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The Greatest Prophet In The View Of The West
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Book Information Book Name: The Greatest prophet in the view of the west Author: Dr. Abd Alradi Muhammad Abdulmohsen Published by: Muslim world League “The Global Commission for Introducing the Messenger”
In this book, the author introduces some quotations for leading figures of non Muslim western writers about the greatness of prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his good morals, achievements, strong belief and conviction.
Unlike other books whose writers only tried referring to what have been said about the prophet by unbiased western writers, this book introduces the original quotations and give them perfect translation into Arabic so as to be crystal clear for readers what have been exactly said about prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The book includes quotations for western famous writers, poets, critics…etc. These quotations shows how great the prophet was seen in the eyes of those famous writers who proved his nobility, greatness, mercy refuting allegations around him.
The author is associated professor of Islamic philosophy and comparative religions in both the universities of Cairo and Imam Saud in Saudi Arabia.
Here are some of the most famous quotations mentioned in the book.
To the Arab Nation it was as a birth from darkness into light, Arabia first became alive by means of it. A poor shepherd people, roaming unnoticed in its deserts since the creation of the world: a Hero-Prophet was sent down to them with a word they could believe: See, the unnoticed becomes world-notable, the small has grown world-great; within one century afterwards, Arabia is at Grenada on this hand, at Delhi on that;-glancing in valour and splendour and the light of genius, Arabia shines through long ages over a great section of the world. Belief is great, life-giving. The history of a nation becomes fruitful, soul-elevating, great, so soon as it believes.

These Arabs, the man Mahomet, and that one century-is it not as if a spark had fallen, one spark, on a world of what seemed black unnoticeable sand; but lo, the sand proves explosive Powder, blazes heaven-high from Delhi to Grenada! I said, the Great Man was always as lightning out of Heaven; the rest of men waited for him like fuel, and then they too would flame.” I wish you to take this as my primary definition of a Great Man. A little man may have this; it is competent to all men that God has made: but a Great Man cannot be without it… God has made many revelations: but this man too, has not God made him, the latest and newest of all? The inspiration of the Almighty giveth him, understanding; we must listen before all to him. This Mahomet, then we will in no wise consider as an Inanity and theatricality, a poor conscious ambitious schemer, we cannot conceive him too. The rude message he delivered was a real one withal; an earnest confusion voice from the unknown Deep. The man’s words were not false, nor his workings here below: no Inanity and Simulacrum”.
Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero-Worship,& the Heroic in History.p.66 University of California Press. Loss Angeles- Oxford 1993. ************************

“The importance of Muhammad is not limited to those sources that can be dated with certainty to his own lifetime. He has served as an ongoing model for ethics, law, family life, politics and spirituality in ways that were not anticipated 1400 years ago. There are few people in history who have had a greater impact on humanity and it is through the historical elaboration of tradition that we must seed to understand that impact”
Carl Ernst, Following Muhammad, p.74, the University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill & London 2003.
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Divine aid seemed the only possible explanation for Muhammad’s extraordinary Success.” Karen Armstrong, Muhammad A Biography of the Prophet, p.234. Victor Gollanc 7. London 1996.
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“The only thing that made Muhammad’s revelation different was that for the first time God had sent a messenger to the Quraysh and a scripture in their own language
Karen Armstrong, Muhammad. P.87 ************************

“If we could view Muhammad as we do any other important historical figure, we would surely consider him to be one of the greatest geniuses the world has known. To create a literary masterpiece, to found a major religion and a new world power are not ordinary achievements.”
Karen Armstrong, Muhammad. P.52 ************************

“The more one reflects on the history of Muhammad and of early Islam, the more one is amazed at the vastness of his achievement. Circumstances presented him with an opportunity such as few men have had, but the man was fully matched with the hour. Had it not been for his gifts as seer, statesman, and administrator and, behind these, his trust in God and firm belief that God had sent him, a notable chapter in the history of mankind would have remained unwritten. It is my hope that this study of his life may contribute to a fresh appraisal and appreciation of one of the greatest of the sons of Adam
Montgomery Watt, Muhammad AT Medina, p.335. Oxford At the Clarendon Press. 1966. ************************
“His generosity in the days of his final triumph exhibited a greatness of soul rare indeed in the pages of history.”
Emile Dermenghem, The Life of Mahomet, p.174 ************************

Four years after the death of Justinian A.D.569, was born At Mekkah, in Arabia the Man who, of all Men Exercised the Greatest influence upon the Human Race…Mohammed.” John William Draper.M.D.UD, A History of the Intellectual Development of Europe. London 1875 ************************

I have studied him-The wonderful man-and in my opinion far from being an Antichrist, he must be called the saviour of Humanity

George Bernard Show, The Genuine Islam. Vol.1. No.8.1936. ************************

When Muhammad died in 632, the success of Islam completely vindicated the faith of Khadijah in the revelation that her husband had received, and the new monotheistic creed was on the road to spiritual and physical conquest unparalleled in human history”
Rom Landau , Islam and the Arabs, p.25. George allen & unwin ltd. London1958 ************************

If we judge greatness by influence, he was one of the giants of history. He undertook to raise the spiritual and moral level of a people harassed into barbarism by bear and foodless wastes, and he succeeded more completely than any other reformer, seldom has any man so fully realized his dream. He accomplished his purpose through religion not only because he himself was religious, but because no other medium could have moved the Arabs of his time”
Will Durant, The story of civilization vol:4 The age of faith. P.174, simon and Schuster New York 1950. ************************

No reformer ever more actively taxed the rich to help the poor. Every will was expected to leave something to the poor; if a man died intestate his natural heirs were directed to give a part of their inheritance to charity.”
Will Durant, The story of civilization Vol.4. p.180 ************************

Leaders must fulfill three functions…. Provide for the well- being of the led, provide a social organization in which people feel relatively secure, and provide them with one set of beliefs.
People like Pasteur and Salk are leaders in the first sense. People like Gandhi and Confucius on one hand, and Alexander, Caesar and Hitler on the other, are leaders in the second and perhaps the third sense. Jesus and Buddha belong in the third category alone. Perhaps the Greatest leader of all times was Mohammed, who combined all three functions. To a lesser

degree Moses did the same. TIME, July 15, U.S..A 1974 ************************

My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential Persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by the others, but he was the only man in the history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. Of humble origins.

Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world’s great religions, and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive….. We see, then, that the Arab conquests of the seventh century have continued to play an important role in human history, down to the present day. It is this unparalleled combination of secure and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history.
Michael Hart, The The 100, A Ranking of the Most influential Persons in History, p.33. citadel press Secaucus. New Jersey 1987. ************************

Muhammad’s was an extraordinary achievement. He had not relied simply on divine inspiration but, according to the Qu’ranic principle, he had used all his natural resources and considerable personal genius to carry the day.
Karen Armstrong, Muhammad, p. 349 ************************

Divine aid seemed the only possible explanation for Muhammad’s extraordinary Success Karen Armstrong, Muhammad , p.249 ************************

Prophets are sent into the world exactly as the great forces of nature, both beneficial and terrible in their effects. They are like the sun and the rain, the winter tempests in Arabia that tear up the soil only to cover it again with a carpet of greenery in a few days’ time. We must judge them by their fruits. The best fruits are hearts and minds that have been pacified, wills that have been strengthened, pains borne with patience, moral mounded to the pristine heavens.
Although alone, without moral or material support, opposed by the earthly spirit, prophets carry with them the secret of the greatest liberation; for it is better to disobey man than to disobey God before whom all are equal and should bow down; the spirit should be given preference over the letter. Ignorance of all things save absolute truths, not so much illiterate as pure, natural and supernatural, freed from all prejudices, inspired either by the intelligence or the heart, a perfect prophet and simple soul stepped forth to explain to the learned what they had been discussing, to straighten out the tortuous roads in which the so-called wise men had lost their way. In listening to this prophet’s inspired discourse and his parable suited to the period, men again felt themselves in contact with surrounding mysteries, humbled themselves before God and learned how to arrange their fleeting lives so as to either satisfy or disobey him, therein.
Finding a living rule such as neither the advice of philosophers nor heads of state could give.Mahomet appeared on the scene at one of the darkest periods in all history, when all the civilizations, from Merovingian Gaul to India, were falling to ruin or were in a state of troubled gestation.”

Emile Dermenghem , The Life of Muhammed, p.247-248 ************************

“The reason for Mohammed’s success were many and varied, some purely political and some due to unexpected assistance of fortune. But the basic causes of his appeal to his contemporaries without which no political constellation, however favorable, and no stroke of luck, however dazzling, could have stabilized his work would seem to be these:
1. His was the most elaborate and the most consistent religious system over developed by an Arab. 2. This system contained satisfactory answers to the problems exercising his compatriots and responded to the mood of the times. 3. It lifted the Arabic-speakers world to the level of the other scripturaries. 4. By placing himself at the end of a long line of prophets that included Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, Mohammed explained and legitimized his own advent, suggested the greater perfection and the finality of his version of the Book of God and gave the Arab nation metaphysical significance by connecting it at the most honorable and crucial stage with the great drama of God’s self-revelation in history, making them the Lord’s tool in the propagation of the ultimate truth. 5. Mohammed greatly increased the Arabs’ articulateness. 6. He taught the lesson that a community under God was more meaningful and thus of greater political promise than a community under tribal law.
The impulse which compelled Mohammed, the scion of a noble but impoverished branch of the Quraish, to rise up to warn and teach his people was the overwhelming consciousness of the moral accountability of man and of the Judgment, not far off, when the Lord would hold each soul responsible, to reward or condemn according to its deserts. He was to admonish them before it was too late. Their rate in the hereafter was at stake, their moral laxness their danger, their thoughtless idolatry their most awesome failing

Gustave E. Von Grunebaum, Medieval Islam; A study in cultural Orientation, p.72-73. The university of chicage press. Chicago-london.1969 ************************

“Muhammad was religious by nature and was evidently predisposed to the message of reform that he received in his visions. In addition to his spiritual nature. Rom Landau,Islam and the Arabs, p.22 ************************

“If greatness of purpose. smallness of means and astounding result sare the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad?
The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man Muhammed moved not only armies, legislations, empires, people and dynasties, but millions of men; and more than that the alters, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and the souls.
on the basis of a Book, every letter of which has become law, he created a spiritual nationality which blended together peoples of every tongue and of every race… The idea of the unity of god, proclaimed amidst the exhaustion of fabulous theologies, was in itself such a miracle that upon its utterance from his lips it destroyed all the ancient superstitions…
His endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death: all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was twofold, the unity of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not…
Lamartine, Historie de la turguie, paris 1854. vol.II pp.276 277. ************************

By A fortune absolutely unique in History, Mohammed is A Threefold founder of A Nation, of an Empire, and of A Religion.
Bosworth Smith, Mohammed and Mohammedanism.P.19. London 1946. ************************

If we could view Muhammad as we do any other important historical figure we would surely consider him to be one of the greatest geniuses the world has known. To create a literary masterpiece, to found a major religion and a new world power are not ordinary achievements.

But to appreciate his genius to the full, we must examine the society into which he was born and the forces with which he contended. When he descended from Mount Hira to bring the World of God to the Arabs, Muhammad was about to attempt the impossible. A few Arabs of the peninsula were moving towards monotheism, but they hade fully explored the implications of this belief in only one God. This is hardly surprising. It had taken the Jews centuries to believe that Yahweh was the only God. The ancient Israelites probably practiced monolatry: that is, they had agreed that they would worship Yahweh alone, but they believed that the other gods existed. Even Moses may not have been a through-going monotheist. The Ten Commandments which he brought to his people take the existence of other gods for granted:Thou shalt not have strange gods before me About 700 years elapsed between the Exodus from Egypt under the leadership of Moses (c. 1250 BCE) and the unequivocal monotheism of the prophet, usually known as second Isaiah, who lived with the Jewish exiles in Babylon in about 550 BCE. Yet Muhammad set out to make the Arabs achieve this major change in a mere twenty-three years! We shall see that some of the Arabs begged him to adopt a monolatrous solution and to accept the cult of other gods, while he and his followers worshipped al-LIah alone; but Muhammad absolutely refused to compromise.

To proclaim belief in only one God was not a mere national, cerebral assent. It demanded a change of consciousness.
Karen Armstrong, Muhammad, P.52 ************************

“Since Carlyle’s lecture on Muhammad in Heroes and Heroworship, the west has been aware that there was a good case to be made out for believing in Muhammad’s sincerity. His readiness to undergo persecution for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement all argue his fundamental integrity.
Montgomry Watt, Muhammad at Mecca, p.52 ************************

“Our current hypothesis about Mahomet, that he was a scheming impostor, a falsehood incarnate, that his religion is a mere mass of quackery and fatuity, begins really to be now untenable to anyone. The lies, which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man, are disgraceful to ourselves only. When pococke inquired of Grotius, Where the proof was of that story of the pigeon, trained to pick peas from Mahomet’s ear, and pass for an angle dictating to him? Grotius answered that there was no proof! It is really time to dismiss all that. The word this man spoke has been the life-guidance now of one hundred and eighty millions of men these twelve hundred years. These hundred and eighty millions were made by God as well as we. A greate umber of God’s creatures believe in Mahomet’s word, at this hour, than in any other word whatever. Are we to support that it was a miserable piece of spiritual legerdemain, this which so many creatures of the Almighty have lived by and died by? I, for my part, cannot form any such supposition. I will believe most things sooner than that. One would be entirely at a loss what to think of this world at all, if quackery as grew and were sanctioned here.
Alas, such theories are very lamentable. If we would attain to knowledge of anything in God’s true Creation, let us disbelieve them wholly! They are the product of an Age of Scepticism; they indicate the saddest spiritual paralysis, and mere death-life of the souls of men: ore godless theory, I think, was never promulgated in this Earth. A false man found a religion? Why, a false man cannot build a brick house! If he do not know and follow truly the properties of mortar, burnt clay and what else the works in, it is no house that he makes, but a rubbish-heap. It will not stand for twelve centuries, to lodge a hundred and eighty millions; it will fall straightway.
Thomas Carlyle, on Heroes Hero-worship,& the Heroic in History, pp.38-39 ************************

“Did he start on the career of ambition and, belying all his past character and existence, set up as a wretched empty charlatan to acquire what he could now no longer enjoy! For my share, I have no faith whatever in that.
Ah no: this deep-hearted Son of the Wilderness, with his beaming black eyes, and open social deep soul, had other thoughts in him than ambition. A silent great soul; he was on of those who cannot but be in earnest; whom Nature herself has appointed to be sincere. While others walk in formulas and hearsays, contented enough to dwell there, this man could not screen himself in formulas, he was alone with his own soul and the reality of things.
Thomas Carlyle, on Heroes, p. 47
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Much has been said and written about sensuality of Mahomet’s religion; more than was just. The indulgences, criminal to us, which he permitted, were not of his appointment; he found them practiced, unquestioned from immemorial time Arabia; what he did was to curtail them, restrict them, not on one but many sides, his religion is not an easy one; with rigorous fasts, lavations, strick complex formulas, prayers five time a day, and abstinence from wine, it did not ‘succeed’ by being an easy religion. ‘as if indeed any religion, or cause holding of religion, could succeed by that! It is a calumny on men to say that they are roused to heroic action by ease, hope of pleasure, recompense.— sugar-plums of any kind, in this world or then next! In the meanest mortal there lies something nobler.
The poor swearing soldier, hired to be shot, has his ‘honour of a soldier,’ different from drill-regulations and the shilling a day. It is not a taste sweet things, but to do noble and true things, and vindicate himself under God’s heaven as a gold-made man, that the poorest son of Adam dimly longs. Shew him the way of doing that, the dullest day drudge kindles into a hero. They wrong man greatly who say he is to be seduced by case. Difficulty, abnegation, martyrdom, death are the allurements that act on the heart of man. Kindle the inner genial life of him; you have a flame that burns up all lower considerations. Not happiness, but something higher: one sees this even in the frivolous classes, with their.

‘Point of honour’ and the like. Not by flattering our appetites; no, by awakening the heroic that sumblers in every heart, can any religion gain followers.
Mahomet himself, after all that can be said about him, was not a sensual man. We shall err widely if we consider this man as a common voluptuary, intent mainly on base enjoyments, –nay on enjoyments of any kind. His household was of the frugalest; his common diet barley-bread and water: sometimes for months there was not a fire once lighted on his hearth. They record with just pride that he would mend his own shoes, patch his own cloak. A poor, hard-toiling, ill-provided man; careless of what vulgar men toil for. Not a bad man, I should say; something better in him than hunger of any sort.—or these wild Arab men, fighting and jostling three and twenty years at his hand, in close contact with him always, would not have reverenced him so! They were wild men, bursting ever and anon into quarrel, into all kinds of fierce sincerity; without right worth and manhood, no man could have commanded them. They called him prophet, you say? Why, he stood there face to face with them; bare, not enshrined in any mystery; visibly clouting his own cloak, cobbling his shoes; fighting, counseling, ordering in the midst of them: they must have seen what kind of a man he was, let him be called what you like! No emperor with tiaras was obeyed as this man in a cloak of his clouting. During three and twenty years of rough actual trail. I find something of a veritable hero

necessary for that, of itself.” Carlyle ************************

“His ten wives and two concubines have been a source of marvel, merriment, and envy to the western world. We must continually remind ourselves that the high death rate of the male among the ancient and early medieval Semites lent to polygamy, in Semitic eyes, the aspect of obligation necessity, almost a moral obligation. Mohammad took polygamy for granted, and indulged himself in marriage with a clear conscience and no morbid sensuality. Aisha, in a tradition of uncertain authority, quoted him as saying that the three most precious things in this world are women, fragrant odors, and prayers. Some of his marriages were acts of kindness to the destitute widows of followers or friends, as in the case of Hafsa—to bind Omar to him—and the daughter of Abu Sufyan to win an enemy. Some may have been due to perpetually frustrated hope for son. All his wives after khadija were barren, which subjected the prophet to much raillery. Of the children borne to him by Khadija only one survived him—Fatima. Mary, a Coptic slave presented to him by the Negus of Abyssinia, rejoiced him, in the last year of his life, with a son; but Abraham died after fifteen months.
His crowded harem troubled him with quarrels. Jealousies, and demands for pin money. He refused to indulge the extravagance of his wives, but he promised them paradise; and for a time he dutifully spent a night with each of them on rotation; the master of Arabia had no apartment of his own. The alluring and vivacious Aisha, however, won so many attentions out of her turn that the other wives rebelled, until the matter was settled by a special revelation: Thou canst defer whom thou wilt of them, and receive of them whom thou wilt; and whom so ever thou desirest of those whom thou hast set aside, it is no sin for thee; that is better, that they may be comforted and not grieve, and may all be pleased with what thou givest them.”
Will Durant ************************

“Muhammad’s harem of wives has excited a lot of lurid and prurient speculation in the West as well as a good deal of ill-concealed envy, as we saw in chapter 1 when I showed that Muhammad was frequently accused of lust. Later the Qu’ran decreed that a Muslim could have only four wives but Muhammad, as the prophet, was allowed many more. Few people in Arabia at that time saw monogamy as a particularly desirable norm and in later years, when Muhammad was becoming a great Arab sayyid, his large harem was a mark of his status. In a tribal society, polygamy tends to be the norm. The Bible is not at all squeamish about the sexual exploits of King David or the enormous harem of King Solomon, which makes Muhammad’s look quite pathetic. Like Muhammad, they both lived at a time when their people were making the transition from tribal to urban life. But it would be quite wrong to imagine Muhammad basking decadently in a garden of earthly delights; indeed his many wives were sometimes, as we shall see, rather a mixed blessing. We should simply notice two things. First, neither Sawdah nor Aisha was chosen for their sexual charms. Aisha was only a little girl, and at thirty Sawdah was past her first youth and was beginning to run to fat. We hear little more about her and this indicates that the marriage was more of a practical arrangement than a love-match. She could take care of Muhammad’s household and she also gained in status, at least among the Muslim community, by becoming the wife of the prophet. Second, both marriages had a political dimension: Muhammad was forging important links of kinship. He still had hopes of Suhayl, who was a deeply religious man, and the marriage with Sawdah made him a relative by marriage. It was also important to establish a closer tie with Abu Bakr: Muhammad was beginning to form an alternative kind of clan, which was not based on kinship but on ideology, yet the blood-tie was still felt to be very important.
“Muhammad’s Western critics tend to see this condoning of polygamy as a piece of pure male chauvinism. Popular films like Harem give an absurd and inflated picture of the sexual life of the Muslim sheikh which reveals more about Western fantasy than it does about the reality. But, seen in context, polygamy was not designed to improve the sex life of the boys-it was a piece of social legislation. The problem of orphans had exercised Muhammad since the beginning of his career and it had been exacerbated by the deaths at Uhud. The men who had died had left not only widows but daughters, sisters and other relatives who needed a new protector. Thei ew guardians might not be scrupulous about administering the property of these orphans: some might even keep these women unmarried as that they could hold on to their property. It was not unusual for a man to marry his woman wards as a way of absorbing their property into his own estate.
There was probably a shortage of men in Arabia, which left a surplus of unmarried woman who were often badly exploited. The Qu’ran is most concerned about this problem and restored to polygamy as a way of dealing with it. This would enable all the girls who had been orphans to be married, but it insisted that a man could take more than wife only if he promised to administer their property equitably.”
Karen Armstrong, p.190 ************************

As mentioned earlier, Islamic law in theory provides resources for women, such as property rights, which were not available to European women until very recent times. Yet in practice the complex application of Islamic law was filtered through multiple levels of custom and tradition, so that ethical principles of equality between the sexes all too frequently were sacrificed for the benefit of male privilege. The imposition of patriarchal authority over women is hardly unique to Islam civilization.

Aristotle, it must be remembered, regarded woman as natural slaves. Despite statements about gender equality in the New Testament, there are also strong traditions that for centuries have excluded women from positions of authority in Christian churches. Misogyny and the assertion of men’s authority over women is, in fact, characteristic of the history of much of the world, including China and India. Disentangling the roles of the ethics of gender and patriarchal history is a task that now is being undertaken in every culture, even when it does not bear the name of feminism.
What makes the discussion of gender relations in Islamic culture especially tricky is, once again, the effects of European colonialism. By the late nineteenth century, European had developed a number of arguments to demonstrate the cultural inferiority of the nations of the Orient, principally Muslim countries. As mentioned previously, the scientific language of racial categories and the alleged evolutionary superiority of Europeans were key elements in the ideology of colonial ascendancy.

A new and surprising weapon in the colonialist’s arsenal was the language of European feminism.

However uncomfortable Victorian officials may have been with feminist agitation for equal rights at home, they eagerly and hypocritically criticized Asian and especially Muslim men for their bad treatment of women (although some colonial administrators, such as Lord Cromer and Lord Curzon, were active opponents of the British suffragette movement). By maintaining that Islam was essentially oppressive to women and by linking Muslim backwardness to the practice of veiling women, colonial administrators could justify their rule over Asia and Africa, since they were the bearers of enlightening modernity.

At the same time, they maintained that Muslims could only become civilized if they abandoned veiling-that is, if they abandon what were believed to be essential practices of Islam. The same rhetoric of condescending shock about the veiling of Muslim women continues to be applied today, despite less than perfect gender equity in Europe and America.

When we look, however, at the authoritative Islamic scripture, we can see prominent resources for an ethic of gender equality. In Christian and Jewish circles, it is only in relatively recent years that the gendered language of the Bible has become as issue, leading to new translations that do not automatically assume the male gender as normal. Yet gender-specific language had clearly become a concern in the early Muslim community.

A number of women approached the prophet Muhammad to ask him about the prevalence of male pronouns in the Qu’ran, wanting to know if women were included in these statements.

The next revelations of the Qu’ran responded directly to these concerns, with an extended series of balanced phrases that make it clear that men and women share equally in the religious life: For the submitting men and submitting women, for the believing men and believing women, for the devout men and devout women, for the sincere men and sincere women, for the patient men and patient women, for the humble men and humble women, for the men and women who give alms, for the men and women who fast, for the men and women who guard their chastity, for the men and women who remember God much for them God has prepared forgiveness and a great reward (33.35)”.
Carl Ernst, Muhammad, pp. 143-144 ************************

Indisputably, Mahomet’s preaching brought about a great progress in Arabian life as regards both the family and hygiene. Woman’s status, as we shall see, was greatly improved. Prostitution, temporary marriage and free love were forbidden as well as the forcing of captives into prostitution to enrich their masters”
Emile Dermenghem, the life of Mahomet, p. 259 ************************

Like other Moslems he quarreled now and then with his wives, but he did not cease to be fond of them, or to speak of women with becoming sentiment. The most valuable thing in the world, he is reported to have said, is a virtuous woman. Twice in the Koran he reminded Moslems that their mothers had carried them with pain brought them forth with pain, nursing them for twenty-four or thirty months.Paradise he said is at the foot of the mother.
Will Duront, The Age of Faith 4, P.181-182 ************************

Western critics often blame the Qu’ran for this treatment of women, which they see as iniquitous, but in fact the emancipation of women was dear to the prophet’s heart.

There are complaints that the Qu’ran preaches a double standard: the laws of inheritance, for example, decree that a woman can inherit only half of what her brothers (who have to provide the mahl to start a new family) will receive. Again, women are allowed to be witness is only half as valuable as that of a man.

in the context of the twentieth century – when, we should remember, we are still complaining for equal rights for women – this Qu’ranic legislation does seem prohibitive. But in seventh-century Arabia it was revolutionary. We must remember what life had been like for women in the pre-Islamic period when female infanticide was the norm and when women had no rights at all.

Like slaves, women were treated as an inferior species, who had no legal existence. In such a primitive world, what Muhammad achieved foe women was extra ordinary. The idea that a woman could be witness or could inherit anything at all in her own right was astonishing. We must also recall that in Christian Europe, women had to wait until nineteenth century before they had anything similar: even then, law remained heavily weighted towards men
Karen Armstrong, Muhammad, p.191 ************************

“Mohammed allowed women free disposal of their property and he improved their position with regard to inheritance. Gustave von Grunebaum, Medieval Islam, p.174 ************************

Hitherto Mahomet had professed to publish his Religion by the way of preaching and persuasion alone. But now, driven foully out of his native country, since unjust men had not only given no ear to his earnest. Heaven’s message, the deep cry of his Son of the Desert resolved to defend himself, like a man and Arab. If the Koreish will have it so, they shall have it.

Tidings, felt to be of infinite moment to them and all men, they would not listen to these; would trample them down by sheer violence, steel and murder: well, let steel try it then! Ten years more this Mahomet had; all of fighting, of breathless impetuous toil and struggle; with what result we know.
Much has been said of Mahomet’s propagating his Religion by the sword. It is no doubt fa obler what we have to boast of the Christian Religion, that it propagated itself peaceably in the way of preaching and conviction. Yet withal, if we take this for an argument of the truth or falsehood of a religion, there is a radical mistake in it.

The sword indeed: but where will you get your sword! Every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of one. In one man’s head alone, there it dwells as yet.

One man alone of the whole world believes it; there is one man against all men. That he take a sword, and try to propagate with that, will do little for him. You must first get your sword! On the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it can. We do not find, of the Christian Religion either, that it always disdained the sword, when once it had got one. Charlemagne’s conversion of the Saxons was not by preaching.
Thomas Carlyle, on Heroes,p.p.52-53 ************************

Muhammad’s task was to break down the strong tribal system that had been responsible for almost constant warfare and to substitute on allegiance to God that cut across family ties and petty hatreds.He had to introduce a universal law that yet could be found acceptable by the lawless Arab, and he had to impose discipline upon a society that thrived on tribal violence and blood vengeance for real or fancied wrongs. His problem was to replace humanity for cruelty, order for anarchy, and Justice for sheer might.
Rom Landau, Islam and the Arabs,pp.23-24 ************************

“Traits of the kind shew us the genuine man, the brother of us all, brought visible through twelve centuries, the veritable son of our common Mother Thomas Carlyle, on Heroes, p.62 ************************

The theory of the holy war was not to convert people with the menace of the sword.No force in religion. The true road is sufficiently different from the false, the Koran says explicitly. The Koran lays down the rule of attacking last and always being moderate. The successive revelations, fragmentary and disordered, relate to contemporary events, to the line of conduct to be pursued by Mahomet and his disciples, as the situations present themselves.

It would be improper to draw general conclusions from these injunctions, which were a mixture. Besides, material purposes perverted sometimes and religious ones. The jihad, form having been a means, became an end, and the spiritual was sacrificed to the temporal often in scandalous fashion.
From the days of the prophet some Mussulmans saw in the holy war only the possibilities of fruitful razzias. When they encountered people in the course of an expedition, they often killed them outright without asking who they were and then claimed that they were infidels in order to exonerate themselves. The Koran vigorously condemns such practices. Although Mahomet gave blow for blow and treachery for treachery and in the heat of battle fell into an excess of ardour, he was rarely cruel in cold blood and more often showed proof pf remarkable moderation. His generosity in the days of his final triumph exhibited a greatness of soul rare indeed in the pages of history.

He commanded his soldiers to spare the feeble, the old, women and children; he forbade their destroying house, making off with harvests or cutting down fruits trees… he prescribed the use of the sword only in cases of necessity. We see him publicity condemning some of his captions and giving recompense for the damage done by them. The gaining of a single soul, he declared, is worth more than the richest conquest. The seizing of booty was the natural outcome of all combats, with commerce and herding, formed, we might well say, the national industry of the Arabs. Mahomet tolerate it in his peoplebecause of their weakness; but the diving of the spoils was strictly regulated; the greater part went to charity and the upkeep of the character of his people, but he did modify it in many points. He himself was only a illiterate man, almost without culture, altogether typical of his race and his epoch, but he knew thatgod’s mercy was beyond measure.

It would seem from all accounts that he had to battle mightily with himself to overcome a natural tendency towards vindictiveness.he who learns forgive, said he,, comes very near to being a prophet. perhaps he suffered when he realized that he himself did not always attain to a state of perfection.
Emile Dermenghem, the life of Mahomet,p.p.174-175 ************************

Mohammed preferred clemency to severity, but his was not a God of compromise. Gustave von Grunebaum, Medieval Islam, p.79 ************************

“Over the centuries in the west, we have tended to think of Muhammad as a grim figure, a cruel warrior and a callous politician. But he was a man of great kindness and sensibility.

He loved animals, for example, and if he saw a cat asleep on his cloak he would not dream of disturbing it. It has been said that one of the tests of a society is its attitude towards animals. All religions encourage an attitude of love and respect for the natural world, and Muhammad was trying to teach Muslims this.

During the jahiliyah the Arabs had treated animals very cruelly: they used to cut off lumps of flesh to eat while the beasts were still alive and put painful rings round the necks of camels.

Muhammad forbade any painful branding or organized animal fights/one tradition has him telling a story in which a man who starved water to a dog on a thirsty day was sent to paradise and a woman who starved her cat to death was sent to hell.

The preservation of these traditions shows how important the values ad become in the Muslim world and how quickly the community had advanced towards a more humane and compassionate vision.”
karen Armstrong� Muhammad. P 230. ************************

“In the west we often imagine Muhammad as a warlord, brandishing his sword in order to impose Islam on a reluctant world by force of arms.

The reality was quite different. Muhammad and the first Muslims were fighting for their lives and they had also undertaken a project in which violence was inevitable.

No radical social and political change has ever been achieved without bloodshed, and, because Muhammad was living in a period of confusion and disintegration, peace could be achieved only by the sword. Muslims look back on their prophet’s years in Medina as a Golden Age, but they were also years of sorrow, terror and bloodshed. The umma was able to put an end to the dangerous violence of Arabia only by means of a relentless effort.
The Qu’ran began to urge the Muslims of Medina to participate in a jihad. This would involve fighting and bloodshed, but the root JHD implies more than aholy war.

It signifies a physical, moral, spiritual and intellectual effort. There are plenty of Arabic words denoting armed combat, such as harb (war) sira’a(combat), ma’araka(battle) or qital(killing), which the Qu’ran could easily have used if war had been the Muslims principal way of engaging in this effort.

Instead it chooses a vaguer, richer word with a wide range of connections. The jihad is not one of the five pillars of Islam.

It is not the central prop of the religion, despite the common western vies. But it was and remains a duty for Muslims to commit themselves to a struggle on all fronts-moral, spiritual and political-to create a just and decent society, where the poor and vulnerable are not exploited, in the way that God had intended man to live.

Fighting and warfare might sometimes be necessary, but it was only a minor part of the whole jihad or struggle. A well-known tradition (hadith) has Muhammad say on returning from a battle,we return from the title jihad to the greatest jihad, the more difficult and crucial effort to conquer the forces of evil in oneself and in one’s own society in all the details of daily life.”

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