A Rational Approach to the Prophethood of Muhammad 1

A Ratio­nal Approach to the Prophet­hood of Muhammad

It is gen­er­al­ly well-known that a per­son who claims prophet­hood is either some­one of the best or the worst of mankind and these two extremes can nev­er be con­fused. This is true indeed because he is a truth­ful Prophet of God, thus it is accept­ed that he should be one of the best and most per­fect per­son, an exam­ple par excel­lence. Or, if he is a liar against God — and this is the most ter­ri­ble of lies — there he is one of the worst and most wicked per­son to ever walk the earth. This big dif­fer­ence is too great to be missed by any layper­son, let alone smart and intel­li­gent indi­vid­u­als. It is tru­ly a very huge dif­fer­ence, indeed !

How could some­one con­fuse a prophet who has reached the high­est lev­el of truth­ful­ness, hon­esty and moral­i­ty — as opposed to a liar against God who has reached the low­est lev­el of wicked­ness and immoral­i­ty ? How could some­one not be able to dis­tin­guish between these two extremes ?

The behav­iour and man­ner­isms of a per­son tell some­one whether he is a truth­ful per­son or a habit­u­al liar. This can be known from his habit­u­al life and dai­ly man­ners, espe­cial­ly with long com­pan­ion­ship and expe­ri­enc­ing inter­ac­tion with the indi­vid­ual in ques­tion. If some­one is truth­ful all the time, this is rec­og­nized. And if he some­times tells lies, this is also quick­ly rec­og­nized. This is some­thing we fre­quent­ly expe­ri­ence in our dai­ly lives ; if any­one lived in a cer­tain soci­ety for a long time, the mem­bers of this soci­ety can eas­i­ly tell whether this one is truth­ful or not. Peo­ple who are close to a cer­tain per­son for a long time can tell whether this per­son habit­u­al­ly lies or not, espe­cial­ly in major issues.

Those who were close to Prophet Muham­mad (P) had a sol­id belief that he was a truth­ful per­son who had nev­er lied in his entire life. Even those who dis­be­lieved in his Prophet­hood did not deny this fact. This is evi­dent in the fol­low­ing report in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim :

It is report­ed on the author­i­ty of Ibn Abbas that when this verse was revealed:” And warn thy near­est kin­dred” (and thy group of select­ed peo­ple among them) the Mes­sen­ger of Allah (may peace be upon him) set off till he climbed Safa’ and called loud­ly : Be on your guard ! They said : Who is it call­ing aloud ? They said : Muham­mad. They gath­ered round him, and he said : O sons of so and so, O sons of so and so, O sons of Abd Man­af, O sons of Abd al-Mut­tal­ib, and they gath­ered around him. He (the Apos­tle) said : If I were to inform you that there were horse­men emerg­ing out of the foot of this moun­tain, would you believe me ? They said : We have not expe­ri­enced any lie from you. He said : Well, I am a warn­er to you before a severe tor­ment. He (the nar­ra­tor) said that Abu Lahab then said : Destruc­tion to you ! Is it for this you have gath­ered us ? He (the Holy Prophet) then stood up, and this verse was revealed:” Per­ish the hands of Abu Lahab, and he indeed per­ished” (cxi. 1). A’mash recit­ed this to the end of the Sura.1

In this report, our evi­dence is the state­ment from the Prophet’s rel­a­tives : We have not expe­ri­enced any lie from you.” This indi­cates that his truth­ful­ness was very appar­ent and well-known to them. Fur­ther­more, it sug­gests that his truth­ful­ness was unan­i­mous­ly rec­og­nized, as no one con­test­ed this state­ment even though it was made pub­licly, in the pres­ence of many. While they reject­ed his mes­sage and dis­be­lieved in his prophet­hood, they did not ques­tion his hon­esty. Instead of deny­ing his integri­ty, they chose to respond with abuse to his call.

One should take into con­sid­er­a­tion that Muham­mad (P) was born, grew up, lived and mar­ried before the Mes­sage amid his peo­ple, so they should be the best judge of his man­ners, espe­cial­ly truth­ful­ness. Even though many of them did not fol­low him — and rather, opposed him — they have all agreed that they nev­er heard a sin­gle lie from him.

Anoth­er proof of this fact is giv­en in the long report of Abu Sufyan and Her­a­clius when the lat­ter asked the for­mer : Have you ever accused him of telling lies before his claim (to be a prophet)?” Abu Sufyan answered : No.“2 This event took place before Abu Sufyan embraced Islam. The com­ment of Her­a­clius regard­ing Abu Sufyan’s reply is inter­est­ing, he fur­ther said : I fur­ther asked whether he was ever accused of telling lies before he said what he said, and your reply was in the neg­a­tive. So I won­der how a per­son who nev­er told a lie about oth­ers could ever tell a lie about Allah?“3

This brings us to a dis­cus­sion on Argu­ment of Pri­or­i­ty.

Argu­ment of Pri­or­i­ty is one form of log­i­cal argu­ments for­mu­lat­ed by Mus­lim schol­ars. An exam­ple of this type of argu­ment is that if Sam is able to car­ry five kilo­grams of any mate­r­i­al, then it is assumed that pri­or to that he is able to car­ry only one kilo­gram of the same mate­r­i­al. Yes, it is not men­tioned in the first state­ment that Sam can car­ry one kilo­gram — it is only stat­ed that he could car­ry five — but this log­i­cal argu­ment leads us to con­clude that as long as he could car­ry five kilo­grams, then he is able to car­ry one kilo­gram as well.

This log­i­cal argu­ment was employed by Sheikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah in his argu­ment that if man has the attrib­ut­es of see­ing, hear­ing and speak­ing, then it is pri­or of God who cre­at­ed man to attain these attrib­ut­es.4

In fact, this log­i­cal argu­ment is derived from the Noble Qur’an ; the Qur’an employs it to answer those who deny the belief in Res­ur­rec­tion and the Here­after, it answers them that it is God who was able to cre­ate man from noth­ing is thus also able to revive man again in the Last Day, for if God is able to cre­ate man from noth­ing, it is of course log­i­cal to accept that pri­or to that He would be able to revive him again from death.5

More of such exam­ples are avail­able in the Qur’an, but we will not be refer­ring to those exam­ples in this article.

Back to our dis­cus­sion on the truth­ful­ness of Prophet Muham­mad (P), we find that Her­a­clius employed the Argu­ment of Pri­or­i­ty as proof of Muham­mad’s prophet­hood ; he said : how could a per­son who nev­er told a lie about oth­ers ever tell a lie about Allah?”

This is a true argu­ment indeed ; for if some­one refrains from telling lies to oth­ers in world­ly mat­ters, it is of course accept­able to admit that pri­or to that he would not to tell lies against God. If telling lies was nev­er one of his attrib­ut­es — in fact, to the con­trary, peo­ple had nev­er heard of any lie com­ing from him — and he abstains from lying to peo­ple, then his abstain­ing from telling lies against God is pri­or. In fact, when one exam­ines the biog­ra­phy of Prophet Muham­mad (P), he will find that his con­tem­po­raries had nev­er accused him of being a liar in his claim to be a Prophet of God. Yes, they had accused him of being a sor­cer­er, a poet, a mad­man or some­one pos­sessed, but they had nev­er accused him of lying. The Qur’an also tells that they do not real­ly belie him, they rather deny and reject Signs of Allah.6

This con­tra­dic­to­ry atti­tude of the dis­be­liev­ers was the rea­son why they deserved God’s pun­ish­ment in the end ; they knew that Muham­mad (P) was a truth­ful per­son and that he nev­er told a lie. How­ev­er, they dis­be­lieved in him and vig­or­ous­ly reject­ed his Mes­sage. On the con­trary, the Believ­ers sin­cere­ly believed in him because they knew that he was not a liar — espe­cial­ly those who were inti­mate with his life, peo­ple in the likes of his wife Khadi­jah (R) and his Com­pan­ions Abu Bakr (R), Uth­man (R) and Umar (R).

Which posi­tion will you choose for your­self ? Will you choose the posi­tion of that of the believ­ers or the posi­tion of the dis­be­liev­ers, who were destroyed in the end ?

And glo­ry be to Allah and His Apos­tle, and to the Believers.Endmark

Cite this arti­cle as : The Ter­ror­ist, A Ratio­nal Approach to the Prophet­hood of Muham­mad,” in Bis­mi­ka Allahu­ma, Jan­u­ary 27, 2007, last accessed May 29, 2024, https://​bis​mikaal​lahu​ma​.org/​m​u​h​a​m​m​a​d​/​r​a​t​i​o​n​a​l​-​a​p​p​r​o​a​c​h​-​t​o​-​p​r​o​p​h​e​t​h​o​od/
  1. Sahih Mus­lim, Book 1, Chap­ter 87, Num­ber 406[]
  2. Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 1, Num­ber 6[]
  3. ibid.[]
  4. Refer to Ibn Taimiyyah, Ar-Rad Ala Al-Man­tiqy­een, pp. 130 – 131[]
  5. Qur’an, Sura Ya-Sin : 78 – 79 and Sura Ar-Rum : 27[]
  6. Refer to Qur’an, Sura Al-An’am : 33[]

1 Comment

  1. This is an excel­lent essay. The men­tal­ly unsta­ble and abu­sive mis­sion­ary Sam Shamoun (SS) gave a sil­ly reply” to this essay. His entire reply” was based on a straw­man and the rest was inco­her­ent ram­bling on unre­lat­ed top­ics, ignor­ing much of the dis­cus­sion in the essay by the Ter­ror­ist.” I will make a few com­ments here.

    SS failed to com­pre­hend the argu­ment : that the idol wor­ship­pers acknowl­edged Muhammed (P) as a truth­ful, hon­est and sin­cere indi­vid­ual. But they only made accu­sa­tions when he (P) asked them to accept him (P) as God’s prophet. There­fore, there was an incon­sis­ten­cy in their posi­tion. Muhammed (P) was not accused or sus­pect­ed of telling lies in any con­ciev­able mat­ter before he (P) began preach­ing Islam. His (P) hon­esty was pub­licly acknowl­edged. It was only lat­er, once he (P) had declared him­self (P) as a prophet, that the unbe­liev­ers began to make a range of accu­sa­tions at Muhammed (P), accus­ing him (P) of being a magi­cian, mad­man, etc. SS com­plete­ly missed this. To quote the Terrorist”:

    This con­tra­dic­to­ry atti­tude of the dis­be­liev­ers was the rea­son why they deserved God’s pun­ish­ment in the end ; they knew that Muham­mad (P) was a truth­ful per­son and that he nev­er told a lie. How­ev­er, they dis­be­lieved in him and vig­or­ous­ly reject­ed his Message”

    SS presents the usu­al lame claims to deny the prophet­hood of Muhammed (P). He says that Muhammed (P) did not per­form mir­a­cles and that Prophets are accom­pa­nied by mir­a­cles. But these claims are false. There is a strong schol­ar­ly con­cen­sus that Muhammed (P) did do mir­a­cles. Sec­ond, mir­a­cles are by them­selves no proof of prophet­hood because false prophets can also do mir­a­cles.” Third, John the Bap­tist did not per­form any mir­a­cles as far as I can tell. Yet he was a prophet.

    The real­ly com­i­cal part is SS’s rather sil­ly men­tion of reports where some saha­ba asked Muhammed’s (P) per­mis­sion to tell a lie (Muham­mad ibn Masla­ma and Al-Haj­jaj ibn Ilat) in spe­cif­ic cir­cum­stances. SS wish­es to con­clude that Muhammed (P) allowed telling lies when­ev­er a per­son want­ed to do so. His desire is to make Islam into this bad” reli­gion which open­ly peach­es its adher­ents to tell lies when­ev­er they feel like it. But one won­ders if this was the case, then why did these indi­vid­u­als need to take Muhammed’s (P) per­mis­sion in the first place ? Sure­ly this indi­cates the oppo­site : that the act of lying was viewed as unac­cept­able, and hence the need to refer to Muhammed (P) to seek his per­mis­sion. This (Muham­mad ibn Masla­ma) is, in fact, a spe­cif­ic case in a WAR sit­u­a­tion and SS fool­ish­ly makes a hasty gen­er­al­iza­tion on its basis. In a war sce­nario, one HAS TO deceive the ene­my com­bat­ants. This is what ALL ARMIES do, even now. But to use this spe­cif­ic war sce­nario case to make a gen­er­al­iza­tion and sug­gest that lying is accept­able” in all cas­es” is fool­ish to say to least. In Islam lying is a sin. The texts are too numer­ous to quote which con­demn the act of lying, dis­hon­esty and decep­tion. How­ev­er, in a war, armies have to deceive the oppos­ing armies in order to get an upperhand.

    The oth­er com­i­cal part is SS’s com­par­i­son of lying with the total­ly unre­lat­ed act of dis­so­lu­tion of oaths ! And to top it off he brings in takiyah ! In case some­one does not know, when your life is in grave dan­ger and some­one is forc­ing you to do or say some­thing, threat­en­ing to kill you (and/​or your loved ones) if you do not com­ply, and you accept the demands to save your life, this is known as takiyah. Like­wise, if there are peo­ple who you fear will very like­ly harm you and the only way to avoid that would be to be friend­ly” towards them, then this would be takiyah as well. Takiyah, there­fore, is per­miss­able in dire life threat­en­ing sit­u­a­tions. It is no green sig­nal to tell lies every­day on every con­ceiv­able issue. SS has a weird prob­lem with this and he does not explain why takiyah is wrong.” Per­haps he plans to force a Mus­lim to con­vert to Chris­tian­i­ty and kill him if he does not, so SS wants to ensure the Mus­lim *real­ly* con­verts and does not do so just to save his life from SS ? You nev­er know :)

    As usu­al, SS makes anoth­er hasty gen­er­al­iza­tion on the basis of this unique and spe­cif­ic per­mis­sion, which is lim­it­ed to dire life threat­en­ing situation.

    This just shows how embarass­ing SS is for the answer­ing-islam web­site. I am sure that most Chris­tians are a bit more intel­li­gent and would not be fooled by his, frankly stu­pid, argu­ments. I have come across a few chris­tians online who have been brave enough to acknowl­edge this in pri­vate. It is very strange that a per­son has the abil­i­ty to apply such sil­ly argu­ments as a result of his hate and prejudice.

    SS pro­duces large amounts of texts in an inco­her­ent man­ner and hasti­ly hops from one unre­lat­ed top­ic onto anoth­er, while all the time either com­plete­ly ignor­ing or dis­tort­ing his oppo­nents arguments.

    I think the Ter­ror­ist” can have a mar­vel­lous time shred­ding to pieces SS’s sil­ly tirade and I look for­ward to his refutation.

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