What was Muhammad really like?
Christians believe that Jesus was the best person to ever live on Planet Earth. Christians also believe he is an example to follow. Yet few Christians have devoted themselves to emulate Jesus in every aspect of his way of life. On the other hand, Muslims believe Muhammad was the best human being ever to live and the Seal of the Prophets. They believe that his life is the perfect expression of the meaning of the Qur’an. For Muslims, Muhammad is to be emulated in every detail of life. He was the best of Muslims, to obey Muhammad is to obey Allah. All previous prophets of Israel or Christianity were actually Muslims but their memory has been corrupted in the Bible and so Muhammad corrected all of them. Muslims have detailed information about Muhammad’s life from the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira and so they seek to follow his example in absolutely everything. That is why Christians need to know about the life of Muhammad.
So in the media today we may hear statements by Muslim leaders such as that Muhammad was loving, kind, compassionate, elevated the status of women, and many similar statements that make him seem to be a person to be honored in Western cultures and according to Western values. But if we read about Muhammad in the actual Islamic documents, to Western eyes, he does not seem to be a person to be emulated nor does he exemplify American values at all. So why
ere such a difference here?
First, there is a kind of circular reasoning employed by Muslim teachers on this and many other topics. The Qur’an tells us Muhammad was the best man and the best Muslim and thus whatever he did is the definition of what that means. Thus when an American Christian reads the life of Muhammad and finds he married Aisha at age 7 when he was in his 50’s or when we read that he took the wife of a Jewish man who he had killed in front of her eyes along with her sons only hours before, as his wife, he does not seem to be a person to be emulated nor one that embodies our values.
One helpful understanding is that Islam has a sharp difference between what is expected in terms of how Muslims should treat other Muslims, on the one hand, and how they should treat non-Muslims on the other. This is seen clearly in the history of Islam and in Muslims nations today. The easiest way to clear up any misunderstanding about Islamic values is to simply examine the nature of Islamic societies as they actually exist today. How are women treated? How are non-Muslims treated? Do they have freedom to practice their religious beliefs? Are they treated as being equal in terms of their humanity? Does a non-Muslim have standing to bring a Muslim to court? Can a non-Muslims testify in Islamic courts under Sharia law? The fact is that even a cursory look at Islamic societies today will find women are deplorably treated, non-Muslims have virtually no rights, cannot testify in an Islamic Court or if they do their testimony is not deemed of any value, and under Sharia a non-Muslim has no right to bring accusation of wrong doing against a Muslim.
To examine how things are actually one under Islamic Law is the easiest way to know the truth, actions reveal what words obscure.
Why do Muslims accept this? Many Muslims do not actually know their own founding documents. The Qur’an is written in archaic Arabic from the 7th century and so is like the Roman Catholics before John XXIII trying to read the Bible in Latin. Although Muslims learn to quote verses from the Qur’an during prayer and many even to read the Qur’an, true understanding takes many years of study with learned scholars. The Qur’an cannot be understood apart from the Hadith or traditions that give its cryptic saying context but the Hadith number in the thousands and fill many volumes. Thus most Muslims have little idea of the true teachings of their religion and only know what the imam tells them. Most Muslims have heard hundreds if not thousands of stories about Muhammad as they grew up in the mosque but very few have ever actually studied his life in the founding documents for themselves. Add to that the fact that objective study of either the Qur’an or Life of Muhammad is not allowed in Islam and you find that very little accurate information is available or known by many Muslims.
Jesus is nothing like Muhammad. He never lies, he never sinned, he never killed any enemies, and he does not use deception to achieve his goals. If someone tells you Muhammad is like Jesus they are greatly mistaken.
Muslims need to know the truth! Paul writes in Romans 10: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bbring good news of good things!” 16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
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