Muhammad and the West By: John L. Esposito Source: IslamiCity Feb 1, 2014 47 Comments Category: Americas, Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Life & Society Topics: Jews, Marriage Views: 24860 Talk of Islam's new moral order and the normative nature that Muhammad's life had for Muslims seems to clash with Western perceptions of Islam. If Muslim tradition tended to mythify the Prophet, Western tradition too often has denigrated and vilified his memory. Two issues in particular-Muhammad's treatment of the Jews and his (polygynous) marriages-have proven popular stumbling blocks, or perhaps more accurately whipping posts, for Western critics and polemics. In his early preaching, Muhammad had looked to the Jews and Christians of Arabia as natural allies whose faiths had much in common with Islam. He anticipated their acceptance and approval. When the Islamic community was established at Medina, Muslims, like the Jews, had faced Jerusalem to pray. However, the Jewish tribes, which had long lived in Medina and had political ties with the Quraysh, tended to resist both religious and political cooperation with the Muslims. They denied Muhammad's prophet-hood and message and cooperated with his Meccan enemies. While the constitution of Medina had granted them autonomy in internal religious affairs, political loyalty and allegiance were expected. Yet the Quran accuses the Jewish tribes of regularly breaking such pacts: "Why is it that whenever they make pacts, a group among them casts it aside unilaterally?" (2:100). After each major battle, one of the Jewish tribes was accused and punished for such acts. Muslim perception of distrust, intrigue, and rejection on the part of the Jews led first to exile and later to warfare. After Badr, the Banu Qainuqa tribe and after the Battle of Uhud, the Banu Nadir, with their families and possessions, were expelled from Medina. After the Battle of the Ditch in 627, the Jews of the Banu Qurayza were denounced as traitors who had consorted with the Meccans. As was common in Arab (and, indeed, Semitic) practice, the men were massacred; the women and children were spared but enslaved. However, it is important to note that the motivation for such actions was political rather than racial or theological. Although the Banu Qurayza had remained neutral, they had also negotiated with the Quraysh. Moreover, the exiled Jewish clans had actively supported the Meccans. Muhammad moved decisively to crush the Jews who remained in Medina, viewing them as a continued political threat to the consolidation of Muslim dominance and rule in Arabia. One final point should be made. Muhammad's use of warfare in general was alien neither to Arab custom nor to that of the Hebrew prophets. Both believed that God had sanctioned battle with the enemies of the Lord. Biblical stories about the exploits of kings and prophets such as Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Samuel, Jehu, Saul, and David recount the struggles of a community called by God and the permissibility, indeed requirement, to take up arms when necessary against those who had defied God, and to fight "in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel." Similarly, in speaking of the Israelite conquests, Moses recalls: "And I commanded you at that time, saying, 'The Lord your God has given you this land to possess. . . . You shall not fear them; for it is the Lord your God who fights for you " (Deuteronomy 3:18-22). Muhammad's marriages have long provided another source of Western criticism of the moral character of the Prophet. A noted British author has observed: No great religious leader has been so maligned as Muhammad. Attacked in the past as a heretic, an imposter, or a sensualist, it is still possible to find him referred to as "the false prophet." A modern German writer accuses Muhammad of sensuality, surrounding himself with young women. This man was not married until he was twenty-five years of age, then he and his wife lived in happiness and fidelity for twenty-four years, until her death when he was forty-nine. Only between the age of fifty and his death at sixty-two did Muhammad take other wives, only one of whom was a virgin, and most of them were taken for dynastic and political reasons. Certainly the Prophet's record was better than that head of the Church of England, Henry VIII. In addressing the issue of Muhammad's polygynous marriages, it is important to remember several points. First, Semitic culture in general and Arab practice in particular permitted polygyny. It was common practice in Arabian society, especially among nobles and leaders. Though less common, polygyny was also permitted in biblical and even in post biblical Judaism. From Abraham, David, and Solomon down to the reformation period, polygyny was practiced by some Jews. While Jewish law changed after the Middle Ages due to the influence of Christian rule, for Jews under Islamic rule, polygyny remained licit, though it was not extensively practiced . Second, during the prime of his life, Muhammad remained married to one woman, Khadija. Third, it was only after her death that he took a number of wives. Fourth, Muhammad's use of the special dispensation from God to exceed the limit of four wives imposed by the Quran, occurred only after the death of Khadija. Moreover, most of the eleven marriages had political and social motives. As was customary for Arab chiefs, many were political marriages to cement alliances. Others were marriages to the widows of his companions who had fallen in combat and were in need of protection. Remarriage was difficult in a society that emphasized virgin marriages. Aisha was the only virgin that Muhammad married and the wife with whom he had the closest relationship. Fifth, as we shall see later, Muhammad's teachings and actions, as well as the Quranic message, improved the status of all women-wives, daughters, mothers, widows, and orphans. Talk of the political and social motives behind many of the Prophet's marriages should not obscure the fact that Muhammad was attracted to women and enjoyed his wives. To deny this would contradict the Islamic outlook on marriage and sexuality, found in both revelation and Prophetic traditions, which emphasizes the importance of family and views sex as a gift from God to be enjoyed within the bonds of marriage. The many stories about Muhammad's concern and care for his wives reflect these values. Excerpted from 'Islam the Straight Way' by Professor John L. Esposito, Director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University Related posts from similar topics: Jewish Muslim Brotherhood In Reaction to Hate Crimes Jews and Muslims support each other in attacks 16 is a little young to get married, isn't it? Not in N.J. Tolerance in Islam (Lessons from history) Marriage and Divorce - A Quranic perspective Diary Of A Saudi Girl: Karate Lover, Science Nerd ... Bride? Disclaimer The opinions expressed herein, through this post or comments, contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization. The IslamiCity site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. 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The message of the Arab prophet is clear from the Shahada he taught the people to subject them to his god. He taught: There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his Prophet. Let us now analyze the contents of the Shahada to understand its true meaning and decide whether we want to accept and say the same thing corrupting all understanding. The God professed by Jews is not God. The God of the prophets of Israel in the past was not God as he is not Allah. The God believed and accepted by the people of Israel is not God because he is not Allah. The God professed by Christians is not God. The God of the Apostles is not God because they taught and preached about God that has a Son by the name of Yeshua. Allah does not have a Son as he is free of any relationship with mankind whatsoever. Summarily, "There is no God". But there is another god other than the God of the Jews and Christians. It is Allah that has Mohammad as a prophet. That's all. It's that simple for them who choose to believe..... That way, the Shahada compels to deny the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his descendants (Israel) and turn to this god that has Mohammad as a prophet. Or, turn to another god whose prophet is Mohammad as all earlier Prophets testified falsehood and taught deceits communicating error to the Jews and Christians. I do not know what Jews' stand is to this claim but to the Christians it is full of denials and blasphemies against the true God Yahweh declared by Yeshua the Messiah and propagated by the holy Apostles. siddiqui from us February 1st, 2014 I would like to say the highly sensitive topics like religion/religious personalities should not be allowed to be insulted or defamed through any medium which creates hate.instead we should promote love and peace.love and be loved. BroMajid from USA February 4th, 2013 Yohan Yishai Your statement is terrible! Their is only 1 God & the way that you worded your statement or dislike of this article shows how much you misunderstood the point that the author was trying to make, and at the same time it shows your need to seek understanding of the mindset of those who call themselves Jews and also of those who call themselves Christians as referred to in The Holy Quran as "The People of the Book" or "O Followers of the Bible" This is the way of The Prophet Muhammad. Holy Quran 2:148 and also 3:110 Its ONE GOD there are transgressors on all sides BUT GOD is one and the same Allah (swt) As-Salamu-Alaykum Yohan Yishai from Bhutan February 4th, 2013 There is no need of a long treatise to accept the PROPHET/MESSENGER by any soul on earth if there is no substance of worth in the message. The message of the Arab prophet is clear from the Shahada he taught the people to subject them to his god. He taught: There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his Prophet. Let us now analyze the contents of the Shahada to understand its true meaning and decide whether we want to accept and say the same thing corrupting all understanding. The God professed by Jews is not God. The God of the prophets of Israel in the past was not God as he is not Allah. The God believed and accepted by the people of Israel is not God because he is not Allah. The God professed by Christians is not God. The God of the Apostles is not God because they did taught and preached the God that has a Son by the name of Yeshua. Allah does not have a Son as he is free of any relationship with mankind whatsoever. Summarily, "There is no God". But there is another god other than the God of the Jews and Christians. It is Allah that has Mohammad as a prophet. That's all. It's that simple for them who choose to believe..... That way, the Shahada compels to deny the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his descendants (Israel) and turn to this god that has Mohammad as a prophet. Or, turn to another god whose prophet is Mohammad as all earlier Prophets testified falsehood and taught deceits communicating error to the Jews and Christians. I do not know what Jews' stand is to this claim but to the Christians it is full of denials and blasphemies against the true God Yahweh declared by Yeshua the Messiah and propagated by the holy Apostles. No doubt, the devil is continuing is rampage with the help of his emissaries to train souls away from the straight path of Salvation. Or else why is there wild campaigning in the name of the PROPHET? Abdulhaque from United States February 3rd, 2013 I do not see any Muslim to explain Our beloved prophet's record against jews and his marraige to Aysha. In both cases he did it according to Quranic laws. Mohammad (SW)a married Aysha with permission of her parents and Historical record shows that Ayesha liked him lot during his life as well as after his death. She was even jealous whenever our prophet remembered Khadija in front of her. Zionist wings of Jews were always against prophets and were allied with Idol Worshippers Romans or Egyptians or Meccans. Both prophet Musa and Isa have cursed them. So it was necessary that Mohammad needed to take care of Zionist threats of his time. Halijah Mohidin from Singapore February 6th, 2012 This article by Prof John L. Esposito, is from a perspective of a person with no clue & limited understanding on the teaching of Islam. It merely context basis with no reference only his words. This a good example to show our brothers & sisters that those are words of a man not words from God. So I am not convinced sorry, said whatever he wants because there is no proof or truth in this article he wrote. My perspective, Prof John L. Esposito seems doesn't even know the true teaching of Christianity however make an effort to mislead readers. Hope Prof John will seek guidance from Islamicity on Islam. Maya V from Country February 27th, 2009 Well, nothing given in this article is new to me. But I wanted to add one point - if you keep any one under the microscope and examine him, only Muhammad, peace be upon him, will come through as a real leader - others are either myth or not even near to him. Can you examine any one and see - how he/she dressed, ate, drank, slept with wife, attended to toilet, forgave, punished, made peace or waged war? - no one comes near to him. So, you need not defend him by relatively comparing to others. Since he himself is the standard, others should be proved against him - beloved rasool. Babandi A. Gumel from U.K February 27th, 2009 No doubt the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) was a fighting Prophet,but the object of that fighting as Professor Abdul Ahad a former Catholic Priest described was victory not vengeance,defeat of the enemy not his extermination and to establish the religion of Islam as the Kingdom upon the earth. Before the preaching of Muhammad idols and falsehood disappeared and children of the kingdom of God all became equal and formed "people of the Saints of the Most High".It is only in Islam that all believers are equal no priest no sacrament;no Muslim high as hill or low like valley no caste or distinction of race and rank. All believers are one ecept in virtue and piety in which they can excel each other.It is only the Religion of Islam that does not recognise any being,however great and holy (he may be) as an abdolute mediator between human being and his Creator.That is the teachings of Islam which is unfortunatly misunderstood in the West. A Muslim worships in a simple building Mosque rather than worshipping 14 pictures and images representing the scenes of the Crucifixtion in a building whose walls and altars are adorned with idolatrous statues,its ground covering the bones of the dead and its domes decorated with the figures of angels and saints.What is more sign of holy faith than the hatred and repugnance which a Muslim feels against any other object of worhip beside God. Laila ha ilallah. Non is Worthy of Worship but God and Muhammad is His Messenger. That is the teaching which the last Prophet Muhammad brought for the whole humanity including the people in the West which is unfortunately misuderstood. Hiba from USA March 19th, 2007 As-Salaamu-Alaikum! As a single Muslima in America, my heart becomes increasingly heavy by the degree to which Muslim women form alliances to help each other keep their husbands from marrying more than one wife. This is especially true in the African American society. There are so many single Muslim women, young, middle aged and old. What does it say of our faith when we allow threats of divorce and the taking away of all of the family property to keep us from trying to protect the weak and vulnerable of the society? The men even resort to taking on girlfriends in lieu of a wife! With so much pressure on Muslims from those outside of the Deen, the added pressure of ostacism by our own for being willing to follow the example of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad(SAW) is, at times, devastating. I must also mention the fact that many of our young girls are becoming sexually active and having children out of marriage. I am very fearful for us! When we do not follow the example of Muhammad(SAW), yes even in America, then whose example do we follow??? ASA Kris from Malaysia March 18th, 2007 Assalamualaikum wrbt and greetings to all. To all Muslim Brothers and Sisters and our respected non Muslim friends, I would like to share this excerpts from a Book ( French ) quoting the Emperor Napolean Bonarparte. And please reason out why such great man in history and a French Emperor of the Catholic faith would mentioned those in his speech as follows. Bonarparte states : "......Moses has revealed the existence of God to his nation, Jesus Christ to the Roman world, muhammad to the old continent. Arabia was idolatrous when, six centuries after Jesus, Muhammad introduced the worship of the God of Abraham, of Ishmael, of Moses and of Jesus. The Ayrians and some other sects had disturbed the tranquility of the East by agitating the question of the nature of the Father, the Son and the holy ghost. Muhammad declared that there was none but One God who had no father, no son, and that the Trinity imported the idea of idolatry. I hope that time is not far off when I shall be able to unite all the wise and educated men of all countries and establish a uniform regime based on the principles of the Qur'an which alone are true and which alone can lead men to happiness......" ( Napolean Bonarparte in Bonarparte et l' Islam, by Cherfils, paris, France, page 105-125 ) These are excerpts from a great Emperor, and I'll write the commentary on the reason why Napolean had uttered those in his speech, later if time permits. My tight work schedule is rather punishing and taking much of my time these days. So if you have a copy of the book, please read it entirely or you can find it in the grand library in Paris. Wassalam and regards, Kris Adil Imtiaz from USA March 17th, 2007 To Chris. Hi Chris, from your response it's obvious that your perception of Islam is absolutely misguided, and that your knowledge, general or otherwise, is very limited. May God guide you and make you see the light....Unfortunately, that's all I can say. Peace.. Chris from USA March 16th, 2007 Well let us model everything after the Jews then, shall we? Lol. Muslims interpret everything through the same ridiculous and deluded mindset of the Jews that "we are THE people so f you, now give us your land or go to hell". I am not sure how it is possible how Arabs do not see how silly it is that they mimic every action, word, and thought of their Jewish cousins, that they seem to hate soo much. As a Pagan I welcome the death of every Jew and Arab in the world. shafique from Canada March 14th, 2007 The fact is that it is that the truth can not be denied but it's good your articles has prompted question in the minds of non-muslim and this is how you can invite them to ready more about Muslim, Mohammad (PBUH) and may Allah guide them in right direction. Hilal Shah from USA March 13th, 2007 This is good and informative article.Br. John has tried to give reasoning why West has so much blurred vision about Prphet Muhammad(PBUH) However; we as common people should refrain from commenting on Prophets life that could be preceived as negative comments. Prophets are chosen individuals by the Creator. They are perfect people without any mistakes. We need to follow them and not to object them since objecting would be construde as objecting Creator,God, himself. Beside this, Western dislike of Prophet Muhammad is based on utter ignorance and biase. They are not the standard. The fact is that worst moral standards exist in West. They do not have tounge to talk about morality. If West would have followed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), then they would have been truely civilized instead of self proclaimed ones. Hilal Shah Doin Phine February 6th, 2006 Responding to comment 33771: U live in Canada and use highly derogatory terms to describe your fellow citizens. (Zionists and WASPS). I think you are full of hate, and take every chance to spit out hate. You talk of Westerners misconceptions of Muslims, but you are full of them yourself. I think Mohamed had something to say against hypocrites. Also when you start talking statistics watch out, they may come back and bite you. I could refer to Muslim crime in European countries and it is shameful. Of course you would come and blame Western racism (yah, right!!). Isn't there teaching in Islam against performing criminal acts!!! Comparing the treatment of women; when it was attempted to put a partial version of the Sharia law in Ontario Canada, it was fought against, and it was not accepted. Oddly enough many of the women behind the drive to stop this were previously living in Muslim countries. Also a few months ago while I was enjoying a two week vacation in the beautiful Caribbean, I had the opportunity to talk to a former Muslim woman from the Middle East, who married a "WASP" as you put it. Actually we met in the hot tub ;-). When we discussed Sharia law she had many things to tell me, and none of them complimentary. She has been a Canadian for many years, and is happily married to her "WASP" husband as you call us. I discuss ideology and you use racist labels on White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. If you used the derogatory label on Afro-Canadians, you would certainly be called racist. Congrats. Also in your argumentation of =Islam you defend it by saying that is only one version of Islam that does things a certain way, in a sense trying to minimize the significance. Isn't Islam perfect, and not open to misinterpretation? Anyway that "version" you talk about is the version being pushed by Saudi Arabia around the world today. This version from Saudi Arabia, as you put it "It is not an Islam that favours freedom of thought and action". Thomas February 6th, 2006 An article as to be expected from M. Esposito. I enjoyed your defence of Mohamed, by comparing hime to somebody of even worst moral character. A good defense indeed. There are other holes in your thinking but that is the one I enjoyed the most. TYPICAL from USA February 6th, 2006 ... The most funny thing about all these conclusion is that muslim history or let say prophet history was never documented by any non muslim. As it is common sense, history is always written by powerful of the time not losers of the time. So credit goes to all muslim historians that they didn't try to white wash any detials of events if we assume those events were correct to our understanding. So reading someone else material and creating a conclusion to feel happy or to make other happy will not earn respect. It is call cheating. So the writer want me to trust his word not the word of the person who documented the events. Nice dreaming I must say. I am sure Hitler was not Christian but a jewish himself. Try to prove me wrong in this. If westren love and felt pain for the suffering of Jews then they should have given them space to live as well. Not to unload them into promised land. Another fairy tail of promised land prove this is correct.I don't thing there was any promised land and it is my conclusion. Awan from US February 5th, 2006 Dear John; Even Allah's words verifies that there will always be people like you who will negate the teachings of the prophets. you will always filter out all such facts which do not fulfil you needs. it can be any prophet of God. _ Note the all the punishes were carried because people irresptive of their relegion broken the law. _ Men were executed because they borke the law. Women and kids were not slaugthered. intead they were looked after not ENSLAVED. If the salvary was the invent of Islam then you must have seen hundreds of Martin Luthers in the Muslim world. sister in islam February 4th, 2006 these people talks abt the polygomy..first u people understand why the prophet of one and only God had many wives..he married them for their safety and protection..they were those ladies who lost their husband in the war against the enemies of islam..so inorder to take care of them prophet took their hand. he always took orphans or widows who has noone to take care of them.. you now blame him for taking more wives..let me ask one thing, wat if he didnt marry them n keep o helping them?then u will say mohammed is going to women other than his wives, true or false? yes definitely you heartless people will say this..the holy prophet always approched other women..god is all seeing.Allah konows wa will happen ni future..so by he will of Allah,to avoid such romours beloved prophet of islam accepted thode women.a great sacrifice!!!! in islam its only allowed to remarry if the first wife agrees..and any relationship between men and women out of marriage is stirctly prohibited..but in you western culture??wife goes with her boyfriend, husband goes with his girlfren children on their own way..i even heard of some incest realtions in you culture..wife cheating husband,husband cheating wife..thats wat your culture is.and polygomy, is far better than this.atleast the men are going to their wives first second or watever it is..islam has everything in order..it foresees wat will happen..so before blaming or passing comments on someone that too a pious person try to learn n understand wat islam and Allah is and hudd,your commnts are always praisable thank you... muslima February 4th, 2006 dear musli.. thanks for ur comments. i was to write about muslim women observing hijab. as u said its really true that we women feels dignity and pride being a muslim wen we r in hijab..peoplewont look us in a bad way..we r happy that guys are noticing our moral values than our personal looks unlike wearing other dresses. and velerie.. i think i read u are a convert to islam..really good act.may allah reward u n all of hem who are geeting in His way..ameen!! dont care wat people asks u abt your convertion.we muslms shud not be doubtful in our faith..its true islam restricts some things to women or women have some limits than men, but the people who asked you this question doesn't know about the life here after. if we stay within these limits in this world surely the most merciful allah will reward all of us for obeying Him. islam's stirctness protects women from many things..n it is to avoid such dangers from men allah ordered us to be modest..in our looks, behaviour etc.. so dont ever feel bad abt being converted..u shud always be proud that atleast now i'verealized wat true religion and faith is...ok? try to learn more n more abt islam n you will be able to answer all questions raised infront of you. praying for ur well being and congratulations for being our fellow being..may allah bless u and all his people with all happiness, blessings and His mercy...ameen!! bader muhammed from pakistan February 4th, 2006 EVERY WORD OF QURAN & LIFE OF PROPHET MUHAMMED(SAW) IS A SOLUTION TO EVERY PROBLEM OF THIS & THE NEXT LIFE! bader muhammed from pakistan February 4th, 2006 1400 ago prophet MUHAMMED(SAW) gave us path of success in this life & the life after death.if we take a look at the world today everything which is against islamic values is a great disease for mankind & the people who implement the true values of islam in their life are comfortable, happy. Hassan from Saudi Arabia February 4th, 2006 Allah Says in the Quraan: 21:107 We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures. 9:33 It is He Who hath sent His Messenger with guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it). 48:28 It is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religion: and enough is Allah for a Witness. 61:9 It is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, that he may proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it). mohamed tajudeen.sm. from india November 14th, 2005 Islam as a modern religion must prove to the West that Islamic life is the best solution to the problems of the modern world in every respect mansour from egypt October 14th, 2005 islam is the source of happiness Peter from USA October 12th, 2005 Islam is a wonderful, civilizing religion. The very revelation of Allah, of God showing us how we are to live. It is the truth, and truth is good, and truth is consistent. Alhamdulilah. Peter from USA October 12th, 2005 Asalaamu Alaikum, It is most unfortunate that the West has cast so much fear and ignorance upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) and on Islam. If they really knew what it was all about, I am sure that many would come to the fold, so to speak. Alas, that so many centuries of propoganda on the side of "Christendom" has created this situation, where people feel that just because they have heard something, it must be true. I say this, because I myself was once so misinformed. Once I undertook to learn more about Islam (as an act of fidelity to the Prophet Isa, ironically enough), I found that I agreed with it and have since taken shahada and become a member of the deen. Brothers and sisters in the deen, I enjoin you to understand that the West is misinformed about Islam (this is obvious, perhaps), but we must work to redress this by telling others what our religion is really all about. I think we might be amazed by the results. Having said that, I am really surprised that the author of this article claims that Islam acted against the Jews. This simply isn't the case. Byzantine Christianity was far more anti-Semitic (among other things) and there are many examples of Jewish people assisting the Persians (for example) against the Byzantines for this very reason. The history of my own people (the Sicilians) reflects this as well. Many mistakenly believe that we were conquered by the Muslims in the late ninth century until the Norman Roger II invaded two centuries later. That isn't so. We invited the Arabs to come to Sicily, in large part because of the despotic rule of the Byzantine Empire. Before Roger II and the Inquisition that followed, 50% of the island was Muslim (and there was also a large number of Jews and Christians). This tolerant society was similar in many ways to Al-Andalus. To this day, we have Arabic words in our language, Arabic contributions to our food, and much more besides. Sorry if I am rambling, but my point is MOHAMMAD SYED from usa October 10th, 2005 Dear Dr. Espasito: You have wide knowlege of the major religions and also of the West. Do you really believe that if Prophet Muhammad's treatment of the Jews and his (polygynous) marriages were not popular stumbling blocks for the West then the West would have embrace Islam with a great understanding and the West would not have colonized and misrepresented Islam? If your answer is yes, then in my humble opinion you stll have to learn much about the West. syed Badr-u-diin from Canada October 9th, 2005 Bismillaah wal hamdulilaah was salaatu was salaamu 'ala rasoolilaah. (In the name of Allah, all praises are due to Allah, and prayers and peace be on the Messenger of Allah). As-Salaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatu Allahi wa Barakaatuhu My beloved Sisters and Brothers in Islam Ramadhan Mubarak. Oh Muslims fear Allah Az-zawjal were ever you can. Best Speech is the Speech of Allah Az-zawjal is the Noble Qur'an. Let it speak to the THE DISBELIEVERS and ATHEISTS. AL-KAFIROON (THE DISBELIEVERS, ATHEISTS) ---------------------------------------- In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. 1. Say(O Muhammed): O disbelievers! 2. I worship not that which ye worship; 3. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. 4. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. 5. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. 6. You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion. Regarding Woman I like this poem: "O Muslim women; Out of the evening create a new dazzling morn. To the true lovers of Allah Az-zawjal, Recite the Holy Qur'an And enthusiastically translate Its spirit into action Don't you know that such recitation Changed altogether Khalifa Amir-ul-Muminin Umar bin al-Khattab(R.A)'s fate." shahed from india October 8th, 2005 quran give permission only monogamy. but conditionaly mean social problem.and also mens are mainten to all fundamental needs to give to all wifes so this situation quran give permission to polygamy.if the mens are not agree to conditions. quran give to order to mens only monogamy. like Adam and eve which was monogamy. Muslima from U.S.A October 8th, 2005 The view of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has always been distorted. A lot of times intentionally and with other agendas in mind. Like some have already mentioned - it just depends on who is giving the view and how well they have been exposed to the true character of Muhammad (pbuh) from Muslims themselves. We are meant to see Muhammad (Pbuh) as our example, yet how many Muslims do we know who come even a little bit close? If we as Muslims loved and tried to inculcate in our lives a little bit of the beautiful values, of kindness, mercy, justice,patience of our Beloved Prophet, we would be in a lot better position. But, with regards to the treatment of women, most of the time again, if we look at the Muslim countries, it falls on our own shoulders. Women are being denied their God given rights, so who should we blame? It is always easy to blame others, we really need to seek knowledge, practise it and see the beauty of Islam and its Messenger. Muslims are always caught up in rhetoric,. We are told to take the middle path, be balanced and moderate, yet, the muslim community is rife with extreme views and pointing fingers.... our condtion will never change unless we go back and realy practise the life of Muhammad (SAW). ahmed asgher from bahrain October 8th, 2005 Dear Sisiter Valerie, as another muslim brother, I welcome you nto this universal faith. All I can say: 1) Believe in One God, 2) Read the Quran and 3) Follow your heart and if you truly love and believe in Allah, He will never misguide you, that is a promise He has made to the true believers. A final word: please do not be put off by some of the harsh words directed at you. Turn your face to the Only Protector and seek His guidance in all matters. May Allah bless you with wisdom, patience and forbearance. musli from France October 7th, 2005 Salaam L.Alahem Just to tell u dear sister that I totally agree with u 🙂 May Allah(SWT) increase his blessings upon all of us muslims/muslimahs and show many others the straight path in this holy month of Ramadan, and in the days to follow - Amen musli shana from US October 7th, 2005 Asalamulaikum Ramadan Mubarak Sister L Alahem, MashaAllah, excellent response. May Allah make us all firm in His Path. I would like to point out this Ayah in the Qur'an: 2:120 Never will the jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion. Say: "The Guidance of Allah,-that is the (only) Guidance." Wert thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee, then wouldst thou find neither Protector nor helper against Allah." In light of this, it's useless trying to satisfy non-Muslims. So much attention is given toward this that we are ignoring other important matters. In their perspective we will always be oppressed and backward. However we should continue to inform them. I believe that we should direct more of our attention toward bringing Islam back for the future generation exclusively based on the Qur'an and Sunnah. The younger generations, the future of this Ummah, are so disconnected from Islam. They have become the slave of money, women, luxury and this world. May Allah save us from the hellfire. Ameen. fherham abdul from philippines October 6th, 2005 i will agree to this ogr. so that the muslim will open their mind to pray. L Alahem from USA October 6th, 2005 asalaam alikum, Cut Valarie some slack, she only is repeating what she has heard. I too, a caucasian female born and raised in the US, have heard the same. The day that I formalized my relationship with my husband, when we agreed to marry, I told him that I was not going to wear a scarf or take a second class place. Silly me, I was ignorant. We married at the masjid, in the traditional nikka. I did not take my shahada until a year after we married. My husband was patient and kind to me, and encouraged me to choose my own path. I did. I took my shahada. It would be 6 months until I began to observe hijab, simply because I did not understand my God-given rights as a woman and a muslim woman. I heard all the things that Valerie has heard. My answer is this: Allah commanded that women be given their due in the Qu'ran, in the year 500, according to the gregorian calendar. "enlightened" western societies did not allow women to vote for almost 2000 more years, did not allow women to hold property in her own name until the 1960's, and I still can't make an even dollar. Islam confered all of these rights 1400 years ago. "Enlightened" western society casts me aside the moment that I become less than a sexual object to be traded. "backward" Islam gives me respect and the opportunity to be treated as a person. So, make your comparisons. Do not point to the Afgan burka and the Saudis and say this is Islam. Read the book and get back to me on this. Ramadan Mubarek. Asif Zaidi from USA October 6th, 2005 I just want to make a comment regarding hijab - I am not an alim/scholar so take final opinion from someone who is knowledgable about hadith and the proper way to derive knowledge from it. 1) In link by musli, there is a narration that describes that Asma (daughter of AbuBakr) came to prophet in 'thin clothing'. The prophet (pbuh) than said to cover except face and hands. Put yourself in AbuBakr's place and his daughter. Would I as a father ever allow my daughter (once Islam and prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) have been accepted) to go in front of prophet in 'thin clothing'. AbuBakr and the sahaba of prophet did not look to his face directly (out of respect). Do you really think they would allow this from their daughters? Also, this narration has a very weak chain. 2) More strongly as someone said, wives of the prophet wore niqab. Those are our models for our daughters and ones we should aspire to imitate. 3) In umrah and hajj, prophet ordered the women not to cover their faces when in a state of ihram. In fact, my wife (also not an alimah) said the wording is such that it can be deduced that a woman should do niqab when not in ihram ( if 3 is greater than 2 and 2 is greater than 1, then 3 is greater than 1) 4) Lets say that qualified ulema have said that we can show the face. I have no problem with it. But surely the way some of our sisters (US/ME) that do hijab cannot be correct. Covering head but wearing such tight clothes that everything is apparent or wearing head scarves but hand showing. 5) Lastly, hijab is not just of covering the body. It applies to behavior - no one is saying to be subjugated to a male but definitely smiling and talking to non-mahram like they are old buddies is surely not the practice of a pious Muslimah (this also applies to men) Asif musli from France October 6th, 2005 Why should muslim women wear Hijab? Because in the holy Quran it says: "O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw their outer garments around them (when they go out or are among men). That is better in order that they may be known (to be Muslims) and not annoyed..." (Qur'an 33:59) Other secondary reasons include the requirement for modesty in both men and women. Both will then be evaluated for intelligence and skills instead of looks and sexuality. An Iranian school girl is quoted as saying, "We want to stop men from treating us like sex objects, as they have always done. We want them to ignore our appearance and to be attentive to our personalities and mind. We want them to take us seriously and treat us as equals and not just chase us around for our bodies and physical looks." A Muslim woman who covers her head is making a statement about her identity. Anyone who sees her will know that she is a Muslim and has a good moral character. Many Muslim women who cover are filled with dignity and self esteem; they are pleased to be identified as a Muslim woman. As a chaste, modest, pure woman, she does not want her sexuality to enter into interactions with men in the smallest degree. A woman who covers herself is concealing her sexuality but allowing her femininity to be brought out. The wives of the Prophet (PBUH) were required to cover their faces so that men would not think of them in sexual terms since they were the "Mothers of the Believers," but this requirement was not extended to other women. http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/humanrelations/womeninislam/whatishijab.html Dr Edriss from US October 5th, 2005 this message for john first I have small comment: why Professor? someone who call A messenger of God with just his name should respect his rules and call himself just john 🙂 . At least Islam.org gave you chance to say whatever here and make comercial for your opinion and so called book. I wish that CNN.com TBN.org can publish books for any moslem talking about how the west destroyed the east to build the wealth of today. I wish TBN.org or CNN.com can post some words like this in their website to wake up their viewers!? 1_ All the prophets and messengers came to the middleeast and none of them from the west! then if you try to make The last Prophet to mankind looks stranger to the west, you should do so for Jesus and Moses and all the others?. 2_ almost all the people of the middleeast are moslems or at least refuse any religion coming from the west. 3_the west since the crusaders(those who put cross on their cloths and marched to destroy the civilized world of their time) trying hard to turn the middleasterners to believe to whatever the west claim to believe (I just read the news today of US military taking over musjids in Ramadi to turn them to barracks) but they still can't. is it because the last technology of the west failed against the premitive technology of the Last messenger to mankind? 4_ what the Prophets taught people is what God ordered them to teach. All of them prostrated to God, fasted to God, gave charity for the sake of God... be from the East or the west? If you never did what they taught people to do, how can you claim yourself followed anyone of them? alots off people claim what their mouth what they never practiced! some of them claim to be from the west just because the west open a University in their face. Hudd d'Aelia from Canada October 5th, 2005 Valerie. Women were free in the true Islamic society, it lasted up to the assassination of the fourth Khalif Rashid, Ali Ibn Abi Talib,raa. Women were in the same place with men in the mosque and they shared verbally in disputes. In the time of Umar ibn al-Khattab,raa, the second Khalif Rashid, a woman got up in the mosque and confronted Umar,raa, the Khalif when he wanted to reserve the maher(dowry) to 400 dirhams. The woman quoted Quran by saying,"Even a mountain of gold is not superfluous for a maher asked by a woman." Umar,raa, admitted that the woman was right and appologized to the rest of the women whom he inadvertedly was about to restrict their god given right. Valerie, Saudia is not a model or a leader in Islamic values. Saudia has a sect of Islam, Wahabism, as state religion. It doesn't mean that they or Wahabism would be wrong. It only means that they practice a restricted form of Islam. It was engineered by Muhammad ibn Wahab to arrest the non-Islamic practices of the Arabians in his time. It is not an Islam that favours freedom of thought and action. It is a fearful Islam that wants to keep the precincts of Islam on all costs. Now the wives of the prophet,pbuh, were in niqab(entirely covered) exactly to single them out from the rest of the believing women as the wives of the prophet,pbuh. Regular Muslim women do not need to cover their faces, if they do there is no blame on them, they just want to excell as women and thus compare themselves to the wives of the prophet. You said they are not allowed to drive, well, this is something particular to that country which is a fraction of the Muslim world. You want to live there? If yes, you must concur with the laws of the country wherever you are. I'm in Canada, here gays are marrying, can I change that? No. If I don't like it I'm free to move if irritated. But I'm of the principle,"If it's not my shirt, I won't put it on." Walk alone?Would you?You have no rapists in USA? Is not safe to walk alone. Hudd d'Aelia from Canada October 5th, 2005 I don't find this article not even as a mediocre one. It does not help to dissipate the misconception of the West about Islam, simply because the author doesn't know the roots of Islam which are at the basis of the Creation. The author judges Islam through the Christian eye, where the Jews are martyrs and tetragamy is an inherent sin or crime. First of all we have to draw the line: Allah's law is above man, period. When we established this personal likeness or belief must fall for the divine statute. To marry up to four wives was always allowed but not commended. In Judaism is allowed, although not officially practiced any more. In original Christianity was, but since Christianity corrupted by amalgamating the teachings of Jesus,pbuh, with Roman law and values, is not. Romans practiced monogamy and countless numbers of concubines were filling in for the shortcoming. Mormons are indeed practicing polygamy, not only tetragamy, but nobody raises a brow. It is obvious why, because Islam is to be blamed and bashed not because it would be 'bad', but because Israel is at war with Islam, so all effort is done to mobilize the whole world against Islam whether is the religion of truth or not. The dispute about prophet Muhammad,pbuh, is irrelevant to the religion of God. God sent a perfect message, the Quran, and Muhammad,pbuh, laid down the map of Islamic worship, his suna. His legacy is what counts, not the gossip and fitna/discord woven around his personality out of the envy of his enamies. How he treated women? The whole history of mankind did not record another person having the grace, love and consideration for women up to present times, as prophet Muhammad,pbuh, had not only with his wives and daughters but also with any woman. Besides, tetragamy, as well as marrying a second wife is not permitted without the approval of the original wife. From all the Muslims I met in ME and North Africa, I did not meet one who had more than one wife,but many had none. soufiene ali from usa October 5th, 2005 assalamu alaikum Dear Sister and Brother what did hurt islam this days not only the western media or the jews like it has been told over and over indeed their are part of the probleme, but muslims too are helping to tarnish the image of islam please if you d'ont know or understand islam d'ont teach anybody anything about islam unless you are 100% sure about the sources so we have to review ourselves and understand our religion before teaching others. saleem from usa October 5th, 2005 male = female is not in islam. As we see male can have more than one wives and women cannot. We see Prophet Solomon (PBUH), with many wives. So its not just islam which allows multiple marriages. nisa from malaysia October 5th, 2005 salam, i read on slate.com Karen Hughes said the same thing about Saudi women not able to drive TO THE SAUDI WOMEN themselves in a meeting -- know what they say.. THEY'RE ACTUALLY HAPPY RIGHT NOW, NO THANK YOU. muslim women are NOT oppressed or subjected to being subhuman. so we wear headscarves, why does that say that means we're oppressed. we just wanna show you our personality instead of our skin. so we get chaperoned, Queen Elizabeth gets chaperoned, is she oppressed? we don't want to strip, so be it. we like moving about with people, rather than alone, so be it. actually there's a lot more rights women have in Islam, which is under rated by the west. i.e. a mother should be treated 3x more kindly & better than a dad, etc. actually i think it's the west who think Muslim women are subhuman & oppressed. not us at all. Asif Zaidi from USA October 5th, 2005 Valerie: The prophets wives covered their faces all the time and yes they did wear black in the desert heat. When one goes for hajj or umrah, the prophet has told a Muslimah that in a state of ihram she is not to supposed to cover her face. You draw the appropriate conclusion. As for education for women, it was granted to bibi Hafsa. Women should get an education. In Saudi Arabia women do get education !! Which world do you live in? Did you not read the reports of the verbal assault given to Karen Hughes by Saudi women at the university Karen visited ? Or were you just listening to CNN. Also as you are a new Muslimah, when referring to any prophet, please do not address them just by their names. Please prefix it by 'prophet xxx' As for your friends and in general non-Muslims who have an issue with a 'male-dominated' religion - are you sure you have accepted Islam. If you can't defend this utterly ignorant statement then I suggest you revisit the fundamentals of Islam. Don't concern yourself with what non-Muslims say about Islam. Remember abu-lahab, an uncle of prophet, never accepted Islam. Asif mohamendur from U.S.A October 5th, 2005 you could not satisfy the west by talking about the Prophet's marriage or political alliences. it looks reasonable for them to be gay, but unecceptable to have muliple wives. so let is not worry about what they think about the Prophet. Valerie from United States October 5th, 2005 Assalamu Alaykum,In replying I will concentrate on the "women's aspect" of the article, and how women were treated then as compared to now, or so it seems. I have heard from many that Muhammad treated his wives very well and allowed them much freedom that seems to be a thing of the past. In Saudi Arabia women cannot drive, cannot walk alone, are not able to go to school without permission from father or other male relative, have to wear black or otherwise very dark clothing and head and face covers even on the hottest of days. In India the Muslim women dress differently and more colorful and do not cover as much and places such as Indonesia where the women dress with more bright, flowing, silky cloth. I am sure that Muhammad's wives were dressed modestly of course but did they too have to wear all of the head and face covers and dark attire? Did they have to be escorted everywhere and were they allowed an education? I thought that they were allowed great amount of freedoms. Perhaps it is the way Muslim women are treated in most Muslim countries today is a reason for the West's not wanting to accept such a male dominated religion. As a recent convert people ask, "You are a white caucasian American woman so why would you want to be a part of some religion that is of third-world uneducated oppressed society as that is of Islam?" I find I struggle with much hostility from non-Muslim family and friends yet some are beginning to accept me as now and are starting to realize that Islam is not at all what they had been reading about or thought. Still, the majority here in the US think that because of the way women are treated today is cause to NOT want anything to do with a "religion" that today women seem to be treated with less respect and worse than dogs and are simply considered, "property". Muslims need to speak out more of this I think, as until more Muslim women get out and speak at schools and places then they will always be seen as the "uneducated and oppressed.