Imam Eesaa Wood
If I told you today that I was a Messenger of God…it’s understandable that your knee-jerk reaction might be to object to my claim or at least you might want to see some proof. Our Prophet Muhammad (May God exalt his mention) was in no different of a situation and thus we also today face this dilemma when trying to convince others. This brief article is intended to equip you with some rational and logical reasons to assert that the Holy Prophet Muhammad was indeed a God-fearing, sane and honest Messenger of God.
When Muhammad (p.b.u.h), at the ripe age of 40 came to his people and proclaimed, “Indeed, I am a Messenger of God sent to you”, most of his people rejected his claim. Their reasons are not unlike the objections given today. They fall into the following broad categories (All of which the Quran denies):
- He’s possessed! (Quran 81:25)
- He’s insane! (Quran 68:2)
- He’s a liar! (Quran 46:8 and 25:4-6)
- And others would say, OK, show us some proof! After all it’s a pretty tall claim. (Quran 29:50)
So let’s deal with each of these in order.
The claim that Muhammad was possessed by a demonic entity (i.e. Satan) stems from the fact that his initial experience of receiving revelation in the cave of the mountain of light (Mount Hira) from the Arch-Angel Gabriel (A.S.) was shocking and frightening. It’s no doubt that any of us in his position, suddenly and unexpectedly being visited by an Angel of God alone in a cave at night, would be no less surprised and confused. One only needs look at the frightening experience of the great prophet Moses (A.S.) when God communicated to him at the burning bush (Exodus 3:6-4:13-14, Quran 28:31). So, it’s neither unreasonable nor unprecedented to be shocked by such an experience. But still, how do we know for sure this person was being led by God and not the enemy of God?
The noble prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) is usually credited with authorship of The Qur’an by non-Muslim scholars of history. So let’s examine a few general facts about this book that don’t revolve around faith claims. All Muslims know that you don’t ever read a single letter of the Qur’an without first clearly stating aloud, “I seek refuge with God from Satan the Accursed”. If one only takes a concordance approach to reading the Qur’an by simply looking up all the locations in the it where Satan is mentioned, one will generally discover the following attributes of Satan: He is arrogant and no a believer (Quran 2:34), a clear and open enemy to you (the reader) so don’t follow his way (2:168), seeking to mislead man from God and eventually into hell (a place the Qur’an clearly states that he will be after Judgment day) (Quran 4:119 and 14:22). With all that being said, it’s hard to believe at this point that Satan is working in his own best interest by inspiring a man in this way. I think the bible says it best in the Book of Matthew 12:26, “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?” New American Standard Bible. So let’s cross demonic possession off our list shall we?
Critics say that perhaps his claim to divine messengership was a delusion brought on by some mental issues. Firstly, let’s assert a few basic facts about human beings that suffer from diseases of the mind. Number one, they have tremendous difficulty successfully interacting with their peers in social settings. Two, they often posses amazing skills in specialized areas (like piano), but often lack general competence in most normal areas of human life (bathing or holding down a consistent job). Lastly, mental illness often times is hereditary and will begin to clearly manifest itself in early adult life. While all three might not manifest in ones lifetime; it’s important to understand that the type of illness they claim he had (i.e Hearing voices and believing them) would not have mild symptoms by any stretch of the imagination.
As far as the early life of Muhammad, prior to the claim of divine messengership, both orientalists and Muslim historians are in agreement that Muhammad neither came from a family of people prone to mental disturbance nor was an illness attributed to him in his life before his call to Islam at age 40. Muhammad was so esteemed by his people that they would ask him to arbitrate their most difficult social matters (ex. rebuilding of the Ka’baa at age 35). He even successfully garnered the hand of one of the most prized women in all of Makkah our spiritual mother Khadijah (He also successfully ran her merchant business for 15 years!). Even after his call to Islam the sheer amount of accomplishments and accolades only increased until he was the first leader of the entire Arabian Peninsula, a renowned teacher and the superlative husband and father according to the testimony of his most intimate disciples and companions. We will end with a quote by a non-Muslim historian, De Lamartine, and then honestly ask ourselves what other mentally ill or delusional people in history have ever accomplished so much?
“Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of a rational dogma for a cult without imagery, founder of twenty earthly empires and of one spiritual empire, this is Muhammad. Of all the scales by which one measures human grandeur, which man has been greater…” (Extract from Alphonse de Lamartine’s Histoire de la Turquie Paris, 1854, vol. II, pp. 276-277) Notice how the use of the word “cult” implies his own rejection of Islam, but none the less he praises the Prophet, Subhan’Allah!
The most widely accepted accusation by his detractors was and still is today that he was dishonest about his claims. Dishonesty amongst men can stem from egotistical base desires for wealth, power, position, and women. Sometimes it can manifest from a desire to ward off harm as well. Yet despite the frequency of claims throughout history that Muhammad was a deceiver or in the words of the bible “a False Prophet”, dispelling this claim is as easy as looking at three very historic realities.
By the ripe old age of 25 until at least the age of 40, Muhammad was known by the nickname “the honest and the trustworthy” (As-Sadiq-Al-Amin) by his peers. The Quresh tribe that ran the affairs of Makkah would use Muhammad’s house as a safety deposit box for their valuables while on merchant trips to Syria and Yemen (this practice continued even after his claim to prophethood!). His preaching of Islam eventually led to the loss of his wealth, condition, and standing in his home city. It certainly didn’t ward off any harm from coming his way. At one point in this period of persecution, the Quresh offered to make him the wealthiest among them, give him their most beautiful women and finally make him their King if he would just stop preaching. He declined all of this, stating the even if they had the power to give him more than that it would not deter him from his mission.
The most powerful and historic event in his life is really the final nail in the coffin to all claims against his sincerity, mental health and God-Consciousness. The following narrations are a statement from a companion and the wife of the Prophet. This story is mentioned so many times in and by so many different people that it reaches the level of Mutawatir or beyond doubt.
In Sahih Bukhari, “The book of Eclipses” hadith #153
Narrated Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba (R.A.): “The sun eclipsed in the life-time of God’s messenger on the day when (his son) Ibrahim died. So the people said that the sun had eclipsed because of the death of Ibrahim. God’s messenger said, “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death or life (i.e. birth) of some-one. When you see the eclipse pray and invoke God
and hadith #154
Narrated ‘Aisha (R.A): “In the life-time of God’s messenger (p.b.u.h) the sun eclipsed, so he led the people in (a long) prayer… (Then) He delivered the sermon and after praising and glorifying God he said, “The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of God; they do not eclipse on the death or life of anyone. So when you see an eclipse, then call to mind God and say “God is the Greatest”, pray and give charity.”
Well there you have it folks, it is almost inconceivable that a demon possessed man would not have taken advantage of the coincidence of an eclipse on the same day as his sons death to proclaim his own greatness. It is even more unbelievable that a mentally ill man hearing voices would not have seen this as confirmation of his “prophethood”. Lastly, it is highly doubtful that a deceptive man would not have used this as a chance to reinforce his lies. So that brings us to the next logical conclusion, he must be God’s messenger. But, others may still want to see some proof. We will try to examine that proof next time, In sha’Allah.