‘Refute any 5 allegations made on the exalted character of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’
All successful people have their critics, enemies and haters and the more successful a person becomes, the more these people emerge filled with their inherent jealousy, rancour, malice and envy. In the case of the Holy Prophet of Islam, this can be no truer. As the orientalist scholar W Montgomery Watt wrote:
"Of all the world's great men, none has been so much maligned as Muhammad."
There has not, in the history of man, been a more criticized and scrutinized man nor a more successful and great person than Muhammad, the noble, glorious and great Prophet of Islam.
His grand success proves to be even more striking when we consider the circumstances he was born in; orphaned and alone, illiterate and surrounded by desert ignorance and brutality, he came forth as a lone voice of peace, justice and love – words alien to the Arabs of the time. Having to face overwhelming odds, extreme adversity and mighty adversaries, he triumphed in a way which shook the very destiny of the world and caused a great revolution in the earth which has shaped the world we live in today.
His success continues to amaze when one considers that from a lonely cave in Mecca and a small band of followers, his name and teachings have spread to every inch of the world. But as he continues to succeed even after his demise, and his name and principles live on and his followers spread, those who hate to see light shine and peace reign, strive to put barriers in his way.
Just as when the sun comes out, the filth and dirt also becomes clear and exposed, so even when the sun of truth, Muhammad and his light becomes more manifest and spreads in the world, so do all those with inherent malice and filth come to the fore. Indeed in recent times such a wave of hatred has swept the earth, hatred towards Islam and its founder. But this is not the result of any fault on the part of the religion Islam itself and most certainly not the fault of the great Prophet, rather as Islam spreads and Muhammad is more and more revered, honoured and held in esteem, the more the evil of those who love darkness and filth becomes manifest.
Indeed, Abu Bakr (ra) once uttered some deep, insightful and meaningful words when he said at the Prophet’s deathbed, ‘death will not come upon you twice’. Meaning that while the Prophet may die physically as all Prophet have died and all men must die, spiritual death will never touch him or his community, his teachings, his works will live on till the very end of days. These concise words coupled with the prophecy in the Qur’an give us an indication to the latter day state of Islam. The Qur’anic verse ‘and from others among them who have not yet joined them’[Qur’an 62:4]indicate that in the latter days the Prophet Muhammad will come again to this world. When asked by his companions, the meaning of this verse, the Prophet placed his hand of Salman Farsi (ra), the only Persian among all the Arabs sitting there and conveyed a Prophetic message for Muslims in the future saying ‘even if faith ascends to the Pleiades, a man from among them will bring it back’.[Bukhari Volume 6 Book 60 Number 420]
So from this it is clear that in the latter days, when faith has vanished from the earth, a Persian man will come in Muhammad’s name bearing his seal and his mark, to bring faith back to the earth.
Interestingly enough, at the close of the 19th century, a man by the name of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to have been revealed by God that he had been commissioned, in line with the prophecies, to revive the true Islam and bring man back to his Creator. He had come as the metaphorical second coming of the Prophet Muhammad.
Since his coming, Islam rapidly rejuvenated and responded to the false allegations against it. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad laid the foundations of the community that would go on to cause the world to be swayed under the banner of that great Prophet Muhammad. But such a victory of Hadhrat Muhammad’s religion was not to come about trouble-free. Forces of evil were always to try and hinder the progress of Islam and attempt to defame the noble character of Muhammad. And as Muhammad’s message spread, so would the evil machinations of those enemies of truth, who enviously rage at the sight of Muhammad’s light spreading.
In this era particularly, since the dawn of the second era of Islam, as brought forth by the Messiah – Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Muhammad’s religion, character and personality has come under immense criticism and unjust mockery and ridicule.
The rejuvenation of Islam by the Messiah has also started a campaign by those unjust enemies of Islam to defame, mock, ridicule and demonize Muhammad. Such abstruse allegations have been made as have never been made by Muhammad’s critics in the past and so violently have these people attacked Islam and Muhammad that even common Muslims have been lost for words to answer the attacks.
The attacks and allegations have largely been made in writing, so in this short essay, we will examine the allegations and using authentic Islamic sources, respond in a complete and concise manner thus refuting the false allegations and proving the innocence, purity and holiness of the most successful and greatest man in history, the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
Did the Prophet want warfare?
An allegation often made by some is that the Prophet, God-forbid, was a warmonger who started wars, killed people and was a violent man.
If we study the teachings of the Qur’an and Muhammad as well as the history, we’ll see that Muhammad was a peace-loving man who strove hard to establish peace and avoid any conflict. For thirteen long, turbulent years, Muhammad and his followers suffered greatly but not at any point did they retaliate, rather they bore the pain and suffering as best as they could. When they could bear no more, a group of Muslims migrated to Abyssinia. Note, they did not hatch any plot against their persecutors, nor did they take up any arms nor did Muhammad instruct them. Rather, he pointed to the West and informed his followers of a place across the sea where people where not persecuted because of their religion or change of faith. This was the response of the Muslims; to either bear with patience as the Qur’an taught or migrate as the Prophet instructed.
After thirteen years, when persecution did not cease and it seemed as there was no hope in Mecca, the Prophet sent the Muslims to Medina where word of Islam had spread and had been received with admiration. Under Divine command, on the very night the conspirators had planned to murder him, the Prophet also migrated with his dear friend and companion, Abu Bakr. Alone they went across the harsh desert to seek a land of refuge where they would be welcomed and accepted. Even here one would have thought that the Meccans would be glad to see the Prophet go and leave him alone, but they would foolishly pursue him. They promised a reward of a hundred camels for anyone who would capture them dead or alive. Failure dogged the Meccan idolaters every step of the way and they were unable to stop the migration.
Now if we look here, for thirteen years in the Prophet’s ministry, he stayed in Mecca, being rejected, ridiculed and persecuted. Never did he utter a word of abuse or violence to anyone nor did he instruct his followers so. Rather again and again, he called his people to the truth, the One True God. He preached peace, justice, charity. He deeply desired the welfare of his people. And those very same people who he strived to help, banished him, plotted against him and physically and mentally tortured him and his followers. Yet the Prophet and his followers, for 13 years of turmoil and torture did nothing but preach goodness. Now just this is enough for any right-minded individual to conclude who was the unjust party here.
The very fact that the Muslims migrated at the instruction of the Prophet Muhammad is more than sufficient evidence to prove that Muhammad and his followers were looking for peace. All they wanted was a place where they could live in peace and practice their faith without any hindrance. They simply desired the freedom to live and practice their faith and thus they migrated to Medina.
Now, the rationale behind the wars fought after the migration can be summed up by two verses of the Qur’an:
‘Permissionto fightis given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged — and Allah indeed has power to help them — Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is Allah’ — And if Allah did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated. And Allah will surely help one who helps Him. Allah is indeed Powerful, Mighty - Those who, if We establish them in the earth, will observe Prayer and pay the Zakat and enjoin good and forbid evil. And with Allah rests the final issue of all affairs.’ [22:40-42]
When the Prophet was given permission to take up arms, these verses explained the reasoning behind why the Muslims were now given permission. Notice the verse states ‘permission to fight is given’, not commandment to fight. After that it gives very sound reasoning for the permission to fight:
War has been thrust upon them
They have been wronged
They have been driven out of their homes
Their only ‘crime’ was to believe in Allah – the One God
If permission was not given then the transgressors would also disrupt and hinder people of other faiths from practising their religion freely.
In short, this verse establishes Islam’s commitment to religious freedom. Muslims are told to fight for the rights and freedoms of others, so that men may be free to worship freely in all places of worship. Here Muslims are given the assurance that if they fight for righteous causes, then God will help them and indeed history bears testimony to the fact that Muslims were helped throughout their campaigns to defend themselves and establish freedom of conscience.
The fact of the matter is that at every opportunity the Holy Prophet fought not to make wars but he fought for peace. At the treaty of Hudaibiyah when the Meccans and the Muslims sat down together to negotiate a peace deal, Muhammad made so many concessions, that his companions felt humiliated. The Prophet showed how much he desired peace that he accepted every request by the Meccans for this treaty. Had Muhammad been anything other than a standard-bearer of peace, he would not have even agreed to sit and discuss peace terms with the Meccan idolaters let alone agree to their every demand.
Again, at the fall of Mecca we see an unrivalled incident in history. When Muhammad marched with 10,000 of his followers to take Mecca after the Meccans had broken the treaty, he could have easily exacted revenge for those 13 harsh, cruel years of persecution and injustice. Yet we see why Muhammad is the Mercy for all mankind. Releasing a general amnesty, he forgave all his tormentors and even forgave those who simply asked to be forgiven. If there was any incident to prove the mercy of Muhammad and his peace-loving nature, it was this – the mass forgiving at the Fall of Mecca.
What really was the age of Hadhrat Aisha?
The age of Aisha at the time of marriage has been the subject of fierce dispute over the last few years. But this is the interesting thing; this allegation is a relatively new one. Certainly the weight attached to this allegation has not ever been attached before. Muhammad’s worst critics were the Meccan idolaters yet no such allegation was raised by them, this is quite telling. This quite clearly proves without doubt that whatever the age of marriage, it was well within the norms of the time, it certainly wasn’t something out of the ordinary.
The other thing is that the Qur’an clearly says that marriage can only be between consenting adults:
‘O ye who believe! it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will’ [4:20]
This proves that Aisha would have agreed to the marriage as would her father, Abu Bakr. Being a close friend of Abu Bakr, the Prophet also hoped that the marriage would strengthen his ties with his best friend. Indeed many of the Prophet’s marriages were to strengthen ties, form relationships between two unfriendly factions or to bring peace. As they say, ‘marriage is not just a coming together of two peoples, it is a coming together of two families’. And in that time it would have been the coming together of clans and tribes. So who can protest against a marriage in which all parties give their consent?
Furthermore, the marriage wasn’t even initiated by the Prophet himself. This very fact removes all those doubts and allegations made by some foul minded people who try and suggest that the Prophet had some immoral desires (God forbid). The marriage was suggested by Khawlah bint Hakim, the Prophet’s aunt. It was only after the death of his first wife, Hadhrat Khadija that Khawlah proposed this marriage.
Now, as for the actual age, narrations differ from 9 to 19 but unsurprisingly the allegers love to stick to one narration and hound on about it while ignoring all the other facts. It is true that in one narration the age of marriage is stated as 9 but what we also know is that narrations have to be taken together so that we can get an overall picture and come to a reasoned conclusion.
According to the famous Muslim historian Ibn Kathir, Hadhrat Asma (Aisha’s older sister) was 10 years older than Aisha. She passed away at the age of 100 in 73AH. The marriage took place in the second year of the migration – 2AH.
If Asma was 100 years old in 73AH Then she would have been 27 at the start of Hijra (migration) and 29 in 2AH. So if Asma was 29 in 2AH, then Aisha, being 10 years younger would have been 19 years of age. This categorically proving that she was well above the age of maturity when married to the Prophet. In another tradition of Bukhari, Aisha says that she was a young girl at the time when the Qur’anic chapter Al-Qamar was revealed. Surah Al Qamar was one of the earliest chapters to have been revealed, it eight years before Hijra. Being a young girl who understands concepts like the revelation of the Qur’an, her age can be placed as being between 6 and 12. Ten years later she was married to the prophet which puts her age anywhere between 16 and 22, again, well above the age of maturity. Now one more proof is that in 2AH, when the battle of Badr took place, the Prophet forbade anyone under the age of 15 to participate. Narrations also say the Hadhrat Aisha did participate in this battle, as women did, treating the wounded, carrying the dead and bringing water. This would place Aisha’s age at above fifteen and in accordance with the other narrations well above the age of maturity. So we can confidently conclude that Hadhrat Aisha (ra)’s marriage was well within the norm of the time, custom and society. No one including Aisha or Abu Bakr (ra) objected to this wedding. The Quraish who were always on the lookout for anything to defame the Prophet with didn’t object. And as we have proved above, her age was was well above the supposed 9 years old, rather it was closer to 18/19.
Was the Prophet a lustful man? The Prophet married many women, of different ages. Somehow the opponents of Islam and the Prophet have misconstrued the facts to try and assert that Muhammad was (God forbid) a womaniser.
As ever this allegation is quite a baseless and degraded one considering the fact that the Prophet Muhammad actually married and stayed with the women he chose. A lustful womaniser is one who has short quick relationships with women, chooses the young and most beautiful ones, and sees them as objects and moves on to the next one. The Holy Prophet was quite the opposite. He married young and old women, widows and slaves.
Now if the Prophet was seeking women, he had the perfect opportunity when the chiefs of Quraish sent him a message through his uncle Abu Talib. They offered him wealth, status and any woman he desired, the condition being that he give up preaching his message. Had the Prophet desired women, he would have taken this package of wealth, women and status and many men today would also be tempted. Many people today, in our so-called modern and civilised society go to the extreme lengths of murder and betrayal just for some small petty gains. Often you hear of muggings and attacks on innocent citizens only for a few coins. Muhammad on the other hand replied, ‘even if they were to place the sun on my right and the moon on my left, still I would not desist in preaching this message’. The message was clear; the Prophet was not after wealth, women or status.
1400 years ago one man showed the heights of nobility, commitment and integrity. In an era where women were treated as chattel, objects and 2nd class citizens, Muhammad displayed great fortitude and moral excellence by giving women rights which our society has only recognised less than a century ago!
It’s quite interesting to note that his first marriage was to 40 year old widow who proposed the marriage – Hadhrat Khadija. He was 25 and had not yet married or been with any woman outside of marriage. He could have refused the proposal and sought any other younger, more beautiful woman yet he accepted the proposal. And for 25 years he stayed with Hadhrat Khadija and married no other woman. This very fact is enough to dispel the false and baseless allegation of lust.
Having come as a model for mankind, the Prophet had an obligation to marry so that his example could be emulated and finer points of his life could be closely observed by his wives and thus spread among the future generations – women being the primary educators of children. Indeed we see that a large portion of the narrations are reported by his holy consort, Hadhrat Aisha. The Prophet even instructed Muslims to ‘learn half of your faith from Aisha’. It’s also interesting to note that Aisha was the only women he married who had not previously been married. All the other wives he had were widows or divorced and they were all taken in marriage out of circumstances or by suggestions from friends. What lustful womanizer takes widows and divorced women as marriage? He even took 2 slave girls in marriage thus freeing them and raising their status in society. To summarise, the Prophet married women for a few reasons: To educate the Muslim women and future generations through his noble wives
To solidify his relationships with close companions such as Abu Bakr and Umar (ra)
To support those who had been widowed asuch as Umm Salamah, Umm Habibah, Sawdah
To dispel a wrong belief, ie. That an adopted son becomes your real son and therefore it is forbidden to marry his wife in the event of divorce or widowhood. Zainab bint Jahshj was married to Hadhrat Zaid, the Prophet’s adopted son, they were divorced due to incompatibility and the Prophet married Zainab to ease the pain of divorce and to set a precedent that one may marry one’s adopted son’s wife. This solved a big dilemma of the time.
To restore the status of women who had been taken captive in Muslim expeditions. Juwariyyah (ra) was the wife of a chief of the Banu Mustaliq clan and after her marriage to the Prophet she and her clan were set free. Then there was Safiyyah (ra), a Jewess who was also set free and given the high status as wife of the Prophet. Her marriage also lead to the change of attitudes from some Jews who saw and heard about the Prophet more closely through Safiyyah.
To free the woman from slavery and raise her status in society - Maria al-Qibtiyya, a slave-girl was sent as a gift from a Byzantine official. The Prophet had no option but to marry her as it was his duty to treat her especially well in order to maintain good diplomatic relations and it was his principle to free slaves. Therefore by one act of marriage, he not only freed her but also raised her status in society.
We can see here that all the Prophet’s marriages were wholly for selfless reasons and were due to necessities and circumstance. Never did any of his wives lodge even a small complaint and he set an exemplary example for his followers with regards to marriage.
Did the Prophet massacre an entire tribe?
The allegation is that Muhammad (saw) allegedly murdered the entire Banu Quraiza tribe. However if we take in to consideration the general conduct of Muhammad in similar circumstances, we'll see that this allegation is quite contrary to the usual actions of the Prophet.
After fending off the combined attacks of the entire might of Arabia, the Muslims in Medina were instructed by the Prophet to launch a counter-attack in retaliation to the unceasing and persistent attacks, treachery and machinations by the tribe of Banu Quraiza.
The Muslims had suffered 13 years at Mecca and even after migration to Medina, the Quraish pursued them, gathering the tribes of Arabia to make a final and concerted attack on Medina to once and for all destroy the Islamic movement. The Banu Quraiza having aligned themselves with the Quraish and breaking the pact with the Muslims were guilty of high treason and treachery. Had they succeeded they would have taken great pleasure in murdering all the Muslims along with the Meccan Quraish and their allies, indeed this was what the invasion was about - to exterminate Islam from the face of the earth.
Even today the crime of treason carries capital punishment in many parts of the world and until 1998 the UK carried out capital punishment for this crime.
Now when Muhammad besieged the fort of Banu Quraiza to put an end to the intrigues, plots and treachery, he did it with a view of subduing the transgressors and protecting the innocent while teaching the Muslims to stand up for their beliefs and bring justice to a harsh and brutality land.
After 25 days of siege, the Banu Quraiza finally surrendered and the Banu Quraiza were asked if they would accept the Prophet’s decision. The Prophet, being a forgiving and compassionate man, the most he would have done is banish them to another land as he had done previously with some other problematic tribes. Even, as mentioned earlier he would go to the extent of simply forgiving even the worst and most cruel of his enemies. Ikramah bin Abu Jahl is a relevant example.
As bad as their fortunes were, the Banu Quraiza out of sheer arrogance refused to accept the Prophet’s decision and opted to choose Sa'ad bin Mu'adh, who belonged to a tribe friendly to theirs. They thought that maybe he would be lenient on them but as justice would have it, Sa'ad opted to use the punishment as mentioned in the Torah:
Deuteronomy 20: 12-14
“And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword but the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee”
This conclusively proves that Muhammad had no part to play in the actual final decision of the punishment and the punishment awarded by Sa'ad was completely in line with the teachings of the Torah which the Jews of the Banu Quraiza followed. Had they accepted the Prophet’s decision, the worst they could have expected was expulsion.
Was Muhammad a true Prophet?
There can be no doubt that Muhammad was a true Prophet. Despite some detractors attempting to prove otherwise, we find that his life and noble character was in line with all great Prophets of the past. In fact, such was his success, spiritual power and influence that he managed to bring an entire nation out of the pits of ignorance and barbarity and made them into a highly developed moral, spiritual and intellectual people.
If Muhammad, as some Christians allege was (God forbid) a false Prophet then do they really believe that God would allow a false Prophet succeed?
The Bible foretold of Muhammad and his greatness and successes:
[Qur'an 7:158] ‘Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet, the Immaculate one, whom they find mentioned in the Torah and the Gospel'.
But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14-26)
And he said, the Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; and shined forth from Mount Paran and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. (Deuteronomy 33:2)
These two biblical prophecies can only refer to Muhammad as it was Muhammad who claimed to have taught all things ie. he brought the final and complete law. And who else was it who came from the Mouth Paran with 10,000 Muslim saints? None other than the Holy Prophet of Islam.
Muhammad gave up everything, suffered and strove immensely for this cause, if he truly wasn't sent by God he would never have had the determination to keep on going despite huge setbacks, ridicule, persecution and exile.
And a prophet comes and shows many signs and makes many prophecies. The Prophet frequently showed signs such as the splitting of the moon [Qur'an 52:2, Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 388:], the miracle of feeding many people from one cup of milk [Bukhari Volume 7 Book 65 Number 287], healing his followers [Bukhari Volume 5 Book 57 Number 51], taking his followers from success to success and the best of them all, the Holy Qur'an which contains so many truths and prophecies which could not possibly have been known or guessed by anyone at that time, certainly not an illiterate orphaned desert Arab 1400 years ago. Such is the style, composition and composition of the Qur'an that it could not have come from anyone else but God. Indeed had it been from anyone else, there would be many contradictions yet since it's revelation, not one contradiction has been found nor has anyone ever been able to produce the like, capable of inspiring billions, reforming and educating while cleansing the soul. The Qur'an is Muhammad’s greatest miracle.
Then there is the proof of his life prior to becoming a Prophet. He is instructed by God to say, 'I have lived a whole lifetime among you before this, will you not the understand?' [Qur’an 10:17]
The Prophet spent 40 years before his claim of Prophethood among his people. Such were his morals and his purity that they named him 'the truthful, the trustworthy. He lived a pure, chaste and noble life. Those who were to become his enemies later testified to his truth, how can it be that a man who spends a lifetime speaking the truth about people, suddenly starts to lie about God? Furthermore God says in the Qur’an that had he (Muhammad) attributed anything false to God, then God would have severed his life artery and not left anything of his mission. [Qur’an. 69:45-48]
The bottom line is that God does not allow false Prophets to succeed in the least; he takes their life in a very short space of time, exposes them and completely destroys their works. In another place God tells us in the Qur'an that 'He does not speak out of his own desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed.' [Holy Quran 53:4-5]
Some try and assert that he was a madman or deluded:
'Thou art not, by the grace of thy Lord, a madman. And for thee, most surely, there is an unending reward. And thou dost surely possess high moral excellences.' [Qur’an 68:3-5]
A deluded or mad man does not continue to have the kind of successes which Muhammad achieved as eventually he is found out and exposed. Nor does any such person exhibit the high moral excellences which the Prophet demonstrated.
Muhammad spoke words of wisdom and sense, of justice and peace. A deluded or mad man does not have the intellectual power, spiritual influence and moral superiority to guide and lead a whole nation, raising them from the dregs and dirt of humanity to the stars and shining lights of mankind.
All this was due to Muhammad. He gave humanity the perfect codes of conduct and taught man the reason for their existence - to get to know their Creator. He taught man the way to reach God and set such high examples that by following him Muslims reached the heights of this world as well as the spiritual world. His mercy and compassion over-awed his doubters and his forgiveness melted the hearts of his enemies. His bravery, determination and fortitude gave strength to his followers and his signs and speech inspired a nation, his spiritual power rejuvenated people after people and still does so today.
Today he has come again in the person of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), his most devote follower and humble admirer. It is through him and his community that once again the message of the true Islam is re-instilled in to the hearts of willing receivers. This is the time of Prophet Muhammad’s final and ultimate victory, this is the time for people rejoice, this is the era of hope not despair. Muhammad the noble, humble, merciful and great Prophet has come again to the world, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him forever.
May Allah enable the world to receive his message with as much compassion and love he had for God's creatures, and may Allah enable us all to follow his way and be his true servants.