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  • Summary: 

    Muslims often complain of "misconceptions" about their religion, yet 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 propagated by Muslims themselves. Here, we refute the contemporary mythology of Muhammad by referring to the earliest and most reliable Muslim historians, who based their writings on 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 Quran. 

  • Summary: 

    Myth: "Our Prophet (peace be upon him) suffered at the hands of the polytheists merely for preaching the religion of Allah to the poor and marginalized" 

    What the hadiths say:

    According to Muslim historians, the Meccans were actually quite tolerant of Muhammad preaching his new religion.  Mecca was an open society where different religions were respected.  Polytheists, Jews and Christians lived and worshipped side-by-side, especially during the holy months, when pagan pilgrims would travel long distances from beyond the city to perform their rituals at the Kaaba.


    Muhammad brought on the resentment of the local people not by preaching Islam, but by breaking with Meccan tradition and cursing other religions:

    When the apostle openly displayed Islam as Allah ordered him, his people did not withdraw or turn against him, so far as I have heard, until he spoke disparagingly of their gods.  When he did that, they took great offence and resolved unanimously to treat him as an enemy. (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 167), "[Muhammad] declared Islam publicly to his fellow tribesmen.  When he did so, they did not withdraw from him or reject him in any way, as far as I have heard, until he spoke of their gods and denounced them." (al-Tabari Vol.VI, p.93)

    Although asked to stop, Muhammad continued to stir up trouble by “condemning” the local religion, causing the Meccans great anxiety:

    [The Meccans] said they had never known anything like the trouble they had endured from this fellow.  He had declared their mode of life foolish, insulted their forefathers, reviled their religion, divided the community and cursed their gods (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 183)."We [the Meccans] have never seen the like of what we have endured from this man [Muhammad].  He has derided our traditional values, abused our forefathers, reviled our religion, caused division among us, and insulted our gods.  We have endured a great deal from him." (al-Tabari, Vol.VI p.101)

    Other references:   (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 188),  (al-Tabari, the Tarikh Vol. 1), 

  • Summary: 

    Does Islam prescribe the death penalty for consensual sex? The religion that allows a man to keep sex slaves also requires the execution of consenting adults.


    There were several times in Muhammad's life when he ordered that people be put to death when they had committed no crime other than "illegal" sexual intercourse.  The only unmarried sex explicitly allowed in Islam is between a Muslim man and his slaves.

    Quran: Stoning is not prescribed in the current version of the Quran.  According to Muhammad's companions, a verse that did exist at one time ordering that adulterers be stoned, but it was forgotten. (See Additional Notes).

    .....

    According to Umar (Muhammad's companion and Islam's second caliph) "[Allah] sent down the Book (Quran) upon him (Muhamad), and the verse of stoning was included in what was sent down to him."  Umar went on to insist that "Stoning is a duty laid down in Allah's Book for married men and women who commit adultery when proof is established, or it there is pregnancy, or a confession." ()

     

    In other words, there was a verse in the original Quran narration that prescribed the stoning of adulterers, but it was left out of the compiling process in the years following Muhammad's death.  Umar's insistence on the stoning verse is recorded in other volumes that comprise the most reliable collection of Hadith, including Sahih :  "I am afraid that after a long time has passed, somebody will say, 'By Allah, we do not find the Verse of the Rajam in Allah's Book,' and thus they will go astray by leaving an obligation which Allah has revealed. And the punishment of the Rajam is to be inflicted to any married person (male & female), who commits illegal sexual intercourse."  (Rajam refers to stoning).

     

    According to a strong tradition (found in Sunan ibn Majah, Book of Nikah, Hadith no. 1934), Aisha also recalled the verse that prescribed the death penalty for adulterers.  It was written on a palm leaf that was in her home following Muhammad's death.  Unfortunately, a goat or sheep wandered into the house and ate the leaf (along with others) before it could be collected and merged into the hodgepodge of writings that became the Quran.

     

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