The Life of Muhammad

By Daniel Scot Sept. 2008

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Sura 'Al-Fatihiah' (The Opening) 1:1-7

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, The Beneficent, the Merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment, You (alone) we worship; You (alone) we ask for help. Show us the straight path, The path of those whom You have favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Your anger nor of those who go astray.

Jesus said: "...and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)

Warning—This pamphlet contains words of the Qur'an in Arabic and English. Please use appropriately.

NOTE: Authoritative Islamic texts are the Qur'an and Hadith. Muslims believe that the Qur'an is the revealed word of Allah (verse numbers differ slightly in different versions). Sura always stands for a chapter in the Qur'an. Islamic belief is that Muhammad is the perfect example to be followed by all Muslims. Whatever he said, practiced or approved is called Hadith. There are six different sets of authentic ahadith (Hadiths): Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmizi, Sunnan Ibn Majah and Sunnan Nasa'i. This pamphlet is intended to show the teachings and examples of Muhammad, and is not intended to be offensive to Muslims; many Muslims may have little real knowledge of what their god, Allah and their prophet has said on this topic.

Six hundred years before Muhammad, the Prophet Jesus proved His prophethood by His exemplary life and teaching. Indeed, the worth of religious belief is dependent on the worthiness of its author. In the study before us we wish to apply this test to the life of Muhammad, the author of Islam.

Muhammad's Early Years

Muhammad was said to be born in Mecca on June 8th, 570 AD and died 62yrs. later on June 8th, 632, (though there is no consensus over these dates). He was orphaned at the age of 6yrs. and reared for two years by his grandfather until the latter's death. His uncle, Abu-Talib, then reared him.

At the age of 12, Muhammad was mentored by a Nestorian monk who, it is said, recognised that Muhammad was to be a prophet—because of a big mole on his back (see Muslim 4:5793; Bukhari 1:189; Ibn Ishaq in A Life of Muhammad p.80,96,97,726).

Muhammad gained employment with a wealthy merchant widow named Khadijah. He married her at the age of 25 when she was 40. Together they had 4 sons and 4 daughters. However, only the daughters survived to maturity.

Birth of Islam

At 40yrs. of age, Muhammad began to retire to a cave in Mount Hira to meditate. This was a popular custom at that time and, whilst the majority of the population worshipped many idols, Muhammad, influenced by Zeid-ibn-Amr, a Hanefite (monotheistic worshippers), began to express his hatred of such idols.

During these times of meditation Muhammad first experienced his revelations, which he claimed were given to him in a dream by the angel Gabriel. It is said that, in the first revelation, Gabriel gave him a cloth on which appeared writing and commanded him "read" or "recite".

During these revelations Muhammad claims to have experienced the following:-

the ringing of bells (Bukhari vol. 1, Hadith 2; vol. 4, Hadith 438); rapid heart beat (Bukhari vol. 1, Hadith 3); a red face; (Bukhari vol. 5, Hadith 618, vol. 6, Hadith 508); heavy breathing (Bukhari vol. 6, Hadith 508); he sometimes suddenly fell down or lay down (Bukhari vol. 4, Hadith 461, vol. 5, Hadith 170); he would sweat profusely (Bukhari vol. 1, Hadith 2, vol. 2, Hadith 544; vol. 3, Hadith 829); sometimes he dreamt (Bukhari vol. 1, Hadith 3; vol. 5; Hadith 659).

Because of such experiences Muhammad was of the view that he must have been demon possessed or that he was going mad. He asked his wife, Khadijah, and her cousin, Waraqa bani Naufal, if this was the case, to which they replied that these revelations were truly from Allah.

Jesus, by contrast, received his revelations through a life of prayerful dependence upon God. His opponents accused him of demon possession, but they were themselves opposed to the law of God (John 7:19,20).

Rejection of Muhammad

During the first few years, Muhammad was keen to receive the approval of the Jews and began to pray towards Jerusalem and hold to the fasting of Ashura (Yom Kippur). But the Jews were adamant that contacting Jinn (demons) was forbidden (e.g. Leviticus 20:6) while Muhammad's Allah actually sent demons to him (Sura 46:29-31 also see 72:1ff).

Muhammad thereafter changed his position and began praying in the direction of the Ka'bah (in Mecca) rather than Jerusalem. Fasting during the month of Ramadan replaced the fast of Ashura.

During the course of his 'received' revelations he would be in a trance and many Meccans believed at the time that he actually was possessed by demons or had gone mad—an accusation that had to be countered (Sura 68:2; 81:22-25; 52:29; 34:46). They subsequently taunted and ill-treated him and his followers. Because of this and other factors, least of which was Muhammad's lack of knowledge of the Bible, the first 3 years of the birth of Islam was seen as a time of compromise. This period of time, though brief, gave rise to the "Satanic Verses" - and a number of verses that contained permission for non-Muslims to worship their own gods (Sura 109:1-6; 6:106-108).

(Jesus, you will note, knew his Bible well and quoted it at will, e.g. Matthew 4.)

Marriage and Muhammad

Muhammad taught that a Muslim man can have up to 4 wives if he treats them justly; otherwise he should not have more than one wife (Sura 4:3, 129).

Muhammad had more than four wives but did not marry his second wife, Sawda Bint Zam`a, until his first wife had died. He then married a number of women - mostly widows or divorcees. He married his favourite wife, Aisha Bint Abu Bakr, when she was only 6years old and consummated this marriage when she was 9. Other wives include Hafsa Bint `Umar, Zainab Bint Khuzaima, Ummu Salama, Zainab Bint Jahsh, Juwairiyya Bint al-Harith, Safiyya Bint Huyay, Ummu Habiba, Mariam the Copt, and the last woman he married was Maimuna Bint al-Harith.

In addition, Muhammad married other women but, for various reasons, did not consummate some of these marriages. There were also many concubines and slaves belonging to Mu-


Muhammad, mostly gained as spoils of war. His sexual prowess was well known amongst his followers. In fact, the Ahadith teach that he was as good as thirty men!

Muhammad's Teachings on Women

His views on women are well documented. For instance, a woman's witness [in court] is worth half that of a man's (Sura 2:282; Bukhari vol. 3, Hadith 826); women are deficient in intelligence and religious devotion (Bukhari vol. 1, Hadith 301; vol. 3, Hadith 826; vol. 2, Hadith 541); women are referred to as a possession—along with gold, silver, horses and cattle (Sura 3:14); a woman is to be used like a field according to the husband's desires (Sura 2:223); a man can exchange one of his wives for another (Sura 4:20); a woman comes in the form of a devil (Sahih Muslim vol. II, Hadith 3240).

Muhammad's Jihad

During his first 13 years there were little more than a hundred followers (and these were mostly poor), so he began raiding the caravans and weaker tribes to gain a quick return. In the desert, "annexing" a neighbour's property was a quick way to improve one's status. Muhammad called it jihad—"an effort in the way of Allah", "a means of achieving his mission and establishing Allah's kingdom on earth."

As noted by Malik in his book, The Qur'anic Concept of War (pp.99-103), in the next 9 years Muhammad planned 81 battles, and took an active part in many of these. Continuing rejection by the Jews caused him to expel them from Medina. Their wealth was divided amongst the Muslims, and the most beautiful women were taken for the prophet. However, as many as 600-900 of the Jews, such as of the tribe of Bani Qurayza, were unfortunate enough to be slaughtered rather than exiled!

Salvation and Muhammad

The Qur'an and Hadith make it clear that Muhammad did not have any assurance of eternal salvation. In Sura 46:9 Muhammad was told to inform people that he did not know what his destiny or that of anybody else would be. He was commanded to ask for the forgiveness of his sins and the sins of his followers (Sura 47:19; 40:55). Accordingly, Muhammad used to pray for forgiveness more than seventy times a day (Bukhari, vol.8, Hadith 319) and he did so, even on his death bed (Bukhari vol.5, Hadith 715). In spite of such intense and frequent prayers, still he had no assurance of salvation even for himself or his close relatives (Muslim vol.1, Hadith 398-402).

This is in stark contrast to the legacy of Jesus the Messiah. John 3:16 makes it plain that God "so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life". The follower of the Lord Jesus Christ is assured of salvation with God whereas the follower of Muhammad can never have such assurance.

According to Muslim tradition, the Prophet of Islam is the best example to follow but, despite the fact that he fought many battles for Allah and prayed fervently for the forgiveness of his sins, he had no assurance of Allah's favour or of a home in Paradise.

Every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, on the other hand, has a 100% guarantee of salvation before a holy God. The testimony of Ephesians 1:7 is that "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace".

The difference is obvious and it is Jesus' atoning work that is missing in Islam. Whereas Muhammad left a legacy of jihad, a believer in Jesus Christ can depend on Christ's perfect redemptive work. Reader, we urge you to consider Jesus!

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Mizan ul Haqq


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