Saturday, December 5, 2009

Muslims and Muhammad: The Impossible Task

I've reached the conclusion that Muslims face an impossible task. Simply put, their entire faith rests upon defending a man - Muhammad - who is indefensible.

Wafa Sultan expressed it best when she said, "It is impossible that a man who did the things Muhammad did could be a prophet of God."

It is impossible that a man in his mid-50's could engage in sexual intercourse with a nine-year-old child, possibly damaging her physically so that she never became pregnant, and be a prophet of God.

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

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

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

It is impossible that a man could call other men to follow him, and then watch them die one after the other in the battles he instigated to build his empire while giving them promises of the sensual Paradise that awaited them, and be a prophet of God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the past several months on Al-Hayat TV, Father Zakariya Boutros has been discussing the dozens of stories Muhammad "stole" from the Old and New Testaments, as well as from the Midrash and other ancient Jewish documents, and inserted into the Qur'an as revelations from Allah. Zakariya makes a clear distinction between "plagarism", which is the Arabic word "iqtibas", and "theft". He points out that Muhammad did not merely copy and paste stories from these documents into the Qur'an, but essentially changed their meanings in the Qur'an to indicate that he, Muhammad, was not merely similar to but essentially superior than the individuals such as Adam, Moses, and Abraham whose stories he stole.

For the first part of his 90-minute program Zakariya presents his evidence, and then opens the lines for people to call in. His live programs do not contain the 10-second delay to block out explicit language found in American programs such as the Larry King Show, which means the listener gets to hear exactly what the caller says. More than one call has a sequence similar to this:

Moderator: Our next caller is Abdul Rahman from Bahrain. Hello, Abdul Rahman.

Caller: You bastard, you son-of-a-bitch, you son of a whore, you MF'ing infidel...

Zakariya Boutros: Thank you, may God bless you and forgive you...

Very rarely do the callers actually challenge the information presented by Zakariya, because they cannot. No-one can.

Muslims in the West tend to follow a different approach in trying to defend Muhammad. They simply present information about Muhammad in a way that ignores the reality of his actions. Reza Aslan for example, in No God but God, describes the raids led by Muhammad as a type of "spring games" engaged in by everyone of the era. Tariq Ramadan in The Footsteps of the Prophet acknowledges that Muhammad was engaged to Aisha when she was six, but then says that Muhammad married her "several years later". That sound better than saying he raped her when she was nine. Tariq also admits that Muhammad allows men to "beat their wives" in the Qur'an, but claims that Muhammad himself "never struck a woman", and is therefore a model worthy of emulation in his relationship with women. Tariq ignores the hadith where Aisha herself says that Muhammad "struck me on the chest with such force that it hurt me", when she made the mistake of following him outside the house one night.

P.S. "Rape" is a highly emotive word that is extremely offensive to Muslims when used in the context of Muhammad and some of his sexual partners, and is not used lightly. Looking at the situation objectively in a male-dominated paternalistic society where women had little freedom of choice, what other word can describe the sexual conquest of a 9-year-old child given away by her father to the man her father believed to be a Prophet from Allah? What other word can describe the sexual conquest of a 17-year-old Jewish girl, Sofiah, the same day this Prophet tortured and killed her husband? What other word can describe the sexual conquest of a young Christian slave girl, Mary the Copt, in the house of her mistress Hafsah, one of Muhammad's wives? What other word can describe the sexual conquest of female slaves and prisoners of war taken in battles instigated by this Prophet and his followers?

22 comments:

filthykafir said...

This is a good take on the subject, LFTB. I am happy to have discovered your blog -- refered by The Religion of Peace

eloivsdiablo said...

islam allows full reign to the basest aspects of its male adherents. It allows them to kill, rape, pillage and ransom because they are doing allah's will, according to its prophet...

Leo said...

very interesting article. i would love to see where in the Koran these stories came from since I am not very familiar with it. I would like to read them myself.

Omar said...

What do you get out of insulting the man who billions look up to with out any references? The man who established a civilization, that laid the groundwork for the renaissance through a synthesis of the west and east. I think if he were to read you article he would smile and request that you at least conclude with something positive your readers can prosper from.

Wa itha Khatbahum al sufahu galu salama..

"And if those who lack in wisdom and knowledge speak to them, they respond, peace be upon you"

-A Muslim Brother

Looking From the Balcony said...

Leo, these events are not found in the Qur'an, but in the Hadith and the Sirah, which is the biography of Muhammad. His first official biography was written by Ibn Ishaq. It was translated by A. Guillaume, entitled "The Life of Muhammad", and is available at amazon.com. An abbreviated version is entitled "Muhammad and the Unbelievers - a Political Life" and is available online from the Center for the Study of Political Islam.

Looking From the Balcony said...

Omar, I could have given the references for each of the things I mentioned, but did not for lack of space. They can all be found in the Sahih al-Bukhari hadiths, and the Sirat Rasul Allah by Ibn Ishaq. If you would like to know my specific reference for any of the things I mentioned, I can provide them. It surprises me that many Muslims do not know their own history. Muhammad has been kept under a veil, just like women in Saudi Arabia live under the abayah, and not many Muslims know who he really was. They only know the image they have of him.

You commented that I "insulted" Muhammad. In the West, it is slander to say something about someone that is not true. In the Middle East, it is considered slander to say something about someone that they would not want you to say, whether or not it is true. My purpose in articles such as this is to give non-Muslims information about who Muhammad really was, and to challenge Muslims to ask themselves if what they believe is both true and beneficial.

Ray said...

The proponents of Islam have a lot of explaining to do. Can they refute the links at this site?

http://www.apostatesofislam.com/links.htm

Rachel said...

Wow, I suppose if you were incumbent on trying to find something bad about a certain important historical figure of Islam then you would most certainly succeed. It seems that you have misinterpreted and have been misinformed a lot about the The Prophet Muhammed(pbuh). Regarding his marriage with Aisha, they were engaged when she was about 9-12 years old (Scholars opinion differ greatly) However the marriage was not consummated until she was of the age of puberty. I do not have to tell you that spanning different cultures and religions that the most appropriate age for marriage varies greatly as well. Also just as many Buddhist religions of peace may be interpreted as cults or Mormonism may seem as strict or controlling you have painted the picture that Islam is violent. I would imagine that if a person or religion were under attack that they would be able to defend themselves, you afford Islam and the Prophet Muhammad no such luxury to even be able to fightback when they are being attacked.
Also it would only be considered responsible journalism to site and/or document your sources when you are making blatant slanderous and untrue remarks about a very highly regarded and respected religious figure. As a Muslim my faith is firstly upon the the Word of Quran and the verse you site that allows "wife beating" is grossly misinterpreted, you don't even document the verse, just speculate of what you think it is saying!
Here is the verse: Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband's property, etc.). As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly,with the weight of a feather, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great. 4:34 holy Quran

You have truly written a bad article and when taking information from books and sources that are clearly against the clear and peaceful message of Islam, it should be taken with a grain of salt and a lot more integrity and respect for honesty because most of what you have written is lies and your own opinion.

Looking From the Balcony said...

Rachel,
Thank you for your response to my posting. You have brought up a lot of subjects, and I hope we can have a dialogue about them. My email is at staringattheview@gmail.com if you would like to correspond further.

You mentioned that scholars vary in their understanding of the age of Ayisha. I lived for 15 years in Middle Eastern countries and never heard anyone argue about her age - everyone there knows she was 6 years old when Muhammad was engaged to her, and 9 when they married. The Sahih al-Bukhari Hadiths are the most authoritative in Islam, and Aisha herself said in Bukhari Volume 7 Chapter 64 Hadith 62 that "the Prophet married me when I was six years old, and our union was consummated when I was 9." Quran 65:04 also discusses divorcing young girls who have not yet even reached puberty. The only people who argue that Aisha was older than 9 are Western Muslims because they know that the idea of a man having sex with a child makes Western non-Muslims very uncomfortable. If you are interested, I did a blog last year called "Why Aisha is Important" where I discussed this.

You said it would only be responsible journalism to site my sources. I could have done that, but did not for two reasons. The first reason was that Muslims in the Middle East, especially when speaking in Arabic, do not regularly documents sources that they use. They often say, "Allah said...." or "The Prophet said..." without giving the reference from the Quran or the Hadith where the reference came from. The second reason is that it can be very boring for a non-academic or a non-scholar to see arcane references. For example, I said that I did not think a prophet of God could possible kill a nursing mother who wrote poetry he did not like. The reference is from Ibn Ishaq's Arabic biography of Muhammad "Sirat Rasul Allah". It was translated by A. Guillaume and on p. 675 of the edition I have is the story of "Muhammad's Raid Against Asma bint Marwan". I have also blogged about that in a posting called "Muhammad and the Poets".

In reference to the verse about husbands beating their wives (did I even mention that in my posting; I don't remember but maybe I did), you said that Surat al-Nisa v. 34 says as a last resort they should be "beaten lightly with the weight of a feather if that is useful". No, that is not what the verse says, that is what a translator claims it says. In Arabic the verb used is DARABA. That is a very common verb that one sees every day in the Arabic media. It is the verb that is used to say, "American F-18 fighters DARABA the house of an al-Qaidah leader by dropping a 500 ton bomb on it", or "Israeli helicopters gunboats DARABA the house of a Hamas militant yesterday, killing everyone inside. Translators deliberately mistranslate the Arabic of the Quran to hide its true meaning. When you read verse 3 of the same surah, do you know what it means when it talks about "the slaves your right hand possesses"? It is giving Muslim men the right to sexual access to all of their slaves, as well as their wives. Again, this is often glossed over in English translations.

You mentioned that I take my information from books and sources that are against the teachings of Islam. In fact, my only sources for the information in that blog were the Quran, the Hadith, and the original biography of Muhammad written by Ibn Ishaq.

Thanks again for your response, and I hope we can continue our discussion.

Ben said...

Visit http://www.crusadersarmory.co.cc and download URLGenerator from the Blog Resources menu. It generates urls for the texts at USC-MSA and several other resources so you can paste them into a links to document your posts.

Leo said...

Oh I see. Thanks for the informations. I will have to have a look at them sometime. by the way, I just found this blog and i find it very interesting. thank you

andragamann said...

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Mubin said...

Please check the authencity of the sources from which you get your information from.

Mohammed had only one son who died in infancy/birth so one of your points is obvious wrong. Its common knowledge that his lineage is carried on by his daughter(s) since his only son (Ibrahim) died in infancy.

Just coz ppl dont know much about Islam doesnt give you the right to spread falsehood about the Prophet.

You can preach/ practice your religion all you want but dont introduce a new character out here and attach Prophet Muhammed's name to it; all these stories you bring out here are twisted and tied to the name Mohammed - ask any Muslim about any point you mentioned-they wont have a clue about it coz they
havent heard it b4.

Is this what Jesus/ the bible teaches you? To bring other faiths down by spreading falsehood about them.

May God guide us all inshallah to the true path.

aemish said...

I too read Reza Aslan's book, No God but God, back in 2006. Since you mentioned it in the original post, and you and Rachel were discussing a verse from the Quran in the comment section below, perhaps we may consider what he has to say on the topic himself from the pages of his book. (It begins on the bottom of page 69 if anyone ever wants to poke through it at the book store..):

"The fact is that for 14 centuries, the science of Quranic commentary has been the exclusive domain of Muslim men. And because each one of these exegetes inevitably brings to the Quran his own ideology and his own preconceived notions, it should not be surprising to learn that certain verses have most often been read in their most misogynist interpretation. Consider, for example, how the following verse (4:34) regarding the obligations of men toward women has been rendered into English by two different but widely read contemporary translators of the Quran. The first is from the Princeton edition, translated by Ahmed Ali; the second is from Majid Fakhry's translation, published by New York University:

1. Men are the support of women [qawwamuna 'ala an-nisa] as God gives some more means than others, and because they spend of their wealth (to provide for them)... As for women you feel are averse, talk to them suasively; then leave them alone in bed (without molesting them) and go to bed with them (when they are willing).

2. Men are in charge of women, because Allah has made some of them excel the others, and because they spend some of their wealth... And for those [women] that you fear might rebel, admonish and abandon them in their beds and beat them [adribuhunna].

Because of the variability of the Arabic language, both of these translations are grammatically, syntactically, and definitionally correct. The phrase, 'qawwamuna 'ala an-nisa' can be understood as "watch over," "protect," "support," "attend to," "look after," or "be in charge of" women. The final word in the verse, 'adribuhnna', which Fakhry has rendered as "beat them," can equally mean "turn away from them," "go along with them," and remarkably even "have consensual intercourse with them."

If religion is indeed interpretation, then which meaning one chooses to accept and follow depends on what one is trying to extract from the text: if one views the Quran as empowering women, then Ali's; if one looks to the Quran to justify violence against women, then Fakhry's."

learn quran online said...

very interesting article

Anonymous said...

About marriage of the Prophet to Aisha, peace be upon them. Betrothed at 6 yrs old, the marriage was solomnised when she was 9 yrs old. The word in Arabic used in the hadith is baytihi, in maiden Arabic it means consummate, but in old Arabic it does not mean this, it means solomnised, so that she then moved into the house of the blessed prophet, as his wife.. baytihi being deceived from the word bayt ...implying house or family. It is known that the marriage was not consummated till much later on. Unfortunately i cannot find the reference, but i can recall reading that it was some years after she was married and moved into the house that her periods started. When this happened, Sawda, the second wife of the Prophet informed him, and he shortly after then asked Sawda permission to consummate his marriage to Aisha.

The misunderstanding of the word baytihi, comes from the translations of Bukhari by Muhammad Muhsin Khan a Pakistani doctor and friend to the Saudi royal family. He is not an expert on ancient or Quranic Arabic, but for some reason he was chosen to translate Bukhari. Can you find a translation of Bukhari by anyone else???

Anonymous said...

Several critics of Islam say that Ibn Ishaqs Sirat Rasulallah - Life of the Prophet of Allah, is considered the most authentic biography of Prophet Muhammad. This is certainly false. While it is true that Sirat Rasulallah is the oldest and earliest biography of the Prophet-- Muslims dont accept Ibn Ishaq to be 100% true, inspired, a sunnah book or reliable. Most of the material of the Sira has been rejected by hadith collectors such as Imam Malik (who called him a liar working for the Jews), Bukhari, etc. What several critics of Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) fail to realize is that there is a huge difference between Sirah (Biography of the Prophet) and Hadith (the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad). The Sirah is a collection of narrations about the people and events surrounding the Prophet arranged in a chronological order. The amount of rigor put into authenticating and analyzing the chains and narrators of an incident or event that is found in the Sirah is far lower than when a narration is used in the Sunnah or Hadith. Only the top of the top narrations, namely Sahih or Hasan are used in the books of Hadith and Sunnah. As for Sirah this is not the case, the narrations used include all the authentic and acceptable ones, along with ones with weaknesses. The reason for including these weaker narrations is in order to fill in gaps or holes in the story. Muslims accept the hadith 100%. Muslims however do NOT accept the Sirah 100%-- rather Muslim scholars question 70% of the material found in the works of  Al-Waqidi, Ibn Sad, Ibn Ishaq, etc. These were more or less historians-- they were not hadith collectors. Ibn Ishaq, Al-Waqidi, Ibn Sad and Al-Tabri all operated outside of all the sciences of Islam and isnad (chain of transmittors).  Ibn Ishaqs specialty was Sirah therefore he was abandoned by the scholars of hadeeth (such as Bukhari and Muslim) when it came to narrating hadeeth and a reason for this might be because he might include those weaker narrations while he narrated the hadeeth.

Anonymous said...

You questioning the average fool doesn't mean a thing. No doubt there is lots of ignorance in the world today and the majority of Muslims today do not even know the basics, let alone knowing how to answer these subjects. We follow the Qur'an, hadith and what our respected scholars have to say on the subject, not the opinions of the uneducated.

Theres been at least a 200 year campaign on killing scholars and religious leaders to create this ignorance and to destroy morals in society and create a populace of fools that they could manipulate at will whilst building the satanic imperium.

See my other replies above regarding ibn Ishaqs biography on the Prophet and translations of the hadith collection of Bukhari

Ayman Ahmad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ayman Ahmad said...

If Muhammad was the most perfect model, sent by God himself, for all of humanity to emulate then why would God allow his reputation to be sullied by early biographers? Muslim argue that he "was the living Quran", but Allah has promised to protect the Quran...not so much the Prophet. How skillfully planned by an all-powerful God who loved his Prophet so much. For that reason,I'm out.

Aakif Ali said...

its good

Aakif Ali said...

its good