Date: 20 Mar 2010


I quote are all experts in psychopathology. What Introduction 5 they say is accepted as commonsense and is shared by the majority of professionals in their field. This book is not so much intended to be a psychoanalysis of a man who lived 1400 years ago as it is an attempt to unravel his mystique. Muhammad is an enigma to many and particularly to his followers who accept the myth, and embrace the image, while refusing to see past it. His conduct was ungodly, yet he gave all indications that he truly believed in his cause. How could such a man, so vengeful, so ruthless, and so depraved, have such charisma as to leave spellbound not only his companions, but billions of people for so many centuries? Michael Hart, in his book, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, places Muhammad at the very top of his list, followed by Isaac Newton, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Confucius and St. Paul. Hart’s list does not take into consideration whether the influences these people exerted were positive or negative. In his list are also other tyrants, such as Adolph Hitler, Mao Ze Dong and Joseph Stalin. The list even includes Niccolň Machiavelli. How could a man like Muhammad, so devoid of humanity, become the most influential person in history? As this book attempts to show, the answer to this question has more to do with human psyche than it does with Muhammad the person. There is no other cause for which more blood has been shed than Islam. According to some historians, in India alone, more than 80 million people were massacred by the sword of Islam. Millions were killed in Persia, Egypt and in all other countries that were attacked by marauding Muslims, both during their conquests and in the centuries that followed It continues today. Muslims often brag, “We love death more than you love life.” They have proven it in thousands of terrorist attacks in recent years. How can one man have so much influence over so many people, even to cheerfully die for him and not hesitate to sacrifice their own children in his cause? Why is it that 25 out of 28 of the on-going conflicts worldwide involve Muslims, who comprise only one fifth of humanity? Taken as a statistical average, this means that Muslims, as a group, are a whopping 33 times more likely to resort to violence for conflict resolution than the rest of humanity. How can this be? Islam is the brainchild of Muhammad. Muslims read his words in the Qur’an and hadith and follow his examples in every detail of their lives. To them, he is the best part of creation, the most perfect human being and the example to follow. They believe that if he did something, no matter how 6 Understanding Muhammad egregious, that must be the right thing. No question is asked and no value judgment allowed. This book presents two theses. The first is that Muhammad suffered from narcissistic personality disorder. The second is that he was affected by temporal lobe epilepsy. He may have had other mental disorders as well but these two conditions of personality and brain disorder explain the entire phenomenon known as Muhammad. This book proves with overwhelming evidence that Muhammad was disturbed. Though he believed in his cause and was sincere in his claim, yet he could not differentiate the imaginary from the real. His contemporaries and those who knew him better, called him majnoon (lunatic, crazy, possessed by jinns). They unfortunately succumbed to his brute force and their voices of sanity were silenced. New discoveries of the human brain have finally vindicated them. But we should keep in mind, that despite psychological disorder, a narcissist is fully aware he is lying and he is the first to believe in his own lies. Although this book is not addressed to Muslims, it is mainly for them I have written it. As a Persian proverb says, I spoke to the door so the wall can hear. Enough has been said about Muhammad being a looter, a mass murderer, a marauding gangster, a pedophile, an assassin, a lustful womanizer, etc. Muslims hear all that, and continue believing in him without blinking. Oddly, some of them even claim that after they read my articles on the Internet, their “faith in Islam grew.” They have accepted Muhammad as a superior being and the “Mercy of God among mankind.” They do not judge their prophet by the standards of human morality and conscience. On the contrary, they believe that it was he who set the standards. For them, right and wrong, good and bad are not determined by the Golden Rule, a concept that is alien to the Muslim psyche, but by halal (permitted) and haram (forbidden), religious values that have no basis in logic, ethics, or morality. Chapter One Who Was Muhammad? Your Lord has not forsaken you, nor does He hate you. The future will be better for you than the past. And soon your Lord will give you so that you wilt be content. Did He not find you an orphan and give you shelter? Did He not find you wandering and guide you? Did He not find you in need and enrich you? (Q. 93:3-8)6 et us begin with Muhammad’s story. Let us examine his life. Who was he and what was his thinking? In this chapter we will briefly go through the salient points in the life of a man, who over a billion people literally worship. In fact Islam is nothing but Muhammadanism. Muslims claim that they worship no one but 6 Qur’an Sura 93: Verses 3-8 (Translations of the Qur’an in this book are either by Yusuf Ali or by Shakir.) My work is not about the sacred scriptures of Islam, but it is based directly on them. The passages I cite are taken from the Qur’an and the Hadith. The Qur’an purports to be not the work of any human, but the very words of Allâh himself, from beginning to end. The Ahadith (plural for Hadith) are short, collected anecdotes and sayings about Muhammad regarded by Muslims as essential to the understanding and practice of their religion. It is not necessary for me, in this book, to discuss the innumerable questions raised by the Qur’an and the Hadith, their translation into other languages, or the disputes over subtle nuances in those texts. For purposes of this book, the passages I cite will mostly speak for themselves. I have taken them from widely accepted sources." _ 8 Understanding Muhammad Allâh, but since Allâh was only Muhammad’s alter ego, his other alias and invisible suck puppet, in practice, it’s Muhammad whom they worship and that is exactly what Muhammad intended. Islam is the personality cult of Muhammad. We will read his words as they were dictated in the Qur’an, claimed by him to be the words of God, and see him from the eyes of his companions and wives. We will take a look at how he rose from a derelict preacher to become a de facto ruler of all of Arabia in just a decade, how he divided people in order to control them, how he instilled sedition and hate and roused some to wage war against others and how he used raids, rape, torture, and assassination to cast terror in the hearts of his victims and subdue them. We will learn about his genocides and his penchant for deception as a strategy, the very strategy used by Muslim terrorists today. They are doing exactly what their prophet did. The Birth and Childhood of Muhammad In the year 570 A.D., in Mecca, Arabia, a widowed young woman, Amina, gave birth to a boy whom, according to one tradition, she called Kotham.7 Fifty-three years later, when he migrated to Medina, he would adopt the name “Muhammad” (the praised one) as his sobriquet, the name by which he is widely known today. Though Muhammad was her only child, Amina gave him to a Bedouin woman, to be raised in the desert when he was only six months old. Some wealthy Arab women sometimes hired wet nurses for their infants. This freed them from nursing and allowed them to have another child right away. More children meant higher social status. But that was not the case with Amina who was a widow with only one child to care for and not wealthy. Abdullah, Muhammad’s father, died six months before his birth. Also, this practice was not really that common. In fact Khadijah, the first wife of Muhammad, who was the wealthiest woman of Mecca, had three children from her previous marriages and bore seven more to Muhammad, and she raised them all on her own. 8 7 I have not been able to verify the authenticity of this. 8 Muhammad had four daughters and three sons. All the male children died in infancy. The daughters reached adulthood and married, but all of them died young. The youngest daughter, Fatima, was survived by two sons. She outlived him (Muhammad?) by only six months. Who Was Muhammad? 9 Why would Amina give away her only child to be raised by someone else? There is too little information on Muhammad's mother for us to understand her and the decision she made. An interesting piece of information that sheds some light on her psychological makeup and her relationship with her new born child is that Amina did not breastfeed Muhammad. After his birth, the infant was given to Thueiba, a maid of his uncle Abu Lahab, (the very man whom Muhammad cursed in Sura 111 of the Quran, along with his wife) to be nursed. Why Amina did not nurse her child is not mentioned. All we can do is to speculate. Was she depressed by the fact that she had become a widow at such a young age? Did she think the child was an impediment to the possibility of remarriage? A death in the family can cause chemical changes in the brain that can lead to depression. Other factors that may increase a woman’s chances of depression are: living alone, anxiety about the fetus, marital or financial problems and the young age of the mother. Amina had just lost her husband, she was alone, poor, and young. Based on how much we know about her, she was a good candidate to suffer from depression. Depression may interfere with the mother’s ability to bond with her growing baby. Also, depression during pregnancy can place the mother at risk for having an episode of depression after delivery (postpartum depression).9 Some research suggests that depression in pregnant women can have direct effects on the fetus. Their babies are often irritable and lethargic. These newborns may grow into infants who become slow learners, and emotionally unresponsive, with behavior problems, such as aggression. 10 Muhammad grew up among strangers. As he grew, he became aware that he did not belong to the family with whom he was living. He must have wondered why his own mother, whom he visited twice a year, did not want him. Halima, Muhammad’s wet nurse, six decades later recounted that at first she did not want to take Muhammad for he was an orphan of a poor widow with little means. Eventually she accepted him because she did not find another child from a wealthy family, and because her own family desperately needed the extra income even though it was not much. Did this reflect in the way she cared for 9 Studies have shown that the newborns of the mothers with prepartum and postpartum depressive symptoms had elevated cortisol and norepinephrine levels, lower dopamine levels, and greater relative right frontal EEG asymmetry. The infants in the prepartum group also showed greater relative right frontal EEG asymmetry and higher norepinephrine levels. These data suggest that effects on newborn physiology depend more on prepartum than postpartum maternal depression but may also depend on the duration of the depressive symptoms. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov 10 http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Depression_during_pregnancy_and_after_0405.htm 10 Understanding Muhammad the child? Did Muhammad feel unloved in his foster family’s home during those crucial formative years when a person’s character is shaped? Halima reported that Muhammad was a solitary child. He would withdraw to an imaginary world and converse with friends that no one could see. Was this the reaction of a child who did not feel loved in the real world and made up one in his mind in which he could find refuge and be loved? Muhammad's mental health became a matter of concern to his wet nurse who at the age of five took him back to Amina. Not having found a new husband yet, Amina was reluctant to take the child back until Halima told her about Muhammad’s strange behavior and his fantasies. Ibn Ishaq has recorded Halima’s words: His [Halima’s own son] father said to me, “I am afraid that this child has had a stroke, so take him back to his family before the result appears.”... She [Muhammad's mother] asked me what happened and gave me no peace until I told her. When she asked if I feared a demon had possessed him, I replied that I did.” 11 It is normal for children to see monsters under their beds and talk to imaginary friends. But Muhammad's case must have been exceptionally alarming. Halima’s husband said, “I am afraid that this child has had a stroke.” This information is significant. Years later, Muhammad spoke of his strange childhood experiences: Two men in white clothes came to me with a golden basin full of snow. They took me and split open my body, then they took my heart and split it open and took out from it a black clot which they flung away. Then they washed my heart and my body with that snow until they made them pure.12 11 Sirat Ibn Ishaq, page 72: Ibn Ishaq (pronounced Is-haq, Arabic for Isaac) was a Muslim historian, born in Medina approximately 85 years after Hijra (704. died 768). (Hijra is Muhammad’s immigration to Medina and the beginning of the Islamic calendar), He was the first biographer of Muhammad and his war expeditions. His collection of stories about Muhammad was called "Sirat al-Nabi" ("Life of the Prophet"). That book is lost. However, a systematic presentation of Ibn Ishaq's material with a commentary by Ibn Hisham (d. 834) in the form of a recension is available and translated into English. Ibn Hisham, admitted that he has deliberately omitted some of the stories that were embarrassing to Muslims. Part of those embarrassing stories were salvaged by Tabari, (838–923) one of the most prominent and famous Persian historians and a commentator of the Qur’an. 12 W. Montgomery Watt: Translation of Ibn Ishaq's biography of Muhammad (p. 36) Who Was Muhammad? 11 What is certain is that impurities of the mind don’t appear as a clot in the heart. Apart from the fact that children are sin-free, sins cannot be removed with surgery and snow is not a good cleanser. This whole story is clearly a fantasy or a hallucination. Muhammad was now reunited with his mother, but this union did not last long. A year later Amina died. He did not speak of her much. When Muhammad conquered Mecca, fifty five years after her death, he visited Amina’s tomb at Abwa, a place between Mecca and Medina where she was buried. This is the grave of my mother; the Lord has permitted me to visit it. And I sought leave to pray for her, but it was not granted. So I called my mother to remembrance, and the tender memory of her overcame me, and I wept. 13 Why would God not allow Muhammad to pray for his mother? What had she done that she did not deserve to be forgiven? This certainly does not make sense. Obviously God had nothing to do with it. It was Muhammad who could not forgive his mother, even half a century after her death. He probably remembered her as an unloving cold woman, was resentful of her and had deep emotional wounds that were never healed. Muhammad then spent two years in the house of his grandfather, who, mindful of him being an orphan, lavished his grandson, the only remnant of his deceased son Abdullah, with excessive love. Ibn Sa’d writes that Abdul Muttalib gave the child so much attention that he had not given any of his sons.14 Muir in his Biography of Muhammad writes: “The child was treated by him with singular fondness. A rug used to be spread under the shadow of the Ka’ba, and on it, the aged chief reclined in shelter from the heat of the sun. Around the carpet, but at a respectful distance, sat his sons. The little Muhammad was wont to run close up to the patriarch, and unceremoniously take 13 Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd p. 21 14 Tabaqat Volume 1 page 107 Ibn Sa'd (784-845) was a historian, student of al Waqidi. He classified his story in eight categories, hence the name Tabaqat (categories). The first is on the life of Muhammad (Vol 1), then his wars (Vol 2), his companions of Mecca (Vol 3), his companions of Medina (Vol. 4), his grand children, Hassan and Hussein and other prominent Muslims (Vol. 5), the later important followers of Muhammad (Vol 7) and some early Muslim women (Vol. 8). The quotes from Tabaqat used in this book are taken from the Persian translation by Dr. Mahmood Mahdavi Damghani. Publisher Entesharat-e Farhang va Andisheh. Tehran 1382 solar hijra ( 2003). What about volume 6? 12 Understanding Muhammad possession of his rug. His sons would seek to drive him off, but Abdul Muttalib would interpose saying: ‘Let my little son alone.’ He would then stroke him on the back, as he delighted in watching his childish prattle. The boy was still under the care of his nurse, Baraka, but he would ever and anon quit her, and run into the apartment of his grandfather, even when he was alone or asleep” 15 Muhammad remembered the preferential treatment he received from Abdul Muttalib. Peppering it with his imagination, he later said that his grandfather used to say, “Let him alone for he has a great destiny, and will be the inheritor of a kingdom;” and would tell Baraka, “Beware lest you let him fall into the hands of the Jews and Christians, for they are looking out for him, and would injure him!”16 However, no one remembered those comments for none of his uncles readily accepted him when he made his claim, except Hamza, who was more or less of his own age. Abbas also joined his cause but only after his stars had risen and he was at the gate of Mecca ready to invade it. Alas, fate was not kind to Muhammad. Only two years after living in the household of his grandfather, the old patriarch died at the age of eighty-two and the boy came under the guardianship of his uncle Abu Talib. The orphan child felt bitterly the loss of his loving grandfather. As he followed his bier to the cemetery of Hajun, he was seen weeping and years later, he retained a fond memory of him. Abu Talib faithfully discharged the trust. “His fondness for the lad equaled that of Abdul Muttalib,” writes Muir. “He made him sleep by his bed, eat by his side, and go with him whenever he walked abroad. And this tender treatment he continued until Muhammad emerged from the helplessness of childhood.” 17 Ibn Sa’d quotes Waqidi who narrated that Abu Talib, although not wealthy, took care of Muhammad and loved him more than his own children. Because of the devastating psychological blows during his childhood, he feared abandonment and must have been emotionally traumatized. This becomes evident from an incident that took place when he was 12 years old. One day, Abu Talib decided to go to Syria for a business trip. He intended to leave the child behind. “But when the caravan was ready to depart, and Abu Talib about to mount his camel, his nephew, overcome by the prospect of so long a separation clung to his protector. Abu Talib was moved, and carried the 15 The Life of Muhammad by Sir. William Muir Volume II Ch. 1. P. XXVIII 16 Katib al Waqidi, p. 22 17 Tabaqat Vol I. P 108, Who Was Muhammad? 13 boy along with him.”18 This degree of attachment to his uncle is a clue that Muhammad was in constant fear of losing his loved ones. Despite this great affection and even though Abu Talib remained a staunch defender of him throughout his life, doting on him even more than he did his own children, Muhammad proved to be an ungrateful nephew in the end. When the aging uncle was in his deathbed, Muhammad visited him at his bedside. All the sons of Abdul Muttalib were also present. Thinking always of the wellbeing of his nephew, Abu Talib made an earnest plea from his brothers to protect Muhammad, who was now 53 years old. They promised to do so, including Abu Lahab, whom he had cursed in the Qur’an. After that Muhammad requested his uncle to convert to Islam. Muhammad was cognizant that his followers were mostly meek and lowly. To boost his prestige he needed someone of stature to embrace his cause. Ibn Ishaq narrates: “Whenever men came together at the fairs, or the apostle heard of anyone of importance coming to Mecca, he went to them with his message.”19 The chroniclers also tell us that Muhammad rejoiced immensely when Abu Bakr and then Omar enlisted in his cause. The conversion of Abu Talib would have elevated his prestige among his uncles and the Quraish, the tribe that resided within Mecca and were custodians of the Ka’ba, giving him the credibility and status he so desperately craved. Instead, the dying man smiled and said he would rather die in the faith of his forefathers. Thus, with his hopes dashed, Muhammad walked out of the room murmuring: “I wanted to pray for him, but Allâh stopped me from doing so.” It is difficult to believe that God would stop his prophet from asking forgiveness for the man who raised him, protected him all his life, and sacrificed so much for him. This would lower God to a level that would render him unworthy of worship. The sacrifices Abu Talib and his family made for the sake of Muhammad were immense. This man, while yet incredulous of his nephew’s claim, stood like a rock against the entire Quraish, shielding him from any possible harm and for 38 years remained his most stalwart supporter. Despite that Muhammad proved to be an ungrateful nephew. When Abu Talib refused to convert to Islam, Muhammad felt so rejected that he could not bring himself even to say a prayer at his death. Muhammad’s youth, however, was relatively eventless and was not noteworthy enough for him to talk about or for his biographers to recount. He is reported to have been shy, quiet and not very sociable. Despite the fact that he 18 The Life of Muhammad by Sir. William Muir Vol. II Ch. 1. P. XXXIII 19 Sirat, Ibn Ishaq page. 195 14 Understanding Muhammad was cared for and even spoiled by his uncle, Muhammad remained sensitive to his status as an orphan. The memories of his loveless and lonely childhood haunted him for the rest of his life. Years passed. Muhammad remained a loner, a recluse in his own world, distant and even aloof from his peers. Bukhari20 says Muhammad was “shier than a veiled virgin girl.”21 He remained so for the rest of his life, insecure and timid, something he tried to compensate for by puffing himself up, with pomposity and self-aggrandisement. Muhammad did not engage in any important occupation. At times he would attend sheep, a profession mostly reserved for girls and deemed not manly by the Arabs. The pay was meager and he depended on his impoverished uncle for his sustenance. Marriage to Khadijah Finally, at the age of 25, Abu Talib secured for Muhammad a job, to work as a trustee for a wealthy merchant woman, a relative, named Khadijah. Khadijah was a comely 40 year old successful merchant and a widow. Muhammad made one trip to Syria in her service, selling her merchandise and buying what she had ordered. Upon his return, Khadijah fell in love with the young Muhammad and through a maid, proposed marriage to him. Muhammad was a needy man, both financially and emotionally. For him the marriage with Khadijah was a blessing. In her, he could find the mother he had craved as a child, as well as the financial security that allowed him to never work again. Khadijah was more than willing to take care of all her young husband’s needs. She found her happiness in giving, caring, and in self-sacrifice. 20 Abu Abdullah Muhammad Bukhari (c. 810-870) was a collector of hadith also known as the sunnah, (collection of sayings and deeds of Muhammad). His book of hadith is considered second to none. He spent sixteen years compiling it, and ended up with 2,602 hadith (9,082 with repetition). His criteria for acceptance into the collection were amongst the most stringent of all the scholars of ahadith and that is why his book is called Sahih (correct, authentic). There are other scholars, such as Abul Husain Muslim and Abu Dawood who worked as Bukhari did and collected other authentic reports. Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and Sunnan Abu Dawood are recognized by the majority of Muslims, particularly Sunnis, as complimenting the Qur’an. 21 Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 56, Number 762: Who Was Muhammad? 15 Muhammad was not fond of work. He preferred to withdraw from the world and retreat into his own thoughts. Even as a child, he avoided the company of other children and did not play with them. He would often spend his time alone in a pensive mood. He did not know how to be happy or have fun. He hardly laughed, and if he did, he covered his mouth. From this, and following the tradition of their prophet, Muslims do not regard laughing to be pious. In his secluded imaginary world, Muhammad was no longer the cast-off, unwanted child that he had come to see himself as during the early years of his life, but rather loved, respected, praised, and even feared. When reality became hard to bear and his loneliness overwhelmed him, he would escape into fantasy, where he could be anyone or anything he wanted to be. He must have discovered this realm at a very young age, when he was living with his foster family, and spending lonesome long days alone in the desert. This idyllic and comforting world of fantasies was to remain his refuge for the rest of his life. It became as real to him as the real world, only far more pleasing. Leaving his wife at home with ten children to take care of, Muhammad would retreat to caves around Mecca to spend his days secluding himself from the world, wrapped in his own thoughts and sweet reveries. Mystic Experience One day, at the age of forty, after having spent many days in a cave by himself, Muhammad had a strange experience. He started having rhythmic muscle contractions, abdominal pains, as if someone was squeezing him violently, fasciculation (muscle twitching), involuntary movement of head and lips, sweating, and rapid heartbeat. In this agitated state he heard voices and claimed to have had a vision of a ghost. He ran home terrified, shivering and sweating. “Cover me, cover me,” he pleaded with his wife. “O Khadijah, what is wrong with me?” He told her everything and said, “I fear that something may happen to me.” He thought he had become possessed by demons again. Khadijah reassured him and told him not to be afraid, that he was visited by an angel and was chosen to be a prophet. After his encounter with the ghostly figure, identified by his wife as Gabriel, Muhammad was convinced of his prophetic status. This suited him well and fulfilled his desire for grandiosity. He began preaching his message. 16 Understanding Muhammad So what was his message? There was no message. All he knew was that he had become a messenger. The message was therefore to convey this news to others and make people believe in him. As the result they had to respect him, love him, obey him and even fear him. After 23 years of preaching, the core message of Muhammad remained the same. Islam’s main message is that Muhammad is a messenger and that people must obey him. Everyone was expected to respect him, love him, obey him and even fear him. Beyond that, there was no other message. Failure to recognize him as such entailed punishment, both in this world and the next. Monotheism, which is now the foundation of Islam, was not originally part of the message of Muhammad. After he taunted the Meccans for years by insulting their religion and gods, they refused all dealings with him and his followers. This isolation and economical boycott caused much hardship to Muslims, who at the instruction of Muhammad, emigrated to Abyssinia. Eventually, to appease the Meccans, Muhammad was compelled to compromise. Ibn Sa’d narrates: “One day the Prophet was in a gathering around the Ka’ba and was reading to them the sura an-Najm (sura 53). When he came to the verses 19-20 that read, “Have you then considered the Lat and the Uzza, and Manat, the third, the last? Satan placed the following two verses in the mouth of the Prophet. “They are pretty, and there is hope in their intercession.”22 These words pleased the Quraish and they ended their boycott and hostility. This news reached the Muslims in Abyssinia who joyously returned to Mecca. After a while, Muhammad realized that by acknowledging the daughters of Allâh as deities he had undermined his own position as the sole intermediary between Allâh and people, making his new religion indistinguishable from pagan belief and therefore redundant. So he retracted and said the two verses acknowledging the daughters of Allâh were satanic verses. He then replaced them with “What! For you the males and for Him the females! This indeed is an unjust division!”23 Meaning, how dare you attribute daughters to God, when you yourselves pride in having sons? Females are deficient in intelligence and it is unbefitting for Allâh to have daughters. This division is very unfair. Some of Muhammad's followers left him on this account. To justify this flip-flop and regain their confidence, he claimed that all other prophets were also fooled by Satan, who inspired them with demonic verses that deceptively seemed to come from God. 22 Tabaqat Volume I, page 191 23 Qur’an, 53:19-22 Who Was Muhammad? 17 And we did not send before you any messenger or prophet, but when he desired, the Satan made a suggestion respecting his desire; but Allâh annuls that which Satan casts, then does Allâh establish His communications, and Allâh is all Knowing, Wise. So that He may make what Satan casts a trial for those in whose hearts is diseased. (Q.22:52-53) Muhammad wrote these verses because several of his followers, realizing that he was making the Qur’an up as situation dictated, left him. What these verses essentially say, to put it even more bluntly, is that even when I, Muhammad goof and you catch me with my pants down, it is still your fault because your heart is diseased. Thirteen years passed, and no more than seventy or eighty people rallied around him. His wife, who not only attended to his needs, but also in a servile way, admired, flattered, and idolized him, was his first follower. Her social standing convinced a few other average people such as Abu Bakr, Othman and Omar to join his cause too. Apart from these few, the rest of Muhammad’s followers were a bunch of slaves belonging to the dignitaries of the Quraish and a few disaffected youths. The Myth of Persecution Muhammad’s call in Mecca was received with indifference. The Meccans, like most non-Muslims of today, were tolerant of all religions. Religious persecution in those lands was unheard of. Polytheistic societies are generally tolerant by nature. They were offended when Muhammad insulted their gods. Despite that, they did not harm him. Muhammad encouraged his followers to leave Mecca. Naturally the Meccans did not like that idea. The Muslim families were upset as were the masters of slaves who had converted to Islam. Some of the slaves were caught, while trying to escape and beaten. That was not, of course, religious persecution. The Meccans were simply trying to protect what they considered to be their property. For example, when Bilal was caught, his master, Umaiyah, beat him and put him in chains. Abu Bakr paid his price and he was set free. He was being punished for trying to escape, causing a financial loss to his owner and not for his beliefs. There are also stories of Muslims being beaten by their family members for converting to Islam. A hadith narrates that Omar, prior to 18 Understanding Muhammad his own conversion had tied his sister forcing her to leave Islam.24 Omar was an intolerant and strict man, both before and after his conversion. These stories can hardly be classified as religious persecutions. In the Middle East individualism is an alien concept. What you believe and what you do is everyone’s business. Women in particular cannot make their own decisions. Even today, Muslim women can be honor-killed if they decide to marry a man of their choice without the consent of their families. There is a story of persecution about a woman known as Summayyah. Ibn Sa’d is the only historian who says Summayyah suffered martyrdom in the hands of Abu Jahl. Al-Bayhaqi relying on Ibn Sa’d writes, “Abu Jahl stabbed her in her private parts.”25 If this martyrdom really occurred; it would have been trumpeted forth by every biographer and would have been reported in innumerable traditions. This is just an example of exaggeration that Muslims have been fond of making from the beginning. In fact the same biographer also claims that Bilal was also the first martyr. He long survived the alleged persecutions, came back to Mecca when that town was conquered by Muhammad and chanted the Azan from the roof top of Ka’ba. He died a natural death. Some Islamic sources claim that Summayyah, her husband, Yasir, and their son. Ammar, were persecuted in Mecca. However Muir has shown that after Yasir died of natural causes, Summayyah married the Greek slave Azraq and with him had a child called Salma.26 How then are we to understand that she died under persecution? Azraq belonged to Taif, and was one of the slaves who at the siege of that city (some fifteen years later), fled over to Muhammad’s camp. It is natural to conclude that Summayyah, after Yasir's death, married Azraq, and lived at Taif and the story of her persecution and martyrdom is an Islamic fairytale. Muhammad was not against slavery. Later, when he came to power, he forced thousands of free people into slavery. However, his order to leave, in Mecca, was disrupting the social order and causing sedition. Because of that and his constant taunting of their religion, he became a persona non grata among his people, the Quraish. Yet at no time were he and his followers persecuted because of their faith. Muslims make many baseless claims. Polytheists 24 Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 58, Number 207 25 Al-Dalaa’il, 2/282 26 Sir William Muir: The Biography of Mahomet, and Rise 0f Islam. Chapter IV page 126 Who Was Muhammad? 19 generally don’t give a hoot about what others believe. They are pluralistic by their very nature. Ka’ba housed 360 idols, each a patron of a different tribe. There were Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Sabeans (a monotheistic extinct faith) and all sorts of religions in Arabia, whose followers were freely practicing their religions. There were other prophets also preaching their faiths. Religious intolerance in Arabia began with Islam. There is no evidence of any persecution against Muhammad and Muslims in Mecca. Nonetheless Muslims make such claim because Muhammad has made that claim. Muslims will not doubt what Muhammad has said. Astonishingly even some non-Muslims historians who are not sympathetic to Islam have fallen into that trap and have echoes this untruth. Muhammad claimed victimhood, when in reality he was the victimizer. Muslims do the same. Everywhere it is Muslims who are killing, oppressing and persecuting, and yet they are the ones who cry loudest claming to be victims and oppressed. To understand this phenomenon we must understand the psychology of Muhammad and his followers. This we shall do in the next chapter. Immigration to Medina Having to care for numerous children, while having to deal with a selfabsorbed husband, Khadijah neglected her business, so that by the time she died, the family was impoverished. Shortly after Khadijah’s death, Muhammad’s other supporter, his uncle and guardian Abu Talib, had also died. Deprived of these two close powerful allies, and ignored by the Meccans, he decided to immigrate to Medina, where he had received pledges of allegiance by some of its inhabitants. He ordered his followers to go first. Some of them were reluctant. He told them that if they didn’t, they “would find their abode in Hell.”27 Muhammad himself stayed behind. Then, one night, he claimed Allâh had told him that his enemies were about to attempt to hurt him. He then asked his loyal friend Abu Bakr, to secretly accompany him to Medina. The following verse is about that intimation: 27 Qur’an, 4:97: “When angels take the souls of those who die in sin against their souls, they say: ‘In what (plight) Were ye?’ They reply: ‘Weak and oppressed were we in the earth.’ They say: ‘Was not the earth of Allâh spacious enough for you to move yourselves away?’ Such men will find their abode in Hell, - What an evil refuge!” 000000000