Recently, I posted an islamophobic meme in which I said that it is morally abhorrent and senselessly regressive to think that it is normal to idolize and emulate the seventh-century barbarian known as the Prophet Muhammad. It was to be expected that the Muslim apologists would come in droves in defense of the greatest man who ever lived and their religion of peace.
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I received quite a bit of backlash (you can watch the video above for a systematic and epic takedown of a few of the comments, where I defend the meme using the Quran, Hadith, and Sira), but the truth is–everything in the meme is 100% accurate.
Muhammad WAS a homophobic, misogynistic pedophile. What facts substantiate this claim?
Muhammad the Homophobe
Muhammad is considered by all Muslims to be the perfect example, and therefore they will engage in slimy apologetic behavior that curtails their personal responsibility of the tenets of the faith to which they adhere, for what is advised regarding the treatment of homosexuals as per the doctrine.
In parts of the Hadith, it is advised that homosexuals be thrown off of the tops of high buildings and stoned to death (Surah Hud 11:82), and most scholars maintain this position while also recommending alternatives; such as keeping them imprisoned until death. According to the Saudi Ministry of Education Textbooks for Islamic Studies:2007-2008 Academic Year,
Homosexuality is one of the most disgusting sins and greatest crimes…. It is a vile perversion that goes against sound nature, and is one of the most corrupting and hideous sins…. The punishment for homosexuality is death. Both the active and passive participants are to be killed whether or not they have previously had sexual intercourse in the context of a legal marriage…. Some of the companions of the Prophet stated that [the perpetrator] is to be burned with fire. It has also been said that he should be stoned, or thrown from a high place.
This section was removed, likely after the Saudi Textbook controversy and subsequent removals; including educational material that demonizes Christians and Jews or that urges holy war on the nonbelievers.
Muhammad the Misogynistic Pedophile
After his marriage with his first wife ended in his fifties (due to her death), Muhammad took a six-year-old, Aisha, as a bride. At the age of 9, the marriage between Muhammad and Aisha was consummated (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64, see also Numbers 65 and 88; Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 234, see also Number 236; Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 140; see also Number 139; Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 41, Number 4915; Volume 5, Book 58, Number 234).
This is often justified by depicting Aisha as an astute and mature woman for her age in an attempt to dismiss any charges of pedophilia. The concept of pedophilia being a manifestation of deviant behavior did not exist in the seventh century and Muhammad was acting in accordance with the culture of his time; however, Muhammad maintains a status among Muslims as the supreme example for human behavior despite the fact that he did take a child as a wife and had sex with her before she was capable of comprehending the full breadth of the situation.
The United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) reports that over half of the girls in Afghanistan and Bangladesh are married before they reach the age of eighteen. This is the price that women and girls have paid throughout Islamic history, and continue to pay in sickening numbers, for Muhammad’s status “as an excellent example of conduct.”
Muhammad’s general view of adults of the opposite sex isn’t particularly rosy either. There are several examples available from the Quran, Hadith, and Sira to support the notion that Muhammad harbored a generally misogynistic outlook. He believed that women were cognitively deficient compared to men and that a woman’s witness is worth half that of a man’s (Sahih Bukhari 3:826). He said that most of the inhabitants of hell are women because they are ungrateful (Sahih Bukhari Vol 1:28); they deserve hellfire for having any objection to the way they are treated by their husbands, no matter what that treatment entails… Which can encompass beating your wife into subservience (Quran 4:34; also see Allah condoning the beating of Job’s wife-Quran 38:44).
There was one occasion where a woman came to Muhammad and explained that her husband had been beating her because he was impotent and she was unsatisfied. Her skin was described as being bruised so badly that it was “greener” than the green veil she was wearing. Upon seeing the woman, Aisha remarked that she has not seen any women suffering abuse like her fellow Muslim women. Instead of admonishing the husband, Muhammad ordered her to return to him and submit to his sexual desires (Sahih Bukhari 72:715). Muhammad also struck Aisha in the chest for leaving the house without his permission (Sahih Muslim 4:2127) and laughed when he heard that his fathers-in-law struck Aisha for annoying him (Sahih Muslim 9:3506). Muhammad also said that a man does not have to give his reasons for why he beats his wife (Abu Dawud 2142).
In addition to the Quran, Hadith, and Sira, there are also many respected scholars that approve of wife beating. For example, Egyptian cleric, Abd al-Rahman Mansour, said in a 2012 televised broadcast that, in addition to discouraging the wife from filing divorce, beatings would inspire the wife to “treat him with kindness and respect, and know that her husband has a higher status than her.”
Another prominent example is from Dr. Muzammil Saddiqi, the former president of ISNA (the Islamic Society of North America), a mainstream Muslim organization, who says that it is important that a wife “recognizes the authority of her husband in the house” and that he may use physical force if he is “sure it would improve the situation.”
Muhammad the Barbarian
As for his barbarism, Muhammad was a conquering warlord and proponent of wanton anti-Semitism. One such example occurred between February and March 627 when Muhammad ordered or carried out (reports varied) an attack on the Banu Qurayza tribe of Jews because he had been ordered to do so by the angel Gabriel. After a 25 day siege, the Banu Qurayza surrendered without a fight and Muhammad ordered the digging of trenches. Approximately 800 Jewish males who had reached the age of puberty (this was determined by checking to see if they had pubic hair) were bound, beheaded, and tossed into the trenches. The women and children were parceled out to Muhammad’s men as slaves for sexual servitude and labor. (Qur’an 33:09-10, 33:26; Abu Dawud 4390 & 2665; Shahih Bukhari 4:52:68 & 4:57:66; Ishaq/Hisham 693; Tabari, Volume 8, Victory of Islam).
Another fine example of Muhammad’s barbarism and upstanding moral character occurred when an adulteress who became pregnant during her extramarital affair confessed her sins to Muhammad. Muhammad graciously allows her to have her child and wean him, but instead of forgiving her, he has her buried up to her chest and stoned to death. To be fair, Muhammad did initially turn her away, but she asked for forgiveness for her actions through Muhammad. However, after stoning her, Muhammad blessed and forgave, even going so far as to tell one of his generals to be gentle with his abuse during the stoning. Instead of forgiving her, allowing her to live, and raise her child, Muhammad created an orphan, the very people apologists claim Muhammad truly cared for (Sahih Muslim 17:4209).
These are only two examples of Muhammad’s barbarism during his prophetic career. His barbarism continued with the draconian punishments he enacted and the commandments he established. The punishments that are prescribed in the Quran and the Hadith are extremely violent and not in proportion to the actual crimes committed in any reasonable sense. The repertoire of punishments include being stoned to death (Sahih Bukhari 83:37, Sahih Muslim 17:4192), crucifixion (Quran 5:33), public lashings (Quran 24:2; Abu Dawud 38:4469), amputation of the hands and feet (Quran 5:33 & 38; Sahih Bukhari 8:81:780-791), and beheading (Quran 5:33; Quran 8:12; Quran 47:4; Sahih Muslim 17:4214).
These punishments can be applied for reasons such as adultery, fornication, consuming intoxicants, outrage against the caliph, apostasy, charges of blasphemy, accusing someone of illicit sex but failing to provide witnesses (four to be exact), missing prayer or praying incorrectly, and theft. These punishments, and the fact that they are sanctioned and prescribed directly by the holy texts that make up the religion, make Islam unsuitable for the contemporary world and are emblematic of the pre-medieval time in which Islam belongs. The institution of these punishments by Muhammad with the authority of Allah makes them applicable then, now, and forever.
It is quite obvious that Muhammad was morally abhorrent and senselessly regressive, but I will go even further and say that Islam is morally abhorrent and senselessly regressive. Islam is the religion, doctrines, ideas, and culture that originated from Muhammad and following the religion the way he intended it and commanded it to be practiced. It should be clear, looking at the hundreds of jihadist attacks around the world every week, that when Muslim moderates call their literalists “radical extremists”, what they are really saying is that the extremists adhere to their religion much more strictly than the moderates do. The moderates can’t be outraged or speak against it or else they demonstrate their own hypocrisy, but their silence inadvertently supports the extremism and allows the radicalism to continue.
Painting Muhammad as virtuous moral character, even if he was prior to his rise to power, and denial of the detestable doctrines established by Muhammad in the Quran, Hadith, and Sira, is a refusal to acknowledge a major global issue. The truth is that the words and deeds of Muhammad have been inspiring Muslims to commit acts of violence for 1400 years and these acts will continue unless we decide to be honest about what the character of Muhammad, and the religion he founded, really entails.
In the words of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “By declaring our Prophet infallible and not permitting ourselves to question him, we Muslims had set up a static tyranny. The Prophet Muhammad attempted to legislate every aspect of life. By adhering to his rules of what is permitted and what is forbidden, we Muslims suppressed the freedom to think for ourselves and to act as we chose. We froze the moral outlook of billions of people into the mindset of the Arab desert in the seventh century. We were not just servants of Allah, we were slaves.”
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