Sunday, October 29, 2017

Answering Islam 4: Did Muhammad Use Religion for His Own Interests?

Here's Episode 4 of our "Answering Islam" series, where I answer the question: "Did Muhammad use religion for his own interests?" For the rest of the series, click on the playlist.

Here's the full text of the video:

Did Muhammad Use Religion for His Own Interests?

There are several different ways to view Muhammad. Muslims, of course, believe that he was a prophet of God. Among those of us who reject Muhammad, there are some who claim that Muhammad knew that he was deceiving people. They believe that he was an imposter who manipulated people into serving him. I happen to believe, along with many others, that Muhammad sincerely believed that he was a prophet. The general criterion I use here is the same whether I’m evaluating Christianity, or Islam, or any other worldview—it’s that, if a person is willing to die for what he’s saying, he probably believes it. In other words, liars make poor martyrs. There are lots of liars in this world. If you put a gun to someone’s head over a lie, they’re generally going to admit that it’s a lie. People who are willing to die for their claims are usually people who wholeheartedly believe in what they’re dying for.

Based on the number of battles Muhammad was in, and the various dangers he faced, I believe that he really thought he was a prophet. So I don’t believe that Muhammad was intentionally using Islam for his own interests.

However, there are a number of passages in the Qur’an and the Hadith, which prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Muhammad’s revelations were influenced by his desires. Let me give you four examples.

First, Surah 4, verse 3 of the Qur’an says that Muslims can marry up to four women. But we know from references in Bukhari and other sources that Muhammad had at least nine wives at one time. So why did Muhammad get more than four wives when the Qur’an says that Muslim men can only marry four women? Well, Muhammad received a special revelation, Surah 33, verse 50, which says that he, and he alone, could have as many wives as he wanted. Now I don’t know about you, but when the guy who’s receiving the revelations starts getting special moral privileges—namely, more sex partners than anyone else—I start getting awfully suspicious.

Second, Muhammad had an adopted son named Zaid, who was called Zaid bin Muhammad—Zaid, son of Muhammad. One day, Muhammad went to visit him and was greeted by Zaid’s wife, Zaynab, who was very beautiful, and who was wearing very little clothing at the time. When Muhammad saw her, he supposedly received some sort of revelation telling him that he was going to marry her, even though she was already married to his adopted son, and Muhammad walked away praising Allah. When Zaid found out that Muhammad was attracted to his wife, he divorced her, so that Muhammad could marry her. Muhammad was worried about what people might think if he married Zaynab, but then he began receiving revelations to justify the marriage. This is when he received Surah 33, verse 37 of the Qur’an, which says that it’s okay to marry the divorced wives of your adopted sons. I’ve never met a person who struggles with this problem. I’ve never met someone who struggles with whether he should marry the divorced wife of his own adopted son. So this verse has no purpose other than justifying what Muhammad did.

Third, Muhammad's wife Hafsa once came home early and caught Muhammad in her bed with another woman—his slave-girl, Mary the Copt. Seeking to avoid further conflict, Muhammad promised that he would stop having sex with his slave-girl. But a little later, Muhammad started having sex with Mary again. How did he justify his sexual relationship with Mary when he had taken an oath to stop having sex with her? Well, he received a revelation. Surah 66, verses 1-2 of the Qur’an, where Allah says:
O Prophet! why do you forbid (yourself) that which Allah has made lawful for you; you seek to please your wives; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Allah indeed has sanctioned for you the expiation of your oaths and Allah is your Protector, and He is the Knowing, the Wise.
Notice, Muhammad swears, “I’ll never have sex with my slave-girl again.” Then he starts having sex with her, because Allah told him to break his oath. Very interesting.

Fourth, one of Muhammad's wives was a woman named Sauda. As Sauda aged, she became unattractive and extremely overweight, and Muhammad decided to divorce her. Terrified of being abandoned in her old age, Sauda hatched a plan. She knew that Aisha was Muhammad's favorite wife, and that Muhammad would like to spend even more time with Aisha. So Sauda told Muhammad that, if he would keep her as his wife and not abandon her, she would give her sex night to Aisha. This arrangement would allow Muhammad to spend twice as much time with Aisha as he spent with any of his other wives. Muhammad was happy with the arrangement, and so was Allah. Allah praises Sauda, in Surah 4, verse 128, for coming up with this solution after fearing cruelty and desertion from Muhammad.

So Islam’s message to women is this: If your husband’s going to abandon you in your old age, just give up some of your rights and let him spend more time with his favorite wife. This will keep him from divorcing you and abandoning you.

Over and over again, Muhammad’s revelations are just too convenient. The Qur’an is supposed to exist eternally in heaven, and yet parts of it have more to do with satisfying Muhammad’s desires than with guiding humanity. Even Muhammad’s wife Aisha noticed this. In Sahih al-Bukhari, Muhammad receives one of his morally convenient revelations, and Aisha says to him, “I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires.”

So, I personally believe that Muhammad was sincerely convinced that he was a prophet. But the evidence is clear that his desires influenced the revelations he was receiving.

1 comment:

Rhonda said...

I truly appreciate your videos and articles.
Keep up the good work!
R. Osman