Whenever Prophet Muhammad’s name emerges, the image in many people’s minds is a man with many wives. For Muslims, his multiple marriages had meaning and immense implications for Islam, and by extension, the history of the world. Needless to say, the issue remains controversial, and as such, any study of the matter requires an objective approach. Therefore we will endeavour to tackle this topic by being as objective as possible.
It is a widespread belief that Islam was spread by the sword. There are two main reasons showing that this was in fact not the case.
First, the Messenger of Mercy, Prophet Muhammad, proclaimed that he would adhere to God’s commandments. And contrary to forcing people to accept Islam, God explicitly prohibited forced conversion: “There is no compulsion in faith” (Qur’an 2:256)
The charge against the Prophet Muhammad that he concocted the Qur’an is a very prevalent one, especially in the West. Even those who are sympathetic to Islam among Western writers cannot admit that the Qur’an is revelation and its author is God himself. There is a long and deep-rooted tradition in Western literature that views the Qur’an as the work of the Prophet. Thus, we will look at this issue, though extremely briefly, in light of well-documented historical facts, logic, as well as with respect to the Prophet’s personality, life and career.
The charge that the Prophet plagiarized the Bible is unfounded due to the following reasons:First, there are hundreds of references in the Qur’an relating to the incidents that occurred deep in the past that are not found in the Bible. For example, Adam’s repentance in Paradise and God’s acceptance of it, which essentially refutes the core Christian concept of original sin.
The Prophet Muhammad, the Messenger of Mercy, did not prescribe war as a natural state of affairs, and at the same time, war cannot simply be abolished. What any reformer or spiritual leader can do is minimize its brutality. The Messenger of Mercy, at God’s direction, attempted to establish rules of warfare that would make war as humane as possible, to encourage peace and to minimize the priceless cost of human lives.
The Prophet Muhammad, Messenger of Mercy, turned a society that was plagued with crimes and injustices into one that Muslims believe was utopian. The Prophet achieved this by following God’s command, and by among other things, addressing the root ills of society and applying a just and working legal system.Let us take as an example the case of adultery and sexual promiscuity. When the Prophet arrived in Medina adultery was rampant and prostitution was a profitable business. First, he raised the moral consciousness of his people against such vices, which took him considerable time.
It is sometimes argued that the Prophet Muhammad advocated the oppression of women as shown in his actions and the principles that he taught his followers. Some ask: how can one dismiss the oppression of women as wrongful acts perpetrated by some misguided Muslims, when it was endorsed by the very Prophet of Islam? Further, since the Prophet Muhammad prescribed laws for women from the perspective of a man and the patriarchal, tribal society in which he lived, this would naturally lead to diminishing the status of women.
The Prophet preached to the Jews and hoped and prayed for their salvation. He did not teach his followers to hate or exterminate the Jews. The incident at Banu Qurayza is often cited as the brutal murder of innocent Jews, but what is often left out is its historical context. The conflict was not about the Jewish faith but about a war that the tribe of Banu Qurayza had chosen to involve themselves in.
Considering the pure and strict monotheism of Islam this question looks at the outset irrelevant and even absurd. But due to the fact that Muslims highly respect and venerate the Prophet, many non-Muslims, especially in the West, mistakenly believe that Muslims worship him. Indeed some of them have accused Muslims of believing that the Prophet is God.
This is a misconception of the Prophet’s teaching that is deeply set in Western attitudes toward Islam and one that has no basis whatsoever. The Prophet, who was sent as a mercy to all creation, taught his followers that God has many names which he has revealed to his creation. Of these, the Merciful and Beneficent are the most cited attributes in the Qur’an and two of the most important.