Letters to the Editor
Q: The following letter was forwarded to the Editor for the reply. The writer (XYZ) is a – self-proclaimed – person of Christian Faith, of Las Vegas. He wrote: “I see you sharing Islamic content quite a lot and that you are very passionate about religion and God. I have nothing against it, but I feel I am obliged to tell you what the truth is. I am not judging Islam by the actions of a few people who slaughter unbelievers in the name of Islam. I judge by analyzing and understanding what Islamic doctrines teach, the teachings and examples of Prophet Mohammad.”
“Slaughter of unbelievers!”The observation is based on media reports. Many, many terror reports were false or were set-up. Some Americans have written articles to show the set-ups are organized by secret agencies, and innocent vulnerable men are trapped.
If you do not understand that ‘terrorism’ is a slogan, a tool, and a policy, adopted by the West (and the rest), to defame Islam and Muslims, in order to prevent Islam’s entry into the Western world, then, you will not be able to piece together events of the world and arrive at the right conclusions. You may, in order to re-educate yourself, start by reading an eye-opener: “Who Killed Karkare” by no small a figure than SM Mushrif, a former IGP. The terrorist network is blotting out the book from websites, but you may find a copy at Amazon.
Regarding your mention of slaughter, how about 1,000,000 killed in Iraq, the death of 500,000 children there, on the pretext of nukes, which proved false, which was already known to the attacker as false?
Q: “Have you read the Sirat Rasul Allah by Ibn Ishaq? I have learned that it talks about the life of Prophet Mohammad. This might come as a major disappointment and shock to you and cause you to be angry, but brother, the truth is truth and I want you to see who he really was. Many innocent Muslims are not taught fully the man who he was.”
Why feign sympathy? Consider: If you had recent access to Ibn-Ishaq, Tabari, etc., you must realize that Muslims have been having them in their educational courses for more than a thousand years. But they read the true versions, not the distorted versions.
However, your criticism appears to be provoked by books that you haven’t read.
Q: “He was a man who: tried repeatedly to commit suicide. (Ibn Ishaq 106, Bukhari 6982)”
The suicide story is not a Prophetic version. It is the statement of a third generation person called Zuhri. He died 125 years after the Prophet.
Further, your insertion of the word “repeatedly” questions your intellectual integrity. Zuhri did not use the word ‘repeatedly.’
In your obsession to criticize the Final Messenger, you ignored many facts.
Q: “(His) guardians were at one point convinced he was demon-possessed. (Ibn Ishaq 106)”
You are, perhaps, referring to angels who came to the child-Prophet in the desert while in the custody of the family of lady Haleema. The Prophet was then four years old. They came to the child Muhammad(saws) to cleanse his heart. They opened his breast, threw out some substance, and re-sealed it. Children around watched in horror and reported the incident to their mother.
Those were pre-Islamic times and Haleema’s family had no explanation for what had happened to Muhammad(saws), so thought it best to return the child to his mother in Makkah.
To twist the incident to say that the ‘guardians were convinced that Muhammad was possessed by demons,’ exposes mind, not at all interested in facts.
Q: “Admittedly delivered revelations from the devil. (Ibn Ishaq 165-166, Ibn Sa’d 1:236-239)”
No such thing happened. You ought not to present your partisans implied meanings as historical facts. We can – at least sometimes – use our common sense. Someone who brought the Qur’an, would not have accepted Satanic verses.
Q: “Complained that he was a victim of a magic spell. (Bukhari 3175, 5765)”
He never complained. But rather, he confided to `A’iysha of a magical attack on him by a Jewish family, and its momentary effect on him, and that he had been healed. None else other than `A’isha knew about it, and none else had observed any abnormality in him, despite his followers monitoring his every move, every word.
Had he not confided to `A’isha, his present-day critics would have had to look for something else to attack the Prophet. Of course, being as honest as they are, they would have found many.
At all events, it happened almost at the end of his mission, and perhaps one of the Divine functions was to impress on his followers that they may not take the Prophet as an angel. Although they could discern in him angelic qualities, yet he remained a human to the extent that even magic affected him, even if, pretty mildly. Haven’t the Christians, unable to explain miracles by Jesus, promptly declared him a Son of God?
Q: “He supported His religion by robbing people. (Ibn Ishaq 281-289)”
Nonsense. He lived a penurious life during the mission, and died penurious. He died and owned money to a Jewish lender. He gave the Makkan pagans so much that some of his Companions felt neglected and some grumbled.
Q: “He started a war with Mecca when he had a chance to live in peace in Medina. (Ibn Ishaq 289-321)”
He had as much chance to live in peace as the Iraqi’s have had, as the Syrians have had, as the Palestinians have had, as the Vietnamese have had in our times.
The Prophet knew when to strike to finish off pagan gods. But worshippers of false gods are unhappy that he accomplished his mission.
Q: “He had people assassinated for criticizing his religion.” (Ibn Ishaq 675-676)
If you open a searched-out page on the Internet, it leads you to a dozen everyday occurrences of fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and their friends having sex with their daughters, many starting from age four, and many while the mother looked on. In such a civilization, it matters little that someone should sing a few poetical verses boasting his sexual ventures with a Prophet’s aunt. But even according to the standards of the pagans of the Prophet’s times, he deserved death.
Q: “Remaining even 20 days without fighting was a big deal.”
Cold-blooded killing of 45,000,000 Europeans during the Inquisition was no big deal for the Church.
Q: “He beheaded hundreds of Jews for trying to defend themselves. (Ibn Ishaq 464, Tabari 8:27-41)”
Wrote a renowned Christian historian called Lane Pool:
“It must be remembered that the crime of these men was high treason against the State, during time of siege; and those who have read how Wellington’s march could be traced by the bodies of deserters and pillages hanging from the trees, need not be surprised at the summary execution of a traitorous clan.’ (LSK., Intro., p. LXV)”
Q: “He ordered his followers to execute anyone who leaves his religion. (Bukhari 6878, 6922)”
Not all Christians would be happy with you. In your haste, you have attacked the Holy Bible. Says the Bible:
“If there is found among you in any of the towns … a man or woman who … have gone and served other gods and worshipped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden … then you shall bring forth to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones.” (The Bible, Deut.17, 2-5)
Q: “He commanded His followers to violently subjugate the entire world (Qur’an 9:29, Muslim 7258)”
The Qur’an has given us to understand that to get the world rid of false gods worshipped by mankind, and to establish the rule of One God, which Jesus tried, but could not accomplish, believers in the Qur’an will have to start a perennial struggle. It divided the people into two kinds: (a) Pagans living in the Arabian Peninsula and (b) People of the Book.
The pagans were given no choices: they either accepted Islam, or faced Muslims in the battle-fields, or left the country. As for the People of the Book (Jews and Christians living in the Peninsula), they merely paid a kind of tax called as tribute, and remained where they were.
The related verse, as cited by you is as follows:
“Fight those who do not believe in Allah nor in the Last Day,nor do they consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have declared unlawful, neither do they adopt the religion of truth – of those who were given the Book (earlier) – until they pay the tribute out of hand and they are humbled.” (9: 29)
At the revelation of this verse the Pagans scoffed at the Qur’an, but failed to root out the Muslims. The Roman Empire scoffed at this verse, vowed to root out the Muslims, but failed. The Persian Empire scoffed at this verse, vowed to root out the Muslims but failed.
How long will you mourn the historical events?
As for non-accomplishment of Jesus’s final objective, you may note his words in the Bible:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. (The Bible, Matt.10:34)
Q: “He tortured a man named Kinana al-Rabi for money. After beheading him, Mohammad took his seventeen-year-old wife as his own bride.” (Ibn Ishaq 515)
After the affair of the Jewish tribe Banu Nazir (who had co-conspirers in their effort to uproot the Prophet), the treasure of their leader, Huyayy b. Akhtab was found missing. Huyayy had escaped to Khaybar and was trying to raise a Jewish-pagan army to attack Madinah. Popular accounts said that the treasure-casket had been entrusted toKinanh b. Rabi`s care. When captured and brought to the Prophet, he said he knew nothing about it. His uncle said it had been consumed by war expenses, etc. He was told that no treaty would save him if he was lying. He said, ‘I understand.’ A Jew betrayed him. He said he had seen Kinanah frequenting a deserted place. The place was dug and the casket was found, but without all its contents. Kinanah was asked again about the rest. He said he did not know anything about it. With a little physical pressure, he revealed its whereabouts, and, he lost his life.
As regards his seventeen-year-old wife, Safiyyah, it is a long story. You could put it in another way if you had other objectives:
She was seventeen-year-old Jewess of the Prophet’s time, who chose to become his wife instead of the alternative offered, i.e., freedom. She could have gone back to her people, but she had – a day earlier –received such a powerful slap on her face from her dear husband, Kinanah, that she was an ugly looking woman with a blackened, swollen eye and face, when she was brought to the Prophet. The slap was a reward to her, for speaking out a dream in which she saw that the prince of the Arabs had fallen into her lap.
She seems to have undergone a sea of change in her breast after the marriage. A Jew is well-entrenched in the belief that he or she is of the chosen race, and the rest of the humanity is hardly anything more than Goyim, animals. And she had been a princess amongst her people. But after marriage to the prince of Arabs, as she dreamt before marriage, she hates to have been Jewish, or even to be reminded of her Jewish origin. When some of the Prophet’s wives taunts her over her Jewish past, she is deeply hurt, so deeply that she is in tears. She complains to the Prophet. He consoles her: “Tell them that they cannot be any superior to one (Safiyyah) who is the daughter of Haroon (to whom she traced her pedigree), whose uncle was Musa, and whose husband is a Prophet.”
Nonetheless, her new faith did not require her to hate Jews. She left a fortune for a Jewish man (by will) from whom she would have inherited had she not become a Muslim.
She asks the Prophet which family should she join after his death, and the Prophet replies, “To `Ali’s family.” So, after his death, which came soon after, she had ample opportunity to either announce that the Prophet had – before his death – treated her as an exceptional case and had instructed her that she could marry after him. Who could interfere in an agreement between husband and wife? Thus, she could marry again: after all, she was still a teenager, and before marriage to the Prophet, sought after by an extremely beautiful man called Dihya al-Kalbi. Another alternative she had was to go away to Syria. The Jews there would have given her a grand welcome, showering wealth and honor on her, more than what the Western Christian world does today, when a Muslim woman rebels against her family, country and religion, and joins them. But Safiyyah did nothing of that sort; rather, she went straightaway to `Ali’s house to join his family of Fatimah, Hassan and Hussein.
And, how did this lady engage herself during rest of the life of 22 years or so as a widow? Well, she taught the people what she learnt from her husband, i.e., she became a hadith narrator!
Another hadith narrator `Ikrimah reports: “It was during the caliphate of `Uthman, the third Caliph; we heard an uproar in Madinah. Ibn `Abbas said to me, ‘Look `Ikrimah, find out what’s this noise about.’ I went out and learned that the Prophet’s wife, Safiyyah, had died. I went back to inform him, but found him in prostration. When he rose up I said, ‘Glory to Allah, you prostrate yourself when the Sun is not yet up!’ (which is a prohibited time for prostrations). He replied, ‘Haven’t you heard the Prophet say that when you see a sign of Allah, prostrate yourselves? What can be a greater sign than that a wife of the Prophet should die while we are alive?’”
So that was Safiyyah, peace upon her – for someone not at a story-maker, but has good intentions in his life, may return to the sources with a mind opened for the facts.
Q: “He married the wife of his own adopted son after causing the divorce.” (Qur’an 33:37, Tabari 8:2-3)
Here is the story as explained by a Western Christian scholar called Montgomery Watt:
“The most controversial of all Muhammad’s marriages to anticipate a little took place about a year later, towards the end of March 627. This was his marriage with another Zaynab, Zaynabbint-Jahsh. It was criticized by his contemporaries, and has been the object of virulent attacks by European scholars. Let us try to get this story into perspective.
“Zaynab was Muhammad’s cousin, being the daughter of one of his father’s sisters. At the time of the Hijrah she was probably a widow, and emigrated to Medina, presumably along with her brothers who were also Muslims. There she was forced by Muhammad, against her will, to marry his adopted son, Zaydibn~fjarithah. In the course of the year 626 Muhammad called at Zayd’s house to talk to him. Zayd was out, but he saw Zaynab scantily clad, and is supposed to have been smitten by love for her. He went away saying to himself, ‘Praise be to God, praise to the Manager of Hearts! Zaynab told Zayd about Muhammad’s visit, his refusal to enter and his cryptic utterance. At once, Zayd went to Muhammad and offered to divorce Zaynab, but Muhammad told him to keep her. After this, however, life with Zaynab became unbearable for Zayd, and he divorced her. When her waiting period was complete, a marriage with Muhammad was arranged. This was justified by a verse of the Qur’an (33. 37), which runs as follows:
‘You were saying to the man favoured by God and yourself (sc. Zayd), ‘Keep your wife and fear God.’ You were hiding in your heart what God was bringing to light, and fearing the people, though God is rather to be feared. When Zayd divorced her, We gave her to you in marriage, so that for the believers there may be no guilt in (marrying) the wives of their adoptive sons when they divorce them.’
“About the main outline of the story there can be no dispute, but several details are doubtful, and different views may be taken of the significance of the whole. Like all the marriages Muhammad contracted himself or arranged for others this had political implications. On her mother’s side, Zaynab was closely related to Muhammad, and he probably felt some responsibility for her. Her father’s family were, or had been, under the protection of Abu-Sufyan’s father, and, at a time when Abu-Sufyan was directing the Meccan campaign against Muhammad, this aspect of the match cannot have escaped the latter’s notice. About the same time two of her sisters were married to two of the leading Emigrants. Indeed, her marriage to Zayd showed that she was regarded as a person of importance, since Zayd held a high place in Muhammad’s esteem and, but for his premature death, might have succeeded him.
“Unfortunately, we do not know why Zaynab was unwilling to marry Zayd in the first place. She can hardly have thought he was not good enough. Yet she was an ambitious woman and may already have been hoping to marry Muhammad.
“Another possibility, however, is that she may have been wanting to marry someone of whom Muhammad disapproved for political reasons. Be that as it may, Zaynab was almost certainly working for marriage with Muhammad before the end of 626.
“The story of Muhammad’s meeting with Zaynab in Zayd’s absence and being swept off his feet by her physical attractiveness must be taken with a grain of salt. It does not occur in the earliest source. Moreover, Zaynab was thirty-five or thirty-eight at the time of the marriage, and for an Arab woman of those days that was getting on. All Muhammad’s other wives except Khadljah were younger when he married them, and most of them very much younger. Zaynab may have made the most of such beauty as she still had, but, even if there is a basis of fact underlying the story, one must suspect that it has been touched up in the course of transmission. Later Muslims liked to maintain that there was no monkery in Islam, and their asceticism usually did not include celibacy. It would be in keeping with this to magnify the extent and romantic character of Muhammad’s relation with the fair sex. It is even boasted that his virility was such that he could satisfy all his wives in a single night. The theme of love at first sight seems to belong to this imaginative elaboration of Muhammad’s life-story. It is most unlikely that at the age of fifty-six such a man as he should have been carried away by a ‘passion for a woman of thirty-five or more.
“In any case, this was not the point that his contemporaries criticized. There is no evidence that the Muslims thought this allegedly sensual and voluptuous behaviour inappropriate for a prophet. Frequent divorce, too, was quite normal. What was criticized in this marriage was its incestuous character. It was incest for a man to marry a woman who had once been married to his son, and an adoptive soil was counted as a real son. It was this that roused many of the people of Medina against Muhammad.
“We cannot be sure of all that is involved. The Qur’anic verse quoted implies that there was something objectionable about treating adoptive sons as real sons, and that it was desirable that there should be a complete break with the past in this respect. In this connexion it must be remembered that adoptive son is used to translate an Arabic term which does not signify any legal process of adoption such as we have nowadays but designates a relation which happened automatically. The Arabic word properly means ‘someone who is known as the son of a man who is not physically his father.’
“Zayd seems to have become Muhammad’s adopted son because he had been a slave of Khadijah’s, became her son when he was set free and Muhammad’s when he married her. The relationship was therefore probably closely linked with the matrilineal kinship system and the loose marital relations which accompanied it. Another verse revealed in connexion with this affair says that men are to be ascribed to their real fathers. This would thus be in line with the principle of making clear who a man’s father was which lay behind the prescription of the waiting period.
“More than this can hardly be said. This item of social reform was desirable, but was it urgent? Or was the marriage with Zaynab urgent for some political reason of which we are not aware? We cannot tell. But both politics and social reform were involved, and at most only a minor role can have been left for romantic love.” (Montgomery Watt: Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, pages 156-159)
Consider: The characters of your allegation were not teenagers. Zaynab (may Allah be pleased with her), was 38, the Prophet was about 55. Both passed marriage age. He knew her since her childhood. He could have, during her frequent visits to his family’s house, carried her in his arms. It was he who got her married to Zayd – ignoring her unwillingness. Now she was divorced, with little chance of another marriage. And Allah (swt) had commanded the Prophet to take her into wedlock.
The marriage-gift he gave her at the time of marriage was perhaps more than the combined marriage gifts he gave to all his wives. This was to honor a woman, who, apparently, had suffered much pain because of the previous marriage to a former slave, arranged by the Prophet.
Should we stand with him and her, or with critics of his exemplary examples.