The Myths of Prophet Muhammad
by The Religion of Peace.Com
Muslims often complain of the "misconceptions" about their religion in the West, yet very few seem to know all that much about the true history of Islam and its founder, Muhammad. As a result, the biggest misconceptions about Islam are often those originating from (and sincerely believed by) Muslims themselves.
As a service to Muslims and infidels alike, we hope to refute the contemporary mythology of Muhammad (popular in the West) by referring to the earliest and most reliable Muslim historians, who based their writings on the narrations of those who actually knew their revered prophet. The historical compilations of Ibn Ishaq (compiled by Ibn Hisham), al-Tabari, Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are greatly respected in the Muslim academic community as a priceless source of biographical information and the details of Islam's origin and rise to power. These writings also provide the context for the Qur'an.
Understand that it is the Hadith (traditions), Sira (biography of Muhammad) and the Qur'an together that provide the true Islamic counterpart to the Christian Bible and Jewish Torah. The Qur'an is simply the purported words of Allah arranged in no particular order. It makes little sense outside of the context provided by the other two sources, and it even explicitly refers devout Muslims to them.
Articles posted here will occasionally be revised and improved, and new ones added. Readers not familiar with the life of Muhammad may want to consider approaching these myths through our brief article on the history of his life: The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth. It has been updated to include most of the same links found below, and it will help place these debunked myths into historical context - even though it is written from the Muslim point of view.
Prophet Muhammad Traveled to Jerusalem
The Muslim connection to Jerusalem is extremely tenuous compared to Judaism and Christianity. In fact, the claim to the city seems to exist largely because it is held sacred by Western religion. From the time of Muhammad to the present day, Islam has always been a "me too" faith, attempting to ride the coattails of other faiths to which it hopes to aspire.
The official reason that Muslims claim Jerusalem for themselves - after marching an army into the city only two years after Muhammad's death - is that their prophet once visited there...
Unfortunately this would have been in a dream - not in real life. As much as those who demand full control of Jerusalem today would prefer, there is simply no evidence that Muhammad's physical body ever made the trip.
There is certainly ample evidence that Muhammad did claim to have had a dream. At the time, he was trying to convince the doubters around him that he belonged to the line of Jewish prophets. What better way than to tell them that he led the other prophets (Abraham, Moses and Jesus) in prayer at the mosque in Jerusalem (even if no mosque had ever existed there)?
Aisha, Muhammad’s favorite wife, later insisted that it was not a physical journey (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 265) and there has always been controversy within Islam about whether it was supposed to have been a physical or “spiritual” visit.
At the time, the Meccans mocked Muhammad for claiming to have visited Jerusalem in one night, since it was a one month journey to get there and back. In fact, “many Muslims gave up their faith” when they heard this, according to his biographer (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 265). But had the Meccans only known how big the universe really is, then they would have reserved the greatest ridicule for Muhammad’s claim to have visited the gates of heaven in the same dream – and it is doubtful that anyone would have believed him at that point.
The observable universe is 93 billion light years wide, meaning that it takes 93 billion years to make it from one side to the other even traveling at the speed of light. In “Leaving Islam” by Ibn Warraq, a young contributor points out that if Muhammad had left the (non-existent) mosque in Jerusalem 1400 years ago, traveling at this phenomenal speed through the icy void of space, he would still be trying to make it out of our galaxy (p. 347). At this point, Muslims (who claim that theirs is the most “scientific” of religions) fall back on the idea that Muhammad visited Jerusalem “in spirit”... whatever that means.
To prove his claim, a nervous Muhammad gave a general description of the city “from above” to Abu Bakr, who “verified” it to be true. Muhammad shouldn’t have worried about his most faithful apostle, at least, since Abu Bakr had already pledged his loyalty to whatever his prophet had to say: “If he says it, then it is true.” (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 265).
Abu Bakr's gullibility was legendary. Not only did he hand over his own 6-year-old daughter in "marriage" at Muhammad's request, but his prophet even got him believing in talking cows at one point:
Once Allah's Apostle; offered the morning prayer and then faced the people and said, "While a man was driving a cow, he suddenly rode over it and beat it. The cow said, "We have not been created for this, but we have been created for sloughing." On that the people said astonishingly, "Glorified be Allah! A cow speaks!" The Prophet said, "I believe this, and Abu Bakr and 'Umar too, believe it, although neither of them was present there. (Bukhari 56:677)
Obviously, those who believe in Muhammad's claim to have traveled to Jerusalem either in body or in spirit rely on blind faith rather than common sense. He was known to use the veil of sleep to make other grandiose claims about himself, once insisting"while I was sleeping, the keys to the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand" (Bukhari 52:220).
Even though he had never traveled to Jerusalem before, it is highly likely that Muhammad heard descriptions of the city from traders who had been in the city, particularly since he was known to seek out story tellers on his business trips.
There is simply no compelling reason to believe that Muhammad’s dream was anything other than that.
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