The Information Superhighway and the Death of Mohammedanism
By David Wood
Heinrich Heine once wrote a clever poem titled “Marie Antoinette,” in which the ghost of everyone’s favorite French queen entertains her guests with “strictest etiquette.” The irony of the poem is that neither Antoinette nor her guests realize that their heads are missing. They were all beheaded during the French Revolution, but without their heads, they don’t have the brains to acknowledge their headlessness.
Islam is currently in a similar situation. Muhammad’s empire of faith has managed to thrive in the modern world for one simple reason: Muslims have kept Muhammad’s dark past a secret. Indeed, they have gone beyond keeping it a secret; they have somehow convinced themselves (and many others) that Muhammad was an outstanding moral example, perhaps even the greatest moral example of all time. Perpetuating this fraud has been, in my opinion, the most stupendous deception in world history.
True, there are plenty of instances in Muhammad’s life that one could view as the deeds of a moral individual, and Muslims are quick to point out his acts of charity and his dedication to prayer. However, in assessing the overall character of a man, we must take into account all of his actions, not just the ones that support our feelings about him. For instance, suppose I become convinced that the greatest person in history was a man named John Gacy. I could point to his charity work at local hospitals, to his activities in the Boy Scouts and the Jaycees, to his patient endurance of numerous physical ailments, to his community activities such as neighborhood barbecues and other social gatherings, to his generosity to others, to his dedication to his family, and to his outstanding work ethic, which made him one of the pillars of his local business community. Yet, if I am to make a case for the moral superiority of Mr. Gacy, I must not leave out the fact that he raped, tortured, and murdered more than thirty boys and buried them under his house.
I bring this up because of the peculiar tactic employed by Muslims whenever the character of Muhammad is challenged. When someone argues that Muhammad was a robber or a murderer, Muslims suddenly cry out in one accord, “But he was merciful and kind! He started Islam, and Islam is good! God revealed the Qur’an through him! How dare you say something bad about him!? He was the greatest prophet ever! Stop being so intolerant!” The difficulty here is that, no matter how loudly a Muslim shouts these objections, they have no power to overcome the historical fact that Muhammad was a robber and a murderer. Yet, to a Muslim who already believes that Muhammad was a prophet, the Islamic line of reasoning apparently makes sense. Nevertheless, to anyone who is not a committed Muslim, any claim to moral superiority will be an empirical issue, that is, a matter of examining and weighing the evidence.
Tragically, examining the evidence is something that most Muslims seem unwilling to do. In fact, Muslims have been so persistent in ignoring the facts about their prophet that the Muhammad now proclaimed by Islam bears little resemblance to the man who preached in Arabia more than thirteen centuries ago. For example, Abul A’la Mawdudi presents the following picture of Muhammad:
He is entirely different from the people among whom he is born and with whom he spends his youth and early manhood. He never tells a lie. The whole nation is unanimous in testifying to his truthfulness. . . . He is the very embodiment of modesty in the midst of a society which is immodest to the core. . . . He helps the orphans and the widows. He is hospitable to travelers. He harms no one . . . [He] is such a lover of peace that his heart melts for the people when they take up arms and cut each other’s throats. . . . In brief, the towering and radiant personality of this man, in the midst of such a corrupted and dark environment, may be likened to a beacon-light brightening a pitch-dark night or to a diamond in a heap of dead stones. . . . [After he begins to deliver the message of Islam the] ignorant nation turns against him. Abuses and stones are showered at his august person. Every conceivable torture and cruelty is perpetrated upon him. . . . Can anyone ever imagine a higher example of self-sacrifice, brotherliness and kind-heartedness towards his fellow beings than that a man would ruin his happiness for the good of others, while those very people for whose betterment he is striving should stone him, abuse him, banish him, and give him no quarter even in his exile, and that, in spite of this all, he should refuse to stop working for their well being? . . . When he began preaching his Message, all of Arabia stood in awe and wonder and was bewitched by his wonderful eloquence and oratory. It was so impressive and captivating that his worst enemies were afraid of hearing it, lest it should penetrate deep into the recesses of their hearts and carry them off their feet making them forsake their old religion and culture. It was so matchless that the whole legion of Arab poets, preachers, and speakers of the highest caliber failed to bring forth its equivalent. . . . This reserved and quiet man who, for a full forty years, never gave any indication of political interest or activity, suddenly appeared on the stage of the world as such a great political reformer and statesman that without the aid of radio, telephone and press, he brought together the scattered inhabitants of a desert extending across twelve hundred thousand square miles. He joined together a people who were warlike, ignorant, unruly, uncultured, and plunged in self-destructive trivial warfare—under one banner, one law, one religion, one culture, one civilization, and one form of government. . . . He accomplished this feat not through any lure, oppression or cruelty, but by his captivating manner, his winsome personality, and the conviction of his teaching. With his noble and gentle behavior, he befriended even his enemies. He captured the hearts of the people with his boundless sympathy and human kindness. . . . He did not oppress even his deadly enemies, men who had sworn to kill him . . . He forgave them all when he triumphed over them. He never took revenge on anyone for his personal grievances. He never retaliated against anyone for the wrongs perpetrated on him. . . . It was he who turned the course of human thought away from superstition, the unnatural and the unexplainable, towards a logical approach illustrating a love for truth and a balanced worldly life. . . . In the cavalcade of world history, the sublime figure of this wonderful person towers so high above all the great men of all times that they appear to be dwarfs when contrasted to him. . . . Can anyone cite another example of a maker of history of such distinction, another revolutionary of such brilliance and splendor?
This is actually a very condensed version of Mawdudi’s reverent depiction of his beloved prophet, but it accurately reflects the Islamic conception of Muhammad. The problem, of course, is that this conception is horribly inaccurate. The historical Muhammad (that is, the Muhammad we can know about through history) was psychologically unstable, brutal towards his enemies, and, according to some, sexually perverted. This isn’t to say that Muhammad was all bad. He wasn’t, and Mawdudi is correct in maintaining that Muhammad’s character played a role in converting people to Islam. Even so, while Muhammad may have had many redeeming features, some of his less admirable characteristics are difficult to ignore. Consider the following facts about the life of Muhammad, which can be gathered from the reports of his earliest followers:
Fact #1: When Muhammad began receiving his revelations, his first impression was that he was possessed by demons. The “angel” who appeared to Muhammad choked him almost to the point of death. Muhammad concluded that he was demon-possessed and quickly became suicidal. This wasn’t the first time a person thought that Muhammad was under demonic influence, however. Ibn Ishaq tells us that Muhammad’s childhood nurse also believed that he was demon-possessed. Thus, both the woman who raised him and Muhammad himself held (if only for a short time) that he was possessed by demons. Further, throughout his life, Muhammad believed that he was the victim of magic spells cast by his enemies, who were somehow able to torment God’s chosen prophet through their incantations:
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated: Magic was worked on Allah’s Apostle (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) so that he used to think that he had had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not. Then one day he said, “O Aisha, do you know that Allah has instructed me concerning the matter I asked Him about? Two men came to me and one of them sat near my head and the other sat near my feet. The one near my head asked the other: ‘What is wrong with this man?’ The latter replied, ‘He is under the effect of magic.’ The first one asked, ‘Who has worked magic on him?’ The other replied, ‘Labid bin Al-Asam, a man from Bani Zuraiq who was an ally of the Jews and was a hypocrite.’ The first one asked, ‘What material did he use?’ The other replied, ‘A comb and the hair stuck to it.’”
(For more on Muhammad, magic, and demons, see “The Bewitched Prophet.”)
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