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"Manners and faultless life of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)" a response

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
in response to reader comment: Manners and Faultless life of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)

Submitted by Lactantius Jr. (United Kingdom), May 21, 2009 at 10:18

To Mohammed Waqas Raja (upon whom be peace)

I greet you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, and I offer you His peace.

You have carefully written a fulsome ("excessively complimentary or flattering") account of Muhammad the prophet of Islam, and seeking to bring balance to your account, I respond with details of another side of Muhammad's character, the unfavourable, unattractive side that your account left out, these details are drawn from Islam's earliest and most authoritative accounts; and I gladly acknowledge I have also drawn on David Wood's work posted at http://tinyurl.com/2k8usj and titled "Murdered by Muhammad The Brutal Deaths Of Islam's Earliest Enemies," and on the work of Silas, several of which are referred to below.

Both these authors have obtained their information about Muhammad from the most authoritative records of Islam, the Qur'an, the Sahi ("true") Hadith of Bukhari and Muslim, and the Sirat and Tar'ikh literature, these are the only available sources of information about Muhammad, there is nowhere else to look for authoritative information about him, and a few words about them are in order. There is no independent record of Muhammad in history from which a variant view may be drawn. The Qur'an, the Hadith and the other definitive Islamic records referred to, are the sole repository of information on Muhammad, his times, his means, and his mission. The "manners and faultless life" of Muhammad must be as these sources present it.

Firstly, the Qur.an, and this can be referred to online at http://www.quranbrowser.com/ and this provides 9 English translations, together with transliterated Arabic.

The Sahi ("true") Hadith of Bukhari and Muslim may be consulted online at,

http://www.sunnipath.com/Library/Hadith/H0002P0000.aspx

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/

Bukhari, (Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad ibn Isma'il ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Mughira al-Ja'fai), the famous commentator and collector of hadiths of the 8th/9th century i.e., 810-870 A.D. His collection is known as Sahih (authentic) Bukhari, said to be a result of sixteen years of labour. al-Bukhari was one of the first also to compile traditions that stresses the marks of 'authentic' traditions, namely the long chains of narrators (isnad), it being said he only wanted to record authentic traditions. Out of 600,000 hadiths that he examined, he accepted only 7,397 as authentic (some others say 2,602, 9,082 with repetition). Of the more than 590,000 hadith he rejected, plenty of those he accepted as authentic, don't exactly flatter Islam and Muhammad its prophet.

Muslim, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj (817-874AD), collecting, like Bukhari, large numbers of hadith, and rejecting most of them, collecting it is said, 300,000 and rejecting 296,000 of them, accepting 4,000 based on stringent acceptance criteria, checking each hadith for its compatibility with the Qur'an, painstakingly establishing its chain of narrators.

The Sirat Literature ("Biographies of Muhammad's life")

IBN ISHAQ (Muhammad Ibn Ishaq Ibn Yasar Ibn Khiyar)

Born 704 A.D. (85 A.H.) in Medina and died d. 767 A.D. He was the earliest person to write the most comprehensive and most important biography of Muhammad, Sirat Rasullullah. What we have today is Ibn Hisham's recension ("critical revision of the text"), who died 60 years after Ibn Ishaq. Ibn Hisham said that he edited this biography and omitted certain details that were deemed too offensive to Muslims. Alfred Guillaume translated this edition into The Life of Muhammad and tried to reconstruct Ibn Ishaq's manuscript using quotations from other Muslim scholars. This biography provides one of the most important sources of information about Muhammad's life.

Tar'ikh ("history") al-Tabari (Muhammad Ibni Jarir Abu Jafar Al-Tabari 838-923 AD), "who is today recognized as the father of Islamic History, and one of the greatest historians that the world has produced." http://www.renaissance.com.pk/myletfor95.html

Your account reflects modern notions about Muhammad, with many of today's Muslims asserting that Muhammad wouldn't have squashed a mosquito, unless the mosquito had first waged war against Islam, but this doesn't line-up with al-Tabari's comments on Muhammad's nicknames. After Tabari lists the positive ones, he matter-of-factly provides one that is not so positive: "The obliterator."

"The messenger of Allah named himself to us in various ways. He said, 'I am Muhammad the one who is praised, Ahmad, the most praiseworthy, al-Aqib, the last in succession, and al-Mahi, the obliterator'".

Tabari IX:156

Your account glorifies Muhammad and his gentle nature, but characteristically, ignores historical facts which demonstrate that Muhammad's all-too-human failings were fully intact, so what do the early Muslims say about Muhammad's murders, tortures, robberies, etc? If we want to determine whether or not Muhammad was a good moral example, our only available option is to examine the earliest, most reliable writings, and to use these writings to get an overall picture of his character.

The earliest extant biography of Muhammad is the Sirat Rasul Allah by Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, who was born at the beginning of the eighth century AD in Medina. His grandfather, Yasar, became a Muslim shortly after being captured around AD 634. Yasar's son Ishaq began collecting traditions about Muhammad, and his grandson Muhammad followed in the footsteps of his father Ishaq. By age thirty, Muhammad Ibn ("son of") Ishaq was recognized as an authority on the traditions about Muhammad. He compiled the most reliable sources into the Sirat Rasul Allah, providing us with an early, largely accurate, and authoritative source on the life of Muhammad.

Most of the following accounts are taken from Ibn Ishaq's work, which does indeed, also contain many instances of Muhammad's kindness and mercy, but let's have some balance, and include what Ibn Ishaq records about the brutal murders of Uqbq bin Abu Mu'ayt, Ka'b bin al-Ashraf, Ibn Sunayna, Mirba bin Qayzi, the Jews of Qurayza, Sallam Ibn Abu'l-Huqayq, Kinana bin al-Rabi, an unnamed one-eyed shepherd, Abu Afak, Asma, Abdullah bin Khatal and his two singing girls, al-Huwayrith, Sara-a freed slave,

As previously acknowledged, Muhammad performed many kind and noble deeds, and he forgave many who fought against him. However, while Muhammad probably wasn't as bad as some of his critics now claim, neither was he nearly as good as you claim. As Thomas Lippman has noted,

"It seems safe to say that Muhammad was sincere, dedicated, courageous, generous, compassionate, and committed to social justice and reform. The uncritical admiration of him that one hears from ordinary Muslims, however, overlooks the evidence that the Prophet was also sometimes vengeful, spiteful, and duplicitous. He was, after all, human and ambitious too."

Thomas W. Lippman, Understanding Islam: An Introduction to the Muslim World (New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 2002), p. 52.

The completely gentle, infinitely forgiving, perfectly merciful Prophet described in your posting simply never existed. The historical Muhammad bears more resemblance to his description in the above passage from Lippman, as these brutalities commissioned by Muhammad demonstrate.

Muhammad and the Rape of the Female Slaves

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

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

continue reading at,

http://tinyurl.com/o3k8kd

Muhammad and the Murder of Abu Afak

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

continue reading at,

http://tinyurl.com/pzk2up

Muhammad and the Murder of Asma bint Marwan

After Muhammad came to Yathrib he began to grow in power. However, a number of people, both Jew and Arab, opposed him. Muhammad began to silence his opposition by various means. One of these means was to have them murdered.

Muhammad did have a number of enemies and critics, some were dangerous, others were ordinary people who lived in the area and thought nil of Muhammad. Unfortunately for them, they spoke their minds. One by one, they were silenced. Through treaties, intrigue, or outright terror, Muhammad gained power in Medina. Eventually, he became the area's master. He knew his followers loved him, and would die for him. They were at his disposal and at times used them to do his bidding.

continue reading at,

http://tinyurl.com/orruhr

The Deception and Murder of Kab al-Ashraf

While Muhammad lived in Medina he grew in power. There were a number of Jews that opposed him. Muhammad asked several of his followers to murder a number of these Jews. One of these Jews was Kab b. al-Ashraf. This article deals with Kab's murder.

continue reading at,

http://tinyurl.com/rbtdx8

Muhammad and the Death of Kinana

Muhammad aggressively attacked several groups of people around him. One of these groups were the Jews of Khaibar. Muhammad believed Allah led him to attack Khaibar. After Khaibar was conquered, the Jews were either enslaved, executed, or allowed to live there provided they gave the Muslims one half of all they produced. One of Muhammad's most brutal acts involved a prisoner named Kinana. Kinana was one of the leaders of Khaibar. Muhammad wanted him to reveal where some buried treasure was hidden. Kinana refused. Muhammad had him tortured to the point of death, then had him beheaded.

continue reading at,

http://tinyurl.com/pqlt5e

Muhammad and the Death of the Uraynians

During the year 628 A.D., eight men from the clan of Uraynah, came to Medina. They became Muslims. While they were there they got sick. Muhammad prescribed a medicine for them: he told them to drink camel milk and camel urine. After the men got better, they brutally murdered the shepherd of the camels, stole the camels, and tried to escape. Muhammad sent an armed party of 20 men after them. They were caught and brought back to Medina. There, Muhammad pronounced their judgment: their eyes were branded with hot irons, then plucked out, their hands and feet were cut off, and then, while still alive, they were thrown out on the hot desert to die.

continue reading at,

http://tinyurl.com/oj7tgp

Muhammad and the Killing of Apostates

The punishment for apostasy from Islam is a controversial topic for Muslims living in the West and for ex-Muslims everywhere. That's because Islam teaches that apostates are to be killed. We know from historic Islamic documents that during Muhammad's lifetime, and the lifetimes of the next four "Rightly Guided Caliphs", tens of thousands of Muslims left the faith of Islam and thousands were killed. On a large scale the Muslims made war on groups that chose to leave Islam and massacres of apostates occurred. On a smaller scale individual apostates were executed. This death sentence is in effect whether or not the apostasy occurred in or out of the Islamic state.

continue reading at,

http://tinyurl.com/qe9vgo

Muhammad and the Meccan Ten

When Muhammad conquered Mecca, he gave orders for the execution of 10 people. Most of these were executed; others were spared for various reasons. This article examines who was ordered to be executed, why the orders were given, and the final outcome for each person ordered to be murdered by Muhammad.

continue reading at,

http://tinyurl.com/oqqtql

Although not specifically ordered by Muhammad, the following incident involves the actions of Muslims who were sent out by Muhammad on a raid against the Fazara tribe. The Muslims were initially defeated by the Fazara. The wounded Muslim leader swore vengeance. After he recovered he went out and attacked the Fazara again. One very old woman was captured. Here is the account from "The Life Of Muhammad" by Alfred Guillaume, page 665, this being a rendering of Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah"

"....and Umm Qirfa Fatima was taken prisoner. She was a very old woman, wife of Malik. Her daughter and Abdullah Masada were also taken. Zayd ordered Qays to kill Umm Qirfa and he killed her cruelly (Tabari, by putting a rope to her two legs and to two camels and driving them until they rent her in two.)

cited by Silas at,

http://tinyurl.com/r36u3j

Muhammad had countless people killed (torturing many of them), robbed people, married thirteen women (one of them his child-bride Aisha bint Abu Bakr), took part in the slave trade, and permitted women to be beaten by their husbands. When he is judged by the standards laid down by the Lord Jesus Christ, Muhammad fails miserably.

It is time for you and other Muslims to look to a different messenger, One who is truly worthy of our admiration, adoration, praise, reverence, and worship, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, the spotless Lamb of God, the sinners all-sufficient saviour, "Who is able to save to the uttermost all those who come to God through Him" Hebrews 7:25 and I warmly commend Him to you.

With kind regards and best wishes

Lactantius Jr

Submitting....

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