It is often claimed that the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, is the perfect role model for humanity. From an early age, Muslims are taught to revere and emulate his character and actions. However, upon closer examination of his life, we find that there are aspects that raise doubts about his suitability as an ideal role model. In this article, we will explore some of the questionable aspects of Muhammad’s life and demonstrate that he falls short, far short, of being a perfect role model for anyone.
Islamic sources mention an incident where he was bewitched. His mind became unstable, affecting his judgment and sanity. This account, found in Sahih al-Bukhari, raises questions about how a perfect role model and messenger of God, could be susceptible to such demonic influences.
Narrated Aisha: Once the Prophet was bewitched so that he began to imagine that he had done a thing which in fact he had not done. Sahih al-Bukhari 3175
What exactly did he imagine he was doing while under a spell? The hadith narrations reveal that Muhammad hallucinated he was having sex with his wives.
Narrated Aisha: Magic was worked on Allah’s Messenger so that he used to think that he had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not (Sufyan said: That is the hardest kind of magic as it has such an effect). Sahih al-Bukhari 5765
How embarassing for the perfect role model of humanity.
As a human being, Muhammad was susceptible to flaws and weaknesses like any other person. He was not perfect. The Qur’an repeatedly stressed that Muhammad was a sinner. No different from you and I.
“So be patient, [O Muhammad]. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth. And ask forgiveness for your sin..” Sura 40:55
“That Allah may forgive for you what preceded of your sin.” Sura 48:2
“So know, [O Muhammad], that there is no deity except Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and believing women. And Allah knows of your movement and your resting place.” Sura 47:19
While Islam acknowledges that prophets are human and can make mistakes, many Muslims still insist that Muhammad was perfect and sinless. Critics, on the other hand, argue that some of Muhammad’s actions raise significant ethical questions.
For example, is lying a sin in islam? Is hatred sin? Is plotting murder a sin? Is hiring an asassin a sin? Is deception a sin? Is murder a sin?
Here is one hadith that shows Muhammad guilty of ALL of the above.
“Narrated Jabir : The Prophet said, ‘Who is ready to kill Ka’b bin Ashraf (i.e. a Jew).’ Muhammad bin Maslama replied, ‘Do you like me to kill him?’ The Prophet replied in the affirmative. Muhammad bin Maslama said, ‘Then allow me to say what I like.’ The Prophet replied ‘I do (i.e. allow you).’” Sahih Bukhari 4:52:271
There was a man named Ka’b bin Ashraf. He was the leader of the Jewish tribe, Banu Nadir. He was a poet and wrote poems in which he praised the Meccans and paid homage to their bravery. Muhammad took this as a personal insult and felt extremely hurt. He even made Allah share his hurt. And so Muhammad plotted to kill Ka’b.
Allah’s Messenger said, “Who is willing to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?” Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, “O Allah’s Messenger! Would you like that I kill him?” The Prophet said, “Yes,” Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Ka’b). “The Prophet said, “You may say it.” (excerpt from Sahih Bukhari 4037)
This extensive hadith describes the conspiracy, the secret plans, the deception and lies, and finally, the cold-blooded assassination of Ka’b bin Ashraf by Muhammad’s henchmen. All because Muhammad felt hurt when some Jew wrote a poem.
Muhammad alone could marry any woman he desired. Islamic law permitted Muslim men to marry up to four wives at a time (see Qur’an 4:3). Somehow, this law, for ALL Muslim men, mysteriously did not apply to one Muslim man, Muhammad. He could marry any number of women he lusted for. Allah went out of his way to tell Muhammad that this unique license and privilege was “only for you.” (see Qur’an 33:50).
This suspiciously self-serving injunction is not uncommon in cults that are built around one man’s words. Every cult leader will have “god” on his side (or up his sleeve or down his pants), telling him that it is a “divine decree” for him to marry and sleep with this woman and that woman. It didn’t matter if she was underaged or even if she was someone else’s wife because it was “God’s will” anyway.
That’s how Muhammad got to marry the wife of his own adopted son. Zaid divorced her and Zainab became Muhammad’s seventh wife. His marriage to Aisha a few years earlier is an even bigger subject of controversy, and it has been a source of discomfort for many Muslims. Aishah was only six when the role model for all Muslims married her. She was just nine when he consummated the marriage. A year later, he was eyeing Zainab.
Muslim apologists struggle to explain away the huge
pedophile elephant in the room. Some of the common justifications you might hear from those devoted to their role model – “It was the culture of the time,” “She was not really six,” “Oh she was mature for her age,” “Her parents were fine with it,” “He also married old women too,” She agreed to marry him”, “No one complained about it,” etc, etc.
Some historical accounts mention that Muhammad would often neglect personal hygiene and grooming. There are numerous accounts of Muhammad going around giving advice to people with lice, while he himself, their role model, had an infestation of lice in his hair. While it is essential to acknowledge the context of the time, it raises questions about whether these qualities align with the attributes one would expect from a perfect role model.
He spat in his clothes. (Sahih Bukhari 241, Sunan Ibn Majah 1024).
He declared that a well filled with dead dogs, menstrual cloths and garbage was clean. (Sunan Abi Dawud 66).
Muhammad’s clothes were often stained with semen. Aishah would scrape it off with her fingernails. (Sahih Bukhari 232).
Someone once handed Muhammad a piece of dung to clean himself with after he had defecated. At least, Muhammad threw it away! (Sahih Bukhari 156)
The Qur’an relates an unfortunate incident of bare-faced hypocrisy and prejudice. On this occasion, Muhammad was with some noblemen of the Quraysh tribe, attempting to convert them to Islam.
A blind man named Ibn Maktum approached and pleaded with Muhammad to teach him about Islam. Muhammad frowned and turned away from the blind man. The prophet of Islam was clearly disgusted and embarrassed being seen with the poor disabled man while mingling in the company of the “rich and famous.” Thus, the following verse of the Qur’an was revealed.
“He frowned and turned away because the blind man had come in his august presence.”
Qur’an 80:1-2 Ahmad Khan
Is this an example to follow?
Treatment of Women
Another controversial aspect of Muhammad’s life relates to his treatment of women. Although Muslims claim that he made some improvements to women’s rights in his time, there are plenty of instances where his actions appear to contradict these claims. Most Muslims are unaware that women in Islam are considered evil omens.
Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar: Allah’s Messenger said, “Evil omen is in the women, the house, and the horse.” Sahih al-Bukhari 5093
Qur’an 4:34 allows Muslim husbands to beat their wives. Not only that.
Umar states, I heard from the Messenger of Allah “A man should not be asked why he beats his wife…” Sunan Ibn Majah 1986
According to the prophet of Islam, hell is filled with women. When a woman asked him the reason for that, he said that it was because women were ungrateful to their husbands. Muhammad preached that women were lacking in intellect and religion. He demeaned women as having deficient minds. (Jami at’ Tirmidhi 2613)
This raises concerns about whether he truly embodies the values that a perfect role model should exhibit.
Muhammad also reportedly stoned women caught in adultery. (Sunan Ibn Majah 2556) Contrast that with Jesus who told a woman who was caught in adultery, “I do not condemn you. Go in peace and sin no more,” (John 8:11) when a religious mob was ready to have her stoned to death. If Muhammad had lived then, he would have been leading that frenzied mob while carrying the biggest stone! How ironic that an adulterer like Muhammad stoned adulterers and adulteresses.
In case you’re shocked to hear me state that Muhammad was an adulterer, perhaps you have not heard of Maria the Copt. She was the maid of Hafsa, Muhammad’s wife. Muhammad had sex with her while Hafsa was out of the house. Allah deemed his adultery as halal.
It was narrated from Anas, that the Messenger of Allah had a female slave with whom he had intercourse, but ‘Aishah and Hafsah would not leave him alone until he said that she was forbidden for him. Then Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, revealed: “O Prophet! Why do you forbid (for yourself) that which Allah has allowed to you’….”
Sunan an-Nasa’i 3959 ; (see also Sahih al-Bukhari 2468)
While Muslims preach that Muhammad was peaceful and gentle and kind, critics argue that some of his actions do not align with the principles of peace and justice that a perfect role model should embody.
Here is an incident that demonstrates Muhammad’s utter cruelty. Some men were caught attempting to raid camels. They murdered the herdsman and fled. Muhammad had them captured and brought before him. It would have been justice served if the rogues had been punished for their heinous crimes, even if it was the death penalty was meted out to all eight of them.
But Muhammad took the torture to gruesome levels of horrific torment. He cut off their feet. He cut off their hands. He used heated nails to gouge out their eyes. Then he threw them, still alive, out in the heat of the desert. They pleaded for water, but they were not given even a drop. One of the witnesses reported that he saw one of the men gnawing at the sand, desperate to quench his thirst. Finally, they all perished in their excruciating, gory agony.
(see Sunan an-Nasa’i 4034; also Mishkat al-Masabih 3539, Sahih Bukhari 3018 and Sunan Abi Dawud 4364).
There you have it. The role model.
While it is understandable that many Muslims view Muhammad as a role model and hold him in high regard, it is essential not to view him with rose-tinted lenses as Muslims do. The claim that Muhammad is the perfect role model for humanity is untenable. His life, his behavior and questionable actions do not align with the upright values any ordinary man and woman should uphold. Instead of idealizing their prophet, Muslims, should begin to critically examine the one they have been told is their role model.
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