Life before Prophethood
To understand the life of Muhammad in its proper perspective, one needs to get briefly acquainted with his tribe and roots.
According to ancient history of Arabs, their genealogical records and their poetry, Arabs were proud descendants of Abraham through his son Ishmael. When Abraham migrated from his native land, he settled in a wilderness area between Palestine and Arabia where he had wells dug and that is why it was called Beir Sab‘ah (1) (seven wells). After birth of his son Ishmael, Abraham settled his wife Hagar and son Ishmael in a close by valley in the Arabian wilderness. Their settlement in that valley in the Arabian wilderness was named Bakkah – a township or settlement, which later on came to be known as Makkah. That is where Abraham and Ishmael constructed the first house of worship for Allaah, and called it the House of Allaah. There were two small hillocks in the valley right beside the House of Allaah. They were called Ŝafaa and Marwah. It was at Marwah where Abraham offered his firstborn and the only son for sacrifice. He was saved by Allaah from sacrifice and was dedicated to the service of the House of Allaah. Since that time Arabs have been performing pilgrimage of the House and offering sacrifices at Marwah and its vicinity up to and including a place called Minaa.
1 In the Bible it is called Beer-Sheba (Gen 21)
The Arab society grew and spread in the area on tribal lines. The tribes lived by the rule of jungle and fought constantly to establish their own tribal power. Nobody was safe out of his tribal area. Weak people had no life. They were at the mercy of the powerful people of the society who would abuse and exploit them as they wanted. Despite lack of peace and constant fighting and insecurity, the city of Makkah remained a citadel of peace and security because of the House of Allaah. Even the pilgrims coming to visit the House of Allaah were not attacked by any one.
Ishmael had twelve sons, one of them named Kedar. From his progeny was the most powerful and respectable tribe of Quraish who were the custodians of the House of Allaah and hence commanded respect and security from all tribes of Arabia.
Muhammad was born into the most respectable clan of Quraish. His father had died just before his birth, thus, he was born as an orphan. His grandfather was delighted on his grandson’s birth after losing the most favourite of his ten sons. He named him Muhammad, meaning the most praised while his mother named him Ahmad, also meaning the most admired – two new names never given to anyone before him in Arabia.
Muhammad being poor and orphaned did not receive any education or schooling. Despite lacking father’s supervision, contrary to the norms of the society in which he was raised, he grew up to be an excellent, peace-loving human being. He became known for his modesty, decency, fairness, truthfulness, honesty, support for the weak, charity, compassion, and kindness to the vulnerable people in the society. However, being honest and truthful par excellence was his hallmark. People had given him nicknames of “the trustworthy” and “the truthful”. He became a popular person to whom people will bring their valuable to keep in trusts. When a bitter multi-party dispute arose in Makkah, all of the fighting parties were unanimously joyous to have him act as the arbitrator.
He started working as a trade manager for other people but because of his extremely fair and honest dealings, one of his investors, a rich lady also known for her modesty and good character proposed to marry him. They got married and combined their business ventures. His business grew tremendously and he himself became a rich man, which provided him with more resources and opportunity to help the poor and the needy.
Another special thing about him was, despite the pressures of the society he never bowed to or worshipped any idol. Worshipping any idols or moon, planets or stars did not make sense to him. Instead he started going into seclusion in a cave to meditate and worship Allaah, the Invisible but the Eternal Creator of everything.
It was during one of his secluded retreats in the cave, a few moths after his 40th birthday, that he was visited by angel Gabriel (Jibreel) who read to him the word of God. He brought to him the message from Allaah commanding him to preach the Allaah’s Word. Muhammad was scared with his sudden appearance and mentioned his illiteracy as the reason for his inability to preach. Gabriel asked him to repeat the words after him. Muhammad repeated the words while feeling absolutely terrified with what was happening. This way he received the first revelation. Gabriel told him that Allaah had chosen him to preach oneness of God to people and that he had been appointed as a Messenger of Allaah. As soon as the angel left, Muhammad left the cave and went home terrified. He described the incident to his wife who consoled him. After the initial shock was over, the angel continued to visit him with reassurances to the effect, “I am Gabriel sent by Allaah, I do not mean any harm to you and you have been appointed the Messenger of Allaah.” Once the Prophet became somewhat familiar with him, he would often visit him with the revelation of the word of Allaah. These revelations, which continued for the next 23 years, comprise the holy Qur’aan.
What was his Message?
His message was simple but with very profound implication on human behaviour. He wanted to free people from every kind of slavery, subjugation, serfhood, lordship, control, influence, etc. and bring people to the slavery and obedience of Allaah -- the One and Unique Creator. Then living in obedience to Allaah and only for His pleasure, people should excel in their ethics, conduct and dealings and collectively establish rule of law, fairness and justice as a society that is distinguished in peace, love and magnanimity. To achieve those objectives, people should follow him as the Messenger of Allaah – the agent of change. This was captured in a brief slogan: There is no ilaah (god, deity, sovereign, ruler, provider or protector) except Allaah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah.
Life after Prophethood
Muhammad abandoned his business and started preaching the oneness of Allaah day and night. He called people to abandon worship of idols and other finite entities and worship only the Infinite Creator of all finite entities. People initially reacted with censure but as he continued his mission, it turned into anger, ridicule, physical and psychological abuse and persecution. When, despite all the persecution, he remained dedicated to his mission, they tried to woo him through incentives. They offered him the kingship, wealth, the most beautiful girls and every incentive they could think of. His response was always the same, more or less to the effect that: “You keep all these things, I do not need any of what you have to offer. Just give me one commitment -- There is no ilaah except Allaah, and Muhammad is Messenger of Allaah.” They increased the intensity of persecution, but nothing would stop him from working for his mission. They offered a compromise that he and his followers can worship and obey Allaah only, but he should not demand them to reject idols and other finite gods or human lords. Muhammad would not stop until they abandoned the worship of idols or subjugation of other human beings completely.
More than ten years had gone by and the intensity of persecutions had increased so much that his life was in danger. He tried to find another neighbouring community that would let him continue his mission by providing shelter for him. For that purpose, he visited a close by township called Ŧaaif. The leadership of that city was even crueller. They asked the hooligans of town to chase him. When he was leaving that town, they kept stoning him all the way. By the time he was able to get out of their territory, he was bleeding all over and exhausted with hunger, thirst and pain. He sat down under the shade of a tree and humbly prayed to Allaah:
“O Allaah! I complain to You of my weakness, my scarcity of resources and my humiliation before the people. O Most Merciful of those who are merciful! O Lord of the weak and my Lord! To whom have you entrusted me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affair? So long as You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your favour is of more abundance to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or your displeasure descend upon me. I desire your pleasure and satisfaction until you are pleased. There is no power and no might except by You.”
In response to this supplication, Allaah sent Gabriel with the message that if he wished, Allaah would instantly destroy these people who have treated him so viciously. But instead, Muhammad requested mercy and guidance for those hooligans and expressed hope that, if not they, their children will come to Islam as believers.
After his arrival back into Makkah, one night Gabriel came to him and took him first to Jerusalem where all previous prophets were present in soul. He led all of them in worship of Allaah. Then, he was taken to heavens for a special audience with Allaah. His travel occurred at angelic speed – faster than the speed of light, hence, he was back from the trip within a short period of time that night.
He continued with his mission in Makkah. During this time (13 years), despite all the violence, terror, and persecution his followers were subjected to, the number of his followers kept increasing steadily. Just as Muhammad never responded to any verbal or physical abuse except with calm and determined call towards Allaah, he did not allow his followers to respond in kind to the persecution, abuse and terror inflicted on them -- neither by any indecent words nor actions.
Also, during this period he had spent all his own and his wife’s riches in charitable activities and in helping the poor and needy, so much so that he himself became poor. Despite the hatred towards his belief in one God, and their animosity to his mission and their persecution of him, people still acknowledged his honestly, truthfulness, kindness, benevolence, selflessness and highest ethical standards. As before, people continued to keep their trusts with him knowing that they will be returned when they want.
Finally, Makkans decided to kill him. They selected a band of leaders from different clans to kill him at his home while asleep, so no one could be identified as his killer. But Allaah helped him to slip away the night he was to be killed. He went into hiding in a cave where he stayed for three full days and three nights, during which time Makkans exhausted their efforts to find him and posted a huge prize for anyone who brings him dead or alive. After three days and three nights in the cave, he took an unusual route to migrate to another city, Yathrib. The people of Yathrib welcomed him and appointed him as their leader. The city was renamed from Yathrib to Madeenah.
His hometown people were furious at his escape and his finding a shelter to continue his mission. They attacked Madeenah several times and waged war after war in and effort to destroy his mission and kill him, but despite winning some battles, they did not succeed in their goals. Instead, his movement continued to gain more followers and tremendous success. He produced a society of the best people that the heaven has ever seen – those who could truly be called saints. Finally, after nine years of his migration and defending many attacks, Muhammad came with ten thousand of his saint-like followers, conquered Makkah without much blood shed or disruption of people’s lives and entered the city peacefully from where he had to migrate under threat to his life. Upon his victory, he amazed everyone by forgiving even this bitterest enemies and persecutors – even those who had committed war crimes. He won their hearts with his benevolence and they became his ardent followers.
Soon, he took over the whole Arabia and cleaned it up from the worship of idols and all other finite gods. He became a ruler who was not only obeyed but so dearly loved and cherished that people would be willing to die to protect him from the prick of a thorn. When he performed ablution for worship of Allaah, the believers would not let drops of water fall to the ground.
In twenty-three years full of sacrifices and dedication to the prophetic mission, he accomplished what no one had ever accomplished. He rooted out idolatry and the worship of all finite gods and brought the whole Arabia to the worship of one God, the Infinite Creator of the universe. He brought peace, justice, law and order to a land where rule of jungle and lawlessness were the only lifestyle people used to know.
One aspect of his greatness was that he never let his followers compare him and exalt him over the previous prophets and Messengers. He always held them and taught his followers to hold them in the highest esteem and respect. That is why Muslims never tolerate a word of disrespect for any of Allaah’s prophets and messengers. But what he did to restore the respect and status of Jesus was incredible. Allaah SWT used him to clear Jesus and Mary’s names from all Jewish accusations. Jews slandered Mary accusing her of unchasteness and accused Jesus of being illegitimate (2), practising magic, being supported by Beelzebub or Beelzeboul (Satan, chief of devils or demons) (3), falsely claiming to be the Christ and making blasphemous claims against God. The Qur’aan defended both of them. Substantial portions of the revelations of Allaah (the Qur’aan) were dedicated to restore their honour and status. Thus, it was clarified that Mary was a chosen woman of Allaah who conceived Jesus miraculously by the command of Allaah, not by human action; that Jesus was created as a special sign of Allaah to guide Israelites; that he was the legitimate Christ; that he was able to show astounding miracles by the power of Allaah; and that he was aided by Gabriel – the holy spirit – not by Satan. At the same time, Jesus was also cleared from the Christian blasphemy who regard him as the Son of God who died on cross. It was strongly clarified that Jesus is free from such abominations and that he did not die an ignoble death on the cross. Such ideas are all heresies concocted after his departure from this world. Above all, the Qur’aan cleared their names and established their true status so respectfully that even the accusations or any word of disrespect used by the enemies of Jesus and Mary was not quoted or mentioned in any way or form.
2 Dummelow's Bible Commentary, page 668; and "Evidence that Demands a Verdict," by Josh McDowell, a graduate of Wheaton College and magna cum laude graduate of Talbot Theological Seminary.
3 Matt. 12:22-27, Luke 11:14-19 and Mark 3:22
How did he celebrate or enjoy his success?
After he succeeded in his mission and triumphed over his enemies, he had every reason to be proud of his accomplishments. Instead, he grew humbler. When a conqueror enters a conquered city, it is done with pride, display of power, pomp and show. The harder the battle or tougher the fight, the more is the display of pride and arrogance. But Muhammad was different. When he entered his hometown as a conqueror, instead of sitting up and looking down on his defeated opponents and persecutors, he bowed so much in humility that his head was touching the back of his camel.
Even when he was ruling the whole Arabia as the Messenger of Allaah, he was extremely humble, and remained poor. Although a lot of wealth came to his treasury, he always spent it on poor masses and did not leave anything for his own use. He would distribute everything he received immediately, so much so that often he would not even have food to eat in his own home. He himself died poor, of his own choice, without leaving any inheritance, while he could have amassed much wealth and comforts without anyone objecting to it. Even his followers would respectfully suggest him to spend on himself, but he would spend every penny of the revenue on the wellbeing of people. Many beautiful women would insist on marrying him to dedicate themselves for his pleasure, but he would refuse. In short, he would not want to enjoy any rewards of his success in this world so that his work remained purely and solely for the pleasure of Allaah. Because of his outstanding qualities and achievements, people were ready to worship him like God, but he insisted to remain a slave of Allaah and His Messenger. He strongly decreed his followers from regarding him anything but the salve of Allaah. He wanted them to treat him like an ordinary human being and would not allow them even to stand up for him in respect.
The Product of His work -- His Followers
Anyone who became his follower, became a better human being: pure in character, fair in dealings, kind in behaviour, friendly in attitude, refined in social manners and tastes, just in words and actions, clean in morals, superb in ethics, intolerant for vices and uncompromising in standards. Even the enemies acknowledged that those who follow Muhammad become the best of the society. The moment a person said yes to his message, he started on a fast path of continuous personal improvement. He never looked back and nothing in the world could either entice him or scare him to turn back. Anyone who became his follower, loved him, adored him and held him dearer to everything else in life. Even outsiders were amazed to see the level of love, respect and devotion his followers had for him.
Evaluating His Claim in a Rational Manner
Different people at different times have tried to evaluate the accuracy of his claim to prophethood in their own manner. Here is an example of how a Roman Emperor performed his due diligence.
Heraclius was the Emperor of Rome and a prominent Christian leader at the time of the Prophet. Heraclius had heard the news that a prophet had appeared in Makkah, but then he received a letter from the Prophet inviting him to Islam. Heraclius wanted to know more about this religion. When he learned that a Makkan caravan was in his area, he summoned the merchants to his court to seek information about the Prophet. Now the leader of the caravan was Aboo Sufyaan, one of the bitterest enemies of the Prophet, so he became its spokesman. The following conversation took place between Heraclius and Aboo Sufyaan:
Heraclius: Is the family of the person claiming prophethood a noble one?
Aboo Sufyaan: It is a noble family.
Heraclius: Has anyone else in this family claimed prophethood?
Aboo Sufyaan: No.
Heraclius: Has there been any king in this family?
Aboo Sufyaan: No.
Heraclius: Are the people who have accepted this religion weak or influential?
Aboo Sufyaan: They are weak people.
Heraclius: Are his followers increasing or decreasing?
Aboo Sufyaan: They are on the increase.
Heraclius: Has anyone amongst those who embrace his religion ever become displeased and renounced the religion afterward?
Aboo Sufyaan: No.
Heraclius: Have you ever known him to tell lies?
Aboo Sufyaan: No.
Heraclius: Does he ever commit a breach of any pact?
Aboo Sufyaan: He has not done it so far, but we would like to see if he keeps up a new peace treaty that we have recently negotiated with him.
Heraclius: Have you ever fought against him?
Aboo Sufyaan: Yes.
Heraclius: What was the result?
Aboo Sufyaan: Sometimes we won and sometimes he.
Heraclius: What does he teach?
Aboo Sufyaan: He tells us to worship Allaah and Allaah alone, and not to worship anything except Him. He tells us to renounce all our ancestors’ views. He tells us to pray, speak the truth, to be chaste, to be charitable and to have a good relationship with our family and relatives.
Heraclius then summed up the conversation thus:
“You say that this man belongs to a noble family. Prophets always come from noble families. You say that no one else in the family ever before claimed prophethood. Had it been so, I would have thought that he was influenced by family traditions. You say that none of his predecessors was a king. Had it been so, I would have thought that he was aspiring to attain kingship. You admit that he never tells lies. A person who does not tell a lie to a man cannot tell a lie about God. You say that his followers are mainly poor people. The first followers of prophets are mostly poor. You say that his religion is expanding. This is a characteristic of a true religion. You observe that no one who embraces Islam ever becomes displeased with it or renounces it; this is the case when belief enters the heart and consumes it. You say that he does not deceive. Prophets do not deceive anyone. You say that he bids you to worship only God and to observe purity, charity and chastity. If all this is true, his realm will come right up to my domain. From my scriptures, I was certain that a prophet would soon appear, but I did not know that he would be born in your people in Arabia. If it were possible for me to meet him I would, without hesitation, wash his feet.”
Aboo Sufyaan used to say that he had to give true answers to the emperor, as he was afraid of being contradicted by one or more of his caravan companion if he gave any false reply.
What about his Miracles?
Although the claim of his prophethood should be evaluated on the basis of the facts of his life in a rational and open-minded manner, some people still look for miracles before making up their minds. The life of Muhammad ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was full of every kind of miracle one can think of; however, the most outstanding miracle was the Book that was revealed to him, and has been discussed in the previous section. The rest of his greatest miracles were those of his character, personality and accomplishments.
Miracle of Character
People are the product of their society. They grow up conditioned to the values and customs of the people by whom they are surrounded. It is impossible for people to think of an alternative to what is being talked about, written, taught or practised in the society. Muhammad being an orphan was even more vulnerable to the influences of society, in particular bad influences of the society’s youth. But amazingly, he grew up to be a person with all the perfect qualities but without any vices or weaknesses common in the society. His excellence in dealings and conduct was proverbial. Throughout his life, no one could ever put a finger and say Muhammad has this weakness. Throughout his mission, no one could ever find even a slight variance between what he preached and what his personal practise was. That kind of excellence, consistency and constancy was humanly impossible, and was nothing but a miracle.
Another special thing about him was that, despite the pressures of the society, he never bowed to or worshipped any idol, not even in his childhood. Had he been avoiding idolatry just because it did not make sense to make idols and worship them, he would have stopped that practice only in adult life. The miracle is that he resisted it and avoided it even when he was a little boy and was asked to pay respects to a family idol. Also, had he been avoiding it just on the basis of his own analysis and logic, he could have become a Jew or Christian. But he miraculously stayed away from every kind of misguidance and worshipped purely and solely Allaah, the one and only Creator of everything.
Miracle of personality and speech
He had such a magnetic personality that whoever spent some time with him became fond of him. The influence was so noticeable that opponents tried to neutralize it by initiating rumours that he used some kind of magic. Everyone who sat in his gathering felt fully attended to and properly recognized even if many people were attending at the same time.
His dealings with people were such that even bitter enemies would change and become his devotees. In a few incidents, those who came to kill him went away as his passionate followers because of his personal excellence and the heart-winning ways of his character.
His mission was basically a speaking mission. During his mission he made his call, presented his mission, explained his message, guided his followers, supported his close-ones, responded to his opponents and adversaries, and dealt with attackers on his honour and life. He did so as a friend, as a family person, as a victim, as a victor, as a judge, as a ruler, as a companion, as a master. He spoke during war and when in peace, and in times of pain and when happy. Regardless of the occasion or conditions, his words were always measured, concise, full of meanings, not a single syllable that could be superfluous, not a single word that could be offensive to anyone. He never had an argument with anyone. Nobody, not even his persecutors and bitter enemies, ever complained that Muhammad ever said something inappropriate. The more a person came close to him, the more he adored him. A young man served him for 10 years. During all those 10 years, he was never rebuked even once, not even asked, “Why did you do this or not do that?” Unbelievable by any human standards! Indeed, it was his miracle!
Miracle of Accomplishments
He was given the responsibility of the mission in his 41st year of life. When he died 23.5 years later, his mission was fully accomplished. During this time, a whole society in the Arabian Peninsula had been transformed completely. A society characterized with lawlessness, bloodshed, rule of jungle, lootings, robberies, abductions, alcoholism, gambling, slavery, exploitation of weak, abuse of orphans, subjugation of women, racial and social discrimination, loan sharking, illiteracy, indecency, etc. had become the most organized, law-abiding, peaceful, literate and civilized society characterized with giving, sharing, fairness, justice, kindness to orphans, respect for women, generosity to the poor and needy, forgiving to enemies, honesty, trustworthiness and excellence of ethics in all kind of dealings. Age-old claims of blood and wars were dropped, as were claims of compound interest. People were freeing slaves happily, without anybody engaging in a civil war. Anyone who lost something could come back and pick it up later because none else with take it. A lonely woman could travel the whole land without being fearful of any one touching her. In short, his is the only example in the history of mankind where a society was revolutionized in all aspects of life, to the deepest level, in the shortest time frame without any bloodshed.
In short, every aspect of his life is a clear evidence for him being a Messenger of Allaah.
Excuses for not Believing and Attempts to Mislead
Some people just do not want to be bothered. They are too busy in their own areas of interest. What they need to think is that if Muhammad was true in his claim and they did not pay attention, they are going to be in very serious trouble with God. It is not a matter that one can summarily dismiss or put on a back burner. It is serious matter that must be reflected upon seriously and urgently.
People have many reasons to be sceptical about Muhammad’s claim to the prophethood and his opponents have their own reasons to oppose him. However, the contemporary sceptics and opponents have one advantage. There is hardly any reason, assumption or accusation that they can come up with that was not brought up earlier. Sincere people who follow up on those reasons and assumptions usually end up discovering the truth and becoming Muslims.
When Muhammad started giving the message of Islam in Makkah, initially the Makkans tried to summarily dismiss his claim. But soon they realized that it was serious matter. Those who wanted to maintain status quo to preserve their self-interests opposed him vehemently. Despite their opposition, his mission kept growing. His simple yet powerful message continued attracting decent people of the society. To stop its growth, Makkan leaders tried to spread different false rumours so that Muhammad would be so discredited in people’s minds that people stay away from him and refuse to pay attention to him. Unfortunately, none of their accusations would stick for long because of the outstanding character and superb personality of the Prophet. Those who would come in contact with him would find the falsehood of the rumour and become even closer to him or become Muslims. For example, everyone knew that Muhammad did not have any schooling to learn any literature or history. But the Qur’aan he was presenting was the most splendid in its literary style and also contained historical references. One of the accusations they came up with was that someone must be composing it and Muhammad is just presenting it. But this charge was so ridiculous that it could not hold water for even a short time.
Like Makkans, initial reaction of most people is to assume that Muhammad composed a text claimed it to be from God. Makkans pretty quickly realized implausibility of that idea and abandoned it. Even today, anyone with a basic knowledge about Muhammad and his life can easily see the impossibility of this speculation for the following reason:
- Muhammad did not receive any education or training in reading, writing or literary composition.
- Writing of an author reflects a lot about the personal life and psychology of the author and in greatly impacted by his circumstances. Muhammad went through some extremely difficult and painful times in his life and some great successes as well. a reader of the Qur’aan can never detect any variation in the style of the Qur’aan that will reflect his pains, sufferings, joys or successes. Not even a minor reflection of his personal life can be detected anywhere in the Qur’aan.
- The personal words of Muhammad were kept totally separate from the revealed words of the Qur’aan. One can see two totally different styles of both texts. It is impossible for a human being to maintain two totally different styles of speech throughout his life so that one does not show any effect of the other style.
Another common assumption of people of all times is that he must have done it for some material gain. This is easily clarified when, if a person is serious to read, he or she studies even cursorily his life history and find that he made tremendous sacrifices for his mission rather than trying to get any material benefit from it.
Also like Makkans, Muhammad’s opponents in every age have tried to fabricate some propaganda to mislead people from listening to the message of Muhammad. For that purpose, they dream of a possibility and then try to create a reality out of it by repeating it and spreading it to make it stick. They do succeed in fooling some of the people for some time, but sensible, truth-seeking people do always succeed in discovering the reality and truth.
For their purposes, Makkans tried to convince people that Muhammad was a magician. The contemporary equivalent of that claim which has recently been fabricated and floated by constant media propaganda is about use of violence and terror. Again, this is so baseless and so ridiculous, that a serious seeker of truth has just to peep a little into his life to discover his kindness, mercy, gentleness, heart-winning personality, and his forgiving even his bitterest enemies and winning them as friends. A sincere study of his biography refutes it forever.
The academics, also called orientalists, use two other misleading fabrications to keep people away from Islam.
They try to give the impression that Muhammad took ideas from Judaism and Christianity, and presented them as Islam. In doing so they usually point to some elements and historical anecdotes common among these religions. But what they conveniently forget is that:
- God who revealed Islam also revealed the same teachings to Moses and Jesus and other prophets, so there have to be common points between them. The historical anecdotes will also be common because the same personalities are being talked about. The source of this kind of information is God, not Judaism or Christianity.
- Muhammad was illiterate, did not know how to read or write and had no access to any religious books of any religion.
- It could not have been hearsay or information provided by someone else. Had some other person been source of information, he would not have been able to hide from his followers or opponents, especially when the Prophet had such an open life. Those who were ready to kill him and waged wars against him would have been more than happy to find such a culprit. Such an informant could not have been his follower, because his followers ardently loved him, obeyed him and were always ready to give their own lives to save him from the prick of a thorn. A person who himself is the source of information can never be an ardent follower. Also how could Muhammad have worked so hard and sacrificed everything in his life for a fake claim?
- Even if all the knowledge of Judaeo-Christian books were available to Muhammad, Islamic teaching could not have been from that source because of the magnificent superiority of Islamic teaching over others. The same anecdote mentioned in the Bible usually is full of errors, inconsistencies and contradictions and unscientific and illogical statements, but the way it is mentioned in the Qur’aan, it is so cohesive, unchallengeable, logical and rational. If it were not from Allaah, how did it become so superior in quality as compared to the “so-called” source?
- In many cases, the Qur’aan mentions additional facts nowhere mentioned in the Torah, Talmud or Bible, and the Qur’aan information is corroborated by scientific discoveries and historical research. Examples of such cases were provided in the chapter about Qur’aanic miracles.
The invalidity of such speculative and ignorant remarks to summarily dismiss Muhammad’s prophethood can easily be realized by an honest reader who cares to reflect just a little on his life. How can a person be meticulously truthful in every matter throughout his life while continuing to tell one big lie? How can a liar have the kind of confidence and trust in Allaah in extremely dangerous circumstances as shown by him? How can a fake claimant make the kind of sacrifices made by him for his mission?
Some people tried to cast doubt about his claim by concocting a perception that the Prophet had epilepsy. Thus, he heard some voices during his epileptic attacks and sincerely believed them to be really from God. Again, this smart attempt to question the legitimacy of his claim conveniently overlooks many questions they should be asking before repeating their fabrication:
- Do the epileptic people remember what they mumble during the attack?
- The Prophet went through extremely difficult times during his mission and led his people bravely when everyone was losing senses, did he ever collapse under the attack of this “falling down” disease?
- Why is that no Makkan, no Jew, no Christian who were desperate to see him fail in his mission discovered this fact during his lifetime and use it to their advantage?
- Why had the Prophet’s followers never noticed his “disease” and allowed themselves to be fooled by it. Did those extremely intelligent people who led the world in knowledge and science in an unprecedented manner, allowed themselves to be fooled by a person who was not a Prophet but honestly thought so under the influence of his disease? Did they leave their homes and properties and kith and kin to be with this deluded person? Did they sacrifice their lives in vain while fighting for a fake mission of an epileptic man?
- Do they have any sense? Do they who concoct such rumours have any honesty or fairness?
- Can any sane person honestly regard this marvellous and amazing Qur’aan which is a living miracle product of epileptic hallucinations?
- Have they read Qur’aan? Does it sound like a collection of mumblings of an epileptic man?
The full-of-wisdom Qur’aan is the witness; indeed, you are one of the Messengers, on the straight path. It is the revelation from the Mighty, the Merciful. (Yaa-Seen 36:2-5)
When all else fails, and those who are bent upon disbelieving in the Qur’aan and Muhammad do not find any other way of denying the truth of their claims, they resort to an age-old technique of attributing it to the devil. Had they been honest to themselves and opened the Qur’aan to read, they would not have dared to say something so ignorant as this. Will the Satan teach kindness, generosity, fairness, justice, forgiveness, charity, etc? Will he insist again and again that people should not worship anyone but God? Will Satan condemn and curse himself? There are 87 verses in the Qur’aan where people have been warned about him in one way or the other. The following is a sample:
O believers, enter into Islam completely, and do not follow the Satan’s footsteps. He is your obvious enemy. (Al-Baqarah 2:208)
And one who has the Satan as a companion, what an evil companion he has! (An-Nisaa 4:38)
Verily the Satan is an obvious enemy for people. (Yoosuf 12:5)
When reciting the Qur’aan, seek Allaah’s refuge from Satan, the cursed. (An-Naĥl 16:98)
The Satan is indeed your enemy, so treat him as an enemy. (Faaŧir 35:6)
Know that the Satan’s party are the ones who are the losers. (Al-Mujaadalah 58:9)
That is why the new Catholic Encyclopaedia, under the heading “Qur'an”, addresses this kind of speculations and mentions that over the centuries there have been many theories as to where this book came from. Then, it concluded that currently, no sensible person believes any of these theories (4).
4 The Basis of Muslim Beliefs, Gary Miller, under the heading: Origin of the Qur'an
Recently, a leading intellectual in the Catholic Church, Hans Kung (5), Director of the Institute for Ecumenical Research at the University of Tübingen in West Germany, concluded:
“Whatever we Christians do with this fact, we must affirm that he acted as a prophet and that he was a prophet.” And "God has spoken to man through the man, Muhammad."
5 "Christianity and World Religions: Dialogue with Islam", in Leonard Swidler (ed.), Muslims in Dialogue: The Evolution of A Dialogue, vol. 3 (The Edwin Mellen Press, 1992)
Thomas Carlyle rightly told his fellow Christians:
“The lies, which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man, are disgraceful to ourselves only. (6)"
6 ON HEROES, HERO-WORSHIP AND THE HEROIC IN HISTORY, Lecture II, May 12, 1840
The Qur’aan mentions:
Remember when ‘Eesa son of Maryam told Israelites, “I am Allaah’s messenger to you, confirming the truth of what is before me from the Towraat and giving the good news of a messenger who will come after me and whose name will be Aĥmad.” Yet, when he came to them with clear proofs they said, “This is clear magic.” And who can be more unjust than he who invents a lie against Allaah when he is invited to Islam; and Allaah does not guide the unjust people. (Aŝ-Ŝaff 61:6-7)