The Chris­t­ian Mis­sion­ar­ies & Their Lies About Muhammad

The nar­ra­tive sur­round­ing Prophet Muham­mad(P) and the reli­gion he found­ed, Islam, has been mired in con­tro­ver­sy and mis­in­for­ma­tion since its incep­tion in the 7th cen­tu­ry. The spread of Islam, with its pro­found spir­i­tu­al and eth­i­cal teach­ings, rapid­ly extend­ed beyond the Ara­bi­an Penin­su­la, reach­ing the Mid­dle East, North Africa, Spain, and parts of Europe. This expan­sion was not just a geo­graph­i­cal phe­nom­e­non but also a sig­nif­i­cant cul­tur­al and reli­gious shift that chal­lenged the exist­ing socio-polit­i­cal and reli­gious order. The Chris­t­ian Church and Euro­pean rulers, per­ceiv­ing a threat to their reli­gious and polit­i­cal hege­mo­ny, respond­ed not only with mil­i­tary oppo­si­tion but also through a cam­paign of mis­in­for­ma­tion and defama­tion with their lies about Muham­mad, aimed at under­min­ing the cred­i­bil­i­ty and truth­ful­ness of his message.

From the ear­ly days, the polemics against Islam and its Prophet were deeply root­ed in a lack of under­stand­ing and fear of the oth­er”. The Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ar­ies, in their efforts to counter the spread of Islam, embarked on a sys­tem­at­ic study of the reli­gion. How­ev­er, instead of fos­ter­ing inter­faith dia­logue or seek­ing a deep­er under­stand­ing, their stud­ies often led to the prop­a­ga­tion of false­hoods and slan­der. Their approach was not mere­ly aca­d­e­m­ic ; it was dri­ven by a desire to incite fear and hatred among the gen­er­al pop­u­lace towards Islam. Fig­ures such as Peter the Ven­er­a­ble and Saint John of Dam­as­cus were instru­men­tal in shap­ing the West­ern per­cep­tion of Islam, often por­tray­ing it in a neg­a­tive light. This cam­paign of mis­in­for­ma­tion was mul­ti­fac­eted, involv­ing the dis­tor­tion of Islam­ic teach­ings and the vil­i­fi­ca­tion of Muham­mad(P) himself.

This brief paper would serve to reflect on past and present polem­i­cal attacks made by Chris­tians against the Prophet(P), insha’al­lah.

Lan­guage of the Chris­t­ian Missionaries

The father of anti-Islam­ic polemics was John of Dam­as­cus (675749 CE), and when the Chris­t­ian polemics start­ed a few cen­turies ago in the era of the Cru­sades, he began the tra­di­tion of ridi­cul­ing Islam and the Prophet(P). He claimed in his book, Here­sies, that the Qur’an was not revealed but cre­at­ed by the Prophet(P) and that he was helped by a Chris­t­ian monk, Bahi­ra, to use the Old and New Tes­ta­ment to cre­ate a new scrip­ture. He also claimed that the Prophet(P) cre­at­ed vers­es of the Qur’an to ful­fill his own desires, and these were usu­al­ly to do with lust and sex­u­al deviancy.

John of Dam­as­cus was fol­lowed by oth­ers such as Ludovi­co Mar­rac­ci, Johann Hein­rich Hot­tinger, and Humphrey Prideaux, con­tributed to spread­ing ideas that por­trayed Islam as an infe­ri­or reli­gion. How­ev­er, Nicholas of Cusa adopt­ed a more dia­log­i­cal approach, engag­ing in com­par­a­tive reli­gious dis­cus­sions rather than out­right con­dem­na­tion.1

Lat­er, dur­ing the Euro­pean scram­ble for colo­nial pow­er in Asia and Africa, Chris­tians once more encoun­tered Islam. Most of the Mus­lim lands fell under direct or indi­rect Euro­pean rule. 

It then became the pol­i­cy of the Colo­nial Gov­ern­ments, sup­port­ed by the Church, to por­tray Mus­lims as bar­bar­ians and try to destroy Islam­ic insti­tu­tions, prac­tices and influences.

Most of us may not have heard the word Maometis derived from Mahomet, the word Maometis mean­ing the num­ber of the beast, i.e., 666 stuff in the Book of Rev­e­la­tions. This is the result of the Holy Ghost-inspired Chris­tians. They con­coct­ed all kind of sto­ries to malign the Prophet(P) in order to dis­tort Islam and call it a Satan­ic” religion.

As not­ed by Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi :

[The cler­gy, mis­sion­ar­ies and Euro­pean authors] have pre­sent­ed both the Prophet and his Mes­sage in shock­ing­ly hideous colours as a result of which aston­ish­ing­ly false and base­less talks have gained cur­ren­cy about them.2

We have to unan­i­mous­ly agree with the Ori­en­tal­ist W. Mont­gomery Watt when he says that :

Of all the world’s great­est men none has been so much maligned as Muham­mad. It is easy to see how this has come about. For cen­turies Islam was the great ene­my of Chris­ten­dom, for Chris­ten­dom was in direct con­tact with no oth­er orga­nized states com­pa­ra­ble in pow­er to the Mus­lims. The Byzan­tine empire, after los­ing its provinces in Syr­ia and Egypt, was being attacked in Asia Minor, while West­ern Europe was threat­ened through Spain and Sici­ly. Even before the Cru­sades focused atten­tion on the expul­sion of the Sarcens from the Holy Land, medieval war-pro­pa­gan­da, free from the restraints of fac­tu­al­i­ty was build­ing up a con­cep­tion of the great ene­my’. At one point Muham­mad was trans­formed into Mahound, the prince of dark­ness. By the eleventh cen­tu­ry the idea about Islam and Mus­lims cur­rent in the cru­sad­ing armies were such trav­es­ties that they had a bad effect on morale. The cru­saders had been led to expect the worst of their ene­mies, and, when they found many chival­rous knights among them, they were filled with dis­trust for the author­i­ties of their own reli­gion.3

It was dur­ing the Cru­sades that the most vile accu­sa­tions were hurled against the Prophet(P) and Islam. Karen Arm­strong tells us that dur­ing the Crusades :

biogra­phies of Mohammed by Chris­tians describe the Prophet’s sex life in a man­ner that reveals far more about their own sex­u­al prob­lems than about the facts of the Prophet’s life. The Koran was said, quite incor­rect­ly, to con­done homo­sex­u­al­i­ty and to encour­age unnat­ur­al forms of inter­course. One schol­ar claimed that the foul­ness of lust among Mus­lims was inex­press­ible ; they were deep in this filth from the soles of their feet to the crown of the head. Soon the Church would accuse any out-group in Chris­ten­dom of exces­sive and unnat­ur­al sex­u­al prac­tices and twelfth cen­tu­ry Chris­tians stig­ma­tized heresy” of Islam by curs­ing what they con­sid­ered its sex­u­al lax­i­ty.4

This stig­ma of sex­u­al lax­i­ty” by the Cru­saders upon those cursed Moslems” (sic) is fur­ther con­firmed when Domini­can Fri­ar Hum­bert of Lyons (c. 1300) says that :

Nor did Mahomet teach any­thing of great austerity…indeed, he even allowed many plea­sur­able things, to do with a mul­ti­tude of women, abuse of them, and suchlike…many Chris­tians change and will change to the Sara­cen reli­gion.5

In the 16th cen­tu­ry, the Protes­tant move­ment began under Luther (14831546) and Calvin (15091564). Their atti­tude were no dif­fer­ent from the Chris­t­ian Catholics whom they broke away from. 

Mar­tin Luther’s atti­tude towards Islam was reflect­ed in the fol­low­ing words :

…who fights against the Turks [Muslims]…should con­sid­er that he is fight­ing an ene­my of God and a blas­phe­mer of Christ, indeed, the dev­il him­self.…6

Calv­in’s atti­tude towards Islam was no dif­fer­ent. Among the Protes­tants in Ger­many, the word Mahoun and Mahound was used to refer the Prophet(P), which in Ger­man means dog. In Scot­tish this word means the dev­il, with which to fright­en children.

Sev­er­al exam­ples of the base­less claims about the Prophet(P) writ­ten by the Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ar­ies and Ori­en­tal­ists are as fol­lows7 :

  • Dante Alighieri, a poet from Flo­rence, Italy, in his epic poem called La Div­ina Com­me­dia, or The Divine Com­e­dy, said that in one of his vis­its, he saw the Prophet(P) in the fourth lev­el of Hell.
  • In the Song of Roland,” an 11th-cen­tu­ry chan­son de geste, the con­flict between Charle­mag­ne’s Franks and King Mar­sile’s Sara­cens is cen­tral to the nar­ra­tive. The poem, reflect­ing the medieval Chris­t­ian per­spec­tive, depicts the Mus­lims in Al-Andalus as wor­ship­pers of an unholy trin­i­ty, com­pris­ing Mahome (Mahound), Apol­ly­on (Appolin), and Ter­ma­gant (Ter­ma­gaunt)
  • D.S. Mar­goli­uth wrote in The Biog­ra­phy of Moham­mad that the Prophet was a per­son who uses con­jury. He had secret meet­ings which are sim­i­lar to Mason­ic fes­ti­vals and his com­pan­ions had signs to be rec­og­nized, i.e. they take out the end of their turbans”.
  • H.A. Lam­mens, a Jesuit and Church pas­tor, wrote that Muham­mad(P) ate a lot, fol­lowed his (sex­u­al) desires and died because of stom­ach disease”.
  • Papa Bar­doux wrote that the Prophet was a pro­pa­gan­dist of the Sahara desert and died because of poisoning”.
  • Prideaux wrote, among oth­ers, the fol­low­ing : Islam is the reli­gion for the fol­low­ers of the dev­il. The Moslems are an igno­rant race and the Koran from the begin­ning to the end is filled with the sto­ries of the impossible”.

Read­ing all the above, one won­ders whether it is the Holy Spir­it of the Chris­tians or the Dev­il him­self which have inspired” them in their das­tard­ly deed. 

One who has even a rudi­men­ta­ry knowl­edge of Islam could eas­i­ly see that all these alle­ga­tions are all lies and damned lies. Of course, that does not stop Chris­tians from repeat­ing them time and time again.

Clear­ing Muham­mad’s Name

There are, how­ev­er, peo­ple who have stud­ied the life of the Prophet(P) as well as Islam. They do not have an axe to grind like the mis­sion­ar­ies men­tioned above. 

Mont­gomery Watt after exam­in­ing the var­i­ous charges of volup­tuous­ness, apart from oth­ers heaped on the Prophet(P) con­cludes that

In his day and gen­er­a­tion Muham­mad was a social reformer, indeed a reformer even in the sphere of morals. He cre­at­ed a new sys­tem of social secu­ri­ty and a new fam­i­ly struc­ture, both of which were a vast improve­ment on what went before. In this way he adapt­ed for set­tled com­mu­ni­ties all that was best in the moral­i­ty of the nomad, and estab­lished a reli­gious and a social frame­work for the life of a sixth of the human race today. That is not the work of a trai­tor or a lech­er.8

Thomas Car­lyle also spoke regard­ing West­ern slan­der of the Prophet(P):

Our cur­rent hypoth­e­sis about Mahomet, that he was a schem­ing Imposter, a False­hood incar­nate, that his reli­gion is a mere mass of quack­ery and fatu­ity, begins real­ly to be now unten­able to any one. The lies which well-mean­ing zeal has heaped round this man are dis­grace­ful to our­selves only…A silent great soul, one of that who can­not but be earnest. He was to kin­dle the world, the world’s Mak­er had ordered so.9

In con­cur­ing with Watt, Roger DuPasquier points out the following :

In gen­er­al one must unhap­pi­ly con­cur with an Ori­en­tal­ist like Mont­gomery Watt when he writes that of all the great men of the world, no-one has had as many detrac­tors as Muham­mad.’ Hav­ing engaged in a lengthy study of the life and work of the Prophet, the British Ara­bist add that it is hard to under­stand why this has been the case’, find­ing the only plau­si­ble expla­na­tion in the fact that for cen­turies Chris­tian­i­ty treat­ed Islam as its worst ene­my. And although Euro­peans today look at Islam and its founder in a some­what more objec­tive light, many ancient prej­u­dices still remain.‘10

Cru­sades Not Over ?

Even today in this mod­ern age, we still see the Chris­tians being the worst of the slan­der­ers of the char­ac­ter of the Prophet(P), some in polit­i­cal­ly-cor­rect lan­guage. These deroga­to­ry names were con­coct­ed by love-thy-neigh­bor”, turn-thy-cheek” Chris­tians who main­tained an open pol­i­cy of defama­tion against Islam and Muham­mad(P) through­out the Mid­dle Ages. 

Appar­ent­ly, this pol­i­cy still exists today, albeit in a much more sophis­ti­cat­ed apparatus. 

As recent as 1989, we read the following :

Mus­lim soci­ety looks pro­found­ly repulsive…It looks repul­sive because it is repulsive…A West­ern­er who claims to admire Mus­lim soci­ety, while still adher­ing to West­ern val­ues, is either a hyp­ocrite or an igno­ra­mus, or a bit of both.…Arab and Mus­lim soci­ety is sick, and has been sick for a long time.11

Claims like Child Moles­ter, a Leader of Camel Ban­dits, and an anti-Christ by the Chris­tians, who fre­quent through­out news­groups and dis­cus­sion boards on the Inter­net, are com­mon whether out of will­ful igno­rance or otherwise. 

Not to men­tion that there are sev­er­al Chris­tians who take delight in mis­rep­re­sent­ing the Qur’an­ic vers­es and the hadith, even to the extent of impos­ing Chris­tol­ogy” upon the Qur’an and lat­er claim that the Qur’an sup­ports” the Chris­t­ian doc­trines of orig­i­nal sin and the Trinity.

Is there a pur­pose behind this mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Islam ? 

Nor­man A. Daniel observes that :

[the] West formed a more or less invari­able canon of beliefs about Islam ; it decid­ed for itself what Islam was, and formed a view mate­ri­al­ly dif­fer­ent from any­thing Mus­lims would recog­nise … The impor­tant thing was it suit­ed the West. It cor­re­spond­ed to need … it gave Chris­ten­dom self-respect in deal­ing with a civil­i­sa­tion in many ways its supe­ri­or.12

Rana Kab­bani fur­ther expands on the rea­sons why Mus­lims and the East were por­trayed in this man­ner, and con­cludes that : 

If it could be sug­gest­ed that East­ern peo­ples were sloth­ful, pre­oc­cu­pied with sex, vio­lence, and inca­pable of self-gov­ern­ment, then the impe­ri­al­ist would feel him­self jus­ti­fied in step­ping in and rul­ing. Polit­i­cal dom­i­na­tion and eco­nom­ic exploita­tion need­ed the cos­met­ic cant of mis­sion civil­isatrice to seem ful­ly commendatory…The image of the Euro­pean colonis­er had to remain an hon­ourable one : he did not come as exploiter, but as enlight­en­er.13

So basi­cal­ly, noth­ing has changed from the days of Cru­sades until today. The Cru­sades” are still not over, albeit hav­ing replaced the sword with mis­sion­ary-gan­da” and argu­ments wrapped up in a decep­tive way to dupe the Mus­lim mind. 

Being in news­groups like soc.religion.islam, alt.religion.islam and oth­er dis­cus­sion boards for more than a year, I can eas­i­ly tes­ti­fy to that.

Con­clu­sions

It would always be the goal of the Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ar­ies who view Mus­lim coun­tries as the last fron­tier” to cause con­fu­sion with­in unknowl­edge­able Mus­lims and ulti­mate­ly con­vert them to their cause. 

The church­es in the West are emp­ty­ing, some even sold for the build­ing of new mosques, but the mis­sion­ar­ies are look­ing East for their expan­sion”. In the Qur’an, God Almighty have warned the Mus­lims of their plan.

And they say : Be Jews or Chris­tians, then ye will be right­ly guid­ed.’ Say : Nay, but (we fol­low) the reli­gion of Abra­ham, the upright, and he was not of the idol­aters.’ ” (Qur’an 2:135)

And they say : None entereth Par­adise unless he be a Jew or a Chris­t­ian.’ These are their (vain) desires. Say : Bring your proof (of what ye state) if ye are truth­ful!’ ” (Qur’an 2:111)

How­ev­er, one real­ly won­ders : if Islam was just some false belief with com­pli­cat­ed doc­trines that did­n’t make any sense, why would so many peo­ple, from West­ern Ori­en­tal­ists to Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ar­ies, have to tell so many untruths about it ? 

If Islam is indeed from the Dev­il, you do not need the Dev­il’s ways to defeat it — explain­ing the truth would be enough. The rea­son is sim­ple, that the ulti­mate truth of Islam stands on sol­id ground and its sim­ple yet unshak­able belief in the Uni­ty of God is beyond reproach. 

No won­der that some Chris­tians, after strug­gling with the men­tal dialec­tics” of expla­na­tion of the Holy Trin­i­ty for so long, final­ly either become an athe­ist or turn to Islam !

This is what the mis­sion­ar­ies, from the era of the Cru­sades until the mod­ern age, fear very much. 

Cer­tain­ly, there is much truth in the state­ment that Islam is the most mis­rep­re­sent­ed reli­gion of the world. But if Mus­lims take the effort to cor­rect the image of Islam, lies will final­ly be dis­pelled by truth, insha’allah.

And cer­tain­ly, only God knows best !Endmark

Cite this arti­cle as : Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi, The Chris­t­ian Mis­sion­ar­ies & Their Lies About Muham­mad,” in Bis­mi­ka Allahu­ma, Sep­tem­ber 20, 2005, last accessed Decem­ber 11, 2023, https://​bis​mikaal​lahu​ma​.org/​p​o​l​e​m​i​c​a​l​-​r​e​b​u​t​t​a​l​s​/​l​i​e​s​-​a​b​o​u​t​-​m​u​h​a​m​m​ad/
  1. H. Zainal Abidin Abbas, Sejarah dan Per­juan­gan Nabi Muham­mad, Jld 1, pp. 28 – 32[]
  2. Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nad­wi, Speak­ing Plain­ly to the West, p. 35[]
  3. W. M. Watt, Muham­mad At Med­i­na, 1956[]
  4. Karen Arm­strong, Holy War : The Cru­sades and their Impact on Today’s World, 1992[]
  5. Nor­man Daniel, Heroes and Sara­cens : An Inter­pre­ta­tion of the Chan­sons de Geste, 1984[]
  6. E. Gris­lis, Luther and the Turks, The Mus­lim World, Vol. LXIV, No.3 (July, 1974), p. 183.[]
  7. H. Zainal Abidin Abbas, op. cit.[]
  8. W. M. Watt, op. cit.[]
  9. Thomas Car­lyle, Heroes and Hero Wor­ship and the Hero­ic in His­to­ry[]
  10. Roger DuPasquier, Unveil­ing Islam, p. 47[]
  11. Con­nor Cruise O’ Bri­an, The Times (Lon­don), May 1989[]
  12. Nor­man A. Daniel, Islam and the West : The Mak­ing of an Image, p. 270[]
  13. Rana Kab­bani, Impe­r­i­al Fic­tion : Europe’s Myths of the Ori­ent, p. 6[]

Comments

One response to “The Chris­t­ian Mis­sion­ar­ies & Their Lies About Muhammad”

  1. Shadab Malik Avatar

    Assalam-u-alaikum,

    Mash’a’al­lah the arti­cle writ­ten by you is indeed an eye open­er and an answer to all the lies and bad things being spread­ed about Islam and our Prophet Moham­mad (PBUH).
    I reached your page while search­ing about The Num­ber of Beast” that I recent­ly came to know from one of my friends who had just a faint idea about it. On googling, I land­ed on wikipedia where some­one has writ­ten that Muham­mad (PBUP) was called as Mahomet in ear­ly ages. I could­nt take it as there was no ref­er­ences giv­en to its authen­tic­i­ty. Search­ing fur­ther I arrived at your page and Alham­dulil­lah all my doubts are clear. But it real­ly depress­es me to know that Wikipedia could allow such a post with­out any prop­er authen­tic references.

    Thanks for this.

    Cer­tain­ly, only God knows best.

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