Muhammad & the Darkness: How Islam was Founded
By Christopher Jethro
Last Updated: Dec 13, 2017
Last Updated: Dec 13, 2017
The Life of Muhammad
Muhammad (also spelt as Mohammad) was an Arabian religious, political, and social reformer who founded the religion of Islam[i]. His full name was Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Abd al-Muttalib[ii]. Muhammad was born in Mecca around the year 570 AD to a widow[iii]. His father had died shortly before or after his birth and his mother died six years later after he was born[iv].
The Arabian Peninsula of which Muhammad was born into was barren and desolate region; scorching heat during the daytime and chilling cold at nighttime. There was little vegetation. The nomads lived between jagged rocks and shifting sand dunes. The Arabians there often battled rival tribes[v]. Muhammad specifically was born into the pagan tribe Quraysh, which was the tribe in control of the city of Mecca[vi]. By all means, it was a harsh existence.
The Arabian territory was left unconquered because there was little to claim from the region or inhabitants. Pagan traditions dominated the region, especially at Mecca[vii]. Muhammad’s hometown of Mecca was a center of religious worship. Like other towns, the people worshipped at the local Ka'aba (a cube-shaped pagan temple housing various idols). The Meccan Ka’aba specifically housed 360 idols, one of which was Allah, the moon god[viii].
Based on a combination of descriptions from his early followers, Muhammad has been described as being average in height with big limbs. His skin complexion is primarily described as red and of a medium tannish shade. His hair was in-between being wavy and curly. He had a round broad face with a white mouth, large black eyes, and long eyelashes. When he was older and his hair was turning grey, he would dye is hair henna and indigo (he refused to dye it black since Jews and Christians used black dye for their greyed hair)[ix].
Little is known about Muhammad's early childhood except for his caretakers and career. After his mother’s death, Muhammad was cared for by his grandfather Abd Al-Muttalib. After his grandfather died when he was 8 years old, his uncle Abu Talib became his new caretaker and watched over him until he was 25 years of age[x]. His uncle being a poor man, Muhammad grew up as a poor orphan with few privileges. Muhammad worked for his uncle Abu Tablic for many years as a camel shepherd until he later became established in his own career.
Sources conflict regarding the religion of Muhammad’s family members, including whether his first wife was Catholic or pagan. Regardless, whatever religion his wives were before he married them, they all accepted him as a prophet and converted to his new Abrahamic religion. However, evidence indicates that at least some of Muhammad’s family members were Christian and some of them did not convert to his new religion. Specifically, Muhammad long tried to persuade his uncle Abu Talib to convert to Islam but his uncle refused.
When his uncle was dying, Muhammad made a final attempt to convert his uncle at his deathbed but his uncle still refused. His uncle's religion is not certain, but evidence favors that his uncle was a Christian who did not see Muhammad’s controversial teachings as biblical. Although the Quraysh tribe was primarily pagan, there were some Christians among it, which included a few of Muhammad's family members.
Around the age of 9, Muhammad became a camel driver between Syria and Arabia[xi]. According to Muslim tradition, he was handsome and honest in his dealings[xii]. At age 25, Muhammad began working for a wealthy Meccan merchant trader, a widow named Khadijah. It is through this traveling career that Muhammad had encountered Judaism and Christianity from which he undoubtedly borrowed monotheistic concepts from later on[xiii]. Later on, Muhammad decided to marry his employer when she made the offer. Muhammad was 25 and she was 40 years old when they married. By the cultural standards of his time, Muhammad actually married late and thus his uncle was pleased to see him finally married to his first wife[xiv].
Some have speculated that Muhammad chose to marry Khadija in part for her money, since he and his family were quite poor while she herself had inherited much wealth from her dead ex-husband. Whatever his original intention was, Muhammad and Khadijah had a very happy and successful marriage nonetheless until her death 24 years later[xv]. They had four daughters together. Although Muhammad later become a polygamist, he was not married to any other women during his first marriage to Khadijah. One Muslim scholar has commented that Muhammad probably found in his first wife the motherly compassion he lacked in his childhood[xvi].
According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad began to receive prophetic dreams and visions after devoting himself to long periods of prayer. At first, he could not identify the source of these visions but later believed the source to be the angel Gabriel. When he was 40 years old, the pinnacle beginning of Muhammad’s religious life occurred when he was meditating in a cave in Hira in which this being visited him again[xvii].
The spiritual being appeared before Muhammad and commanded him to read writings from on a brocade coverlet that he held. When Muhammad explained that he cannot read, the being did not accept this as a valid excuse and would "press" upon him so tightly that Muhammad thought he would die from its terrible oppression. This occurred three times until Muhammad finally began to read out loud which caused the being to disappear. Muslims regard this as an alleged miracle based on the traditional assumption that Muhammad was illiterate[xviii].
According to Muslim scholars, Muhammad was terrified from this oppressive experience and believed he had encountered a demon. He complained to his wives he thought he was going insane due to a witchcraft curse and wondered if he was demonically possessed[xix]. Muhammad then attempted suicide on several occasions, but each time the being appeared to Muhammad and assured Muhammad that he was an angel and that Muhammad was an apostle of God[xx].
Muhammad's wife Khadijah in particular reassured him that it was an angel and not a demon and interpreted Muhammad’s experiences as a sign that her husband was a prophet. Muhammad, being terrified from these encounters, was not easy to convince. Muhammad was only finally convinced that it was not a demon when his wife tested the spirit by uncovering her breasts beside Muhammad. When she did this, the spiritual being disappeared and Khadija commented it was because angels were embarrassed by uncovered women and its disappearance must thereby prove that it isn’t a demon[xxi].
As Muhammad stayed in contact with this spiritual being, he continued to receive revelations from the supposed angel the rest of his life which formed the basis of Islamic theology. These proclaimed revelations were recorded and compiled by his followers as the Qur’an. According to the testimonies of his followers, when Muhammad received these revelations, his face and eyes would turn red, he would breathe heavily, and sweat from his forehead until the revelation was fully received[xxii].
After he was convinced this oppressive spirit was the angel Gabriel, Muhammad began to publicly preach his "revelations" (what he heard from the supposed angel Gabriel) to the Meccans. Muhammad's message focused primarily on converting to the worship and obedience of Allah, the only true god, acknowledging his prophet Muhammad, and moral living[xxiii].
Concerning the teachings of Muhammad, Muhammad claimed that Allah was the same god from Christian-Jewish scriptures and that he himself was a prophet from the lineage of Abraham. Muhammad claimed to receive many revelations throughout his life, which included recitations of Bible and Jewish stories. Muhammad's versions of these stories, however, had important differences in them differing from the Old Testament’s accounts. All of Muhammad's stories carried the same theme that since the fall of man, Allah has sent prophets to call people back to true worship and Muhammad is the greatest of these prophets[xxiv].
At their core, all of Muhammad's stories bear closer resemblance to the Talmud's versions of these stories rather than the Tanakh's original versions. For example, Muhammad taught that a raven appeared to Cain to tell him what to do with Abel's body, murdering one person without just cause is akin to murdering a whole race, and that God once saved Abraham from burning flames when he smashed a tribe’s pagan idols. None of these teachings appear in the Bible, but are all stories and teachings found in the Jewish Talmud[xxv].
Similarly, Muhammad's version of Jesus differs significantly from the Gospels and bears closer resemblance to Gnostic accounts of Jesus. For instance, Muhammad taught that Jesus was not God and that Allah had secretly swapped Jesus’ and Judas’ bodies so that Judas died on the cross while Jesus secretly went to Heaven and escaped the crucifixion. The denial of the Deity and crucifixion of Christ are considered great heresies in Christianity, being contrary to what the New Testament says, but such heresies are found among early Gnostic heretics. Muhammad taught that the Christian and Jewish Scriptures were once from God but had been corrupted and altered, whereas his revelations restored the pure versions of these Bible stories. Muhammad taught that while the Christian and Jewish Scriptures contain some truths, they are nonetheless corrupt and only good for finding a foreshadowing of Muhammad's coming[xxvi].
When Muhammad began preaching his new revelations in his hometown, the Meccans were tolerant of Muhammad's message at first until he began to attack their religious beliefs. The leaders of Mecca then began to mock and resent Muhammad. His first converts were some of his own family members. At first Muhammad had little success and gained only 40 followers in his first 3 years of ministry, but after 13 years of preaching, Muhammad had gained about 100 followers who called themselves "Muslim"[xxvii]. Muhammad's followers consisted of both pagans converting to a monotheistic belief as well as Christians and Jews who believed Muhammad was a prophet who proclaimed the same God. Many of Muhammad's followers were poor people and slaves, whom he promised freedom and money in return for their loyal conversion. The inheritance from his first wife made these promises possible[xxviii].
At some point in the heated exchanges with the Meccans, Muhammad agreed to recognize the local gods of Mecca as a compromise, but this caused his followers to lose faith in him, so he changed his mind afterwards and claimed that Satan had spoken through him. His original words, among other retracted statements, are now known as "the Satanic verses" of the Quran. This event caused his relationship with the Meccans to take a turn for the worse. Muhammad then made a treaty of war against the people of Mecca and Medina. The Meccans attempted to capture Muhammad but he escaped the city by fleeing to Medina in 622 AD[xxix].
Before his flight to Medina, Muhammad had gained followers in Yathrib and a delegation from Yathrib proposed that Muhammad take the job to become one of the new town leaders of Medina. Muhammad took the job on condition that they pledge obedience to Allah and Muhammad. After Muhammad fled to Medina from his Meccan persecutors, Muhammad proved himself to be an adept politician and statesman in Medina. He convinced many of the people of Medina that he was a true prophet[xxx] and gained many loyal followers there[xxxi].
Before his trip to Medina, Muhammad’s first wife Khadija died in 619 AD at the age of 70[xxxii] in which Muhammad immediately married two others, Aisha and Sawda bint Zam'a. His marriage to Aisha is controversial since she was a 6-years-old child, whom Muhammad waited until she was 9 years of age before he began have intercourse with her[xxxiii]. After his first wife's death, Muhammad attempted suicide several times again but each time the angelic being would appear to him, proclaiming that he is truly Allah's messenger[xxxiv]. Like his first wife, his two new wives continued to comfort him that he was a true prophet during these suicidal episodes.
Muhammad had taught that Muslims have the right to marry up to four wives and an unlimited number of concubines[xxxv] but claimed to have received a revelation that permitted him alone able to marry unlimited women of any woman of his choosing, including married women (the husband was required to divorce her if Muhammad desired her as his wife instead). There were too many wives in all to expand on each of these relationships, but suffice to say Muhammad was a polygamist with 23 marriages total in his life[xxxvi].
At Medina, Muhammad and his followers began to perform a series of raids against the Meccan caravans. The first six were a failure, but the seventh raid was a success. The Meccans then sent 1,000 guards to protect their next caravan, but the Muslims were successful and won "the Battle of Badr" as it is called. Muhammad led his followers to attack Mecca for the next 10 years until he finally conquered the city of Mecca in 630 AD. Shortly afterwards, Muhammad claimed to receive a revelation that taught him to fight against any non-Muslims until they finally submit to Islam. Muhammad led attacks on Christians and Jews in the Arabian Peninsula, including his conquer of Qurayza over a 25-day siege, after which he beheaded over 600 captured Jews in trenches[xxxvii].
Muhammad rewarded his followers with the spoils of war which quickly became a means to attract large quantities of new followers. During the raids, Muhammad's armies killed every mature male then divided the women, children, and properties in which Muhammad always received a fifth of the spoils. The captives were either sold or enslaved, and later Muhammad claimed to receive a revelation which permitted Muslims to have sex with (i.e., rape) any female captive, including married women and prepubescent girls[xxxviii].
After defeating the Meccan army at Badr, Muhammad's next targets were the three local Jewish tribes at Medina; the Banu Qaynuqa, the Banu Nadir, and the Banu Quyrayza. The Qaynuqa tribe was driven from their homes on the claim that one of the Muslims had been harassed by a Jewish woman. Muhammad then led a successful siege against the Qaynuqa tribe. He decided not to kill all the male tribe members, but later regretted this decision after claiming Allah rebuked him for not killing the males[xxxix].
Next, Muhammad ordered some of his Muslim followers to kill prominent leaders of the Banu Nadir tribe. Afterwards, he claimed Allah revealed to him the tribe's plan to retaliate with a plot to kill Muhammad. Consequently, he laid siege to the Banu Nadir tribe. The tribe surrendered and Muhammad banished them from the land as he did the first tribe. Unlike the other times when Muhammad took a fifth of the portions, Muhammad received all of the plunder for himself this time. Consequently, Muhammad had obtained incredible wealth and power at this point and was becoming a formidable opponent[xl].
The remaining Banu Qurayza tribe, which had previously suffered losses when they aided the Meccan army during the Battle of Trench, surrendered to the Muslims. Muhammad gathered every male from the Banu Qurayza tribe and had them executed outside the town (via decapitation) with their bodies buried in trenches. Estimates show that 700 to 900 Jews were killed at this execution. Regarding the female captives, Muhammad's followers had previously practiced coitus interruptus, but Muhammad claimed to receive a revelation that this was unnecessary and his Muslim followers now had Allah’s permission to impregnate any female captive of their choosing[xli].
After these attacks in Medina, Muhammad launched raids against various communities. Some biographers state that Muhammad became fat towards the end of his life by living off of the enormous bounty. Muhammad's revelatory claims became more focused on him and each Muslim was commanded to affirm the Shahada creed that "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger." Muhammad had his critics executed, including nursing mothers and children[xlii].
The city of Mecca previously had not been fully conquered although three of its primary tribes had been. In 630 AD, Muhammad successfully marched into Mecca after violating a peace treaty he had made with them prior and defeated it for good. Afterwards, Muhammad rededicated the Ka’aba temple there to Allah and forced the entire city to convert to Islam. In consideration of all his conquests, by the end of his life, Muhammad had conquered most of Arabia[xliii].
Two years later after the conquering of Mecca, Muhammad died in 632 AD at the age of 64 from a fever. Muhammad left no successor, so following his death, Muhammad's followers fought over becoming his successor which resulted in thousands of Muslims deaths at their own hands[xliv]. Regardless, Muhammad left behind a legacy as Muslims are commanded to this day to obey the commands of and imitate their prophet Muhammad. He remains a legendary iconic figure to Muslims, as their founding leader that established Islam and revealed what they believe is the true word of god, the Qur'an[xlv].
The Christian View of Muhammad
In retrospection of Muhammad’s life, we can see that Muhammad became progressively more immoral, violent, and religiously dogmatic by the time of his death. What started out as a poor and innocent camel herder, in the end, had become a rich and powerful nefarious warlord. Although Muhammad is venerated in Islam as a holy prophet, in Christianity Muhammad was undoubtedly a false prophet.
Muhammad lived a somewhat normal and innocent life prior to his religious experiences beginning at the age of 40. We can be certain that whatever Muhammad encountered at that cave in Hira, it drastically changed his life forever and as such the identity of this being is important for evaluating his life. Islam would claim this spirit was truly the angel Gabriel on account that it appeared as an angel, claimed to be Gabriel, disappeared when Muhammad’s wife uncovered herself, and even discouraged Muhammad from killing himself.
These details are quite unconvincing that it was an angel, however, in light of how the spirit oppressed him severely, “pressing” upon him with such force he thought he would die, and leaving him so mentally scarred. Even Muhammad himself expressed many times that he believed it was a demon and attempted to commit suicide several times afterwards due to how it had affected him. Muhammad himself would not have been convinced it was not a demon if it was not for his comforting wives. Finally, the physical symptoms that Muhammad exhibited during his "revelations" do not resemble the reaction of any biblical prophet during prayer. Sweating, heavy breathing, and flushing of the skin, are more fitting for signs of demonic oppression if not simply signs of experiencing a heat stroke.
In light of the evidence, Muhammad was clearly interacting with a demon all along and not an angel. As such, whatever “revelations” the demon was giving him were not designed to lead people to biblical truth and worship of the true God since that would be counterproductive to Satan’s purposes. Although Muhammad taught Abrahamic monotheism, this does not mean that he really worshipped and served the same God as Christians and Jews.
Among other reasons, Muhammad’s theology is the primary reason for identifying him as a false prophet in the Christian lens. Since Allah is identified among one of the pagan gods from the Meccan Ka’aba, Muhammad had borrowed the name “Allah” from the pagan pantheon for the name of his god. As explained earlier, Muhammad’s teachings closely resemble rehashed Talmudic and Gnostic Bible stories and contain irreconcilable variances with the biblical accounts. As such, we can conclude that most of Muhammad’s teachings on theological history were clearly based on his loose encounters with Christians and Jews during his traveling career and not authentic revelation from God.
Most importantly of all, Muhammad denied the most core doctrines of Christianity; he rejected the authority of the Bible, the Trinity, and the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. In Christianity, one cannot possibly be saved by denying such crucial fundamental truths, let alone be a true prophet! In regards to his military campaigns, Muhammad clearly desired religious dominance, not religious tolerance, and used violence as a means whereas Christians and Jews use non-violence methods to lead people to God.
The Meccans were quite tolerant of Muhammad’s preaching at first and it was Muhammad who decided to launch war against them. After the conquering of Mecca, Muhammad unnecessarily continued to conquer and kill hundreds. Many were forced to convert or die which reveals how Muhammad had become increasingly more violent and dogmatic towards the end of his life. Claiming a fifth, and on one instance all, of the spoils of war and taking any woman he desired (married or unmarried) are a clear indication that Muhammad had a lust for material wealth and sexual gratification and used war as means to gain whatever he wanted.
The fact that Muhammad married a little girl (Aisha), having sexual relations with her once she was 9-years-old, is nothing short of a moral abomination. In combination of forcing women to divorce their husbands so he can marry them, and raping any female captive of his choosing alongside his Muslim followers, indicates he was a very sexually perverse man. In all of these instances, it seems that Muhammad used convenient “revelations” as a means to justify his selfish actions.
In conclusion, Muhammad’s life serves as an example of what can happen when a person, even if well-meaning, is influenced and guided by a demonic entity. A fair evaluation of his moral deeds reveal that Muhammad was unnecessarily violent in his military campaigns, sexually perverse, guilty of pedophilia (child-wife Aisha), and greedy. In combination with his unbiblical theology and teachings, Muhammad is a perfect example of a false prophet.
[i] Ahmad Moussalli, Gordon Newby, and Ahmad Moussalli, "Muhammad," Oxford Islamic Studies Online, http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t236/e0550 (January 5, 2016).
[ii] Robert Spencer, The Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion (Washington, DC: Regnery Pub., 2006), 50.
[iii] David Wood, "The Historical Muhammad: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly," 4Truth.net, http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbworld.aspx?pageid=8589953043 (January 5, 2016).
[iv] "Muhammad," ReligionFacts, http://www.religionfacts.com/muhammad (January 5, 2016).
[v] "The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth," The Religion of Peace, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/history.htm (January 5, 2016).
[vi] Steve Urick, The Truth About Islam: What the Whole World Needs to Know (Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2014), 6.
[vii] "The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth," The Religion of Peace, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/history.htm (January 5, 2016).
[viii] Urick, 7.
[ix] Spencer, 54-56.
[x] Mohammad Al Ghazoli, and David Daniels, Christ, Muhammad and I (Ontario, California: Chick Publications, 2007), 19-21.
[xi] "Muhammad," ReligionFacts, http://www.religionfacts.com/muhammad (January 5, 2016).
[xii] David Wood, "The Historical Muhammad: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly," 4Truth.net, http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbworld.aspx?pageid=8589953043 (January 5, 2016).
[xiii] "The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth," The Religion of Peace, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/history.htm (January 5, 2016).
[xiv] Al Ghazoli, 21-23.
[xv] "Muhammad," ReligionFacts, http://www.religionfacts.com/muhammad (January 5, 2016).
[xvi] Al Ghazoli, 34-36.
[xvii] Spencer, 54-56.
[xviii] David Wood, "The Historical Muhammad: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly," 4Truth.net, http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbworld.aspx?pageid=8589953043 (January 5, 2016).
[xix] Spencer, 56-59.
[xx] Spencer, 56-59.
[xxi] Al Ghazoli ,23-28.
[xxii] Urick 72-73.
[xxiii] Urick, 6-8.
[xxiv] Urick, 62-64.
[xxv] Urick, 62-66.
[xxvi] Urick, 68-72.
[xxvii] "The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth," The Religion of Peace, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/history.htm (January 5, 2016).
[xxviii] Al Ghazoli, 73.
[xxix] "The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth," The Religion of Peace, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/history.htm (January 5, 2016).
[xxx] "Muhammad," ReligionFacts, http://www.religionfacts.com/muhammad (January 5, 2016).
[xxxi] Urick, 7.
[xxxii] Urick, 7.
[xxxiii] Al Ghazoli, 36-38.
[xxxiv] Spencer, 59-61.
[xxxv] "The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth," The Religion of Peace, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/history.htm (January 5, 2016).
[xxxvi] Al Ghazoli, 30-32.
[xxxvii] David Wood, "The Historical Muhammad: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly," 4Truth.net, http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbworld.aspx?pageid=8589953043 (January 5, 2016).
[xxxviii] David Wood, "The Historical Muhammad: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly," 4Truth.net, http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbworld.aspx?pageid=8589953043 (January 5, 2016).
[xxxix] "The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth," The Religion of Peace, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/history.htm (January 5, 2016).
[xl] "The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth," The Religion of Peace, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/history.htm (January 5, 2016).
[xli] "The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth," The Religion of Peace, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/history.htm (January 5, 2016).
[xlii] "The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth," The Religion of Peace, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/history.htm (January 5, 2016).
[xliii] "Muhammad," ReligionFacts, http://www.religionfacts.com/muhammad (January 5, 2016).
[xliv] "The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth," The Religion of Peace, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/history.htm (January 5, 2016).
[xlv] Spencer, 199-201.
- Al Ghazoli, Mohammad, and David Daniels. Christ, Muhammad and I. Ontario, California: Chick Publications, 2007.
- Moussalli, Ahmad, Gordon Newby, and Ahmad Moussalli. "Muhammad." Oxford Islamic Studies Online. Accessed January 5, 2016. http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t236/e0550.
- "Muhammad." ReligionFacts. Accessed January 5, 2016. http://www.religionfacts.com/muhammad.
- Spencer, Robert. The Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion. Washington, DC: Regnery Pub., 2006.
- "The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth." The Religion of Peace. Accessed January 5, 2016. http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/history.htm.
- Urick, Steve. The Truth About Islam: What the Whole World Needs to Know. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2014.
- Wood, David. "The Historical Muhammad: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly." 4Truth.Net. Accessed January 5, 2016. http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbworld.aspx?pageid=8589953043.