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Bible Contradictions Internal Contradictions Of The Bible The Bible

Did Jesus, Mary And Joseph Go To Egypt Or To Nazareth?

In Matthew 2:14, we are told that Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Egypt:

    Did Jesus, Mary and Joseph go to Egypt or to Nazareth? 1
    “When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.”

Yet in Luke 2:39, they went to Nazareth after Jesus’ birth:

    Did Jesus, Mary and Joseph go to Egypt or to Nazareth? 2
    “And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.”

It does not need a rocket scientist to inform us that these verses are contradictory and hence irreconcilable.

In their alleged reply to this irreconcilable error, the missionaries made the claim that:

    Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem to present the new born infant in the temple. From there, they went back to their home in Nazareth. A short time later, the holy family decided to return to Joseph’s ancestral hometown and Jesus’ birthplace, namely Bethlehem in Judea. This is where Matthew picks up. When the Magi found the child Jesus, he was already up to two years old. Being told in a dream about Herod’s desire to kill the child, Joseph left his home and took his family to Egypt until the death of Herod. Fearing that Herod’s son Archelaus would search them out if they returned to Bethlehem, the holy family once again returned to Nazareth and settled there.

We do not accept this explanation, simply because the two narratives in Matthew and Luke are vastly different in a number of details. As Brown himself notes:

…the two narratives are not only different – they are contrary to each other in a number of details. According to Luke 1:26 and 2:39 Mary lives in Nazareth , and so the census of Augustus is invoked to explain how the child was born in Bethlehelm, away from home. In Matthew there is no hint of a coming to Bethlehem, for Joseph and Mary are in a house at Bethlehem were seemingly Jesus was born (2:11). The only journey that Matthew has to explain is why the family went to Nazareth when they came from Egypt instead of returning to their native Bethlehem (2:22-39); this is irreconcilable with Matthew’s implication (2:16) that the child was almost two years old when the family fled from Bethlehem to Egypt and even older when the family came back from Egypt and moved to Nazareth…one must be ruled out, i.e., that both accounts are completely historical.1

In other words, only one of these narratives can be accepted as factual, and not both at the same time. Do note that Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem (2:6), the family’s flight to Egypt (2:14), Herod’s slaughter of the innocent children of Bethlehem (2:18), and the family’s decision to relocate in Nazareth (2:23) occur only in Matthew. Therefore, the more important question is if the missionary is bothered to know the fact that Luke, Mark and John do not mention these significant events. How could they miss mentioning these if they really did happen? Since the gospels circulated independently for quite some time, that means that many of the earliest Christians never got the oppurtunity to know of these stories. Those reading Luke, Mark and John, while they were independently circulating, certainly would not know of them.

Also, commenting upon the story in Matthew, Brown noted the following:

[t]here is no remembrance in the accounts of the ministry of Jesus of such an extraordinary event in this background [the flight to Egypt and massacre at Bethlehem – ed.], and a journey to Egypt is quite irreconcilable with Luke’s account of an orderly and uneventful return from Bethehem to Nazareth shortly after the birth of the child. An attempt has been made to detect independent support for an Egyptian sojourn in the Jewish stories of the second century which have Jesus going to Egypt…However, these stories introduce Egypt as a place where Jesus or his mother sought refuge because of the scandalous (adulterous) character of his birth and as a place where he became adept in black magic which he then used to decieve people. Most likely this is a Jewish polemic against the Gospel picture of Jesus (including the Matthean infancy narrative) and can scarcely be invoked as independent support for the historicity of that picture.2

It also needs to be noted that concerning Raymond Brown, his work on the infancy is the single most authoritative book on the subject, and he himself is a believing Christian scholar of immense repute. Now, if believing Christians cannot agree among themselves if certain passages are contradictory or not, then the missionary should first attempt to convince his own Christian scholars before worrying too much about the Muslims. The fact that Christians scholars themself hotly disagree on this matter indicates the problematic nature of the two accounts.

McDonald and Porter, two believing Christian scholars, also noted the differences in the narratives:

When we compare the birth stories in Matthew and Luke, we see that Matthew focuses on royalty (birth in a house, not a stable: the special gifts of the Magi from the east), while Luke focuses on the lowliness of the birth (the poor shepherds coming to the manger scene to witness the new birth: no room for Jesus in the inn). According to Matthew, evidently Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem after Jesus’ birth, and only after the threat to the life of the newborn child did they consider leaving Bethlehem, going first of all to Egypt and then to Nazareth. Luke tells nothing of the threat to Jesus’ life and indicates that Joseph and Mary originally came from Nazareth and returned there only after all that was necessary regarding purification and dedication of the child in the temple had taken place. Why does Matthew have Jesus taken down to Egypt while Luke simply says that Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth with their child? In Matt 2:22. Joseph was warned in a dream to go to Nazareth to avoid dealing with Herod Archelaus. Nothing of this kind of threat is found in Luke, Luke says nothing of the massacre of children in Matt 2. Why are these birth and infancy narratives so different? These questions are not easily answered, but it is probable that the construction of each of these accounts was based on a different theological agenda. Meier says that the point of these widely differing stories is that the church, not Mary or Jesus, wished to make the major theological point that “what Jesus Christ was fully revealed to be at the resurrection (Son of David, Son of God by the Power of the Holy Spirit) he really was from his conception onward.” Because of the considerable differences in these narratives and because they appear to serve early church apologetics. Many, if not most, critical scholars do not see much historical evidence for the life of Jesus in the birth stories of Matthew and Luke. But if the criterion of multiple attestation is taken seriously in light of the fact that the birth stories of Matthew and Luke appear to represent independent traditions, much more credibility should be given to various dimensions of the account. There are basic facts, such as the agreement that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that Jesus’ birth took place during the reign of Herod the Great (Matt 2:1; Luke 1:50), who died ca. 5/4 B.C. There are also more significant factors-angelic visitations, the special circumstances of conception and visitors attesting to the special qualities of this child that should not be neglected. These point to the significance of Jesus for both Matthew and Luke.3

Again we note that Christians scholars have admitted the fact that there are significant and considerable differences in the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke. McDonald and Porter argue that the points where Matthew and Luke agree are historical, yet they do not deny that their stories nonetheless have many differences. If Matthew and Luke were using independent traditions, and if the reports and stories were true and historical, then how do we explain the presence of significant differences in their story of the birth of Jesus? As Raymond Brown mentions, Matthew and Luke had their theological agenda and views to sell, and so they coloured/tainted the reports and traditions to “prove” their theology. Obviously both reports cannot be true, one of them is fiction, or both are fictitious containing an element of historical truth in them.

In light of these evidence, we thus conclude that the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke are undoubtedly contradictory to one another, and this is hence a irreconcilable error. And only God knows best. Did Jesus, Mary and Joseph go to Egypt or to Nazareth? 3

Addendum: Responding To A Missionary Obfuscation

Naturally, the missionaries, as per their tradition of welling hatred towards the noble Qur’an, attempt to erect this straw-man in order to avoid the embarrassment of the irreconcilable error in the birth narratives of Jesus. Our answer to the provocative Christian missionary questioning follows.

    How do you explain that in the Quran the person of Mary’s husband Joseph as well as the towns of Nazareth, Bethlehem and the journey to Egypt all disappeared?

According to the various scholars of the Bible, the above are fiction invented by the anonymous author of the Gospel according to Matthew. Therefore there is no point blaming the Qur’an for rightfully excluding these fiction. Therefore, what the Qur’an is “lacking” is fictitious stories concocted by the authors of the Gospels.

So the question that should be asked now is that did the journey ever take place or was it an invention of the anonymous gospel author to “prove” and make his theological point? It is important to note how the author of Matthew made use of the Jewish Bible and molded some of its contents to “prove” his theology. A male child is born to Jewish parents, a tyrant ruler (Herod) learns of this and sets out to destroy him. The child is supernaturally protected from harm and is taken to Egypt. He then leaves Egypt to pass through the waters (of baptism) and goes into wilderness to be tested for a long time. Later he goes up on a mountain and delivers God’s law to those who have been following him. We see that Matthew shaped the stories pertaining to Jesus(P) to “show” that Jesus'(P) life was a fulfillment of the stories of Moses(P) (cf. Exodus 1-20). Matthew’s target market were the Jewish readers. No one can ignore these parellels. Herod is made into a Pharoah-like ruler, Jesus’ baptism is like Moses crossing the Red Sea, the forty days of temptation are like the forty years the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, and the sermon on the mount is like the law of Moses delievered on Mount Sinai. Jesus(P) is therefore portrayed by Matthew as the “new” Moses, come to set his people free from their bondage and give them new law and teachings. In order to present this picture of Jesus(P), the author of Matthew had to colour the traditions he used. Therefore not everything within his gospel is historical.

    but has it ever bothered him that the Quran is lacking so much information?

No, it has never bothered us to know that the Qur’an lacks the fictitious information of the gospels. We hope that this answer satisfies the missionary.

A more important question is if it has ever bothered the missionary that Herod’s slaughter of the children of Bethlehem is not mentioned in Luke? How could something so significant escaped the notice of Luke, who is supposed to be a “reliable” historian, and even Mark? What about the visit of the Magi, why is that only mentioned in Matthew and not in the other gospels? Why did the other gospels fail to mention such an important story in their writings if it did take place? Matthew even states that the King and all Jerusalem was upset over the birth of the Messiah in Jerusalem! If this is historical, then why has it not left any traces in Jewish records and elsewhere in the New Testament?

    This is all the more striking in this case, since the vast majority of all verses in the Quran speaking about Jesus deal with his miraculous birth.

The verses of the Qur’an dealing with the birth of the Messiah, Jesus(P) are collected here. The Qur’an mentions the miraculous birth of Jesus(P), that he was born to a virgin, and mentions that he was not the divine son of God or God, that he asked people to worship God whom he worshipped and accept him as His messenger. The Qur’an stays to the point, does not mention the fictions within the gospels, states who Jesus(P) was and rejects the lies attributed to him by the Christians, unlike the gospels whose anonymous authors had to distort traditions to “prove” and “support” their theology.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Did Jesus, Mary And Joseph Go To Egypt Or To Nazareth?," in Bismika Allahuma, October 15, 2005, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/bible/egypt-or-nazareth/
  1. Raymond E. Brown, The Birth Of The Messiah (Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1997), p. 36 []
  2. ibid., pp. 225-226 []
  3. Lee Martin Mc Donald & Stanley E. Porter, Early Christianity and Its Sacred Literature (Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 2000), p. 122 []
Categories
Polemical Rebuttals

The Consensus On Homosexuality And The Illiteracy Of Christian Polemicists

Among the most laughable arguments of Christian missionaries and atheists is their argument to show that Islam does not prohibit homosexuality and that it is permissible in Islam. This is indeed an ideal example of how ignorance and incompetence can make a person become a joke before his opponents. In order to dispel the Islamic illiteracy of these types of people, we are providing an educational guide to those who ignore that homosexuality is utterly prohibited and given the capital punishment in Islam.

Before we bring our legal proof that homosexuality is prohibited and punishable in Islam, let us think logically: does not homosexuality fall under the category of adultery? Is it not correct to say that adultery — by definition — is the sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons, which thus implicitly includes homosexuality? Unless you provide evidence that Islam permits the marriage of two men, we can logically consider it a subcategory under adultery.

Homosexuality is described as lewdness in the Qur’an. Grand Imam al-Shanqiti explains:

The Almighty said, “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you?” (al-A’raf: 80). Allah has explained that what is meant by lewdness is sodomy, for He said after that, “For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women.” And He clarified that by saying, “Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males” and by saying “and practice wickedness (even) in your councils?”1

Ibn Kathir notes:

It is meant that homosexuality is the worst abomination. It was not known among the Arabs of the past, as their ignorance of it was mentioned by more than one of them. Therefore, al-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik said, “If Allah Almighty did not narrate to us the story of the people of Lut, I would have never thought that a man could be on top of another man.” And in the hadith reported by Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, the Prophet (saws) said, “If you find someone committing the act of the people of Lut, kill both participants.” This was narrated by the people of sunan, and was rated authentic by Ibn Habban and others. The Prophet (saws) cursed three times those who commit the act of the people of Lut, and he never cursed anyone for sin three times, except those who do this. He commanded the participants to be killed, for they are not worthy to live among the people because they are corrupt in their actions and sinful in their hearts. Whoever has this likeness, there is nothing within them that is beneficial for creation if they remain. So if Allah saves us from them, our faith and lives will be more righteous. But the curse is to be expelled and made distant. So whoever was expelled and made distant from Allah, His Messenger, His Book and His righteous servants, there is no good in him or in coming near to him. 2

Please ponder upon this insightful quotation of Ibn Kathir; for he does not just inform us about the ugliness of this form of lewdness and its penalty, he also provides the legal and rational explanation for its penalty and tells us why its participant should be exterminated.

Ibn Hazm clearly states:

The act of the people of Lut is from the grievous sins, the most forbidden depravities like eating pork, carrion, or blood, drinking, adultery, and the rest of these disobediences. Anyone who allows it or allows anything from what we have mentioned is a kafir. But the people disagreed regarding the penalty.3

And Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah says:

In regards to sodomy, some scholars say its penalty is like the penalty of adultery, and some say it’s not. The truth is what the companions have agreed upon, that both should be killed, whether they were married or not. Truly the scholars of hadith narrated on behalf of Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, that the Prophet (saws) said, “If you find someone committing the acts of the people of Lut, kill both participants.” And Abu Daoud narrated on behalf of Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, that if the unmarried is found to be a sodomite he is to be stoned. And ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated something similar.

The Companions did not disagree on his killing, but they varied regarding the method. It is narrated on behalf of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, that he ordered him to be burned. And the others said that he should be killed: Some said that a wall should be pulled down upon him until he died, and some said that he should be imprisoned in the foulest place until death. And some said that he should be taken to the highest building and thrown down, then stoned, as Allah had done to the people of Lut. This is what most of the Salaf said. They said, because Allah had stoned the people of Lut, and He similarly allowed the stoning of the adulterer, so sodomites, whether slaves or freemen, should both be killed. But if one is an adult and the other juvenile, the juvenile should be punished without killing, and only the adult should be stoned. 4

So we inform the illiterate enemies of Islam that homosexuality is not only prohibited in Islam but considered one of the most grievous sins as well. The Prophet(P) commanded with killing its participants and cursed them three times, and he never cursed anyone for sin three times, except those who do this. The Prophet’s companions have agreed on killing whosoever do it, whether married or not, free or slave.

Muslim scholars of all times agreed upon condemning sodomy, Ibn Qudama says:

The scholars agree to warn against sodomy. Allah has spoken against it in His Book and the Messenger of Allah spoke against it. Allah Almighty says, “We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you?” (A’raf:80). And the Prophet said, “Allah has cursed those who commit the act of the people of Lut, Allah has cursed those who commit the act of the people of Lut, Allah has cursed those who commit the act of the people of Lut.”5

Abu al-Layth al-Samaqandi says:

Sodomy is forbidden because the Almighty said: “We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people, “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you?” (al-A’raf: 80). So He called it lewdness, and Allah Almighty has said: “Come not nigh to acts of lewdness, whether open or secret.” (al-Ana’am: 151)6

Imam al-Nawawi says:

Sodomy is when a man has intercourse with another man. It is forbidden, and it is the worst of sins, for the Almighty said, “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.” (al-A’raf: 80-81)

Here Allah mentions sodomy as sin to show that it’s adultery, because Allah said, “Nor come nigh to adultery, for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).” (al-Isra: 32) 7

Abu Ya’la al-Farra’ brings a very valuable note:

Sodomy is worse than adultery; for indeed [a] female private can be lawful under marriage contract. 8

But certainly, a male private can never be lawful under any condition whatsoever!

Due to the agreed-upon consensus of Muslim scholars based upon the Qur’an, the Sunnah and agreement of the Prophet’s Companions and all subsequent generations, prohibition of homosexuality is regarded one of the necessarily known facts of Islam and whosoever denies this prohibition is considered a kafir. Little else can be said for the illiteracy of the worshippers of a half-naked, Roman criminal swinging from a cross, whose ignorance in such an intricate Islamic matter is as blinding as the sun.

May Allah bless all those who follow His Path and guide those who do not. The Consensus on Homosexuality and The Illiteracy of Christian Polemicists 5

  1. al-Shanqiti, Adwa’ al-Bayan, 2/232) []
  2. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, 9/46 []
  3. Ibn Hazm, al-Muhalla, 13/388 []
  4. Ibn Taimiyyah, al-Fatawa al-Kubra, 28/317 []
  5. Ibn Qudama al-Maqdisi, al-Mughni, 8/116 []
  6. al-Samarqandi, al-Muhathab, 2/347 []
  7. al-Nawawi, al-Mujmou’, 21/237 []
  8. al-Farra’, al-Masa’il al-Fiqhiyyah, 2/320 []
Categories
Muhammad

Another Rational Approach To The Prophethood Of Muhammad

This is a continuation of our earlier discussion where we have talked about a rational approach to the prophethood of Muhammad. It is well known that the Prophet Muhammad(P) was victorious over all his opponents, to him and to his followers subdued many states and kingdoms, people entered Islam in large numbers and his call resulted in Islamic Caliphate and civilization for so many centuries. We also agree that God is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Wise.

So is it possible for the Most Wise to enable a liar to be victorious, assist him, aid him against his opponents and make the end result in his favour and his followers, although this liar continuously invent lies and forgeries against God claiming that He sent him, attributing to Him false religion and false laws and making all this God’s Words and inspiration, then this liar stays victorious and overpowering during his lifetime and after his death, while people are fooled by him accepting his lies and forgeries against God? Or does God’s Wisdom require that he is beaten in every battle and every field, and overpowered and defeated by everyone in every war and that he builds no state but God destroys it, so he dies conquered and overpowered as God does with all those who falsely claim prophethood, divinity or inspiration?

If we apply this to Muhammad’s claim of prophethood, we notice that he(P) made it clear that he is a prophet of God, inspired by Him and reciting His Words.

Moreover, Muhammad(P) made it clear that God aids him against his opponents and He was going to make him victorious over all, the Holy Qur’an says:

If any thinks that Allah will not help him (His Messenger) in this world and the Hereafter, let him stretch out a rope to the ceiling and cut (himself) off: then let him see whether his plan will remove that which enrages (him).1

The meaning is that if anyone thinks that Allah would not make Muhammad(P) victorious in this life and in the Hereafter, then let him do his best in fighting and opposing him (peace be upon him), and if he failed, let him stretch a rope to the ceiling of his house and hang himself on for Allah will inevitably aid His prophet.

Just imagine it. A man claiming prophethood and inspiration recites verses affirming that God helps him and will make him victorious over his enemies, and then he actually defeats all these enemies and becomes victorious over them in the end.

And imagine again. This man recites the following verse:

And if the messenger were to invent any sayings in Our name, We should certainly seize him by his right hand, and We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath).2

Please read the verses again and ponder upon their meaning.

Here we have a man claiming he is inspired and sent by God and challenging that if he does not tell the truth, God will certainly destroy him. However, we see that God never destroyed this man, on the contrary, he supported and assisted him and made him victorious and glorious before all his opponents.

This means one of the following:

1) God does not exist in the first place.
2) God exists but He is ignorant for He is unaware of all these challenges spoken by this impostor.
3) God exists and is Omniscient, but He is impotent for He can do nothing about the challenges spoken by this impostor. So He sits and watches the promises and challenges of the impostor come true.
4) God exists and is Omniscient and Omnipotent, but He is unwise for He misleads people to the utmost, by swallowing the challenges of impostors while He can actually stop them. Not only that, He also executes all their promises with victory and glory for them.
5) God exists and is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Wise, and Muhammad is truly His Prophet whom He aided and supported.

So, choose for yourself!

So, we conclude that it is impossible of Muhammad(P) to lie regarding prophethood because we believe that God’s Wisdom necessitates that if he was an impostor, God would humiliate him. But this did not happen. On the contrary, God aided and supported him during his lifetime and after his death which is a decisive indication that he was a true prophet of Allah.

This decisive argument is irrefutable; for we believe that Allah’s Wisdom necessitates aid of true prophet and humiliation of false prophet, and we know that Allah supported Muhammad(P) and did not let him down, so he must be a true prophet.

In the light of this argument, we cannot accept the claim that Muhammad’s victory was due to worldly reasons for this would be a complete rejection of God’s Wisdom and Omnipotence. Moreover, it is well known that Muslims were markedly fewer in number than their opponents in all the wars they fought beginning with the battle of Badr till their wars with Persian and Roman armies, except for the battle of Hunayn.

Before the advent of Islam, it was very usual of a small number of Persian or Roman soldiers to attack a large populated Arab tribe, capture their men and enslave their women. During wars, large numbers of Arab fighters were often defeated by small numbers of Roman or Persian soldiers.

After the advent of Islam, the opposite was true; small numbers of Prophet’s Companions used to defeat large numbers of Roman or Persian soldiers, even though Muslim soldiers were poorly equipped. Roman and Persian kings were always amazed how their huge well-equipped armies were defeated at hands of Muslims despite their small number, weakness and lack of equipment.

Rev. George Bush (1796-1859) says about Muhammad(P):

He laid the foundation of an empire, which, in the short space of eighty years, extended its sway over more kingdoms and countries than Rome had mastered in eight hundred. And when we pass from the political to the religious ascendancy which he gained and consider the rapid growth, the wide diffusion, and the enduring permanence of the Mohammedan imposture, we are still more astonished. Indeed, in this, as in every other instance where the fortunes of an individual are entirely disproportioned to the means employed and surpass all reasonable calculation …

And confesses:

…we are forced to resolve the problem into the special providence of God. Nothing short of this could have secured the achievement of such mighty results; and we must doubtless look upon Mohammedanism in the present day as a standing monument of the mysterious wisdom of Jehovah, designed to compass ends which are beyond the grasp of human minds, at least till they are accomplished.3

This is in fulfilment of God’s Promise in the Holy Qur’an:

Already has Our Word been passed before (this) to Our Servants sent (by Us), that they would certainly be assisted, and that Our forces, they surely must conquer.4

And:

We will, without doubt, help Our messengers and those who believe, (both) in this world’s life and on the Day when the Witnesses will stand fort.5

And:

Allah will certainly aid those who aid His (cause); for verily Allah is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (Able to enforce His Will).6

And God’s ultimate promise:

Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion- the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace: They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me.’ If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked.7

This is markedly different from disbelievers who are made victorious and established in authority for their establishment and victory is not due to divine aid, rather it is due to frank material causes like wealth and power. None of them ever claimed prophethood, nor that Allah ordered them to worship Him alone. None claimed that whoever obeyed him would go to Heaven and whoever disobeyed would go to Hell. On the contrary of the one who claims inspiration from Allah, he is either a truthful prophet of Allah, so Allah aids him and makes him victorious, or he is an impostor, so Allah humiliates him and cuts him off.

This is the answer to those who may argue that Allah had established in the land many disbelievers and followers of false religions and made them prevail and succeed like Buddhists and Confucius.

Others may argue that Muslims nowadays are weak in comparison to other nations of disbelief, so how come Allah assists them?

The answer is that Allah made Muslims victorious over other nations when they adhered to it, so He humiliated people of disbelief like Jews and Christians. This is the case with the true religion of God, if its people adhere to it, follow its commandments and abstain from its prohibitions, God will aid them and make them victorious. But if they do not, He will not till they return back.

If a doctor prescribes a certain medication for a certain disease, then the patient does not follow the prescription and his illness does not improve, no one can blame the doctor in this case, nor claim that he is not a real doctor.

This is the case with our nation, if they do not follow the commandments and teachings of Islam, Allah does not aid or help them, as the Caliph ‘Umar said: “Allah has honoured us with Islam. So if we are to seek honour in other than Islam, Allah will dishonour us.”

In brief, it is the habit of Allah to aid and support His true apostle to the degree that no one can ever oppose this apostle. It is well known that He incredibly aided Muhammad (peace be upon him) like no other apostle, it is also well known that none falsely alleged prophethood but Allah exposed him, humiliated him and cut him off, and all those aided by Allah were true prophets like Noah, Ibrahim, Moses, Jesus, David and Sulaiman, for it is the habit of Allah to aid His Messengers and their followers.

In addition, teachings of all prophets of God are the same, for all of them command with worship of God alone with no partner, belief in the Hereafter and the Judgement Day, and with praise of Allah, chastity, honesty, truthfulness in speech and deeds, and they forbid idol worship, lewdness, lying, cheating, dishonesty, etc So, if someone claims prophethood and preaches the same teachings of all previous prophets for the sake of guiding people, we know he is one of them, i.e., a true prophet, the same way we recognize the doctor if he prescribes the same medications prescribed by all other doctors and his treatment leads to cure of diseases.

This is evident in the speech of Ja’far ibn Abi Talib to the king of Abyssinia:

“O king! We were plunged into the depths of ignorance, and we were idolaters. We used to eat corpses, to commit abominations, to severe blood ties, to neglect our duties of hospitality and neighbourliness, and to use only the law of the strong. That was our life until Allah raised among us a man, whose lineage, truthfulness, honesty, and purity we knew. He called us to the Oneness of Allah and taught us not to associate anything with Him. He forbade us the worship of idols and enjoined us to speak the truth, to be faithful to our trusts, to be merciful and to regard the rights of the neighbours as well as kith and kin, and to refrain from crimes and bloodshed. He prohibited us from committing abominations, speaking lies, devouring the property of orphans, and vilifying chaste women. He commanded us to offer prayers, to render alms, and to observe fasts. We have allowed what he has allowed, and have prohibited what he has prohibited. For this reason, our people attacked us and persecuted us in order to force us to abandon the worship of Allah and return to the worship of idols and to regard as lawful the evil deeds we once committed. When they had tortured and encircled our lives, until finding no safety among them, we have come to your country, and hope you will protect us from oppression while we are with you, O king!”8

This speech summarizes the teachings of Islam and shows that they agree with the teachings of all previous prophets and messengers of God. This is a very important issue, for it is inadequate to merely know that Allah sent prophets and messengers to people, it is more important to know why Allah sent these prophets and messengers. In other words, what did prophets and messengers of Allah preach and teach? It is nonsense to believe that Allah sent messengers without knowing the reason why they were raised among their peoples in the first place, and understanding the purpose of their prophethood. So, belief in prophets and messengers of God requires knowing the purpose of prophethood and Messengership.

We see that all prophets of God commanded their people with all that is good, and forbade all that is evil. When we compare Muhammad(P) with other prophets who preceded him, we notice that he preached the same they preached and forbade the same they forbade.

  • He(P) ordered to glorify God, exalt Him above having partners or rivals, establish His authority and worth of worship, attribute to Him all qualities of perfection and negate all qualities of imperfection from Him.
  • He(P) denounced the notion that angels are daughters of God and explained their real deeds and missions in both earth and heavens.
  • He(P) commanded with belief in all previous divine scriptures revealed on previous prophets and showed that they contained guidance as long as they preach monotheism and purity of faith, but once they got corrupted, they are no longer suitable for guidance.
  • He(P) brought evident and decisive proofs of coming of the Last Day and Resurrection.
  • He(P) commanded with pleasing God with best acts like offering prayers, giving alms, fasting and pilgrimage.
  • He(P) preached good deeds and manners like truthfulness, honesty, fulfillment of trust, kindness to relations, helping the poor and the needy, etc.
  • He(P) warned of association of partners with Allah, idol worship and disbelief.
  • He(P) prohibited blood shedding, adultery, alcohol drinking and usury.

Are these not the teachings of all previous prophets which were decreed by Allah since the Prophet Noah (peace be upon him)?

All this indicates that he(P) walked in the footsteps of previous prophets of Allah. Actually, his Message preserved and guarded previous messages that had been corrupted and altered, Allah says:

Thus have We made of you an Ummah justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves.9

This is due to the fact that all prophets came to preach the same religion.

Sending Muhammad(P) after the corruption of the religion of the previous prophets is a mercy from Allah to mankind, for indeed He says:

We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.10

The teachings which the prophets preached commanded all that is good and forbade all that is evil. Muhammad (peace be upon him) came as a preserver, a guardian and a witness to these teachings. The Holy Qur’an says:

Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour.

And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: my Lord bestow on them thy mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.

Your Lord knoweth best what is in your hearts: if ye do deeds of righteousness, verily he is most forgiving to those who turn to him again and again (in true penitence).

And render to the kindred their due rights, as (also) to those in want, and to the wayfarer: but squander not (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift.

Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the evil ones; and the evil one is to his Lord (himself) ungrateful.

And even if thou hast to turn away from them pursuit of the mercy from thy Lord which thou dost expect, yet speak to them a word of easy kindness.

Make not thy hand tied (like a niggard’s) to thy neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach, so that thou become blameworthy and destitute.

Verily thy Lord doth provide sustenance in abundance for whom he pleaseth, and he provideth in a just measure. For he doth know and regard all his servants.

Kill not your children for fear of want: we shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin.

Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).

Nor take life which Allah has made sacred except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand Visas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law).

Come not nigh to the orphan’s property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength; and fulfil (every) engagement, for (every) engagement, will be enquired into (on the day of reckoning).

Give full measure when ye measure and weigh with a balance that is straight: that is the most fitting and the most advantageous in the final determination.
And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the day of reckoning).

Nor walk on the earth with insolence: for thou canasta not rend the earth asunder, nor reach the mountains in height.

Of all such things, the evil is hateful in the sight of thy Lord.

There are among the (precepts of) wisdom, which thy Lord has revealed to thee. Take not with Allah another object of worship. Lest thou shouldst be thrown into Hell, blameworthy and rejected.11

And says:

Say: come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from: join not anything as equal with him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want; we provide sustenance for you and for them; come not nigh to shameful deeds, whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.

And come not nigh to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength; give measure and weight with (full) justice; no burden do we place on any soul, but that which it can bear; whenever ye speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned; and fulfill the Covenant of Allah: thus doth He command you, that ye may remember.

Verily, this is my way, leading straight: follow it: follow not (other) paths: they will scatter you about from his (great) path: thus doth He command you, that ye may be righteous.12

And says:

Say: “My Lord hath commanded Justice; and that ye set your whole selves (to Him) at every time and place of prayer, and call upon Him, making your devotion sincere as in His sight: Such as He created you in the beginning, so shall ye return.”

Some He hath guided: others have (by their choice) deserved the loss of their way; in that they took the Evil once, in preference to Allah, for their friends and protectors, and think that they receive guidance.

O Children of Adam Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: but wast not be excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters.

Say: who hath forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allah, which He hath produced for his servants, and the things, clean and pure, (which He hath provided) for sustenance? Say they are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) purely for them on the day of judgment thus do we explain the Signs in detail for those who understand.13

These great teachings were preached by all the Prophets, and Muhammad(P) affirmed and displayed them in the best way. It is adequate when hearing these great teachings to believe in Muhammad(P) and know that he came to mankind with guidance and favour, commanding with good and forbidding evil, whether it is in words or deeds.

And Allah knows best. Another Rational Approach To The Prophethood of Muhammad 7

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Another Rational Approach To The Prophethood Of Muhammad," in Bismika Allahuma, December 16, 2007, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/muhammad/another-rational-approach-prophethood-muhammad/
  1. Sura Al-Hajj, verse 15 []
  2. Sura Al-Haqqah, verses 44-47 []
  3. Rev. George Bush, The Life of Mohammed; Founder of The Religion of Islam, and of The Empire of The Saracens, published by Harper & Brothers, 1844, pp. 156-157 []
  4. Sura Al-Saffat, verses 171-173 []
  5. Sura Ghafir, verse 51 []
  6. Sura Al-Hajj, verse 40 []
  7. Sura Al-Nour, verse 55 []
  8. Sirat Ibn Hisham, Biography of the Prophet, abridged by Abdus-Salam M. Harun. Translated and Published by Al-Falah Foundation, page 58 []
  9. Sura Al-Baqarah, verse 143 []
  10. Sura Al-Anbiyaa, verse 107 []
  11. Sura Al-Israa, verses 23-39 []
  12. Sura Al-An’am, verses 151-153 []
  13. Sura Al-A’raf, verses 29-32 []
Categories
Internal Errors Refutation of Qur'an Contradictions The Qur'an

Can There Be A Son Without A Mother Or Father? Responding To Banal Missionary “Logic”

The missionaries in their latest alleged claim of contradictions in the Qur’an have certainly outdid themselves in their travesty of logic and idiocy.

To cite the missionary claim, word-for-word:

    In the realm of the natural this is not possible, but for God it is possible; actually, it is not only possible, it is easy for God. It is rather ironic that, when discussing the identity of Jesus, the Quran says that Allah cannot have a son without a consort, but Mary can have a son without a consort, because all things are easy for Allah.

They have quoted Qur’an 6:100-101 as follows:

“And they make the jinn associates with Allah, while He created them, and they falsely attribute to Him sons and daughters without knowledge; glory be to Him, and highly exalted is He above what they ascribe (to Him). Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could He have a son when He has no consort, and He (Himself) created everything, and He is the Knower of all things.”

This, they claim, contradicts the general nature of the following verse:

He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son. She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained. Sura 19:19-21 Pickthall

Unfortunately for the missionary, an understanding can be reached if a little more thought can be put into their argument. The missionary has taken the understanding of these verses out of its intended context and is confusing Mary’s nature (since she is only human, and hence procreates) as a creation of the Almighty, with God Himself, who is the Uncreated. Certainly, God Almighty could have taken a “wife” and have “children” or have “children” without any consort whatsoever (nau’zubillahi min zaalik).

However, if this were to happen, it would mean that the Uncreated nature of God would be affected, as anything that is “procreated” by God (as the Qur’an argues in 6:100) is created. In other words, to expect the Uncreated to “procreate” children, whether with or without a “consort” (which would also be part of the Creation) is not only an affront against what God Almighty has told us about Himself, it is also a preposterous position only held by pantheists and the idolaters. It is most certainly not in conformity with pure monotheism or on how Islam understands divine transcedence.

Isma’il al-Faruqi described it perfectly when he says that:

“This is the first assertion of the Islamic creed that “There is no god but God” which the Muslim understands as denial of any associates with God in His rulership and judgeship of the universe, as well as a denial of the possibility for any creature to represent, personify or in any way. express the divine Being. The Qur’an says of God that “He is the Creator of heaven and earth Who creates by commanding the creature to be and it is…He is the One God, the ultimate… (2:117, 163). There is no God but He, ever-living, ever-active (3:2) May he be glorified beyond any description! (6:100)…No sense may perceive Him (6:103)…Praised be He, the Transcedent Who greatly transcends all claims and reports about Him (17:43).” In fulfilment of this view, the Muslims have been all too careful never to associate in any manner possible, any image or thing with the presence of the divine, or with their consciousness of the divine; and in their speech and writing about the divine to use only Quranic language, terms and expressions which, according to them, God has used about Himself in the Quranic revelation.”1

Hence, we say that the claim that:

    S. 6:101 stands not only in tension to S. 19:21, but conflicts with several other passages as well.

is not only a premature conclusion from the missionary, but an obvious ignorance of the doctrine of tawheed and what Islam actually stands for.

And only God knows best! Can There Be A Son Without A Mother Or Father? Responding To Banal Missionary "Logic" 8

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Can There Be A Son Without A Mother Or Father? Responding To Banal Missionary “Logic”," in Bismika Allahuma, October 26, 2005, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/quran/son-mother-father-responding-banal-missionary-logic/
  1. Ismail Faruqi, Al-Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life (IIIT, 1992), p. 24 []
Categories
Muhammad

Why Was The Prophet Polygamous?

Some critics of Islam have reviled the Prophet(P) as a self-indulgent libertine. They have accused him of character failings that are hardly compatible with being of average virtue, let alone with being a Prophet and God’s last Messenger, as well as the best model for humanity to follow. However, based on the easily available scores of biographies and well-authenticated accounts of his sayings and actions, it is quite clear that he lived the most strictly disciplined life, and that his marriages were part of the numerous burdens he bore as God’s last Messenger.

The reasons for his multiple marriages vary. However, all of them were related to his role as leader of the Muslim community, and his responsibility to guide the new Muslims toward the norms and values of Islam.

When Muhammad(P) was 25, before he was called to his future mission, he married Khadija, his first wife. Given the surrounding cultural environment, not to mention the climate and such other considerations as his youth, it is remarkable that he enjoyed a reputation for perfect chastity, integrity, and trustworthiness. As soon as he was called to Prophethood, he acquired enemies who did not hesitate to raise false calumnies against him?but not once did any of them dare invent something unbelievable about him.

Khadija was 15 years his senior. This marriage was very high and exceptional in the eyes of the Prophet and God. For 23 years, their life was a period of uninterrupted contentment in perfect fidelity. In the eighth year of Prophethood, however, she passed away, leaving the Prophet(P) as the sole parent of their children for 4 or 5 years. Even his enemies are forced to admit that, during these years, they can find no flaw in his moral character. The Prophet(P) took no other wife during Khadija’s lifetime, although public opinion would have allowed him to do so. When he began marrying other women, he was already past 55, when very little real interest and desire for marriage remains.

How could a Prophet be polygamous? This question is often asked by people without any religion, or by Jews and Christians. In respect to the first group, they have no right to reproach people who follow a religious way of life. Their own conduct with the opposite sex follows nothing but their own desire, regardless of what they say. They do not worry about the consequences of such liaisons to themselves, to the resulting children, or how their loose behavior impacts young people in general. Viewing themselves as free, they engage in such condemned practices as homosexuality and, even more extreme (but hopefully limited), incest, pedophilia, and multiple male/female partners (meaning that the child’s true father is unknown). Such people criticize the Prophet(P) only to drag others down to their own level.

Jews and Christians who attack the Prophet(P) for his polygamy do so out of their fear and jealous hatred of Islam. They forget that the great Jewish patriarchs, called Prophets in the Bible and the Qur’an and revered by the followers of all three faiths as exemplars of moral excellence, all practiced polygamy on a far greater scale.

Polygamy did not originate with the Muslims. Furthermore, in the case of the Prophet this practice has far more significance than people generally realize. In a sense, the Prophet(P) had to be polygamous to transmit his Sunna (the statutes and norms of Islamic law). As Islam covers every part of one’s life, private spousal relations cannot remain untouched. Therefore, there must be women who can guide other women in these matters. There is no room for the allusive language of hints and innuendos. The chaste and virtuous women of the Prophet’s household were responsible for explaining the norms and rules of such private spheres to other Muslims.

Some of the Prophet’s marriages were contracted for specific reasons:

  • Since his wives were young, middle-aged, and old, the requirements and norms of Islamic law could be exemplified in relation to their different life stages and experiences. These were learned and applied first within the Prophet’s household, and then passed on to other Muslims by his wives.
  • Each wife was from a different clan or tribe, which allowed the Prophet to establish bonds of kinship and affinity throughout the rapidly expanding Muslim community. This also enabled a profound attachment to him to spread among all Muslims, thereby creating and securing equality and brotherhood in a most practical way and on the basis of religion.
  • Each wife, both during and after the Prophet’s life, proved to be of great benefit and service to the cause of Islam. They conveyed his message and interpreted it to their clans: the outer and inward experience, and the qualities, manners, and faith of the man whose life was the embodiment of the Qur’an?Islam in practice. In this way, all Muslims learned about the Qur’an, hadith, Qur’anic interpretation and commentary, and Islamic jurisprudence, and so became fully aware of Islam’s essence and spirit.
  • Through his marriages, the Prophet(P) established ties of kinship throughout Arabia. This gave him the freedom to move and be accepted as a member in each family. Since they regarded him as one of their own, they felt they could go to him in person and ask him directly about this life and the Hereafter. The tribes also benefited collectively from their proximity to him: they considered themselves fortunate and took pride in that relationship, such as the Umayyads (through Umm Habiba), the Hashimites (through Zaynab bint Jahsh), and the Bani Makhzum (through Umm Salama).

What we have said so far is general and could, in some respects, be true of all Prophets. However, now we will discuss the life sketches of Ummahat al-Mu’minin (the mothers of the believers), not in the order of the marriages but from a different perspective.

    Khadija was the Prophet’s(P) first wife. As mentioned above, she married him before his call to Prophethood. Even though she was 15 years his senior, she bore all of his children, except for Ibrahim, who did not survive infancy. Khadija was also his friend, the sharer of his inclinations and ideals to a remarkable degree. Their marriage was wonderfully blessed, for they lived together in profound harmony for 23 years. Through every trial and persecution launched by the Makkan unbelievers, she was his dearest companion and helper. He loved her very deeply and married no other woman while she was alive.

    This marriage is the ideal of intimacy, friendship, mutual respect, support, and consolation. Though faithful and loyal to all his wives, he never forgot Khadija and mentioned her virtues and merits extensively on many occasions. He married another woman only 4 or 5 years after Khadija’s death. Until that time, he served as both a mother and a father to his children, providing their daily food and provisions as well as bearing their troubles and hardships. To allege that such a man was a sensualist or driven by sexual lust is nonsensical.

    ‘A’isha was the daughter of Abu Bakr(R), his closest friend and devoted follower. One of the earliest converts, Abu Bakr(R) had long hoped to cement the deep attachment between himself and the Prophet(P) through marriage. By marrying ‘A’isha, the Prophet accorded the highest honor and courtesy to a man who had shared all the good and bad times with him. In this way, Abu Bakr and ‘A’isha acquired the distinction of being spiritually and physically close to the Prophet.

    ‘A’isha proved to be a remarkably intelligent and wise woman, for she had both the nature and temperament to carry forward the work of Prophetic mission. Her marriage prepared her to be a spiritual guide and teacher to all women. She became one of the Prophet’s major students and disciples. Through him, like so many Muslims of that blessed time, her skills and talents were matured and perfected so that she could join him in the abode of bliss both as wife and as student.

    Her life and service to Islam prove that such an exceptional person was worthy to be the Prophet’s wife. She was one of the greatest authorities on hadith, an excellent Qur’anic commentator, and a most distinguished and knowledgeable expert on Islamic law. She truly represented the inner and outer qualities and experiences of Prophet Muhammad(P). This is surely why the Prophet(P) was told in a dream that he would marry ‘A’isha. Thus, when she was still innocent and knew nothing of men and worldly affairs, she was prepared and entered the Prophet’s household.

    Umm Salama of the Makhzum clan, was first married to her cousin. The couple had embraced Islam at the very beginning and emigrated to Abyssinia to avoid persecution. After their return, they and their four children migrated to Madina. Her husband participated in many battles and died after being severely wounded at the Battle of Uhud. Abu Bakr and ‘Umar proposed marriage to her, aware of her needs and suffering as a destitute widow with children to support. She refused, believing that no one could be better than her late husband.

    Some time after that, the Prophet(P) proposed marriage. This was quite right and natural, for this great woman had never shied from sacrifice and suffering for Islam. Now that she was alone after having lived many years in the noblest Arabian clan, she could not be neglected and left to beg her way in life. Considering her piety, sincerity, and what she had suffered, she certainly deserved to be helped. By marrying her, the Prophet(P) was doing what he had always done: befriending those lacking in friends, supporting the unsupported, and protecting the unprotected. In her present circumstances, there was no kinder or more gracious way of helping her.

    Umm Salama also was intelligent and quick to understand. She had all the capacities and gifts to become a spiritual guide and teacher. When the Prophet(P) took her under his protection, a new student to whom all women would be grateful was accepted into the school of knowledge and guidance. As the Prophet was now almost 60, marrying a widow with many children and assuming the related expenses and responsibilities can only be understood as an act of compassion that deserves our admiration for his infinite reserves of humanity.

    Umm Habiba was the daughter of Abu Sufyan, an early and most determined enemy of the Prophet and supporter of Makkah’s polytheistic and idolatrous religion. Yet his daughter was one of the earliest Muslims. She emigrated to Abyssinia with her husband, where he eventually renounced his faith and embraced Christianity. Although separated from her husband, she remained a Muslim. Shortly after that, her husband died and she was left all alone and desperate in exile.

    The Companions, at that time few in number and barely able to support themselves, could not offer much help. So, what were her options? She could convert to Christianity and get help that way (unthinkable). She could return to her father’s home, now a headquarters of the war against Islam (unthinkable). She could wander from house to house as a beggar, but again it was an unthinkable option for a member of one of the richest and noblest Arab families to bring shame upon her family name by doing so.

    God recompensed Umm Habiba for her lonely exile in an insecure environment among people of a different race and religion, and for her despair at her husband’s apostasy and death, by arranging for the Prophet to marry her. Learning of her plight, the Prophet sent an offer of marriage through the king Negus. This noble and generous action was a practical proof of: “We have not sent you save as a mercy for all creatures” (21:107).

    Thus Umm Habiba joined the Prophet’s household as a wife and student, and contributed much to the moral and spiritual life of those who learned from her. This marriage linked Abu Sufyan’s powerful family to the Prophet’s person and household, which caused its members to re-evaluate their attitudes. It also is correct to trace the influence of this marriage, beyond the family of Abu Sufyan and to the Umayyads in general, who ruled the Muslims for almost a century.

    This clan, whose members had been the most fanatical in their hatred of Islam, produced some of Islam’s most renowned early warriors, administrators, and governors. Without doubt, it was this marriage that began this change, for the Prophet’s depth of generosity and magnanimity of soul surely overwhelmed them.

    Zaynab bint Jahsh was a lady of noble birth and a close relative of the Prophet(P). She was, moreover, a woman of great piety, who fasted much, kept long vigils, and gave generously to the poor. When the Prophet arranged for her to marry Zayd, an African exslave whom he had adopted as his son, Zaynab’s family and Zaynab herself were at first unwilling. The family had hoped to marry their daughter to the Prophet. But when they realized that the Prophet had decided otherwise, they consented out of deference to their love for the Prophet and his authority.

    Zayd had been enslaved as a child during a tribal war. Khadija, who had bought him, had given him to Muhammad(P) as a present when she married him. The Prophet had freed immediately him and, shortly afterwards, adopted him as his son. He insisted on this marriage to establish and fortify equality between the Muslims, and to break down the Arab prejudice against a slave or even freedman marrying a free-born woman.

    The marriage was an unhappy one. The noble-born Zaynab was a good Muslim of a most pious and exceptional quality. The freedman Zayd was among the first to embrace Islam, and he also was a good Muslim. Both loved and obeyed the Prophet, but they were not a compatible couple. Zayd asked the Prophet(P) several times to allow them to divorce. However, he was told to persevere with patience and not separate from Zaynab.

    But then one day Gabriel came with a Divine Revelation that the Prophet’s marriage to Zaynab was a bond already contracted: “We have married her to you” (33:37). This command was one of the severest trials the Prophet, had yet had to face, for he was being told to break a social taboo. Yet it had to be done for the sake of God, just as God commanded. ‘A’isha later said: “Had the Messenger been inclined to suppress any part of the Revelation, surely he would have suppressed this verse.”

    Divine wisdom decreed that Zaynab join the Prophet’s(P) household, so that she could be prepared to guide and enlighten the Muslims. As his wife, she proved herself most worthy of her new position by always being aware of her responsibilities and the courtesies proper to her role, all of which she fulfilled to universal admiration.

    Before Islam, an adopted son was considered a natural son. Therefore, an adopted son’s wife was considered as a natural son’s wife would be. According to the Qur’anic verse, former “wives of your sons proceeding from your loins” fall within the prohibited degrees of marriage. But this prohibition does not apply to adopted sons, for there is no real consanguinity. What now seems obvious was not so then. This deeply rooted tribal taboo was broken by this marriage, just as God had intended.

    To have an unassailable authority for future generations of Muslims, the Prophet had to break this taboo himself. It is one more instance of his deep faith that he did as he was told, and freed his people from a legal fiction that obscured a biological, natural reality.

    Juwayriya bint Harith the daughter of Harith, chief of the defeated Bani Mustaliq clan, was captured during a military campaign. She was held with other members of her proud family alongside her clan’s “common” people. She was in great distress when she was taken to the Prophet(P), for her kinsmen had lost everything and she felt profound hate and enmity for the Muslims. The Prophet understood her wounded pride, dignity, and suffering; more important, he understood how to deal with these issues effectively. He agreed to pay her ransom, set her free, and offered to marry her.

    When the Ansar and the Muhajirun realized that the Bani Mustaliq now were related to the Prophet by marriage, they freed about 100 families that had not yet been ransomed. A tribe so honored could not be allowed to remain in slavery. In this way, the hearts of Juwayriya and her people were won. Those 100 families blessed the marriage. Through his compassionate wisdom and generosity, the Prophet(P) turned a defeat for some into a victory for all, and what had been an occasion of enmity and distress became one of friendship and joy.

    Safiyya bint Huyayy was the daughter of the chieftains of the Jewish tribe of Khaybar, who had persuaded the Bani Qurayza to break their treaty with the Prophet(P). From her earliest days, she had seen her family and relatives oppose the Prophet(P). She had lost her father, brother, and husband in battles against the Muslims, and eventually was captured by them.

    The attitudes and actions of her family and relatives might have nurtured in her a deep desire for revenge. However, 3 days before the Prophet(P) reached Khaybar, she dreamed of a brilliant moon coming out from Madina, moving toward Khaybar, and falling into her lap. She later said: “When I was captured, I began to hope that my dream would come true.” When she was brought before the Prophet(P) as a captive, he set her free and offered her the choice of remaining a Jewess and returning to her people, or entering Islam and becoming his wife. “I chose God and his Messenger” she said. Shortly after that, they were married.

    Elevated to the Prophet’s household, she witnessed at first hand the Muslims’ refinement and true courtesy. Her attitude to her past experiences changed, and she came to appreciate the great honor of being the Prophet’s wife. As a result of this marriage, the attitude of many Jews changed as they came to see and know the Prophet(P) closely. It is worth noting that such close relations between Muslims and non-Muslims can help people to understand each other better and to establish mutual respect and tolerance as social norms.

    Sawda bint Zam’ah ibn Qays was the widow of Sakran. Among the first to embrace Islam, they had emigrated to Abyssinia to escape the Makkans’ persecution. Sakran died in exile, and left his wife utterly destitute. As the only means of assisting her, the Prophet, though himself having a hard time making ends meet, married her. This marriage took place some time after Khadija’s death.

    Hafsa was the daughter of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, the future second caliph of Islam. This good lady had lost her husband, who emigrated to both Abyssinia and Madina, where he was fatally wounded during a battle in the path of God. She remained without a husband for a while. ‘Umar desired the honor and blessing of being close to the Prophet in this world and in the Hereafter. The Prophet honored this desire by marrying Hafsa to protect and to help the daughter of his faithful disciple.

Given the above facts, it is clear that the Prophet(P) married these women for a variety of reasons: to provide helpless or widowed women with dignified subsistence; to console and honor enraged or estranged tribes; to bring former enemies into some degree of relationship and harmony; to gain certain uniquely gifted men and women for Islam; to establish new norms of relationship between people within the unifying brotherhood of faith in God; and to honor with family bonds the two men who were to be the first leaders of the Muslim community after his death. These marriages had nothing to do with self-indulgence, personal desire, or lust. With the exception of ‘A’isha, all of the Prophet’s wives were widows, and all of his post-Khadija marriages were contracted when he was already an old man. Far from being acts of self-indulgence, these marriages were acts of self-discipline.

Part of that discipline was providing each wife with the most meticulously observed justice, dividing equally whatever slender resources he allowed for their subsistence, accommodation, and allowance. He also divided his time with them equally, and regarded and treated them with equal friendship and respect. The fact that all of his wives got on well with each other is no small tribute to his genius for creating peace and harmony. With each of them, he was not only a provider but also a friend and companion.

The number of the Prophet’s wives was a dispensation unique to him. Some of the merits and wisdom of this dispensation, as we understand them, have been explained. All other Muslims are allowed a maximum of four wives at one time. When that Revelation restricting polygamy came, the Prophet’s marriages had already been contracted. Thereafter, he married no other women. Why Was the Prophet Polygamous? 10

This article was originally published at Fethullah Gulen’s website.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Why Was The Prophet Polygamous?," in Bismika Allahuma, October 13, 2005, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/muhammad/why-was-the-prophet-polygamous/
Categories
Muhammad

A Rational Approach To The Prophethood Of Muhammad

It is generally well-known that a person who claims prophethood is either someone of the best or the worst of mankind, and these two extremes can never be confused. This is true indeed, due to the fact that he is either a truthful Prophet of God, thus it is accepted that he should be one of the best and most perfect person, an example par excellence. Or, if he is a liar against God — and this is the most terrible of lies — there he is one of the worst and most wicked person to ever walk the earth. This big difference is too great to be missed by any lay person, let alone smart and intelligent individuals. It is truly a very huge difference, indeed!

How could someone confuse a prophet who has reached the highest level of truthfulness, honesty and morality — as opposed to a liar against God who has reached the lowest level of wickedness and immorality? How could someone not be able to distinguish between these two extremes?

The behavior and mannerisms of a person tells someone whether he is a truthful person or a habitual liar. This can be known from his habitual life and daily manners especially with long companionship and experiencing interaction with the individual in question. If someone is truthful all the time, this is clearly recognized. And if he sometimes tells lies, this is also quickly recognized. This is something we frequently experience in our daily life; if anyone lived amongst a certain society for a long time, the members of this society can easily tell whether this one is truthful or not. People who are close to a certain person for a long time are able to tell whether this person habitually lies or not, especially in major issues.

Those who were close to Prophet Muhammad(P) had a solid belief that he is a truthful person that had never lied in his entire life. Even those who disbelieved in his Prophethood did not deny this fact. This is evident in the following report in Sahih Muslim:

It is reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas that when this verse was revealed:” And warn thy nearest kindred” (and thy group of selected people among them) the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) set off till he climbed Safa’ and called loudly: Be on your guard! They said: Who is it calling aloud? They said: Muhammad. They gathered round him, and he said: O sons of so and so, O sons of so and so, O sons of ‘Abd Manaf, O sons of ‘Abd al-Muttalib, and they gathered around him. He (the Apostle) said: If I were to inform you that there were horsemen emerging out of the foot of this mountain, would you believe me? They said: We have not experienced any lie from you. He said: Well, I am a warner to you before a severe torment. He (the narrator) said that Abu Lahab then said: Destruction to you! Is it for this you have gathered us? He (the Holy Prophet) then stood up, and this verse was revealed:” Perish the hands of Abu Lahab, and he indeed perished” (cxi. 1). A’mash recited this to the end of the Sura.1

Our witness in this report is the statement by the Prophet’s own kin: “We have not experienced any lie from you”, this means that his truthfulness was something very apparent and well known to them. Also, it does demonstrate that his truthfulness was agreed upon amongst them, for no one objected to this statement despite the fact that it was said in the open where all people were present. In fact, they refused his call and disbelieved in his Prophethood, but they did not belie his truthfulness, preferring instead to abuse him.

In their response to his call, they actually preferred abusing him to belying him!

One should put in consideration that Muhammad(P) was born, grew up, lived and married before the Message in the midst of his people, so they should be the best judge on his manners especially truthfulness. Despite the fact that many of them did not follow him — and rather, opposed him — they have all agreed that they never heard a single lie from him.

Another proof of this fact is given in the long report of Abu Sufyan and Heraclius when the latter asked the former: “Have you ever accused him of telling lies before his claim (to be a prophet)?” Abu Sufyan answered: “No.”2 This event took place before Abu Sufyan embraced Islam. The comment of Heraclius regarding Abu Sufyan’s reply is interesting, he further said: “I further asked whether he was ever accused of telling lies before he said what he said, and your reply was in the negative. So I wonder how a person who never told a lie about others could ever tell a lie about Allah?”3

This brings us to a discussion on Argument of Priority.

Argument of Priority is one form of logical arguments formulated by Muslim scholars. An example of this type of argument is that if Sam is able to carry five kilograms of any material, then it is assumed that prior to that he is able to carry only one kilogram of the same material. Yes, it is not mentioned in the first statement that Sam can carry one kilogram — it is only stated that he could carry five — but this logical argument leads us to conclude that as long as he could carry five kilograms, then he is able to carry one kilogram as well.

This logical argument was employed by Sheikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah in his argument that if man has the attributes of seeing, hearing and speaking, then it is prior of God who created man to attain these attributes.4

In fact, this logical argument is derived from the Noble Qur’an; the Qur’an employs it to answer those who deny the belief in Resurrection and the Hereafter, it answers them that it is God who was able to create man from nothing is thus also able to revive man again in the Last Day, for if God is able to create man from nothing, it is of course logical to accept that prior to that He would be able to revive him again from death.5

More of such examples are available in the Qur’an, but we will not be referring to those examples in this article.

Back to our discussion on the truthfulness of Prophet Muhammad(P), we find that Heraclius employed the Argument of Priority as proof of Muhammad’s prophethood; he said: “how could a person who never told a lie about others ever tell a lie about Allah?”

This is a true argument indeed; for if someone refrains from telling lies to others in worldly matters, it is of course acceptable to admit that prior to that he would not to tell lies against God. If telling lies was never one of his attributes — in fact, to the contrary, people had never heard of any lie coming from him — and he abstains from lying to people, then his abstaining from telling lies against God is prior. In fact, when one examines the biography of Prophet Muhammad(P), he will find that his contemporaries had never accused him of being a liar in his claim to be a Prophet of God. Yes, they had accused him of being a sorcerer, a poet, a madman or someone possessed, but they had never accused him of lying. The Qur’an also tells that they do not really belie him, they rather deny and reject Signs of Allah.6

This contradictory attitude of the disbelievers was the reason why they deserved God’s punishment in the end; they knew that Muhammad(P) was a truthful person and that he never told a lie. However, they disbelieved in him and vigorously rejected his Message. On the contrary, the Believers sincerely believed in him because they knew that he was not a liar — especially those who were intimate with his life, people in the likes of his wife Khadijah (R) and his Companions Abu Bakr (R), Uthman (R) and Umar (R).

Which position will you choose for yourself? Will you choose the position of that of the believers or the position of the disbelievers, who were destroyed in the end?

And glory be to Allah and His Apostle, and to the Believers. A Rational Approach to the Prophethood of Muhammad 12

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "A Rational Approach To The Prophethood Of Muhammad," in Bismika Allahuma, January 27, 2007, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/muhammad/rational-approach-prophethood-muhammad/
  1. Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Chapter 87, Number 406 []
  2. Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 1, Number 6 []
  3. ibid. []
  4. Refer to Ibn Taimiyyah, Ar-Rad ‘Ala Al-Mantiqyeen, pp. 130-131 []
  5. Qur’an, Sura Ya-Sin: 78-79 and Sura Ar-Rum: 27 []
  6. Refer to Qur’an, Sura Al-An’am: 33 []