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Criticism of Islam

Islam · Muhammad · Qur'an · Islamism

Issues

Dhimmi · Eurabia · Islamism · Sharia
Jihad · Pan-Islamism · Qutbism
Apostasy in Islam
Divisions of the world in Islam
Islam and domestic violence
Islam and antisemitism
Islam and slavery
Freedom of religion in Iran
Homosexuality and Islam
Islamophobia · Attitudes towards terrorism

Activities

Islamic terrorism
Muslim persecution of Buddhists
Persecution of Bahá'ís
Muslim persecution of Christians
Persecution of Hindus
Wadda Ghallooghaaraa
Chhotaa Ghallooghaaraa
Persecution of Shia Muslims
The Satanic Verses controversy
Namus · Honor killings
Death by stoning

Notable modern critics

Ayaan Hirsi Ali · Irshad Manji
Daniel Pipes · Philippe de Villiers
Alexandre del Valle · Ibn Warraq
Geert Wilders · Oriana Fallaci
Robert Spencer · Theo van Gogh
Afshin Ellian · Salman Rushdie
Ahmad Kasravi · Taha Hussein
Turan Dursun · Wafa Sultan
Lord Pearson

Related events since 2001

A series of articles on

Muhammad callig.gif
Prophet of Islam
Muhammad


Life
Companions · Family tree · In Mecca · In Medina · Conquest of Mecca · The Farewell Sermon · Succession


Career
Diplomatic career · Family · Wives · Military career


Succession
Farewell Pilgrimage · Pen and paper · Saqifah · General bay'ah


Interactions with
Slaves · Jews · Christians


Perspectives
Muslim (Poetic and Mawlid) · Medieval Christian · Historicity · Criticism · Depictions

Criticism of Muhammad has existed since the 7th century, when Muhammad was decried by his non-Muslim Arab contemporaries for preaching monotheism, his marriages, and military expeditions. During the Middle Ages he was frequently demonized in European and other non-Muslim polemics. In modern times, criticism has also dealt with his sincerity in claiming to be a prophet and the laws he established, such as those concerning slavery.

Contents

Non-Muslim criticism of Muhammad

This illustration is taken from La vie de Mahomet, by M. Prideaux, published in 1699. It shows Mohammed holding a sword and a crescent while trampling on a globe, a cross, and the Ten Commandments.
This 1508 engraving by Dutch artist Lucas van Leyden illustrates a legend about Mohammed that circulated in Europe during the medieval era; according to a 1908 New York Times article which reprinted this image, "The famous print of the year, 1508, is an illustration of the story of the Prophet Mohammed and the Monk Sergius. Mohammed, when in company with his friend Sergius, drank too much wine and fell asleep. Before he awakened a soldier killed Sergius and placed the sword in Mohammed's hand. When the prophet wakened the soldier and his companions told him that while drunk he had slain the monk. Therefore Mohammed forbade the drinking of wine by his followers.

Jewish criticisms

During the time of Muhammad[1] and later in Middle Ages, Jewish writers commonly referred to Muhammad as ha-meshuggah ("the madman" or "possessed"), a title contemptuously used in the Hebrew Bible for impostors who think of themselves as prophets.[2]

Medieval Christians

Christians were also often dismissive of Muhammad, with some producing highly critical accounts of his life.[3] Some reports on Muhammad's life and death include claims circulated by Christian writers that Muhammad died while being drunk, or was killed by pigs. Such stories and opinions were circulated with the knowledge that Islam forbids both alcohol and pork. Such caricatures of Muhammad extended to works of literature and poetry. In Dante's Inferno, Muhammad and Ali are portrayed as being in Hell, subject to horrifying tortures and punishments for their sins of schism and sowing discord. In the Middle Ages Islam was widely believed to be a Christian heresy. In other works, he is described as a "renegade cardinal of the Catholic Church who decided to start his own false religion".[4] A less belligerent depiction occurs in 13th century Estoire del Saint Grail, the first book in the vast Arthurian cycle, the Lancelot-Grail. Here, Muhammad is portrayed as a true prophet sent by God to bring Christianity to the pagan Middle East; however, his pride causes him to alter God's wishes and he deceives his followers, though his religion is viewed as vastly superior to paganism.[5]

Evangelical Lutheranism

Lutheran writers recorded both polemical and historical ideas about Muhammad. Martin Luther referred to Muhammad as "a devil and first-born child of Satan".[6] Heinrich Knaust in 1542 wrote that Muhammad's parents gave birth to him on the outskirts of Mecca. After his father's death, he lived with his mother and grandfather. When he reached maturity, he saw that the people could not decide whether to follow Christianity, Judaism, or Arianism. So, remembering an astrological prophecy that he would begin a new religion, he pieced together parts of the Christian and Jewish Scriptures. These he had learned from an Egyptian monk and the heretic Sergius. His goal was to make a law that he could get both Christians and Jews to submit to.[7]

Rationalism

Gottfried Leibniz,held that belief in Muhammad, Zoroaster, Brahma, or Gautama Buddha is not as worthy as belief in Moses and Jesus, yet praised Muhammad and his followers for spreading monotheism and "abolishing heathen superstitions" in the remote lands where Christianity had not been carried, [8]

Voltaire

Mahomet (French: Le fanatisme, ou Mahomet le Prophete, literally Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet) is a five-act tragedy written in 1736 by French playwright and philosopher Voltaire. It received its debut performance in Lille on 25 April 1741.

The play is a study of religious fanaticism and self-serving manipulation based on an episode in the traditional biography of Muhammad in which he orders the murder of his critics. Voltaire described the play as "written in opposition to the founder of a false and barbarous sect to whom could I with more propriety inscribe a satire on the cruelty and errors of a false prophet".

20th century Christian scholars

In the early 20th century Western scholarly views of Muhammad changed, including critical views. In the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia Gabriel Oussani states that Muhammad was inspired by an "imperfect understanding" of Judaism and Christianity, but that the views of Luther and those who call Muhammad a "wicked impostor", a "dastardly liar" and a "willful deceiver" are an "indiscriminate abuse" and are "unsupported by facts: Instead, nineteenth-century Western scholars such as Sprenger, Noldeke, Weil, Muir, Koelle, Grimme and Margoliouth give us a more unbiased estimate of Muhammad's life and character, and substantially agree as to his motives, prophetic call, personal qualifications, and sincerity."[6] Muir, Marcus Dods, and others have suggested that Muhammad was at first sincere but later became deceptive. Koelle finds "the key to the first period of Muhammad's life in Khadija, his first wife," after whose death he became prey to his "evil passions."[6] Zwemer, a Christian missionary, criticised the life of Muhammad by the standards of the Old and New Testaments, by the pagan morality of his Arab compatriots, and last, by the new law which he brought.[9] Quoting Johnstone, Zwemer concludes by claiming that his harsh judgment rests on evidence which "comes all from the lips and the pens of his [i.e. Muhammad's] own devoted adherents."[6][10]

Scholar William Montgomery Watt says that there is no solid ground for the view of 19th century western scholars that Muhammad's character declined after Muhammad went to Medina. He argues that "in both Meccan and Medinan periods Muhammad's contemporaries looked on him as a good and upright man, and in the eyes of history he is a moral and social reformer."[11]

Jerry Falwell and contemporaries

In the 20th century non-scholars sometimes remained more critical. In 2002 Evangelical Christian leader Jerry Falwell called Muhammad "a terrorist," though he later apologized for the comment, saying that he had made a mistake when responding to a "controversial and loaded question."[12] Contemporary critics have criticized Muhammad for preaching beliefs that are incompatible with democracy; Dutch feminist writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali has called him a "tyrant"[13] and a "pervert".[14] American historian Daniel Pipes sees Muhammad as a politician, stating that "because Muhammad created a new community, the religion that was its raison d'etre had to meet the political needs of its adherents."[15]

Regensberg address

The Regensberg address is a lecture delivered on 12 September 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI at the University of Regensburg in Germany. The pope had previously served as professor of theology at the university, and his lecture was entitled "Faith, Reason and the University — Memories and Reflections". The lecture contained in the quotation by the pope of the following passage:

“ Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached ”

The passage originally appeared in the “Dialogue Held With A Certain Persian, the Worthy Mouterizes, in Anakara of Galatia”, written in 1391 as an expression of the views of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, one of the last Christian rulers before the Fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Ottoman Empire, on such issues as forced conversion, holy war, and the relationship between faith and reason.

Muhammad's marriages

One of the popular historical criticisms of Muhammad in the West has been his polygynous marriages, according to American historian John Esposito.[16][17] Esposito states that the Semitic culture in general permitted polygamy (for example its practice could be found in biblical and postbiblical Judaism); it was particularly a common practice among Arabs, especially among nobles and leaders.[16] Muslims have often pointed out that Muhammad married Khadija (a widow whose age is estimated to have been 40 though most scholars believe her to have been about 29 based on the number of children she bore to Mohammed), when he was 25 years old, and remained monogamous to her for more than 25 years until she died. However, non-religious views in this regard are that Khadija was a rich widow much elder to Muhammad, who financed his religious group and that being disloyal to her would have cost him dearly.[16] Esposito holds that most of Muhammad's eleven marriages had political and social motives. It was customary for Arab chiefs to use marriage for cementing political alliances, thus reinforcing the fact that Islam was a continuation of age-old Arab injustices with a new label; and remarriage for widows was hard in a society that emphasized virgin marriages.[16]

Aisha

From the 20th century onwards, a common point of contention has been Muhammad's marriage to Aisha, who was six or seven at the time of her marriage,[18] and nine when the marriage was consummated.[11][18][19][20][21][22] American historian Denise Spellberg states that "these specific references to the bride's age reinforce Aisha's pre-menarcheal status and, implicitly, her virginity."[18]

The age of Aisha is cited by some critics who denounce Muhammad for having sexual relations with her. American Baptist pastor Jerry Vines called him a "demon-possessed pedophile".[23] Colin Turner, a professor of Persian language and Islamic history, states that since such marriages between an older man and a young girl were customary among Bedouins, Muhammad's marriage would not have been considered the least improper by his contemporaries. [24]

Zaynab bint Jahsh

A common criticim of Muhammad by non-Muslim sources include his marriage to Zaynab bint Jahsh, the wife of Zayd ibn Harithah, an ex-slave whom Muhammad had adopted as his son. They story goes that once Muhammad visited Zaid's house on certain business and saw Zaynab dressed in a chemise with a veil over her face. Muhammad was so bewitched by her beauty that he asked Zaid to divorce her so that he can marry her. Most Muslims reject the story as mythical. Muhammad had known Zaynab all her life. She was Muhammad's first cousin. The marriage between Zayd and Zaynab was arranged by Muhammad himself. Zaynab, however, was not happy marrying a former slave. She wanted to marry someone with high status. The marriage turned out to be unhappy one. Muhammad felt responsible for the failed marriage and offered to marry her after her divorce.

Murder of Asma bint Marwan

Muhammad had a number of people killed in Yathrib (Medina). One of them was Asma bint Marwan. According to a narrative from Ibn Ishaq's "Sirah Rasul Allah", Asma wrote poems attacking Muhammad for having another man murdered named Abu Afak. In these poems, she encouraged murdering the Islamic prophet. In his displeasure towards her, Muhammad asked his followers to murder her as well. Mohammad sent Umayr bin Adiy al-Khatmi to kill her, and she was killed while suckling her baby. Her body was torn apart in front of her children. Then in the morning Umayr bin Adiy al-Khatmi came to the apostle and told him what he had done and he [Muhammad] said, "You have helped God and His apostle, O `Umayr!" When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, "Two goats won't butt their heads about her", so `Umayr went back to his people.[25]

Jewish tribes of Medina

Ibn Ishaq writes that Muhammad approved the beheading of some 600-900 individuals from the Banu Qurayza who surrendered unconditionally after a siege that lasted several weeks.[26] Detail from miniature painting The Prophet, Ali, and the Companions at the Massacre of the Prisoners of the Jewish Tribe of Beni Qurayzah, illustration of a 19th century text by Muhammad Rafi Bazil. 17 folio 108b. Manuscript now housed in the British Library.

Muhammad has been often criticized in West for his treatment of the Jewish tribes of Medina.[16] Moroccan author Abdelhamid Assassi writes: "At first, Muhammad used to pray in the direction of Jerusalem, in order to seek the sympathy and support of the Jews in the Peninsula, who carried great economic and social weight. Then he traded the Jews' direction of prayer for that of the pagans, in order to rally the Arab tribes to his preaching. For this reason he later took revenge on the Jews by expelling them, slaughtering them, robbing them, and taking their women as wives."[27] Fazlur Rahman rejects what he sees as exaggeration of the role of Medinan Jews on the development of Islam. He states that the original change of the direction of prayer from Kaaba to Jerusalem certainly did not happen on Muhammad's arrival to Medina so that it could be interpreted as an attempt to entice the Jews. Rahman argues that the change most likely occurred when Muslims, as a result of persecution, were not allowed to go to Kaaba for worship: The reason indicated in the Qur'an was to emphasize the distinction between Muslims and Pagans. If the idea was to keep Jerusalem as the qibla permanently, Rahman says, Jerusalem could have been religiously disassociated from the Jewish claims (similar to what the Qur'an did with respect to religious figures such as Moses and Abraham). [28]

Muhammad is also criticised for the death of the men of Banu Qurayza, a Jewish tribe of Medina. The tribe was accused of having engaged in treasonous agreements with the enemies besieging Medina in the Battle of the Trench in 627.[29][30] Ibn Ishaq writes that Muhammad approved the beheading of some 600-900 individuals who surrendered unconditionally after a siege that lasted several weeks.[26] (Also see Bukhari 5:59:362) (Yusuf Ali notes that the Qur'an discusses this battle in verses [Qur'an 33:10]).[31] The women and children were sold into slavery. According to Norman Stillman, the incident cannot be judged by present-day moral standards. Citing Deut. 20:13-14 as an example, Stillman states that the slaughter of adult males and the enslavement of women and children, though bitter, was common practice throughout the ancient world.[32] According to Rudi Paret, the adverse public opinion was more a point of concern to Muhammad when he had some date palms cut down during a siege than after this incident.[33] Esposito also argues that in Muhammad's time traitors were executed and alleging similar situations in the Bible.[34] Esposito says that Muhammad's motivation was political rather than racial or theological; he was trying to establish Muslim dominance and rule in Arabia.[16]

A few Muslim scholars, such as W. N. Arafat and Barakat Ahmad, have disputed the historicity of the incident.[35] Ahmad, argues that only the leaders of the tribe were killed.[36] Arafat argued that Ibn Ishaq gathered information from descendants of the Qurayza Jews, who embellished or manufactured the details of the incident.[37][38] Watt finds Arafat's arguments "not entirely convincing."[39]

Ownership of slaves

Rodney Stark argues that "the fundamental problem facing Muslim theologians vis-à-vis the morality of slavery is that Muhammad bought, sold, captured, and owned slaves." Although he does admit that Muhammad "advise(d) that slaves be treated well," he contrasts Islam with Christianity, implying that Christian theologians wouldn't have been able to "work their way around the biblical acceptance of slavery" if Jesus had owned slaves like Muhammad did.[40]

Some western orientalists and Christian evangelicals criticize Muhammad for apparently having had a child (Ibrahim, who died in infancy) by a slave girl called Maria or Mariyah, who was a present from the Christian Byzantine ruler of Egypt. Muslims regard her as wife of the Prophet and therefore name her "Mother of the believers"[41]. Western orientalists allege that Muhammad did not marry her because she would not convert to Islam. However, in Islam a woman does not have to convert in order for a Muslim to marry her.[42]

Psychological and medical condition

Muhammad is reported to have had mysterious seizures at the moments of inspiration. Welch, a scholar of Islamic studies, in the Encyclopedia of Islam states that the graphic descriptions of Muhammad's condition at these moments may be regarded as genuine, since they are unlikely to have been invented by later Muslims. According to Welch, these seizures should have been the most convincing evidence for the superhuman origin of Muhammad's inspirations for people around him. Others adopted alternative explanations for these seizures and claimed that he was possessed, a soothsayer, or a magician. Welch states it remains uncertain whether Muhammad had such experiences before he began to see himself as a prophet and if so how long did he have such experiences. [43]

According to Temkin, the first attribution of epileptic seizures to Muhammad comes from the 8th century Byzantine historian Theophanes who wrote that Muhammad’s wife "was very much grieved that she, being of noble descent, was tied to such a man, who was not only poor but epileptic as well."[44] In the Middle Ages, the general perception of those who suffered epilepsy was an unclean and incurable wretch who might be possessed by the Devil. The political hostility between Islam and Christianity contributed to the continuation of the accusation of epilepsy throughout the Middle Ages.[44] In 1967, The Christian minister, Archdeacon Humphrey Prideux gave the following description of Muhammad's visions[44]:

He pretended to receive all his revelations from the Angel Gabriel, and that he was sent from God of purpose to deliver them unto him. And whereas he was subject to the falling-sickness, whenever the fit was upon him, he pretended it to be a Trance, and that the Angel Gabriel was come from God with some Revelations unto him.

Some modern western orientalists also have a skeptical view of Muhammad's seizures. Prideux, Frank R. Freemon says, thinks Muhammad had "conscious control over the course of the spells and can pretend to be in a religious trance. He sees epilepsy as related to malingering."[44] During the nineteenth century, as Islam was no longer a political or military threat to Western society, and perceptions of epilepsy changed, the theological and moral associations with epilepsy was removed; epilepsy was now viewed as a medical disorder. [44] Nineteenth century orientalist, D. S. Margoliouth claims that Muhammad suffered from epilepsy and even occasionally faked it for effect.[45] Sprenger attributes Muhammad's revelations to epileptic fits or a "paroxysm of cataleptic insanity."[6] The most famous epileptic of the 19th century, Fyodor Dostoevsky (d.1881) wrote that epileptic attacks have an inspirational quality; he said they are “a supreme exaltation of emotional subjectivity” in which time stands still. Dostoevski claimed that his own attacks were similar to those of Muhammad: "Probably it was of such an instant, that the epileptic Mahomet was speaking when he said that he had visited all the dwelling places of Allah within a shorter time than it took for his pitcher full of water to empty itself."[44] In an essay that discusses views of Muhammad's psychology, Franz Bul (1903) is said to have observed that "hysterical natures find unusual difficulty and often complete inability to distinguish the false from the true", and to have thought this to be the "the safest way to interpret the strange inconsistencies in the life of the Prophet." In the same essay Duncan Black Macdonald (1911) is credited with the opinion that "fruitful investigation of the Prophet's life (should) proceed upon the assumption that he was fundamentally a pathological case."[46]

Modern western scholars of Islam have rejected the diagnosis of epilepsy.[44] Tor Andrae rejects the idea that the inspired state is pathological attributing it to a scientifically superficial and hasty theory arguing that those who consider Muhammad epileptic should consider all types of semi-conscious and trance-like states, occasional loss of consciousness, and similar conditions as epileptic attacks. Andrae writes that "[i]f epilepsy is to denote only those severe attacks which involve serious consequences for the physical and mental health, then the statement that Mohammad suffered from epilepsy must be emphatically rejected." Caesar Farah suggests that "[t]hese insinuations resulted from the 19th-century infatuation with scientifically superficial theories of medical psychology."[47] Noth, in the Encyclopedia of Islam, states that such accusations were a typical feature of medieval European Christian polemic.[48] Maxime Rodinson says that it is most probable that Muhammad's conditions was basically of the same kind as that found in many mystics rather than epilepsy.[49] Fazlur Rahman refutes epileptic fits for the following reasons: Muhammad's condition begins with his career at the age of 40; according to the tradition seizures are invariably associated with the revelation and never occur by itself. Lastly, a sophisticated society like the Meccan or Medinese would have identified epilepsy clearly and definitely. [50] William Montgomery Watt also disagrees with the epilepsy diagnosis, saying that "there are no real grounds for such a view." Elaborating, he says that "epilepsy leads to physical and mental degeneration, and there are no signs of that in Muhammad." He then goes further and states that Muhammad was psychologically sound in general: "he (Muhammad) was clearly in full possession of his faculties to the very end of his life." Watt concludes by stating "It is incredible that a person subject to epilepsy, or hysteria, or even ungovernable fits of emotion, could have been the active leader of military expeditions, or the cool far-seeing guide of a city-state and a growing religious community; but all this we know Muhammad to have been." [51]

Frank R. Freemon (1976) thinks that the above reasons given by modern biographers of Muhammad in rejection of epilepsy come from the widespread misconceptions about the various types of epilepsy.[44] In his differential diagnosis, Freemon rejects schizophrenic hallucinations, [52] drug-induced mental changes such as might occur after eating plants containing hallucinogenic materials [53], transient ischemic attacks [54], hypoglycemia [55], labyrinthitis, Ménière’s disease, or other inner ear maladies [56]. At the end, Freemon argues that if one were forced to make a diagnosis psychomotor seizures of temporal lobe epilepsy would be the most tenable one, although our lack of scientific as well as historical knowledge makes unequivocal decision impossible. Freemon cites evidences supporting and opposing this diagnosis. [57] In the end, Freemon points out that a medical diagnosis should not ignore Muhammad’s moral message because it is just as likely, perhaps more likely, for God communicate with a person in an abnormal state of mind. [58] From a Muslim point of view, Freemon says, Muhammed's mental state at the time of revelation was unique and is not therefore amenable to medical or scientific discourse. [44] In reaction to Freemon's article, GM. S. Megahed, a Muslim neurologist criticized the article arguing that there are no scientific explanations for many religious phenomena, and that if Muhammad's message is a result of psychomotor seizures, then on the same basis Moses' and Jesus' message would be the result of psychomotor seizures. In response, Freemon attributed such negative reactions to his article to the general misconceptions about epilepsy as a demeaning condition. Freemon said that he did plan to write an article on the inspirational spells of St. Paul, but the existence of such misconceptions caused him to cancel it. [59]

Personal motives

Non-religious views

19th century and early 20th century

There are other scholars who wrote critically about Muhammad who were not motivated by their Christianity nor any other religious faith. William Muir, a 19th century scholar, like many other 19th century scholars divides Muhammad's life into two periods — Meccan and Medinan. He asserts that "in the Meccan period of [Muhammad's] life there certainly can be traced no personal ends or unworthy motives," painting him as a man of good faith and a genuine reformer. However, that all changed after the Hijra, according to Muir. "There [in Medina] temporal power, aggrandisement, and self-gratification mingled rapidly with the grand object of the Prophet's life, and they were sought and attained by just the same instrumentality." From that point on, he accuses Muhammad of manufacturing "messages from heaven" in order to justify a lust for women and reprisals against enemies, among other sins.[60] D. S. Margoliouth, another 19th century scholar, sees Muhammad as a charlatan who beguiled his followers with techniques like those used by fraudulent mediums today. He has expressed a view that Muhammad faked his religious sincerity, playing the part of a messenger from God like a man in a play, adjusting his performances to create an illusion of spirituality.[61] Margoliouth is especially critical of the character of Muhammad as revealed in Ibn Ishaq's famous biography, which he holds as especially telling because Muslims cannot dismiss it as the writings of an enemy:

In order to gain his ends he (Muhammad) recoils from no expedient, and he approves of similar unscrupulousness on the part of his adherents, when exercised in his interest. He profits utmost from the chivalry of the Meccans, but rarely requites it with the like... For whatever he does he is prepared to plead the express authorization of the deity. It is, however, impossible to find any doctrine which he is not prepared to abandon in order to secure a political end.[62]

Late 20th century

According to Watt and Richard Bell, recent writers have generally dismissed the idea that Muhammad deliberately deceived his followers, arguing that Muhammad “was absolutely sincere and acted in complete good faith”.[63] Modern secular historians generally decline to address the question of whether the messages Muhammad reported being revealed to him were from "his unconscious, the collective unconscious functioning in him, or from some divine source", but they acknowledge that the material came from "beyond his conscious mind."[64] Watt says that sincerity does not directly imply correctness: In contemporary terms, Muhammad might have mistaken for divine revelation his own unconscious.[65] William Montgomery Watt states:

Only a profound belief in himself and his mission explains Muhammad's readiness to endure hardship and persecution during the Meccan period when from a secular point of view there was no prospect of success. Without sincerity how could he have won the allegiance and even devotion of men of strong and upright character like Abu-Bakr and 'Umar ? ... There is thus a strong case for holding that Muhammad was sincere. If in some respects he was mistaken, his mistakes were not due to deliberate lying or imposture [66] ....the important point is that the message was not the product of Muhammad's conscious mind. He believed that he could easily distinguish between his own thinking and these revelations. His sincerity in this belief must be accepted by the modern historian, for this alone makes credible the development of a great religion. The further question, however, whether the messages came from Muhammad's unconscious, or the collective unconscious functioning in him, or from some divine source, is beyond the competence of the historian.[67]

Rudi Paret agrees, writing that "Muhammad was not a deceptor,"[68] and Welch also holds that "the really powerful factor in Muhammad’s life and the essential clue to his extraordinary success was his unshakable belief from beginning to end that he had been called by God. A conviction such as this, which, once firmly established, does not admit of the slightest doubt, exercises an incalculable influence on others. The certainty with which he came forward as the executor of God’s will gave his words and ordinances an authority that proved finally compelling."[69]

Bernard Lewis, another modern historian, commenting on the common western Medieval view of Muhammad as a self-seeking impostor, states that [70]

The modern historian will not readily believe that so great and significant a movement was started by a self-seeking impostor. Nor will he be satisfied with a purely supernatural explanation, whether it postulates aid of divine of diabolical origin; rather, like Gibbon, will he seek 'with becoming submission, to ask not indeed what were the first, but what were the secondary causes of the rapid growth' of the new faith

Watt rejects the idea of Muhammad's moral failures from Meccan period to Medinian one and contends that such views has no solid grounds. He argues that "it is based on too facile a use of the principle that all power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". Watt interprets incidents in the Medinan period in such a way that they mark "no failure in Muhammad to live to his ideals and no lapse from his moral principles."[11]

Muslim arguments

Regarding disbelief of Muhammad's message early in his career, the commentator Yusuf Ali discusses verse [Qur'an 18:6], stating that "(Muhammad) is here consoled (by Allah), and told that he was not to fret himself to death: he was nobly doing his duty."[71]

References

  1. ^ [Qur'an 68:2]
  2. ^ Stillman, Norman (1979). The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book, p. 236, Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America. ISBN 0-8276-0116-6.
  3. ^ Ernst, Carl (2002). Rethinking Muhammad in the Contemporary World) p. 16
  4. ^ Ernst, Carl (2002). Rethinking Muhammad in the Contemporary World p. 16
  5. ^ Lacy, Norris J. (Ed.) (December 1, 1992). Lancelot-Grail: The Old French Arthurian Vulgate and Post-Vulgate in Translation, Volume 1 of 5. New York: Garland. ISBN 0-8240-7733-4.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Mohammed and Mohammedanism", Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913
  7. ^ Francisco, Adam. Martin Luther and Islam: a study in sixteenth-century polemics and apologetics. Boston: Brill, 2007.
  8. ^ Theodicy, G. W. Leibniz, 1710
  9. ^ Zwemer suggests Muhammad defied Arab ethical traditions, and that he personally violated the strict sexual morality of his own moral system.
  10. ^ Zwemer, "Islam, a Challenge to Faith" (New York, 1907)
  11. ^ a b c Watt, W. Montgomery (1961). Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman. Oxford University Press. p. 229. ISBN 0-19-881078-4. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/med/watt.html. 
  12. ^ "Falwell Sorry For Bashing Muhammad". CBS News. 2002-10-14. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/10/11/60minutes/main525316.shtml. 
  13. ^ Slaughter And 'Submission' - CBSnews.com
  14. ^ Der Spiegel Interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 'Everyone Is Afraid to Criticize Islam'
  15. ^ Pipes, Daniel (2002). In the Path of God : Islam and Political Power. Transaction Publishers. p. 43. ISBN 0-7658-0981-8. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f John Esposito, Islam the Straight Path, Oxford University Press, p.17-18
  17. ^ Fazlur Rahman, Islam, p.28
  18. ^ a b c D. A. Spellberg, Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: the Legacy of A'isha bint Abi Bakr, Columbia University Press, 1994, p. 40
  19. ^ Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, Harper San Francisco, 1992, p. 157.
  20. ^ Barlas (2002), p.125-126
  21. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari 5:58:234, 5:58:236, 7:62:64, 7:62:65, 7:62:88, Sahih Muslim 8:3309, 8:3310, 8:3311, Sunnan Abu Dawud 41:4915, 41:4917
  22. ^ Tabari, Volume 9, Page 131; Tabari, Volume 7, Page 7
  23. ^ Cooperman, Alan (2002-06-20). "Anti-Muslim Remarks Stir Tempest". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A14499-2002Jun19?language=printer. 
  24. ^ C. (Colin) Turner, Islam: The Basics, Routledge Press, p.34-35
  25. ^ From the Sirat Rasul Allah (A. Guilaume's translation "The Life of Muhammad") pages 675, 676.
  26. ^ a b Ibn Ishaq, A. Guillaume (translator), The Life of Muhammad, p. 464, 2002, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-636033-1
  27. ^ Translated by MEMRI.
  28. ^ Fazlur Rahman (1966), Islam, p.20
  29. ^ Bukhari 5:59:362
  30. ^ Daniel W. Brown, A New Introduction to Islam, p. 81, 2003, Blackwell Publishers, ISBN 0-631-21604-9
  31. ^ Yusuf Ali, "The Meaning of the Holy Quran", (11th Edition), p. 1059, Amana Publications, 1989, ISBN 0-915957-76-0
  32. ^ Stillman(1974), p.16
  33. ^ Quoted in Stillman(1974), p.16
  34. ^ BBC Radio 4, Beyond Belief, Oct 2, 2006, Islam and the sword
  35. ^ Meri, p. 754.
  36. ^ Nemoy, Leon. Barakat Ahmad's "Muhammad and the Jews".The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Ser., Vol. 72, No. 4. (Apr., 1982), pp. 325. Nemoy is sourcing Ahmed's Muhammad and the Jews.
  37. ^ Walid N. Arafat (1976), JRAS, p. 100-107.
  38. ^ Barakat Ahmad, Muhammad and the Jews: A Re-examination, holds that only the leaders of the Qurayza were killed.
  39. ^ Watt, Encyclopaedia of Islam, "Kurayza, Banu".
  40. ^ Rodney Stark, "For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery", p. 388, 2003, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-11436-6
  41. ^ Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, p. 653.
  42. ^ William Montgomery Watt, "Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman", p. 195, p. 226, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-881078-4
  43. ^ Encyclopedia of Islam online, Muhammad article
  44. ^ a b c d e f g h i Frank R. Freemon, A Differential Diagnosis of the Inspirational Spells of Muhammad the Prophet of Islam, Journal of Epilepsia, 17 :4 23-427, 1976
  45. ^ Margoliouth, David Samuel (1905). Mohammed and the Rise of Islam. Putnam. p. 46. 
  46. ^ Jeffery, Arthur (2000). The Quest for the Historical Muhammad. Prometheus Books. p. 346. ISBN 1-57392-787-2. 
  47. ^ See:
    • Caesar Farah, "Islam: Beliefs and Observances" (2003), Barron's Educational Series, ISBN 0-7641-2226-6
    • Tor Andrae, Mohammad: The Man and his Faith, trans. Theophil Menzel (New York: Harper Torch Book Series, 1960), p.51
  48. ^ Muhammad, Encyclopedia of Islam.
  49. ^ Maxime Rodinson, Muhammad: Prophet of Islam, p.56
  50. ^ Fazlur Rahman, Islam, University of Chicago Press, p.13
  51. ^ See:
  52. ^ Freemon starts his own differential diagnosis by arguing that "one must remember that Muhammad’s inspired followers lived closely with him in his early and unsuccessful ministry; these same individuals demonstrated brilliant leadership of the explosively expanding Islamic state after his death". He thus rejects schizophrenic hallucinations thesis arguing that the blunted affect of the schizophrenic can hardly inspire the tenacious loyalty of the early followers. "It is also unlikely that a person with loose associations and other elements of schizophrenic thought disorder could guide the political and military fortunes of the early Islamic state."
  53. ^ Freemon does so for two reasons: It can not justify the rapid, almost paroxysmal onset of these spells. Furthermore, without personal conviction of the reality of his visions, Muhammad could not have convinced his astute followers.
  54. ^ According to Freemon, "Too many of these spells occurred over too long a period of time to suggest transient ischemic attacks, and no neurologic deficits outside the mental sphere were observed."
  55. ^ Freemon argues that long duration, absence of worsening, and paroxysmal onset make hypoglycemia unlikely
  56. ^ He argues that absence of vertigo rules out labyrinthitis, Meniere’s disease, or other inner ear maladies.
  57. ^ Supporting this diagnosis, he cites Paroxysmal onset, failing to the ground with loss of conscious, autonomic dysfunction and hallucinatory imagery. On the evidences opposing the diagnosis he mentions the late age of onset, lack of recognition as seizures by his contemporaries, and lastly poetic, organized statements in immediate postictal period.
  58. ^ Freemon explain this by quoting William James"Just as our primary wide-awake consciousness throws open our senses to the touch of things material, so it is logically conceivable that if there be higher spiritual agencies that can directly touch us, the psychological condition of their doing so might be our possession of a subconscious region which alone should yield access to them. The hubbub of the waking life might close a door which in the dreamy subliminal might remain ajar or open."
  59. ^ Letters to the Editor, Journal of Epilepsia. 18(2), 1977.
  60. ^ Muir, William (1878). Life of Mahomet. Kessinger Publishing. p. 583. ISBN 0-7661-7741-6. 
  61. ^ Margoliouth, David Samuel (1905). Mohammed and the Rise of Islam. Putnam. pp. 88, 89, 104–106. 
  62. ^ Margoliouth, David Samuel (1926). Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (Volume 8). T&T Clark. p. 878. ISBN 0-567-09489-8. 
  63. ^ Watt, Bell (1995) p. 18
  64. ^ The Cambridge History of Islam (1970), Cambridge University Press, p.30
  65. ^ Watt, Muhammad Prophet and Statesman, p.17
  66. ^ Watt, Montgomery, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman. Oxford University Press, 1961. From p. 232.
  67. ^ The Cambridge History of Islam (1970), Cambrdige University Press, p.30
  68. ^ Minou Reeves, Muhammad in Europe, New York University Press, p.6, 2000
  69. ^ Encyclopedia of Islam, Muhammad
  70. ^ The Arabs in History, Lewis, p.45-46
  71. ^ Ali, Abdullah Yusuf (2004). The Meaning Of The Holy Quran (11th Edition). Amana Publications. p. 708. ISBN 1-59008-025-4. 

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Muhammad article)

From Wikiquote

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly.

Muhammad (Arabic: محمد) (c. 5708 June 632) full name: Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abd al-Muttalib was a political, military, and religious leader. Muslim religious belief holds that he is the Seal of the prophets, and that the Qur'an is the message of Allah revealed to him by the angel Jibreel (Gabriel). Archaic spellings of his name in English include: Mohammed, Muhammed, and Mahomet.

See also quotes from the Qur'an (القرآن) and Non-Islamic views of Muhammad.

Contents

Sourced

Sunni Hadith

Note: Hadith ("Traditions") of the Prophet are those sayings attributed directly to him, and to Muslims they are second in importance only to the Qur'an. They are seen as explanations of the Quranic verses and the second source of legislation in Islamic jurisprudence.
(Arranged alphabetically)
  • Faith (Belief) consists of more than sixty branches (i.e. parts). And Haya (This term "Haya" covers a large number of concepts which are to be taken together; amongst them are self respect, modesty, bashfulness, and scruple, etc.) is a part of faith.
  • Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith:
    • 1. The one to whom Allah and His Apostle becomes dearer than anything else.
    • 2. Who loves a person and he loves him only for Allah's sake.
    • 3. Who hates to revert to Atheism (disbelief) as he hates to be thrown into the fire.
    • Bukhari 1:15
  • Allah's Apostle [Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)] said, "The deeds of anyone of you will not save you (from the (Hell) Fire)." They said, "Even you (will not be saved by your deeds), O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "No, even I (will not be saved) unless and until Allah bestows His Mercy on me. Therefore, do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and worship Allah in the forenoon and in the afternoon and during a part of the night, and always adopt a middle, moderate, regular course whereby you will reach your target (Paradise).
  • The ink of scholars (used in writing) is weighed on the Day of Judgement with the blood of martyrs and the ink of scholars out-weighs the blood of martyrs.
    • As quoted in Al-Jaami' al-Saghîr by Imam al-Suyuti, where it is declared a "weak Hadith".
    • Variant translations:
    • The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr.
    • The ink of scholars will be weighed in the scale with the blood of martyrs.
      • As quoted in Knowledge of God in Classical Sufism : Foundations of Islamic Mystical Theology (2004) by John Renard
  • A Muslim asked: "Oh Apostle of God, who are your kin whom you have ordered us to obey?" He replied, "Ali (Blessings Peace Be Upon Him), Fatimah (Blessings Be Upon Her), and her two sons."
    • al-Suyuti, Dur al-Manthur, vol.7, p.7 ; ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tafsir al-Tabari, vol.5, p.16 ; al-Fakhr al-Razi, al-Tafsir, vol.7, p.406 ; ibn Hajar al-Haythami, al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, p.102 ; Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, Dhakha‘ir al-Uqba, p.25 ; al-Shablanji, Nur al-Absar, p.100.
  • A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.
    • Bukhari 4:538 This is an extraordinary hadith, because following the Sunnah of Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) , prostitutes can be extremely despised figures among most Muslims, yet it expresses the idea that even someone working in one of the most despised of professions, in showing mercy to an animal, can merit the forgiveness of Allah, and the wise.
  • The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Verily, Allah has revealed to me that you should adopt humility. So that no one may wrong another and no one may be disdainful and haughty towards another."
    • Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Compiled By Al-Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Sharaf An-Nawawi Ad-Dimashqi, Chapter 279, Hadith 1589 [1]
  • Allah’s Messenger kissed Al-Hasan ibn `Ali while Al-Aqra` ibn Habis At-Tamim was sitting with him . Al-Aqra` said, “I have ten children and have never kissed one of them.” The Prophet cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.”
    • Al-Bukhari
  • Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to people.
    • Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 9, #473
  • Allah's Apostle said, "Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbor, and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet.
  • Avoid cruelty and injustice for, on the Day of Judgment, the same will turn into several darknesses; and guard yourselves against miserliness; for this has ruined nations who lived before you.
    • Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Hadith 203
  • By his good character, a believer will attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day.
    • Abu Dawood, Hadith 2233
  • ...Do not betray, do not be excessive, do not kill a newborn child.
    • Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #1731, and Al-Tirmizi, #1408.
  • Do not turn away a poor man...even if all you can give is half a date. If you love the poor and bring them near you...God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection.
    • Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1376
  • (Each one) of you should save himself from the fire by giving even half of a date (in charity). And if you do not find a half date, then (by saying) a pleasant word (to your brethren).
    • Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 394
  • Fear Allah and treat your children [small or grown] fairly (with equal justice).
    • Al-Bukhari and Muslim
  • Five kinds of animals are mischief-doers and can be killed even in the Sanctuary: They are the rat, the scorpion, the kite, the crow and the rabid dog.
    • Hadith - Bukhari 4:531, Narrated 'Aisha
  • "God does not judge you according to your bodies and appearances, but He looks into your hearts and observes your deeds."
    [The man asked] "Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man said. "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man further said, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man asked for the fourth time, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your father."
    • Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:2
  • "Happy is the man who avoids dissension, but how fine is the man who is afflicted and shows endurance."
    • Sunah of Abu Dawood, Hadith 1996
  • "He who builds a masjid in the way of Allah, God will build a house for him in the paradise."
  • He who has been a ruler over ten people will be brought shackled on the Day of Resurrection, until the justice (by which he ruled) loosens his chains or tyranny brings him to destruction.
  • "I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this," — putting his index and middle fingers together.
    • Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 8 Book 73 Number 34
  • I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for."
    • Narrated by 'Umar bin Al-Khattab: Sahih Al-Bukhari: Volume 1, Book 1, Number 1
  • In the name of God, I put my trust in God. O God, I seek refuge in Thee lest I stray or be led astray or cause injustice or suffer injustice or do wrong or have wrong done to me!
    • Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2, Number 67b.
  • It is better for a leader to make a mistake in forgiving than to make a mistake in punishing.
    • Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1011
  • It is a fine thing when a believer praises and thanks God if good comes to him, and praises God and shows endurance if smitten by affliction. The believer is rewarded for (every good action), even for the morsel he raises to his wife's mouth.
    • Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 537
  • It is better for any of you to carry a load of firewood on his own back than to beg from someone else.
  • Narrated Abu Qatadah: “The Messenger of Allah came towards us while carrying Umamah the daughter of Abi Al-`As (Prophet’s granddaughter) over his shoulder. He prayed, and when he wanted to bow, he put her down, and when he stood up he lifted her up.”
    • Al-Bukhari
  • Narrated Umm Khalid: I (the daughter of Khalid ibn Said) went to Allah’s Messenger with my father and I was wearing a yellow shirt. Allah’s Messenger said, “Sanah, Sanah!” (`Abdullah, the narrator, said that sanah meant “good” in the Ethiopian language). I then started playing with the seal of prophethood (between the Prophet’s shoulders) and my father rebuked me harshly for that. Allah’s Messenger said, “Leave her.” The Prophet, then, invoked Allah to grant her a long life thrice.
    • Al-Bukhari
  • O people! Your God is one and your forefather (Adam) is one. An Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab, and a red (i.e. white tinged with red) person is not better than a black person and a black person is not better than a red person, except in piety.
    • Narrated in Mosnad Ahmad, #22978.
  • People, beware of injustice, for injustice shall be darkness on the Day of Judgment.
    • Narrated in Mosnad Ahmad, #5798, and Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #2447.
  • Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.
  • Righteousness is good morality, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul and which you dislike people finding out about.
    • An-Nawawi's "Forty Hadith," Hadith 27
  • Seven kinds of people will be sheltered under the shade of God on the Day of Judgment...They are: a just ruler, a young man who passed his youth in the worship and service of God...one whose heart is attached to the mosque...two people who love each other for the sake of God...a man who is invited to sin...but declines, saying 'I fear God'...one who spends his charity in secret, without making a show...and one who remembers God in solitude so that his eyes overflow.
    • Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Hadith 376
  • Sometimes I enter prayer and I intend to prolong it, but then I hear a child crying, and I shorten my prayer thinking of the distress of the child's mother.
    • Fiqh us-Sunnah, Volume 2, Number 51b
  • The best among you are those who are best to their wives.
    • Narrated in Ibn Majah, #1978, and Al-Tirmizi, #3895.
  • The example of a believer is like a fresh tender plant; from whichever direction the wind blows, it bends the plant. But when the wind dies down, (it) straightens up again.
    • Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, Number 1
  • The first cases to be adjudicated between people on the Day of Judgment will be those of bloodshed [killing and injuring]
    • Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #1678, and Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #6533.
  • The first to be summoned to Paradise on the Day of Resurrection will be those who praise God in prosperity and adversity.
    • Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 730
  • The Prophet said, “(It happens that) I start the prayer intending to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I shorten the prayer because I know that the cries of the child will incite its mother’s passions.”
    • Al-Bukhari
  • There is a reward for kindness to every living animal or human.
    • Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #2244, and Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #2466.
  • "What is the best type of Jihad [struggle]?" He answered: "Speaking truth before a tyrannical ruler."
    • Riyadh us-Saleheen Volume 1:195
  • While a man was walking along a road, he became very thirsty and found a well. He lowered himself into the well, drank, and came out. Then [he saw] a dog protruding its tongue out with thirst. The man said: "This dog has become exhausted from thirst in the same way as I." He lowered himself into the well again and filled his shoe with water. He gave the dog some water to drink. He thanked God, and [his sins were] forgiven. The Prophet was then asked: "Is there a reward for us in our animals?" He said: "There is a reward in every living thing."
    • Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 104
  • Whoever killed a person having a treaty with the Muslims, shall not smell the smell of Paradise though its smell is perceived from a distance of forty years.
  • Abu Huraira reported that a person came to Allah, 's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Who among the people is most deserving of a fine treatment from my hand? He said: Your mother. He again said: Then who (is the next one)? He said: Again it is your mother (who deserves the best treatment from you). He said: Then who (is the next one)? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Again, it is your mother. He (again) said: Then who? Thereupon he said: Then it is your father.
    • Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, Book 032, Number 6180 [2]
  • Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: A woman was punished because she had kept a cat tied until it died, and (as a punishment of this offence) she was thrown into the Hell. She had not provided it with food, or drink, and had not freed her so that she could eat the insects of the earth.
    • Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, Book 026, Number 5570 [3]
  • Verily Allah has enjoined goodness to everything; so when you kill, kill in a good way and when you slaughter, slaughter in a good way. So every one of you should sharpen his knife, and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably.
    • Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, Book 021, Number 4810 [4]

Shi'ite Hadith

On the mourning of his grandson Husayn

The Shrine of Imām Husayn ibn ‘Alī in Karbalā, Iraq
  • The Holy Prophet (AS) said: Surely, there exists in the hearts of the Mu'mineen, with respect to the martyrdom of Husain (A.S.), a heat that never subsides.
    • Mustadrak al‑Wasail vol 10 pg. 318
  • O' Fatimah! Every eye shall be weeping on the Day of Judgment except the eye which has shed tears over the tragedy of Husain (A.S.) for surely, that eye shall be laughing and shall be given the glad tidings of the bounties and comforts of Paradise.
    • Bihar al‑Anwar, vol. 44 pg. 193.
  • On the Day of Judgment, you shall intercede for the ladies and I shall intercede for the men; every person who has wept over the tragedy of Husain (A.S.), we shall take him by the hand and lead him into Paradise.
    • Bihar al‑Anwar vol. 94 pg. 192,
  • (On the Day of Judgment, a group would be seen in the most excellent and honourable of states. They would be asked if they were of the Angels or of the Prophets. In reply they would state): "We are‑neither Angels nor Prophets but of the indigent ones from the ummah of Muhammad (S.A.W.)". They would then be asked: "How then did you achieve this lofty and honourable status?" They would reply: "We did not perform very many good deeds nor did we pass all the days in a state of fasting or all the nights in a state of worship but yes, we used to offer our (daily) prayers (regularly) and whenever we used to hear the mention of Muhammad (S.A.W.), tears would roll down our cheeks".
    • Mustadrak al‑Wasail, vol 10, pg. 318.
  • (A hopeful sinner is closer to the mercy of Allah then a hopeless worshipper.
    • Mizan al-hikma, Volume 10, Page 504, Tradition 7109

On the Qur'an

Quran cover.jpg
  • “The one who recites the Qur’an and the one who listens to it have an equal share in the reward.”
    • Mustadrakul Wasa’il, Volume 1, Page 293
  • “The best of those amongst you is the one who learns the Qur’an and then teaches it to others.”
    • Al-Amali of Shaykh at-Tusi, Volume 1, Page 5
  • “Everything in existence prays for the forgiveness of the person who teaches the Qur’an - even the fish in the sea.”
    • Usulul Kafi, Volume 3, Page 301
  • “These hearts rust just as iron rusts; and indeed they are polished through the recitation of the Qur’an.”
    • Irshadul Qulub; Page 78
  • In his last testament to ‘Ali (peace be upon him), the Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) told him: “O’ ‘Ali! I advice you to recite the Qur’an in every state (which you may find yourself in).”
    • Man La Yahdhuruhul Faqih, Volume 4, Page 188
  • “Nothing is harder for Satan to bear than a person who recites the Qur’an by looking at the pages (of the Qur’an).”
    • Thawabul A’mal, Page 231
  • “Brighten up your houses through the recitation of the Qur’an, and do not make them (your homes) like graves, similar to what the Jews and Christians have done (by not performing the prayers and worship of God in their house and limiting this to the Synagogues and Churches).”
    • Usulul Kafi, Volume 2, Page 610
  • “One who recites ten verses (ayat) of the Qur’an every night will not be counted amongst the negligent ones (Ghafilin); and one who recites fifty verses (ayat) will be written as those who remember Allah (Dhakirin); and one who recites one hundred verses (ayat) will be written down as the obedient and worshipper of Allah (Qanitin).”
    • Thawabul A’mal, Page 232
  • “I advise you to recite the Qur’an and remember Allah much, for surely the Qur’an will remember you (do your dhikr) in the Heavens and it will be a Divine Light (nur) for you on the Earth.”
    • Al-Khisal, Page 525
  • “The superiority of the Qur’an over the rest of words, is like the superiority of Allah over His creations.”
    • Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, Volume 4, Page 237
  • “Whoever recites the first four verses of Suratul Baqarah, Ayatul Kursi (verse 255 of Suratul Baqarah) along with the two verses which follow it (verses 256 and 257 up to ‘Wa Hum Fiha Khalidun’), and the last three verses (of this same Surah) will not see any bad or sorrow in his life or his wealth; Satan will not come near him; and he will not forget the Qur’an.”
    • Thawabul A’mal, Page 234
  • “For every thing there is an embellishment (or a decoration), and the embellishment of the Qur’an is a good voice.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 92, Page 190
  • “Surely this Qur’an is the rope of Allah, and a manifest Light (nur), and a beneficial cure. Therefore, busy yourselves with the recitation of it, for Allah - The Mighty and Glorious – grants the reward of ten good deeds to you for every letter which is recited.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 92, Page 19
  • “Whenever the waves of calamities encompass you like the dark night, seek refuge with the Qur’an - for it is an intercessor whose intercession will be accepted. One who takes it as a guide, Allah will lead that person into Heaven; and whoever disregards it or goes against it, will be lead into the Hell fire.”
    • Fadhlul Qur’an, Page 599
  • “Recite the Qur’an in such a way that your hearts develop a love for it and your skin becomes softened by it. However as soon as your hearts become indifferent to it (meaning that the Qur’an has no effect on you), then stop reciting it.”
    • Mustadrakul Wasa’il, Volume 4, Page 239
  • “One who listens to the Qur’an (while it is being recited) will be kept away from the evils of this world; and one who recites the Qur’an will be kept away from the trials of the hereafter. And the person who listens to even one verse of the book of Allah - this is better (for him) than possessing a mansion of gold.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 92, Page 19
  • “The number of levels (stages) in Heaven is (equivalent to) the number of verses in the Qur’an (6236). Thus, when a reciter of the Qur’an enters into Heaven, it will be said to him: ‘Go up one level for every verse that you can recite.’ Thus, no one will be in a higher level than the one who has memorized the entire Qur’an.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 92, Page 22
  • “If you want ease and success in this world, the death of a martyr, to be saved on the Day of Loss, a shade on the Day of the burning Qiyamat, and guidance on the Day of going astray, then take lessons from the Qur’an. Surely it is the word of the Merciful, a protection from the Satan, and one of the most weightiest of things for the scale of (good) deeds (on the Day of Judgement).”
    • Jami’ul Akhbar, Page 78
  • “Surely the recitation of the Qur’an is an atonement for the sins, a covering (protection) from the Hell Fire, and a safety from the punishment. Mercy will descend upon the reciter, the Angels will seek forgiveness for him, Heaven will long for that person, and his Master (Allah) will be pleased with him.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 93, Page 17
  • “The people of the Qur’an (those who recite and those who memorize the Qur’an) will be in the highest level (in Heaven) from amongst all of the people with the exception of the Prophets and Messengers. Thus, do not seek to degrade the people of the Qur’an, nor take away their rights, for surely they have been given a high rank by Allah.”
    • Thawabul A’mal, Page 224
  • “Place a portion (of goodness) from the Qur’an in your homes, for surely ease will come to the people of that house in which the Qur’an is read, goodness will increase, and the inhabitants (of that house) will be given excess bounties.”
    • Wasa’ilush Shi’a, Volume 4, Page 85

On Prayer

  • “The first thing that Allah made obligatory upon my Ummah was the five prayers; and the first thing from their acts of worship that shall be taken up will be the five prayers; and the first thing that they will be questioned about will be the five prayers.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 18859
  • “One who adheres to the five (daily) prayers diligently, they shall be a means of illumination and salvation for him on the Day of Judgment.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 18862
  • “The prayer of a person is (in reality) a light in his heart, so whoever desires, can illuminate his heart (by means of prayers).”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume7, Tradition 18973
  • “The prayer is one of the (primary) dictates of religion, in it lies the pleasure of the Lord, the Mighty and the Glorious, and it is the conduct of the Prophets.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 231
  • “The prayer is the standard of Islam. Whosoever loves prayers, and observes their limits, timings and methods, is a true believer.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 18870
  • “For every thing there is a face and the face of your religion is prayers. So see to it that none from amongst you damages and disfigures the face of his religion.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 209
  • “Whenever the time of each prayer arrives, an Angel announces to the people: (O’ People!) Stand up and extinguish, with prayers, the fire which you have set alight for yourselves.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 209
  • “The position of prayers with respect to religion is similar to that of the head with respect to the body.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 18972
  • “The example of the five (daily) prayers is like that of a clear-water river flowing in front of your houses in which a person washes himself five times a day – cleansing him from all dirt.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 18931
  • “The most beloved of deeds in the eyes of Allah are: offering prayers at the stipulated times; (then) goodness and kindness towards parents; (and then) Jihad in the way of Allah.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 18897
  • “One who considers the prayers to be insignificant and trivial is not from me. By Allah! He shall never come close to me at the pool of Kauthar.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 224
  • “Do not destroy your prayers for verily one who destroys his prayers shall be resurrected in the company of Qarun, Haman and Fir`awn.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 202
  • “Prayer is the pillar of your religion and one who intentionally forsakes his prayer has destroyed his religion. And one who does not guard the times of the prayers, shall be made to enter ‘Wayl’, which is a valley in Hell, as Allah, the Exalted, has said: “So woe to the praying ones, who are unmindful of their prayers.”
    • Biharul Anwar,Volume 82, Page 202
  • Do not abandon your prayers intentionally for surely the obligations of Allah and His Messenger cease to cover one who forsakes his prayers intentionally.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 19096
  • “If a person abandons his prayer such that he neither desires its rewards nor fears its chastisement, for such a person I do not care if he dies a Jew, a Christian or a Magian.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 202
  • The good deeds of one who, without any appropriate excuse does not offer his prayer until its time passes away, are annulled.” He then said: “The divide between a believer and disbelief is the abandonment of prayers.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 202
  • “The name of one who forsakes his prayer intentionally is written upon The door of Hell from which he shall (eventually) enter.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 19090

On Hajj

Pilgrims circumambulating the Kaaba during the Hajj
  • “A person who circumambulates this House (the Ka’bah) seven times and performs the two Rak’at Salat (of Tawaaf) in the best form possible will have his sins forgiven.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 49
  • “Surely Allah has chosen four cities from amongst all others, just as He, the Noble and Grand has said (in the Noble Qur’an): “I swear by ‘the fig’ and ‘the olive’ and the ‘Mountain of Sinai’ and by this protected city.” ‘The fig’ is the city of Madinah; ‘The olive’ is the city of Baitul Maqdas (in Jerusalem); ‘The Mountain of Sinai’ is Kufah; and the protected city is Makkah.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 77
  • “Perform the tawaaf of the House and rub your hand over the Corner which has the Hajr al-Aswad because this is the right hand of Allah on His Earth which He shakes with His creations.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 202
  • “The water of Zamzam is a cure for whatever (ailment) it is taken for.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 245
  • “The greatest sin of a person who goes to ‘Arafat and then leaves is to think that he has not been forgiven of his sins.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 248
  • “A person seeing (visiting) my grave deserves my intercession. And a person who visits me after my death is like a person who visited me during my lifetime.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 334
  • “Walimah is only in five occasions: in the ‘Urs, Khurs, ‘Idhar, Wikar and the Rikaz – ‘Urs is when a person gets married; and Khurs is when a child is born; and ‘Idhar is on the circumcision of a baby boy; and Wikar is when a person purchases a house; and Rikaz is when a person returns from Hajj.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 384

Other

  • “The person who seeks knowledge while in his youth is similar to the act of inscribing something upon a rock; while the person who seeks knowledge while he is old is similar to the act of writing something upon the water.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 1, Page 222
  • “A person shall arrive on the Day of Judgement and shall be in possession of good deeds in the measure of vastly accumulated clouds or towering mountains. (Witnessing them) he shall ask: ‘Oh My Lord! How can these be for me when I have not performed them?’ God shall reply: ‘This is your knowledge that you had taught and conveyed to the people, and which was acted upon after you had died.’
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 2, Page 18

Final sermon

The Last Sermon of Muhammad delivered on the Ninth Day of Dhul Hijjah 10 A.H (c. 630 AD)

  • O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I don't know whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.
  • O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have right over you. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.
  • All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
  • All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly.
  • Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another. You are brothers.
It is better for a leader to make a mistake in forgiving than to make a mistake in punishing.

Quotes about Muhammad

Alphabetized by author
  • Say (O Muhammad): O mankind! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah to you all - (the messenger of) Him unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. There is no god save Him. He quickeneth and He giveth death. So believe in Allah and His messenger, the unschooled prophet, who believeth in Allah and in His Words, and follow him that haply ye may be led aright.
  • 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 Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makka) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her;- this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large);
  • In little more than a year he was actually the spiritual, nominal and temporal ruler of Medina, with his hands on the lever that was to shake the world.
    • John Austin, in "Muhammad the Prophet of Allah" in T.P.'s and Cassel's Weekly (24 September 1927)
  • O ye men, whoever amongst you worshipped Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead, and whoever amongst you worshipped Allah, let him know that Allah is Living, there is no death for Him.
  • But do you mean to tell me that the man who in the full flush of youthful vigour, a young man of four and twenty [24], married a woman much his senior, and remained faithful to her for six and twenty years, at fifty years of age when the passions are dying married for lust and sexual passion? Not thus are men's lives to be judged. And you look at the women whom he married, you will find that by every one of them an alliance was made for his people, or something was gained for his followers, or the woman was in sore need of protection.
    • Annie Besant, The Life and Teachings of Muhammad (1932), p. 4
  • It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knew how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel, whenever I reread them, a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher.
    • Annie Besant, in "The Life and Teachings of Mohammad (1932), p. 4
  • Four years after the death of Justinian, A.D. 569, was born in Mecca, in Arabia, the man Muhammad, who of all men, has exercised the greatest influence upon the human race. To be the religious head of many empires, to guide the daily life of one-third of the human race, may perhaps justify the title of a Messenger of God.
    • Dr. William Draper, M.D. L.L.D. in "History of Intellectual Development of Europe"
  • By the false prophet, is sometimes meant the Pope and his clergy; but here an eye seems to be had to Mahomet, whom his followers call the great prophet of God.
    • Jonathan Edwards, referring to the false prophet of Revelation 16:13, in The Fall of Antichrist (1829), Part VII, page 395, New York, Published by S. Converse
I wanted to know the best of one who holds today undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind... ~ Mahatma Gandhi
  • I wanted to know the best of one who holds today undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind ... I became more than convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the 2nd volume (of the prophet's biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of the great life.
  • He is a prophet and not a poet and therefore his Koran is to be seen as Divine Law, and not as a book of a human being made for education or entertainment.
  • My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential person may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. It is probable that the relative influence of Muhammad on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity. Furthermore, Muhammad (unlike Jesus) was a secular as well as religious leader. In fact, as the driving force behind the Arab conquests, he may well rank as the most influential political leader of all time. It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence, which I feel, entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history.
  • The league of nations founded by the prophet of Islam put the principle of international unity and human brotherhood on such universal foundations as to show candle to other nations. ... the fact is that no nation of the world can show a parallel to what Islam has done towards the realization of the idea of the League of Nations.
  • Never has a man set for himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a more sublime aim, since this aim was super human; to subvert superstitions which had been imposed between man and his Creator, to render God unto man and man unto God; to restore the rational and sacred idea of divinity amidst the chaos of the material and disfigured gods of idolatry, then existing. Never has a man undertaken a work so far beyond human power with so feeble means, for he Muhammad had in the conception as well as in the execution of such a great design, no other instrument than himself and no other aid except a handful of men living in a corner of the desert. Finally, never has a man accomplished such a huge and lasting revolution in the world, because in less than two centuries after its appearance, Islam, reigned over the whole of Arabia, and conquered, in God's name, Persia, Khorasan, Transoxania, Western India, Syria, Egypt, Abyssinia, all the known continent of Northern Africa, numerous islands of the Mediterranean Sea, Spain and part of Gaul.
    If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls. . . his forbearance in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; his endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death; all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was twofold, the unity of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea with words.
    Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?
He had brought a new religion which, with its monotheism and its ethical doctrines, stood on an incomparably higher level than the paganism it replaced. ~ Bernard Lewis
  • He had achieved a great deal. To the pagan peoples of western Arabia he had brought a new religion which, with its monotheism and its ethical doctrines, stood on an incomparably higher level than the paganism it replaced. He had provided that religion with a revelation which was to become in the centuries to follow the guide to thought and count of countless millions of Believers. But he had done more than that; he had established a community and a well organized and armed state, the power and prestige of which made it a dominant factor in Arabia.... The modern historian will not readily believe that so great and significant a movement was started by a self-seeking imposter. Nor will he be satisfied with a purely supernatural explanation, whether it postulates aid of divine of diabolical origin; rather, like Gibbon, will he seek 'with becoming submission, to ask not indeed what were the first, but what were the secondary causes of the rapid growth' of the new faith...
  • I regard Mohammed as a great man, who solved a political problem of appalling difficulty, — the construction of a state and an empire out of the Arab tribes. I have endeavored, in recounting the mode in which he accomplished this, to do justice to his intellectual ability and to observe towards him the respectful attitude which his greatness deserves.
  • Leaders must fulfill three functions — provide for the well-being of the led, provide a social organization in which people feel relatively secure, and provide them with one set of beliefs. People like Pasteur and Salk are leaders in the first sense. People like [[Mohandas K. Gandhi}Gandhi]] and Confucius, on one hand, and Alexander, Caesar and Hitler on the other, are leaders in the second and perhaps the third sense. Jesus and Buddha belong in the third category alone. Perhaps the greatest leader of all times was Mohammed, who combined all three functions. To a lesser degree, Moses did the same.
    • Jules Masserman, as quoted in "Who Were Histories Great Leaders?" in TIME magazine (15 July 1974)
  • It was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy; for, in the mosque, when the call for prayer is sounded and worshippers are gathered together, the democracy of Islam is embodied five times a day when the peasant and king kneel side by side and proclaim: 'God Alone is Great'... I have been struck over and over again by this indivisible unity of Islam that makes man instinctively a brother.
    • Sarojini Naidu, Ideals of Islam, vide Speeches & Writings (1918), p. 169
  • "I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD, AND MOHAMED, AN APOSTLE OF GOD" is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honor of the Prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtues; and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion.
  • The great imposter Mohammed pretended that he was taught his Koran.
    • John Owen, Communion with God, 1657; in The Works of John Owen Volume 2, 1997, Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, ISBN 0-85151-124-4, p. 391
  • The personality of Muhammad, it is most difficult to get into the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of it I can catch. What a dramatic succession of picturesque scenes. There is Muhammad the Prophet. There is Muhammad the Warrior; Muhammad the Businessman; Muhammad the Statesman; Muhammad the Orator; Muhammad the Reformer; Muhammad the Refuge of Orphans; Muhammad the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad the Judge; Muhammad the Saint. All in all these magnificent roles, in all these departments of human activities, he is alike a hero.
  • The medieval ecclesiastics, either through ignorance or bigotry, painted Muhammadanism in the darkest colours. They were in fact trained both to hate the man Muhammad and his religion. To them Muhammad was Anti-Christ. I have studied him — the wonderful man, and in my opinion far from being an Anti-Christ he must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much-needed peace and happiness.
  • Head of the State as well as of the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the Pope's pretensions, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar. Without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue, if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by a right Divine, it was Mohammed; for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports. He rose superior to the titles and ceremonies, the solemn trifling, and the proud humility of court etiquette. To hereditary kings, to princes born in the purple, these things are, naturally enough, as the breath of life; but those who ought to have known better, even self-made rulers, and those the foremost in the files of time — a Caesar, a Cromwell, a Napoleon — have been unable to resist their tinsel attractions. Mohammed was content with the reality, he cared not for the dressings, of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life.
    • Reginald Bosworth Smith, in "Mohammedanism and Christianity" (7 March 1874), published in Mohammed and Mohammedanism (1889), p. 289
  • Islam was founded by Mohammed, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives, and his last one was a nine-year-old girl.
  • His readiness to undergo persecutions for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement - all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an impostor raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad.
  • The more one reflects on the history of Muhammad and of early Islam, the more one is amazed at the vastness of his achievement. Circumstances presented him with an opportunity such as few men have had, but the man was fully matched with the hour. Had it not been for his gifts as seer, statesman, and administrator and, behind these, his trust in God and firm belief that God had sent him, a notable chapter in the history of mankind would have remained unwritten.
    ...Only a profound belief in himself and his mission explains Muhammad's readiness to endure hardship and persecution during the Meccan period when from a secular point of view there was no prospect of success. Without sincerity how could he have won the allegiance and even devotion of men of strong and upright character like Abu-Bakr and 'Umar ? For the theist there is the further question how God could have allowed a great religion like Islam to develop on a basis of lies and deceit. There is thus a strong case for holding that Muhammad was sincere. If in some respects he was mistaken, his mistakes were not due to deliberate lying or imposture.
  • In Muhammad, I should hold, there was a welling up of the creative imagination, and the ideas thus produced are to a great extent true and sound. It does not follow, however, that all the Qur'anic ideas are true and sound. In particular there is at least one point at which they seem to be unsound; the idea that ' revelation ' or the product of the creative imagination is superior to normal human traditions as a source of bare historical fact. There are several verses in the Qur'an (II. 5I; 3. 39; I2. I03) to the effect that ' this is one of the reports of the unseen which We reveal to thee; thou didst not know it, thou nor thy people, before this '. One could admit a claim that the creative imagination was able to give a new and truer interpretation of a historical event, but to make it a source of bare fact is an exaggeration and false.
    This point is of special concern to Christians, since the Qur'an denies the bare fact of the death of Jesus on the cross, and Muslims still consider that this denial outweighs the contrary testimony of historical tradition. The primary intention of the Qur'an was to deny the Jews' interpretation of the crucifixion as a victory for themselves, but as normally explained it goes much farther. The same exaggeration of the role of ' revelation ' has also had other consequences. The Arab contribution to Islamic culture has been unduly magnified, and that of the civilized peoples of Egypt, Syria, 'Iraq and Persia, later converted to Islam, has been sadly belittled.
    Too much must not be made of this slight flaw. Which of us, conscious of being called by God to perform a special task, would not have been more than a little proud ? On the whole Muhammad was remarkably free from pride. Yet this slight exaggeration of his own function has had grave consequences and cannot be ignored.
  • I always took the view — contrary to most previous scholars of Islam — that the Quran was not something that Muhammad had consciously produced. For long, however, I hesitated to speak of him as a prophet, because Muslims would have taken this to mean that everything in the Quran was finally and absolutely true, which was something I did not believe. More recently, however, I have said that Muhammad is a prophet comparable to the Old Testament prophets, though with a different task, namely, to bring the knowledge of God to people without such knowledge, whereas their task was mainly to criticize the conduct of those who already believed in God.
    • William Montgomery Watt, as quoted in Muhammad : A Short Biography (1998) by Martin Forward, p. 106 ISBN 1-85168-131-0
  • I therefore do not believe that either the Bible or the Qur’an is infallibly true in the sense that all their commands are valid for all time. ... when the form of society changes in important respects some commands cease to be appropriate, though many others continue to be valid. I do, however, believe that Muhammad, like the earlier prophets, had genuine religious experiences. I believe that he really did receive something directly from God. As such, I believe that the Qur’an came from God, that it is Divinely inspired. Muhammad could not have caused the great upsurge in religion that he did without God’s blessing.
  • A raw and raging debate pervades the Qur'an. Muhammad's tribe disputed his claims and mocked him unmercifully, saying his religion was a forgery, a counterfeit. Qur'an 11:13 Or, do they say: 'He (Muhammad) has forged it (the Qur'an)'. His contemporaries knew he was a fraud. And they weren't the least bit shy about saying so.

Authors unknown:

  • Christians claimed the Antichrist was Muhammad, founder of Islam, because they consider him a false prophet who placed himself above Jesus, and whose religion conquered Jerusalem and forcibly converted Christians, Jews, and others.

Misattributed:

  • [It is simply amazing] how one man single handedly could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades.
    • Attributed to Thomas Carlyle, this was cited as being from Heroes and Hero Worship but has not been located in that document, and this expression appears to have originally occurred as a description of Carlyle's ideas rather than a quotation of his statements in The Muslim World League Journal (1994) :"Thomas Carlyle was amazed as to how one man, single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades."

External links

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Authentic Sunni Islamic Hadith

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  • [[5]] Evidences for the truth of Islam.

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