Date: 20 Mar 2010


move yourselves away?’ Such men will find their abode in Hell, - What an evil refuge!” 20 Understanding Muhammad Remember how the Unbelievers plotted against you [Muhammad], to keep you in bonds, or slay you, or get you out (of you home). They plot and plan, and Allâh too plans; but the best of planners is Allâh. (Q.8:30) As per this Qur’anic verse, it appears that Allâh is guessing what the Meccans were plotting. Is this not the invention of a paranoid Muhammad? Muhammad lived among the Meccans for thirteen years, taunting them and insulting their religion, just as Muslims today insult the religion of everyone else, and yet they tolerated him. Except for Muhammad’s own claim, there is no historical evidence they ever tried to harm him. In history written by Muslims themselves, there is no evidence of persecution against Muhammad. The elders of the Quraish, vexed at his insults, repaired to his aged uncle Abu Talib and said, “This Nephew of yours, has spoken opprobriously of our gods and our religion, and has abused us as fools, and given out that our forefathers were all astray. Now, avenge us yourself of our adversary; (seeing that you are in the same case with ourselves,) or, leave him to it that we may take our satisfaction.”28 This is hardly the language and approach of persecutors. This is a plea, an ultimatum to Muhammad to stop abusing their gods. Compare that to the actions of today’s Muslims when their prophet is portrayed in a few cartoons. Muslims rioted and in far away places such as Nigeria and Turkey, killed nearly one hundred people who had nothing to do with those cartoons, and yet the Quraish tolerated numerous insults against their gods for thirteen years. The night that Muhammad escaped to Medina, in the company of his loyal friend Abu Bakr, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. In Medina, he found Arabs who were less sophisticated than the Meccans. An added advantage was that they were ignorant of his background and character, to which the Meccans were privy. As a result, they were more receptive to his message. Muhammad was not the first Arab prophet. Several other pretenders from other parts of Arabia were his near contemporaries. The best known was Musailama, who started his prophetic calling a few years before Muhammad, but unlike the prophet of Islam, he was successful in his own town and among his own people. Interestingly, a woman called Sijah was also a claimant to that title, and she too had a sizable following among her own people. Both of these prophets were preaching monotheism. There is convincing evidence that prior to 28 Sir William Muir, Life of Muhammad, Vol. 2, chap. 5,. p. 162. Who Was Muhammad? 21 Islam’s dominance in Arabia women were much more respected and had more rights than at any time after. None of these other prophets, however, resorted to violence in order to expand their religions or to rob people. They did not want to conquer territories and build empires, but rather, in the tradition of the Biblical prophets, were solely interested in preaching and in inviting people to worship God. Muhammad was the only prophet-warrior of Arabia. The abovementioned prophets were not antagonistic with each other. They cooperated and did not fight over dominance. The Medinan Arabs accepted Muhammad readily, not because of the profundity of his teachings, which basically, as stated above, consisted only in telling people to believe in him, but because of their rivalry with the Jews. Medina was essentially a Jewish town. The Jews, by the virtue of their faith, considered themselves to be “chosen people.” They were also wealthier and more educated than the Arabs and as a result, were envied by them. Most of Medina was owned by the Jews. This city was a Jewish town. Kitab al-Aghani 29 traces back the first settlement of the Jews in Medina to the time of Moses. However, in the 10th century book Futuh al-Buldan (The Conquest of The Towns), Al Baladhuri writes that, according to the Jews, a second Jewish immigration took place in 587 BC, when Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, destroyed Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews throughout the world. In Medina, the Jews were merchants, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, artisans, and farmers, whereas the Arabs were labourers and mostly worked for the Jews. They had come to Medina at least a thousand years after the immigration of the Jews, i.e. in 450 or 451 A.D., when a great flood in Yemen forced various Arab tribes of the Saba region to migrate to other parts of Arabia. These tribes came to Medina in the fifth century as economic refugees. Once they converted to Islam, they banished and massacred their hosts and took over their city. After gaining a foothold in Yathrib, later called Medina, the Arabs started to raid and rob the Jews. Jews in return said what any oppressed people would: when their Messiah comes, he will take their revenge. When these Arabs heard Muhammad claiming to be a messenger of God and proclaiming himself to be the one foretold by Moses, they thought by accepting him and converting to Islam they would outrival the Jews. Ibn Ishaq narrates: “Now Allâh had prepared the way for Islam in that they lived side by side with the Jews, who were people of the Scriptures and 29 A collection of poems in many volumes compiled by Abu al-Faraj Ali of Esfahan. It contains poems from the oldest epoch of Arabic literature down to the 9th cent. It is an important source for information on medieval Islamic society. 22 Understanding Muhammad knowledge, while they themselves were polytheists and idolaters. They had often raided them in their district, and whenever bad feeling arose, the Jews used to say to them, ‘A prophet will be sent soon. His day is at hand. We shall follow him and kill you by his aid…. So when they heard the apostle’s message, they said one to another: ‘This is the very prophet of whom the Jews warned us. Don’t let them get to him before us!’” 30 It is ironic that Judaism and its messianic belief should become the strength of Islam. Without it, Muhammad may have never had any followers and Islam would have died like most cults do. Again, there is little or no evidence to support Muhammad’s claim that Meccans persecuted Muslims. This claim is unquestioningly repeated by both Muslims and some non-Muslim historians. The anger and animosity toward Muslims was reaction to Muhammad’s own behavior. This, in no way, resembles any persecution we see of Muslims today, or persecution of followers of other faiths by Muslims. It was Muhammad, not the Meccans, who ordered Muslims to leave their homes. He enticingly promised: To those who leave their homes in the cause of Allâh, after suffering oppression, we will assuredly give a goodly home in this world; but truly the reward of the Hereafter will be greater. If they only realized (this)! (Q.16:41) The immigrants had no source of income. How was Muhammad to deliver this promise and give “goodly homes” to those who, at his behest, had forsaken their homes? They had become poor and relied on the charity of the Medinans for sustenance. Muhammad was about to lose his credibility. His followers were whispering their discontent. Some started to defect from his camp. His response to all this was another threatening verse: They [the unbelievers] long that you should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that you may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allâh; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever you find them, and choose neither friend nor helper from among them. (Q.4:89) 30 Sirat Ibn Ishaq, P.197 Who Was Muhammad? 23 How can we reconcile these friendship prohibitions and threats, with the claim that the Meccans had driven Muhammad and his followers out of their homes? In this verse, Muhammad is telling his followers to kill those Muslims who defect and want to return to Mecca. This is reminiscent of the reverend Jim Jones compound in Guyana, where he ordered his men to shoot anyone attempting to escape. All of this was designed to isolate his followers so he could better control and indoctrinate them. When one is separated from family and friends, and joins a cult where everyone is bewitched, it becomes difficult to think or question the authority of the leader.31 Divide and Rule Despite his frantic threats that divine punishment awaited those who would abandon him, Muhammad had to find a way to provide a source of livelihood for his followers. To solve this problem, he told them to rob the Meccan caravans. He asserted that the Meccans had driven them out of their homes and so it was lawful for them to plunder them. Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely Allâh is well able to assist them. Those who have been expelled from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is Allâh. (Q.22:39-40) 31 Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti says: “A group of people from Mecca accepted Islam and professed their belief; as a result, the companions in Mecca wrote to them requesting that they emigrate too; for if they don't do so, they shall not be considered as those who are among the believers. In compliance, the group left, but were soon ambushed by the nonbelievers (Quraish) before reaching their destination; they were coerced into disbelief, and they professed it.” [Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti "al- Durr al-Manthoor Fi al- Tafsir al-Ma-athoor," vol.2, p178;] Suyuti writes that in one hadith Allâh's Apostle said, "There is no Hijra (i.e. migration) (from Mecca to Medina) after the Conquest (of Mecca), but Jihad and good intention remain; and if you are called (by the Muslim ruler) for fighting, go forth immediately.” This shows that prior to the conquest of Mecca, emigration from that town was one of the requisites for Muslims. This is additional evidence of the fact that Muslims were coerced by Muhammad to abandon their homes, while their families did everything they could to keep their loved ones from following this man. Jalal al-Din al-Misri al-Suyuti al-Shafi`i al-Ash`ari, also known as Ibn al-Asyuti (849-911) was the mujtahid imam and renewer of the tenth Islamic century. He was a hadith master, jurist, Sufi, philologist, and historian. He authored works in virtually every Islamic science. 24 Understanding Muhammad Meanwhile he issued many Qur’anic verses, prodding his followers to fight the non-believers. O Prophet! Rouse the believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the unbelievers: for these are a people without understanding.” (Q.8:65) Muhammad justified these attacks by playing what today we call the victim card, much as his followers do today. He claimed that unbelievers had been oppressing believers and waging war against them. In reality, he initiated the hostilities, by raiding the Meccans’ caravans and killing them as soon as he had enough men believing in him willing to do his bidding. The contradiction is obvious. In one verse Muhammad urges his followers to immigrate to Medina and threatens those who might be thinking of staying behind with murder and hell. In other verses he falsely claims that Muslims have been expelled without just cause and refers to them as “those against whom war is made.” The following Arabic proverb: Darabani, wa baka; Sabaqani, wa'shtaka “He struck me, and started crying; then he went ahead of me and charged me with beating him!” perfectly illustrates Muhammad’s modus operandi. His followers play the same dirty game to this day. This strategy made Muhammad dazzlingly successful. He roused sons against their fathers, turned brothers against brothers, and undermined tribal alliances, corroding the fabric of the society. Using this tactic, he eventually brought all of Arabia under his domination. Do not assume that there is something about Arabs that makes them susceptible to stupidity. Even today, Westerners converting to Islam become just as inimical to their own people and countries as those Arabs did 1400 years ago. John Walker Lindh converted to Islam and went to Afghanistan to fight for Al-Qaida against America. Joseph Cohen was an orthodox Jew who converted to Islam and today says killing Israelis, including their children is legitimate. Yvonne Ridley, the BBC journalist who sneaked into Afghanistan in 2001 and was captured by the Taliban, converted to Islam upon her release, now hates her own country so much she calls it “the third most hated country of the world” (after Israel and America supposedly). She supports suicide bombings, calling them “martyrdom operations,” and has called the notorious terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who had killed thousands of Iraqis in a campaign of violence in Iraq Who Was Muhammad? 25 and masterminded the bombing in Jordan that killed 60 and injured 115 persons in a wedding ceremony “a hero.” As for the Chechen terrorist leader Shamil Basayev, the mastermind of the Moscow theatre hostage crisis and the Beslan school massacre, he is “a martyr whose place in Paradise is assured,” says Ridley. Inciting hatred worked for Arabs and all those who now call themselves Muslims, and it will work for others too. Promise of Heavenly Rewards Several verses of the Qur’an exhort Muslims to carry out raids on innocent people and loot them, for reward in this world and in the next. “Allâh promises you much booty that ye will capture.” (Q. 48:20) To placate the conscience of those who might have felt some guilt about what they were doing, Muhammad made his Allâh say: “Enjoy what you took in war, lawful and good.”32 Many Muslim atrocities throughout the centuries were inspired by this and similar verses. Amir Tîműr-i-lang, also known as Tamerlane (1336-1405), was a ruthless man who became emperor through banditry. In an autobiographical memoir, The History of My Expedition against India, he wrote: My principal object in coming to Hindustan (India) and in undergoing all this toil and hardship has been to accomplish two things. The first was to war with the infidels, the enemies of Islam; and by this religious warfare to acquire some claim to reward in the life to come. The other was a worldly object; that the army of Islam might gain something by plundering the 32 Qur’an, 8:69. See also Qur’an, 8:74: “Those who believe, and adopt exile, and fight for the Faith, in the cause of Allâh as well as those who give (them) asylum and aid, - these are (all) in very truth the Believers: for them is the forgiveness of sins and a provision most generous.” One who is not familiar with Muhammad’s style of writing (actually, of reciting, as he was illiterate) may wonder how the order to loot people can be reconciled with the command to fear Allâh. However, those who read the Qur’an in Arabic notice that the verses rhyme, and Muhammad often added words or phrases that are out of place, such as “fear Allâh,” “Allâh is most merciful,” “He is all knowing, all wise,” etc., just to make his verses rhyme. Otherwise, it is inconceivable to fear the wrath of God and at the same time pillage and murder innocent people. By doing so—by associating God with looting, genocide and rape—Muhammad lowered the moral standards of his followers and sanctified evil. Thus pillage became holy pillage, killing became holy killing, and iniquity was sanctioned and even glorified. He assured his men that those who fight for their Faith would be rewarded, not only with the spoils of war but with forgiveness for their sins. 26 Understanding Muhammad wealth and valuables of the infidels: plunder in war is as lawful as their mothers’ milk to Muslims who war for their faith, and the consuming of that which is lawful is a means of grace. 33 Even if we assume that those eighty or so Muslims who emigrated were indeed forced out by the Meccans, how would this justify the raids on the caravans? The goods in those caravans did not necessarily belong to the people who allegedly exiled the Muslims. Is any one who thinks they are being persecuted in a city justified in taking his revenge on any citizen of that city? Muslims use the same logic when they bomb and kill innocent civilians. If they perceive a country as having been unfriendly towards them, they think it is okay to impose payback by killing any innocent citizen of that country. Everything Muslims do today that baffles the world is an imitation of what Muhammad did. In Chapter 22, Verse 39 of the Qur’an, Allâh gives permission to fight. This is the very same verse with which Osama Bin Laden began one of his letters to America. Can we therefore really say that Islam has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism? Incite to Violence In Medina, the immigrants from Mecca were a mere handful. To be effective in his raids, Muhammad also needed the help of recent Muslim converts native in that town, whom he called “Ansar” (the helpers). However, the Medinans had not joined Islam in order to raid caravans and wage wars. Believing in Allâh is one thing. Raiding, robbing and killing people are altogether something else. Arabs, prior to Muhammad, were not used to religious wars. Even today, there are Muslims, who though they may believe in Allâh, do not want to fight and kill for their religion. To persuade that kind of follower, Muhammad made his Allâh issue this command: Fighting is good prescribed for you, and you dislike it. But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you love a thing, which is bad for you. But Allâh knows, and you know not. (Q. 2:216) 33 Malfuzat-i Timuri, or Tuzak-i Timuri, by Amir Tîműr-i-lang In The History of India as Told by its own Historians. The Posthumous Papers of the Late Sir H. M. Elliot. John Dowson, ed. 1st ed. 1867. 2nd ed., Calcutta: Susil Gupta, 1956, vol. 2, pp. 8-98. Who Was Muhammad? 27 Soon, the Prophet’s efforts bore fruit. Goaded by greed for booty and by promises of rewards in the afterlife, the Medinan Muslims joined in the banditry and looting business as well. As Muhammad’s army grew and his ambition soared, the bandit decided to graduate to potentate. He encouraged his followers not only to wage war for him “in the way of Allâh” but also to pay for the expenses of those wars. And spend of your wealth in the cause of Allâh, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allâh loves those who do good. (Q. 2:195) Note how Muhammad links “doing good” with looting, terror, and murder. It is by this very twisted sense of morality that Muslims are able to sacrifice their consciences and take up a sociopath situational ethics toward other groups, one that must always be played to their advantage. However a situation benefits Muslims is considered good. Muhammad made his followers believe that subsidizing his warfare and committing such acts of terrorism for Islam were the best deeds that pleased God. Today, Muslims who cannot fight, compensate by contributing to Islamic “charities.” These “charities” are not established to build hospitals, orphanages, schools or senior housing. Rather they are established to expand Islam, to build mosques and madrassas, train terrorists, and finance jihad. Islamic charities will aid the poor only to enlist them for their political cause. A good example of that is the huge amount of money the Islamic Republic of Iran pays to the Hezbollah of Lebanon. This, of course, is not done out of real charity. The masses of Iranians today are living in abject poverty. Those who are lucky enough to work, try to survive with a salary that amounts to no more than $100 US dollars per month. They are in dire need of food, jobs and shelter. Why then take their money and give it to the Lebanese? The idea is to make Islam taste sweet in their mouths and enlist them to wage war against Israel. When people didn’t pony up enough funds for his military campaigns, Muhammad would angrily rebuke them: And what reason have you that you should not spend in Allâh's way? And Allâh's is the inheritance of the heavens and the earth, not alike among you are those who spent before the victory and fought (and those who did not): they are more exalted in rank than those who spent and fought afterwards; 28 Understanding Muhammad and Allâh has promised good to all; and Allâh is Aware of what you do. (Q.57:10) Muhammad cleverly equates the money that Muslims spent on his warfare to a “loan” given to God, and promised them “goodly interest” on their money: Who is he that will Loan to Allâh a beautiful loan? For (Allâh) will increase it manifold to his credit, and he will have (besides) a liberal Reward. (Q.57:11) In this way, he made his followers believe that Allâh is in debt to them for aiding Muhammad in his wars of conquest. He sweetened the deal even more and made it irresistible by promising them a lustful Paradise: On that day you will see the faithful men and the faithful women-- their light running before them and on their right hand-- good news for you today: gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide therein, that is the grand achievement. (Q.7:12) While Muhammad made Allâh tell his followers how great will be the reward of those who finance his warfare expeditions, he did not want them to brag about their contributions and their sacrifices. Making sacrifices was to be understood as a privilege. It was the believers who had to be grateful to him for the opportunity of serving him, and not the other way round: Those who spend their substance in the cause of Allâh, and follow not up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, -for them their reward is with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Q. 2:262) After rousing them to wage war and instructing them to smite the necks of the unbelievers, he assured them that their “good deeds” will never be forgotten. So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates. That (shall be so); and if Allâh had pleased He would certainly Who Was Muhammad? 29 have exacted what is due from them, but that He may try some of you by means of others; and (as for) those who are slain in the way of Allâh, He will by no means allow their deeds to perish. (Q. 47:4) In other words, Allâh can kill the unbelievers without the help of the Muslims, but he wants Muslims to do it in order to test their faith. Thus Muhammad depicts Allâh as a mafia godfather, a thuggish gangleader who tests the loyalty of his henchmen by asking them to kill. In Islam, the faith of the believer is ultimately tested by their bloodthirstiness and, readiness to kill in the cause of Allâh. Then he said: And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allâh and your enemy and others besides them, whom you do not know (but) Allâh knows them; and whatever thing you will spend in Allâh's way, it will be paid back to you fully and you shall not be dealt with unjustly. (Q. 8:60) Muhammad made empty promises that those who warred (with body or finances) against unbelievers and accepted him as Allâh’s messenger would find rewards piled high in the afterlife. In characterizing these rewards, he was indeed most generous and extravagant. He claimed there would be all kinds of goodies and endless sexual indulgence in paradise, and warned that punishment loomed for those who were stingy in subsidizing his warfare: 34 Believers! Shall I point out to you a profitable course that will save you from a woeful scourge? Have faith in Allâh and His apostle, and fight for Allâh’s cause with your wealth and with your persons. That would be best for you, if you but knew it. He will forgive you your sins and admit you to gardens watered by running streams; He will lodge you in pleasant mansions in the gardens of Eden. That is the supreme triumph. (Q.61:10- 11) 34 Qur’an, Chapter 47, Verse 38: “Behold, ye are those invited to spend (of your substance) in the Way of Allâh: But among you are some that are niggardly. But any who are niggardly are so at the expense of their own souls. But Allâh is free of all wants, and it is ye that are needy. If ye turn back (from the Path), He will substitute in your stead another people; then they would not be like you!” 30 Understanding Muhammad [In Paradise] they shall recline on couches lined with thick brocade, and within reach will hang fruits of both gardens. Which of your Lord’s blessings would you deny? Therein are bashful virgins whom neither man nor jinnee will have touched before. Which of your Lord’s blessings would you deny? Virgins as fair as corals and rubies. Which of your Lord’s blessings would you deny? (Q.55:53-55) [In Paradise] theirs shall be gardens and vineyards, and high-bosomed maidens for companions: a truly overflowing cup. (Q.78:32-33) Believe in Allâh and His messenger, and spend out of the whereof He has made you heirs. For, those of you who believe and spend, - for them is a great Reward. (Q.57:7) 35 These and similar verses of the Qur’an make it easy to understand why so many Islamic charities have been caught financing terrorist organizations.36 One would think that charity and terrorism are diametrically opposed concepts, but such a distinction is not obvious to Muslims. Islamic charities are meant to promote Islam and support jihad. To us, this is terrorism; to a Muslim, it is holy war, an obligation and the most meritorious act in the sight of Allâh. Thus, to fight in the cause of Allâh became an ordinance of Islam, binding upon all Muslims. Muhammad roused the immigrants against their own people, calling for just vengeance to be taken against them because of their alleged persecution of Muslims. Fight until there is no fitnah (opposition) and religion is wholly to Allâh. (Q. 8:40) 35 See also Chapter 63, Verse 10. 36 An affidavit made public in federal court in Virginia in August 19, 2003, contends that the Muslim charities gave $3.7 million to BMI Inc., a private Islamic investment company in New Jersey that may have passed the money to terrorist groups. The money was part of a $10 million endowment from unnamed donors in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. http://pewforum.org/news/display.php?NewsID=2563 Also on July 27, 2004, the U.S. Justice Department unsealed the indictment of the nation's largest Muslim charity and seven of its top officials on charges of funneling $12.4 million over six years to individuals and groups associated with the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, the Palestinian group that the U.S. government considers to be a terrorist organization. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18257-2004Jul27.html Who Was Muhammad? 31 When some of his followers showed reluctance to make war, he coerced them to do his bidding by propitiously “revealing” new injunctions from Allâh, who warned of their dire fate if they disobeyed. And those who believe say: Why has not a chapter been revealed? But when a decisive chapter is revealed, and fighting is mentioned therein you see those in whose hearts is a disease look to you with the look of one fainting because of death. Woe to them then! (Q.47:20) If these verses tell us one thing, it is that Islam is by definition belligerent. As long as people believe in Islam and think that the Qur’an is the word of God, Islamic terrorism will always win out. Those within Islam who might call for reform, tolerance, and a “dialogue between civilizations” are easily silenced by the authority of the Qur’an, so many of whose verses rouse believers to wage war against the unbelievers. Fight then in Allâh's way; this is not imposed on you except in relation to yourself, and rouse the believers to ardor maybe Allâh will restrain the fighting of those who disbelieve and Allâh is strongest in prowess and strongest to give an exemplary punishment. (Q. 4:84) Giving them the assurances of success: And Allâh will by no means give the unbelievers a way against the believers. (Q. 4:141) And promises of celestial rewards: Those who believed and fled (their homes), and strove hard in Allâh's way with their property and their souls, are much higher in rank with Allâh; and those are they who are the achievers (of their objects). (Q. 9:20) 37 37 See also Qur’an, Chapter 2, Verse 18: “Those who believed and those who suffered exile and fought (and strove and struggled) in the path of Allâh, - they have the hope of the Mercy of Allâh: And Allâh is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” and Qur’an Chapter 8, Verse 74: “Those who believe, and adopt exile, and fight for the Faith, in the cause of Allâh as well as those who give (them) asylum and aid, - these are (all) in very truth the Believers: for them is the forgiveness of sins and a provision most generous.” 32 Understanding Muhammad Muslims scholars everywhere echo this incitement to violence. Saudi Arabia's leading religious figure, the grand mufti, defended the spirit of jihad, or holy war, as a God-given right. "The spread of Islam has gone through several phases, secret and then public, in Mecca and Medina," the holiest places in Islam, said Sheikh Abdel Aziz Al Sheikh in a statement carried by the state news agency SPA. "God then authorized the faithful to defend themselves and to fight against those fighting them, which amounts to a right legitimized by God," This... is quite reasonable, and God will not hate it.”38 he said. Saudi Arabia's most senior cleric explained that war was not Muhammad’s first choice: “He gave three options: either accept Islam, or surrender and pay tax, and they will be allowed to remain in their land, observing their religion under the protection of Muslims.” The Grand Mufti is right. Violence against non-Muslims was only a last resort, if they refused to convert or surrender peacefully to the armies of Islam. This is no credit to Muhammad. Few armed robbers resort to violence if their victim peacefully cooperates. Criminals only use violence if they are resisted. In an Internet based debate that I held with Mr. Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, arguably the most prominent Pakistani Islamic scholar. Through his student Dr. Khalid Zaheer, Mr. Ghamidi wrote: “The possibility of killings mentioned in the Qur’an are either meant for those who were guilty of murder, or causing mischief on earth, or those who were declared unworthy of living in this world anymore after they had denied the clearly communicated and understood message from God.” Mr. Ghamidi is a moderate Muslim. However, he knows his religion well and knows that those who reject Islam are “unworthy of living in this world anymore” and must be put to death.39 Raids Muslims often speak with pride about Muhammad’s “battles.” It is a pride based on illusions. Muhammad avoided battles. He preferred ambushes and raids, which allowed him to take his victims by surprise and massacre them while they were unprepared and unarmed. During the last ten years of his life, after he moved to Medina and felt strong amongst his followers, Muhammad launched 74 raids.40 Some of them 38 http://metimes.com/articles/normal.php?StoryID=20060918-110403-1970r 39 http://www.faithfreedom.org/debates/Ghamidip18.htm 40 Tabaqat, Vol. 2, pp. 1-2. Who Was Muhammad? 33 amounted to little more than assassinations, while others were expeditions of thousands of men. He participated in 27 of them. These are called ghazwa. The wars he ordered his men to wage but did not himself take part in are called sariyyah. Both ghazwa and sariyyah mean raid, ambush, and sudden attack. When Muhammad took part in a war, he would always stay behind his troops, protected by his special entourage. Nowhere in the authentic biographies of Muhammad, do we read that he ever fought personally. In one of the battles, a war known as the Sacrilegious War, fought in Mecca, Muhammad attended upon his uncles. Now nearly twenty years old, his efforts were confined to gathering up the arrows discharged by the enemy during the ceasefires and handing them to his uncles. As Muir explains: “Physical courage, indeed, and martial daring, are virtues which did not distinguish the prophet at any period of his career.”41 Muhammad and his men ambushed towns and villages without warning, descended upon unarmed civilians, cowardly butchered as many of them as they could, and took as spoils of war the vanquished community’s herds and livestock, their weaponry and their entire belongings, as well as their wives and children. The raiders sometimes ransomed the women and children for money, or kept/sold them as slaves. The following is an account of one of these raids as recorded in the Islamic annals: The Prophet had suddenly attacked Bani Mustaliq without warning while they were heedless and their cattle were being watered at the places of water. Their fighting men were killed and their women and children were taken as captives; the Prophet got Juwairiya on that day. Nafi said that Ibn Omar had told him the above narration and that Ibn 'Omar was in that army. 42 In this war, says the Muslim chronicler, “600 were taken prisoners by the Muslims. Among the booty there were 2,000 camels and 5,000 goats.” 43 The world is shocked when Muslim terrorists kill children and the Muslim apologists are quick to announce that killing children in Islam is prohibited. The truth is Muhammad allowed killing children during night raids. 41 William Muir, Life of Muhammad Volume II, Chapter 2, Page 6. 42 Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3. Book 46, Number 717 43 Ibid. 34 Understanding Muhammad It is reported on the authority of Sa'b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allâh (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them.[belong to them]44 The objective of Muhammad’s raids was primarily to loot. A number of sources considered authoritative by virtually all Muslims attest that in order to win, the Prophet took advantage of the element of surprise: Ibn 'Aun reported: I wrote to Nafi' inquiring from him whether it was necessary to extend (to the disbelievers) an invitation to accept (Islam) before meeting them in fight. He wrote (in reply) to me that it was necessary in the early days of Islam. The Messenger of Allâh (may peace be upon him) made a raid upon Banu Mustaliq while they were unaware and their cattle were having a drink at the water. He killed those who fought and imprisoned others. On that very day, he captured Juwairiya bint al-Harith. Nafi' said that this tradition was related to him by Abdullah b. Omar who (himself) was among the raiding troops.45 To justify such dastardly attacks on civilians, Muslim historians have often accused their victims of conspiring against Islam. However, there is no reason to believe that any Arab tribe would have benefited by invading the Muslims who had become a strong group of bandits. Contrary to this claim, many tribes adopted policies of appeasement vis-ŕ-vis Muslims by signing peace treaties with Muhammad in order to stay safe. Those treaties were later broken by the prophet when he became powerful. The loot did not just bring wealth to his marauding gang. It also provided them with sex slaves. Juwairiya was a beautiful young woman whose husband was slain, who fell to the lot of a Muslim. Aisha, Muhammad’s favorite and youngest wife (who, according to Muslim sources was six years old when the fifty-one year old Muhammad married her and nine, when he consummated the marriage) accompanied Muhammad on this expedition and later narrated: When the prophet—peace be upon him—distributed the captives of Banu Almustaliq, she (Juwairiya) fell to the lot of Thabit ibn Qyas. She was 44 Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4321, 4322 and 4323: 45 Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4292: Who Was Muhammad? 35 married to her cousin, who was killed during the battle. She gave Thabit a deed, agreeing to pay him nine okes of gold for her freedom. She was a very beautiful woman. She captivated every man who saw her. She came to the prophet - peace be upon him -, to ask for his help in the matter. As soon as I saw her at door of my room, I took a dislike to her, for I knew that he would see her as I saw her. She went in and told him who she was, the daughter of al-Harith ibn Dhirar, the chief of his people. She said: “you can see the state to which I have been brought. I have fallen to the lot of Thabit, and have given him a deed for ransom, and I have to come to ask your help in the matter.” He said: “would you like something better than that? I will discharge your debt, and marry you.” She said: “yes.” “O then it is Done!” the messenger of Allâh replied.46 This account should end any argument about the real motive behind Muhammad's multiple marriages. He and his men murdered Juwairiya’s husband in an unprovoked raid. She was the daughter of the chief of Bani Mustaliq and a princess in her own right. She was reduced to slavery and became the possession of one of Muhammad’s marauding thugs. However, because of her beauty, the holy Prophet offered to “set her free” under the condition that she marry him. Is that freedom? What other choice did she have? Even if Muhammad did actually set her free, where could she go? Muslim apologists insist that most of Muhammad’s wives were widows. One could thus get the impression that he married them out of charity. What they leave out is that these “widows” were young and beautiful, and they had become widows through him. Juwairiya was 20 years old at the time and Muhammad was 58. Islamic chroniclers admit that Muhammad did not marry women unless they were young, beautiful, and childless. Except for Sauda who was in her thirties when Muhammad married her so she could take care of his children, and according to a hadith he stopped sleeping with her after he got prettier and younger women,47 all his wives were in their teens or early twenties and this is when he was in his fifties and sixties. The historian Tabari48 tells us that 46 47 Aisha has narrated that Sauda gave up her (turn) day and night to her in order to seek the pleasure of Allâh's Apostle (by that action). [Bukhari Volume 3, Book 47, Number 766] 48 Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (838–923) was one of the earliest, most prominent and famous Persian historians and exegetes of the Qur'an, most famous for his Tarikh al-Tabari and Tafsir al- Tabari. 36 Understanding Muhammad Muhammad did not marry women who had children or were not young and beautiful. Tabari narrates that Muhammad solicited Hind bint Abu Talib, his own cousin, to marry him but when she told him that she had a child, he desisted. Another woman was Zia’h bint Aamir. Muhammad asked someone to solicit her for marriage. She accepted, but when he was told of her age, he changed his mind.49 A Muslim named Jarir ibn Abdullah has narrated that once Muhammad asked him, “have you got married?" He replied in the affirmative. Muhammad then asked, “A virgin or a matron?” He replied, “I married a matron.” Then Muhammad said, “Why have you not married a virgin, so that you may play with her and she may play with you?”50 Women for the messenger of Allâh were only sex objects. They had no more rights than chattel. Their function was to give pleasure to their husbands and birth to his children. Rape Muhammad allowed his men to rape the women captured in raids. However, after capturing the women, Muslims faced a dilemma. They wanted to have sex with them but also wanted to return them for ransom and therefore did not want to make them pregnant. Some of these women were already married. Their husbands had managed to escape when taken by surprise and were still alive. The raiders considered the possibility of coitus interruptus (withdrawing from intercourse prior to ejaculation). Unsure of the best course of action, they went to Muhammad for counsel. Bukhari, reports: Abu Saeed said: “We went out with Allâh's Apostle for the Ghazwa of Banu Al-Mustaliq and we received captives from among the Arab captives and we desired women and celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interruptus. So when we intended to do coitus interruptus, we said, 'How can we do coitus interruptus before asking Allâh's Apostle who is present among us?" We asked (him) about it and he said, 'It is better for you not to do so, for if any soul (till the Day of Resurrection) is predestined to exist, it will exist." 51 49 Persian Tabari, Vol. IV, page 1298. 50 Bukhari Volume 3, Book 34, Number 310: 51 Bukhari, Volume 5, Book59, Number 459. Many other canonical hadiths recount how Muhammad approved intercourse with slave women, but said coitus interruptus was unnecessary because if Allâh willed someone to be born, that soul would be born regardless of coitus interruptus. See the following: Who Was Muhammad? 37 Notice that Muhammad does not forbid raping women captured in war. Instead, he indicates that when Allâh intends to create anything, nothing can prevent it. In other words, not even the absence of semen can prevent it. So Muhammad is telling his men that coitus interruptus would be futile and ill-advised because it would be an attempt to thwart the irresistible will of Allâh. Muhammad does not say a word against the forced insemination of these captive females. In fact, by criticizing coitus interruptus, in effect he supported forced insemination. In the Qur’an, Muhammad’s god made it legal to have intercourse with slave women, the so-called “right hand possessions,” even if they were married before their capture.52 Bukhari 3.34.432: “Narrated Abu Saeed Al-Khudri: that while he was sitting with Allâh's Apostle he said, "O Allâh's Apostle! We get female captives as our share of 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 Allâh has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence.” Sahih Muslim is another source considered factual and accurate by virtually all Muslims. Here is Sahih Muslim 8.3381: “Allâh's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was asked about 'azl, (coitus interruptus) whereupon he said: The child does not come from all the liquid (semen) and when Allâh intends to create anything nothing can prevent it (from coming into existence).” Muslims also consider Abu Dawood highly accurate and factual. Here is Abu Dawood, “Yahya related to me from Malik from Humayd ibn Qays al-Makki that a man called Dhafif said that Ibn Abbas was asked about coitus interruptus. He called a slave-girl of his and said, ‘Tell them.’ She was embarrassed. He said, ‘It is alright, and I do it myself.’ Malik said, ‘A man does not practise coitus interruptus with a free woman unless she gives her permission. There is no harm in practising coitus interruptus with a slave-girl without her permission. Someone who has someone else's slave-girl as a wife does not practise coitus interruptus with her unless her people give him permission.’" See also Bukhari 3.46.718, 5.59.459, 7.62.135, 7.62.136, 7.62.137, 8.77.600, 9.93.506 Sahih Muslim 8.3383, 8.3388, 8.3376, 8.3377, and several more. 52 Qur’an, 4:24: “Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath Allâh ordained (Prohibitions) against you.” Qur’an, 33:50): “O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allâh has assigned to thee.” Qur’an, 4:3: “If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.” 38 Understanding Muhammad Torture Ibn Ishaq narrates the story of the conquest of Khaibar. He reports that Muhammad, without warning, attacked this fortress town, inhabited by Jews and killed many unarmed people as they were fleeing. Among those captured was Kinana. Ibn Ishaq states: Kinana al-Rabi, who had the custody of the treasure of Banu Nadir, was brought to the apostle who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came (Tabari says “was brought”), to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going to a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, “Do you know that if we find you have it (the treasure) I shall kill you?” He said, “Yes.” The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest (of the treasure?) he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr Al-Awwam, “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.53 On the same day that Muhammad tortured to death the youthful Kinana, he took his seventeen year old wife Safiya to a tent for sexual intercourse. Two years earlier, the Prophet had beheaded Safiya’s father along with all the males (except those who had not yet begun pubescence) of the Jewish tribe Bani Quraiza. Ibn Ishaq writes: The apostle occupied the Jewish forts one after the other, taking prisoners as he went. Among these were Safiya, the wife of Kinana, the Khaibar chief, and two female cousins; the apostle chose Safiya for himself. The other prisoners were distributed among the Muslims. Bilal brought Safiya to the apostle, and they passed the bodies of several Jews on the way. Safiya's female companions lamented and strewed dust on their heads. When the apostle of Allâh observed this scene, he said, “Remove these she-devils from me.” But he ordered Safiya to remain, and threw his reda [cloak] over her. So the Muslims knew he had reserved her for his own. The apostle 53 Sirat Rasul Allâh, p. 515. Who Was Muhammad? 39 reprimanded Bilal, saying, “Hast thou lost all feelings of mercy, to make women pass by the corpses of their husbands?” Bukhari also has recorded a few ahadith about Muhammad’s conquest of Khaibar and his rape of Safiya. Anas said, “When Allâh's Apostle invaded Khaibar, we offered the Fajr prayer there (early in the morning) when it was still dark. The Prophet rode and Abu Talha rode too and I was riding behind Abu Talha. The Prophet passed through the lanes of the town quickly and my knee was touching the thigh of the Prophet. He uncovered his thigh and I saw the whiteness of the thigh of the Prophet. When he entered the town, he said, 'Allâhu Akbar! Khaibar is ruined. Whenever we approach near a nation then evil will be the morning of those who have been warned.' He repeated this thrice. The people came out for their jobs and some of them said, 'Muhammad (has come).' (Some of our companions added, "With his army.") We conquered Khaibar, took the captives, and the booty was collected. Dihya came and said, 'O Allâh's Prophet! Give me a slave girl from the captives.' The Prophet said, 'Go and take any slave girl.' He took Safiya bint Huyai. A man came to the Prophet and said, 'O Allâh's Apostles! You gave Safiya bint Huyai to Dihya and she is the chief mistress of the tribes of Quraiza and An-Nadir and she befits none but you.' 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." Thabit asked Anas, "O Abu Hamza! What did the Prophet pay her (as Mahr)?" He said, "Her self was her Mahr for he manumitted her and then married her." Anas added, "While on the way, Um Sulaim dressed her for marriage (ceremony) and at night she sent her as a bride to the Prophet.” 54 54 Sahih Bukhari, 1.8.367 In this hadith the commentator narrates how they [the Muslims] raided the city of Khaibar, during the dawn taking the population off guard. “Yakhrab Khaibar” (Khaibar is ruined) exclaimed Muhammad, as he passed from one stronghold triumphantly to another: "Great is Allâh! Truly when I light upon the coasts of any people, wretched for them is that day! After the conquest of the town, it came the time to share the booty. Dihya, one of the warriors, received Safiya as his share. Safiya’s father who was the chief of the Bani Nadir had been beheaded at the order of Muhammad three years earlier. After the conquest of Khaibar, her young husband Kinana was tortured and murdered at his order too. Someone informed Muhammad that 000000000