69 million page views

Response to commenter Jaan

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God?
in response to reader comment: Who is this Allah?

Submitted by Lactantius (United Kingdom), Jul 7, 2005 at 15:56

Here is my response to Jaan's "response to Lactantius."

Response to Jaan

In his "Response to Lactantius" http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/23089 Jaan says Muhammad "………could never have been a terrorist. He was one of the kindest and most-loving men to have ever lived, and he NEVER preached terrorism or ill-will towards fellow men…………..And on top of that he NEVER attacked anyone unless they invaded his territory………."

By its nature, yours is an empirical claim for Muhammad's moral rectitude, so let's examine and weigh the evidence, to see if your claim for your "prophet" lines up with it. There's such a massive amount of information about the real Muhammad, the Muhammad of history, documented within Islam's most authoritative writings, debunking your fulsome description of Muhammad, that volumes could be written about his violence (and Craig Winn has done just that, in "Prophet of Doom : Islam's Terrorist Dogma in Muhammad's Own Words," but space precludes more than a few citations here from the Islamic "title-deeds."

Reading about Muhammad in the definitive Islamic "title-deeds" reveals that he was in fact, the archetypal Islamic terrorist, and not the greatest example of moral rectitude who has ever lived. The Muhammad described in the Qur'an, the Sahi Hadith of Bukhari and Muslim, and the Sira and Ta'rikh of Ibn Ishaq and al Tabari, is not the benign, peaceful, peaceloving individual you describe, and most certainly, the man portrayed is not "one of the kindest and most-loving men to have ever lived."

You deny my description of Muhammad as the archetypal Islamic terrorist, presenting in his place, a fanciful, idealised Prophet of Islam, who was a wonderful man of peace, overflowing with heartfelt compassion, "one of the kindest and most-loving men ever to have lived," filled with acts of tender mercy, despite your "prophet's" true character being very different, but I didn't write the hateful, hurtful stuff I present, it comes from the most authoritative Islamic writings, check ‘em out, they don't present your attractive portrait of Muhammad do they?

"Muhammad NEVER preached terrorism or ill-will towards fellow men"

Really! You and I are not talking about the same Muhammad. The Muhammad who said:-

"I have been made victorious with terror"

Sahi Bukhari V4B52N220

"Muhammad said ‘I have been commanded to fight until they testify there is no god but Allah and I am his messenger.'"

Sahi Muslim C9B1N33

"Allah's Apostle said ‘Killing disbelievers is a small matter to us.'"

Tabari IX:69

"Muhammad said ‘Know that Paradise is under shade of swords.'"

Bukhari V4B5N73

and in the context of the list of Muhammad's assets at the end of his life, al-Tabari records the nicknames of Muhammad weapons, detailing that he had nicknamed three swords that he took from the Jewish tribe Qaynuqa, after banishing them from Medina in April 624: "Pluck Out," "Very Sharp," and "Death." Two other swords from elsewhere are named: "Sharp" and "That is wont to sink" (presumably into human flesh). After his Hijrah or Emigration from Mecca to Medina in 622, he owned two swords called "Sharp" and "Having the vertebrae of the back." This last sword he collected as booty, after his victory at the Battle of Badr in March 624.

Finally, even Muhammad himself has a nickname. After Tabari lists the positive ones, he matter-of-factly provides one that is not so positive: "The obliterator."

And on top of that he NEVER attacked anyone unless they invaded his territory………."

Really! What about Muhammad aggressively attacking Meccan caravans?

A year or so after Muhammad's Hijrah from Mecca to Medina in 622, he attacks Meccan caravans six times, and sent out a punitive expedition three-days travelling away, against an Arab tribe that stole some Medinan grazing camels (or cattle), totaling seven raids. Details available in Muhammad at Mecca (1953) and Muhammad at Medina (1956) W.Montgomery Watt

To complete the picture of expeditions, raids and wars in Muhammad's life from 622 to 632, Watt adds up the number that Muhammad either sent out or went out on: seventy-four (Muhammad at Medina, pp. 2; 339-43). They range from negotiations (only a few, compared to the violent expeditions), to small assassination hit squads, to the conquest of Mecca with 10,000 jihadists, and to the confrontation of Byzantine Christians (who never showed up), with 30,000 "holy warriors" to Tabuk.

Thus, aggressive military violence sits at the heart of early Islam—in Muhammad's life and in the Quran, it was foundational to Islam, it is deeply embedded in it, and copied by ‘good' Muslims today.

Furthermore, Muhammad, as your paradigm, your model, your exemplar, was certainly involved in violence of a very offensive nature. Take a look at the ‘Sira-t-ul rasul-Allah', particularly the oldest amongst this genre, the ‘Maghazi manuscripts', where we read that Muhammad is known to have conducted 29 battles and planned 39 others (see Sira Halabiyya, Ibn Kathir's Bidaya Wa Nihaya, and Ibn Hisham's Sira).

The popular assertion that Muhammad, and later Muslims, acted only in self-defence is simply untrue. What was Muhammad defending when he attacked without provocation the Meccans travelling north during the month of peace, at the battle of Badr in 624AD? What was he defending when he threw out of Medina two of the Jewish Kahinan, the Kaynuka, and the Banu al-Nadir families? What was he defending by executing all 800 of the men belonging to the last remaining Jewish Qurayza clan (some reports say up to 900), taking their wives, and children as possessions, so that within five years of his movement to Medina, no Jewish families remained within that once proud city?

What were the Muslims defending during the conquests of North Africa, or Spain, France, India, Persia, Syria, Anatolia or the Balkans up until the middle of the 8th century? These countries all had previous civilizations, many of which were more sophisticated than that of the Arabs, yet they all (outside of France), fell during the conquests of the Arabs in the first hundred years, and their cultures were soon eradicated by that of Islam.

If Muslims continue to publicly claim their religion is based on peace, then let them publicly repudiate the ‘sword verses' found in the Qur'an, and let them publicly condemn the actions of their "prophet," and those of the ‘rightly guided Caliphs' (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali), during whose time most of the conquests of the Sassanid and Byzantine empires occurred, followed by the decimation of the church in North Africa.

Beheading captives and Islam

During the last 6 or 7 years, in several different countries, Islamic terrorists have beheaded at least 35 of the hostages they have taken (data taken from Google search of BBC NewsOnline website 09.23.04 searching for "hostages beheaded" http://tinyurl.com/4ghzl) why is this? where does the example and mandate for beheading come from? What does the Qur'an say about beheading?

"When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them."

Surah 8:12 (Shakir)

"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 favour or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates. That (shall be so); and if Allah had pleased He would certainly 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 Allah, He will by no means allow their deeds to perish."

Surah 47:4 (Shakir)

And what was Muhammad's example? How did he treat the adult male Jews of the Qurayza tribe in Medina? after they had submitted to Muhammad's "compassion and mercy?" Here is how Ibn Ishaq describes what happened:-

"Then they (Qurayza) surrendered, and the apostle confined them in Medina in the quarter of d.al-Harith, a woman of B.al-Najjar. Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches. Among them was the enemy of Allah Huyayy b.Akhtab and Ka'ab b.Asad their chief. There were 600-700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900. As they were being taken out in batches to the apostle, they asked Ka'b what he thought would be done with them. He replied, ‘Will you never understand? Don't you see that the summoner never stops, and those who are taken away do not return? By Allah it is death!' This went on until the apostle made an end of them."

Ibn Ishaq also recorded another mass beheading of captives, when Muhammad had as many as 400 Jews beheaded. In brief, Muhammad commanded the Khazraj to behead 400 Jews, while the Aus were told to stand aside. This upset the Aus, because the Khazraj were having all the "fun." Muhammad noticed that the Aus were sulking like spoiled children. So, Muhammad let the Aus behead the last 12 Jews. Since there were only 12 Jews left, Muhammad said 2 Aus had to share 1 Jew between themselves. There were not enough Jews left alive for each Aus to behead one apiece. Muhammad's ‘thoughtfulness' pacified the Aus, and Huwayyis was so favourably impressed by the decapitations, he proclaimed, ‘By Allah, this is indeed a religion,' and he immediately accepted Islam!!!

"Abu ‘Ubayda told me on the authority of Abu'Amr, the Medinian, when the apostle got the better of the B.Qurayza, he seized about 400 men from the Jews who had been allies of Aus against Khazraj, and ordered that they should be beheaded. Accordingly, Khazraj began to cut off their heads with great satisfaction. The apostle saw that the faces of the Khazraj showed their pleasure, but there was no such indication on the part of Aus, and he suspected that that was because of the alliance that had existed between them and the B.Qurayza. When there were only 12 of them left, he gave them over to Aus, assigning 1 Jew to every 2 of Aus, saying, ‘Let so-and-so strike him, and so-and-so finish him off.' One of those who was so handed over to them was K'ab b.Yahuda, who was an important man among them. He gave him to Muhayyisa and Abu Burda b.Niyar (it was Abu Burda to whom the apostle had given permission to sacrifice a young goat on the feast of Adha). He said, ‘Let Muhayyisa strike him and Abu Burda finish him off.' So Muhayyisa fetched him a blow, which did not cut in properly, and Abu Burda dispatched him and gave him the finishing stroke. Huwayyisa who was still an unbeliever, said to his brother, Muhayyisa, ‘Did you kill K'ab b.Yahudha?' and when he said he did, he said, ‘By Allah, much of the flesh on your belly comes from his wealth; you are a miserable fellow, Muhayyisa.' He replied, ‘If the one who ordered me to kill him had ordered me to kill you, I would have done so.' He was amazed at this remark and went away astounded. They say that he used to wake up in the night astonished at his brother's words, until in the morning he said, ‘By Allah, this is indeed a religion.' Then he came to the prophet and accepted Islam. Muhayyisa then spoke the line we have written above."

Ibn Ishaq ‘Sirat Rasul Allah' page 752

So when Muhammad spoke the following words during his last sermon on 7th.March 632AD in Mecca:-

"I am leaving you with the Book of Allah (the QUR'AN), and my SUNNAH (the life style and the behavioural mode of the Prophet), if you follow them you will never go astray."

These mass beheading were just two examples of his "moral rectitude" for Muslims to follow, his "beautiful pattern (of conduct)" [sic] with the Qur'an saying this about Muhammad, "the exemplar."

"Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.

Qur'an 33:21

Your assertion Jaan, that Muhammad was the greatest moral example in history, is demonstrably false. The completely gentle, infinitely forgiving, perfectly merciful Prophet who you describe, and who is proclaimed in the writings of contemporary Muslim writings, sanitized for Western consumption, simply never existed, and the nearer Muslims get to the violent terrorism of the Islam of Muhammad, the Muhammad described in the Islamic "title-deeds," the more violent and murderous they become, and the further away that Muslims get to the Islam of Muhammad, then the less violent and murderous they become. Compare and contrast this with following Jesus Christ, Who is indeed "The Prince of Peace." The nearer to Jesus' example and teaching Christians get, the more like His divine character they become, whilst the further away they get from Him, the less like His divine character they become.

What an absolute contrast, what a corrective to the Islamic terrorism of Muhammad, the archetypal Islamic terrorist.

When Muhammad is judged by the standards laid down by Jesus, he fails miserably. Thus, when Muslims find themselves defending the moral character of Muhammad, they may be doing so because they find the moral standards of Jesus much more compellingly winsome than the moral standards of Muhammad, and they may be consciously or unconsciously trying to replace the spotted life of Muhammad with the spotless life of Jesus. If so, it is time for Muslims to look to a different messenger, one who is truly worthy of their admiration, praise, reverence, and worship, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is indeed "The Prince of Peace."


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Response to commenter Jaan by Lactantius

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2023 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)