslim viewers, saying how embarrassing this was for him, declared: “Look! We’re merely readers here, bringing up what we have read in Islam’s own books! If Muslims don’t like it, they should go and burn these books.”

The first anecdote discussed by the priest revolved around a hadith that, while some ulema say is “weak,” is, nonetheless according to Botros, present in 44 Islamic books—including some highly respected collections, such as Sunan Bayhaqi and Al Halabi.

According to this hadith, a man named Zahir, who used to declare that “the prophet loves me,” said that one day Muhammad crept unawares behind him and put him in a bear-hug. Zahir, alarmed, yelled, “Get off me!” After turning his head and discovering that it was Muhammad, he stopped struggling and proceeded to “push his back into the prophet’s chest—prayers and blessings upon him.”

Another curious hadith contained in Sunan Bayhaqi and which traces to Sunan Abu Dawud (one of the six canonical hadith collections), has Muhammad lifting up his shirt for a man who proceeded to kiss his entire torso, “from his bellybutton to his armpits.”

Botros looked casually at the camera and said, “Imagine if the sheikh of Al Azhar [nearest Muslim equivalent to the pope] went around lifting his shirt for men to kiss his torso” (he proceeded to make smacking kissing noises, for effect).

Said the co-host: “Surely there’s more?”

Botros: “Indeed there is. No less than 20 Islamic sources—such as the hadiths of Ahmad bin Hanbal—relay that Muhammad used to suck on the tongues of boys and girls”…

Part 2

Last we left the priest and his co-host, the former noted that, “No less than 20 Islamic sources—such as the hadiths of Ahmad bin Hanbal—relay that Muhammad used to suck on the tongues of boys and girls.”

Botros proceeded to read aloud from various sources, such as a hadith relayed by Abu Hurreira (deemed an extremely reliable narrator), where Muhammad sucked on the tongues of his cousin (and future caliph) Ali’s two boys, Hassan and Hussein—they of revered Shia memory.

Next he read a hadith of Muhammad sucking on the tongue of his own daughter, Fatima. Fr Botros also added that the Arabic word for “suck” (muss) cannot, as some apologists insist, mean anything but “suck.” “After all,” added the perspicacious priest, “this is the same word used when discussing Muhammad’s ‘activities’ with his wives, especially his beloved child-bride, Aisha.”

With an extremely disgusted look on his face, Botros turned towards the camera and said: “Dear lady, imagine, for a moment, coming home to find your husband sucking on your daughter’s tongue? What would you do? It’s even worse: it’s your prophet—the most “morally upright” man, a man to be emulated by the world! A man who on record used to go around sucking the tongues of his wives, his daughters, and young boys: Are these the activities of the man described in the Koran as being the pinnacle of moral perfection?”

Cohost: “More!”

“Muhammad would not sleep until he kissed his daughter Fatima and nuzzled his face in her bosom [the priest provided the appropriate sources]. Dear lady! what would you say to your husband sleeping with his face in your daughter’s breast—is that the height of morality?!”

At this point, Fr Botros, looking downcast, began apologizing profusely, saying he could only imagine how all these anecdotes must be troubling for Muslims, to which the co-host reassured him: “It’s not your fault, father, but rather the fault of those Muslims recording these vile incidences. Either way: Muslims must know. More please.”

Botros continued reading more revealing hadiths, including one from the Musnad of Ahmad bin Hanbal, which records Muhammad seeing a 2-3 year old girl in her mother’s arms. Muhammad was so “impressed” by her that he said, “By Allah, if this girl reaches marrying age and I am still alive, I will surely marry her.”

Another hadith goes on to say that Muhammad ended up dying before this particular girl reached marriage age, to which the by now vexed priest, unable to contain himself, exclaimed, “Awwww! Poor prophet! He missed one!”

Botros then told viewers to keep this last hadith in mind, for “context,” as he read another hadith from theSunan of Bin Said, which records Muhammad saying “I hugged so-and-so when she was a child and found that I greatly desired her.”

“What prophet is this you follow?!” cried the outraged Coptic priest. “Where is his morality? This is the man that Muslims follow slavishly? Use your minds!”

It was late in the night, yet Fr Botros was not done cataloging his findings regarding the prophet’s “sexual” habits (these shows are an hour and a half long). So, when he moved on to a hadith depicting Muhammad lying next to a dead woman in her grave, as well as pointing to hadith categories called “intercourse with a dead woman,” I happily turned off the satellite and called it a night—till this moment, as I am (somewhat reluctantly) revisiting my notes to prepare this report.

Part 3

Last we left the Coptic priest, he was reading from hadith reports stating that the prophet of Islam “admired” a 2-3 year old girl (saying that he hoped to live long enough to make her his wife), and “laid” in the grave with a dead woman.

In this episode, he began with the prophet’s “transvestite” tendencies. He read from several hadiths, including Sahih Bukhari—Fr Botros claims that there are no less than 32 different references to this phenomenon in Islam’s books—wherein Muhammad often laid in bed dressed in women’s clothes, specifically his child-bride Aisha’s.

Fr. Botros: “Perhaps Muslims think that he only dressed in Aisha’s clothes? Being that she was his “favorite,” perhaps after being intimate with her, he would merely lay in bed with her clothes?” (Here the priest put his face in his hands lamenting that he had to talk of such shameful things.)

Then he offered an interesting and revealing hadith, from Sahih Bukhari (2/911), which records Muhammad saying, “Revelations [i.e., the Koran] never come to me when I’m dressed in women’s clothing—except when I’m dressed in Aisha’s,” implying that it was something of a habit for the prophet to dress in female clothing.

Fr Botros next moved on to some commentaries in the Tafsir of al-Qurtubi—an authoritative exegesis in Islam. He read one anecdote where Aisha said that, one day, while Muhammad was lying naked in bed, Zaid came knocking; Muhammad, without getting dressed, opened the door and “hugged and kissed him”—in the nude. Elsewhere, Qurtubi concludes that, “the prophet—prayers and blessings upon him—was constantly preoccupied with women.”

Fr Botros to Muslims: “So this is your prophet—the most morally upright man? Instead of being preoccupied with, say, prayer or good deeds, he was preoccupied with women?”

He next read from Faid al-Qabir (3/371), wherein Muhammad is on record saying, “My greatest loves are women and perfume: the hungry is satisfied after eating, but I never have enough of women.” Another hadith: “I can hold back from food and drink—but not from women.” After reading these hadiths, Fr Botros would just look at the screen in silence, shaking his head.

He next read an interesting narrative (contained in Umdat al-Qari and Faid al-Qabir). Reportedly, Allah sent Gabriel with some sort of celestial food (called al-kofid) to Muhammad, commanding the latter to “Eat!”—identical to when Gabriel came to Muhammad saying “Read!” (i.e., iqra, the word for Koran). The report goes on to quote Muhammad saying that the food given to him “gave me the sexual potency of 40 heavenly men.” Fr Botros next read from the Sunan of al-Tirmidhi, where it says that the “heavenly man” has the sexual potency of 100 mortal men.

Wondered the priest: “So, doing the math, 40×100, we can conclude that Muhammad, whenever he ate his heavenly aphrodisiac, had the sexual potency of 4000 men? Really, O umma, is this the claim to fame of your prophet—that he was a raving sex maniac?” Then, less seriously, “Imagine the surprise when Westerners find out that, once again, it was Muhammad who first discovered Viagra!”

Zakaria Botros went on to read from more sources, such as Sunan al-Nisa’i, wherein Muhammad used to in a single night “visit” all his women, without washing in between. Asked the priest: “Why even record such obscene and embarrassing things?”

Perhaps most entertaining, Fr Botros spent some time analyzing an anecdote recorded in Ibn Kathir’s al-Bidaya we al-Nihaya. Here is a translation for this lengthy account:

After conquering the Jews of Khaybar, and plundering their belongings, among other things, a donkey fell into the lot of the prophet, who proceeded to ask the donkey: “What is your name?”

The donkey answered, “Yazid Ibn Shihab. Allah had brought forth from my ancestry 60 donkeys, none of whom were ridden on except by prophets. None of the descendants of my grandfather remain but me, and none of the prophets remain but you and I expected you to ride me. Before you, I belonged to a Jewish man, whom I caused to stumble and fall frequently so he used to kick my stomach and beat my back.”

Here, chuckling, the priest added, “a taqiyya-practicing donkey!” He continued reading, “The prophet – may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him – said to him, ‘I will call you Ya’foor. O Ya’foor!’ Ya’foor replied, ‘I obey.’ The prophet asked, ‘Do you lust after females?’ The donkey replied, ‘No!’”

Cried the priest: “Even the donkey blushed for shame concerning your prophet’s over-sexed inquiries! Here we have what is supposed to be a miracle—a talking donkey; and of all things to communicate to this animal, your prophet’s most urgent question was whether the donkey lusts after females?”

Next, reading from Sahih Bukhari (5/2012), Fr Botros relayed an account where Muhammad went into the house of a young woman named Umaima bint Nua’m and commanded her to “Give yourself to me!” The woman responded, “Shall a queen give herself to the rabble?” Shaking his fist, Muhammad threatened her, and then sent her off to her parents.

Zakaria Botros: “You see, people, even back then, in those dark ages, there were still people who had principles, who did not give way to threats and coercion. However, the real question here is, why was Muhammad contradicting the commandments of his own Koran—”if a believing woman gives herself to the prophet” (33:50)—trying to coerce this young lady?”

Finally, with a most distasteful look on his face, the priest read from a hadith in al-Siyuti (6/395), where Muhammad asserts that, “In heaven, Mary mother of Jesus, will be one of my wives.”

“Please, O prophet,” quoth the Coptic Orthodox priest, “do not implicate our saints with your filthy practices…”

Part 4

Once again, at the start of the show, Fr Botros read from a famous Ibn Taymiyya excerpt regarding how to differentiate between real and false prophets. Taymiyya asserted that there are many false-prophets, such as Musailima “the Liar,” that many of these so-called prophets were, in fact, “possessed,” and that the only way to determine the authenticity of any prophet is by examining his biography (sira) and deeds, and see if he be found worthy of the title of prophet.

After reading the lengthy quote, Fr Botros concluded with a, “Good for you, Ibn Taymiyya! You at least knew this much.”

The viewers were then given the usual warning: “This show is for adults only! Young ladies and children should leave now.” He then exhorted the viewers to keep in mind as he reads about Muhammad that “this is the prophet you follow. Bear this in mind, O you Muslim!”

Fr Botros then lamented how for 1400 years barriers have been erected around Muhammad so no one—Muslim or infidel—could critique his life: “But the time has come, my friends; the barrier is broken!”

Next he recapped the past three episodes dealing with Muhammad’s sexual habits—including (but not limited to) his sucking the tongues of boys and girls, kissing the breasts of his daughter Fatima, “lusting” after 2-3 year-old girls, laying with a dead woman, homosexual inclinations, receiving revelations while dressed in women’s clothing, copulating with nine women in a row without washing in between (and then bragging about it), greeting people while in the nude, and proclaiming that he will copulate with Mary the mother of Jesus in heaven. (To this latter one, the priest, with a disgusted look on his face, said, “Come on, guy! Get real.”)

He began this episode by saying that no less than 34 books, including the Tafsir of al-Qurtubi and Sahih Muslim, record that Muhammad used to “fondle”—Botros scowled at the screen—”kiss and have sex while fasting, though he forbade others from doing so.”

Said the host: “Interesting. But we know that prophets have special dispensations: Do you have anything more explicit?”

Fr Botros: “Fine. How’s this: the prophet used to visit [copulate with] his women when they were menstruating — so sorry for this disgusting topic! Forgive me, people!”

He then pointed out that the main problem with this is that the Koran (2:222)—”Muhammad’s own words,” as he put it—forbade Muslims from going near menstruating women.

He went on to quote from a number of hadiths affirming that Muhammad freely had sex with menstruating women, including from Sahih Bukhari (v.5, p. 350), which said that if Muhammad desired a menstruating woman, he placed a sheet around her and proceeded with his business, to which the priest cried:

“Come on man! Couldn’t you find another one of your 66 women? It just had to be the one menstruating?”

Then, earnestly looking into the camera: “But seriously, people: are you not ashamed of these things? I know I am—just mentioning them. And this is your ‘prophet’—the ‘exemplary man’?”

He then read a hadith, narrated by Aisha, and contained in the canonical six, wherein the prophet’s young wife recounted how, whenever she was menstruating, if the prophet “wanted her,” he used to “command” her to have sex with him, to which the priest exclaimed—”Commanded! This is rape! Who is this character you are following?”

He read from a number of other hadiths, all demonstrative of Muhammad’s sexual proclivities toward menstruating women—which the Koran forbids—adding, “People, if this is how the ‘prophet of God’ behaves, what can we expect from the average man?”

Asked the host: “Well, could other men behave this way?”

Fr Botros: “Sure, the prophet was always generous to his followers, giving them ways out. According to eight hadith compilations, Ibn Abbas relayed that Muhammad said if a man cannot help himself and copulates with his menstruating wife, all he has to do is pay one dinar in atonement; if he sleeps with her towards the end of her cycle, when she isn’t bleeding as much, he need only pay half a dinar—a discount!” [saying “discount” in English and laughing].

Host: “As you pointed out, since Muhammad had so many women, why did he even feel the need to resort to the ones that were menstruating?”

Fr Botros: “Ahhhh. I see you are wisely connecting the dots. The simple reason, my friend, is that Muhammad used to like smelling”—here he went sniffsniff—”menstruation blood.” He then quoted from al-Siyuti, where Aisha relayed that Muhammad said to her “Come here,” to which she replied, “But I am menstruating, O prophet of God.” So he said “Expose your thighs”; she did so and “he proceeded to lay his cheek and chest on her thighs.”

Fr Botros: “Help me people! How can such perverse behavior come from a prophet—the ‘greatest role model’?”

He then read a Sahih Bukhari hadith (v.6, p.2744) relayed by Aisha where she said that, while menstruating, the prophet used to lay his head on her thighs and recite the Koran.

Fr Botros: “While reciting the Koran!!”

Next he read from Ahkam al-Koran (v.3, p.444) where a woman declared that she used to cup water from a well that had, not just menstruation blood, but dog flesh, and all manner of filth, and give Muhammad to drink.

Fr Botros: “What happened to Koran 2:222?! Yet the ‘seal of the prophets’ can drink such foul water?”

Then, while shaking his head with eyes downcast: “O Muhammad, Muhammad, Muhammad…”

Part 5

Last we left the Coptic priest, he was discussing Muhammad’s predilection for menstruating women—even though the Koran itself (as Fr Botros put it, “his own words”) forbid men from getting near to menstruating women.

Here, the priest was interested in examining Muhammad’s faithlessness towards his wives (though one would have thought the plural renders the notion of faithfulness moot), his sexually exploitative behavior, and his reliance on very obscene language.

First, Fr Botros spent some time discussing the well known story where the prophet betrayed his wife Hafsa with a slave-girl (Unfortunately, one cannot capture the hilarity with which the priest recounted this tale.)

In short, after sending Hafsa to visit her father, the latter, halfway there, realized that it was “her day”—that is, the day when, of all his wives, Muhammad would visit her for “conjugal relations.” She hurried back (Fr Botros added “She knew him well: if she wasn’t there on her day, he would go crazy and grab the first female passing by!”).

In fact, Hafsa caught Muhammad with a slave-girl on the former’s bed. Muhammad quickly evicted the slave-girl and told Hafsa that if she kept this between them, he would henceforth refrain from the slave-girl.

To no avail: Hafsa gabbed and soon all of Muhammad’s wives revolted against his incessant philandering; As Fr Botros put it, “When things got critical, Muhammad decided to drop a ‘new revelation’ on them; so he threw surat al-tahrim (66: 1-11) at them, wherein Allah supposedly chastises Muhammad for trying to please his wives by not sleeping around, threatening the wives to get in line lest the prophet divorce them—indeed, lest they all go to hell.”

Then, looking at the screen, Fr Botros asked, “Imagine, dear lady, if your husband asked you to go on errand and then you return before your time only to find him in bed with another woman? What sort of man would that make him in your eyes? Yet it’s worse—it’s your prophet, whom you all extol as the most perfect human, to be slavishly emulated!”

He then pointed out that “clever little Aisha knew him [Muhammad] well”: whenever such verses were revealed rescuing Muhammad, Aisha would often observe that “Verily, your lord [Allah] is ever quick to fulfill your whims and desires (e.g., al-Siyuti v.6, p.629).

Next the priest relayed an account portraying how the prophet sexually exploited a “retarded” woman. According to 23 sources (e.g., Sahih Muslim vol.4, p.1812) a feeble-minded woman came up to Muhammad saying, “O prophet of Allah! I have something for you.” He clandestinely met her out back and took this “something” from her.

Added Fr Botros: “I fear now that many believers will want to implement this sunna—don’t do it, guys, this is just to illustrate…. Listen you Muslims: don’t hate me for revealing all this to you; don’t lie in wait to kill me. I am merely revealing what your books contain. And, as always, we humbly await the great sheikhs and ulema to address these issues and show us where we went wrong.”

Next, Fr Botros discussed the sort of foul language Muhammad — the “greatest example” — employed: “Sorry, so sorry to reveal to you the sort of despicable language Muhammad used—language I am too ashamed to even mention. In fact, your prophet said one of the most obscene Arabic words—the equivalent of the ‘f-word’ [he counseled his Arabic viewers to google the “f-word” to understand what he was talking about]. ”

Refusing to pronounce or spell this word, which he said appears in 67 books, including Sahih Bukhari, the text containing this word, “inkat-ha” — or, in context, Muhammad asking a man about a woman if he “f***** her” — was portrayed on the screen for all to read.

Then, “Quick! take that filth down! What would you Muslims do if the Sheikh of al Azhar went around using such language? Worse — it’s your prophet, the ‘greatest creation.’”

The host asked if Muhammad used any other foul language, to which the priest responded, “Oh, boy, did he ever; unfortunately this program is way too short to list them all.”

According to Qaid al-Qadir (v.1, p.381), Muhammad told Muslims to retort to uppity infidels by saying things like — again, he didn’t pronounce it, but the text appeared on the screen — “Go bite on your mother’s clitoris!” or, according to Zad al-Mi’ad (v.3, p305), “Go bite on your dad’s penis!”

Then, once again while shaking his head in sheer disappointment, “O prophet of Allah…prophet of Allah….Would that you would’ve heeded your lord Jesus’ counsel: ‘The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks’ (Luke 6:45).”

How Allah killed his prophet  – From Inspiration to Expiration

How Allah killed his prophet – From Inspiration to Expiration

By Sam Shamoun

Abstract Muhammad fails the prophetic criteria of the Holy Bible (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) showing that, from a biblical perspective, the Allah of the Quran is not God, the Quran is not God’s Word, and Muhammad is not God’s prophet. Moreover, as astonishing as this may sound, Muhammad fails his own test, his own criteria of prophethood, and actually came under the very condemnation he warned of in the case of anyone who would want to tamper with God’s Word and/or concoct words in the name of God. This means that not only was Muhammad not a legitimate messenger of the true God according to the Holy Bible but that by his own standard which he set up in the Quran he was a person whom his own god rejected and condemned. The aim of this present article is to document in what way Muhammad violated his own criteria and how he suffered the consequences as a result of it.

The Evidence

The Quran warned Muhammad not to change the so-called revelation or invent sayings since Allah would punish him:

And when Our signs are recited to them, clear signs, those who look not to encounter Us say, ‘Bring a Koran other than this, or alter it.’ Say: ‘It is not for me to alter it of my own accord. I follow nothing, except what is revealed to me. Truly I fear, if I should rebel against my Lord, the chastisement of a dreadful day.’ S. 10:15 Arberry

it is the speech of a noble Messenger. It is not the speech of a poet (little do you believe) nor the speech of a soothsayer (little do you remember). A sending down from the Lord of all Being. Had he invented against Us any sayings, We would have seized him by the right hand, then We would surely have cut his life-vein. S. 69:40-46 Arberry

Consider how harsh these warnings are… Allah threatens to kill Muhammad if he dared to concoct statements in his deity’s name or change the inspiration which supposedly came to him.

These threats become all the more intriguing in light of the fact that, according to Muslim sources, Muhammad did change the message of the Quran due to the suggestions of one of his scribes who then apostatized as a result of it! In fact, according to Muslim sources, the following text:

Who is more wicked than the man who invents a falsehood about God, or says: “This was revealed to me”, when nothing was revealed to him? Or the man who says, “I can reveal the like of what God has revealed”? S. 6:93 N.J. Dawood

Was “revealed” in reference to this event:

(Who is guilty) who is more tyrannical and more daring (of more wrong than he who forgeth a lie against Allah, or saith) Allah did not reveal anything, this is Malik Ibn al-Sayf, or him who says: (I am inspired) with a Scripture, (when he is not inspired in aught) with any Scripture, this is Musaylimah, the liar; (and who saith: I will reveal the like of that which Allah hath revealed) I will say the like of what Muhammad (pbuh) is saying: this is ‘Abdullah Ibn Sa’d Ibn Abi Sarh. (If thou couldst see) O Muhammad, (when the wrong-doers) the idolaters and the hypocrites, on the Day of Badr (reach the pangs of death and the angels stretch their hands out) to take out their souls, (saying: Deliver up your souls) your spirits. (This day) the Day of Badr, as it is said it is the Day of Judgement (ye are awarded doom of degradation) a severe doom (for that ye spake concerning Allah other than the Truth, and scorned) you thought yourselves too great to believe in Muhammad (pbuh) and the Qur’an, (His portents) Muhammad (pbuh) and the Qur’an. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs; bold, italic and underline emphasis ours)

This same commentary asserts that Q. 16:106:

Whoever disbelieved in Allah after his belief, except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with Faith but such as open their breasts to disbelief, on them is wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a great torment. Hilali-Khan

Also refers to Ibn Abi Sarh’s apostasy:

(Whoso disbelieveth in Allah after his belief) in Him, deserves Allah’s wrath (save him who is forced thereto) except the person who is coerced into disbelief (and whose heart is still content with Faith). This verse was revealed about ‘Ammar Ibn Yasir (but whoso findeth ease in disbelief) whosoever utters words of disbelief willingly: (On them is wrath from Allah. Theirs will be an awful doom) the most awful torment in this worldly life. This verse was revealed about ‘Abdullah Ibn Sa’d Ibn Abi Sarh. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs; bold emphasis ours)

Other exegetes who concur with the foregoing tafsir regarding Abi Sarh being the one spoken of in Q. 6:93 include the following:

(Who is guilty of more wrong than he who forgeth a lie against Allah, or saith: I am inspired…) [6:93]. This was revealed about the liar, Musaylimah al-Hanafi. This man was a soothsayer who composed rhymed speech and claimed prophethood. He claimed that he was inspired by Allah. (… and who saith: I will reveal the like of that which Allah hath revealed?) [6:93]. This verse was revealed about ‘Abd Allah ibn Sa‘d ibn Abi Sarh. This man had declared his faith in Islam and so the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, called him one day to write something for him. When the verses regarding the believers were revealed (Verily, We created man from a product of wet earth…) [23:12-14], the Prophet dictated them to him. When he reached up to (and then produced it as another creation), ‘Abd Allah expressed his amazement at the precision of man’s creation by saying (So blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators!). The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “This [‘Abd Allah’s last expression] is how it was revealed to me”. At that point, doubt crept into ‘Abd Allah. He said: “If Muhammad is truthful, then I was inspired just as he was; and if he is lying, I have uttered exactly what he did utter”. Hence Allah’s words (and who saith: I will reveal the like of that which Allah hath revealed). The man renounced Islam. This is also the opinion of Ibn ‘Abbas according to the report of al-Kalbi. ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Abdan informed us> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Nu‘aym> Muhammad ibn Ya‘qub al-Umawi> Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Jabbar> Yunus ibn Bukayr> Muhammad ibn Ishaq> Shurahbil ibn Sa‘d who said: “This verse was revealed about ‘Abd Allah ibn Sa‘d ibn Abi Sarh. The latter said: ‘I will reveal the like of that which Allah has revealed’, and renounced Islam. When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, entered Mecca, this man fled to ‘Uthman [ibn ‘Affan] who was his milk brother. ‘Uthman hid him until the people of Mecca felt safe. He then took him to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and secured an amnesty for him”. (‘Ali ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi, Asbab al-Nuzul)

The commentator Al-Qurtubi said,

The pronoun “man” is grammatically in the jarr case. The meaning is who is more wicked than he who said I can reveal; the person addressed here is ‘Abdullâh Ibn Sâd Ibn Abî Sarh who used to write the revelation for the Prophet of God, later on he apostatized and joined the pagans. The reason given by the commentators is that when the verse 23:12 {We created man of an extraction of clay} was revealed, the Prophet called him and dictated it to him and when the Prophet reached the end of 23:14 {… thereafter We produced him as another creature} ‘Abdullâh said in amazement {So blessed be God the fairest of creators!}. The Prophet said: (and thus it was revealed to me) which made ‘Abdullâh doubt and say: “If Muhammad is truthful then I received the revelation and if he lied I say of the like of his speech.” So he apostatized and joined the pagans and this is concerning the segment {Or the man who says, “I can reveal the like of what God has revealed”}, narrated by Al-Kolaby from Ibn ‘Abbâs. It was also narrated by Muhammad Ibn Ishâq who said Sharahbîl said: {Or the man who says, “I can reveal the like of what God has revealed”} was revealed concerning ‘Abdullâh Ibn Sâd Ibn Abî Sarh who apostatized. When the Prophet entered Mecca he ordered him and ‘Abdullâh Ibn Khatal and Miqyas Ibn Sabaabah to be executed even if they were under the curtains of the Ka’bah. So, ‘Abdullâh Ibn Sâd Ibn Abî Sarh fled to ‘Uthmân, his foster brother – his mother suckled ‘Uthmân. The latter hid him until he brought him to the Prophet after the inhabitants of Mecca became secure and he sought immunity for ‘Abdullâh. The Prophet remained silent for a long time and then said: (Yes). When ‘Uthmân left, the Prophet said (I said nothing so that one of you executed him). A man among the Ansâr said: “Then why didn’t you give me a sign, O Prophet of God?” He answered: (the treachery of the eyes does not befit a Prophet.) Abu Omar said: “And ‘Abdullâh Ibn Sâd Ibn Abî Sarh converted back to Islam during the conquest of Mecca and his Islam was fine, and later, his behavior was beyond reproach. He was among the wise and the noble from Quraysh, and was the knight of Bani ‘Aamir Ibn Lu’ayy and was respected among them. Later, ‘Uthmân named him to govern Egypt in the year 25 H. He conquered Africa in the year 27 H and conquered Nuba in the year 31 H and he was the one who signed with the Nubians the armistice that is still valid today. He defeated the Romans in the battle of as-Sawâry in the year 34 H. When he returned from his advent, he was prevented from entering al-Fustât [the capital of Egypt], so he went to ‘Asqalân where he lived until the murder of ‘Uthmân. It was also said: He lived in Ramlah until he died away from the turmoil. And he prayed Allah saying: “O Allah! make the prayer of Subh the last of my deeds. So he performed Wudu’ and prayed; he read Surat al-Fâtihah and al-‘Aadiyaat in the first rak’ah and read al-Fâtihah and another surah in the second rak’ah and made salâm on his right and died before he made salâm on the left side. All this report was conveyed by Yazîd Ibn Abî Habîb and others. He didn’t pledge allegiance to ‘Alî nor to Mu’âwiyah. His death was before the people agreed on Mu’âwiyah. It was also said that he died in Africa, but the correct is that he died in ‘Asqalân in the year 36 H or 37 H and it was rather said 36 H…

Another famous Tafsir states:

“‘To me it has been revealed, when naught has been revealed to him’ refers to ‘Abdallah Ibn Sa’d Ibn Abi Sarh, who used to write for God’s messenger. The verse (23:12) that says, ‘We created man of an extraction of clay’ was revealed, and when Muhammad reached the part that says, ‘… thereafter We produced him as another creature’ (23:14), ‘Abdallah said, ‘So blessed be God the fairest of creators!’ in amazement at the details of man’s creation. The prophet said, ‘Write it down; for thus it has been revealed.’ ‘Abdallah doubted and said, ‘If Muhammad is truthful then I receive the revelation as much as he does, and if he is a liar, what I said is a good as what he said.’” (Anwar al-Tanzil wa Asrar al-Ta‘wil by ‘Abdallah Ibn ‘Umar al-Baidawi; bold emphasis ours)

Ibn al-Athîr said regarding Ibn Abi Sarh that:

He converted to Islam before the conquest of Mecca and immigrated to the Prophet [i.e. in Medina]. He used to record the revelation for the Prophet before he apostatized and went back to Mecca. Then he told Quraysh: ‘I used to orient Muhammad wherever I willed, he dictated to me “All-Powerful All-Wise” and I suggest “All Knowing All-Wise” so he would say: “Yes, it is all the same.” (Usûd Ulghâbah fî Ma’rifat Is-Sahâbah, [Dâr al-Fikr, Beirut (Lebanon), 1995], Volume 3, p. 154; bold emphasis ours)

We read in Alfiyyat us-Sîrat in-Nabawiyyah by al-Hâfidh al-‘Iraqî that:

The scribes of Muhammad were 42 in number. `Abdallah Ibn Sarh al-`Amiri was one of them, and he was the first Quraishite among those who wrote in Mecca before he turned away from Islam. He started saying, “I used to direct Muhammad wherever I willed. He would dictate to me ‘Most High, All-Wise’, and I would write down ‘All-Wise’ only. Then he would say, ‘Yes it is all the same’. On a certain occasion he said, ‘Write such and such’, but I wrote ‘Write’ only, and he said, ‘Write whatever you like.’” So when this scribe exposed Muhammad, he wrote in the Qur’an, “And who does greater evil than he who forges against God a lie, or says, ‘To me it has been revealed’, when naught has been revealed to him.” So on the day Muhammad conquered Mecca, he commanded his scribe to be killed. But the scribe fled to `Uthman Ibn `Affan, because `Uthman was his foster brother (his mother suckled `Uthman). `Uthman, therefore, kept him away from Muhammad. After the people calmed down, `Uthman brought the scribe to Muhammad and sought protection for him. Muhammad kept silent for a long time, after which he said yes. When `Uthman had left, Muhammad said “I only kept silent so that you (the people) should kill him.”

The biography of Ibn Abi Sarh, titled Al-Isaabah fi Tamyeez Al-Sahabah (Volume 4, p. 109, kaf = 0, ba’ = 0, ha’ = 4714) states:

Abdullah bin Sa’d bin Abi Sarh bin Al-Harith Abu Yahya Al-Qurashi Al-Amiri

4714 —- Abdullah bin Sa’d bin Abi Al-Sarh bin Al-Harith bin Habeeb Bilmuhmlah Musghira bin Huthafah bin Malik bin Hasl bin Amir bin Lu’ai Al-Qurashi Al-Amiri, and some inserted [into his genealogy] Huthafa and Malik Nasra. The first one is more famous and his Kunyah is Aba Yahya. He [Abdullah] was Othman’s [the fourth Caliph] brother by nursing (rida’ah), and his mother was Ash’ariyyah (Al-Zubayr bin Bikar said that). Ibn Sa’d said that her mother is Muhabah bint Jaber. Ibn Habban said that his father was one of Quraysh’s hypocrite infidels – that’s what he said and I haven’t seen any other [view]. Al-Hakim narrated from al-Suday, by Mus’ab bin Sa’d by his father, “When it was the day of the conquering (fath) of Mecca, the Prophet gave safety to all its people except for four men and two women; Ikrimah, Ibn Khatl, Maqees bin Subabah, and Ibn Abi Al-Sarh.” He went on with the Hadeeth and said, “As for Abdullah, he hid with Othman, so he [Othman] came to the Prophet with him, while he [Mohammad] was making vows of allegiance (bay’ah) with the people. So Othman said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, make a vow of allegiance (bay’ah) with Abdullah.’ And so he did after three attempts. Then he [Mohammad] went to his companions and said, ‘Isn’t there any honorable man among you who would stand and kill him [Abdullah] when he saw me refusing to make the vow with him?’” And from Yazeed Al-Nahwi by Ikrimah by Ibn Abbas who said, “Abdullah bin Sa’d used to write for the Prophet, so Satan made him err and he followed the infidels. The Prophet ordered his death (meaning of the day of Conquering Mecca), but Othman intervened and asked for his safety, so the Prophet kept him safe [didn’t kill him].” (Taken from the Encyclopedia of the Prophet’s Hadeeth Mawsoo’at Al-Hadeeth Al-Nabawi – Al-Areesh Company for Computers “Sharikat Al-Areesh lil-computer” – Beirut – 1998; bold and underline emphasis ours)

One modern Shia commentary admits:

This verse was revealed to condemn the half brother of Uthman, Abdullah bin abi Sarah (and men like him). He was a Jew but joined the group of pagans after renouncing his faith. After becoming Muslim he was sometimes asked to write down the revealed verses but he used to change the words of the revealed verses while writing them, and then claimed that whatever he had composed should have also been accepted as revelation. (Pooya/Commentary; bold emphasis ours)

The late Iranian Islamic scholar Ali Dashti, in his masterful examination of Muhammad’s prophetic career, wrote:

When Mecca was conquered, a general amnesty was proclaimed, but certain exceptions were made. The Prophet gave orders for the killing of six persons wherever they might be found, even in the sanctuary of the Ka‘ba. They were Safwan b. Omayya, ‘Abdollah b. ol-Khatal, Meqyas b. Sobaba, ‘Ekrema b. Abi Jahl, ol-Howayreth b. Noqaydh b. Wahb, and ‘Abdollah b. Sa‘d b. Abi Sarh.

The last named had for some time been one of the scribes employed at Madina to write down the revelations. On a number of occasions he had, with the Prophet’s consent, changed the closing words of verses. For example, when the Prophet had said “And God is mighty and wise” (‘azizhakim), ‘Abdollah b. Abi Sarh suggested writing down “knowing and wise” (‘alimhakim), and the Prophet answered that there was no objection. Having observed a succession of changes of this type, ‘Abdollah renounced Islam on the ground that the revelations, if from God, could not be changed at the prompting of a scribe such as himself. After his apostasy he went to Mecca and joined the Qorayshites…

‘Abdollah b. Abi Sarh was a foster-brother of ‘Othman. He took refuge with ‘Othman, who kept him hidden for several days until the commotion subsided, and then brought him to the Prophet and requested pardon for him. After a long silence, the Prophet said, “Yes”, meaning that he reluctantly accepted ‘Othman’s intercession. Thereupon ‘Abdollah b. Abi Sarh professed Islam again and ‘Othman and he departed. The Prophet, when asked the reason for the long silence, replied, “His Islam was not voluntary but from fear, so I was reluctant to accept it. I was expecting one of you to stand up and behead him.” (This was because it had been proclaimed that his blood might be lawfully shed in any place where he might be found, “even if clinging to the covering of the K‘aba”). One of the Ansar asked the Prophet why he had not winked, and received the answer that “God’s Apostle cannot have false eyes”, meaning that he could not falsely pretend silence while giving a sign with the eyes to kill… (Dashti, 23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, translated from the Persian by F.R.C. Bagley [Mazda Publishers, Costa Mesa, CA 1994], pp. 98-99; bold emphasis ours)

Finally, the hadith compiler Abi Dawud provides implicit corroboration for this story’s veracity since he narrates the following:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:
Abdullah ibn AbuSarh used to write (the revelation) for the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him). Satan made him slip, and he joined the infidels. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) commanded to kill him on the day of Conquest (of Mecca). Uthman ibn Affan sought protection for him. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) gave him protection. Book 38, Number 4345)

Ibn Abi Sarh wasn’t the only scribe who defected as a result of influencing Muhammad to change the Quran; a Christian did as well:

Narrated Anas:
There was a Christian who embraced Islam and read Surat-al-Baqara and Al-Imran, and he used to write (the revelations) for the Prophet. Later on he returned to Christianity again and he used to say: “Muhammad knows nothing but what I have written for him.” Then Allah caused him to die, and the people buried him, but in the morning they saw that the earth had thrown his body out. They said, “This is the act of Muhammad and his companions. They dug the grave of our companion and took his body out of it because he had run away from them.” They again dug the grave deeply for him, but in the morning they again saw that the earth had thrown his body out. They said, “This is an act of Muhammad and his companions. They dug the grave of our companion and threw his body outside it, for he had run away from them.” They dug the grave for him as deep as they could, but in the morning they again saw that the earth had thrown his body out. So they believed that what had befallen him was not done by human beings and had to leave him thrown (on the ground). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 814)

Putting aside the obvious legendary embellishments, it is rather evident from the above narration that there was a growing problem of people claiming to have influenced Muhammad in composing the Quran which the Muslims had to address and explain away. The Quran itself refers to this problem:

And indeed We know that they (polytheists and pagans) say: “It is only a human being who teaches him (Muhammad SAW).” The tongue of the man they refer to is foreign, while this (the Qur’an) is a clear Arabic tongue. S. 16:103 Hilali-Khan

Those who disbelieve say: “This (the Qur’an) is nothing but a lie that he (Muhammad SAW) has invented, and others have helped him at it, so that they have produced an unjust wrong (thing) and a lie.” And they say: “Tales of the ancients, which he has written down, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon.” Say: “It (this Qur’an) has been sent down by Him (Allah) (the Real Lord of the heavens and earth) Who knows the secret of the heavens and the earth. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” S. 25:4-6

In light of the foregoing, we must ask the following questions: If these were in fact God’s words how could Muhammad even allow an uninspired scribe to change them? How could Muhammad replace divinely revealed statements with the words of a fallible human being?

At the beginning of this paper we referred to a warning of the Quran against changing any of its contents:

And when Our clear revelations are recited unto them, they who look not for the meeting with Us say: Bring a Lecture other than this, or change it. Say (O Muhammad): It is not for me to change it of my accord. I only follow that which is inspired in me. Lo! if I disobey my Lord I fear the retribution of an awful Day. S. 10:15 Pickthall

That it is indeed the speech of an illustrious messenger. It is not poet’s speech – little is it that ye believe! Nor diviner’s speech – little is it that ye remember! It is a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. And if he had invented false sayings concerning Us, We assuredly had taken him by the right hand And then severed his life-artery, S. 69:40-46 Pickthall

Then we reviewed the reports about Abdullah ibn Sa’d Abi Sarh suggesting changes to certain formulations in the Quran and Muhammad approving his suggestions.

The punishment announced in these verses is quite specific. Having seen that Muhammad clearly violated the command against meddling with the alleged divine revelation, it is even more amazing to see the manner in which Muhammad expired. According to Muslim tradition Muhammad died a very painful death due to the effects of poison, effects that he claimed cut at his jugular vein:

The messenger of God said during the illness from which he died – the mother of Bishr had come in to visit him – “Umm Bishr, at this very moment I feel my aorta being severed because of the food I ate with your son at Khaybar.” (The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York (SUNY), Albany 1997] Volume VIII, p. 124)

In a footnote the translator of al-Tabari writes that the expression, “it severed his aorta” need not be taken literally since it can be an expression denoting extreme pain. Other sources corroborate that Muhammad ‘s painful death was due to the poison he had ingested years before his demise:

Anas reported that a Jewess came to Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) with poisoned mutton and he took of that what had been brought to him (Allah’s Messenger). (When the effect of this poison were felt by him) he called for her and asked her about that, whereupon she said: I had determined to kill you. Thereupon he said: Allah will never give you the power to do it. He (the narrator) said that they (the Companion’s of the Holy Prophet) said: Should we not kill her? Thereupon he said: No. He (Anas) said: I felt (the affects of this poison) on the uvula of Allah’s Messenger. (Sahih Muslim, Book 026, Number 5430)

… The apostle of Allah lived after this three years till in consequence of his pain he passed away. During his illness he used to say, “I did not cease to find the effect of the (poisoned) morsel, I took at Khaibar and I suffered several times (from its effect) but now I feel the hour has come of the cutting of my jugular vein.” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab Al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Volume II, pp. 251-252)

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

‘Umar bin Al-Khattab used to let Ibn Abbas sit beside him, so ‘AbdurRahman bin ‘Auf said to ‘Umar, “We have sons similar to him.” ‘Umar replied, “(I respect him) because of his status that you know.” ‘Umar then asked Ibn ‘Abbas about the meaning of this Holy Verse:– “When comes the help of Allah and the conquest of Mecca…” (110.1)

Ibn ‘Abbas replied, “That indicated the death of Allah’s Apostle which Allah informed him of.” ‘Umar said, “I do not understand of it except what you understand.” Narrated ‘Aisha: The Prophet in his ailment in which he died, used to say, “O ‘Aisha! I still feel the pain caused by the food I ate at Khaibar, and at this time, I feel as if my aorta is being cut from that poison.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 713)

Compare the foregoing statements with the following Quranic citation:

We indeed created man; and We know what his soul whispers within him, and We are nearer to him than the jugular vein. When the two angels meet together, sitting one on the right, and one on the left, not a word he utters, but by him is an observer ready. And death’s agony comes in truth; that is what thou wast shunning! S. 50:16-19 Arberry

Allah warns those who disbelieve that he is nearer to them than their jugular vein, an obvious threat that he has the power to kill them, and further threatens that they would experience an agonizing death.

The fact that Islamic narrations state that Muhammad died a severe death, describing his death in language that is reminiscent of Q. 69:45-46 and 50:16-19, supports the position that he was being punished for some heinous sin.

Moreover, when we tie this in with the story of Ibn Abi Sarh it makes it difficult not to conclude that Allah was punishing his prophet for changing the Quran at the suggestions of an uninspired scribe.

For more details on the death of Muhammad, see Silas’ article, The Death of Muhammad.

Is This Story Based on Fact?

Some Muslims have taken to deny the veracity of this story (obviously due to its rather embarrassing nature and the damage it does to Muhammad’s credibility) on the grounds that it is based on questionable chains of transmission and/or sources.

This oft-repeated Muslim rebuttal fails to explain why Muslim historians, scholars, expositors etc., would include this report when it does great damage to Muhammad’s credibility. In fact, the most unpleasant events in early Islam have the strongest probability of really having occurred because it is inconceivable that Muslims would make them up on their own or adapt them from non-Muslims. After all, if the enemies of Islam created these reports to discredit Muhammad why would respectable Muslims such as al-Tabari and al-Qurtubi include them? Why didn’t they simply omit such details especially when they make Muhammad look so bad?

Moreover, one argument that Muslims often use to demonstrate the veracity of the Quran is to single out passages rebuking Muhammad for some mistakes or sins he committed (cf. Q. 9:43; 40:55; 47:19; 8:1-2; 80:1-10). Muslims see in these texts evidence that Muhammad couldn’t have authored the Quran since he wouldn’t rebuke himself if he did.

Yet this same logic would equally apply to the story of Ibn Abi Sarh changing the revelations with Muhammad’s approval, since it is highly unlikely that god-fearing Muslims would concoct such a story. Thus, the embarrassing nature of this narration provides strong corroboration for its historical veracity, especially when we recall that Muslim historians and scholars had the tendency to omit such negative portrayals of their prophet.

Another Islamic site offers an answer as to why Muslims would circulate and retain such a story, even if it were deemed fraudulent:

Many of the early writers were concerned by the compilation only. Fearing that the material available could be lost, they collected whatever reports they could find without authenticating them. They left the authentication process to the following generations… (Source)

This response fails to take into consideration that the Muslim expositors and exegetes didn’t merely narrate the story of Ibn Abi Sarh as part of a body of material which needed to be carefully examined for authenticity; rather some of them expressly stated that the report of Ibn Abi Sarh changing the texts of the Quran is actually a sound report, and believed that Q. 6:93 does in fact refer to this specific event. For instance, here is what the renowned Sunni exegete and historian al-Tabari said was the position of the scholars regarding Ibn Abi Sarh tampering with the Quran:

The One whose name is Exalted (Allah) means in his saying “Who doth more wrong than such as invent a falsehood against Allah” and “Who doth more wrong and who is more ignorant than such as invent a falsehood against Allah” referring to those who invent falsehood against Allah and claim to be a Prophet and a Warner, and he [the person who claims] is false in his claims, and lying in his sayings. In this, God is ridiculing the Pagan Arabs, and (ridiculing) the opposing of Abdullah bin Sa’d bin Abi Al-Sarh and the Hanafite Musaylamah to the Prophet of Allah. For one of them claimed prophethood and the other claimed that he came up with something similar to what the Messenger of Allah (SAW) came with [the Quran], and at the same time denying the lying and false claims against his Prophet Mohammad.

The people of the interpretations (scholars) had different opinions about that; some of them said what we said [agreed with us]. Among those are:

Al-Qasim told us: Al-Hussein narrated: Al-Hajjaj narrated: by Ibn Jurayh, by Ikrimah:

His saying [Allah’s saying in the Quran], “Who doth more wrong than such as invent a falsehood against Allah, or said: ‘I have received inspiration,’ when he hath received none“. He [Ikrimah] said: This verse was revealed about Musaylamah the brother of Bani (children of) Uday bin Haneefah, for he [Musaylamah] was reciting poetry and prophesying. And “I can reveal like what Allah hath revealed” was revealed about Abdullah bin Sa’d bin Abi Al-Sarh, the brother of Bani (children of) Amir bin Lu’ai. He [Abdullah] used to write for the Prophet (SAW), and while he [Mohammad] was dictating “Exalted in power, full of Wisdom”, he [Abdullah] would write it “Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”, thus changing it. Then he [Abdullah] would read the changed verses to him [Mohammad], and he [Mohammad] would say, “Yes [in approval], it’s the same [meaning].” So he [Abdullah] reverted from Islam and followed Quraysh telling them, “He [Mohammad] used to recite to me ‘Exalted in power, full of Wisdom’, and I would change it when I write it down, and he would tell me, ‘Yes [in approval], it’s the same [meaning].” But then he [Abdullah] came back to Islam before the conquering (fath) of Mecca, while the Prophet was at Mur [a place in Arabia – on his way to Mecca].

And some said: This verse was indeed revealed about Abdullah bin Sa’d in particular. Among those are:

Mohammad bin Al-Hussein spoke to me, he said: Ahmad bin Al-Mufdil narrated: Asbat narrated from Al-Sudy: “Who doth more wrong than such as invent a falsehood against Allah, or said: “I have received inspiration,’ when he hath received none…” until his [Allah] saying, “ye receive your reward, a penalty of shame”. He [Al-Sudy] said: This verse was revealed about Abdullah bin Sa’d bin Abi Al-Sarh, he embraced Islam, and used to write [Quran revelations] for the Prophet (SAW). So when the Prophet dictated him: “Who heareth and knoweth all things”, he’d write it: “All-Knowing, All-Wise”. So he doubted and reverted. Then he said, “If Mohammad gets inspiration, then I get inspiration too, and if Allah sent him his revelation then I was sent the same thing. For when Mohammad said, ‘Who heareth and knoweth all things,’ I’d say, ‘All-Knowing, All-Wise.’” So he followed the Pagans, and he blew the cover of Ammar and Jubar [secret Muslims] to Ibn Al-Hudrumi or to Bani Abd Al-Dar, so they took them and tortured them until they reverted. Ammar’s ear was cut off that day, so he [Ammar] went to the Prophet (SAW) and told him what had happened to him, but the Prophet (SAW) refused to handle his issue. So Allah revealed about [Abdullah] Ibn Abi Al-Sarh and his companions, “Anyone who, after accepting Faith in Allah, utters Unbelief, – except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith – but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty.” Who was “under compulsion” is Ammar and his companions, and who “open their breast to Unbelief” is [Abdullah] Ibn Abi Al-Sarh… The opinion I believe which has more credibility than the others is to say: Allah said, “Who can be more wicked than one who inventeth a lie against Allah, or said: ‘I have received inspiration,’ when he hath received none.” THERE IS NO DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN THE SCHOLARS OF THE UMMAH (nation) THAT IBN ABI SARH WAS ONE OF THOSE WHO SAID, “I had said like [what] Mohammad [said]”, and that he reverted from Islam and followed the Pagans. There is no doubt that what he said was lies. And there is also no disagreement between all [the Scholars] that Musaylamah and Al-Ansi the Liars claimed falsehood against Allah by saying that he sent them as Prophets; for each of them had said that Allah inspired them, and they are lying in their claims. (Bold and capital emphasis ours)

Al-Tabari emphatically claims that all the scholars of Islam concurred that Q. 6:93 refers to Ibn Abi Sarh’s assertion that he changed the words of the Quran with Muhammad’s approval. What al-Tabari’s statements presuppose is that Muslim scholars had already carefully examined the story of Ibn Abi Sarh and concluded that it was sound. Thus, Muslims themselves, not Orientalists or Christians, have affirmed the historical veracity of this event.

The same authors propose another argument which, on the surface of it, seems to carry weight:

According to the critic, the revelation of verse 23:12 and the amazed anticipation of cAbdullâh Ibn Sâd Ibn Abî Sarh on the end of verse 23:14 triggered his apostasy. Many books about the cUlûm al-Qur’ân have made an accurate classification of the Chapters and verses that were revealed in Mecca (those are called Meccan verses or Chapters), and the ones revealed in Medina (those are called Medinite). According to Al-Itqân, we learn that the full Chapter 23 (i.e., Sûrat al-Mu’minûn) is Meccan. Refer to pages 17-21 where many reports confirm the revelation of Chapter 23 in Mecca with no exception of any single verse.[5] Obviously, this report quoted from al-Baidawi is a gross fabrication since cAbdullâh Ibn Sâd Ibn Abî Sarh embraced Islam after the revelation of Chapter 23. When we add to the above the fact that the full quotation from al-Baidawî was not put forward by the critic even when we asked for it, and given the fact that the reports are stated without the chains of transmission, the authentication of such a report is impossible. Moreover, a comparison to other commentaries of the Qur’ân (such as the commentaries of al-Qurtubî[6] and at-Tabarî[7]) mentioning the same report provide disrupted chains of transmission. That is why the claim of the critic based on the report of al-Baidawî looses conclusively all its value.

The authors are basically insinuating that the story of Ibn Abi Sarh cannot be true on the grounds that he became a Muslim during the time Muhammad was at Medina, whereas the text that Ibn Abi Sarh changed, i.e. Q. 23:12-14, was composed in Mecca, long before his conversion.

There are two fundamental problems with the above reasoning. First, citing sources which place the date of Q. 23 at a time before Ibn Abi Sarh’s conversion doesn’t resolve the issue, but merely proves that the primary source materials of Islam cannot be trusted since they are full of contradictions and mistakes.

Secondly, and more importantly, the narrators do not say that Abdullah made changes to Q. 23:12-14 when they were first “revealed” to Muhammad. Rather, a careful reading of the sources suggests that these changes were made during the time that Ibn Abi Sarh had first heard them for himself, long after they were composed, an even more damaging position to Muhammad’s prophethood! To put it rather simply, the narratives may actually be implying that Muhammad allowed changes to be made to a text that had been recited and composed many years prior to Ibn Abi Sarh’s conversion!

Thus, the preceding factors give us good grounds for assuming that this story of Muhammad permitting Ibn Abi Sarh to change the so-called revelations is based on actual history. The report cannot simply be explained away in terms of the (alleged) unreliability of the source documents.

Yet if it is a genuine historical event then Muhammad turns out to be a false prophet who was punished for inventing revelations and changing the Quran. No wonder Muslims try to find any excuse to dismiss this story!

Note: Apart from the quotes from Sunan Abu Dawud, Ali Dashti, Pooya-Ali, and the commentaries from www.altafsir.com, the preceding Islamic references regarding Abdullah ibn Sa’d Abi Sarh were adapted from the following articles: 12345.

With the exception of the last two, the above links provide more details regarding this subject and address the Muslim responses which call into question the veracity of this story.

So was he a Prophet or Not?

We have shown that the manner in which Muhammad died is a rather strong indication that he had come under the wrath and judgment of his own god. As we examined the Muslim sources we discovered that Muhammad permitted changes to be made to the Quran at the suggestion of his scribe, and how such changes violated the Quran’s express warning to Muhammad that if he tampered with the “revelations” he would be severely punished.

When all of these factors are kept in mind it seems hard to escape the conclusion that Muhammad’s extremely painful death was a sign that he was being punished for making changes to the Quran.

The reader at this point may be wondering whether the foregoing implies that Muhammad was indeed a true prophet of God, or at least started out as one, due to the fact that his punishment was in direct fulfillment of the Quran’s warnings to him. In other words, wouldn’t the fulfillment of these warnings provide attestation that the Quran is indeed God’s Word, or at least parts of it are, since they came to pass as announced?

There are several reasons why this doesn’t follow. In the first place, as we have already mentioned Muhammad fails the biblical criteria of being God’s true prophet, criteria presupposed and accepted by the Quran itself. See above for the links.

This by itself is sufficient to show that Muhammad wasn’t God’s prophet and that the Quran is not his word.

Secondly, the Bible itself speaks of false prophets and messengers making accurate predictions as a means of testing God’s elect:

“If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, ‘Let us follow other gods’ (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,’ you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.” Deuteronomy 13:1-5

“At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.” Matthew 24:23-24

Hence, just because what Muhammad may have said about the consequences of tampering with the Quran came to pass this doesn’t mean that the true God inspired him. It merely shows that God was testing true believers to see whether they would be misled by the teachings of the Quran.

The above demonstrates that according to the Biblical standard, he is a false prophet because his message contradicts the established Word of God, and even one or two accurate predictions do not change that verdict.

However, Muhammad is not only exposed based on the Bible, but he is judged also based on the Quran. According to Quranic criteria, the manner of Muhammad’s death is a clear sign of his deity punishing him for tampering with the Quran. This implies that, at the very least, Allah later rejected him from being his spokesperson. After all, note once again what the passages say:

But when Our Clear Signs are rehearsed unto them, those who rest not their hope on their meeting with Us, Say: “Bring us a reading other than this, or change this,” Say: “It is not for me, of my own accord, to change it: I follow naught but what is revealed unto me: if I were to disobey my Lord, I should myself fear the penalty of a Great Day (to come).” S. 10:15 Y. Ali

That this is verily the word of an honoured apostle; It is not the word of a poet: little it is ye believe! Nor is it the word of a soothsayer: little admonition it is ye receive. (This is) a Message sent down from the Lord of the Worlds. And if the apostle were to invent any sayings in Our name, We should certainly seize him by his right hand, And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: S. 69:40-46 Y. Ali

The first text warns Muhammad to fear the penalty of that great day, an obvious reference to the Day of Judgment, showing that he would be condemned not just in this life but for all eternity as well. Thus, even if a Muslim wants to use these verses as proof of the Quran’s inspiration s/he must contend with the fact that their fulfillment means that Muhammad’s death was a sign that Allah was displeased and abandoned him, and that Muhammad was no longer functioning as Allah’s messenger. It further shows that Muhammad actually ended up in hell for changing the Quran!

This leads us to our final point. The fulfillment of the Quran’s warnings may have been God’s way of showing even to Muslims that Muhammad wasn’t his prophet. The true God may have punished Muhammad in a manner prescribed by the Quran in order to get the people’s attention that Muhammad wasn’t being punished merely for tampering with the Quran, but for claiming that the Quran itself is revelation from the God of Abraham. God’s true Word, the Holy Bible, does warn those who would dare attribute to God words not uttered by him and/or tamper with those words which were inspired by him:

“Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.” Deuteronomy 4:2

“See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.” Deuteronomy 12:32

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” Proverbs 30:5-6

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19

Hence, God causing Muhammad to die in the manner prescribed by the Quran wouldn’t imply the Quran’s divine origin and veracity, but would be a supernatural sign that even by the Quranic standard Muhammad died the death of one accursed and condemned by God; yet not for changing the Quran but for perverting the teachings of the true prophets and messengers as recorded in God’s true Word, the Holy Bible.

Lest the reader think that we are stretching things a bit, note that God even caused a false prophet named Balaam to utter true oracles and prophecies (cf. Numbers 22-24). Now this doesn’t mean that God inspired these particular Suras but that God could have permitted an evil spirit to utter these warnings which God caused to be fulfilled in order to expose Muhammad. After all, even evil spirits are used by God to accomplish his purposes! (Cf. Job 1:6-12, 2:1-6; 1 Kings 22:19-24; 1 Chronicles 21:1- cf. 2 Samuel 24:1)

The foregoing shows that, no matter from what angle one looks at this, the conclusion comes out to be the same: Muhammad died the death of one who was displeasing to God and condemned by him.


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MUHAMMAD AND THE MURDER OF ABU AFAK

MUHAMMAD AND THE MURDER OF ABU AFAK

by Silas

          INTRODUCTION

After Muhammad arrived in Medina around 622 AD, a number of local people began to dislike him.  Many of them were Jews, some were Pagan Arabs.  One by one, Muhammad’s critics were silenced; some became Muslims, some were murdered, others were driven out of Medina.  This article deals with Muhammad’s request to have his men murder a Jewish man named Abu Afak.  Abu Afak was 120 years old.  What was Afak’s crime?  He had urged his fellow Medinans to doubt Muhammad.

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PRESENTATION OF ISLAMIC SOURCES

NOTE:  My comments will be enclosed by [ ] type brackets.  Other brackets like ( ) are in the translations.

FROM THE SIRAT RASUL ALLAH (THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET OF GOD), BY IBN ISHAQ (1), page 675:

SALIM B. UMAYR’S EXPEDITION TO KILL ABU AFAK

Abu Afak was one of the B. Amr b. Auf of the B. Ubayda clan.  He showed his disaffection when the apostle killed al-Harith b. Suwayd b. Samit and said:

                        “Long have I lived but never have I seen

An assembly or collection of people

More faithful to their undertaking

And their allies when called upon

Than the sons of Qayla when they assembled,

Men who overthrew mountains and never submitted,

A rider who came to them split them in two (saying)

“Permitted”, “Forbidden”, of all sorts of things.

Had you believed in glory or kingship

You would have followed Tubba

 

[NOTE:  the Tubba was a ruler from Yemen who invaded that part of what is present Saudi Arabia:  the Qaylites resisted him]

The apostle said, “Who will deal with this rascal for me?”  Whereupon Salim b. Umayr, brother of B. Amr b. Auf, one of the “weepers”, went forth and killed him.  Umama b. Muzayriya said concerning that:

                        You gave the lie to God’s religion and the man Ahmad!  [Muhammad]

By him who was your father, evil is the son he produced!

A “hanif” gave you a thrust in the night saying

“Take that Abu Afak in spite of your age!”

Though I knew whether it was man or jinn

Who slew you in the dead of night (I would say naught).

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FROM THE KITAB AL TABAQAT AL KABIR (BOOK OF THE MAJOR CLASSES), Volume 2, BY IBN SA’D, (2),  page 31:

“Then occurred the “sariyyah” [raid] of Salim Ibn Umayr al-Amri against Abu Afak, the Jew, in [the month of] Shawwal in the beginning of the twentieth month from the hijrah [immigration from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD], of the Apostle of Allah.  Abu Afak, was from Banu Amr Ibn Awf, and was an old man who had attained the age of one hundred and twenty years.  He was a Jew, and used to instigate the people against the Apostle of Allah, and composed (satirical) verses [about Muhammad].

Salim Ibn Umayr who was one of the great weepers and who had participated in Badr, said, “I take a vow that I shall either kill Abu Afak or die before him.  He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came, and Abu Afak slept in an open place.  Salim Ibn Umayr knew it, so he placed the sword on his liver and pressed it till it reached his bed.  The enemy of Allah screamed and the people who were his followers, rushed to him, took him to his house and interred him.

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FROM A CONTEMPORARY MUSLIM SCHOLAR ON ISLAM

FROM ALI DASHTI’S “23 YEARS:  A STUDY OF THE PROPHETIC CAREER OF MOHAMMAD”, (3)     page 100:

“Abu Afak, a man of great age (reputedly 120 years) was killed because he had lampooned Mohammad.  The deed was done by Salem b. Omayr at the behest of the Prophet, who had asked, “Who will deal with this rascal for me?”  The killing of such an old man moved a poetess, Asma b. Marwan, to compose disrespectful verses about the Prophet, and she too was assassinated.”

And prior to listing all of the assassinations Muhammad had ordered, Ali Dashti writes on page 97:

“Thus Islam was gradually transformed from a purely spiritual mission into a militant and punitive organization whose progress depended on booty from raids and revenue from the zakat tax.”

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DISCUSSION

Afak urged the people who lived in Medina to doubt and leave Muhammad.  Afak found  Muhammad’s sayings strange and dictatorial.  He chided the Arabs that put their faith in Muhammad. Muhammad heard of this and viewed the 120 year old man as a threat to his credibility, not to his life.  Nowhere does it say that Afak urged his fellow Arabs to attack or harm Muhammad.  Certainly a 120 year old man was not a physical threat to Muhammad or his followers.

What I find interesting is the last statement in Umama b. Muzayriya’s verse:

            “Though I knew whether it was man or jinn

Who slew you in the dead of night (I would say naught).”

This statement displays that the Muslims knew exactly what they were doing.  They knew it was cold-blooded murder that they were doing at Muhammad’s request.  They wanted to keep it secret, they wanted to hide their evil deeds from the populace at large.  That’s why Umama said he wouldn’t reveal who murdered Afak.

When I think of what type of people order their followers to commit murder, I only can think of organized crime bosses, corrupt political figures, and cult leaders.  Saddam Hussein comes to mind.  How would an Iraqi be treated if he spoke out about Saddam?  Amnesty International just reported that over 1500 political prisoners were executed in Iraq last year.

Or better yet, take the Ayatollah Khomenni.  His fundamentalist Islamic regime had other dissident Iranians murdered all over the world.  These people represent exactly what Muhammad was all about.  They followed Muhammad’s methodology:  kill those who are a threat to your credibility.

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QUESTIONS

  1. What kind of man was Muhammad that he would have a 120 year old man murdered because he urged his fellow citizens to doubt Muhammad?
  2. Yes, Abu Afak was a threat to Muhammad’s credibility.  But did he deserve to be murdered, in cold blood, in the night, secretly, while he was sleeping?  Was his opinion that much of a threat to Muhammad?  Didn’t the angels help Muhammad at the Battle of Badr?  If so, why was Muhammad afraid of a 120 year old Jewish man?
  3. Are these “Islamic” values compatible with our values in America?  Should Americans who criticize Muhammad expect to have their freedom of speech threatened, or should they live in fear of being killed for speaking their mind?  Remember, Muslims in America have already begun to murder Americans for the sake of their religion.
  4. If Muhammad put this system in place, i.e., the murdering of people who disagree with him, how does it affect Islamic society?  How does it relate to what we have seen done in Islamic societies such as Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Sudan?  Is this type of brutal murder what Muslims want to live under?
  5. If Muhammad were alive today, and we knew of the people he had murdered, what would America say?  What would you say?  Wouldn’t we want to see this type of man pay for his crimes, put in jail for life, or even executed?
  6. Don’t we have the right to judge Muhammad according to the best moral standards we know of?  He claimed to be the last prophet of God.  He claimed his system was God’s final system for all mankind.  So by our standards, don’t you think that what Muhammad did was terribly wrong? If our standards are better than his, then how does his self asserted “prophethood” really rate? Why should our standards eclipse those of God’s final prophet?

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CONCLUSION

In order to achieve his carnal desires Muhammad had people murdered in cold blood.  One was a 120 year old man named Abu Afak.  We see that Muhammad’s efforts were really driven by his flesh and ego, not by God.  Abu Afak was a nuisance to Muhammad no doubt, just as people on different sides of an issue disagree and upset each other.  But no fair person could justify Muhammad’s murder of this man.

Jesus taught to love your enemies, to pray for those that persecute you.  Jesus didn’t teach to go around murdering people in the night.  Take the example of Christ and the Samaritans opposition to Jesus.

            “As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.  And he set messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.  When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”  And he said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”  And they went to another village.”  Luke 10:51-56

Who then really brought God’s message of His love to mankind?

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REFERENCES

(1)        “The Life of Muhammad”, a translation of Ibn Ishaq’s “Sirat Rasul Allah” (The Life of the Prophet of God) by A. Guillaume.  This book is the best biography of Muhammad available.  Note that Guillaume added in other references from Tabari, and other early Islamic writings.

(2)        “Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir”, (Book of the Major Classes), by Ibn Sa’d.  Translated by Moinul Haq, published by the Pakistan Historical Society

(3)        “23 YEARS:  A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad”, by Ali Dashti.  Translated by F.R.C. Bagley.

abu-afak.htm
Rev. A: 4-9-98

MUHAMMAD AND THE FEMALE CAPTIVES

MUHAMMAD AND THE FEMALE CAPTIVES

by Silas

INTRODUCTION

Muhammad and his followers fought many battles.  Some were offensive some were defensive.  Following a victory the Muslims would take captives, or prisoners of war.  Muhammad would usually distribute the captives, both male and female, as slaves to his soldiers.  Islam provides some basic rights to its slaves but these rights are limited.  Naturally, the rights or demands of the slave owner were greater than those of the slaves.

Female slaves were used for primarily for work.  But they also provided another service to their male masters ….

The material I present is detailed but it needs to be provided to document support from all Islamic sources.

Here is the source material I use.

  1. The Quran – N.J. Dawood’s translation.
  2. The Hadith collection of Bukhari.  This collection of stories / traditions is the second most important set of books in Islam.  It follows the Quran.
  3. The Hadith collection of Muslim, (third most important set of writings).
  4. The Hadith collection of Abu Dawud.
  5. The biography of Muhammad, known as “Sirat Rasulallah”, written by Ibn Ishaq, and translated by A. Guillaume as “The Life of Muhammad”, (the most authentic biography of Muhammad’s life).
  6. The biographical material found in Ibn Sa’d’s “Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir” (Book of the Major Classes).  This was translated by S. Moinul Haq.
  7. The History of Tabari.  This 39 volume set is almost finished being translated by a collection of both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars.

FROM THE QURAN – 70:22-30

“Not so the worshippers, who are steadfast in prayer, who set aside a due portion of their wealth for the beggar and for the deprived, who truly believe in the Day of Reckoning and dread the punishment of their Lord (for none is secure from the punishment of their Lord);  who restrain their carnal desire (save with their wives and their slave girls, for these are lawful to them:  he that lusts after other than these is a transgressor…”

This verse shows that Muslim men were allowed to have sex with their wives (of course) and their slave girls.

FROM THE QURAN – 23:5,6

“…who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave girls, for these are lawful to them…”

Again, Muslim men were allowed to have sexual relations with their wives and slave girls.

FROM THE QURAN – 4:24

“And all married women are forbidden unto you save those captives whom your right hand possess. It is a decree of Allah for you. (Muhammad Pickthall’s English translation of the Quran).

This verse is one verse out of a long passage dealing with who Muslim men can marry or have sexual relations with. The phrase “captives whom your right hand possess”, means the slave girls Muslim men own.

Note also that this passage deals with more than just marriage.  In Sahih Muslim volume 2, #3432, the background context for this Quranic verse is given.  It relates to the events at Autus, and it permitted the Muslim men to have sex with their female slaves.

FROM THE QURAN – 33:50

“Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives whom you have granted dowries and the slave girls whom God has given you as booty;…”

This verse is for Muhammad.  Supposedly, God allows Muhammad to have sex with his slave girls.

These verses establish that it was permissible for Muslim men to have sex with female slaves.

 

ISLAMIC EXAMPLES OF MUSLIM MEN HAVING SEX WITH THEIR FEMALE SLAVES.

Muhammad had sex with a slave girl named Mariyam.  He probably also had sex with another slave girl of his – Rayhana.

Mariyam was a Christian slave girl and she was given to Muhammad as a gift by the governor of Egypt.  Muhammad got her pregnant and she gave birth to a son.  Afterwards Muhammad married her.  The son died 18 months later.

Here is the reference.   NOTE:  Words in [ ] type brackets are mine

In the “Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir”, mention is made of Mariyah.  On page 151, it says

 “He [the Lord of Alexandria] presented to the prophet Mariyah, her sister Sirin, a donkey and a mule which was white….The apostle of Allah liked Mariyah who was of white complexion and curly hair and pretty…. Then he cohabited with Mariyah as a handmaid and sent her to his property which he had acquired from Banu al-Nadir.”

The note for the word “handmaid” says “Handmaids gained the status of wedded wives if they bore children.  They were called “umm walad” and became free.

This story is also supported by Tabari’s History, volume 39, page 194.  Here is the quote:   (my words are in ( ) parenthesis).

“He (Muhammad) used to visit her (Mariyam) there and ordered her to veil herself, [but] he had intercourse with her by virtue of her being his property.”

The note (845) on this says, “That is, Mariyah was ordered to veil herself as did the Prophet’s wives, but he did not marry her.”

 We see that Muhammad had sex with his female slave without marrying her, that it was legal in Islam for Muslim men to have sex with their female slaves.  They were after all, the Muslim man’s property.  Although the slave girls had some human rights, when it came to satisfying their master’s desires they had to comply.

Let’s examine some background material found in the Hadith’s of Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Dawud, and in the Sirat literature of Ibn Ishaq’s – “Sirat Rasulallah”, and Ibn Sa’d’s “Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir”.  Note that both Sirat works were written BEFORE the Hadith, but they do not supersede the Hadith or Quran in authenticity according to Muslim scholars.

FROM SAHIH BUKHARI – VOLUME 3, #432:

 Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri that while he was sitting with Allah’s messenger we said, “Oh Allah’s messenger, we got female captives as our booty, and we are interested in their prices, what is your opinion about coitus interruptus?”  The prophet said, “Do you really do that?  It is better for you not to do it.  No soul that which Allah has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence.”

(also refer to Bukhari Vol. 3, #718)

FROM SAHIH BUKHARI – VOLUME 9, #506:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri that during the battle with Bani Al-Mustaliq they (Muslims) captured some females and intended to have sexual relations with them without impregnating them.  So they asked the prophet about coitus interruptus.  The prophet said, “It is better that you should not do it, for Allah has written whom He is going to create till the Day of Resurrection”.

Qaza’a said, “I heard Abu Said saying that the prophet said, “No soul is ordained to be created but Allah will create it.””

(also ref. Bukhari 5:459).

FROM SAHIH BUKHARI – VOLUME 5, #637:

 Narrated Buraida:  The prophet sent Ali to Khalid to bring the Khumus (part of the war 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.”

The note for 637 explains that Buraida hated Ali for taking from the Khumus, and Buraida thought that was not good.

 

FROM SAHIH MUSLIM, VOLUME 2, #3371

            Abu Sirma said to Abu Said al Khudri:  “O Abu Said, did you hear Allah’s messenger mentioning about al-azl (coitus interruptus)?”  He said, “Yes”, and added:  “We went out with Allah’s messenger on the expedition to the Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them.  So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing azl” (withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception).  But we said:  “We are doing an act whereas Allah’s messenger is amongst us; why not ask him?”  So we asked Allah’s messenger and he said:  “It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born”.

FROM SAHIH MUSLIM, VOLUME 2, #3432

            Abu Said al-Khudri reported that at the Battle of Hunain Allah’s messenger sent an army to Autas and encountered the enemy and fought with them.  Having overcome them and taken them captives, the Companions of Allah’s messenger seemed to refrain from having intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists.  Then Allah, Most High, sent down regarding that:  “And women already married, except those whom your right hands possess (Quran – 4:24), (i.e. they were lawful for them when their Idda (menstrual) period came to an end).

FROM THE HADITH OF THE SUNAN OF ABU DAWUD, VOLUME 2, # 2150:

            Abu Said al-Khudri said:  “The apostle of Allah sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain.  They met their enemy and fought with them.  They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the apostle of Allah were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Quranic verse, “And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess”.  That is to say, they are lawful for them when they complete their waiting period.”  [The Quran verse is 4:24].

The note on this Hadith says that “After the distribution of the spoils of war a man may have intercourse with the female slave after passing one menstrual period, if she is not pregnant.  If she is pregnant one should wait till she delivers the child.  This is the view held by Malik, al-Shafi and Abu Thawr.  Abu Hanifah holds that if both the husband and wife are captivated together, their marriage tie still continues; they will not be separated.  According to the majority of scholars, they will be separated.  Al-Awzai maintains that their marriage tie will continue till they remain part of the spoils of war.  If a man buys them, he may separate them if he desires, and cohabit with the female slave after one menstrual period.

FROM THE HADITH OF THE SUNAN OF ABU DAWUD, VOLUME 2, #2167:

            Muhaririz said:  “I entered the mosque and saw Abu Said al-Khudri.  I sat with him and asked about withdrawing the penis (while having intercourse), Abu Said said:  We went out with the Apostle of Allah on the expedition to Banu al-Mustaliq, and took some Arab women captive, and we desired the women, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, and we wanted ransom; so we intended to withdraw the penis (while having intercourse with the slave-women).  But we asked ourselves:  “Can we draw the penis when the apostle of Allah is among us before asking him about it?”  So we asked him about it.  He said, “It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.””

The note on 2167 says:  “This means that the Companions wanted to have intercourse with the slave girls, but they were afraid of conception.  In case they were pregnant and gave birth to a child they could not be sold as it was prohibited that a slave mother should be sold.  So they withdrew the penis while having intercourse with them.  By this they meant to sell the slave girls and obtain the ransom.”

 

COMMENT ON HADITH

All of these Hadith relate to Muslim soldiers having sexual relations with newly captured female slaves.  In some cases the women’s husbands were still alive.  After a battle, the captured women and children were divided between the Muslim soldiers as “booty”, or spoils of war.

In Bukhari Volume 5 #637, it is shown that Ali had sex with one of the females before the distribution of “Khumus” occurred.  This “Khumus” was 1/5 of the war booty to be used by Muhammad and his family, (Ali was Muhammad’s son-in-law), and be used and distributed to the poor and needy.  Here, Khalid, himself a member of Muhammad’s family, took part of the Khumus prior to the distribution.  That is why Buraida hated him in this case.  Note that Muhammad supported Ali in this.  There was no reproof at all.  If anything, Muhammad thought Ali deserved more!

Here is the point:  Muslim men were allowed to use female slaves for sex.  If the slave was not pregnant she could be sold at a slave market.  This is what Muhammad’s soldiers intended to do.

CORROBORATING MATERIAL FROM THE SIRAT LITERATURE

Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad, “Sirat Rasulallah”, is the most reliable extent biography of Muhammad available today.  It corroborates the events with the Mustaliq on pages 490 and 493.  This event took place just before Aisha was accused of having sexual relations with another man.

It also corroborates the events at Autas on pages 574-576.  This event took place just after the initial battle of Hunain.

Ibn Sa’d corroborates the events at Autas (Awtus) on pages 187, 188.  He notes that 6000 slaves were taken.

 

ANALYSIS

The Hadith I quoted show that:

  1. The Muslim men were out in the field, and took female captives following a battle.
  2. They were divided up between the men and the men were very horny.  They were without their wives who were back home.
  3. So, the men prepared to have sex with the females, out on the field, away from home, and asked Muhammad about coitus interruptus.  They didn’t want to get the females pregnant because they wanted to later sell the female slaves for money.  Had they gotten them pregnant the Muslim men would be forced to be responsible for the children.
  4. Marriage wasn’t required to have sex with the females.  Listen to the men’s own words…. “we were interested in their prices”, i.e., they wanted to sell them.  No Muslim man would marry a women intending to sell her later.  That is not what “nikah” – marriage was all about.  These men wanted to have sex with their slaves, enjoy them, and they later sell them.
  5. And if you note what Ali did, – had sex with a female before the “human booty” was divided up between the Muslim soldiers.  Muhammad allowed him to do this.

What does all of this boil down to?  Muslim men were allowed to have intercourse with their female slaves after the slaves had had one menstrual period.  The reason for waiting one menstrual cycle was to insure that the female slaves were not already pregnant prior to being captured.

In some cases, the female slave’s husbands were also captives and it was still legal for the Muslim men to have sex with the female captives. Muhammad received a “revelation” allowing the Muslim men to have sex with the female slaves while there were still married to their captive husbands.  A note on the Hadith says that according to Islam, when the married couple is captured, their marriage is automatically annulled!

Muslims did not need to marry the female slave or give her any type of dowry in order to have sex with her.

Muslims did not need to have the female slave’s permission to have intercourse with her.   She was his property, (as was noted by Tabari), and thus, as property, the Muslim owner had an Allah-given right to have intercourse with her if he desired.  I have yet to find one Quranic verse or Hadith that says that the female’s slave’s permission was required.  All Hadith and Quranic verses that pertain to Muslim men having intercourse with female slaves always put the option on the slave-owning man, whether he wants it or not.  The slaves were not given a choice.

THE MUSLIM MEN WERE RAPING THEIR FEMALE SLAVES AND MUHAMMAD ALLOWED IT!

Think about it from the women’s point of view.  A battle is fought and her side lost.  Many of the husbands, fathers, and sons are now dead.  Some have been captured.  The women and children are also taken as captives.  Imagine the horror of the females.  Family members dead, homes and possessions are now gone, they are in the total power of their captors.

The captives are distributed amongst the Muslim men as slaves, husband and wife captives are separated.  As soon as a female has her menstrual cycle her owner appears.  He has been separated from his wife for a while out on the field of battle, sexually hungry, and he proceeds to have sex with his female slave.

Do you think that this female slave willingly has intercourse with him?  Is that her wish?  She has just experienced one of the most horrible events in her life, – the destruction of her tribe and family, the taking of her possessions, and being made someone’s slave, and now she willing consents to have sex with the very men who brought this disaster upon her!? Of course not!  What women would look upon with loving eyes the men that brought destruction upon her family and tribe!

Would Jesus Christ allow soldiers to rape female slaves?

What would the world say if Israel allowed its soldiers to take Palestinian females prisoner and rape them?  There would be a horrible outcry!

Examine the events in Kosovo and Bosnia. Here the same situation occurred. The Muslims were defeated by the Serbs and some Serbs raped Muslims. It is a horrible crime and we all condemn it. But if we examine what Muhammad allowed his soldiers to do we see that their actions are identical. Muhammad’s standards were no better and actually worse than Serbs who raped Muslim women. It is worse because Muhammad gave it religious sanction and validity for all Muslim men.

The Japanese did this to the Chinese, Korean and Filipino women during WWII.  The Germans did likewise to the Russian women.  In a similar way the Muslim soldiers only waited a few weeks to do likewise to their female captives.

           

Muhammad and his soldiers treated these female slaves just like the Japanese did to their female captives.  Much has been written condemning the treatment of black slaves in the West: how much more should a man who claimed to be a prophet of God be condemned for these acts?
 

DISCUSSION

Some attention needs to be paid to the Quranic term used here for slave.  I’m told that the Quranic classical Arabic reads ‘ma malakat aymanukum’.

Let’s examine a fuller definition of this term.  Starting with the Encyclopedia of Islam, Published by E.J. Brill, Vol. 1, page 24 under the word ‘abd’, it says:

“Abd is the ordinary word for ‘slave’ in Arabic of all periods, more particularly for “male slave”, “female slave” being ama.  On the other hand, the Quran frequently uses the term “rakaba”, literally “neck, nape of the neck”, and still more frequently, the periphrasis “ma malakat aymanukum – “that which your (their) right hand possesses”.

So, the Quran uses the phrase “that which your right hand possesses” as a term for slave.

Moving to the Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam, we find similar.  Under “mamluk” it says:

“The term (mamluk) owes its origin probably to the current phrase of the Quran ma malakat aimanukum – “what your right hand possesses”, a general designation of slaves without specialization of gender.”

Referencing Hughes Dictionary of Islam, page 596 on slavery, it says:

“The term generally used in the Quran for slaves is “ma malakat aimanukum”, – “that which your right hand possesses.”

There is no doubt that ‘right hand possesses’ is a phrase used to describe a slave, whether newly captured or not.

Some Muslims may feel that I have taken the Quran and Hadith out of context.  Here is supporting material from famous Islamic scholars.

SUPPORT FROM ISLAMIC SCHOLARS ALLOWING MUSLIM MEN TO HAVE SEX WITH FEMALE SLAVES

1)         Dr. Abdul Latif, from Al-Azhar writes “The second reason (to take slaves) is the sexual propagation of slaves which would generate more slaves for the owner.”  [Taken from “You Ask, Islam Answers, page 51,52].

2)         The great Islamic scholar Ibn Timmiya wrote:

            “The one who owns the mother also owns her children.  Being the master of the mother makes him the owner of her children whether they were born to a husband or they were illegitimate children.  Therefore, the master has the right to have sexual intercourse with the daughters of his maid slave because they are the daughters of his property, provided he does not sleep with the mother at the same time”…Vol. 35, page 54.

3)   I also want to note that Umar, the 2nd Caliph also committed what seems to be rape of a female slave.  From Ibn Sa’d, volume 2, Page 438  “A slave girl passed by me who attracted me, and I cohabited with her while I was fasting”.

In effect, during his fast, he noticed an attractive slave girl.  He used her sexually.  There is no mention of her being his “wife”.  There is no mention that he ever “married” her.  She looked good, and he took her.

QUESTIONS

  1. Do Muslims really understand how brutal a man Muhammad was?  He willingly allowed those women to be raped!  Why do Muslims follow such a man if they know he did such evil actions?
  2. Do Muslims in this day and age adhere to this barbaric act?  Would they allow the rape non-Muslim slaves in the Muslim world today?  Even in Mecca in 1960 there were black slave markets in operation.
  3. Why do non-Muslim standards exceed those of a man who claimed to be God’s final messenger?  If Muhammad were really the final prophet, why were his standards to poor?  Why did he allow, even support such, abusive actions?  Wouldn’t we call a man who did this a criminal today?

 

SUMMARY

So, all three main sources of Islam – the Quran, the Hadith, and the Sirat all support Muslim men, including Muhammad, having sex with female slaves.  Also, both prior and present Islamic scholars also declare that Muslim men can have sex with female slaves.

           

These verses from the Quran and Hadith prove that Muhammad allowed his men to do to female slaves what essentially amounts to as RAPE.  No true prophet of God would willing allow this.  The icing on the cake is that Muhammad claimed to receive “revelations” from Allah permitting this.  One has to ask what kind of god Muhammad really worshipped.
 

 

APPENDIX 1:  A MUSLIM’S ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY THE RAPE BASED UPON DEUTERONOMY

            A Muslim seeking to justify Muhammad’s evil actions implies that God allowed the rape of female slaves in the Old Testament.  He asks the following question:

”So what do you think the God of the Bible is telling you here……..and since you believe Jesus to be God he is also telling you this:” [Deut 21:10 – 14]

Deuteronomy 21:10-14: “When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.”

Here is the same passage from the NIV.

 DT 21:10 When you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.


RESPONSE

The answer to the question:  “What is God telling His people to do?”

It is obvious that God is speaking to His people about marriage to a woman who was captured as a slave.  And kindness, protection and marriage is the context of the passage.

Looking at the passage there is not even the hint of a rape.  In fact, just the opposite is given.  When a woman who is not a Jew is made a captive, and the Israelite falls in love with her because of her beauty, he is not allowed to touch her for those 30 days so that she may mourn the loss of her family and country.  The intention of this law is to protect her against any rude passion on the part of the man (i.e., rape), and give her time to get used to the Jewish culture and begin to learn an affection for the man.  This law provided protection from her against rape.  This is not to be simply a thing of passion, but of true love and care.  It is a compassionate law for this foreign woman taken in war.  Remember this woman was a Gentile, and as such was not expected to have the covenant protection as a Jewish woman would have been.  But this law is giving her that protection.  She is to be given the status of a woman in Israel and is not to be regarded as a slave, or simply as contraband from the battle.  She was to be treated with dignity.

Now the question comes at verse 13 where at the end of the 30 days the man is then allowed to go into her (i.e., have intercourse)…but as a wife.  Is this verse suggesting rape?  Not at all.  It is upholding the normal sexual union permitted a man and a wife.

M.G. Kline (perhaps one of the leading Old Testament theologians of the last century) commented on Deut. 21:10-14:

This first of three stipulations concerned with the authority of the head of the household (cf. vv. 15-21) deals with the limits of the husband’s authority over his wife.  The case of a captive woman (vv. 10,11; cf. 20:14; contrast 7:3) is used as a case in point for establishing the rights of the wife, perhaps because the principle would obviously apply, a fortiori in the case of an Israelite wife.  On the purificatory acts of verses 12b, 13a, which signified removal from captive-slave status, compare Lev. 14:8; Num. 8:7.

On the month’s mourning, see Num 20:29 and Deut 34:8.  this period would provide for the achieving of inward composure for beginning a new life, as well as for an appropriate expression of filial piety.  14.  Thou shalt not sell her.  A wife might not be reduced to slave status, not even the wife who had been raised from slave status.  …then thou shalt let her go whither she will.  The severance of  the marriage relationship is mention here only incidentally to the statement of the main principle that a man’s authority did not extend to the right of reducing his wife to a slave.  This dissolution of the marriage would have

to be accomplished according to the laws of divorce in the theocracy (cf. Deut. 24:1-4).  Not the divorce was mandatory, but the granting of freedom  in case the man should determine to divorce his wife according to the permission granted by Moses because of the hardness of their hearts (cf. Matt 19:8).  [Wycliff Bible Commentary (London:  Oliphants, Ltd., 1963), p. 184].

Then Chief Rabbi J. H. Hertz (late chief rabbi of the British Empire) has said this:  “A female war-captive was not to be made a concubine till after an interval of a month.  The bitter moments of the captive’s first grief had to be respected.  She must not subsequently be sold or treated as a slave.  12.  bring her home.  This law inculcates thoughtfulness and forbearance under circumstances in which the warrior, elated by victory, might deem himself at liberty to act as he pleased (Driver).  ‘After the countless rapes of conquered women with which recent history has made us so painfully familiar, it is like hearing soft music to read of the warrior’s duty to the enemy woman, of the necessary marriage with its set ritual and its due delay.  And the Legislator proceeds to trace the course of the husband’s duty in the event of the conquered alien woman failing to bring him the expected delight.  ‘Then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not deal with her as a slave, because thou hast humbled her'” (Zangwill)….13.  she shall be thy wife.  And enjoy the full rights and duties of a Jewish wife; Exodus xxi, 10.14.  no delight in her, i.e. no longer any delight in her.  The Rabbis deemed such a marriage a concession to human weakness, as a preventive against worse manifestations of the unbridled passions of man…humbled her.  Dishonored her.”   [Pentateuch & Haftorahs, edited by Dr. J H Hertz (London: The Soncino Press Limited, 1960), p. 840.]

The question of allowed rape seems to me is not what the traditional Jewish understanding.  You have to comprehend what the Heb. text says.  The Hebrew for the verb “dishonor” (NIV) in v. 14 is `inah, which can mean sexual abuse.  But it is used in v. 14 to describe a subsequent time, as seen in Hebrew  wehayah (“and when it will happen”), which begins v. 14, when he refuses to continue to be her husband but to send her away.  In that case, he can no longer treat her as a captive.  The act “going into her” (v. 13) after 30 days was to become her husband.

Additional Judaistic references are found in these:

Deuteronomy [Devarim] the traditional Hebrew text with the new JPS translation / commentary by Jeffrey H. Tigay.

Studies in Devarim (Deuteronomy)  by Nehama Leibowitz ; translated and adapted from the Hebrew by Aryeh Newman.

Sifre:a Tannaitic commentary on the book of Deuteronomy  translated from the Hebrew with introduction and notes by Reuven Hammer.

The main point of this text is the compassion the Lord has on the foreign woman taken in battle.  The man is not allowed to rape her, but to treat her with all the respect a wife of the covenant is due.  If a Muslim reads this as rape, then he must be reading his own cultural bias into it.  But that is not the Biblical understanding of a woman.  What this text is saying is that even in battle, a woman was not to be raped by a Jew.  If he really wanted her — he had to marry her.  And even then, he had to wait a month to let the passion wear off, and for her to get used to the new culture she was about to be committed to, and to mourn for her own father.  The context of the passage is very clear, it is very easy.  How has he dishonored her if he sends her away?  Not because he raped her, but because she has been cast away, discarded as unwanted.  Divorce was an embarrassing thing (even as it was in this country 50 years ago).

 

COMPARISON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT VS. ISLAM’S TREATMENT OF FEMALE SLAVES

Let’s compare the two cases.  This will show clearly Islam’s brutal system.  Below are two Hadith – one with provides the context of a Quranic verse.

FROM SAHIH MUSLIM, VOLUME 2, #3371

            Abu Sirma said to Abu Said al Khudri:  “O Abu Said, did you hear Allah’s messenger mentioning about al-azl (coitus interrupts)?”  He said, “Yes”, and added:  “We went out with Allah’s messenger on the expedition to the Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them.  So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing azl” (withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception).  But we said:  “We are doing an act whereas Allah’s messenger is amongst us; why not ask him?”  So we asked Allah’s messenger and he said:  “It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born”.

FROM SAHIH MUSLIM, VOLUME 2, #3432

            Abu Said al-Khudri reported that at the Battle of Hunain Allah’s messenger sent an army to Autas and encountered the enemy and fought with them.  Having overcome them and taken them captives, the Companions of Allah’s messenger seemed to refrain from having intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists.  Then Allah, Most High, sent down regarding that:  “And women already married, except those whom your right hands possess (Quran – 4:24), (i.e. they were lawful for them when their Idda (menstrual) period came to and end).

COMPARISON

1M)     Muslims were allowed to take female captives / slaves.

1J)       Israelites were allowed to take female captives / slaves.

2M)     Muslim men had to wait until the female had her first period, then they could rape the female slaves – a right recognized in          Islam because the slave was the man’s property:  this is stated in Tabari’s History, volume 39, page 194.  Here is the quote:         (my words are in ( ) parenthesis).

“He (Muhammad) used to visit her (Mariyam) there and ordered her to veil herself, [but] he had intercourse with her by virtue           of her being his property.”

2J)       Israelite men had to wait an entire month before they could marry the woman.

3M)     Muslim men did not have to allow the woman a time to mourn.

3J)       Israelite men had to give the woman a month to mourn.

4M)     Muslim men did not have to marry the slave in order to have sex with her.

4J)       Israelite men had to marry the slave in order to have sex with her.  This marriage gave the woman full rights as a free woman.            And, in the event of a divorce, she had complete freedom.

5M)     Muslim men could use the slave for sex, then later sell her to another owner who could use her for sex, and so on.

5J)       Israelite men could not sell the woman they married as a slave.

6M)     Muslim men had the option, but was not obligated to marry or free her.  He was not obligated to change her status of slave.

6J)       Israelite men “purified” their prospective wives as cleansed from slavery’s status.

PRAYER FOR SALVATION This prayer is written for anyone.  This includes Muslims who are seeking the truth and who want to know God in a personal way.             “Lord Jesus, I believe in You.  I believe that You are the Son of God and the Lord.  I believe that You died for my sins and were raised from the dead.  I confess that I am a sinner and I ask You to come into my heart, cleanse me from my sins, and forgive me for my sins.  I turn to follow and obey You.  I now receive You as Messiah and Lord and totally commit my life to You.”

 

femalecaptives.htm

Rev A:  8-18-97,  Rev B:  5-31-99,  Rev C:  9/16/01

Rev D:  12/21/01 — Added appendix 1 concerning Deut. 21:10 – 14, and Prayer for Salvation

 

Time for Catholics to Reconsider Islam and the “Prophet” Muhammad?

Time for Catholics to Reconsider Islam and the “Prophet” Muhammad?

Islam is inseparable from Muhammad. If Muhammad was a false prophet who presented a false picture of Jesus, then Islam, despite whatever truths it contains, is a false religion.
Pope Francis talks with Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar mosque and university, during a private meeting at the Vatican May 23. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)

In recent months, some prominent Catholics have taken pains to emphasize the supposedly special ties between Islam and Catholicism.  In an editorial for The Angelus, the Los Angeles archdiocesan newspaper, Fr. Ronald Rolheiser called for greater solidarity with Islam.  More recently, Msgr. Stuart Swetland, president of Donnelly College, appeared to suggest that Catholics are required to believe in the peaceful nature of Islam.  Meanwhile, in Rome, a delegation of U.S. bishops and a delegation of Iranian religious leaders issued a joint statement which include this paragraph:

Christianity and Islam share a commitment to love and respect for the life, dignity, and welfare of all members of the human community…We hold a common commitment to peaceful coexistence and mutual respect.

Iranian religious leaders are committed to peaceful coexistence?  The peaceful nature of Islam is binding Catholic doctrine?  We should be seeking greater solidarity with Islam?  Such talk might have resonated with Catholics a few years ago, but now it has a dated quality about it.  It flies in the face of facts with which we are now all familiar.

If nothing else, the recent push to put a happy face on Islam is a case of very bad timing.  The American bishops’ faith in their Iranian counterparts comes at a time when all the evidence suggests that the chief commitment of Iranian religious leaders is to the destruction of the “Great Satan” (America).  And while Church leaders are plumping for greater solidarity with Islam, much of the rest of the world wants nothing to do with it. In Europe, for example, various polls have shown that a majority of citizens believe that Islam does not belong in Europe. Angela Merkel’s party is doing badly in German elections precisely because of her Islam-friendly policy. If the Church continues to pursue solidarity with Islam, it is likely to alienate a great many non-Muslims. In Europe, for example, it will be increasingly identified with the secular elites whom many now view as traitors for having facilitated Islam’s cultural putsch.

But these are pragmatic reasons for not pursuing solidarity with Islam. Are there any theological reasons?

Ironically, one reason that many Catholics take an optimistic view of Islam is also the chief reason for doubting that there can be any reconciliation with Islam. Some Catholics make much of the fact that Jesus is mentioned in the Koran and is honored by Muslims as a great prophet. This respect for Jesus, they assume, is a guarantee that Islam cannot be too far away from the truth. But the fact that Jesus is included in Islamic tradition is a two-edged sword.

Saint Paul specifically warns about the misappropriation of Jesus:

“For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached…or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough” (2 Cor 11: 4).

Six hundred years after Paul, Muhammad came along and started preaching a different Jesus—a very different Jesus. If anything, the Muslim Jesus is an anti-Jesus; he directly contradicts the claims of the Jesus of the Gospels. In the Koran, Allah addresses the “people of the Book” (Christians) and warns them to speak the truth about God: “The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was no more than God’s apostle…So believe in God and His apostles and do not say ‘Three’ [‘Trinity’ in some translations]…God forbid that he should have a son!” (4: 171).

That’s a flat denial of the Trinity and a rejection of the Fatherhood of God and the Sonship of Jesus. In other places, Allah denies the Incarnation and the Crucifixion. It’s not as though these are peripheral teachings of the Church whose denial can be overlooked for the sake of fellowship. These beliefs are the foundation of the Faith.

Muslims hold that Muhammad did not write the Koran, but merely recited what Allah had told him. Thus, there are two contradictory revelations. In one, God tells us that He is a Trinity and that Jesus is the Son of the Father. In the other “revelation,” Allah says he is not a Trinity and he curses those who say that Jesus is the Son of God.

Not much wiggle-room there. This is not a misunderstanding that can be papered over with dialogue and happy talk about shared respect for Jesus. It’s not the same Jesus. And, unless you want to dispense with the laws of logic, it’s not the same God.

Islam stands apart from other non-Christian religions in its specific rejection of Christian tenets. Jesus is in the Koran not because Muhammad revered him, but because Muhammad wanted to put him in his place. In order to establish himself as the final prophet of God, Muhammad had to first undercut the Christian claim that Jesus is the fulfillment of all prophecy. Rather cleverly, he did not reject Jesus. Instead, he appropriated him for his own purposes. To clear the way for his own prophethood, he reassigned Jesus as a Muslim prophet.

Although Jesus is supposedly a great prophet in Islam, he doesn’t have a great deal to say or do in the Koran. By contrast, Muhammad is mentioned frequently. The phrase “God and His Apostle” recurs throughout the Koran. There are many dozens of admonitions along the order of “Believe in God and His Apostle,” “Obey God and His Apostle,” and “Have faith in God and His Apostle.”

According to Islamic teaching, assigning a partner to God is the worst possible sin—the very sin that Christians have committed by identifying Christ as the Son of God. Yet, in effect, Muhammad assigned himself the position of partner to Allah. Read through the Koran and see how many times the two are mentioned in the same breath. One gets the impression that obeying Muhammad is the equivalent of obeying Allah. In fact, verse 4: 80 says just that: “He that obeys the Apostle obeys God.” And verse 4: 149 warns believers not to “draw a line between God and His Apostle.”

As presented in the Koran and in Islamic tradition, Allah and Muhammad are a package deal. You can’t have one without the other. The Islamic confession of faith declares that “there is no God but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” As a Muslim, you are not allowed to dispense with the second half. In Reliance of the Traveller, one of the most authoritative guides to Islamic belief, we read:

Allah has made him [Muhammad] the highest of mankind, rejecting anyone’s attesting to the divine oneness by saying ‘There is no God but Allah,’ unless they also attest to the Prophet by saying ‘Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’ (v 2.1)

In Islam, Muhammad is referred to simply as the Prophet. But what kind of prophet was he? Here’s a hint. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns his listeners to “beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mt. 7:15). Does Muhammad qualify as a false prophet? It would seem so. He proclaims that God is not a Trinity and that Jesus is neither divine nor a savior. He rejects almost all of the central Christian teachings.

Was Muhammad a false prophet? It could be reasonably argued that he was the false prophet par excellence—perhaps the person whom Jesus had most in mind when he delivered his warning. There were false prophets in the days of Peter and Paul, but does anyone remember their names? Did any of them found a religion that is still alive and growing? Could any of them claim a following of 1.6 billion people?

There is a curious lack of curiosity about Muhammad on the part of Catholic leaders. He is not mentioned in Nostra Aetate, the document on which the current optimistic assessment of Islam is built. He is not mentioned in the Catholic Catechism’s statement on the Church’s relationship with the Muslims. He is not, as far as I know, mentioned by Pope Francis, although Francis has spoken favorably about Islam on several occasions.

But Islam is inseparable from Muhammad. If he was a false prophet who presented a false picture of Jesus, then Islam, despite whatever truths it contains, is a false religion. For prudential reasons, you might not want to shout that from the rooftops. On the other hand, you ought not keep insisting that Catholics share much in common with Islam.

Fortunately, there are signs that the Church’s Pollyannaish view of Islam may be in for a revision. The Church’s Islam policy is coming under increasing scrutiny. Up until a year or two ago, Catholic journalists tended to avoid the subject of Islam except to report on terrorist attacks or on the Pope’s meetings with imams. As for news analysis, most writers simply echoed the Vatican’s semi-official narrative that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. More recently, however, Catholic columnists have begun to question that narrative. More and more Catholic writers and intellectuals are taking a closer, more clear-eyed look at the Church’s relationship with Islam.

A number of bishops and cardinals have also begun to question the Church’s stance on Islam. American Cardinal Raymond Burke, Hungarian Bishop Lazlo Kiss-Rigo, Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares, and Iraqi archbishops Louis Sako and Amel Shamon Nona, along with others have expressed dissatisfaction with Church policy on Islam and/or Vatican policy on Muslim migration.

Most importantly, the dogmatic authority of Nostra Aetate has come into question in higher Church circles. This is significant because the two paragraphs on the Muslims in that document are the linchpin of the argument that Christianity and Islam are similar faiths that share much in common. But according to Archbishop Guido Pozzo, the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, “Nostra Aetate does not have any dogmatic authority, and thus one cannot demand from anyone to recognize this declaration as being dogmatic.”

Nostra Aetate seems to have been intended primarily as a gesture of outreach to non-Christian religions. But somehow, over the years, it came to be seen by many as the Church’s final and definitive statement on Islam. It became the trump card in any discussion of Islam among Catholics. Catholics who questioned the Church’s pro-Islam policies were told that the Church had spoken, and that was that.

Now that Nostra Aetate is being put in proper perspective, the way is open for Catholics to develop a fuller, more reality-based picture of Islam. Hopefully, they will not waste any time in doing so.

False Prophet Muhammad, Fairytale Muhammad, and Harley Talman – part three

False Prophet Muhammad, Fairytale Muhammad, and Harley Talman – part three

By Silas

This three part series assesses the question “should some type of legitimate prophethood be conferred upon Muhammad.” (Part 1, Part 2)  In this third part we conclude the examination of Harley Talman’s argument.

Issue c) the criteria for prophethood

Talman’s criteria for evaluating a true or false prophet:

In this section, I will demonstrate the inadequacy of the most commonly used criteria for validating or rejecting prophets (their moral blamelessness, their absence of hostility with Christianity or their performance of miracles).  Instead I will propose that the most important issue is their attitude toward Christ and the Scriptures. (p10)

Talman establishes “attitude toward Christ and our Scriptures” as his primary prophethood evaluation criteria and subsequently supports his argument with assertions based on Old Testament leaders and events.

This topic was discussed in Part 1 which identified the primary Biblical criteria for determining a true or false prophet: a) did the person’s message align with the Gospel message?, and b) did the person have strong moral conduct? (cf. Matthew 7:15, 16).  Against those, Muhammad fails.  Talman refrains from using Scripture but rather uses his own theory: attitude toward Jesus and the very same Scriptures that provide actual requirements.


Muhammad’s attitude towards which Jesus?

Talman builds his argument using Muhammad’s view of Christ:

1. Regarding allegiance/relationship (with Christ) it was very positive, though more distant than in the NT. Jesus is presented as unique—bearing titles and ascriptions that exalt him far above all other prophets and the Qur’an strongly affirms the biblical Scriptures that bear witness to him. (p12)

Talman references respectful statements about Jesus found throughout the Quran.  That is true.  However, we must take the whole of the Quran to evaluate Muhammad’s attitude towards Christ.

Just as Talman questioned “which Muhammad?” so too we can question, “which Jesus was Muhammad talking about?”  During the times of the early church there were people preaching “a different Jesus” and in the world today there are religious bodies which preach a different Jesus, e.g. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons.  Just as the Mormon Jesus is radically different from Christianity’s Jesus, so too is Muhammad’s Jesus.  Therefore, the question “Which Jesus was Muhammad talking about?” is pertinent.


Muhammad’s Jesus is not the Son of God

An evaluation of Muhammad’s description of Jesus based on the entirety of his statements in the Quran tells me that Muhammad was talking about a different Jesus.  Muhammad’s Jesus has significant differences with the Biblical Jesus.  The most important being that Muhammad emphatically denied that Jesus is the Son of God.  Sura 112:3:  “He begets not, nor is He begotten.”  Contrast Muhammad’s denial with Peter’s affirmation:

… Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  (Matthew 16:13-17

It wasn’t good enough that some said that Jesus was a great prophet.  That didn’t cut it.  That was honorable, but insufficient.  This is only as far as Muhammad could go.  In contrast to Muhammad, Peter nailed it when he said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of God.”  Note that Peter tied being the Messiah with being the Son of God.  Note that Jesus said that Peter’s words were “revelation from God.”

Jesus believed that identifying Himself as the Son of God was critical.  So did Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin.  During his interrogation of Jesus the moment of truth came with his final challenge:

…The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”  “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!”  (Matthew 26:63-66)

Jesus faced a life or death decision:  say He was the Son of God and die, deny He was the Son of God and live.  Jesus chose truth, He spoke truth:  He was the Messiah, the Son of God.  That important question, and more important answer, cost Him great pain and His life.  Just as those Jews persecuted Jesus for saying He was the Son of God, so too today, Muslims persecute Christians who say Jesus is the Son of God. Yes, Jesus’s Sonship is important.

Note here that what Jesus identified as “revelation” to Peter, that Jesus is the Son of God, contradicts Muhammad’s “revelation” in the Quran.  Therefore, either our God is an idiot, or we are talking about two separate Gods.  I’m with option #2.

In light of the truth and glory given to Christ as the Son of God, Muhammad’s sura 112 is a very negative statement about Jesus.  Muhammad didn’t intend to denigrate Jesus; he was ignorant, misled, or deceived.  Nevertheless, the spiritual and theological ramifications of his denial are very negative:  faith in Jesus as the Son of God is a requisite for eternal life:  “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”  1 John 5:12


The importance of Jesus as the Son of God

From another perspective, in the vein of Talman’s belief that “revelation” was given to Muhammad, I think it is fair to ask, “Why didn’t God give Muhammad the revelation that Peter received?”  After all, “Gabriel” had Muhammad’s ear for 23 years!  Don’t you think that just once, just once in those 23 years, that he could have told Muhammad,1 that Jesus is the Son of God?  Instead, Gabriel tells Muhammad the opposite, that Jesus is not the Son of God!  This denial by Muhammad and his Allah is repeated strongly.  To me, this is a mountain, to Talman, it is a molehill.

Muhammad and Allah agree with me.  Islam views the belief that “Jesus is the Son of God” as a mountain.  However, it is a stumbling block to them and they argue it from the other side of the spectrum:  Muhammad did not tolerate anyone proclaiming Jesus as God’s Son.  Here are two versions of the Quran 9:30:

Sahih International:  The Jews say, “Ezra is the son of Allah “; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah.” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved (before them). May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?

Pickthall:  And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!

“May Allah destroy them” is a curse from Muhammad and Allah.  It is not a prayer, plea, or hope for guidance, rather it is a curse for destruction.  This verse is understood as the direct speech of Allah himself.

Jesus says believing that He is the Son of God is revelation from God, Muhammad says believing that Jesus is the Son of God is cursed by Allah.  If Jesus is the Son of God then isn’t Muhammad cursing Him?

Isn’t Allah fighting and killing Christians who believe Jesus is the Son of God serious?2Doesn’t that verse alone give Muslims cover to persecute, attack, and kill Christians?  Talman over looks this by saying:  “I am persuaded that these verses attack aberrant, not biblical, Christianity.” (p12)  Crone’s criticisms of Donner’s “Christology” argument, that Jesus’s divinity is addressed, are applicable here as well.  Muhammad denied any possibility of Jesus being God’s Son.

Further, you’ll not find many Muslims agreeing with Talman and you’ll not find any Islamic scholars agreeing that the orthodox Christian definition of “Son of God” is acceptable.  You’ll just get rebuffed and mocked.  Islam categorically denies Jesus is the Son of God in any way, shape, or form.  Talman is re-inventing Islam to suit his own particular gumby theology.


Different Jesuses: Muhammad cursed!

As mentioned, during the time of the early church there were people preaching a different Jesus and different Gospels.  Paul addressed them:

For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, (2 Corinthians 11:4).

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!  (Galatians 1:6-9).

Notice that Paul repeats God’s curse on false messengers?  He does not do that often does he?  Proclaiming false Christs and false gospels is a vile sin!

But isn’t this exactly what Muhammad did?  The Quran, as Allah’s pure word, quotes false Gospels that present a false Jesus.  For example, the Quran quotes the Arabic Infancy Gospel in 19:28-33, and the Protevangelium of James in 3:37, and the Nativity of Mary in 3:44.  There’s a long list of New Testament Apocrypha quotes in the Quran.  That gospel, the message that the “angel” gave Muhammad, was a different gospel than Christianity’s gospel.  Therefore I say, according to our Scriptural standard, “God’s curse is upon Muhammad!”


Prophet’s sins, violence, and covenants.

Talman makes a number of other points to buttress his argument, three of which I wish to address.

P1) Talman attempts to justify Muhammad’s sins by pointing out that Solomon and David committed gross sins yet God used them.  He argues that if Solomon and David were immoral and sinful, but still considered prophets, why couldn’t the same standard be applied to Muhammad?

David committed adultery and shed innocent blood in order to cover up his sin. Solomon, who authored three books in the OT canon, makes Muhammad’s weakness for women pale in comparison to his passions; (p10)

P2)  He defends Muhammad’s use of force by citing Joshua’s use of force:

Are we also to condemn Joshua, who was divinely directed to undertake a campaign of total annihilation of the Canaanites (including their children)?  (p11)

P3)  He suggests that Muhammad was living faithfully against the theology of the Old Testament covenant:

It may be that Muhammad was living faithfully according to the theology of a previous dispensation. (p11)


R1)  Their sins justifies Muhammad’s sins

Regarding the sins of David and Solomon, (and others he mentioned) Talman fails to note that they were identified as sins and condemned; whereas Muhammad taught his sinful actions, such as the murder of a mother of five children, Asma bint Marwan3were blessed by God.  The contrast here is that the Israelite’s God condemned sin, Muhammad’s Allah blessed it.


R2)  Their violence justifies Muhammad’s violence.

If you examine Muhammad’s theology of jihad, it was far more reaching and brutal than the rules of warfare that God laid out for Israel.  This topic requires a great deal of discussion, far more than can be done here.  However, if you wish to make a serious, in-depth examination of God’s command’s to conquer Canaan, spend several hours studying Glenn Miller’s Scriptural and historical analysis of the events:

How could a God of Love order the massacre/annihilation of the Canaanites? How could a God of Love order the massacre of the Canaanites?

I’ll quote his conclusion:

Conclusion: Judgment is called God’s “strange work” in the OT prophets. What for us humans is the problem of “why does God not do anything about evil and cruel people” is simply the other side of His patience with us. He hopes that we will accept a love of the truth and a commitment to value. In love, He deliberately “believes the best” (I Cor. 13).

What started out as the “Unfair genocide of the Canaanites” ended up as the “Less-than-they-deserved punitive deportation from the land”–filled with patience and mercy and ‘second chances’. It was nonetheless a judgment, and nonetheless involved death–as it later would be repeated to His people.

Far from being the “genocide of an innocent people for land-hungry Israelites”, it was instead the “firm, yet just–and even a little merciful to the masses–removal of a people from a tract of land, mostly through migration.”

Here are three additional articles that compare war in the Old Testament to Islamic jihad.

Good question – Is the Bible “as violent” as the Quran/Hadith?  by Glenn Miller

A Series of Answers to Common Questions  by Sam Shamoun

How Does Jihad Compare with Old Testament Warfare?  by Nabeel Qureshi

If you view this topic shallowly then the violence appears to be equivalent.  However, when you study the details behind the violence you see great contrast between what God commanded the Israelites, and what Allah commanded the Muslims.


R3)  Was Muhammad living faithfully under a previous dispensation?

This is a nonsensical statement.  Talman suggests that Muhammad was living faithfully under the Old Covenant.  Yet Christianity was established in the Arabian peninsula before Muhammad’s birth4, and that “covenant” was known by Muhammad and the Hijaz Pagans.  If the true God were revealing spiritual truth to Muhammad He would have motivated him towards Christianity, not Judaism.  Had Muhammad chosen to accept Jesus as Lord perhaps he could have functioned like a Christian reformer in Arabia, of course without all the bloodshed and forced conversions.

Further, how could Muhammad be living faithfully under the old covenant when he persecuted and killed many of the Jews around him?

Talman’s argument tries to justify Muhammad’s violence by implying that while Muhammad had a generic understanding of Christianity he was somehow intimate enough with Judaism to live faithfully under its laws.  That’s nonsense.  Muhammad invented his own faith, Islam, by borrowing from several other faiths.  Islam is a synthesis, a stew, of Judaism, Christianity, Paganism, mixed with Muhammad’s own changing theology, and seasoned heavily with Satan’s ghost peppers.  To his final dying breaths, when he cursed Christians and Jews, Muhammad lived faithfully to his Islam.

Case in point: when he was attacking the Banu Nadhir Jews, he burnt down their palm trees.  When the Jews challenged Muhammad about his breaking of the OT law prohibiting their destruction, Muhammad said that God gave him permission to break the law because the Jews were so evil.  John Gilchrist discusses this in his excellent book, “Muhammad and the Religion of Islam.”  Muhammad went against the Old Testament law and justified himself when challenged by the Jews.  Gilchrist comments:

Once again, as in the aftermath of the Nakhlah raid, a divine revelation was required to justify a clear breach of Arab custom, let alone a willful disregard for the Law of God as revealed through the prophet Moses.5  6

Muhammad transgressed the Old Testament and justified it by saying Allah commanded him to do so!  This example of Muhammad’s words and actions show that he was not living faithfully according to a previous dispensation.

Conclusion on Talman’s “Criteria for Prophethood”

Talman chose poorly in identifying his criteria, “attitude,” for prophethood.  Whatever Muhammad’s attitude towards our Scriptures it is clear that he did not know, or accept, their content.  Talman’s criteria sets a low, vague, ineffective, bar.  After all, how many religious speakers, from any religious vein, have a disrespectful attitude toward Jesus?  There are Hindus, Buddhists, and even Atheists who quote Scripture and “respect” Him, but they don’t say He’s the Son of God.  Talman’s criteria is a rationalized, grey, and philosophical that is easily fulfilled by many non-Christian self-proclaimed “prophets” who preached a different Jesus, such as Joseph Smith, Bahá’u’lláh, Sun Myung Moon, and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.  Does Talman argue for the church to accept these men as prophets as well?

It’s not much of a criteria is it?

Muhammad fails Talman’s criteria once the details of Muhammad’s viewpoint are examined.  How can one say Muhammad had a correct attitude when Muhammad was talking about the wrong Jesus?

The Sonship of Jesus Christ sets Islam and Christianity a million miles apart.  That criteria is paramount.  Jesus is:

the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Hebrews 1:3

John spoke of seeing the eternal Word of God and wrote, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”   God spoke audibly during Jesus’s baptism and said, “You are My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased!”

John’s purpose for writing his gospel:

but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.  (John 20:31)

Muhammad denied the Son therefore he did not have the Father (1 John 2:23).  Muhammad denigrated the Son of God when he said that “God does not beget nor is He begotten.”

Issue d)  IV. Muhammadan Prophethood Reconsidered /  possibilities for a positive prophetic role for Muhammad.

Here Talman repeats much of what he argued earlier.  Believing that he’s laid a theological foundation for considering Muhammad to be a prophet he explores various ways for Christians to accept Muhammad’s prophethood and message.  He does not make any strong points here but provides a wide variety of supportive Christian comments.  I’ll comment on a few.

An odd statement:

However, it does entail seeking to interpret the Qur’an exegetically and with regard to its biblical subtext, rather than primarily through the lens of later Islamic tradition. (p14)

This is another bizarre statement.  He wants to shift the study and interpretation of Muhammad and his message from one based on the hadith and sira to one based on “biblical subtext.”  If anyone can claim to have understood, and taught, the Quran accurately it is the traditional, historical, great Islamic scholars who used the hadith and sira.  Unlike Talman’s approach, they approached the Quran exegetically.  They referenced and used the hadith and sira, because they provide context, something the Quran fails to provide.  It is that context which often enables you to understand the Quran’s meaning.  You will not successfully understand much otherwise.  In using those contexts those scholars sought to understand the Quran’s true meaning.  Apart from those source materials, even with a purely subjective “biblical subtext,” you are left with personal interpretation, a theological “soup of the day”; again Talman’s gumby theology.


Quotes from other Christian authors:  Timothy Tennent et. al., do they know what they are talking about?

One of the problems with the numerous quotes that Talman uses is that it assumes that these Christians are familiar with Muhammad’s sins, violence, and Biblical contradictions.  When I first began to learn about Islam I too explored the possibility that Muhammad could have been some type of prophet.  It is not difficult to reach a negative conclusion once you know the details of Muhammad’s life.

Will Timothy Tennent confirm that a man who engaged in sex with a nine year old girl, who commanded his followers to make war upon Christians and Jews, who denied Jesus as the Son of God, who cursed Christians with his dying breath, who entrenched the practice of slavery, is a prophet?  I’d ask him if I had his email contact information.

Sadly, it is not difficult to find Christians today who bow the knee to the god of political correctness, or Mammon, and are quick to praise Muhammad.  Yale produces them by the dozen.  I’ve engaged a couple of them and they fold quickly:  they are unable to dialog about Muhammad because they have not been taught, or have not studied, the source materials.


Talman’s references.

Talman quotes dozens of authors.  Some have “scholar” status.  But not everything a so-called scholar says is accurate.  One big problem I have with Christian “scholars” is that many of them assume they are qualified to comment on everything.  A strength in one area does not equal a strength in another.  The deeper I go into Islam the wider it becomes.  Few men, have the drive, time, money, and resources to become expert in all.

One person Talman quotes is Anton Wessels.  The quote he used was odd so I purchased a used copy of Wessels’s book.  It didn’t take long to see that his book is just a religious-fantasy apologetic for Muhammad.  I could only bring myself to read a couple of sections.  Wessels correlated Muhammad’s experiences and sayings with Jesus’s and Biblical prophets in a blind, simplistic fashion.  Here is an example:

          Muhammad is also called to be a prophet.  His call involves both auditory and visual experiences:  what he hears (Q96) and what he sees on that occasion (Q53:1-18)  Muhammad’s experiences are strikingly similar to the earlier prophets, such as Isaiah, who hears a voice saying, “Cry out,” and the prophet asks, “What shall I cry?” (Isa 40:6).  These same words are used to relate what happened to Muhammad.  …

          Muhammad is very shocked by the fact that God speaks to him.  It is then no wonder that that first experience astonishes him greatly.  He even thinks of taking his own life, fearing he may be majnun – insane, or possessed.7

Wessels makes a weak correlation here.  If you want to compare Muhammad’s visitation experience with Isaiah’s, you need to go to Isaiah 6, not 40.  There Isaiah encountered the living God.  Isaiah is initially fearful because he is conscious of his sin in God’s presence:

“Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”  (Isaiah 6:5)

However a seraph comforts him:

He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”  (Isaiah 6:7)

Now Isaiah is full of faith, assured, and confident.  He is ready to serve God and says, “Here I am, send me!

Conversely, as mentioned in part 1, Muhammad’s experience in the cave with a spirit was the exact opposite.  Muhammad was in terror and he fled believing he was demon possessed or insane.  He then attempted suicide but that spirit stopped him.  Thereafter Muhammad suffered from depression and attempted suicide many more times during the next couple of years.8  God did not leave Isaiah in a state of terror and depression.  You’ll not find any Biblical characters having the same destructive experience.  A real encounter with our God does not leave people depressed and suicidal; experiences with demonic powers do.

Wessels’s work here was poor.  It was another straw for Talman to grasp and use.


Conclusion on Talman’s “Criteria for Prophethood”

It is foolish for Christians to sift, cherry pick, wiggle and worm, and devise some type of legitimate prophetic role for Muhammad when the whole of his experience and actions were anti-Christ in nature.  Everyman has both good and bad traits.  Don’t turn a blind eye towards an evil man’s ministry and embrace him with a hug and a kiss.  Don’t give this false prophet the honorable title of “prophet” because he preached “one God.”  There is far more to Islam and Muhammad’s message.

Conclusion

There’s a Murphy’s Law on Research:  “Enough research will tend to support whatever theory.”  If you look long enough you’ll find quotes enough to support a belief.  Talman’s argument is like cotton candy: volume, not substance.  It is religious fiction.  When the theological details and the historical facts are known in context, Talman’s “potentially more objective” fantasy ends.

Talman’s argument failed to provide theological grounds for accepting Muhammad as any type of legitimate prophet.  His methodology is irrational.  His use of the non-Muslim historical materials is deceptive; when they are examined fully they contradict rather than support his point.  Muhammad’s “revelation” experience ran counter to Biblical experiences with God and his subsequent “revelatory” message contradicts the Gospel.  Talman’s shallow criteria for determining legitimate prophethood is so low and superficial that many “prophets” could pass his test.  Is that the standard today’s church wants to use?

Talman wants Christians who disagree with him to lower their indignation.  However, based upon Scriptural instruction and example, and upon the contexts of the Muslim and non-Muslim historical writings, I disagree.  Now that I’ve finished examining Talman’s argument I am more offended that a Christian would embrace a false prophet who persecuted and oppressed the church.  Muhammad and real Islam have brutalized millions of Christians.  Muhammad’s message leads people away from Christ and he has led billions to eternal death.  Satan seeks those whom he may devour and there are few tools more beautifully exploited by Satan than Muhammad.  Satan uses Muhammad to undo the work of Christ.

In discussing Talman’s article with Jochen Katz, Jochen made the following observation:

My immediate observation and question would be:  first, the whole aim is to find some way to consider Muhammad as a prophet in some sense. Everything is tuned and selected for that ultimate purpose. The question is not: what is the evidence, but which pieces of “evidence” can I collage/assemble together so that a Muhammad of my liking appears?  That leads to the second question: why would he want to do so?  If the Muhammad he creates that way has little in common with the Muhammad the actual Muslims are believing in, how would it help our relationship with actual Muslims when we deconstruct their Muhammad and shape him into something else, creating a Muhammad in our wishful image?  Isn’t that even more “disrespectful” to Islam and Muslims than engaging in our discussions with the Muhammad they believe in and hold dear?  Isn’t that ultimately not taking seriously the Muslims and their faith?  How should that help in any way to build good relationships upon which to make progress on a better understanding of the true God and his revelation?

That hits the nail on the head.  Talman cherry-picked anything he could so he could advance Muhammad’s cause.  The question is “Why is Talman so passionate for Muhammad’s prophethood to be accepted by the church?

What fool would smear blood and filth upon the bride’s white dress?


Questions for Talman

Q1) You said that you do not necessarily accept all of the Quran’s verses and statements.  What specific verses or themes do you object to, and why?

Q2) If you view those verses as incorrect does that mean that Muhammad was wrong?

Q3) Aside from not having a “respectful view toward Christ and the Scriptures” what would a person have to do for you to label them as a false prophet?


Lessons from our failure:  lessons from the early church

My biggest criticism in all of this is not for Talman’s disease-laden argument.  Instead it is for Evangelical Church leadership.  That the Evangelical branch would allow false teaching to be taught in and infect their schools and seminars indicates weakness and spiritual apathy.9

Let’s compare the churches of Revelation to what Talman is doing and our present state.


Ephesus, Pergamum, and Thyatira

The Ephesians were stronger spiritually than we are today.  They were active; they tested, then consequently rejected, wicked false prophets.  However, they were growing cold and had left their first love.  Therefore, Jesus threatened them with losing their church: “will remove your lampstand.”  While the American Evangelicals are active, they are not as a whole rejecting false prophets.  Some have left their first love and have grown weak, unable to test and verify truth.  Talman is leading them to embrace a false prophet.

The Christians at Pergamum had sunk lower than the Ephesians.  They had left their first love, grown weak, and some had embraced false teachings.  Likewise Talman and some other Christians today have embraced the false prophet Muhammad and are teaching the church to embrace a false prophet.

The Thyatirans had degenerated further.  Not only had they left their first love, they accepted a false prophet and some were in bed with her.  Isn’t this where Talman would have the church?  Flirting with and embracing Muhammad and some of his word?  If Islam is partly demonic in nature then isn’t Talman leading the church to partake in demons?  (See 1 Cor 10:14-22 for applicable reasoning).

In his prodigious commentary on Revelation (rated by some to be the best commentary on Revelation), David Aune comments on the spiritual breakdown of these churches:

“… they may point to the fact that the second-generation Christians had developed a comfortable accommodation with the pagan world.”10

Isn’t this what Evangelical church leadership is doing when they ask you to accommodate Muhammad as a prophet?

Brethren,
A little leaven leavens the whole lump.  In our weakness and arrogance we are led astray.  Take a hard look at God’s harsh rebukes to the church:

I will remove the lampstand,

I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth,

“I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.

Wasn’t it essential for the Lord to rebuke the churches for leaving their first love, for tolerating and even partaking with false prophets?  Then isn’t it essential that we identify and reject false prophets and false teaching?   If Talman truly believes “in essentials, unity” then he needs to take a hard look at what he is doing, evaluate it from the Lord’s point of view, and repent.  He is not trailblazing a new and healthy path, he is spreading his infection to the church.

If there is a God, and if the New Testament is His word, then shouldn’t we be taking this seriously?  Certainly more seriously than many of the current leaders in the Evangelical church who are embracing Muhammad as some type of prophet?   Shouldn’t we be erring on the side of caution?  Who wants to roll the dice on embracing false doctrine and false prophets?  I don’t.  Instead, I challenge myself to ensure that I do not leave my first love.

Brethren,
We are fighting against powerful demonic spiritual forces.  This is why God’s word instructs us to wear the full set of God’s armor.  The very same powerful spiritual forces that assaulted and deluded Muhammad, that used him as their weapon and taught him that Jesus is not Lord, that Jesus is not the Son of God, that Jesus was not crucified, are engaged in war with the church.  Talman aids these dark forces by advocating some type of recognized prophethood for Muhammad.  He’s instructing the church to take off their helmets.

Brethren,
Is it so hard to understand what God is saying to the church, our church?  Is it so hard to see the false doctrine Talman is foisting upon the church?  C’mon guys, cross-check this for yourselves!

Why did Christians tolerate or honor a false prophet?  Revelation tells us that it is because they have left their first love.  Men argue for something they are passionate about.  Talman’s gone native and his love for Muhammad blinds him to Muhammad’s sins.  He’s embraced Muhammad and like a love-struck lover he argues, “but that’s not the Muhammad I know, he’s really a decent guy.”

I love Jesus.  He’s entered my life as Lord, saved me, and given me a depth of love, joy, and peace that I could not find elsewhere.  He’s been so good to me.  I love Him and His church.  I don’t want to see them led astray.

I hate Islam.  It is a religion with good and bad in it.  But the bad is spiritual poison.  Just as some poisons and pesticides today are a mixture of good and harmful, so too is Islam.

If the Lord were to write letters to the churches today He would surely criticize and condemn the teachings of Muhammad as He did the Nicolatians.  He would surely rebuke Christians for embracing and honoring a false prophet as He did for Thyatira and Pergamum.  And, He would surely say that we too have left our first love.

In Christ,
Silas
Jan 15th, 2017


A picture of Muhammad tormented in hell.

Giovanni da Modena Last Judgment Fresco

[First published: 15 February 2017]
[Last updated: 15 February 2017]

Footnotes

1 Muhammad, the man who claimed he was “The Messenger of God,” who claimed that Gabriel met with him each year to review the Quran, the man who claimed that faith in Islam meant obedience to Allah and His Messenger.  I’m not trying to argue from silence, I’m pointing out a huge inconsistency and the contradiction.

2 By the way, if Allah has been fighting against the Christians who say Jesus is the Son of God, I’d say he’s failed terribly and done a shoddy job of it.  Christianity is the fastest growing faith and these new Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God.

4 See Trimingham, J. S. , “Christianity Among the Arabs in Pre-Islamic Times”, Longman Group Limited, London, 1979.

5 Gilchrist, John, “Muhammad the religion of Islam” published by Jesus to the Muslims. 1986   It can be found on the web at:  http://www.answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Vol1/1c.html   In the book it is found on pages 42, 43.

6 You can read Ibn Ishaq’s account, and related commentary (tafsir), on pages 437 – 439.

7 Wessels, Anton, “The Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur’an,” Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2013, (pp 42, 43).

8 This period was anywhere from six months to two and a half years.

9 I am not alone in criticizing current church leadership.  Julie Roys states similar:  http://www.christianpost.com/news/russell-moore-controversy-shows-evangelical-leaders-lack-courage-172599/    “I fear evangelicalism is in this doom loop today. We’re increasingly succumbing to culture —and we’re often led by people who are more concerned about offending friends than honoring God. If we’re ever going to thrive, it’s going to take real leadership — leadership that’s willing to say what’s unpopular and follows God, rather than men.”

10 Aune, David, “Revelation,” Word Biblical Commentary, Word, Dallas, Texas, 1997, p155

False Prophet Muhammad, Fairytale Muhammad, and Harley Talman – part two

False Prophet Muhammad, Fairytale Muhammad, and Harley Talman – part two

By Silas

Should Christians confer some degree of authentic “prophethood” upon Muhammad?

Part one, False Prophet Muhammad, identified two distinct Muhammad’s:  the traditional and Harley Talman’s revised version.  It also established Biblical standards and metrics for identifying true or false prophets.  The traditional Muhammad fails completely when compared to the Biblical requirements for prophethood:  his message, Islam, contradicts the Gospel message, and his moral conduct was abhorrent.  The Islamic source materials, the Quran, hadith, and sira, portray Muhammad as a man with both good and bad characteristics.  However, they also accept, if not justify, him as thief, murderer, lustful, and hateful.  Based upon his wicked character and his false message the conclusion that Muhammad was a “false prophet” is as certain as apples fall from trees.

Parts 2 and 3 review Harley Talman’s argument for his revisionist Muhammad to be accepted as prophet, to some degree, by the Bride of Christ.

Talman’s Argument

Talman bases his argument upon several points:  evidence of tampering in the Islamic source materials, (i.e. the hadith and sira), interpretation “potentials” of non-Islamic writings, loose theological standards, and various historical theories.  Because some of these cast doubt upon the integrity of the hadith and sira, he rejects the use of the hadith and sira to detail and define Muhammad‘s life and actions.  For example, Talman uses Dan Gibson’s theory that Petra, (in modern day Jordan), not Mecca, was the site of Islam’s holy city and upon that and other similar theories states:

The most widely accepted version of Muhammad, based upon Islamic tradition, is dubious. (p3)

If such a fundamental historical “fact” in Islamic history as the location of “Mecca” could have been created by Muslim revisionist historians, then how much can we trust their accounts of other matters? Therefore, there is good reason to be skeptical about many aspects of Muhammad’s life as well as the emergence and expansion of Islam as set forth in Islamic traditions (their authority with Muslims notwithstanding). Thus, we are compelled to evaluate the historical narrative these traditions present in light of non-Muslim historical documents and archaeological evidence.  What one finds is that when this is done, our view of Muhammad and Islam is significantly altered, along with our view of Muhammad in relation to redemptive history.1 (p3)

These theories enable Talman to dismiss the authoritative Islamic source materials and build his personal Muhammad.2

The sub-sections which follow reflect on various Christian views of Islam, a revised history of Muhammad and the movement he founded, and a theological reassessment of the prophet of Islam, all based on a potentially more objective portrayal of his character and actions. (p3)

Talman identifies four facets for review and examination in order to identify Muhammad as a prophet:

This article will focus on a reconsideration of four issues: our understanding of Muhammad and Islam, our theology of revelation, the criteria for prophethood, and possibilities for a positive prophetic role for Muhammad. (p2)

His four facets:

a) our understanding of Muhammad and Islam

b) our theology of revelation

c) the criteria for prophethood

d) possibilities for a positive prophetic role for Muhammad.

We’ll review Talman’s methodology, and his four points, and contrast them with scholarly approaches, non-Islamic historical writings, the Quran, references from the hadith and sira, and with Scripture, to evaluate the soundness of Talman’s arguments.

Talman’s methodology

Talman generally3 discards the hadith and sira and relies on non-Muslim writings and interpretations of the Quran.

However modern scholars, and some of the previous extremely skeptical scholars of the hadith and sira, have shifted their positions due to recent archeological and historical document discoveries.  They now approach the Islamic sources with a more reasoned, analytical, and rational approach, just as scholars approach other historical veins.  It is no secret that both hadith and sira have been subjected to editing, the earliest Muslim scholars themselves attest to fraud within their faith’s writings.  Real scholars however, do not jettison the entire corpus of Islamic source materials, but labor to identify trustable and reliable data.  This is true in any data analysis science.  Just as the early Muslim scholars sifted through the available hadith to separate true from false, or classify sound from weak, so too today Islamic scholars, both Muslim and non-Muslim, continue to analyze the hadith and sira.

Gregor Schoeler’s details this shift:

Only three years after publishing his much-quoted article ‘The quest for the historical Muhammad’ in which he expressed his unreserved pessimism about our ability to establish any hard facts about early Islamic history, F. E. Peters (1994) wrote – according to Patricia Crone – a thoroughly ‘traditional’ study about the Prophet.  R. Hoyland, a former student of Crone and now the pre-eminent authority on non-Islamic sources about early Islam, re-examined the non-Islamic sources Crone and Cook quoted in Hagarism.  He shows that they are hardly suitable to support an alternative account of early Islamic history; on the contrary, they frequently agree with Islamic sources and supplement them.  A few years ago, Crone and Cook themselves publicly repudiated the central hypothesis advanced in Hagarism.  In their most recent publications, leading historians of early Islam such as F. Donner and C. Robinson strike a decidedly critical note when it comes to the new ‘scepticism’.4

Schoeler then lists a number of recent discoveries that confirm key details found in the Islamic sources and concludes:

So much for the external evidence which confirms at least some details of the Islamic historical tradition about early Islamic history.  This book however, deals with the Islamic historical tradition itself.  More and more representatives of recent scholarship are prepared to admit that, in addition to ‘bad’ reports Islamic tradition also contains ‘good’ ones.  Thus, they distance themselves from the ‘sceptical paradigm’. … The author of the last statement, C. Robinson, qualifies his claim in a footnote by admitting that he considers the so-called isnad-cum-matn analysis ‘promising’.5

Schoeler notes one reason older scholars deviated into the irrational theory of radical skepticism by quoting Bernheim’s comments on these scholar’s earlier modus operandi:

…scholars soon found out that their statements about one and the same event often enough contradicted each other; instead of trying to find out if they could still discover the truth or if there were ways to eliminate the sources of error they had detected, they carried skepticism to extremes by claiming that, due to the unreliability of transmission, there was no way at all to obtain valid information about the past…

Apparently, discarding tradition and freely sketching a radically alternative past on an empty canvas has a special appeal for these scholars.6

In the rest of his book Schoeler provides several technical examples of his “isnad-cum-matn analysis” process.

Similar to Schoeler, Harald Motzki, uses the meticulous isnad-cum-matn analysis method to analyze the hadith and sira events.  He describes his methodology and presents the analysis example of Muhammad’s murder of the Jewish man Ibn Abi l-Huqayq.  He writes:

The method of isnad-cum-matn analysis which I used in the following investigation consisted of several steps.  1) As many variants as possible equipped with an isnad (or fragments of it) were collected.  2) The lines of transmission were compiled in order to detect their common links in the different generations of transmitters.  On the bases of the results first hypotheses on the transmission history were formulated.  3) The texts of the variants were compared in order to establish relationships and differences between them concerning structure and wording.  This also allowed the formulation of statements about their transmission history.  4) The results of isnad and matn analyses were compared.  At this point conclusions with regard to their transmission history of the tradition in question could be drawn: an approximate date from when the tradition in question must have been in circulation, who were the earliest transmitters, how did the text change in the course of transmission and who was responsible for it, etc.7

Commenting on Motzki’s book, reviewer Wim Raven writes:

What is striking in this volume is the increasing acceptance of the isnaad-analytical method which was invented by J. Schacht (Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, 1950) and refined by G.H.A. Juynboll and, differently, by Schoeler and Motzki. There are far more sources available now than in the days of Watt, and if one is prepared to go through painstaking detail, research can be brought to another level. The researcher has to collect all the versions of a story and analyze their content together with their isnaads. This makes it possible, if one is lucky, to establish a short list of transmitters which are common to all or nearly all isnaads. In many cases, the youngest of these, the so-called “common link,” will be the person who proliferated the story.

Originally the common-link method was the domain of the skeptics. Now it has spread more widely and is applied not only to hadith but also to sira texts.8

Other similar and intelligent approaches to this field are presented by Görke in “Prospects and Limits in the Study of the Historical Muhammad.” Gorke

Görke notes that the traditional Islamic source materials are questionable, but he also states that the non-Islamic references are also just as questionable, (something Talman misses completely), and far more incomplete:

The non-Muslim literary sources do not provide relief either. There are a number of sources referring to the beginnings of Islam that predate the Islamic sources. However, they do not contain substantial material pertaining specifically to the life of Muḥammad. In many cases, these sources are also open to interpretation. Finally, there are no non-Muslim sources that could highlight the social, political or spiritual context of the Ḥijāz at the relevant time and thus provide a background against which information on Muḥammad could be assessed. (p2)

Görke uses the same objections and worse, against the non-Muslims sources that Talman uses for his Muhammad.  They are subject to interpretation, some were written with personal bias, some of them have been edited, details are lacking, and material is scant.

But Görke does not knee-jerk react and throw out the entire lot of either the Muslim or non-Muslim writings:

The fact that accounts on the life of Muḥammad were only recorded in written sources more than 150 years after his purported death does not preclude the possibility that such accounts were transmitted faithfully and accurately in the time between the event and their recording in these sources. Also, a lack of contemporary sources does not entail the impossibility of making statements about the historicity of an event. (p4)

His book presents similar approaches to analyzing the hadith and sira.

These are far more rational, logical, and scholarly approaches for the study of Muhammad’s life than to simply say, “oh well, these earliest writings may be doubtful, so I guess we’ll discard them.”

Even doubting critic like Patricia Crone, who ameliorated her skeptical position, admitted there was core truth in the hadith and sira.

We shall never be able to do without the literary sources, of course, and the chances are that most of what the tradition tells us about the prophet’s life is more or less correct in some sense or other. Crone

Another perspective on the early non-Muslim writings comes from fundamentalist Muslims.  They have also examined the historical non-Islamic writings, such as those covered in Hoyland’s work, and have reached the same conclusion as I have: these writings confirm the sira and hadith accounts.9 Talman’s approach of ignoring the details and cherry picking select writings enables him to create a colorful wisp of smoke, a fairy tale Muhammad.


Conclusion on Talman’s methodology

This topic should be approached similar to the way data analysts approach situations where there are many versions of the same event.  Perhaps you could call this “forensic data analysis.”  They collect the data, correlate it, contrast it, and nail down as many facts as possible.  They are aware that people’s memory plays tricks on them, and that key facts can be forgotten, or colored.  They ask a “why” series of questions about the event, they identify the bias of witnesses, they correlate names, times, dates, places, etc.

That approach is similar to what Schoeler, Motzki, Görke, and others do and it is the opposite of what Talman has done.

Talman’s methodology is not only flawed, it is irrational.  I am not a scholar in their field and that gives me a more objective eye.  It is foolish to wholly discard the backbone and flesh of Islam because of some tampering.  It implies cosmic conspiracies and generations of moral corruption.  I am not trying to be offensive but that approach tells me that these earlier “scholars” were not that good, and their approach reveals unanchored arrogance.  I don’t see why I must esteem scholars who invent and champion stupid theories, Christian or not.


Talman’s four issues:

Issue a) our understanding of Muhammad and Islam

Talman presents his Muhammad and Islam as compatible with Christianity.

His two key points:

1)  The earliest Christians who encountered Muhammad were more favorable and positive about Muhammad and Islam than later Christians.  Muhammad was not understood to be evil or portrayed in a harsh light.

The critical question is: Does our present perception of Islam accurately represent what Islam was in the time of Muhammad and what he intended his movement to be? (p4)

2)  Muhammad’s message and mission was in harmony with the local Christian beliefs.  His Christology was a variant of existing Christologies of the various Christianitys existing in the Hijaz, and the Quran’s apparent criticisms of Christianity are actually criticizing unorthodox Christian doctrine.

This harmonizes with the view of scholars who contend that Qur’anic verses allegedly critical of Christianity are best understood as challenging or correcting unorthodox Christianities or disputed Christologies.  Reliable historical and textual evidence supports this understanding. (p5)

This indicates that they viewed Islam as an alternative Christology, not as a different religion. C. Jonn Block concludes that they even recognized a distinction between the teachings of Muhammad and the behaviors of his followers to the degree that Muhammad himself may have been considered a prophet from a Christian perspective. (p5)

Talman presents his revisionist Muhammad as being in harmony with real Christianity; Muhammad’s anti-Christian teachings were actually directed against unorthodox Christianity and he posited an alternate Christology.  Subsequent hostilities between the Christians and Muslims were the results of other problems, issues, and misunderstandings.

Talman is wrong on both points.

1)  Using only the historical non-Muslim writings we find a picture similar to what the sira and hadith paint.  For example, Robert Hoyland is the expert in the non-Muslim writings about Muhammad.  He wrote a chapter in Motzki’s book and commented that many of the harsh recent and medieval criticisms of Muhammad were rooted in the earliest Christian writings:

The same is true for various other attributes, deeds and doctrines of Muhammad, which recur for centuries in European polemical tracts and all of which have their roots in the very earliest Eastern Christian writings about the Prophet.10

Hoyland quotes some of the earliest writings about Muhammad from various non-Muslim writings and how they identify Muhammad with titles or characteristics of his prophethood.  Here are quotes from two of the titles.

The first attribute/title:

  Muhammad the Initiator of the Conquests

In the year 945, indiction 7, on Friday 4 February (634) at the ninth hour, there was a battle between the Romans and the Arabs of Muhammad.11 (Thomas the Presbyter, ca. 640)

Then God brought the Ishmaelites against them like sand on the sea shore; their leader was Muhammad and neither walls nor gates, armor or shield, withstood them; they gained control over the entire land of the Persians.12  (Syrian chronicler, ca 660)

(Muhammad exhorting his soldiers to attack and conquer other countries)

You are the sons of Abraham, and God will realize in you the promise made to Abraham and his posterity.  Only love the God of Abraham and go and take possession of your country which God gave to your father Abraham, and none will be able to resist you in battle, for God is with you.13 (p278)

When a most numerous multitude of Saracens had gathered together, they invaded the provinces of Syria, Arabia, and Mesopotamia.  Above them, holding the leadership, was one Muhammad by name.14 (Mid-eighth-century Spanish writer).

Hoyland summarizes these:

The idea that Muhammad initiated the Arab conquests comes through very clearly in these sources.15

Hoyland then cites Theophilus of Edessa commenting on Muhammad’s actions:

To corroborate his word, he led a band of them who were obedient to him and began to go up to the land of Palestine, plundering, enslaving and pillaging.  He returned laden (with booty) and unharmed, and thus he had not fallen short of his promise to them.
Once dispatched, it was not enough for them to frequent Palestine alone, but they ranged far and wide, killing openly, enslaving, ravaging and plundering.  Even this was not enough for them, but they would make them pay tribute and enslave them.  Thus, gradually, they grew strong and spread abroad.  And they grew so powerful that they subjected almost all the land of the Romans and also the kingdom of the Persians under their sway.16

The 2nd attribute/title:

Muhammad the Prophet/False Prophet.

However, just because the Christians knew Muhammad was deemed a prophet by his own people does not mean they themselves accepted him as such.  In general, of course, they did not.  Christians living in Muslim-ruled lands were at least content to say that “Muhammad walked in the way of the prophets” in that he brought his people to knowledge of the one true God and recognition of virtue, but Byzantine authors designated him rather as “the forerunner of the Antichrist” and “a false prophet.”17

Hoyland then mentions the Christian polemics against Muhammad:

Thus, for example, much of the reason for the presentation by Christian writers of Muhammad as a reviver of an original Abrahamic religion was to emphasize that his religion was nothing new, indeed that it was primitive, not having benefited from any of Jesus’ modernizations.18

Finally, Hoyland comments on another early Christian observation about Muhammad and the Muslims:

For example, Christian authors reveal to us how numerous were the prisoners-of-war taken by the Muslims and how extensively this affected non-Muslim society, both physically and mentally.  They illustrate how preoccupied the Muslims were with matters of security and how suspicious they were that Christians might be conspiring with the Byzantines against them.19

All of these quotes from early non-Muslim sources paint the same exact picture the sira and hadith paint.  Muhammad and his Muslims, attacked, plundered, killed, and enslaved.  There is little difference between what Muhammad and his Muslims did with what ISIS does now.  The earliest non-Muslim historical writings tell us that hundreds of thousands of people, Christian and non-Christian, suffered by Muhammad’s hand. They attributed their sufferings to Muhammad’s teachings and actions.

To answer Talman’s question:   Does our present perception of Islam accurately represent what Islam was in the time of Muhammad and what he intended his movement to be?  The answer is “Yes.”  The non-Muslim historical writings depict the same Muhammad the hadith and sira present.

Patricia Crone was also aware of what the earliest Christian writings said about Muhammad:

There is no doubt that Mohammed existed, occasional attempts to deny it notwithstanding. His neighbours in Byzantine Syria got to hear of him within two years of his death at the latest; a Greek text written during the Arab invasion of Syria between 632 and 634 mentions that “a false prophet has appeared among the Saracens” and dismisses him as an impostor on the ground that prophets do not come “with sword and chariot”. It thus conveys the impression that he was actually leading the invasions.
Patricia Crone

The second part of Talman’s “understanding of Muhammad” is that Muhammad’s teachings and pronouncements against Christianity were directed against non-orthodox Christian teachings.  Talman relies heavily on Fred Donner’s book, “Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam.”

See part 1 of this article which uses the Quran’s anti-Christian verses, in context, and shows that the Quran contradicts and even condemns all aspects of the Gospel message:

a) Jesus was crucified and died for our sins
b) He was resurrected from the dead
c) We are to put our faith in Him as the Son of God
d) We are to receive and obey Him as Lord.

All of these points above are contradicted by verses in the Quran.

Muhammad does not get a pass because he believed in one God.  So do the demons.  The Quran’s passages contradict Talman’s argument.

Patricia Crone also rejected Donner’s thesis.  Her sharp review of Donner’s book states (bold emphasis mine):

The main problem is that the only direct evidence for Donner’s central thesis is the Quranic verses on the believing People of the Book; all the rest is conjecture. The verses in question tell us nothing about events after the death of the Prophet, and it has to be said that the Medinese suras of which they form a part are not suggestive of ecumenicalism. They are full of bitterly hostile polemics against Jews and Christians, both of whom are charged with polytheism, deification of their own leaders, deification of themselves, and more besides. The Jews are faulted for rejecting Jesus, the Christians for deifying him. If there were believers among the People of the Book in Medina, an obvious explanation would be that they were Jewish Christians, a well-known hypothesis that Donner does not consider. The Jacobite, Nestorian, and Melkite Christians that the Muslims encountered in Syria, Egypt, and Iraq were unquestionably polytheists by Quranic standards, and with all due respect to Donner, the fact that they disagreed about Christology does not help, given that their disputes were premised on Christ’s divinity.

Donner says so many strange things in this book that one wonders what is going on.  P. Crone – Donner


Conclusion on Talman’s “Our understanding of Muhammad and Islam”

Talman argues that the early Christians were receptive to Muhammad’s message and that they considered him to have some type of prophetic role.  The exact opposite is true.  Muhammad was viewed as a false prophet, a war-monger, a slaver.  Talman also argues that the Quran’s message is compatible with Christ’s message.  Again the opposite is true:  Muhammad’s message contradicts Christ’s message at every crucial point save the “one God” belief.

An ex-Muslim scholar once said, “Jesus came to undo the works of Satan, Muhammad came to undo the work of Christ.”  That sums up this point accurately.


Issue b)
our theology of revelation

Talman’s argument is that God gives revelation to non-Christians and Muhammad was such a recipient.  It has a number of facets, and he goes off on a tangent or two, but his primary thrust is that Muhammad encountered God and received revelation.  Therefore Christians can confer some degree of legitimacy upon Muhammad as a prophet and his Quran as God’s word.

Talman builds this argument in several steps.  First he identifies “special revelation” and “post-canonical and present-day prophecy” and their operation within the church.  I agree fully with this specific point.  God does speak to the church through modern day Christian prophets whose messages must be sifted.  He then argues that there can be prophets outside of the Judeo-Christian faiths.

While acknowledging such a possibility for those in the Judeo-Christian heritage, some may question the possible existence of such prophets outside of this stream. However, they should remember that Balaam was the recipient of divine revelation from the true God whom he claimed as “the Lord my God” (Num. 22:18). (p7)

In general, I do agree that God can use non-Christians to speak revelation truth.  However, an important semantic distinction must be made.  Since there are different definitions for “prophet” we need to be precise in our usage.  Within the context of the church a prophet is someone who has a specific ministry and gifting who speaks God’s word to the church.  Outside of the church a prophet can mean many more things as I described in Part 1.  A Christian teacher should distinguish between a legitimate church prophet, (like those found in the book of Acts, and found today in various Charismatic ministries), and a non-Christian prophet speaking in some type of ministerial mode.  I would not tell Christians that a non-Christian is a prophet because he is speaking some truth, without adding clarification.  If that non-Christian “prophet” proclaimed things that contradicted the Gospel, and rejected and refused correction, then I would, according to our Scripture, label him a false prophet.  Truth mixed with falsehood is like poison mixed with whole food; it is still poisonous.  This is the case with Muhammad.

Talman extends his general concept of revelation and prophecy to Muhammad and argues that Muhammad did indeed encounter God.  He references the Dutch theologian Johan H. Bavinck who notes one of Muhammad’s experiences:

In the “night of power” of which the ninety-seventh sura of the Koran speaks, the night when “the angels descended” and the Koran descended from Allah’s throne, God dealt with Muhammad and touched him. God wrestled with him in that night, and God’s hand is still noticeable in the answer of the prophet, but it is also the result of human oppression.

Bavinck asserts that it was truly God (not an evil angel) whom Muhammad encountered in his revelatory experiences.

Thus Bavinck can acknowledge that Muhammad (at least at some point and in some way) encountered the true and living God in his revelatory experiences. Contradictory differences from biblical revelation could be attributed to imperfect responses by him, by the community that succeeded him, and by the People of the Book whom they encountered. (p8)

I believe Talman’s summary statement on his view of Muhammad’s prophethood and legitimacy of revelation is:

As Christians, we do not regard the Qur’an to be utterly infallible and authoritative, but need not rule out the possibility of God’s calling and using Muhammad as a prophet (like Saul in the OT or a charismatic prophet in the present era). (p9)

Talman’s argument suffers from at least two flaws: 1) he fails to evaluate Muhammad’s message as a whole, 2) his statement “Contradictory differences from biblical revelation could be attributed to imperfect responses by him, by the community that succeeded him, and by the People of the Book whom they encountered,” runs counter to Muhammad’s message and his asserted edict from God.

1)  Talman argues from an “eat the cherries, spit out the pits” position.  However, this is not the Biblical approach.  Had Saul also called for the worship of a different God, or made calls to abandon Moses, then the Israelites would have rejected him as a false prophet and probably put him to death.  A false prophet could say some truthful things but that would not absolve them of gross error.  Here is the Old Testament’s position:

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.  (Deut 13:1-5)

The Old Testament accepts that false prophets can speak truth and perform miracles.  However, the evaluation does not end there.  Their message as a whole was evaluated.  The Israelites were commanded to NOT take an “eat the cherry, spit out the pits” approach.  Instead the opposite was true.  They were to kill false prophets, to “purge the evil from among you.”

Note God’s action in this:  He was testing the Israelites to see if they loved Him.  He allowed those false prophets to challenge His people to see if they loved him truly.  If we follow Christ’s command, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, then shouldn’t we rejected false prophets and false messages?

Talman’s own argument works against him because he admits that the Quran contradicts the Word of God.  Since it contradicts the Word of God it shows that Bavinck is wrong.  Muhammad encountered an evil spirit, not the true God.  That also is what Muhammad believed initially:

“So I read it, and he departed from me.  And I awoke from my sleep, and it was though these words were written on my heart.  (Tabari:  Now none of God’s creatures was more hateful to me than an (ecstatic) poet or a man possessed:  I could not even look at them.  I thought, Woe is me poet or possessed – Never shall Quraysh say this of me! I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest. So I went forth to do so and then) when I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying “O Muhammad! thou are the apostle of God and I am Gabriel.”20  Muhammad Suicide

Muhammad’s initial reaction was correct because he was assaulted by a demonic power.  After years of struggling with this spiritual and psychological trauma he broke down mentally and gave himself over to that dark, malevolent power.  His conscience became seared.  That explains why he could subsequently kill, murder, and torture others without mercy.

Muhammad’s revelation experience contradicts the Biblical model.  Search the Scriptures and see that no one ever becomes depressed and suicidal because they encountered the living God.  God does not cause His chosen messengers to become depressed and suicidal for years at a time.

2)  Talman’s statement, “Contradictory differences from biblical revelation could be attributed to imperfect responses by him, by the community that succeeded him, and by the People of the Book whom they encountered“ is confused or unclear.  Muhammad did receive “revelations” that contradict the Bible.  Talman attributes them to those three factors.  However, none of them played a role in the revelation he received.  The single occurrence of Muhammad’s “imperfect response,” i.e. the episode of the Satanic Verses, has his Gabriel reproving him of his error.  After being reproved by Gabriel Muhammad states:

I have obeyed Satan and spoken his words, and he has taken part in God’s authority on me.21

Consequently, Muhammad’s error was corrected.

Aside from that episode, the community that succeeded Muhammad, and the People of the Book, played no role in distorting and corrupting Muhammad’s message, the Quran.  There are many versions of the Quran that exhibit many variations, but none of these variants distort or corrupt the Quran or its message.


Conclusion on Talman’s “our theology of revelation”

Talman extends his definition of revelation to include Muhammad’s experiences and message.  However his initial experience and subsequent content of his entire message disqualifies him from being able to claim that the spirit with whom he interacted was sent by God.  The Quranic message contradicts the Gospel and any claim of “revelation from God” must be rejected.  Muhammad was a false prophet who spoke some truth.  So has every other “false prophet” the world has seen.

1/15/17

In Christ,

Silas

Continue with Part 3.

[First published: 15 February 2017]
[Last updated: 15 February 2017]

Footnotes

1 Gregor Schoeler’s introduction in “The Biography of Muhammad Nature and authenticity” documents this skeptical approach from the 19th century to now.  Recent scholarship is taking a more rational approach in dealing with the Islamic sources.

2 The earlier scholars who rejected the source materials en toto did so because of hesitation of accepting doubtful material as truth, not because they wanted to paint a rehabilitated picture of Muhammad.

3 Talman’s article is seasoned heavily with quotes from many authors.  These quotes are used to support assumptions about Muhammad’s statements and actions, or the Quran’s meaning.  Often they are built on context provided by the hadith and sira.  Yet Talman argues that those texts are unreliable.  Talman is inconsistent in his argument.  Bear this in mind as you read his work.

4 Gregor Schoeler, “The Biography of Muhammad”, Routledge, New York, New York, 2014, p13

5 ibid. p15

6 ibid. p17

7 Harald Motzki, “The Biography of Muhammad  The Issue of the Sources”, Brill, Leiden, 2000  (p174, 175).

9 For those of you who would like to read a detailed Muslim refutation of the skeptic’s “non-Muslim sources” argument see http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/earlysaw.html  These fundamentalist Muslims use the same books and references that Talman, and I, have used, plus a few more.  Their conclusion is the same as mine:  the non-Muslim writings corroborate many of the sira’s and hadith’s details.

10 Harald Motzki, “The Biography of Muhammad  The Issue of the Sources”, Brill, Leiden, 2000. (p276)

11 ibid. 278  (Hoyland also cites this in his book “Seeing Islam as Others Saw It”, Darwin Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1997. p120)

12 ibid. 278

13 ibid. 278

14 ibid. 279

15 ibid. 279

16 ibid.280,281

17 ibid. 286

18 ibid. 286

19 ibid. 292

20  Guillaume, A., “The Life of Muhammad”, a translation of Ibn Ishaq’s “Sirat Rasul Allah”, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan.  (p106)

21 Rubin, Uri, “The Eye of the Beholder”, Darwin Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1995 (p161)

False Prophet Muhammad, Fairytale Muhammad, and Harley Talman-Part 1

False Prophet Muhammad, Fairytale Muhammad, and Harley Talman-Part 1

By Silas

INTRODUCTION

Was Muhammad a true or false prophet?  Muhammad is considered to be a prophet of Islam but should he be accepted by Christians as a true prophet?   If “yes,” why should they accept him?  What qualifies him?  If “no,” then why not?  What disqualifies him?

In the end this question requires a 100% “yes” or “no” answer because we are evaluating Muhammad’s claim to be a God-ordained prophet and apostle who brought God’s commands to all mankind.  He claimed that the God of Moses and Jesus sent him to restore the true faith and true believers are now required to put their faith in him.  (Quran 4:136)  Muhammad claimed he was the last of the prophets and Islam was to be accepted as a certified, God-decreed legitimate faith, meant to supersede Judaism and Christianity.1 Muhammad’s assertion of his prophethood, as equivalent to the Biblical prophets, is an integral part of his message.  A “partly yes, partly no” answer avoids the issue and misleads the audience.  While Muhammad proclaimed many of the same things Moses and Jesus proclaimed, such as there is only one God, he also proclaimed many things that differed or contradicted what Moses and Jesus taught, e.g. dietary laws and Jesus’s Sonship.  Muhammad allowed no room for a pick and choose buffet of faith; it was all or nothing:

And whoso seeketh as religion other than the Surrender (to Allah) it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter.2  (Quran 3:85)

Therefore, since Muhammad claimed to be a God-ordained prophetic voice, en toto, we must evaluate that claim, not as a simple inspiring and motivating mystical speaker but as someone bringing a new faith, with laws, commands, and rituals, against the Biblical “prophet” standard.  This is our starting point and ultimately where we must end.  In-between there is room to identify and agree with various aspects of Islam that align with Christian truth3 but that is an aside from validating his prophetic claim.  Anything less is incomplete and disingenuous.

Validating Muhammad’s prophethood, even in a generic way, lends credibility to him and Islam.  If Muhammad were a true prophet of God then to one degree or another Christians would be obligated to consider and possibly implement Islamic tenets.  After all, if God the Father gave Muhammad commands for all mankind, then wouldn’t Christians be required to obey them?  On the other hand, if he were a false prophet then Christians are obligated to reject Islam, take a stand, and say, politely, wisely, and firmly that Muhammad was not a prophet of God.  If this is the case then Muhammad would correctly be identified as a false prophet.

For the purposes of this article there are two key questions that need to be answered:

Question 1) Which Muhammad are we talking about?  On one side there is the traditional Muhammad, the Muhammad of Islam for about the past 1400 years.  On the other side are the Muhammads created recently by various Muslim and non-Muslim revisionists.  There are many of these Muhammads and they all don’t get along.  They are created from opinion, conjecture, and various possibilities based upon interpretations of recent discoveries of non-Islamic historical data.  The barnyard is full of these Muhammads.

Question 2) What is the definition of prophet, and false prophet, from a Biblical Christian point of view?   What guidelines and standards should be used to identify a true or false prophet?


TASK 1) DEFINING THE TWO MUHAMMADS

I’ve listed two distinct Muhammads, the one of Islam, i.e. the traditional historical Muhammad, and the ever-morphing one of the non-Muslim revisionists.


THE TRADITIONAL MUHAMMAD

As a Christian worker primarily in Islam, my focus is not academics, instead it is upon engaging the world as it is.  If I am going to accept or reject Muhammad as a prophet I need to engage his claim established in the faith of his followers and in the understanding of non-Muslims.  This claim is the traditional claim, built upon the Islamic source material texts: the Quran, hadith, and sira.  The traditional Muhammad is taught and proclaimed by the major Sunni and Shia theological schools, and he is the Muhammad that the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims obey.  Today’s Muslim terrorists commit their sins and crimes in his cause, and conversely, many honest, intelligent, good-natured Muslims follow him and in his name do good works.  He is the Muhammad with whom the world interacts.  He is the Muhammad whom the Popes and Presidents, Religious and Atheists, pundits and professors, polemicists and apologists, name.  He is the Muhammad of today’s reality.  The Islamic world, and the world at large, know only one Muhammad:  the traditional Muhammad.

Doesn’t it make sense that the traditional Muhammad be our primary focus?  Afterwards, different Muhammads invented from interesting academic and intellectual evaluations, theories, bits of data, and multiple possibilities, can be considered.

If Muhammad’s words and deeds align with Biblical requirements for prophethood then one could grant some type of legitimate “prophet” status to Muhammad.  However, if Muhammad’s message is at odds with the Biblical “prophet” requirements then Muhammad should be labeled as a false prophet.  Clarity and precision are needed.


THE REVISIONIST’S MUHAMMAD

I work in the engineering world.  Several years ago a senior engineer designed a product for a customer’s requirements.  He was considered to be the subject expert and few people were capable of critiquing his design.  Initial prototypes confirmed that his design worked and would probably fulfill all requirements.  However, a new experienced engineer was hired and he was assigned to the same program.  He evaluated the design and stated that it would fail at required operational extremes and he proposed an alternate design.  Understandably, conflict ensued!  The senior engineer was greatly offended and outspoken in his criticisms of the new engineer because he felt his reputation threatened and he responded aggressively.  The ugly, one-sided conflict, continued for some time until prototype testing was performed.  It validated the new engineer’s critical statements and his alternate design.  The senior engineer’s design was rejected and he never lived down the shame.

In the world of engineering designs work or they don’t.  Some designs look good on paper but fail when prototyped, tested, or manufactured.  Most of us live in the functional world where the theories behind the functioning have been proven or disproven.  It can be a harsh and challenging world.

However the theological world is a soft, malleable, loosely defined world.  This is due in part to it being a world of concepts, ideas, theories, and opinions.  These can be difficult to nail down precisely and they vary from person to person.  Further, you cannot manufacture a theological theory and put it through validation testing.

Because theology is pliable one can inject personal viewpoints into his beliefs.  Intelligent men can project anything that tickles their fancy.  For example, some writers suggest that Jesus was an alien!  Other writers claim that Jesus could have been a practicing homosexual!  Some writers claim Muhammad never existed, others claim he was an amalgamation of various Muslim leaders!  Anything goes because of theology’s squishy nature.  Theologians have a personal Gumby to stretch into whatever form they desire.

This subjectivity of concepts and beliefs allows personal convictions and desires to be stretched as “personal interpretations” and within the world of Christianity there is no shortage of polarized opinions from various scholars.  Today some insist that adultery, homosexuality, abortion, even pagan worship, is not sin and is acceptable to God (take the American Episcopalian church for example).  These ideas can morph into actions.  Some religious leaders have caused great good, e.g. Mother Theresa and Franklin Graham, or great evil e.g. Jim Jones and David Koresh.

If engineers practiced their profession like many of today’s degreed theologians practice theology they would be laughed out of the company and put out on the street.  They would lack the ability to analyze data and think critically.  Their opinions, personal preferences, and sympathies, would take precedence over logic and data.  Their designs would fail.

One Christian who argues for Muhammad to be accepted by the church as a prophet is “Harley Talman.”  That name is a nom de plume for a missionary who spent many years in the Islamic world and now teaches religion.  He wrote a detailed article and argued that Muhammad should be considered a prophet of God, but perhaps not equal to the Biblical prophets.  His article is found here: Is Muhammad Also Among the Prophets?

He makes his argument in a demure, almost evasive, manner.  It is packed with maybes, mightbes, and possibilities.  After reading his article a couple times it was obvious, that despite his protestations, he wants to loudly proclaim that Muhammad was indeed a prophet of God.

Talman’s argument is not built upon the historical Muhammad and he does not argue that we should accept the historical Muhammad as a prophet.

The most widely accepted version of Muhammad, based upon Islamic tradition, is dubious. (p3)

The sub-sections which follow reflect on various Christian views of Islam, a revised history of Muhammad and the movement he founded, and a theological reassessment of the prophet of Islam, all based on a potentially more objective portrayal of his character and actions. (p3)

Based upon his “dubious” view, his Muhammad purposely excludes most of the traditional Islamic biographical source materials from his evaluation (the hadith and sira).  Talman deems revisionist Muhammad as a prophet because of his spiritual and inspirational preaching.  He argues that Christians need not accept all things Islamic but instead take an ‘eat the cherry and spit out the pits’ approach.

“Like a number of Christian scholars of Islam, I believe there is biblical warrant for considering the possibility of some kind of positive prophetic status for Muhammad.” (p14)

He may be seen as fulfilling a prophetic role, whether in response to general revelation or special, whether as a preacher or religious leader, whether as an ecstatic or charismatic prophet, or something more. (p17)

Throughout his article Talman provides various statements upon which he builds his argument for Muhammad’s prophethood.  Talman draws from people’s theories, interpretations, and pronouncements to create his kinder and gentler “prophet.”  There are too many statements to list but I’ll provide a few.  He then argues that the church at large should accept him as such.  Here is a selection of quotes from other Christians:

Patriarch Timothy 1:
Muhammad taught about God, His Word and His Spirit, and since all prophets had prophesied about God, His Word and His Spirit, Muhammad walked, therefore, in the path of all the prophets. (p15)

Bill Musk:
Where the Prophet Muhammad gained insight into who that Person is–for example in his conviction, against a polytheistic background, of the oneness of God–his utterances to that effect are truly in the lineage of the biblical prophets. (p15)

Timothy Tennent:
we should not let the whole history of Islam cloud our assessment of Muhammad.  If it can be said that God spoke ‘directive prophecy’ through Cyrus, who announced the end of exile (2 Chron. 36:22; Ezra 1:8), then why could God not have spoken a directive word through Muhammad? (p15)

Anton Wessel:
A prophet is an agitator, someone who walks around temple and palace stating his criticism, who rages against the injustices political leaders are committing. A true prophet does not adopt the drab and colorless language of his society, does not speak the jargon of diplomats, the language of theologians or a priestly caste, or the rigid prose of the business world. (pp15, 16)4

In my own words, Talman’s argument is that we should consider Muhammad to be a prophet because he had an encounter with God, taught some truths, spiritual disciplines, and virtues, and he led people from paganism to monotheism.  Muhammad was not perfect but he taught morals.  He did not have a full revelation or understanding of Jesus Christ but he respected and honored Jesus greatly.  Muhammad intended to lead people into a godly lifestyle in harmony with believers in other faiths, but for various reasons conflicts and wars ensued.  Christians today don’t have to accept everything Muhammad commanded but we should honor him as some type of legitimate God-used prophet.

Talman’s general assessment is the opposite of what the traditional Muhammad claimed.  Muhammad claimed great prophethood for himself and that he and all of his word, his Quran, were to be obeyed strictly.  The Quran commands all true believers to imitate Muhammad’s lifestyle found in those rejected source materials.

Part one of this article will engage with and evaluate Islam’s traditional Muhammad.  Parts 2 and 3 will address, in a limited degree, Talman’s “evidence” and his Muhammad creation.


TASK 2) CHRISTIAN DEFINITION OF TRUE AND FALSE PROPHETS

The second task is to establish a definition for “Biblical prophet” according to Christianity.  The word prophet is loaded with preconceptions and Christians across the spectrum will have different responses to someone identified as, or claiming to be, a Biblical prophet.  Logically, if a man claims to be or is identified as a prophet of God but is then found to not be such a prophet, then he is a false prophet.

I dug into this part of the topic and searched to find a concise definition, a requirements list, for a Biblical prophet.  I wanted to compile such a list but I did not find exactly what I hoped for.  I gathered and reviewed many pages of notes and comments as I studied various theological writings and many Scriptures related to “prophet.”  Initially, I could only develop a loose definition.   However, after more study, thought, and deliberation, I was able to put together sufficient criteria for a Biblical prophet.  (I would like to present a detailed examination of this topic because it is relevant and intriguing but for space sake it is beyond this article’s scope.

In general terms, a prophet is or is identified as a spokesman for a deity, speaking that deity’s words.  Throughout the Bible many “prophets” are mentioned.  Some are false prophets who represent Pagan faiths, some are unnamed prophets, some start off good and go bad, and others die for their faith in the God of Israel.  Over and over again it is seen that a prophet is simply a spokesperson for any particular deity.

Here is a simple definition of prophet one that is fulfilled by numerous people Jewish, Christian, Pagan, or otherwise:

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/prophet
1.  a person who speaks for God or a deity, or by divine inspiration.
5.  a person regarded as, or claiming to be, an inspired teacher or leader.

In human history, within that general “prophet” scope on a spiritual or mystical level, there are many people who claimed to be or are identified as prophets who had a message that differed from Christianity’s message.  Here are a few of the people who roughly fit that definition: Zoroaster, Albruna, Tenrikyo, Tenskwatawa, and Völva.

If a Christian were to argue that these “prophets” be accepted by the church as Biblical prophets they would be rejected on a variety of grounds.  Some were inspiring speakers, some predicted things, some seemed to have spiritual insights, some taught moral principles, but generally Christianity rejects them as Biblical prophets.  One could argue, (as Talman does for Muhammad), that these prophets brought something of spiritual value and in some cases caused people to seek after a true God, but we would be foolish to put them on Biblical footing because of some of the other things they taught, or did.

As the topic approaches “prophets” who claimed prophethood closer to the Judeo-Christian landmark the water becomes muddied.  For example there is Joseph Smith, Ali Muhammad Shir?zi, Sun Myung Moon, and of course Muhammad.  All of these men fulfill Talman’s low bar of “prophet.”  Being tied or related to Christianity in one way or another their claims or identifications as prophets being gifted from God can be more difficult to assess.

Additionally this article lists many of people who claimed to be prophets during Muhammad’s time: How Muhammad Became the Final Prophet   Please take a look at the graphic.  Muhammad had a lot of prophetic company!  There was no shortage of prophets in Arabia!

Obviously we need a more biblically precise definition for “prophet” and “false prophet” than the generalities Talman provided.

As mentioned, the Bible does not provide a concise definition of prophet, but there are a number of examples, guidelines, and references we can draw from and develop strong standards.  These standards are higher than a simple and generic, inspiring or spiritually motivating bar that any “Guru Rajneesh” could fulfill.

In Biblical terms a prophet is one who proclaims God’s word to men.  My challenge here is to provide a context, scope, and constraint upon a Biblical definition for prophet, and false prophet, and measure Muhammad against it.  There are two sources I will look to:  Christian theological writings and the Bible.


CHRISTIAN THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS

I’ll start with the Christian theological writings first because they set a limited scope based on Scripture.  Following them, the Word of God will nail down specific requirements and restrictions.

The Didache

The Didache http://www.historian.net/didache.htm (Teachings of the Twelve Apostles) is a first century Christian treatise addressing a wide variety of topics that involved the Church.  Some early Church Fathers esteemed it highly and considered it to be on par with Scripture.  I start with it because it shows that the early Church also had the challenge of identifying true or false apostles.

Section 11 addresses this topic and I’ll quote several passages.

11:1 Whosoever therefore shall come and teach you all these things that have been said before, receive him;
11:2 but if the teacher himself be perverted and teach a different doctrine to the destruction thereof, hear him not;
11:3 but if to the increase of righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.
11:9 but if he ask money, he is a false prophet.
11:13 From his ways therefore the false prophet and the prophet shall be recognized.
11:14 And no prophet when he ordereth a table in the Spirit shall eat of it;
11:15 otherwise he is a false prophet.
11:20 And whosoever shall say in the Spirit, Give me silver or anything else, ye shall not listen to him;

This quote highlights that there were two primary criteria that the early Church used to determine true or false prophets:  truthful teaching and moral conduct.


Modern Christian writings

Here are some standard definitions of “prophet”:

The “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament” has some 80 pages analyzing this word.  Here are some comments:

The prophet is essentially a proclaimer of God’s Word. … Most comprehensively it can mean “to proclaim the revelation, the message of God, imparted to the prophet”5

“As the examples show, the passion and resurrection of Jesus are at the heart of the proof from prophecy as of primitive Christian preaching as a whole.6

“His proclamation is the Word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ, Rev 1:2, 19:9.7

The New International Commentary on the New Testament on Revelation 19:9 states:

…the “testimony of Jesus” is the witness that was borne by Jesus (subjective genitive).  By his life and death Jesus has demonstrated to his followers what it means to bear a faithful witness (1:5; 3:14) to the message revealed by God.8

Continuing on the meaning of “testimony of Jesus”, the Commentary continues:

It could mean that the witness or testimony that Jesus bore is the essence of prophetic proclamation – the principle that dominates prophecy.  However, John’s readers would certainly understand his reference to “the spirit of prophecy” in terms of the Holy Spirit as the one who inspired all prophecy.  Peter spoke of the Spirit of Christ who moved in the OT prophets to predict the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow (1 Pet 1:10, 11) and that prophecy came as the result of men speaking from God as they were being carried along by the Holy Spirit.9

Kittel also has several pages dedicated to false prophets.  Here is a key quote:

“Miracles could not serve as accrediting signs because the false prophets of the last days use miracles as a means of seduction, Mk 13:22 par. Mt 23:23; Rev. 13:13; 16:13f; 19:20.  Thus note was taken of the teaching and conduct of the prophets.  A presupposition of genuine prophecy is a right confession of Jesus Christ:  “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God,”…  But agreement with the Christological confession of the Church is hardly a sufficient confirmation of genuine prophecy.  False prophets, too, can confess Jesus Christ, prophesy in His name and play the role of true preachers so perfectly that it is hard to see that they are liars.  Hence their conduct must be scrutinized.10

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary has several good comments for both prophets and false prophets:
http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/prophet-prophetess-prophecy.html

A prophet was an individual who received a call from God to be God’s spokesperson, often connected with some crisis that was about to occur, and then announced God’s message of judgment and/or deliverance to Israel and the nations.

http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/false-prophet.html

False Prophet
This is what makes the discernment of what constitutes pseudoprophecy so difficult, for many of the false prophets also subscribed to some of the same theological traditions as did the canonical prophets.

False Prophets in the New Testament.
False prophets continued to make their presence felt well beyond the days of the Old Testament; indeed, Jesus warned his disciples, and through the apostles, he warned the early church about the character and teachings of such frauds.

As was characteristic of false prophets in the Old Testament, their New Testament counterparts were also motivated by greed ( 2 Peter 2:3 2 Peter 2:13 ), exhibited arrogance ( 2 Peter 2:18 ), lived immoral lives ( 2 Peter 2:2 2 Peter 2:10-13 ), and generally could be described as ungodly persons (Jude 4).

I found this website to have some excellent statements on defining a prophet: What is a Prophet?

Notice first that God chose His messengers. Notice also that God told them what to do.
1. To reveal the nature and attributes of God to men.
2. To make known to men the laws of God.
3. To call the people back to obedience to God’s laws.
4. To exhort the people to sincerity in worship.
5. To warn them of Divine judgment upon sin, both personal and national.
6. To foretell future events which God had willed.
7. To foretell the coming of the Messiah, the Savior.
8. To record the history of God’s dealings with men.
9. To record the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures.

Notice that God warned the people that all pagan practices and customs were strictly forbidden. In particular, God warned them not to seek help or guidance through occult practices like divination, witchcraft or necromancy (the belief that spirits of dead people can be used to obtain help).

There are many similar websites that discuss prophets and false prophets but I did not find much that differed from the above.

In general Muhammad could claim to fulfill most of these “prophet” points.

·       Muhammad claimed to speak God’s word.
·       Muhammad claimed to receive revelations from God (through Gabriel).
·       Muhammad claimed to proclaim God’s laws, to call men to repentance, and to foretell the future.
·       Muhammad claims to honor Jesus as a great prophet and acknowledge that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and the Word of God!
·       Muhammad claimed to be an exemplary moral person who obeyed God’s laws scrupulously.

The only significant point I see contradiction is on Muhammad’s testimony to Jesus Christ (see the Kittel and NICNT comments above).  A serious Christian would argue that Muhammad did not testify to Jesus Christ as crucified, risen, Lord, Savior, or Son of God, but rather to Him only as a great prophet.  Christians who don’t take their faith seriously will overlook this point:  Is it important to identify Jesus as Lord, Savior, Messiah, and Son of God?

Therefore, taken as a whole, I found that the theological writings identified two themes consistently which must be examined to determine Biblical prophethood: 1) Message:  Was Muhammad’s message in phase with a Biblical message?, and 2) moral conduct:  Did Muhammad’s moral conduct conform to the Biblical standard?

Note that examining a man’s moral conduct is not a special judgment.  Christians are instructed to evaluate all men’s fruit.  This is not a search for perfection, for “all have sinned,” but rather of sound conduct found in passages like Titus 1 and 1 Tim 3.  So there is nothing unique or unfair in examining a supposed prophet’s moral conduct and comparing it to a Scriptural standard.


THE BIBLE’S PASSAGES ON TRUE AND FALSE PROPHETS

Jesus’s love and care for the church included warning them against false teachers and false prophets and we should take note of those details.  Scripture, as our boundary marker, our guidepost, provides theological definition and understanding of true and false prophets.

Four initial observations.

There are some 460 Bible verses using the word “prophet.”  I found four overarching points as I surveyed “prophet” and “false prophet.”

a)  The NT Scriptural emphasis is upon false prophets more so than upon prophets.  This is because the ministry of the prophets in the New Testament presupposed a correct doctrine and holy lifestyle.  There are several NT prophets mentioned (Eph 4:11, 1 Cor 14:29, Acts 13: 1, 15:32), and it is understood that they maintained sound doctrine as accepted leaders by the church.  In relation to their ministry, Jesus is identified as the “cornerstone,” which means their ministry is built upon Christ’s teachings.  This contrasts with Muhammad’s claim that he was told by the same God to bring a new and superseding faith.

b)  The second was that God spoke to the prophets directly:  There is a continual historic flow of events where: “The word of the Lord came to the prophet abcxyz.”  (2 Sam 24:11, 1 Kings 13:20, 1 Kings 18:36, etc.).  God spoke directly with most of the Biblical prophets.  On rare occasions He spoke through angels but His most frequent, and primary, mode of communication was direct God-to-man.  In Muhammad’s case, almost all of Allah’s communication with him was through a spirit whom Muhammad eventually believed to be the angel Gabriel.

If you value the Bible as a standard then this should trouble you.  This in and of itself does not disqualify Muhammad but it clearly establishes Muhammad as a second rate prophet.  Muhammad made mountainous claims about his message, and support, from Allah.  Why then didn’t God speak with him directly?  Allah’s primary mode of communication with Muhammad is misaligned with the Biblical standard.

c)  Third was the abundance of false prophets.  Throughout the OT there are many false prophets giving counsel and spiritual guidance.  Often they would persecute the true prophets.  These false prophets misled thousands of Israelites, and Israelite leaders, into believing in and obeying their prophecies.  (Jer 23:25, Isa 9:15, Matt 7:15, etc.)

d)  The fourth overarching detail is that there were hundreds, if not thousands, of legitimate prophets!  There were even schools for these prophets.  We don’t know their names, we don’t know what they did specifically, and they are only mentioned occasionally, but there were many of them.  (1 Sam 10:10, 1 Kings 18:4, 2 Kings 2:15, Rev 22:9).

In sum, there were many prophets, both true and false, who were active during the OT and NT times.  There was far more ongoing spiritual warfare than I realized.


BIBLICAL PASSAGES RELATED TO FALSE PROPHETS

Below are some of the Biblical passages relevant to our review of false prophets.  How they are identified, i.e. how their message and moral conduct failed to line up with God’s word.  I will only quote a few passages in full.  (All quotes are from the New American Standard Bible).11

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matt 7:15, 16

You will know who the false prophets are by their fruits, i.e. their actions.  The evaluation of moral conduct point is stated in the theological writings I noted earlier.

For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. Matthew 24:24-25

False prophets will continue to successfully mislead people, perhaps even Christians, until Christ’s return.  They will use signs and miracles as proof of their prophethood.

2 Pet 2:1-3 makes the point that false prophets will teach and permit sexual sin and carnality.  See also Rev 2:20

2 Corinthians 11:3, 4, 12-15 shows: 1: Satan inspires false preachers to proclaim different Christs, and different Gospels, 2) Satan dresses himself in the costume of an angel and interfaces with men to deceive them.  His servants also practice evil deeds.

1 Cor 10:14-22 shows:  1: demonic powers are behind the worship of false gods, and 2: Christians can be misled or misinformed and fellowship with demons.  As Christians we should not be mixing demonic elements with our Eucharist, with the body and blood of Christ.  See also 1 Tim 4:1.

James 2:19 establishes that believing in “one God” is not sufficient for being right with God.  James is saying, “You believe there is only one God?  So what?  Demons also believe in one God but they will be cast into hell.”

James 3:13-18 shows that demonic motivations are revealed by jealousy, selfishness, carnality, and violence.

Gal 1:6-17 shows: 1: angels can bring false gospels, 2: God’s plan was to reveal His Son through Paul’s life, 3: men or angels who preach a false gospel should be damned to hell.  See also Acts 9:20, 2 Cor 1:19.

John 3:18 mandates that believing in Jesus as the Son of God is part of the Gospel.  Not believing in Jesus as the Son of God leads to hell.  See also John 3:16, 36, 20:31.

These Scriptures establish boundaries for Biblical prophethood:  the prophet’s message and the prophet’s moral conduct.  These are the same boundaries that the early church and modern theological writers identified.  Further, the New Testament identifies these key details for identifying false prophets:  preaching a different Jesus, preaching a different gospel, not identifying Jesus as the Son of God, sinful lifestyle, and sexual immorality.


THE GOSPEL MESSAGE CONTRASTED WITH MUHAMMAD’S MESSAGE

First, an evaluation of Muhammad’s message.  How does it compare to the Gospel message?  Here is the basic Gospel derived from Scripture, 1 Cor 15:1-4, John 20:31, Rom 10:9, 10, Rev. 3:20:

a) Jesus was crucified and died for our sins
b) He was resurrected from the dead
c) We are to put our faith in Him as the Son of God
d) We are to receive and obey Him as Lord.

How does Muhammad’s message align with the Gospel message?

a & b) Muhammad denied that Jesus was crucified (therefore He could not have been resurrected):

“And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. Quran 4:157, 158.12

There are various interpretations of this verse but the majority of Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified.  See The Crucifixion of Christ – A Christian Critique of the Quran


c) Muhammad denied that Jesus was the Son of God.

There are several of Quran verses that state this:

Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him.  Quran 112.13

In Miroslav Volf’s book, “Do We Worship the Same God?” we find a quote from Muslim scholar Reza Shah-Kazemi commenting on Sura 112:

There is evidently a theological impasse here, a fundamental incompatibility between the respective conceptual forms taken by belief in the same God.  Even if Christians retort to the above verses by denying any kind of carnal relation in the “sonship” of Jesus, insisting that the sonship in question does not occur in time and space, but is an eternal principle, of which the historical Incarnation is but an expression, it is nonetheless clear that the Qur’an emphatically rejects the idea that “sonship” – whether physical, metaphorical, or metaphysical – should form part of any creedal statement regarding God.  In other words, it rejects the validity of ascribing to Jesus the status of “son of God,” and in so doing rejects a belief that constitutes a cardinal tenet of Christian faith.14

See also my discussion of Volf’s book: Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

Other Quran verses that deny Jesus is the Son of God:  2:116, 9:30, 19:34-36.

d) Muhammad denied that Jesus is Lord.

And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah’?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.  5:11615

Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is. 3:59-6016

“O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. 4:17117

See also Quran 5:116 and 3:56, 60.

Summary of Muhammad’s message contrasted with the Gospel message.

Muhammad contradicted these four key Gospel requirements.  His statements in the Quran, which Muslims believe are God’s literal words, are contradictions not “different understandings.”  Islam’s God says “Jesus is not my Son!”, Christianity’s God says Jesus “is My beloved Son!”  These Gods do not agree.  Either Jesus is the Son of God, or He is not.  It is a simple, black and white, all or nothing, preposition.

This leads us back to the Scriptural evaluation of whether or not a person is a true prophet.  Muhammad fails to meet the standards or requirements stated in 2 Corinthians 11:3, 4, 12-15, 1 Cor 10:14-22, Gal 1:6-17, John 3:18, etc.  By comparing the content of Muhammad’s message found in the Quran and comparing it to Christ’s message in the Bible, we can conclude that Muhammad is not a true prophet.  Muhammad was a false prophet.

In this evaluation we let the Quran and the Bible speak for themselves.  They both spoke and contradicted each other.  The same God could not have spoken both Scriptures.  Different Gods established different faiths.


MUHAMMAD’S MORAL CONDUCT EVALUATED

The other aspect of evaluating true or false prophethood is examining the person’s moral conduct.  Here we constrained to use the sira and hadith to find examples of the traditional Muhammad’s conduct because the Quran contains little of value here.  However, Quran references will be added as applicable.

Muhammad’s life is a story of how a man who started in weakness ended with great power.  This power extended from political, to judicial, to sexual.  How did he handle that power?  How did he treat those who disagreed with him or even criticized him?  On this note, Plato said, “The measure of a man is what he does with power,” and Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”  Men in power have the ability to treat others fairly, morally, or harshly.  This will be part of the consideration.

I have studied the sira and hadith in some depth and I’ve found that Muhammad was a man, just like any other man.  He had good and bad characteristics, strengths and weaknesses.  He made many sacrifices on behalf of his followers.  He loved them, cared for them, and was generous to them.  Most all of the time he treated them fairly and with respect.  All Christians should concede and agree that Muhammad had a good, humble, and loving side.  He sincerely loved his followers.

However, throughout history most religious people come into contact with people who disagree with them and are not their followers.  Muhammad had a great deal of contact with non-Muslims.  How was his conduct toward the non-believers?  I am not talking about dealing with enemy combatants, rather I am talking about men and women who disagreed with Muhammad and rejected his claim of prophethood.

No expectation of sinlessness exists here.  Moral perfection is not required.  King David was a murderer, a sinner, yet used by God.  We will not use a microscope or a magnifying glass to review Muhammad’s conduct.  Instead, we will look at Muhammad’s life and his questionable actions and see if he justified them, or repented of them.  King David repented of his sin against Uriah.

I’ll present five cases that present aspects of Muhammad’s character.

1) Dealings with critics: Abu Afak, Asma Marwan
2) Dealings with money: Kinana
3) Treatment of female slaves
4) Judgment of the Meccan slave girls
5) Treatment of his soldier Dihya


1)  Dealings with critics: Abu Afak, Asma Marwan

Abu Afak and Asma Marwan were critics of Muhammad.  The both denied his prophethood.  Neither was a threat to Muhammad.  Abu Afak was 120 years old, and Asma Marwan was a mother of 5 children, one which still nursed.  Because they spoke out publically against Muhammad’s claims Muhammad had them murdered.  Both were stabbed to death while they slept.

Key quotes from the sira:

The apostle said, “Who will deal with this rascal for me?”  Whereupon Salim b. Umayr, brother of B. Amr b. Auf, one of the “weepers”, went forth and killed him.18

When the apostle heard what she had said he said, “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?”  Umayr b. Adiy al-Khatmi who was with him heard him, and that very night he went to her house and killed her.  In the morning he came to the apostle and told him what he had done and he [Muhammad] said, “You have helped God and His apostle, O Umayr!”  When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, “Two goats won’t butt their heads about her”, so Umayr went back to his people.19

Key quote from the Quran:

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.  And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. 48:2920

Reference articles:
Muhammad and the Murder of Abu Afak
Muhammad and the Death of Asma Bint Marwan


2) Dealings with money: Kinana

Kinana was a Jewish leader and he was taken captive by the Muslims during the battle of Khaybar.  Rumor had it that he knew of buried treasure.  Muhammad wanted it.  When asked by Muhammad to produce it, Kinana said he knew nothing about it.  Muhammad ordered that Kinana be tortured until he “talked.”

Key quote from the sira:

Torture him until you extract what he has.” So he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead.  Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.21

Reference article:
Muhammad and the Death of Kinana


3) Treatment of female slaves

When Muhammad attacked and plundered others he took men, women, and children as slaves.  He would give the female slaves to his soldiers as their property.  His soldiers used the slaves for their sexual pleasure.  These slave women were allowed to be raped because they were property.  The Quran grants this to the soldiers because they were “what their right hand possesses.”   (Note that Muhammad himself had a pretty female slave, Mariyah.  Because she was Muhammad’s property he used her for sex).

Key quote from the Quran:

Save worshippers. Who are constant at their worship.  And in whose wealth there is a right acknowledged for the beggar and the destitute; and those who believe in the Day of Judgment, and those who are fearful of their Lord’s doom – Lo! the doom of their Lord is that before which none can feel secure – and those who preserve their chastity save with their wives and those whom their right hands possess, for thus they are not blameworthy; 70:22-3022

Also see 23:5,6,  4:24

Key quotes from the hadith:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri that during the battle with Bani Al-Mustaliq they (Muslims) captured some females and intended to have sexual relations with them without impregnating them.  So they asked the prophet about coitus interruptus.  The prophet said, “It is better that you should not do it, for Allah has written whom He is going to create till the Day of Resurrection”.

Qaza’a said, “I heard Abu Said saying that the prophet said, “No soul is ordained to be created but Allah will create it.”23

Abu Sirma said to Abu Said al Khudri:  “O Abu Said, did you hear Allah’s messenger mentioning about al-azl (coitus interruptus)?”  He said, “Yes”, and added:  “We went out with Allah’s messenger on the expedition to the Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them.  So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing azl” (withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception).  But we said:  “We are doing an act whereas Allah’s messenger is amongst us; why not ask him?”  So we asked Allah’s messenger and he said:  “It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born”.24

Reference article:
Muhammad and the Female Captives

(Note that Muhammad also had a female slave, Mariyah, he used for sex because she was “pretty” and it was allowed by virtue of her being his slave).


4) Judgment of the Meccan slave girls

When Muhammad began his ministry in Mecca he spoke out against paganism and mocked the families of the Quraysh leaders.  In response they mocked and persecuted him.  Over time Muhammad’s love for his former clansmen turned to hatred because of how forcefully they opposed his claim as prophet.  In particular there were three slave girls, who may have been forced into prostitution by their owners, who were very effective in humiliating Muhammad with their witticisms and songs:  Qaribah, Fartana, and Sara.  These slave girls were the lowest of the low in Mecca.  Even unbelieving people would feel some sympathy for their plight.

Key quotes from the sira:

The apostle of Allah entered through Adhakhir, [into Mecca], and prohibited fighting.  He ordered six men and four women to be killed, they were (1) Ikrimah Ibn Abi Jahl, (2) Habbar Ibn al-Aswad, (3) Abd Allah Ibn Sa’d Ibn Abi Sarh, (4) Miqyas Ibn Sababah al-Laythi, (5) al-Huwayrith Ibn Nuqaydh, (6) Abd Abbah Ibn Hilal Ibn Khatal al-Adrami, (7) Hind Bint Utbah, (8) Sarah, the mawlat (enfranchised girl) of Amr Ibn Hashim, (9) Fartana and (10) Qaribah.25

There should be no doubt that these slave girls hurt Muhammad’s feelings deeply.  Because when he returned and conquered Mecca he ordered that these three slaves be killed wherever they were found.  There was no regeneration in Muhammad’s heart.  Instead we see only deep bitterness, hatred, and vengeance.   These slaves should have been pitied, instead Muhammad wanted them dead.

Eventually two were killed and one was forgiven.

Reference article:
Muhammad and the Meccan 10


5) Treatment of his soldier Dihya

Following the battle of Khaybar, Muhammad, as was his custom, was going to distribute his female slaves to his soldiers.  One of his soldiers knew of a very beautiful Jewish women, Safiya, and he wanted her for himself.  He went to Muhammad and asked if he could pick a slave for himself.  Muhammad allowed Dihya to do so and Dihya took Safiya.  However, other Muslims told Muhammad that she was so beautiful that she was only fit for him alone.  Muhammad commanded Dihya to present Safiya before him.  Muhammad took one look at her beauty and took her away from Dihya for himself.  Here is one case in which Muhammad defrauded one of his men due to his sex drive.

Key quotes from the hadith:

So the Prophet said, ‘Bring him along with her.’ So Dihya came with her and when the Prophet saw her, he said to Dihya, ‘Take any slave girl other than her from the captives.’ Anas added: The Prophet then manumitted her and married her.”26

Reference article:
Muhammad, Islam, and Sex


Summary of Muhammad’s moral character.

Islam is a man’s religion, it is a religion of power.  Power of Muhammad over the Muslims, power of the Muslims over the non-Muslims, power of the Muslim man over the female.  Even Aisha noticed how Allah catered to Muhammad’s desires.27

In all of these examples we see Muhammad’s sanction for his murdering, theft, destruction, rape, slavery, and lust.  He did not view these as sins to repented of (as David did), instead Muhammad viewed these deeds as Allah-sanctioned.

There are many more examples of Muhammad’s immorality, and dubious spiritual authenticity.

Despite his outward discipline of prayer, these five examples depict a man who on the inside, in his heart, was murderous, angry, and carnal.  The Jewish leaders who persecuted Jesus were also disciplined in prayer and ritual.  However those outward shows never transformed their heart.  So too Muhammad looked good on the outside but was rotten on the inside.  He was not a mercy to mankind, but rather the trail of blood in Muhammad’s wake grew ever wide.

When held against Jesus’s teachings, Muhammad is found to be a carnal and sinful man.  By the Islamic evidence alone on the basis of his moral character we can conclude that Muhammad was a false prophet.

Conclusion

The movie, “Into the Wild” details the life of a young independent man, Christopher McCandless, who ventured to Alaska and lived in the wild.  Things go wrong for him and he is forced to live off the land eating roots, seeds, and berries.  He ate the seeds of a plant he believed to be nontoxic, however the seeds were toxic and he grew sick and died.  This true and tragic story again highlights a key point for us, “things that look similar may be quite different.”  Perhaps if Christopher would have been more knowledgeable or discerning things would have turned out differently.

Jesus warned us, His followers, to beware of false teaching and false prophets.  Why did He warn us?  If it wasn’t important then why did He waste His breath?

It is interesting that immediately after Jesus warned His disciples of false prophets He then warned them of knowing Him well enough to do His will:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [n]miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’  Matthew 7:21-23.

If Christians are so willfully blind that they are unable to identify a false prophet of Muhammad’s scale, how could they be expected to know the Lord?  Only foolish, careless Christians would look to them to be their teachers.

In Revelation 2:6 and 15 God says that He hates the deeds of the Nicolatians.  If God hates evil deeds and false doctrines shouldn’t we?  Is there any false prophet in history who has taught such false doctrine and done as much damage to the church, the bride of Christ, as Muhammad?  Dedicated Muslims have martyred far more Christians than the Roman Empire.

The Bible provides guidelines for determining a true or false prophet: content of message and content of moral character.  Muhammad’s message contradicts, denies, and opposes the Gospel message on all major points.  By the Biblical standard Muhammad must be identified as a false prophet.  Muhammad’s character also fails the Biblical standard:  Muhammad was a murderer, liar, thief, and lascivious.  By the Biblical standard Muhammad must be identified as a false prophet.  Christians, grounded in their faith, devoted to their Savior, and faithful to the word of God, have the strength and integrity to reject Muhammad’s claim as a prophet.

This evaluation of Muhammad’s prophethood reaches a conclusion easily:  Islam’s prophet was a false prophet.  Franklin Graham called Islam a “very evil and wicked religion.”  I agree with brother Graham.  I would say that Muhammad, judged by his teachings and actions, was a “very evil and wicked false prophet.”  Sidney Griffith, in “The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque,” notes that some of the earliest Christian writings about Muhammad identified him as a false prophet.28 Those early Christians got it right.  I join in harmony with them and say that Muhammad was a false prophet.

We have evaluated the traditional Muhammad’s prophethood. This is the Muhammad of Islam’s history, and of the world today.  This is the only Muhammad in play.  When the details from the Quran, hadith, and sira are examined Muhammad can only be identified and labeled as a false prophet, an enemy of Christ, and persecutor of the bride of Christ.

Continue to Part 2.


ADDENDUM A:  Muhammad in the arts.

There was a time when Muhammad was viewed by the church just like ISIS is viewed today:  a bringer of evil, tragedy, and suffering.  In “Dante’s Inferno” Dante’s Inferno, Canto 28, Muhammad, punished for his sins of scandal and schism, is depicted as suffering daily disemboweling:

A cask by losing centre-piece or cant
Was never shattered so, as I saw one
Rent from the chin to where one breaketh wind.

Between his legs were hanging down his entrails;
His heart was visible, and the dismal sack
That maketh excrement of what is eaten.

While I was all absorbed in seeing him,
He looked at me, and opened with his hands
His bosom, saying: “See now how I rend me;

How mutilated, see, is Mahomet;
In front of me doth Ali weeping go,
Cleft in the face from forelock unto chin;

And all the others whom thou here beholdest,
Disseminators of scandal and of schism
While living were, and therefore are cleft thus.

A devil is behind here, who doth cleave us
Thus cruelly, unto the falchion’s edge
Putting again each one of all this ream,

When we have gone around the doleful road;
By reason that our wounds are closed again
Ere any one in front of him repass.
29

Here is an artist’s rendering of God’s judgment upon Muhammad in hell:30


ADDENDUM B:  Other recommended articles:

1) Sam Shamoun addresses other aspects of Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet:

Is Muhammad a True Prophet of God?

“Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist – he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22-23 NIV

2)  Charisma Magazine has an excellent examination of false prophet’s messages.  Those of you familiar with the character and fruit of Muhammad’s “companions” will immediately recognize the stark contrast between Islam’s fruit and Christianity’s fruit.

Seven Traits of False Prophets in Sheep’s Clothing

Different Character—What kind of people does the message produce? The true believer pursues goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (1 Peter 1:5-7)

3)  Those of you who want to see a video that identifies similar and additional reasons why Muhammad is a false prophet:

Top Ten Reasons Muhammad is Not a Prophet


In Christ,

Silas 22 Nov 2016

[First published: 7 January 2017]
[Last updated: 23 January 2017]

Footnotes

1 See Nuh Ha Mim Keller, “Reliance of the Traveller”, Beltsville Maryland, Amana, 1991, section w4.3.

2 Pickthall, Mohammed, “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran”, Mentor, New York, 1953

3 The same could be done for other faiths such as Mormonism, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism.

4 Would Donald Trump fit Wessel’s definition?

5 Kittel and Friedrich, “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,” Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmanns, 1968, Volume 6, 829.

6 ibid., 833

7 ibid., 849

8 See Robert H. Mounce, “The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Book of Revelation, Revised, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, 1977, 349.

9 ibid., 849, 850

10 Kittel and Friedrich, “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,” Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmanns, 1968, Volume 6, 856.

11 New American Standard New Testament, Foundation Press, La Habra, California, 1972

12 Mohammed Pickthall, “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran”, Mentor, New York, 1953

13 Mohammed Pickthall, “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran”, Mentor, New York, 1953

14 Volf, Miroslav, “Allah: A Christian Response”, Harper One, New York, New York, 2011, p. 81

15 Ali, Yusuf, “The Holy Qur’an”, Amana, Beltsville, Maryland, 1989

16 Mohammed Pickthall, “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran”, Mentor, New York, 1953

17 Ali, Yusuf, “The Holy Qur’an”, Amana, Beltsville, Maryland, 1989

18 Guillaume, A., “The Life of Muhammad”, a translation of Ibn Ishaq’s “Sirat Rasul Allah”, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 675.

19 ibid., 675, 676

20 Mohammed Pickthall, “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran”, Mentor, New York, 1953.

21 Guillaume, A., “The Life of Muhammad”, a translation of Ibn Ishaq’s “Sirat Rasul Allah”, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 515.

22 Mohammed Pickthall, “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran”, Mentor, New York, 1953.

23 Bukhari, Muhammad, “Sahih Bukhari”, Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India, 1987, translated by M. Khan, volume 9 #506.

24 Muslim, Abu’l-Husain, “Sahih Muslim”, International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1971, translated by A. Siddiqi, volume 2, #3371

25 Ibn Sa’d, (d. 852 A.D.), “Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir”, (Book of the Major Classes), translated by S. Moinul Haq, Pakistan Historical Society, volume 2, 168.

26 Bukhari, Muhammad, “Sahih Bukhari”, Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India, 1987, translated by M. Khan, volume 1, #367.

27 ibid., volume 6, #311

28 Sidney Griffith, “The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque”, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2008, 24, 25.

Muhammad’s Sexual Fantasies of Virgin Mary

Muhammad’s Sexual Fantasies of Virgin Mary

At a time when Western people are constantly warned to speak respectfully of Muhammad, or else offended Muslims might respond with violence—to the shame and blame of those who exercise their freedom of expression—consider what Muslims regularly say about the things non-Muslims hold dear.

Recently during his televised Arabic-language program, Dr. Salem Abdul Galil—previously deputy minister of Egypt’s religious endowments for preaching—gleefully declared that, among other biblical women (Moses’ sister and Pharaoh’s wife), “our prophet Muhammad—prayers and peace be upon him—will be married to Mary the Virgin in paradise.”  (Note: the Arabic word for “marriage” denotes “legal sexual relations” and is devoid of Western, “romantic,” or Platonic connotations.) (more…)

Originally posted 2017-02-10 08:32:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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