Prime Minister Modi should not mislead the people about Allah and Islam – Upananda Brahmachari

Narendra Modi

Upananda Brahmachari“Modi’s effort to prove Islam as religion of peace, in the World Sufi Forum is nothing but a step to mislead people while Islam and its radical concept of Jihad are destroying peace and humanity all around.” – Upananda Brahmachari

In his address at the World Sufi Forum in New Delhi on Thursday, 17th March 2016, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said: “Sufism is the voice of peace, co-existence, compassion, equality and a call to universal brotherhood”.

As Sufism has its non-communal reputation globally to an extent of encompassing spirituality in general, we should not differ with the PM’s version as above.

But, to fetch a greater applause from the Muslim audience, Modi told a big lie by saying, “When we think of 99 names of Allah, no one stands for force and violence. The first two names of Allah are compassionate and merciful. Allah is Rahman and Rahim”. Modi also described Islam as a Religion of Peace.

According to Quran, Allah is a most dangerous existence and dreadful identity to the non-believers! Allah may be “Rahman” (compassionate) and “Rahim” (merciful) for the Mumins (Muslim believers), but Allah is most dangerous and dreadful for the Kafirs (non-Muslim non-believers). Any interested persons may check the truth about Allah through the versions of Quran and Hadith.

North African Koran (18th century)When, PM Modi preached for Allah by saying 99 names of Allah stand free from “force and violence”, it is clearly seen that three of Allah’s names suggest otherwise. The 26th name of Allah is Al-Mudhill, means The Humiliator. The 55th name is itself Al-Matin, means The Forceful One or Firm. The 81st name of Allah is Al-Muntaqim, means The Avenger. Through further checking one can reach further illustrations of Allah with the further incitement of “force and violence”, but Allah is really an engrossed entity of fear, force and violence to that non-believer folks who are not ready to accept Allah or his prophet Muhammad.

Actually, PM Modi is getting busy more and more these days and finds no time to check the texts as placed to him before delivering it in front of the august audience. Sometimes it creates confusion, humour and cranks. Modi’s effort to prove Islam as religion of peace, in the World Sufi Forum is nothing but a step to mislead people while Islam and its radical concept of Jihad are destroying peace and humanity all around.

Prophet MuhammadPM Modi must try to know, Islam is the only religion that has to retain its membership by formally threatening to kill anyone who leaves. This is according to the example set by Muhammad.

Islam teaches that non-Muslims are less than fully human. Muhammad said that Muslims can be put to death for murder, but that a Muslim could never be put to death for killing a non-Muslim.

The Quran never once speaks of Allah’s love for non-Muslims, but it speaks of Allah’s cruelty toward and hatred of non-Muslims more than 500 times.

Modi may think himself that he is a great servant of the Nation, a big personality and as a Hindutvawadi he is doing some good. But, according to Islam, he is definitely a Kafir and deserves the curse, anger and punishment from Allah.

Allah is definitely described in Quran as:

  • Quran (5:33): “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”
  • Quran (8:12): “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”. No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.
  • Quran (8:15): “O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16) Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end.”
  • Quran (9:14): “Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people.” Humiliating and hurting non- believers not only has the blessing of Allah, but it is ordered as a means of carrying out his punishment and even “healing” the hearts of Muslims. … or …
  • Quran (9:29): “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

“People of the Book” refers to Christians and Jews. According to this verse, they are to be violently subjugated, with the sole justification being their religious status. Verse 9:33 tells Muslims that Allah has charted them to make Islam “superior over all religions.” This chapter was one of the final “revelations” from Allah and it set in motion the tenacious military expansion, in which Muhammad’s companions managed to conquer two-thirds of the Christian world in the next 100 years. Islam is intended to dominate all other people and faiths projecting its embodiment of force and violence in Allah and Muhammad.

Quran is full of such barbaric tenets of Islam; Allah and Muhammad both are deadliest threats to the human civilization. But, Modi spreads a big lie that “there are 99 names of Allah, no one stands for force and violence’ and ‘Islam is a Religion of Peace”.

PM Modi must stop spreading confusion. As a Hindu, Modi must not tell a lie about Allah and Islam. It is shameful. – Hindu Existence, 16 March 2016

P. DeivamuthuHindu Voice Editor P. Deivamuthu Adds

PM Shri Narendra Modi is reported to have said in the Sufi World Forum that “Islam is a Religion of Peace”.

He should know that there are 6,236 ayats (verses) in Quran. Out of these, about 1700 preach hatred, intolerance and violence. About 900 of them directly talk about killing, murdering, looting, beheading, raping etc. How can such a book be called “preaching peace”?

The Meaning of the Glorious QuranIn fact, these are the verses which are taken resort to by the ISIS and Boko Haram terrorists for dealing with their “enemies”. Do they—ISIS and Boko Haram—use a different Quran?

When these are the facts, how does Shri Modi say that “Islam is a Religion of Peace”? Is it not a blatant lie?

I quote below some of the verses from Quran (excerpted from The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an translated by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, and published by Idara Isha’at-e-Diniyat (P) Ltd., New Delhi). Let Mr. Modi decide for himself whether these can be called as the preachings of a peaceful religion.

  • Surah XXI, The Prophets, 98: “Lo! ye (idolaters) and that which ye worship beside Allah are fuel of hell. Thereunto ye will come.”
  • Surah II, The Cow, 221: “Wed not idolatresses till they believe; for lo! a believing bondwoman is better than an idolatress though she please you; and give not your daughters in marriage to idolaters till they believe….”
  • Surah VIII, Spoils of War, 65: “O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there be of you twenty steadfast they shall overcome two hundred and if there be of you hundred steadfast they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are a folk without intelligence”
  • Surah VIII, Spoils of War, 39: “And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah…”
  • Surah IX, Repentance, 5: “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. ….”
  • Surah IX, Repentance, 23: “O ye who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them for friends, such are wrong-doers.”
  • Surah IX, Repentance, 28: “O ye who believe! The idolaters only are unclean. So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship after this their year. If ye fear poverty (from the loss of their merchandise) Allah shall preserve you of His bounty if He will….”
  • Surah IX, Repentance, 123: “O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).”
  • Surah XXXIII, The Clans, 61 “Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.”

Islam has many sects. While Sufism is a peaceful sect in Islam, Islam in toto is not a peaceful religion. Modi should have talked only about the Sufis, and should have refrained from branding the entire Islam as peaceful, which it is not.

Fortunately, most of the Muslims in India (with their Hindu roots) do not approve of the above verses of the Quran. It is the duty of every Indian, including the PM, to see that more and more Muslims abhor the violent verses in the Quran and become peace-loving—not because of but in spite of Quran. –  Hindu Voice, Bulletin No 168, 13-19 March 2016

» Upananda Brahmachari is editor of Hindu Existence, a prominent news portal instrumental in reporting and publishing Hindu relevant news since decades with qualitative editorial and article contents.

» P. Deivamuthu is the editor of Hindu Voice in Mumbai.

Narendra Modi

Muslim objections to Vande Mataram not valid – Vivek Gumaste

Bahujan Samaj Party MP Shafiqur Rahman Burq walking out as Vande Mataram is played in the Lok Sabha

VG Icon“Vande Mataram’s culpability … is a notoriety extrapolated by its inclusion … in Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s revolutionary novel Anandamath. Even this charge of guilt by association is a nebulous one as a careful reading of the novel indicates. Set in famine ravaged Bengal of 1770’s, the novel outlines the horrific atrocities perpetrated by the Muslim Nawab and the peasant rebellion that it sparks. The anti-Muslim sentiment voiced in the narration is an artistic depiction of robust native resistance to cruel alien subjugation and cannot be interpreted in literal terms as a Muslim-specific castigation.” – Vivek Gumaste

Shafiqur Rahman BurqIt was an act of crass insensitivity; a deed deliberately designed to raise the hackles of all right-minded Indians; a cruel, blatant affront to the Constitution of India made doubly noxious by its inaction on the hallowed floor of the Lok Sabha, the fountain head of our pluralistic democracy.

Bahujan Samaj Party MP Shafiqur Rahman Burq by walking out of the Lok Sabha while the official national song Vande Mataram was being played exhibited the ugly recrudescence of a persistent malady that continues to afflict a small section of the Muslim community, namely one that pits nation against religion.

The million dollar question that cries out for a response is whether this unsavory infraction carries any iota of justification. Is this protest based on a factual interpretation of the Vande Mataram? Is there a sound logic underlying this protest or is this nothing more than a fallout of a jaundiced perception intentionally hyped up to pander to extremist elements in order to stoke discord in our society?

Why do some Muslims find Vande Mataram objectionable? The answer lies in its supposed anti-Muslim fervour. Certain clarifications, however, are in order before one confers validity to this conclusion. The song itself does not contain a single syllable that is derogatory to Muslims or Islam. To be precise, the words Islam and Muslim do not figure in the text at all.

Anandmath Book CoverVande Mataram’s culpability stems not from its intrinsic demerits but is a notoriety extrapolated by its inclusion (the first two verses were penned years earlier) in Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s revolutionary novel Anandamath. Even this charge of guilt by association is a nebulous one as a careful reading of the novel indicates. Set in famine ravaged Bengal of 1770’s, the novel outlines the horrific atrocities perpetrated by the Muslim Nawab and the peasant rebellion that it sparks. The anti-Muslim sentiment voiced in the narration is an artistic depiction of robust native resistance to cruel alien subjugation and cannot be interpreted in literal terms as a Muslim-specific castigation. Firming this belief is the subsequent avatar of Vande Mataram as a rousing popular battle cry of the Indian freedom movement against British oppression.

Maulana Azad, the noted freedom fighter and Muslim scholar found nothing repulsive in singing the Vande Mataram. Both Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru who can hardly be accused of nurturing Muslim phobia were perplexed by this illogical opposition to the Vande Mataram, which was without a doubt India’s first choice for the national anthem.

In an article in Harijan dated July 1, 1939, Gandhi wrote: “… No matter what its source was and how and when it was composed, it had become a most powerful battle cry among Hindus and Musalmans of Bengal during the partition days. It was an anti-imperialist cry. As a lad, when I knew nothing of Anandamath or even Bankim, its immortal author, Vande Mataram had gripped me, and when I first heard it sung it had enthralled me. I associated the purest national spirit with it. It never occurred to me that it was a Hindu song or meant only for Hindus…. It stirs to its depth the patriotism of millions in and outside Bengal. Its chosen stanzas are Bengal’s gift among many others to the whole nation.”

Maulana AzadNehru dittoed Gandhi’s feelings with this statement made to the legislative committee of the Constituent Assembly on August 25, 1948: ”It is unfortunate that some kind of argument has arisen as between Vande Mataram and Jana Gana Mana. Vande Mataram is obviously and indisputably the premier national song of India, with a great historical tradition, and intimately connected with our struggle for freedom. That position it is bound to retain and no other song can displace it. It represents the position and poignancy of that struggle, but perhaps not so much the culmination of it. In regard to the national anthem tune, it was felt that the tune was more important than the words… It seemed therefore that while Vande Mataram should continue to be the national song par excellence in India, the national anthem tune should be that of Jana Gana Mana, the wording of Jana Gana Mana to be suitably altered to fit in with the existing circumstances.”

This recantation of history also serves to emphasise the accommodative approach of the Indian government. Despite finding no merit in the Muslim objection, and in an action that overruled majority opinion, the government thought it appropriate to reject Vande Mataram’s rightful claim to being the national anthem. Vande Mataram was accorded secondary status as a national song, that too in an edited form to accommodate Muslim sentiments.

Current protests not only ignore this magnanimity but also suffer from a gross factual deficiency.

With regard to paying obeisance to the motherland, Shafiqur Rahman Burq notes: “Vande Mataram is an ode to motherland. Muslims like me bend only before Allah, not before any other god.”

S.S. KhandwawalaBut again this is a subjective interpretation that not all Muslims agree upon. In November 2009 when Muslim clerics from Deoband issued a fatwa against the singing of Vande Mataram, Gujarat’s first Muslim Director General of Police, S. S. Khandwawala countered their stance with this riposte (Indian Express, November 15, 2009):

“I give a salaam to my mother every day before I leave home and also to my motherland…. When we offer namaaz, we bow down and kiss the ground, which itself is a salute to the motherland. Religion never prevents a man from respecting his motherland…. If Hindus consider land as mata (mother), then giving respect to the land is the duty of a true Muslims … not hurting the sentiments of others and respecting all religions equally is also a Muslim’s duty….”

The Muslim community must take their cue patriotic Indians like Khandwawala. In a pluralistic society like India it is imperative that religious fervour be tempered to suit the common good. – Rediff.com, 14 May 2013

» Vivek Gumaste camps in New York City and writes for the Hindustan Times and Rediff.com.

» Sri Aurobindo’s translation of Vande Mataram is here

Book Review: Islam without illusions – N.S. Rajaram

The Calcutta Quran Petition — Compiled and Edited by Sita Ram Goel — 2012 Reprint of 3rd Edition — ISBN 9788185990583 — Published by Voice of India, New Delhi — 325 + XVI Pages — Price Rs. 250 (PB) — Order Here

Dr. N.S. RajaramThe average educated person today, anywhere in the world, is likely to be both confused and frightened by Islam. On the one hand, it is supposed to be a religion of peace that preaches equality and justice for all, while on the other, it is hardly possible to escape the fact that the most unspeakable acts of violence are daily committed by individuals and groups in its name. To make the situation more confusing, there is no shortage of ‘experts’—Eastern and Western—who tell us that Islamic terror is an aberration that has nothing to do with the ‘true’ Islam. It is fair to say that a majority of the people in the world has swallowed this explanation while remaining ambivalent about Muslims and their behaviour  In other words, they blame Muslims but not Islam. In the book under review, Sita Ram Goel, one of the world’s most incisive students of Islam, blows away this confusion by giving an unvarnished, scholarly yet highly readable account of the theory and practice of Islam. By a detailed analysis of its scripture and history, he explodes the charade that Islamic terror can somehow be separated from its teachings. In the process, the prolific and erudite Mr. Goel has probably written his masterpiece.

To return to the confused state of knowledge about Islam, there has long been a need—more urgent today than ever before—for a work that can explain the theory and practice of Islam for the average reader. This void is now effectively filled by the book under review—The Calcutta Quran Petition by Sita Ram Goel. His pluralistic Hindu background gives him a distinct advantage over his Western counterparts, who, despite their best efforts, cannot entirely break free of the shackles of their exclusivist Judeo-Christian heritage that springs from the same soil as Islam. Goel on the other hand looks at Islam as a complete outsider, disregarding its pious claims. If there is one book on Islam that a concerned person should read, it is his The Calcutta Quran Petition.

Sita Ram GoelManual on Islam for non-believers

The book could with equal justice have been titled Islam for Non-Believers: Its Scripture, History and Practice. The reason for the unusual title is historical. On 29 March 1985, one Chandmal Chopra filed a writ petition in the Calcutta High Court seeking a ban on the Quran under Sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code because it “incites violence, disturbs public tranquility, promotes, on the ground of religion, feelings of enmity, hatred and ill-will between different religious communities, and insults other religions or religious beliefs of other religious communities of India.” The Calcutta High Court disallowed the petition, but the issues raised by it remain relevant, especially now when the need to understand the causes of terror in the name of Islam is greater than ever. More significantly for the present discussion, it led Sita Ram Goel to write the volume under review. The sordid details of the case in question would probably be of little interest to the average reader today though they shed much light on the ignoble conduct of the Governments of India and West Bengal in the face of real or perceived Muslim threats. Out of a total of 345 pages, the author devotes no less than 230 pages to a general discussion of Islam that has little directly to do with the Calcutta Petition. These pages, covering Chapters 2 through 10, constitute for all practical purposes an independent manual on Islam, beginning with the message of the Quran. This is what is reviewed here.

The first point about the Quran is that it does not stand alone. The Suras (verses) of the Quran were created in specific situations arising out of specific military, political and sometimes personal needs. They invariably reflect the convenience of the Prophet who found it expedient to invoke Allah as authority to have his own way with his people. Seeing this, his favourite wife Aisha once observed, “I find that Allah is prompt to proclaim commandments in accordance with your desire.” This means that the context in which a Sura was created is all-important. Taking Quranic passages out of context can lead to grotesque interpretations like Sir Abdullah Suhrawardy’s Sayings of Muhammad, which Mahatma Gandhi with his usual blind-spot for Islam hailed in his Foreword as among the “treasures of mankind.”

The context for interpreting the Suras of the Quran is provided by the Hadith. They may be described as the record of the activities of the Prophet. They are so detailed, that it is possible to obtain a more or less complete picture of the private and public life of the Prophet. It may fairly be said that the Hadis rather than Quran form the basis for Islam, for without them the Quran becomes virtually incoherent. As Goel makes clear—Chapter 3—there is practically no difference between Allah and the Prophet; Allah does at the Prophet’s bidding. This made the great Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati observe, “Allah is the Prophet’s domestic servant.” As Goel explains, this makes the Quran (the ‘Word of Allah’) and the Hadith (‘Acts of Muhammad’) interchangeable. The importance of the Hadith cannot be overestimated though most non-Muslims are ignorant of its existence.

Prophet MuhammadHadith is Quran in action

In other words, the Hadith describe the Quran in action, meaning the acts of the Prophet. These in turn became the model of behaviour to be emulated, for every true Muslim from the highest to the lowest. As Goel observes: “It is this fixed and frozen image of the Prophet which is meant when a Muslim proclaims his Din (fundamental faith). In fact the Prophet produced a ‘revelation’ (33.21) presenting himself as the perfect model for those who look forward (with hope) for the Day of Judgment. For a pious Muslim, human life is best lived when it conforms to Muhammad’s conduct even in minor matters such as defecating … cutting one’s beard to a specific size and so on. Islam leaves no room at all for individual initiative or judgment … In case of doubt, a pious Muslim must go to a mufti (juri-consultant) and obtain a fatwa [ruling] about how the Prophet would have conducted himself in a situation which, according to all sources, the Prophet is not known to have faced.” Needless to say, this is not a climate conducive to progress.

This has a sinister side with far-reaching implications. Since the later part of the Prophet’s career is full of war and bloodshed in the name of Allah, religious war or Jihad is seen as the highest goal of Islam. What the world is faced with today—from Kashmir to Kosovo—is Jihad or religious war to bring the whole world under the sway of Islam. This reality cannot be wished away as is done by liberal academics in East and West, by giving an abstract interpretation of Jihad. As Walter Laquer, an American expert on terrorism observed, “Many interpreters of jihad in the Muslim world, and an equal number in the West, have explained that jihad has a double meaning: it stands for jihad bi al saif (holy war by means of the sword) and also for jihad al nafs (literally, struggle for one’s soul against one’s own base instinct). Both interpretations are true, but Islamic militants have rejected the spiritual explanation as dangerous heresy. … The Taliban in Afghanistan and many militants are not impressed by the speeches and writings of more moderate exegetists about the ‘poverty of fanaticism’ and the ‘spiritual mission of Islam,’ and this fact is what matters…”

Jihadi: Koran in one hand, AK-47 in the other!Prophet’s Career: Satanic verses

The fact of the matter is that influential Muslim leaders see the violent version of Jihad as the only valid one. Jihad to them is “the most glorious word in the vocabulary of Islam,” and by this they don’t mean striving for inner perfection. Goel explains this vital fact with clarity and thoroughness with profuse illustrations from the history and scripture of Islam. As he points out, the Quran studied alongside the Hadith is nothing but a manual on Jihad—or religious war. Just as the Prophet became the model for Muslim behaviour his blood soaked career became the model for a succession of Muslim leaders down to the present.

While the Hadith are indispensable for understanding Islam, they present a bewildering mass of detail to the uninitiated. In Chapter 4—The Prophet sets the Patternthe author takes the reader through the Prophet’s career by presenting a systematic picture of the historical background and the key events. He describes also two interesting episodes that are not widely known: the Prophet’s invitation, in a time of distress, to the Christian Abyssinians to invade Mecca, claiming that his teachings were no different from theirs; and the famous ‘Satanic Verses’ inspired by the need to regain the support of the Meccans. In Chapter 5—The Orthodox Exposition of Jihad—the author produces evidence from primary sources to demolish the claim of modern apologists that Jihad has—or ever had—a spiritual meaning. This ‘spiritual’ interpretation is exhumed only when they feel insecure—as in India today, or when faced with powerful opponents like the United States—to be buried again when conditions turn favourable.

Digvijaya Singh Jihad in India: A lesson in history

Chapter 6—Jihad in India’s History—may be read as a practical demonstration of Islam in action. It is to be hoped that every policymaker in India as well as the West will read this capsule account of the ‘bloodiest story in history’—as Will Durant called it—and learn its lessons. Indians in particular must face this historical truth and not seek escape in fantasies written by soothsayers calling themselves historians. This chapter should be made required reading for students in India, if mistakes of the past are not to be repeated. Western policy makers, especially in Europe should study this with care, for what they are facing was faced by India centuries ago.

In some ways the most interesting and original section is Chapter 10—A close look at Allah of the Quran. In this, Goel compares Allah of Prophet Muhammad with the Mongol sky god Tengri who inspired Chengiz Khan on his world conquest. He shows how from the Jaxartes (Syr Darya) in Central Asia to the Nile, the soldiers of Allah were no match for Tengri’s Mongols. Baghdad along with its Caliph were reduced literally to dust under the hooves of the horses of Chengiz’s grandson Hulagu Khan and his ‘Devil’s Horsemen’. This fact though is rarely found in history books in use in India. (Tengri had a redeeming feature though—he was tolerant of all religions.)

In summary, Sita Ram Goel has produced a manual on Islam that is a ‘must read’ for everyone concerned about the threat posed by Islamic terror in our time. After reading The Calcutta Quran Petition, one can appreciate what Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati meant, when he said upon reading the Quran, “I cannot tell the difference between its God and its Devil.”

There is a complete on-line edition of The Calcutta Quran Petition available here

Islamic terrorism is not Islamic terrorism!

Did Prophet Muhammad really exist? – Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer“There is compelling reason to conclude that Muhammad, the messenger of Allah came into existence only after the Arab Empire was firmly entrenched and casting about for a political theology to anchor and unify it.  Muhammad and the Qur’an cemented the power of the Umayyad caliphate and then that of the Abbasid caliphate.” – Robert Spencer

Did Muhammad Exist?Why would it matter if Muhammad never existed?  Certainly the accepted story of Islam’s origins is taken for granted as historically accurate; while many don’t accept Muhammad’s claim to have been a prophet, few doubt that there was a man named Muhammad who in the early seventh century began to claim that he was receiving messages from Allah through the angel Gabriel.  Many who hear about my new book Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry Into Islam’s Obscure Origins ask why it would matter whether or not Muhammad existed — after all, a billion Muslims believe he did, and they are not going to stop doing so because of some historical investigations.  Yet the numerous indications that the standard account of Muhammad’s life is more legend than fact actually have considerable implications for the contemporary political scene.

These are just a few of the weaknesses in the traditional account of Muhammad’s life and the early days of Islam:

  • No record of Muhammad’s reported death in 632 appears until more than a century after that date.
  • The early accounts written by the people the Arabs conquered never mention Islam, Muhammad, or the Qur’an.  They call the conquerors “Ishmaelites,” “Saracens,” “Muhajirun,” and “Hagarians,” but never “Muslims.”
  • The Arab conquerors, in their coins and inscriptions, don’t mention Islam or the Qur’an for the first six decades of their conquests.  Mentions of “Muhammad” are non-specific and on at least two occasions are accompanied by a cross.  The word can be used not only as a proper name, but also as an honorific.
  • The Qur’an, even by the canonical Muslim account, was not distributed in its present form until the 650s.  Casting into serious doubt that standard account is the fact that neither the Arabians nor the Christians and Jews in the region mention its existence until the early eighth century.
  • We don’t begin to hear about Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, and about Islam itself until the 690s, during the reign of the caliph Abd al-Malik.  Coins and inscriptions reflecting Islamic beliefs begin to appear at this time also.
  • In the middle of the eighth century, the Abbasid dynasty supplanted the Umayyad line of Abd al-Malik.  In the Abbasid period, biographical material about Muhammad began to proliferate.  The first complete biography of the prophet of Islam finally appeared during this era-at least 125 years after the traditional date of his death.

Prophet MuhammadThe lack of confirming detail in the historical record, the late development of biographical material about the Islamic prophet, the atmosphere of political and religious factionalism in which that material developed, and much more, suggest that the Muhammad of Islamic tradition did not exist, or if he did, he was substantially different from how that tradition portrays him.

How to make sense of all this?  If the Arab forces that conquered so much territory beginning in the 630s were not energised by the teachings of a new prophet and the divine word he delivered, how did the Islamic character of their empire arise at all?  If Muhammad did not exist, why was it ever considered necessary to invent him?

Every empire of the day had a civic religion.  The Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire was Christian.  Its rival Persia, meanwhile, was Zoroastrian.  The Arab Empire quickly controlled and needed to unify huge expanses of territory where different religions predominated.  The empire was growing quickly, soon rivalling the Byzantine and Persian Empires in size and power.  But at first, it did not have a compelling political theology to compete with those it supplanted and to solidify its conquests.  It needed a common religion — a political theology that would provide the foundation for the empire’s unity and secure allegiance to the state.

Life of MuhammadToward the end of the seventh century and the beginning of the eighth, the leaders of the Muslim world began to speak specifically about Islam, its prophet, and eventually its book.  Stories about Muhammad began to circulate.  A warrior-prophet would justify the new empire’s aggressive expansionism.  To give those conquests a theological justification — as Muhammad’s teachings and example do — would place them beyond criticism.

This is why Islam developed as such a profoundly political religion.  Islam is a political faith: the divine kingdom is very much of this world, with God’s wrath and judgement to be expected not only in the next life, but also in this one, to be delivered by believers.  Allah says in the Qur’an: “As for those disbelieving infidels, I will punish them with a terrible agony in this world and the next. They have no one to help or save them” (3:56).  Allah also exhorts Muslims to wage war against those infidels, apostates, and polytheists (2:191, 4:89, 9:5, 9:29).

Muhammad rides Al-BuraqThere is compelling reason to conclude that Muhammad, the messenger of Allah came into existence only after the Arab Empire was firmly entrenched and casting about for a political theology to anchor and unify it.  Muhammad and the Qur’an cemented the power of the Umayyad caliphate and then that of the Abbasid caliphate.

This is not just academic speculation.  The non-Muslim world can be aided significantly in its understanding of the global jihad threat — an understanding that has been notably lacking even at the highest levels since September 11, 2001 — by a careful, unbiased examination of the origins of Islam.  There is a great deal of debate today in the United States and Western Europe about the nature of Islamic law; anti-sharia measures have been proposed in at least twenty states, and one state — Oklahoma — voted to ban sharia in November 2010, although that law was quickly overturned as an infringement upon Muslims’ religious freedom.  Others have been successfully resisted on the same grounds.

If it is understood that the political aspect of Islam preceded the religious aspect, that might change.  But that will happen only if a sufficient number of people are willing to go wherever the truth may take them.

» Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times best-sellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad.  His latest book, Did Muhammad Exist?, is now available. – American Thinker, 23 April 2012