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Ten Questionable Aspects of Muhammad’s Life Pt. 3

We have arrived at the final part in this series:

  1. He Attempted Suicide

Question 230: We read in Sura al-Duha 93:3: “Thy Lord has neither forsaken thee nor hates thee.”

A1-Baidawi said, ….. It was reported that the revelation did not come to him for several days, and the idolaters said that Muhammad’s Lord left him and hated him. The verse came in answer to what they said.”

Muslim scholars said that when Muhammad stopped receiving the revelation, after the death of Waraqa Ibn Nawfal, he grieved so deeply that he once went early in the morning to Yathbur, and then later to Hira’, wanting to throw himself down, but Gabriel appeared to him and said, “Muhammad, you are truly God’s Messenger.” He then calmed down, was relieved and returned. But when the revelation would cease for a longer time, he would repeat the same scenario. Annalists were undecided as to the duration of time; Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, in Fath al-Bari, determined that it was three years, whereas Abu al-Qasim al-Suhaili said, “It is mentioned in some documented hadiths that this duration lasted for two and a half years.” Hafiz al-Suyuti said it was for two years.

We ask: How can a prophet attempt suicide? The Qur’an addresses Muhammad reproachfully when it says, “Yet perchance… thou wilt consume thyself!” (Sura al-Kahf 18:6),

  1. Khadija Confirmed the Revelation for Him

Question 231: We read in Sura al-Mu’minun 23:25: “He is naught but a man bedevilled; so wait on him for a time,”

If you examine the Hadith, which is as important in Islam as the Qur’an in terms of doctrine and practice, you will see that Muhammad was not certain about his revelation. It is reported that Isma’il Ibn Abi Hakim quoted Khadija saying to Muhammad, “Can you tell me about this friend of yours when he comes?” He said yes. So when Gabriel came to him, he said, “Khadija, here is Gabriel, he has come to me.” She said, “Stand up, my cousin, and sit on my thigh.” He stood up and sat on her thigh. She asked him, “Do you see him?” He said yes. She said, ”Then tum around and sit on my lap.” Muhammad turned around and sat on her lap. She asked, “Do you see him?” He said yes. So she cast down her veil as Muhammad was seated in her lap, and asked him, “Do you see him?” He said no. She said, “O my cousin, be sure and rejoice; by God, he is an angel, not a devil.”

Khadija uncovered her head in order to know whether that which haunted him was caused by the same carrier of revelation who came to the prophets before him, or if it was merely unconsciousness caused by demon possession. Otherwise, she thought, he would be a priest, not a prophet- the very thing that caused him to fear for himself. Muslim scholars agree that Muhammad suffered from unconsciousness prior to the revelation coming to him. Because the symptoms ceased until she put her head-covering on again, Khadija knew for certain that the bearer of revelation was an angel, and no devil, for an angel cannot look upon the uncovered head of a woman, unlike the devil! So it was Khadija, then, who concluded that he whom Muhammad received was the same bearer of revelation that used to come to the prophets!

We ask: Was Khadija reared among the prophets? Was there any prophet in her family who experienced the same Symptoms so as to compare Muhammad to him? How could she come up with the odd rule that an angel does not look upon a woman’s uncovered head, whereas the jinn can? Which prophet before Muhammad sat on his wife’s lap until she assured him that it was Gabriel who came to him?

  1. Why Should They Be Jealous of Him?

Question 232: We read in Sura al-Nisa’ 4:54: “Or are they jealous of the people for the bounty that God has given them?”

Muslim scholars have said that Muhammad used to make the rounds among his wives [i.e., have intercourse with them] who were eleven at the lime, all in one hour, be it night or day. Qatada Ibn Di’ama asked Anas Ibn Malik once, “How could he bear making the rounds among them?” Anas answered, “It was reported that he has been given the strength of thirty (according to another narration, forty) men of the men of paradise.” Muhammad also said in the Hadith, “I have been given the strength of four men in assault and sex.” The men of paradise are said to have a hundred-fold strength in eating, drinking, intercourse, and lust. Ibn al-‘Arabi said about Muhammad, “He, beyond comparison, surpassed all beings in strength for sexual intercourse.” It was reported by Ibn Sa’d, quoting Anas, that he went about having intercourse with all of his wives in one night. Muhammad himself said, “Gabriel brought me a pot, and after I ate of its contents 1was given the strength of forty men of paradise.” Muhammad once complained to Gabriel about his lack of desire. Gabriel smiled, till Muhammad’s seat glistened on account of the brilliance of Gabriel’s four front teeth. Then Gabriel said to him, “What is that which you eat, compared to harisa [a dish of meat and bulghur]?” (Sahih Muslim, section on ‘Aisha’s bounty; Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, section on Muhammad’s wives and ‘Aisha’s bounty; Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, section on marriage).

  1. If She Gives Herself to the Prophet

Question 233: We read in Sura al-Ahzab 33:50: “And any woman believer, if she give herself to the Prophet and if the Prophet desire to take her in marriage, for thee exclusively, apart from the believers.”

Ibn Sa’d brought out, quoting Munir Ibn ‘Abdullah al-Duali, that Umm Shuraik al-Dusiya, who was a very beautiful woman, offered herself to the Prophet, and he accepted her. Then ‘Aisha said, “It is a worthless woman that offers herself to a man!” When Umm Shuraik learned of it she said, “Well, I am such a woman then.” Therefore, Muhammad called her mu’mina [i.e., a believer], and that is why the verse says “any woman believer [mu’mina]”. When Muhammad said this verse, (Aisha said to him, “Indeed, God hastens to do what you desire!” (Asbab al-nuzul by al-Suyuti).

  1. He Treated His Wives Unfairly

Question 234: We read in Sura al-Ahzab 33:51: ”Thou mayest put off whom thou wilt of them, and whom thou wilt thou mayest take to thee; and if thou seekest any thou hast set aside there is no fault in thee. So it is likelier they will be comforted, and not sorrow, and every one of them will be well-pleased with what thou givest her.”

AI-Hasan said, “This verse means that God granted him the freedom of choosing to refrain from having intercourse with whomever he wills of his women, or to engage in intercourse with whomever he wills of them.”

AI-Bukhari and Muslim stated out that (Aisha said, “Should not a woman be ashamed to give herself to a man?” Then

Muhammad uttered the above-mentioned verse. Therefore ‘Aisha said, “Indeed, God hastens to do what you desire.” Muhammad took to himself ‘Aisha, Hafsa, Umm Salama and Zainab; these he slept with on a regular basis. He “put off” five of his women: Umm Habiba, Maimuna, Sawda, Juwairiyya and Safiyya; these he slept with whenever he liked.

Muhammad issued a decree that his wives should not marry after he died. He said, “It is not for you to hurt the Messenger of Allah, neither to marry his wives after him” (Sura al-Ahzab 33:53). The reason for the revelation of this verse is that Talha said that he would marry his cousin (Aisha after Muhammad’s death. Muhammad brought down this verse as a revelation!

  1. He Quoted from Both Jews and Christians

Question 235: We read in Sura al-Nahl 16:103: “And We know very well that they say, ‘Only a mortal is teaching him.’ The speech of him at whom they hint is barbarous; and this is speech Arabic, manifest.”

Al-Baidawi said, “They meant Jabr, the Roman page of ‘Amir Ibn al-Hadhrami. Others said they meant Jabr and Vassar, who were sword-makers by trade in Mecca and who used to read the Torah and the Injil. Muhammad used to pass by them and listen to them as they were reading [or reciting]. Still others said that it was ‘Aish, the slave of Huwaitib Ibn ‘Abd al-‘Uzza, who was a man versed in the Scriptures and who converted to Islam. Still others said that it was Salman the Persian.”

The Arabs of Mecca said that Muhammad was only taught these stories and annals by another man, who was a mortal like himself, and not by God as he claimed. They disagreed as to who that man was! Al-Qurtubi reported, on the strength of Ibn (Abbas, that Muhammad knew a blacksmith in Mecca called Sal’am, who was a Christian. The idolaters saw Muhammad going in and out to him, so they said, “It is only Sal’am that teaches him.” ‘Ikrima said, “Muhammad used to entertain a slave of the Mughirites called Ya’ish, who could read the Scriptures. Therefore the Quraish said, ‘He is teaching him.”’ It was also said that “As far as I know, Muhammad often satat the Marwa with aRoman Christian slave, owned by the Hadramites, whose name was Jabr, and he could read the Scriptures.” ‘Ubaidallah Ibn Maslama said, “We had two slaves from the people of ‘Ain al-Tamr; one was called Vassar, whose surname was Abu Fakiha, and the other’s name was Jabr. They worked in Mecca as sword-markers, and used to read the Torah and the Injil. They would read, and Muhammad would sit with them and find rest in their words whenever the unbelievers hurt him. The idolaters said therefore that Muhammad was learning from them.” Al-Farra’ said, “The Arabs said that Muhammad was learning from ‘Aish, a slave owned by Huwaitib Ibn ‘Abd al-‘Uzza, who was a non-Arab Christian converted to Islam.” Others said, “It was ‘Addas, the slave of ‘Utba Ibn Rabi’a” (see al-Suyuti’s Asbab al-Nuzul of this verse).

We ask: If the Arabs accused Muhammad of learning from others and attributing this knowledge to himself, claiming that he received it by divine revelation, why did he not bring a proof that he received it from God directly? The answer he gave, namely that the one he listened to was a non-Arab, is a confession. He took what he heard and put it in his own eloquent Arabic. In fact, accounts of the stories from the Old and the New Testament were in poetry before Muhammad’s time. For example, Umaiya Ibn al-Salt described the story of Abraham and Isaac in the following poem:

Praise the King every morning, On which the sun rises, And in every night.

Abraham who fulfilled his vow has considerations, And was a receiver of bounties.

He would not keep his first-born, If he saw him in the company of the flesh.

And he has a knife that cuts into the flesh A curved scar like a crescent.

“O my son, I have vowed you unto God, a sacrifice, So bear up; I am your ransom.”

The boy answered, saying:

“Nothing given to God is claimed as possession.” “My son, your reward is God, Whom you fear in all situations.

Then fulfil your vow unto God, but keep the blood from touching my garment. Tighten the straps; I will not avert the knife, As does the shackled prisoner.”

As he took the clothes off him, His Lord ransomed him with a spotless lamb.

Other Arab poets have written poetry describing biblical stories. Al-Samaw’al described what happened to Moses in the wilderness. He based his poem on the book of Exodus. Al Nabigha mentioned the name of King Solomon in a poem he recited to commend his king, al-Nu’man. There is also poetry about Jonah and how the great fish swallowed him, and how God saved him.

In Muhammad’s day, Christianity was quite widespread in Arab lands, and there were renowned churches like the “Ka’ba” of Najran. There were also learned bishops like Quss Ibn Sa’ida, famous for his eloquent speeches. The Prophet Muhammad heard him at Suq ‘Ukaz. Among the Christians there were innocent martyrs like the Yemenite Christians against whom some Jewish people revolted, killing them by throwing them into a trench which they set on fire. Muhammad alluded to them in Sura al-Buruj 85:4-7, saying, “Slain were the Men of the Pit, the fire abounding in fuel, when they were seated over it and were themselves witnesses of what they did with the believers.” The Qur’an also praises priests, monks and Christians for their piety in Sura al-Ma’ida 5:82, saying, “Thou wilt surely find the most hostile of men to the believers are the Jews and the idolaters; and thou wilt surely find the nearest of them in love to the believers are those who say ‘We are Christians’; that, because some of them are priests and monks, and they wax not proud.”

  1. Returning Insult for Insult

Question 236: In Sura al-Kawthar 108:1-3, we read: “Surely We have given thee abundance; so pray unto thy Lord and sacrifice. Surely he that hates thee, he is the one cut off.”

The reason for the revelation of this sura is that one of Muhammad’s sons by Khadija had died, and al-‘As Ibn Walil had said that Muhammad was without any offspring at all. Muhammad answered, ”Verily, the one who hates thee, he is the one cut off [or without offspring],” meaning al-‘As. Because people had insulted the Prophet for having no offspring, he declared that those who hated him would be without offspring!

In Sura al-Masad 111:1-5 we read: “Perish the hands of Abu Lahab, and perish he! His wealth avails him not, neither what he has earned; he shall roast at a flaming fire and his wife, the carrier of the firewood, upon her neck a rope of palm-fibre.”

The reason for the revelation of this sura is that Muhammad had invited his relatives in order to warn them, but his uncle Abu Lahab had told him: “May thou perish! Is this why thou invited us?” And he took up a stone and threw it at him, so Muhammad cursed him, saying, “Perish the hands of Abu Lahab and perish he,” meaning “Let his soul enter the fire to be roasted on it.” He also cursed his wife, saying that she would be the carrier of the firewood which would burn her in hell, and that she would have a rope around her neck by which to be hanged. The Prophet cursed all those who opposed him likewise! How far Muhammad is from Christ, for ”when He was reviled, He did not revile in return” (1 Peter 2:23). The Bible dearly tells us to emulate Christ and follow His teaching when it says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse” (Romans 12:14).

  1. He Incited His Followers to Fight

Question 237: In Sura al-Anfal 8:65 we read: “O Prophet, urge on the believers to fight.”

Muhammad certainly did as he was told! He participated in 29 raids: Widan, Buwat, al-‘Ashira, Safwan (or “The First Raid of Badr”), the greater Badr, Banu Sulaim, Banu Qainuqa’, al-Suwa’q, Qarqarat al-Kidar, Ghatafan (which is the raid of Dhu Amr), Bahran in the Hijaz, Uhud, Hamra’ al-Asad, Banu al-Nadir, Dhat al-Riqa’ (”The Raid of Folly”, which is the raid of Muharib and Banu Tha’laba), the final Badr’ (which is also called “The Raid of the Promise”), Dumat al-Jandal, Banu al-Mustaliq (also called “The Dreadful”), al-Khandaq (”The Ditch”), Banu Quralza, Banu Lihyan, Hudaibiya, “The One with Ticks”, Khaybar, Wadi al-Qura, “The Pilgrimage of the Judges”, The Conquest of Mecca, Hunain and al-Ta’if, and Tabuk.

The “raids by proxy” [i.e., those in which the Prophet did not participate personally, but sent his friends instead] are 47 in number. It is even said that they numbered as many as 70. This brings the total number of raids to about a hundred, which means that Muhammad was responsible for an average of one raid per month! In the Qur’an, many of them are recorded, of which we can mention the following:

The Raid by Proxy on Ibn al-Khadhrami

In Sura al-Baqara 2:217 we read: “They will question thee concerning the holy month, and fighting in it. Say: ‘Fighting in it is a heinous [lit. monumental thing].’”

Muhammad had sent out (Abdallah Ibn Jahshat the head of a raiding party consisting of 80 men. When they arrived at a place called Batn Nakhla they ambushed a caravan of the Quraish. (Amr Ibn al-Khadhrami was in the caravan, and he was killed as the first of the unbelievers. Al-Hakim Ibn Kaysan and ‘Uthman were taken captive as the first prisoners of war of Islam. The Muslims drove the caravan and the prisoners back to Muhammad, who grew angry because his friends had raided and taken booty during the holy month. Afterwards, he made it lawful and allotted fixed portions of the booty to himself and his friends.

The Raid of Uhud

In Sura Al Imran 3:140 we read: “And that God may know who are the believers, and that He may take witnesses from among you.”

Muhammad was fighting the Arabs, having 700 men with him at Uhud. At first the Arabs were put to flight, but then they turned around and won the day, having broken Muhammad’s nose and his four front teeth and gashed his face. As they continued to harass him, his friends scattered. He went to a rock and tried to lift it, but he couldn’t, so he sat down under an acacia tree. Hind and the women who were with her stayed in order to mutilate the dead bodies of Muhammad’s friends, cutting off their ears and noses. She also tore up Hamza’s liver. Then one of the Arabs approached, wanting to kill Muhammad, whose standard-bearer defended him, but was killed. The Arab then shouted, “I have killed Muhammad!” after which the Arabs withdrew. This made Muhammad call out, “Come and help me, God’s servants, come and help me, God’s servants!” Thirty men then gathered around him and bathed him with the greatest difficulty. He began to curse those who had routed him and tried to encourage those who had been vanquished, saying, “And that God may know who are the believers, and that He may take witnesses from among you.”

There is a story about this expression: When the women had waited long for Muhammad, they went out to inquire about him, when suddenly two men came up, riding on a camel. When one of the women asked, “What about Muhammad?” The men said, “He is alive.” The woman then said, “I do not care; God has taken witnesses from among His servants.” Muhammad quoted this expression of hers, considering it inspired, as a consolation over what had happened at Uhud.

The Lesser Raid of Badr

In Sura Al Imran 3:123 we read: “And God most surely helped you at Badr, when you were utterly abject.”

A1-Baidawi said in his commentary, “Badr is a watering-place between Mecca and Medina. It belonged to a man called Badr and was named after him. In the raid of Badr the Muslims killed seventy men and captured seventy others,”

The Raid of Hunain

In Sura al-Tawba 9:25 we read: “God has already helped you on many fields, and on the day of Hunain.”

A1-Baidawi says in his commentary: “Hunain is a valley between Mecca and al-Ta’if. The Messenger of God and the Muslims fought there, twelve thousand in number. Ten thousand of them had been present at the conquest of Mecca and the other two thousand were Meccans of the tribes of Hawazin and Thaqif, who were released after the conquest and swelled the ranks of the Muslims. When they met, the Prophet, admiring their vast number, said, ‘We shall not win insignificantly.’ They fought a fierce battle, but were put to flight, while the Messenger of God stayed where he was, having no one with him except his uncle al-‘Abbas and his cousin Abu Sufyan. The servants of God called him, ‘O ye of the tree, O ye of the cow,’ Then they came, saying, ‘At thy service, at thy service,’ The battle grew even more fierce, and finally the unbelievers were routed, and on that day Muhammad captured six thousand souls and took so many camels and heads of small cattle that they could not be numbered.

The Raid of Badr

In Sura al-Qamar 54:44,45 we read: “Or do they say, ‘We are a congregation that shall be succoured?’ Certainly the host shall be routed, and tum their backs”.

A1-Baidawi said: “‘Umar – may God exalted be pleased with him – said that When it was revealed, he replied, ‘I do not know what this is,’ and when the day of Badr came, I saw the Messenger of God wearing his coat of mail, saying, ‘The host shall be routed.’ Then I knew.”

The Raid of Nadir

In Sura al-Hashr 59:2, we read: “It is He who expelled from their habitations the unbelievers among the People of the Book at the first mustering. You did not think that they would go forth, and they thought that their fortresses would defend them against God; then God came upon them from whence they had not reckoned, and. He cast terror into their hearts as they destroyed their houses With their own hands, and the hands of the believers; therefore take heed, you who have eyes.”

A1-Baidawi said:

It is told that when [Muhammad] arrived at Medina, he made peace with the tribe of Banu Nadir on the condition that they would be neutral towards him. When the day of Badr appeared, they said that he was the Prophet described in the Torah as the Helper. Then when the Muslims were routed at Uhud, they began to have misgivings and revoked the agreement, and Ka1b Ibn alAshraf set out for Mecca with forty mounted men in order to form an alliance with Abu Sufyan. Then Muhammad commanded Ka’b’s foster brother to be killed and accompanied them with the Cavalry, besieging them until they agreed to emigrate. Most of them then emigrated to Syria. One group of them reached Khaybar and Hira. “Itis He who expelled from their habitations the unbelievers among the People of the Book at the first mustering” refers to their first mustering on the Arab peninsula, since no such humiliation had ever befallen them before. A mustering is the moving of a multitude from one place to another. ”You did not think that they would go forth” – because of their strong courage and power. “They destroyed their houses with their own hands” – in order to spare the Muslims.

The Raid of Tabuk

In Sura al-Tawba 9:73,74 we read: “O Prophet, struggle with the unbelievers and hypocrites, and be thou harsh with them; their refuge is Gehenna … an evil homecoming! They swear by God that they said nothing, but they indeed said the word of unbelief and disbelieved, after they had surrendered. They purposed what they never attained to, and they took revenge only that God enriched them, and His Messenger, of His bounty. So if they repent it will be better for them; if they tum away God will chastise them with a painful chastisement in this world and the next; on the earth they have no protector or helper.”

what was inherited by their revenge. “Only that God had enriched them, and His Messenger, of His bounty” – for most of the people of Medina were poor, leading a wretched life, and when the Messenger of God arrived, they received booty.

  1. The Killing of the Dogs

A1-Baidawi said:

“O Prophet, struggle with the unbelievers” – with the sword- “and be thou harsh with them” – in doing so and do not favour them above others. “They swear by God that they said nothing”; it is told that the Prophet stayed for two months at the raid of Tabuk as the Qur’an was being revealed to him, reproving those who were left behind. AlJulas Ibn Suwayd said, “If what Muhammad says to our brothers is true, we are worse than donkeys.” This reached the ears of the Prophet, so he summoned him. When he came, he swore by God to witness what he had said. Then the sura was revealed, and al-Julas repented in the best manner. “They purposed what they never attained to” – namely, to kill the Messenger. Fifteen of them had actually planned to push Muhammad from his camel into the valley when he would be climbing the steep mountain road by night on his return from Tabuk. So ‘Ammar Ibn Yasir took the halter of the camel to lead it, and Hudhayfa went behind him to steer it. They were proceeding like this, when suddenly Hudhayfa heard camel hoofs and the rattling of weapons. He said, “Away, away with you, ye enemies of God”, so they fled. “They took revenge only…” – that is, they did not reject or find.

Question 238: In Sura al-Ma’ida 5:4 we read: ”They will question thee what is permitted them. Say: ‘The good things are permitted you; and such hunting creatures as you teach, training them as hounds.’”

Al-Tabari tells us, on the authority of Abu Rafi’:

“Gabriel came to Muhammad, asking his permission to enter into his house. Muhammad allowed this, but Gabriel did not enter, so Muhammad said: ‘We have already been given permission concerning thee, O Messenger of God, yes, but we do not enter a house where there is a dog.’ Abu Rafi’ said: ‘So he ordered me to kill all the dogs in Medina, which I did until I came to the house of a woman who had a dog that was barking at her, so I left it alone, taking pity on her. Then I came to Muhammad and told him, but he ordered me to kill this last one, too.’ Then (Adi Ibn Hatim and Zaid Ibn al-Muhalhal came, saying: ‘O Messenger of God, we are people who hunt with dogs and falcons, and the dogs of the clan of Dhuraih hunt cows, donkeys and gazelles, so what is lawful for us?’ So he answered with the words mentioned. And he declared hunting dogs and dogs for herding lawful after he had killed them all!”

We ask: If Gabriel did not enter Muhammad’s house because of the dog in it, why was it not enough for Muhammad to kill only the dog in his own house? Why did he order the killing of the poor woman’s dog, yet allow the rich people’s hunting dogs to live? Moreover, dogs had been in Muhammad’s house and in Medina before the decree was given to kill them, so how could Gabriel have entered Muhammad’s house prior to that time? If Gabriel hated dogs, are we not justified in saying that the one who used to come to Muhammad prior to the decree was someone other than Gabriel?

  1. The Torah Did Not Prophesy about Him

Question 239: In Sura al-Saff 61:6 we read: “And when Jesus son of Mary said, ‘Children of Israel, I am indeed the Messenger of God to you, confirming the Torah that is before me, and giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.’ Then, when he brought them the clear signs, they said, ‘This is a manifest sorcery.”’

The Qur’an testifies that the Torah had been preserved without error or falsification up until the days of Christ, as we read in Sura A1lmran 3:48-49: “And He will teach him the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel, to be a Messenger to the

Children of Israel saying, ‘I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, by the leave of God. I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by the leave of God…’ Furthermore, the Qur1an testifies in many places that the Torah remained without falsification from the time of Christ until the time of Muhammad, as we see from Sura A1lmran 3:93: “Say: ‘Bring you the Torah now, and recite it, if you are truthful.’ ” The Qur1an also testifies that the Gospel is intact, as we see in Sura al-Ma’ida 5:47: “So let the People of the Gospel judge according to what God has sent down therein. Whosoever judges not according to what God has sent down they are the ungodly.”

So the Bible is true, unfalsified, unchanged; nothing has been added to it, neither is anything missing from it. There is no indication whatsoever that Muhammad was to come as a prophet. Where then did Muhammad get the idea that Jesus had prophesied about him?

Christ said that after His ascension He would send the Holy Spirit upon His disciples. In the original Greek it refers to the paraclete, which means “comforter”. This word is close in pronunciation to another Greek word which means ”famous”; the Arabic equivalent of this word is mamduh, so Muhammad thought that this mamduh, whom Christ would send, was none other than himself! The origin of this error is that these two Greek words were interchanged, so that the Arabs understood something other than Christ had intended.

It is no secret that Mani, the well-known impostor who emerged from Persia and claimed to be a prophet, said, “I am the Paraclete, and Christ has witnessed about me.” But the Christians refuted his claims by their intimate knowledge of the truth of the Gospel and by their knowledge that Christ did not prophesy about the coming of another prophet after Himself. Moreover, they knew that Christ had sealed the Law by His disciples (Isaiah 8:16). Christ also warned His followers about false prophets, saying, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

  1. The “llliterate” Prophet

Question 240: In Sura al-A’raf 7:157-158 we read: “Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet of the common folk…. Believe then in God, and in His Messenger, the Prophet of the common folk.”

The reason Muhammad is called “the Prophet of the common folk” is that he did not appear among the Jews, but among the Gentiles. (This description can also be translated as “the illiterate Prophet”.) The Jews were used to calling all non-Jews gentiles, or “common folk”, just as the Arabs used to call all nonArabs ‘ajam. The Qur1an refers to Jews and Christians as “People of the Book” and others “the common folk”, which is what all Arabs were called according to the Qur’an: “It is He who has raised up from among the common people a Messenger from among them, to recite His signs to them” (Sura al-Jum’a 62:2); “And say to those who have been given the Book and to the common folk: ‘Have you surrendered?’” (Sura AI Imran 3:20); “And of the People of the Book is he who, if thou trust him with a hundred weight, will restore it thee; and of them is he who, if thou trust him with one pound, will not restore it thee, unless ever thou standest over him. That, because they say, ‘There is no way over us as to the common people. ‘They speak falsehood against God and that Wittingly” (Sura Al’Imran 3:75).

Therefore, Muhammad was called the Prophet of the common people, because he was a stranger to the Jewish nation, the chosen people, from whom God had raised up all the prophets; and God made His Word, Christ, the Saviour of the world, the final seal of all the prophets. Muhammad was also called “the Prophet of the common folk” because, as itis claimed, he did not know how to read and write. They consider it a miracle that he could recite the Qur’an, being illiterate. Many Jews and Christians followed Muhammad and embraced Islam. Ibn ‘Abbas and al-Suyuti relate in their commentaries that a certain ‘Ubaidallah Ibn Sallam, who was a Jewish priest, converted to Islam. The Qur’an says about him: “And a witness from among the Children of Israel bears witness to its like” (Sura al-Ahqaf 46:10).

  1. Compulsion and Non-Compulsion

Question 241: In Sura al-Nahl 16:101 we read: “And when We exchange averse in the place of another verse-and God knows very well what He is sending down – they say, ‘Thou art a mere forger!’ Nay, but the most of them have no knowledge.”

In the Qur’an there are two separate messages, as if by two different prophets that fight each other, and the second one defeats the first, takes it prisoner, and neutralises its message! The first one forbids doing harm to those who do not believe in Muhammad: “And say to those who have been given the Book and to the common folk: ‘Have you surrendered?’” (Sura AI Imran 3:20); “And if thy Lord had willed, whoever is in the earth would have believed, all of them, all together. Wouldst thou then constrain the people, until they are believers? It is not for any soul to believe save by the leave of God” (Sura Yunis 10:99,100); “Itis thine only to deliver the Message, and Ours the reckoning” (Sura al-Ra’d 13:40); “And obey not the unbelievers and the hypocrites; heed not their hurt, but put thy trust in God” (Sura al-Ahzab 33:48); “And We have sent thee not, except good tidings to bear, and warning” (Sura al-Isra l 17:106).

However, the second message abrogates the application of these verses, even though their text has not been erased from the Qur’an. They are kept there for reciting only. Muhammad adopted a new way in his exile in Medina: the way of war, violence and fighting! How does the Muslim reconcile these verses, the Meccan and the Medinan ones, the peaceful and the warlike ones?

nearer to the believers than their selves”) al-Baidawi says, “It is told that he wanted to raid Tabuk and commanded the people to set out. But some people said, ‘Let us ask our parents’ permission, so the Qur’anic verse descended.”

From -these verses and their interpretation we see how Muhammad imposed ~is absolute will. If he wanted to give Zainab in marriage to his son Zaid, she would have to submit even if she and her brother objected. And if Muhammad wanted Zainab, Zaid would have to renounce being her husband! And if he ~anted. to raid, the young men would have to obey without asking their parents’ permission!

  1. Nearer the Believers than They Themselves

Question 242: In Sura al-Ahzab 33:36 we read: “It is not for any believer, man or woman, when God and His Messenger have decreed a matter, to have the choice in the affair. Whosoever disobeys God and His Messenger has gone astray into manifest error.”

Al-Baidawi says:

“It is not for any believer, man or woman” means that absolutely no one has a right; “when God and His Messenger have decreed a matter,” – that is, when God’s Messenger has decreed it. God is mentioned in order to exalt the Prophet and declare that his decree is God’s decree, because it was revealed concerning Zainab, the daughter of Jahsh and his aunt Umayma, the daughter of ‘Abd al-Muttalib. The Messenger of God had engaged her to Zaid Ibn Haritha, but she and her brother (Abd Allah refused! It is said that Umm Kulthum, daughter of ‘Uqba, gave herself to the Prophet, but he gave her in marriage to Zaidi ”To have the choice in the affair” means that they themselves could choose anything instead of letting their choice be subservient to the choice of God and His Messenger.”

In his commentary to Sura al-Ahzab 33:37, al-Baidawi says, “‘And conceal what is within thyself” – that is, to marry Zainab if Zaid would divorce her, or if the Prophet wanted him to divorce. her. ‘Fearing other men’ means their condemning of you for doing so or fearing people’s gossip.”

In his commentary on the same sura, verse 6 (“The Prophet is nearer to the believers than their selves”) al-Baidawi says, “It is told that he wanted to raid Tabuk and commanded the people to set out. But some people said, ‘Let us ask our parents’ permission, so the Qur’anic verse descended.”

From these verses and their interpretation we see how Muhammad imposed his absolute will. If he wanted to give Zainab in marriage to his son Zaid, she would have to submit even if she and her brother objected. And if Muhammad wanted Zainab, Zaid would have to renounce being her husband! And if he wanted. to raid, the young men would have to obey without asking their parents’ permission!

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