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Muhammad Does not Embody Islam, Let Alone Muslims

Muhammad Does not Embody Islam, Let Alone Muslims


Published in December 9, 2007

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy




 The last divine, celestial message of God, i.e., the Quran, is preserved by God Himself from any distortion to its text, so that it will remain the criterion for people until the end of days. Most 'Muslims' (or rather Muhammadans) overlook pondering one aspect of the Quranic verses: the ones reproaching prophets and messengers in general and Muhammad in particular; the Muhammadans ignore such verses because their earthly religions sanctify and deify prophets and messengers as immortal and infallible beings, and the same for them applies to 'saints', imams, clergymen, disciples/companions of prophets, etc. Thus, pondering verses containing rebuke addressed to Muhammad and other prophets would undermine their being deities for the Muhammadans. Let us explain this point further below in detail in relation to the Quran.      


 If prophets and messengers as well as good/bad people were embodying or representing God's religion, there would not be judgment in the Hereafter. Judgment, and resulting reward or punishment, entails a gap between Quranic/divine commands and their application by individuals as per their carrying degrees of application. This includes prophets and messengers, because they will be judged just like the rest of human beings: "We will question those to whom messengers were sent, and We will question the messengers." (7:6). This verse indicates that messengers and the rest of humanity are equal in terms of being judged on the Last Day; and the verse 7:6 shows more emphasis on judgment of messengers as they are mentioned apart from billions of human beings. God has commanded Muhammad to adhere only to the Quran: "So adhere to what is revealed to you. You are upon a straight path." (43:43). And Muhammad is made on equal footing with his people in responsibility and judgment: "It is a message for you, and for your people; and you will be questioned." (43:44). Again judgment of Muhammad is emphasized by setting him apart from and equal to the rest of people in relation to being judged on the Last Day.


 There is a difference within the Arabic/Quranic terms "prophet" (i.e., Nabbi) and "messenger" (i.e., Rasool) in relation to Muhammad. The term 'prophet' refers to Muhammad Ibn Abdullah in his private life and matters as well as his relations with other people around him and his human behavior based on his own choices, and some acts he did entailed being reproached by God in the Quran as a prophet, such as follows: " O prophet! Why do you prohibit what God has permitted for you, seeking to please your wives?!..." (66:1). All prophets as human beings must never commit injustices, or else, they will be punished by God: "It is not for a prophet to act dishonestly. Whoever acts dishonestly will bring his dishonesty on the Day of Resurrection. Then every soul will be paid in full for what it has earned, and they will not be wronged." (3:161). When Muhammad did the mistake of asking God's pardon for some of his polytheistic paternal relatives, God has rebuked him as well: "It is not for the prophet and those who believe to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they are near relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are people of Hellfire." (9:113). God accepted the repentance of Muhammad and the early believers as they erred in one situation within a battle of self-defense endeavors: " God has accepted the repentance of the prophet, and the emigrants, and the supporters - those who followed him in the hour of difficulty - after the hearts of some of them almost swerved. Then He pardoned them. He is Kind towards them, Compassionate." (9:117). God has commanded Muhammad as a prophet to adhere to piety and never to obey polytheists: "O prophet! Fear God, and do not obey the unbelievers and the hypocrites. God is Knowledgeable and Wise.  And follow what is revealed to you from your Lord. God is fully aware of what you do. And put your trust in God. God is enough as a trustee." (33:1-3). Again, Muhammad is described as a prophet {i.e. mortal human being and a free agent} in relation to his daily life with his wives: "O prophet! Say to your wives, "If you desire the life of this world and its finery, then let me compensate you, and release you kindly." (33:28); "The prophet told something in confidence to one of his wives..." (66:3); "O wives of the prophet! Whoever of you commits a proven indecency, the punishment for her will be doubled. And that would be easy for God." (33:30); "O wives of the prophet! You are not like any other women, if you observe piety..." (33:32). Again Muhammad is described as a prophet within his relations with others: "O prophet! Tell your wives, and your daughters, and the women of the believers..." (33:59); "The Prophet is more caring of the believers than they are of themselves, and his wives are mothers to them..." (33:6); "O you who believe! Do not enter the homes of the prophet, unless you are given permission to come..." (33:53); "...And a faction of them asked the prophet to excuse them..." (33:13). Hence, the term ''prophet'' refers to the mortal human being named Muhammad in his daily life, behavior, actions, relations, etc. And as a prophet, he has been commanded in the Quran to follow only the Quranic revelation. As for the term "messenger", it refers to Muhammad only as he recited the Quranic verses to be obeyed by real believers who seek to obey, gratify, and please God: "We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by God's leave..." (4:64); "Whoever obeys the messenger is obeying God. And whoever turns away-We did not send you as a watcher over them." (4:80). Hence, to obey the Quran conveyed to Muhammad is NOT to obey Muhammad as a mortal prophet but to obey God, and even Muhammad as a prophet has been commanded to obey the Quran. This means that the term ''messenger'' refers also to the "message"; the Quran itself, as in this verse: "Say, "Obey God and obey the messenger."..." (24:54). Hence, obeying the messenger (i.e., the Quranic message) is to obey God Himself, and NOT obeying Muhammad as the bearer or conveyor of the message: "...and obey the messenger, so that you may receive mercy." (24:56); this verse shows clearly and concisely that the term ''messenger'' means the Quranic message itself and not any human being, and to adhere to it means to obey God. and Muhammad as a prophet was the first person to obey the Quranic message; by the way, we never find in the Quran any commands to obey the 'prophet'', because the expected obedience is to the message (God's Word) and the Owner of the message (the Lord God) not to Muhammad a mortal person, and rebuke and reproach to Muhammad in the Quran are addressed to him as a prophet, NOT as the messenger (i.e., carrier of the message of the Quran, conveyed correctly by the grace of God). Muhammad could never have erred in conveying the message, but as a human being, his faults are rebuked by the Lord. Even obeying Muhammad is linked to his obedience of and adherence to Quranic sharia: "O prophet! If believing women come to you, pledging allegiance to you, on condition that they will not associate anything with God, nor steal, nor commit adultery, nor kill their children, nor commit perjury as to parenthood, nor disobey you in anything righteous, accept their allegiance and ask God's forgiveness for them. God is Forgiving and Merciful." (60:12). In the phrase "...nor disobey you in anything righteous...", we discern clearly how obeying Muhammad was only in relation to Quranic commands of God, and such verses are never embodied in a person.


  Prophets are human beings liable to commit mistakes and errors just like the rest of people. let us tackle this topic the following points.    

1- Prophets are human souls, and God says the following about all human souls, including prophets: "And the soul and He who proportioned it. And inspired it with its wickedness and its righteousness. Successful is he who purifies it. Failing is he who corrupts it." (91:7-10).

2- Prophets are included in the Quranic term ''people'', as in the following verse: "If God were to punish the people for what they have earned, He would not leave a single living creature on its surface..." (35:45).

3- Prophets are included in the Quranic term "human being" as in the following verses: "Indeed, the human being is ungrateful to his Lord. And he bears witness to that. And he is fierce in his love of wealth." (100:6-8); "In fact, a human being oversteps all bounds" (96:6); "Perish human being! How thankless he is!" (80:17).


  Yet, prophets as mortal human beings are the best of all people because God has chosen them for the mission of being inspired by Him to convey the divine message: "God chooses messengers from among the angels, and from among the people. God is Hearing and Seeing." (22:75); God chooses the best of all human beings: "...God knows best where to place His message..." (6:124). Besides, God sent prophets/messengers from among their peoples/nations: "It is He who sent among the gentiles a messenger from themselves..." (62:2); "Say, "If there were angels on earth, walking around in peace, We would have sent down to them from heaven an angel messenger."" (17:95). Furthermore, God teaches prophets: "And thus your Lord will choose you, and will teach you the interpretation of events..." (12:6); God has said the following to Muhammad: "Were it not for God's grace towards you, and His mercy, a faction of them would have managed to mislead you. But they only mislead themselves, and they cannot harm you in any way. God has revealed to you the Scripture and wisdom, and has taught you what you did not know. God's goodness towards you is great." (4:113).  Within the context of 4:113, we know how Muhammad was deceived into defending the unjust party against the wronged one as facts were deliberately hidden from him by the unjust party and God has rebuked him in the Quranic revelation; God thus tells us that Muhammad as a mortal human beings sometimes erred.


 The only thing in which Muhammad never erred is conveying the Quranic message intact in its entirety, and the divine revelation guided, disciplined and directed him: "Whatever good happens to you is from God, and whatever bad happens to you is from your own self. We sent you to humanity as a messenger, and God is Witness enough." (4:79). God forgave Muhammad all his sins and mistakes, this means he did made some during his lifetime: "That God may forgive you your sin, past and to come, and complete His favors upon you, and guide you in a straight path." (48:2). God has commanded Muhammad to declare that his being guided only through God's revelation: "Say, "If I err, I err only to my own loss; but if I am guided, it is by what my Lord inspires me..." (34:50).


 Within the frame of guiding, directing, and teaching prophets to be able to assume their mission, we read in the Quranic stories about them some of their mistakes and how they repented; such stories taught Muhammad and teach us that prophets are human beings who might err despite their being inspired by God. God has commanded Muhammad to declare his being a human being: "Say, "I am only a human being like you, being inspired that your god is One God. Whoever hopes to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and never associate anyone with the service of his Lord."" (18:110). This verse is rejected by the Muhammadans who deify and sanctify Muhammad as an infallible and immortal deity. God is the Only One who never errs, and we glorify the Lord by saying (Praised and Sanctified be His Name) because He never makes mistakes like human beings and has no descriptions fit or human beings. God is Perfect, Infallible, Glorified, Holy, and Saint; and anyone ascribing such epithets to mortals are polytheists who associate 'holy' deities/partners/saints to God in His divinity.          


 Islam in the Quran consists of commands and prohibitions, and if Muhammad were infallible and obeying the Quran in an absolutely manner, he would have been regarded as the epitome of Islam. In fact, Muhammad was a mortal human being just like the rest of all people, with the only difference that he received divine inspiration from God; he did not embody Islam but has been commanded in the Quran to follow the divine revelation: "Follow what was revealed to you from your Lord. There is no God but He. And turn away from the polytheists." (6:106); "And follow what is revealed to you, and be patient until God issues His judgment, for He is the Best of judges." (10:109); "And follow what is revealed to you from your Lord..." (33:2). God has commanded Muhammad to declare his adherence to the Quran: "Say, "I do not say to you that I possess the treasuries of God, nor do I know the future, nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I only follow what is inspired to me."..." (6:50); "...Say, "I only follow what is inspired to me from my Lord." These are insights from your Lord, and guidance, and mercy, for a people who believe." (7:203); "...Say, "It is not for me to change it of my own accord. I only follow what is revealed to me. I fear, if I disobeyed my Lord, the torment of a terrible Day."" (10:15); "Say, "I am not different from the other messengers; and I do not know what will be done with me, or with you. I only follow what is inspired in me, and I am only a clear warner."" (46:9). Within his obeying God's commands, Muhammad was a human being who made mistakes sometimes and made things right in other times. Many Quranic verses contain reproach addressed to him and many other contain praise for him; praise is found in 48:18, 9:88-92, and 9:43, but sever rebuke is exemplified in the following verses: "...And you feared the people, but it was God you were supposed to fear..." (33:37); and in his coming nearer to the sin of compulsion in religion: "Had your Lord willed, everyone on earth would have believed. Will you compel people to become believers?" (10:99). His mistake of being saddened by stubbornness of his people is addressed by God who has told him to calm himself in 18:6, 35:8, 11:12, 16:127, 15:97, 3:176, 5:41, and 6:33. God has reproached Muhammad for his driving away some poor believers from his presence to appeal to the affluent ones; see 18:28, 6:52, and 80:1.        


  When we ponder deeply on the previous verses, we discern that repeated commands addressed to Muhammad imply that he did NOT obey all the time, and he committed the mistakes several times and consequently had to be rebuked several times as well. When Muhammad turned away from the blind man to appeal to the affluent ones to convince them to convert (see 80:1-10), God has rebuked him. Muhammad forgot and repeated the same mistake and God has commanded to be patient with the impecunious and poor believers and never to leave their company to get nearer to the affluent powerful ones who resisted Islam and its higher values esp. justice: "And content yourself with those who pray to their Lord morning and evening, desiring His Presence. And do not turn your eyes away from them, desiring the glitter of this world. And do not obey him whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance-so he follows his own desires-and his priorities are confused." (18:28). Muhammad did not heed the command as he drove away the poor believers out of his presence to get nearer to the affluent Meccans yet again, hoping they would help him to spread Islam; God has told him again: "And do not drive away those who call upon their Lord, morning and evening, seeking His attention. You are not accountable for them in any way, nor are they accountable for you in any way. If you drive them away, you would be one of the unjust." (6:52). The affluent disbelievers ridiculed the Quran in the presence of Muhammad and God repeatedly (because he did not obey at once) has commanded him to move away from them in case they mocked the Quran: "So leave them to blunder and play, until they encounter their Day which they are promised." (43:83 + 70:42); God has reproached him severely for disobedience in this respect: "When you encounter those who gossip about Our revelations, turn away from them, until they engage in another topic. But should Satan make you forget, do not sit after the recollection with the wicked people. The righteous are in no way accountable for them; it is only a reminder, that they may be careful. So leave alone those who take their religion for play and pastime, and whom the worldly life has deceived. But remind with it, lest a soul becomes damned on account of what it has earned. It has no helper or intercessor besides God..." (6:68-70). Eventually, Muhammad obeyed God in this respect, but some early believers and hypocrites of Yathreb disobeyed the same command and God has reminded them of it: "He has revealed to you in the Book that when you hear God's revelations being rejected, or ridiculed, do not sit with them until they engage in some other subject. Otherwise, you would be like them. God will gather the hypocrites and the disbelievers, into Hell, altogether." (4:140). Thus, Muhammad as a human being did mistakes that entailed reproach and good deeds that entailed praise in the Quran, and in both cases, he represented himself as person, not embodying Islam; see 34:50 and 4:79.     


 Prophets are role-models and imams for the rest of the human beings and imitating them is NOT absolute, but linked to divine revelation and in certain stances and situations when they applied divine revelations in the best possible manner. Let us provide some examples below.

1- God has commanded Muhammad to imitate guidance of previous prophets who are guided by the revelations granted to them by God: "Those are they whom God has guided, so follow their guidance. Say, "I ask of you no compensation for it; it is just a reminder for all humankind."" (6:90); hence, he was not to follow persons but to follow divine guidance.  

2- God has commanded Muhammad to imitate guidance of Abraham in a certain situation/stance not to follow Abraham as a person: "You have had an excellent example in Abraham and those with him; when they said to their people, "We are quit of you, and what you worship apart from God. We denounce you. Enmity and hatred has surfaced between us and you, forever, until you believe in God alone." Except for the words of Abraham to his father, "I will ask forgiveness for you, though I have no power from God to do anything for you." "Our Lord, in You we trust, and to You we repent, and to You is the ultimate resort." (60:4). Later on, Muhammad forgot and asked God's pardon for some of his paternal relatives who were polytheists and God rebuked him for it and reminded him of Abraham's stance: "It is not for the Prophet and those who believe to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they are near relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are people of Hellfire. Abraham asked forgiveness for his father only because of a promise he had made to him. But when it became clear to him that he was an enemy of God, he disowned him. Abraham was kind and clement. God would never lead a people astray, after He had guided them, until He makes clear to them what they should guard against. God has knowledge of all things." (9:113-115).   

3- Likewise, God commands real believers to imitate good stances of Muhammad (as a messenger not a prophet) mentioned in the Quran: "You have an excellent example in the messenger of God; for anyone who seeks God and the Last Day, and remembers God frequently." (33:21).

4- Consequently, we can hardly imagine God wanting us to imitate behavior of Muhammad as a prophet in mistakes he did and was rebuked because of them in the Quran, such as "O prophet! Why do you prohibit what God has permitted for you, seeking to please your wives?!..." (66:1).   


In the celestial religion of Islam (i.e., only the Quran), Muhammad does NOT represent or embody Islam, although he was the prophet/messenger who conveyed the message of Islam; hence, no one after his death would dare to claim to be the epitome of Islam. Within the earthly, man-made, fabricated religions, their imams are their owners and authors, and followers deem them as if unerring infallible; hence, it is blasphemy to criticize deeds/words of such imams and clergy. We as a Quranist thinker has been persecuted because we criticize and refute Al-Bokhary and his likes and the so-called companions of the prophet, whom the Muhammadans made as representatives of Islam. Some secular atheists repeat this falsehood to vivify and undermine Islam; if they were fair, they would have criticized the earthly religions of Sufis, Sunnites, and Shiites and never to ascribe their traditions to Islam; but atheists hate Islam so much and their whims make them ascribe falsehoods of the earthly religions of Sufis, Sunnites, and Shiites to Islam by force while deeming the so-called companions of Muhammad as if they were representatives of how Islam would be applied. Hence, this article will never be liked by both Salafists and secular atheists; despite the fact that both are foes/enemies of each other, they are united in their stance against the Quranic Truth and against Quranist reformist thinkers.            

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