Is Islam a Religion of Peace ? (part 2)

Is Islam a Religion of Peace ? (part 2)

In a previous article  I wrote about the how peaceful or militant was the Quran as the first authentic source of Islam? In this article I will examine the claim that Muhammad was a peaceful man who taught his followers to be the same.

Of course, I going to follow the same historical context I used before; Mohammad in Mecca vs. Mohammad in Medina . Mohammad started his religion in Mecca around AD 610. During that time he was married to Khadija, his first wife. The Christian influence in Mecca was obvious. Khadija’s cousin, Waraqa was a church elder of the Ebionites, a heretic Christian sect. Waraqa was the one who blessed the marriage between Mohammad and Khadija. And Waraqa had a great influence on Mohammad.

It was narrated in Sahih Bukhari that when Waraqa died, Allah’s revelation to Mohammad stopped for a while [i]. No good explanation by Muslims is clear for that. Also, Mohammad came to believe, like Waraqa the Ebionite, in Jesus only as a prophet not as the divine Son of God. During his early years, and under the Christian influence, Mohammad was married to one woman, Khadija, and was not militant. However, there is evidence that even in those early days he had some militant thoughts. In his final days in Mecca, while his uncle Abu Talib was dying, Mohammad tried to convince Quraysh elders to follow him, because by following his religion they would “submit the Arabs, and lead non-Arabs to pay tribute to them”[ii]. So his militant intentions were clear even in Mecca. However, we have to admit that Mohammad in Mecca did not have armies or military power. That non militant stand changed when he moved to Medina.

With the death of Abu Talib, the leadership of the Banu Hashim clan (part of Quraysh tribe) was passed to Abu Lahab, an inveterate enemy of Mohammad. Soon afterwards, Abu Lahab withdrew the clan’s protection from Mohammad. This placed Mohammad in danger of death since the withdrawal of clan protection implied that his killing would not be prevented or stopped if somebody wished for it. A Meccan man named Mut’im bin Adi saved Mohammad and put him under the protection of the clan of Banu Nawfal, which made it possible for him to safely re-enter his native city.

During his last year in Mecca, many people were visiting Mecca on business or as pilgrims to the Kaaba. Mohammad took this opportunity to look for a new home for himself and his followers (which did not exceed more than 70 males with their families). After several unsuccessful negotiations, he found hope with some men from the city of Yathrib (later called Medina). The Arabs in Yathrib were influenced by Jews, so they were familiar with monotheism and heard about the coming of a Jewish Messiah, and might have thought that Mohammad was that expected Jewish war-loving Messiah. Jews used to threaten Arabs by the coming Messiah who will make all people submit to the Jews.  So Arabs in Medina hoped by aligning with Mohammad to beat the Jews in Medina and to gain supremacy over Mecca[iii]. About 70 Arabs of Medina converted to Islam, and by June of the subsequent year they came to Mecca for pilgrimage and to meet Mohammad. Meeting him secretly by night, the group made what was known as the “Second Pledge of al-`Aqaba“, or the “Pledge of War“. It was narrated by Ka’ab ibn Malek that Mohammad assured them he won’t abandon them ever and told them “It is for blood “blood” and for destruction “destruction” I am of you and you are of mine. I will fight whoever you fight and make peace with whoever you make peace with”[iv]. This was the beginning of the militant history of Islam.

In Medina and for about ten years (622-632 AD), Mohammad organized about 65 military campaigns in and personally led 27 of them[v]. The more power that he attained, the smaller the excuse needed to go to battle, until finally he began attacking tribes merely because they were not part of his growing empire.

During those days, Mohammad left instructions to his followers to wage war against Christians, Persians, Jews and polytheists; basically against every one that is not a Muslim. Here are some examples of authentic hadiths said by Mohamad and narrated by his closest followers:

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah ‘s Apostle said, “I have been ordered to wage war against the people till they say, ‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allah,’ and whoever says, ‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allah,’ his life and property will be saved by me except for Islamic law, and his accounts will be with Allah, (either to punish him or to forgive him.)”[vi]

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand.” Abu Huraira added: Allah’s Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures.[vii]

By fighting all infidels, it was OK by Mohammad to kill their kids too. As mentioned in Sahih Muslim

“It is reported on the authority of Sa’b bin Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them[viii].

In the end, Mohammad followed the same pattern of his Quran. He started non-militant and ended as a warlord.  The holy texts of Islam are saturated with verses of violence and hatred toward those outside the faith. In sharp contrast to the Bible, which generally moves from relatively violent passages of Old Testament to far more peaceful ones by the grace of Christ, the Qur’an and Hadith travel the exact opposite path. The handful of earlier texts that speak of tolerance under Christian influence in Mecca were overwhelmed and superseded  by an avalanche of later ones in Medina that carry a much different message. While Old Testament verses of blood and guts are generally bound by historical context within the text itself, Quranic and Hadith imperatives to violence usually appear open-ended. It is apparent that Muslims follow them till now.

By any objective measure, it looks like the “Religion of Peace” has been hijacked not by modern terrorists but by Mohammad himself. Mohammad in Medina invented the harshest, bloodiest religion the world has ever known.


[i] Sahih Bukhari (Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3 ) “Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin ‘Abdul ‘Uzza, who, during the PreIslamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqa, “Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!” Waraqa asked, “O my nephew! What have you seen?” Allah’s Apostle described whatever he had seen. Waraqa said, “This is the same one (i.e. angel Gabriel) who keeps the secrets whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would drive you out.” Allah’s Apostle asked, “Will they drive me out?” Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said, “Anyone (man) who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly.” Then Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while.

[ii]  Narreted by Ibn Abbas that Abu Talib (Mohammad’s uncle) was ill. Then Quraysh visited him and also the Messenger of Allah PBUH . Then a man stood up and Abu Jahl (his other unbeliever uncle) sat when they said to Abu Talib “your nephew insulted our gods”. Abu Talib said: “why would your people complain about you”. Mohammad said: my uncle I want for them to unite on a single word to submit the Arabs, and to lead non-Arabs to pay them tribute. His uncle said: “what is it?” Mohammad said: ” there is no god but Allah” . They (Quraysh elders) said while surprised: Did he make the gods into one God? So, Mohammad cited new Quran (38:1-5) : {Sad. All By the Quran full of reminding. } till {Has he made the aliha (gods) (all) into One Ilah (God – Allah). Verily, this is a curious thing! } (Musnad Ahmad 3:314 hadith 2038; an authentic hadith as reported by the scholar Ahmad Shakir) . My translation is from the Arabic original :

2038- حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ حَدَّثَنِى أَبِى حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى عَنْ سُفْيَانَ حَدَّثَنِى سُلَيْمَانُ – يَعْنِى الأَعْمَشَ – عَنْ يَحْيَى بْنِ عُمَارَةَ عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ مَرِضَ أَبُو طَالِبٍ فَأَتَتْهُ قُرَيْشٌ وَأَتَاهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- يَعُودُهُ وَعِنْدَ رَأْسِهِ مَقْعَدُ رَجُلٍ فَقَامَ أَبُو جَهْلٍ فَقَعَدَ فِيهِ فَقَالُوا إِنَّ ابْنَ أَخِيكَ يَقَعُ فِى آلِهَتِنَا. قَالَ مَا شَأْنُ قَوْمِكَ يَشْكُونَكَ قَالَ يَا عَمِّ أُرِيدُهُمْ عَلَى كَلِمَةٍ وَاحِدَةٍ تَدِينُ لَهُمْ بِهَا الْعَرَبُ وَتُؤَدِّى الْعَجَمُ إِلَيْهِمُ الْجِزْيَةَ. قَالَ مَا هِىَ قَالَ « لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ ». فَقَامُوا فَقَالُوا (أَجَعَلَ الآلِهَةَ إِلَهاً وَاحِداً ). قَالَ وَنَزَلَ (ص وَالْقُرْآنِ ذِى الذِّكْرِ) فَقَرَأَ حَتَّى بَلَغَ (إِنَّ هَذَا لِشَىْءٌ عُجَابٌ ). تحفة 5647 معتلى 3387)

[iii] Mentioned in the original Sira bin Hisham in Arabic that the Arabs in Medina heard from the Jews about the coming of the Messiah that will defeat the Arab. So, they thought Mohammad was the Jewish Messiah and wanted to beat the Jews to him and become his followers so that he will help him defeat the Jews  : http://sirah.al-islam.com/Page.aspx?pageid=204&BookID=160&TOCID=283

[iv] Translated from the original Arabic in Fiqh Al Sira p149,  reported as authentic by the hadith scholar Nasiruddin al-Albani:

… بل الدم الدم والهدم الهدم ، أنا منكم وأنتم مني ، أحارب من حاربتم وأسالم من سالمتم (صححه الألباني : فقه السيرة ص 149)

[v] Mentioned in details in Al Maghazi by Al Waqidi : the original Arabic link: http://sirah.al-islam.com/Loader.aspx?pageid=203&BookID=163

[vi] Bukhari : Volume 4, Book 52, Number 196

[vii] Bukhari : Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220

[viii] Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4321

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