1. Allah’s Morally Flawed Nature.
When Muhammad began receiving his alleged divine revelations he himself didn’t believe they were actually from God. His alleged revelation seemed to be far more like torture than God’s reaching down to reveal himself. From historian Ibn Ishaq we read of Muhammad’s first meeting with the angel Gabriel:
“When it was the night on which God honoured him with his mission and showed mercy on His servants thereby, Gabriel brought him the command of God. “He came to me,” said the apostle of God, “while I was asleep, with a coverlet of brocade whereon was some writing, and said, ‘Read!’ I said, ‘What shall I read?’ He pressed me with it so tightly that I thought it was death; then he let me go and said, ‘Read!’ I said, ‘What shall I read?’ He pressed me with it again so that I thought it was death; then he let me go and said ‘Read!’ I said, ‘What shall I read?’ He pressed me with it the third time so that I thought it was death and said ‘Read!’ I said, ‘What then shall I read?’—and this I said only to deliver myself from him, lest he should do the same to me again.”
This is revealing. Firstly, Muhammad recounts this experience as being analogues to death. This suggests a form of torture and torment since it was allegedly repeated three times. In other words, Allah’s angel, Gabriel, forced Muhammad by threat and pain to accomplish his intent. Since Gabriel is Allah’s messenger it renders Allah as morally inferior. For Allah to be God he has to be the greatest conceivable being and that would entail moral perfection. If Allah, in any way, is not the greatest conceivable being then one can conceptualize of a being that is greater than Allah, and therefore Allah cannot be God (most people would say that a deity that tortures his subjects would not be the greatest conceivable being in the moral sense). In other words, Allah is morally flawed and therefore is a false God. Muhammad’s revelatory experience cannot therefore be attributable to God.
2. Muhammad’s Sin.
Muhammad wasn’t morally pure either as many Muslims today claim that he was. In Mecca Muhammad received a command about his sin: “Then have patience (O Muhammad). Lo! the promise of Allah is true. And ask forgiveness of thy sin and hymn the praise of thy Lord at fall of night and in the early hours.”(Surah 40:55). Surah 48 also lends credence to the fact that Muhammad was a sinner, “That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future and complete His Favour on you, and guide you on the Straight Path…”
Thus, according to the Koran itself, the very book that Muslims so revere, Muhammad was a sinner. In other words, Muhammad was very much like ordinary people as all humans are sinners. Sin signifies crime, offense, and any act having an evil result or intent. If Muhammad was just an ordinary man in this regard then why believe that he was God’s messenger?
3. Muhammad Tries To Kill Himself.
Muhammad stands in as the leading example of how Muslims are to conduct themselves (Surah 33:21), however, when we look closer we see that when he became upset he tried to kill himself. According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad said, “I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest. So I went forth to do so and then when I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying, “O Muhammad! thou art the apostle of God and I am Gabriel.”
Further, according to Sahih al-Bukhari 6982, Muhammad “became so sad as we have heard that he intended several times to throw himself from the tops of high mountains and everytime he went up to the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Jibril would appear before him and say, “O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah’s Messenger in truth”, whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would return home. And whenever the period of the coming of the Revelation used to become long, he would do as before, but when he used to reach the top of a mountain, Jibril would appear before him and say to him what he had said before.”
David Wood explains that “Muhammad tried repeatedly to kill himself. Muslims believe in a man who tried repeatedly to commit suicide. According to Muslim sources he tried to commit suicide after receiving revelation because he didn’t want his tribe to say that he was possessed by a jinn” (1). It is thus hard to fathom that this is the person that God has revealed himself to and the one who we ought to emulate. Muhammad is the one person who Muslims trust with their salvation; a man that attempted on several occasions to kill himself.
4. Muhammad was Victimized by Magic.
According to Sahih Al-Bukhari 3175, Muhammad was a victim of a magic spell. This is alleged to have given him delusional thoughts and false beliefs. According to Sahih Al-Bukhari, Aisha said that “Once the Prophet was bewitched so that he began to imagine that he had done a thing which in fact, he had not done.”
Again in Sahih Al-Bukhari 5765 we read in full that, “Magic was worked on Allah’s Apostle so that he used to think that he had had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not. Then one day he said, “O Aisha, do you know that Allah has instructed me concerning the matter I asked Him about? Two men came to me and one of them sat near my head and the other sat near my feet. The one near my head asked the other: ‘What is wrong with this man?’ The latter replied, ‘He is under the effect of magic.’ The first one asked, ‘Who has worked magic on him?’ The other replied, ‘Labid bin Al-Asam, a man from Bani Zuraiq who was an ally of the Jews and was a hypocrite.’ The first one asked, ‘What material did he use?’ The other replied, ‘A comb and the hair stuck to it.’”
According to Islamic commentator Abdul-Rahman the hadiths on Muhammad’s bewitchment, and influences from magic, are evident, “As far as the historical aspect is concerned, the incident of the Holy Prophet’s being affected by magic is absolutely confirmed” (2).
This surely invites one to question whether or not they can actually trust someone who was controlled by a magic spell. However, the problem becomes more pronounced since according to Surah 2:102 of the Koran magic comes from demons as it is they who teach people magic. Would that suggest that Muhammad was susceptible to demonic influences? Muhammad, according to trust Islamic sources was thus prone to delusional thoughts and ominous influences from demonic forces. This illustrates the spiritual condition of Muhammad; a man who was not protected by God from magic.
5. Muhammad’s Abominable Acts.
There are many morally abominable acts on the part of Muhammad. We shall note a few of them. Firstly, in his fight against those in Mecca, Muhammad gained an advantage through hijacking Meccan caravans that were transported through the desert. In one case some Muslim invaders killed a man during the Nakhla Raid while there existed a truce between Muslims and non-Muslims. Muhammad’s tactics were very unfortunate for those who relied on the goods being transported in the caravans. For example, Meccan families would have invested much, if not all, of their income into resources being brought in through these caravans. However, Muhammad attacked the caravans which would have left families starving and resourceless due to jeopardizing their livelihoods. That was his intent; to throttle his Meccan enemies via any way possible. In fact, Muhammad’s raids often failed miserably but eventually he was successful. Quite remarkably, however, is that his successful raid takes place in a sacred month. He conducted his raid in the forbidden month where he attacked one such caravan, stole its goods, and killed the person transporting it. Essentially Muhammad’s alleged revelation in Koran 2:217 was “revealed” to justify his attack.
Another moral atrocity on the part of Muhammad was his commanding of followers to kill critics of Islam. In one case a defenceless old man by the name of Abu Afak penned a poem about Muhammad who was dividing people and causing them to kill one another. Muhammad caught wind of this and, according to Ibn Ishaq, wants him dead, “Who will deal with this rascal for me?” Whereupon Salim b. Umayr, brother of B. Amr b. Auf, one of the “weepers”, went forth and killed him.”
Muhammad’s message was clear to his followers: people who criticized Islam or himself must be murdered. In fact, according to Sunan Abu Dawud 4348, there was a blind man who had a slave-mother “who used to abuse the Prophet and disparage him.” Though the blind man forbade her to criticize Muhammad she did not listen and one night “he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her.” Sunan Abu Dawud 4349 further recounts an incident where a Jewish woman who had disparaged Muhammad was strangled to death by a Muslim. Moreover, after Muhammad had captured Mecca in 630 he demanded that two female slaves be put to death alongside their master after having mocked him in a song (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 819, Abu Dawud 2684). And where Muhammad did spare the lives of women it was not out of compassion as opposed to the fact that they were considered property. Muhammad also ordered that a Jewish woman be put to death for losing her mind while her male relatives were being beheaded (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 691). Elsewhere Muhammad tortured many opponents (Muslim 4131, Ibn Ishaq 436, 595, 734, 764). This list is hardly exhaustive.
6. Muhammad’s Non-Blood Thirsty Crimes.
As we saw in point 5 Muhammad committed heinous acts against enemies, harmless opponents, women, towns and a city, people who did not accept Islam, and so on. However, there are acts he committed that didn’t always involve blood and slaughter. For example, he permitted lying (Sahih Muslim 6303, Bukhari 49:85), slavery and the trading of human beings (Sahih Muslim 3901), sex slaves (Bukhari 5:268, Koran 33:50), and even had sex with a nine year old girl (Bukhari 5:268, Koran 33:50). Islamic texts also instruct husbands to beat their disobedient wives (Koran 4:34, Sahih Muslim 2127).
7. Muhammad’s Double Standard.
The Koran says that Muslim men are allowed to have up to four wives at one time (Surah 4:3). However, we find that Muhammad was married to eleven wives at one time. According to Sahih al-Bukhari 268, “Anas bin Malik said, ‘The Prophet used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were eleven in number.’ I asked Anas, ‘Had the Prophet the strength for it?’ Anas replied, ‘We used to say that the Prophet was given the strength of thirty (men).’ And Sa’id said on the authority of Qatada that Anas had told him about nine wives only (not eleven).”
One would seem warranted in questioning why Muslim men can marry no more than four wives whereas Muhammad could marry more. The answer to this is that Muhammad simply exempted himself of having to adhere to the standards he enforced on his followers. In other words, Allah’s revealed revelation, the Koran, makes an exception for Muhammad as Surah 33:50 informs us.
Putting this Together.
There is much more that one could present here but I think the point has been illustrated. I find myself hard stretched to accept that Muhammad was God’s messenger and that the Koran is God’s revealed word (more on the Koran at a later point). When we look at Muhammad we see someone who was power hungry, incredibly ruthless and violent, and exceptionally intolerant of his enemies as well as his opponents of whom presented no threat. We see a man that was susceptible to the influences of magic, someone who attempted to commit suicide by hurling himself off of a cliff, had sexual relations with many women (wives), had sex with a nine year old girl, and who consented to slavery and sex slaves. He even exempted himself of having to adhere to the same standards as he instructed his followers to. I therefore strongly fail to see how God would choose to reveal himself in such a man.
1. Acts17Apologetics. Muhammad and Suicide in Early Muslim Writings. Available.
2. Abdul-Rahman, M. 2009. The Meaning and Explanation of the Glorious Qur’an (Vol 10). p. 630.