This is continuation from the previous segment: Ten Questionable Aspects of Muhammad’s Life Pt. 1.
12. He Despised a Blind Man
Question 221: We read in Sura ‘Abasa 80:1-10: “He frowned and turned away that the blind man came to him. And what should teach thee? Perchance he would cleanse him, or yet remember, and the Reminder profit him. But the self-sufficient, to him thou attendest though it is not thy concern, if he does not cleanse himself. And he who comes to thee eagerly and fearfully, to him thou payest no heed.”
It has been reported that Ibn Umm Maktum came to Muhammad while the latter was talking with the nobility of the Quraish, and said to him, “Recite to me and teach me what God taught you.” Muhammad, however, paid him no heed and turned away from him, and said to himself, “Those mighty men say that only the boys, the slaves, and the scum of society follow him.” So Muhammad frowned and turned away from him in disdain, and continued talking to the honourable people.
We ask: How could Muhammad attend to the influential people and reject the poor, the needy, and, in this instance, the blind? How far he is from Christ, who acted compassionately and tenderly when a blind man came to him – and restored his sight!
13. He Drove Away the Poor
Question 222: We read in Sura al-An’am 6:52: “And do not drive away those who call upon their Lord at morning and evening desiring His countenance; nothing of their account falls upon thee, and nothing of thy account falls upon them, that thou shouldst drive them away, and so become one of the evildoers.”
Ibn Habis al-Tamim and ‘Uyaina Ibn Hisn the Fazarite came to Muhammad and found him seated with Suhaib, Bilal, ‘Ammar and Khabab along with a group of lowly believers. When those men saw the poor people around him, they despised them and said to Muhammad, “Why don’t you sit here in front of the people and banish those men and the stench of their garments; then we would follow you. We would prefer it if you took your seat among us as a sign of our superiority over the Arabs. Arab delegations will come to you and we will be ashamed to be seen with those [black] slaves. So when we come to you, banish them from our presence, and when we finish [talking with you] you can seat them wherever you want.” He agreed, and they said, “Then write us a contract in this respect.” So he brought a sheet and asked ‘Ali to write, but on second thought he perceived it was a trap, so he Claimed that Gabriel forbade this.
Ibn ‘Abbas said: Some poorfolk were with the Prophet. Some of the nobility said, “We believe in you, but when we come to pray, put those men behind us.” He was near to agree to their request, but when he perceived the injustice in it, he said that God forbade him from doing this.
14. Satan’s Relationship with the Revelation
Question 223: We read in Sura al-A’raf 7:200-202: “If a provocation from Satan should provoke thee, seek refuge in God; He is All-hearing, All-seeing. The godfearing, when a visitation of Satan troubles them, remember, and then see clearly; and their brothers they lead on into error, then they stop not short.”
Al-Baidawi said, ” ‘If a provocation from Satan should provoke thee’ means to goad or cast doubt, so as to make one act contrary to what he has been commanded, which can be a transport off ear or thought. There is a simile between Satan’s provocation and allurement to men to commit transgressions and the way a driver goads or spurs his beast onward. ‘Seek refuge in God; He is All-hearing’ means that He will hear your cry for help. ‘Allseeing’ means that He perceives what is good for you and makes you do it. Or maybe it means He hears the sayings of the one who hurt you, and knows his works, and is going to repay him, and thus keep you from taking revenge and joining the ranks of Satan.”
A hadith says: “Satan goads every son of Adam at his birth, so that he cries out in fear, but for the son of Mary; when he [Satan] came to goad him, he goaded the cover.”
We ask: If the devil was able to goad Muhammad and drive him in such a manner, how could Muhammad then be a prophet? Even the Muslims themselves admit the great difference between Muhammad and Christ in the Qur’an’s fabricated account about the birth of Jesus. Christ said about himself, “The ruler of the world is coming and he has nothing in me” (John 14:30). The apostle Peter also said about him that He “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38).
15. A Burden That Weighs the Back
Question 224: We read in Sura al-Sharh 94:1-3: “Did We not expand thy breast for thee and lift from thee thy burden, the burden that weighed down thy back?”
Al-Baidawi said, “‘And lift from thee thy burden, the burden that weighed down thy back’ refers to the burden that weighed heavily on Muhammad before he was made a prophet, or maybe it refers to his ignorance of the judgement or the judgements, or possibly even to his perplexity,”
We read in Sura al-Fath 48:1-2: “Surely We have given thee a manifest victory, that God may forgive thee thy former and thy latter sins.”
Al-Baidawi said, “‘Thy former and thy latter sins’ refers to everything that you have committed, for which you should be otherwise punished.”
We ask: Could Muhammad’s aim to be the intercessor for his nation be true when he himself is guilty of sin?
16. He Wrote Down the Words of His Scribe
Question 225: We read in Sura ai-An’am 6:93: “And who does greater evil than he who forges against God a lie, or says, ‘To me it has been revealed’, when naught has been revealed to him, or he who says, ‘I will send down the like of what God has sent down’?”
Al-Baidawi said, “’To me it has been revealed’, when naught has been revealed to him” refers to ‘Abdallah Ibn Sa’d Ibn Abi Sarh, who used to write for God’s Messenger. The verse (Sura al-Mu’minun 23:11) that says, “We created man of an extraction of day” was revealed, and when Muhammad reached the part that says, …..thereafter We produced him as another creature” (23:14), (Abdallah said, “So blessed be God the fairest of creators!” in amazement at the details of man’s creation. The Prophet said, “Write it down; for thus it has been revealed.” ‘Abdallah doubted and said, “If Muhammad is truthful then I receive the revelation as much as he does, and if he is a liar, what I said was as good as what he said.”
In Al-Sira, by al-‘Iraqi, we read:
The scribes of Muhammad were 42 in number. ‘Abdallah Ibn Sarh al-‘Amiri was one of them, and he was the first Quraishite among those who wrote in Mecca before he turned away from Islam. He started saying, “I used to direct Muhammad wherever I willed. He would dictate to me ‘Most High, All-wise’, and I would write down ‘All-wise’ only. The he would say, ‘Yes, it is all the same.’ On a certain occasion he said, ‘Write such-and-such,’ but I wrote ‘Write’ only, and he said, ‘Write whatever you like.”’ So when this scribe exposed Muhammad, he wrote in the Qur1an, “And who does greater evil than he who forges against God a lie, or says, ‘To me it has been revealed’, when naught has been revealed to him.” So on the day Muhammad conquered Mecca, he commanded his scribe to be killed. But the scribe fled to ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan, because ‘Uthman was his foster brother [his mother suckled ‘Uthman]. ‘Uthman, therefore, kept him away from Muhammad. After the people calmed down, (Uthman brought the scribe to Muhammad and sought protection for him. Muhammad kept silent for a long time, after which he said yes. When ‘Uthman had left, Muhammad said, “I only kept silent so that you [the people] should kill him.”
We ask: How could Muhammad be a prophet and at the same time prefer the words of his scribe to his own, and command them to be written down as though they were revealed? How could he be a prophet when he assured the scribe that he would not be killed, and then incited the people to do so instead?
17. He Was No Worker of Miracles
Question 226: The Jews and the Arabs tried many times to get Muhammad to perform a miracle with which he could confirm his claim to be a prophet. But Muhammad admitted his absolute inability, and made many excuses for this failure. Here is some of what he said in this respect:
(1) We read in Sura al-Isra’ 17:59: “Naught prevented Us from sending the signs but that the ancients cried lies to them.”
Al-Baidawi said, “‘Naught prevented Us from sending the signs’ means that nothing prevented the sending of miracles that the Quraish suggested. ‘But that the ancients cried lies to them’ means that the ancients, such as ‘Ad and Thamud, did not believe them, for the Quraishites were just as these folks were. So if God sent them the signs, they would disbelieve them just as the ancients did.”
We ask: If the signs were utterly useless for those who had received them in the past, why did God send them in the first place? What kept God from performing miracles through Muhammad when he had performed them through all the true prophets, such as Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and the Lord Jesus Christ? This is nothing but an excuse from Muhammad. If miracles are withheld because of people’s unbelief, then the communication of the message itself should be withheld from the unbelieving people as well.
(2) We read in Sura al-‘Ankabut 29:50,51: “They say, ‘Why have signs not been sent down upon him from his Lord?’ Say: ‘The signs are only with God, and I am only a plain warner.’ What, is it not sufficient for them that We have sent down upon thee the Book that is recited to them? Surely in that is a mercy, and a reminder to a people who believe.”
Al-Baidawi said, “‘Why have signs not been sent down upon him from his Lord?’ as [was the case with] the she camel of Salih, the rod of Moses and the table of Christ Jesus. ‘Say: The signs are only with God,’ who sends them down to whomever He wills. I do not possess them, so as to be able to perform what you suggest. ‘I am only a plain warner’; I have nothing to do but to warn.”
We ask: Since miracles are with God, why didn’t He allow Muhammad to perform them to confirm his prophethood, if Muhammad was really in a relationship with Him as were the true prophets and the apostles?
(3) We read in Sura al-Baqara 2:108: “Or do you desire to question your Messenger as Moses was questioned in former time?”
The Jews said to Muhammad, “Bring us a complete Book from heaven as Moses brought us the Torah. Or break forth rivers for us, as Moses did, so that we might. follow you and believe you.” They often asked him this question, and he was never able to perform any miracle. So he said to them, “Or do you desire to question your Messenger?”
We ask: Didn’t the Jews have the right to ask him? How could Muhammad consider himself a prophet when he had nothing in common with the prophets of old?
(4) We read in Sura al-Baqara 2:118: “And they that know not say, ‘Why does God not speak to us? Why does a sign not come to us?’ So spoke those before them as these men say; their hearts are much alike.”
Rafi’ Ibn Khuzaima said to Muhammad, “If you are a messenger of God, as you say, tell God to speak to us so that we might hear His voice, or perform a sign so that we should believe in you.” Muhammad answered him, “The Jews asked Moses to show them God openly.” This answer, however, is wrong since the Jews asked Moses for quite the opposite. They said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Exodus 20:19).
We ask: Doesn’t everyone have the right to examine every message claimed to be from God?
(5) We read in Sura ai-An’am 6:109: “They have sworn by God the most earnest oaths if a sign comes to them they will believe in it. Say: ‘Signs are only with God.’ What will make you realise that, when it comes, they will not believe?”
The Quraish said, “Muhammad, you tell us that Moses had a rod with which he struck the rock and twelve springs broke forth, and you tell us that Jesus raised people from death, and that Thamud had a she-camel for a sign. Perform a miracle for us, then, so that we may believe you and believe in you.” Muhammad said, “What thing do you wish?” They said, “To turn for us AI-Safa [a mountain] into gold, or bring back from death some of our dead folk to ask them whether what you say is true or false. Show us also the angels testifying to you.” Muhammad said, “If I do some of what you say, will you believe me?” They answered, “Yes, by God, if you do, we shall follow you all together.” Muhammad stood up and prayed to God to tum Al-Safa into gold. But Gabriel came to him and said, ”You have whatever you wish: if you wish, it will be gold, but if they do not believe you we will cast them away, and if you wish we will leave them until the ones destined to repentance repent.” Muhammad said, “I wish that they repent.” And so Muhammad worked his way out of having to perform a miracle!
(6) We read in Sura al-Isra’ 17:90-93: ”They say, ‘We shall not believe thee till thou makest a spring to gush forth from the earth to us, or till thou possessest a garden of palms and vines, and thou make strivers to gush forth abundantly all amongst it, or till thou makest heaven to fall, as thou assertest, on us in fragments, or thou bringest God and the angels as a surety, or till thou possessest a house of gold omament, or till thou goest up into heaven; and we will not believe thy going up till thou bringest down on us a book that we may read. Say: ‘Glory be to my Lord! And I aught but a mortal, a Messenger!'”
We ask: Were not Moses, Elijah, Elisha and Daniel also mortals, and messengers? Yet, they performed miracles. If Muhammad was really a mediator of a heavenly message, why didn’t heaven back up his message?
(7) We read in Sura al-Baqara 2:145: “Yet if thou shouldst bring to those that have been given the Book every sign, they will not follow thy direction; thou art not a follower of their direction, neither are they followers of one another’s direction. If thou followest their caprices, after the knowledge that has come to thee, then thou wilt surely be among the evildoers.”
(8) We read in Sura al-Ra’d 13:27: “The unbelievers say: ‘Why has a sign not been sent down upon him from his Lord?’ Say: ‘God leads astray whosoever He will, and guides to Him all who are penitent’ “
(9) We read in Sura ai-Ra’d 13:31: ” ‘If only a Qur1an whereby the mountains were set in motion, or the earth were cleft, or the dead were spoken to – nay, but God’s is the affair altogether.’ Did not the believers know that, if God had willed, He would have guided men all together?”
(10) We read in Sura al-An’am 6:124: “And when a sign came to them, they said, ‘We will not believe until we are given the like of what God’s Messengers were given.’ God knows very well where to place His Message; and humiliation in God’s sight shall befall the sinners, and a terrible chastisement, for what they devised.”
(11) We read in Sura ai-An’am 6:37: ”They also say, ‘Why has no sign been sent down upon him from his Lord?’ Say: ‘Surely God is able to send down a sign, but most of them know not.’ “
(12) We read in Sura al-A’raf 7:203: “And when thou bringest them not a sign, they say, ‘Why hast thou not chosen one?’ Say: ‘I follow only what is revealed to me from my Lord; this is a clear testimony from your Lord, guidance, and mercy for a people of believers.”’
(13) We read in Sura ai-Ra’d 13:7:”The unbelievers say: ‘Why has a sign not been sent down upon him from his Lord?’ Thou art only a warner, and a guide to every people.”
In all these verses the Qur1an professes that Muhammad never performed a single miracle. As for the reasons and the evasions he used, they are invalid. The miracles and wonders that the prophets performed before the eyes of the ancient peoples caused some to believe, while some refused them. So the excuse that ”the ancients cried lies to them [disbelieved them]” is not valid. Were the Qur’an a miracle, it would have said, “and here is the Qur’an, a miracle,” but instead it says, “Naught [nothing] prevented Us from sending the signs.” In short, Muhammad did not bring a single sign to prove that he was a messenger or a law-giver.
18. He Was Criticised by His Contemporaries
Question 227: The Arabs criticised Muhammad and censured him for many things. He mentioned those things in the Qur1an, together with answers to them. They said he was:
(1) Demon-possessed (mad). We read in Sura al-Hijr 15:6,7: “They say: ‘Thou, upon whom the Remembrance is sent down, thou art assuredly possessed! Why dost thou not bring the angels unto us, if thou speakest truly?’”
Sura al-Qalam 68:51 says: “The unbelievers wellnigh strike thee down with their glances, when they hear the Reminder, and they say, ‘Surely he is a man possessed!'”
Also, we read in Sura al-Saffat 37:36: “Saying, ‘What, shall we forsake our gods for a poet possessed?’ “
So then, the people accused Muhammad of madness, and attributed these delusions about the revelation and the angels to his confused state of mind.
(2) A Forger.
We read in Sura al-Nahl 16:101: “And when We exchange a verse in the place of another verse – and God knows very well what He is sending down – they say, ‘Thou art a mere forger!’ Nay, but the most of them have no knowledge.”
Sura al-Furq’an 25:4 says: ”The unbelievers say, ‘This is naught but a calumny he has forged, and other folk have helped him to it: “
The Qur’an says in Sura al-Shura 42:24: “Or do they say, ‘He has forged against God a lie?'”
The people perceived that Muhammad commanded his followers certain things and afterwards forbade them the same things, and then gave them other commands. He would say something one day, and would change his mind the next day. Therefore they said, in effect, “What you say is of you, because if this were the word of God it would not have been altered or replaced; for the word of God is steadfast, unchangeable.”
(3) Bewitched. We read in Sura al-Furqan 25:7,8: ”They also say, ‘What ails this Messenger that he eats food, and goes in the markets? Why has an angel not been sent down to him, to be a warner with him? Or why is not a treasure thrown to him, or why has he not a Garden to eat of?’ The evildoers say, ‘You are only following a man bewitched!’ “
Sura al-Isra’ 17:47 says: “We know very well how they listen when they listen to thee, and when they conspire, when the evildoers say, ‘You are only following a man bewitched!'”
The people saw him sick, forgetful, ailing, and complaining of the witches who blew upon knots. After he charmed himself against a spell, they said, “No doubt he is bewitched and out of his mind!”
(4) An Ear. We read in Sura al-Tawba 9:61: “And some of them hurt the Prophet, saying, ‘He is an ear!'”
A1-Baidawi said, “Saying he was an ‘ear’ meant that he heard all that was said to him and believed in it. He [Muhammad] was called al-Jariha due to his propensity for exaggeration, just as through the excess of his listening he became an instrument of hearing; similarly he was called a spy. It has been reported that they said. ‘Muhammad is a hearing ear; we say whatever we like to him, and he believes what we say.”’
19. He Was Killed by Poison
Question 228: We read in Sura Al lmran 3:144: “Muhammad is naught but a Messenger; Messengers have passed away before him. Why, if he should die or is slain, will you tum about on your heels?”
We read in Sura al-A’raf 7:188: “Had I knowledge of the Unseen I would have acquired much good, and evil would not have touched me.”
“If he should die or be slain, will you tum about on your heels?” [refers to the incident in which] ‘Abdallah Ibn Qami’a al-Harithi threw a rock at God’s Messenger that broke four of his front teeth and gashed his face. Mus’ab Ibn (Umair, who was the standard-bearer defended [Muhammad]. So Ibn Qami’a killed [Mus’ab], assuming that he killed the Prophet. Then, as itis reported, he said, “I killed Muhammad.” Someone cried out, “Behold, Muhammad has been killed, and the people turned on their heels.” Then the Messenger cried out, “Come to me, servants of God.” Thirty of his followers joined him and protected him until they scattered the unbelievers. Some hypocrites said, “Had he been a prophet, he would not have been killed. Go back to your brothers and your religion.” Anas Ibn Nadr, the uncle of Anas Ibn Malik, said, “O people, if Muhammad is slain, Muhammad’s Lord is alive, and dies not; what shall you do if you live after him? So fight for what he fought for,” and added, “O God, I acquit myself of what they say and exonerate myself from it:’ He then clasped his sword firmly and fought till he was killed, and the verse was revealed.
When Khaybar was conquered, and the people felt secure, Zainab Bint al-Harith, Salam Ibn Mishkam’s wife, went about asking which part of the lamb was Muhammad’s favourite to eat. People told her, “It is the front leg, for it is the best part and the farthest from harm.” So she took a lamb, slaughtered it, and cut it up. Then she took a deadly poison that kills instantly and poisoned the lamb, putting more poison in the leg and shoulder. When the sun set, Muhammad led the people in the evening prayer. When he finished, he wanted to go, but she was sitting at his feet. He asked about her, and she said, “O Abu al-Qasim, here is a gift I have for you.” Muhammad ordered some of his friends to take it from her, and it was put before him in the presence of his friends, among whom was Bishr Ibn al-Bara ‘Ibn Ma’rur Muhammad said, “Come near and be seated.” Muhammad took the leg and ate, too. When Muhammad had swallowed his bite, Bishr swallowed his, and the rest of the people ate of it. Muhammad said, “Raise your hands; this leg and this shoulder tell me they are poisoned.” Bishr said, “By the One who honoured you, I found the same in my morsel, but nothing kept me from spitting it out except that I would spoil the pleasure of your food. When you ate that which was in your mouth, I did not desire my own soul more than yours, and wished that you had not swallowed it.” [One opinion has it that] Bishr died then and there. A part of the lamb was thrown to a dog, and the dog died. Another opinion says that his [Bishr’s] colour turned black and his pain lasted two years, after which he died. It was also said that Muhammad took a bite of the lamb, chewed it, and spit it out, whereas Bishr swallowed his morsel. Then Muhammad sent for this Jewess and asked her, “Have you poisoned this lamb?” She said yes. He asked, “What prompted you to do that?” She said, “You have acquired certain powers with which you judge those who are loyal to you. You killed my father, my uncle and my brother…. So I said, ‘If he is a king, then I would be relieving us of him, and if he is a prophet, he will be able to perceive.'” It was said that he pardoned her, while others say he commanded her to be put to death and crucified. When Muhammad fell ill just before his death, he said to ‘Aisha, “‘Aisha, I still feel the effect of the poisoned food I ate; this is the time of my demise by that poison.” When Bishr’s sister entered his room during the time of his last sickness, he said to her, “This is the time of my demise by the meal I ate with your brother in Khaybar.”
20. His Strange Manner of Receiving Revelation
Question 229: Following are some of the peculiar ways in which the Prophet Muhammad received revelation:
(1) In a robe. We read in Sura al-Muzammil 73:1-5: “O thou enwrapped in thy robes, keep vigil the night, except a little [one half of it, a little more or a little less], and chant the Qur’an very distinctly. Behold, We shall cast upon thee a weighty word.”
Al-Baidawi said, “‘O thou enwrapped in thy robes’ is the way the Prophet was referred to; it described the state he was in, for he was asleep or trembling when the revelation first came to him while he was wrapped in a velvet robe. ‘We shall cast upon thee a weighty word’ refers to the Qur’an, which was weighty to receive. ‘Aisha said, ‘I saw the revelation descend on a bitter cold day, and by the time it departed from him, his forehead was dripping with perspiration.'”
We read in Sura al-Muddaththir 74:1,2: “O thou shrouded in thy mantle, arise, and warn!”
A1-Baidawi said, “‘O thou shrouded in thy mantle’ refers to the incident in which the Prophet said, ‘I was in Hira) and heard a voice calling me, so I looked around, but saw nothing. Then I looked up and saw it was on a throne between heaven and earth [i.e., he saw the angel] so I was terrified and returned to Khadija and said, ‘Shroud me with a mantle,’ and Gabriel came and said, ‘O thou shrouded in thy mantle.’ So this was the first sura to be revealed.”
(2) Like a drunk man. We read in the trustworthy hadiths that whenever the revelation came down upon him, he would faint, and his state would drastically change, so that his appearance was that of a drunk man. Muslim scholars claimed that he was being transported from the earth.
(3) He snorted like a camel. Abu Huraira reported that Muhammad would start to tremble whenever the revelation came down upon him. Another report says: He would be in anguish because of it [i.e., the revelation] and his mouth would foam and his eyes would shut, and he would snort like a young camel.
(4) He buzzed like a bee. ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab reported, “Whenever the revelation would come down on him, there would be heard near his face the buzzing of bees.”
(5) The revelation came to him like the ringing of a bell. ‘Aisha said: “God’s Messenger was once asked, ‘How does the revelation come to you?’ He said, ‘Sometimes it comes to me in the form of the ringing of bells; this is the hardest way it comes. At other times, an angel appears to me in the form of a man talking to me, and I comprehend what he says.'”
(6) He was soaked with perspiration. ‘Aisha said, “I saw it coming down on him on an exceptionally cold day, and when it departed from him, his forehead was wet with perspiration” (al-Bukhari, Bad’ al-Wahy).
(7) He heard voices. We read in the Hadith that Muhammad said to Khadija, “When I retire, I hear the voice of someone calling, ‘Muhammad, Muhammad.”’ In another report he said, “I see light while I’m awake, not dreaming, and I hear a voice, so I fear that this is something harmful.” Another report says, “I am afraid I am a diviner, and that the one calling me is a familiar spirit.” Yet another report says, “I am afraid that I am demon-possessed (mad).”
(8) He trembled. Abu Huraira reported that no one could bear looking upon the Messenger of God whenever the revelation came upon him; they had to wait until it was over. Some say that Abu Huraira reported that henna used to be put on his head because of the accompanying headache that afflicted him (Kitab mirat al-ka’inat).
All these facts raise a question: What sort of revelation is it that renders a man unconscious, or that makes him faint, appear as a drunk man, snort like a young camel, causes his eyes to become bloodshot, makes him perspire profusely, have a headache, and feel a buzzing in his ears and a tingling in his head? It is worthy to note that he had the same symptoms before he professed prophethood. Ibn Ishaq reported that he used to be protected by magic against the evil eye in Mecca before he received the Qur’an. When the Qur’an descended on him, the same symptoms he had earlier returned. Before he received the Qur’an he used to tremble, shut his eyes, change his features, snort like a young camel, and then lose consciousness. Khadija said to him, “Shall I bring you someone to cast a spell over you?” He said, “No, not now.” Muslim scholars determined that Amina, Muhammad’s mother, protected him by magic against the evil eye. It was said that when she was pregnant with him, the angels came to her and said to her, “When you have given birth to him, say, ‘I guard you by God against the envy of all that envy.'”
We now move on to the final section: Ten Questionable Aspects of Muhammad’s Life Pt. 3.