How his Opponents viewed him
Bassam Zawadi has written a response (*) to my article regarding Muhammads integrity (*).
Zawadi claims that the hadiths I cited regarding the testimony of the unbelievers that Muhammad never told a lie refers to the period before his prophethood, which is partially correct. He highlights a specific part of the hadith to prove this but ignores what follows right after:
He [Heraclius] said, Had you ever blamed him for telling lies before he claimed what he claimed?' I replied, No. He said, Does he break his promises?' I replied, No, but we are now at truce with him and we are afraid that he may betray us. . . When I asked you whether he was ever blamed for telling lies, your reply was in the negative, so I took it for granted that a person who did not tell a lie about (others) the people could never tell a lie about Allah. I asked you whether he had ever broken his promise. You replied in the negative. And such are the apostles; they never break their promises." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 191)
Let me highlight the part he missed:
He said, DOES HE break his promises? I replied, No, but we are NOW at TRUCE with him and we are afraid that he may betray us
Heraclius questions werent limited to Muhammads pre-prophetic career, but also included the period after he claimed prophethood. The truce mentioned above refers to the treaty of Hudaibiyyah(1) which Muhammad made with the Quraysh in the year A.H. 6 (628 AD), making it blatantly obvious that the intent of the hadith is to show how the pagans themselves were unable to deny that Muhammad was a man of integrity even after making the claim that he was Gods prophet.(2)
The reason why Zawadi wants to limit this to Muhammads pre-prophetic life is because this hadith contradicts the Quran which quotes the unbelievers as accusing Muhammad of being a liar. He needs to somehow reconcile the Quran with these so-called sound reports.
Yet, in a sense Zawadi is correct since the most that a Muslim can prove from this particular narration is that Muhammad wasnt known to have been a liar before he professed to be Gods prophet (assuming that this hadith is historically reliable, which it isnt). The evidence we provided shows that this wasnt the case after he started his prophetic career since he lied and permitted others to lie as well, and all in the name of his god to boot!
To see the historical and chronological problems with Abu Sufyans alleged encounter with Heraclius we recommend the following articles:
Zawadi accuses me of being inconsistent and commits a few logical fallacies in the process:
Notice Shamoun's double standard. He would love to appeal to these same sources when it would help his case and not even try to suspect them for being forged by hypocrites but reject them when they refute an argument of his or when they speak positively about the Prophet.
That means, that we can argue back that the stories found in the gospels are suspect because they were passed down to us by Christian believers. Non Christian sources regarding the alleged crucifixion only appeared way after the writings of the gospels and Paul letters occurred. So its possible that these non Christian sources took it from these Christian sources. Then using Sam's logic we could say that they are suspect.
It is easier to attack a straw man than to actually address the issues being raised. In the first place, we have never embraced the sources of the Quran uncritically. We have always been careful to analyze the Islamic sources to see whether they can be accepted at face value, or whether there is an indication that a specific report is suspect.
One method we use to determine if a specific narrative is sound is to see if the depiction of Muhammad contradicts or goes beyond what the Quran says about him. To illustrate our point, the Quran expressly says Muhammad performed no miracles whereas the hadith literature contains dozens of reports of Muhammad allegedly performing miracles. Obviously, both cant be correct and since the Quran is considerably earlier than the hadith literature it obviously takes priority. More on this point a little later.
Another criterion is to see whether the Quran and/or the hadiths contradict established historical and archaeological facts. An example of this is the story of Heraclius meeting Abu Sufyan. See the above links for the details.
Moreover, Muslims have a tendency to exaggerate when it comes to Muhammad, tending to depict him as larger than life. The flip side of this is the tendency of Muslims to suppress any negative statements about Muhammad. Thus, when a report portrays Muhammad in a bad light it has the greater likelihood of being true than those reports which depict Muhammad as a superman or angelic figure.
In fact, there is abundant evidence to show that orthodox Muslims would suppress and tamper with Islamic traditions that presented Muhammad in a negative light. A case example would be Ibn Hisham, the man who edited Ibn Ishaqs biography on Muhammad, Sirat Rasulullah. The translator of Ishaqs biography, Islamic scholar Alfred Guillaume, writes in his Introduction that:
It has been my aim to restore so far as is now possible the text of I.I. [Sam: Ibn Ishaq] as it left his pen or as he dictated it to his hearers, from excerpts in later texts, disregarding the Mabda section as I.H. [Sam: Ibn Hisham] did and for at least one of his reasons. At first I was tempted to think that a great deal of the original had been lost - and it may well be that it has been lost - for it is clear that the scurrilous attacks on the prophet which I.H. mentions in his Introduction are not to be found anywhere. (Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad [Oxford University Press, Karachi], pp. xxx-xxxi)
Guillaume mentions Ibn Hishams claim that Ibn Ishaq said nothing about Abu Sufyans assassination:
What remains to be explained is why I.H. should assert that I.I. had said nothing about the abortive attempt to assassinate Abu Sufyan and the equally unsuccessful effort to recover Khubaybs body. If I.I. said nothing at all about either matter how came it that I.H. dealt with them? Since we know that I.I. reported what had happened from traditions that were transmitted by Amrs own family and that they existed in oral and written form for centuries afterwards, we cannot but suspect that I.H. has tampered with the evidence. (ibid., p. xlii)
Christian writer and apologist John Gilchrist provides another example of Ibn Hisham tampering with Ibn Ishaqs work, specifically his removing the story of the "Satanic Verses" from Ibn Ishaqs book:
The record of his reliance on Ibn Ishaq for the narrative suggests that Ibn Hisham may well have expunged it from the original text and prompts one writer to say:
There is reason to suspect that Ibn Hisham was not quite so trustworthy as his great authority Ibn Ishac. Certainly there is one instance which throws suspicion upon him as a witness, disinclined at least to tell the whole truth. We find in Tabari a quotation from Ibn Ishac, in which is described the temporary lapse of Mahomet into idolatry; and the same incidents are also given by Wakidy from other original sources. But no notice whatever of the fact appears in the biography of Ibn Hisham, though it is professedly based upon the work of Ibn Ishac. (Muir, The Life of Mahomet, p. lxx).
This suggestion is strengthened by the fact that Ibn Hisham's edition contains no unfavourable stories about Muhammad...
There are many evidences in other works, which quote from the Sirat, that Ibn Hisham's edition is incomplete and the story of the "satanic verses" was almost certainly one of those expunged from the text by him. Recently a Muslim publishing house in India has reprinted Hughes' great work, A Dictionary of Islam, and has introduced the reprint with these words in a "Publisher's Note":
The Publisher has very meticulously gone through the pages and has expunged the remarks derogatory to Islamic faith, published in the original edition. (Hughes, A Dictionary of Islam, p. vi).
This statement seems to sum up perfectly the similar action taken by Ibn Hisham against the original text of Ibn Ishaq's work... (Gilchrist, Muhammad and the Religion of Islam, "Satans Interjection and Its Implication"; source)
Ibn Hisham himself admitted that he removed material from Ibn Ishaqs biography:
God willing I shall begin this book with Isma'il son of Ibrahim and mention those of his offspring who were the ancestors of God's apostle one by one with what is known about them, taking no account of Isma'il's other children, omitting some of the things which I.I. has recorded in this book in which there is no mention of the apostle and about which the Quran says nothing and which are not relevant to anything in this book or an explanation of it or evidence for it; poems which he quotes that no authority on poetry whom I have met knows of; things which it is disgraceful to discuss; matters which would distress certain people; and such reports as al-Bakka'i told me he could not accept as trustworthy all these things I have omitted. But God willing I shall give a full account of everything else so far as it is known and trustworthy tradition is available. (Guillaume, p. 691; underline emphasis ours)
The hadith collection of al-Bukhari is another example of Muslims removing or discarding embarrassing material from their works. It is claimed that al-Bukhari collected anywhere from over 300,000 to 600,000 hadiths. Out of these he rejected roughly 99% of them! Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, in his English translation of Sahih Al-Bukhari, writes:
Many a story has been told about Imam Bukhari regarding his struggles in collecting Hadith literature. He travelled to many different places and gathering the precious gems that fell from the lips of the noble Prophet Muhammad... It is said that Imam Bukhari collected over 300,000 Ahadith and he himself memorized 200,000 of which some were unreliable. He was born at a time when Hadith was being forged either to please rulers or kings or to corrupt the religion of Islam.
It is said that Imam Bukhari (before compiling Sahih Al-Bukhari) saw in a dream, standing in front of Prophet Muhammad... having a fan in his hand and driving away the flies from the Prophet... Imam Bukhari asked some of those who interpret dreams and they interpreted his dream that he will drive away the falsehood asserted agaisnt [sic] the Prophet...
So it was a great task for him to sift the forged Ahadith from the authentic ones. He laboured day and night and although he had memorized such a large number he only chose approximately 7,275 with repetition and about 2,230 without repetition of which there is no doubt about their authenticity. (Translation of the Meanings of Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, translated by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Islamic University, Al-Madina Al-Munawwara, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; compilation: Al-Imam Zain-ud-Din Ahmad bin Abdul-Lateef Az-Zubaidi [Maktaba Dar-us-Salam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh-Saudi Arabia, 1994], pp. 18-19)
Now one of the reasons given for rejecting a specific hadith would be its contents (matn), whether it is acceptable or not. To help illustrate this, we will quote from one of the writings of Muslim polemicists Hesham Azmy & Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi (MENJ) since it presents a list of reasons for rejecting or accepting the contents of a particular narrative. The last one is pertinent to our discussion:
As far as the Matn is concerned, the following principles of criticism of the Hadith are laid down:
(1) The Hadith should not be contrary to the text or the teaching of the Qur'an or the accepted basic principles of Islam.
(2) The Hadith should not be against the dictates of reason or laws of nature and common experience.
(3) The Hadith should not be contrary to the Traditions which have already been accepted by authorities as reliable and authentic by applying all principles.
(4) The Hadith which sings the praises and excellence of any tribe, place or persons should be generally rejected
(5) The Hadith that contains the dates and minute details of the future events should be rejected.
(6) The Hadith that contains some remarks of the Prophet which are not in keeping with the Islamic belief of Prophethood and the position of the Holy Prophet or such expressions as may not be suitable to him, should be rejected.  'Abdur Rahman I. Doi, Introduction to the Hadith (A.S. Nordeen, 2001), p. 15 (Were She Monkeys Stoned?; source; bold emphasis ours)
The foregoing provides strong reasons to suspect that many hadiths were rejected on the basis that they contained negative statements about Muhammad. After all, it is not probable that every hadith was rejected due to a deficiency in the chain of transmission or because they were untrustworthy.
We therefore have ample reasons to believe that Muslims, both in the past and the present, have indeed suppressed certain evidence which reflect negatively on Muhammad and his followers.
Thus, when we do find narratives that reflect poorly on Muhammad this makes it all the more likely that these reports are based on fact.
Now as far as the Gospels and Pauline epistles are concerned, Zawadi is committing the fallacy of false analogy since he is clearly comparing apples with oranges. The Gospels and the epistles of Paul, unlike the hadith literature and Sira, are first century documents as even liberal critical scholars admit, making them contemporary accounts to the events they report. During this time there were still hundreds, if not thousands, of eyewitnesses around who could expose any lies and fabrications made by these writers. This fact alone gives us all the more reason to trust them as credible sources that report accurate history. For more on these points please consult the following articles:
Moving on In order to substantiate that God did confirm Muhammads prophetic ambitions Zawadi says that the ahadith are filled with numerous examples of Muhammad performing miracles! To see the problem with appealing to the hadith literature as evidence that Muhammad did do miracles we recommend the following articles:
Zawadi provides links to defend Muslims using deception to murder Kab ibn al-Ashraf on the grounds that this was a specific urgent situation that called for such action! Lord Jesus willing, we will be posting a response to the typical Muslim excuses that are often presented to justify this atrocious act. But for now the readers can read the following articles for the details regarding the murder of ibn al-Ashraf:
Zawadi justifies Muhammads oath breaking on the grounds that his circumstances changed!
The reason why the Prophet gave the oath in the first place was because he did not have the means of providing the individual with any means of conveyance. However, then the Prophet did have the means after the war booty came and therefore the whole situation changed and therefore gave the means of conveyance to the people. This was for the benefit of everyone.
In other words, Zawadi is arguing that the situation determines and justifies the type of ethics (or lack thereof!) that a person decides to use (or not to use). But this only further proves that Muhammad is not a true prophet in the line of the biblical prophets. The prophets of the Bible allow no excuse for breaking ones word and condemned anyone who would do so:
"Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: This is what the LORD commands: When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said." Numbers 30:1-2
"Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words. When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, My vow was a mistake. Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?" Ecclesiastes 5:2-6
Thus, Muhammad breaking his oaths due to changing circumstances is not a valid excuse as far as the God of the Holy Bible is concerned.
Moreover, here again is the particular hadith we quoted in order to put things in proper perspective:
We were in the company of Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari and there were friendly relations between us and this tribe of Jarm. Abu Musa was presented with a dish containing chicken. Among the people there was sitting a red-faced man who did not come near the food. Abu Musa said (to him), "Come on (and eat), for I have seen Allah's Apostle eating of it (i.e. chicken)." He said, "I have seen it eating something (dirty) and since then I have disliked it, and have taken an oath that I shall not eat it." Abu Musa said, "Come on, I will tell you (or narrate to you). Once I went to Allahs Apostle with a group of Al-Ash'ariyin, and met him while he was angry, distributing some camels of Rakat. We asked for mounts but he took an oath that he would not give us any mounts, and added, I have nothing to mount you on. In the meantime some camels of booty were brought to Allahs Apostle and he asked twice, Where are Al-Ash'ariyin?" So he gave us five white camels with big humps. We stayed for a short while (after we had covered a little distance), and then I said to my companions, Allahs Apostle has forgotten his oath. By Allah, if we do not remind Allahs Apostle of his oath, we will never be successful. So we returned to the Prophet and said, O Allah's Apostle! We asked you for mounts, but you took an oath that you would not give us any mounts; we think that you have forgotten your oath. He said, It is Allah Who has given you mounts. By Allah, and Allah willing, if I take an oath and later find something else better than that, then I do what is better and expiate my oath." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 67, Number 427)
This hadith does not say that Muhammad took an oath because he didnt have what they asked for, but because he was angry! The narration shows that Muhammad made a hasty and rash oath out of his anger and then went on to break his word! Notice also that Muhammad brashly and boldly asserts that he has absolutely no qualms about breaking his word in order to do something better!
Besides, Muhammad didnt have to take an oath since all he had to do was simply say to these Muslims that he didnt have any mounts to give them.
Zawadi further asserts that the hadiths where Muhammad permitted the breaking of oaths must be understood in light of other narrations which condemn any person who breaks his word! Here are some hadiths which condemn hypocrites for breaking their oaths:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "The signs of a hypocrite are three:
1. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.
2. Whenever he promises, he always breaks it (his promise).
3. If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest. (If you keep something as a trust with him, he will not return it.)" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 32)
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "The signs of a hypocrite are three: Whenever he speaks he tells a lie; whenever he is entrusted he proves dishonest; whenever he promises he breaks his promise." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 51, Number 12)
It is truly amazing that Zawadi thinks that by citing these narratives he is somehow justifying or defending Muhammads willful oath breaking. All these narrations prove is that Muhammad was inconsistent and didnt obey the commands he imposed on others. Thus, what Zawadi has basically done is to provide us with even more evidence that Muhammad was dishonest and failed to put his own teachings into practice, which wouldnt be the only time: http://answering-islam.org/Muhammad/Inconsistent/index.html
Now someone can say that Muhammad doesnt fall under the category of a true hypocrite since he didnt always break his promises, but only occasionally did so, whereas a hypocrite always breaks his word. Be that as it may, Muhammad still comes under the judgment of the Holy Bible for breaking jus one promise. He is without excuse.
Zawadi cites a commentary which says that a person can break any oath provided that s/he makes expiation and then concludes:
So the Hadith needs to be understood properly. This does not give anyone the write to break an agreement between himself and another person.
Also, notice that if someone does break his oath intentionally, he must expiate from it. Unlike, Christians if they did fall into this situation they could just go kiss the cross on their necklace and feel happy remembering that Jesus died for their sins.
Again, Zawadi only helps to establish our case against Muhammad being a true prophet. There would have been no need for expiation of any kind had Muhammad simply followed the counsel of the Holy Bible:
"If you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the LORD your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin. But if you refrain from vowing, you will not be guilty of sin. You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God what you have promised with your mouth." Deuteronomy 23:21-23
All Muhammad needed to do in order to avoid breaking his word, something that angers the true God, was to merely refrain from making any rash and hasty vows. But he couldnt help himself which proves that he is not a true prophet like Moses or Jesus.
And no, true believers do not kiss the cross to expiate for broken oaths, unlike Muhammad and his followers who kissed a black stone, a pagan practice he adopted and tried to pass off as part of Abrahams "religion":
Narrated 'Abis bin Rabia: 'Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said, "No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah's Apostle kissing you I would not have kissed you." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 667)
Narrated Salim that his father said: I saw Allah's Apostle arriving at Mecca; he kissed the Black Stone Corner first while doing Tawaf and did ramal in the first three rounds of the seven rounds (of Tawaf). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 673; see also Numbers 675-676 and 679-680)
Rather, true Christians take their risen Lord and Masters words very seriously and try to avoid failing to carry out their promises lest they sin against God:
"Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord. But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is Gods throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your Yes be Yes, and your No, No; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." Matthew 5:33-37
"Above all, my brothers, do not swearnot by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your Yes be yes, and your No, no, or you will be condemned." James 5:12
Zawadi tries to turn the tables by quoting verses which he thinks prove that Yahweh also deceives. The passages he mentions are: 1 Kings 22:20-22, Ezekiel 14:9-11, Isaiah 37:6-7, Jeremiah 4:10 and 2 Thessalonians 2:11. All of these passages have been thoroughly explained and addressed in the following articles:
Here is the one passage which we didnt address yet and would like to do so now:
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?
The New Testament acknowledges this act as so praiseworthy, that they were willing to praise a prostitute! So we see that the New Testament does acknowledge that deception at certain desperate times is something justifiable.
Let us highlight the part of the text that Zawadi obviously missed:
"In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did WHEN SHE GAVE LODGING to the spies AND SENT THEM OFF in a different direction?" James 2:25
James does not say that Rahab was righteous for lying, but for giving lodging to the spies and insuring their safety! This is repeated in the following text:
"By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, BECAUSE she had given A FRIENDLY welcome to the spies." Hebrews 11:31
It is true that Rahab lied in order to protect the spies and that God didnt condemn her for it. But as the above passages demonstrate, the reason that he didnt is not because he necessarily approved of her lying, but because he saw the intention behind her actions. Rahab had come to the conclusion that Yahweh is the only true God and that Israel was his people and was willing to jeopardize her own life to protect his covenant community:
"And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, Go, view the land, especially Jericho. And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. And it was told to the king of Jericho, Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land. Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land. But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them. But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out. Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father's house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death. And the men said to her, Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the LORD gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you. Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. And she said to them, Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way. The men said to her, We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father's household. Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear. And she said, According to your words, so be it. Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window." Joshua 2:1-21
In other words, she lied solely because she wanted to spare the lives of the two spies because of her fear of Yahweh. Yahweh honored her intent to save their lives, which was a clear demonstration of her faith in the God of Israel; he did not honor or bless her for using deception.
More importantly, unlike the examples of the Quran, the story of Rahab is descriptive, not prescriptive. In other words, the Holy Bible is not commanding believers to lie like Rahab, but is narrating a historical episode as an illustration of how Gentiles came to the conclusion that the God of Israel is the one and only true God.
The Quran, however, isnt merely reporting history but prescribing the use of lying and deception for Muslims in every age. Muhammad permitted and condoned lying for his community in every period, not just for his own time and circumstances. As such, this makes Islam very dangerous since a person can never know whether a Muslim is lying or not.
For more on the subject of Allah being a deceiver and liar we recommend the following articles:
Zawadi wants to strike a deal:
How about we make a compromise Shamoun? Why don't we all be open minded and understand each other's religion objectively besides[sic] being stubborn and nit picking at every little point?
I can say that I have tried to study Islam in order to understand it, and yet the more I study it the more I come to realize just how evil and false it is. I cant help but to see its wickedness when I examine it in light of the moral beauty and perfection of the Lord Jesus Christ:
"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." John 3:19-21
Besides, the Holy Bible commands me to expose such evils, not simply tolerate them:
"Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." Ephesians 5:11
Zawadi started his article with this silly accusation:
Sam Shamoun writes an article in which he just keeps rehashing the same arguments that are there in his website. He only does it in a different perspective in order to show that he is presenting something new to the readers, while he really isn't. Well, as they say "you got to pay the rent somehow".
First, my original article did not contain any claim that its contents are new. What false claim or pretense has Zawadi exposed here? None. He only created a straw man in order to knock it down triumphantly.
Second, even if nothing in this article had been new, so what? Truth is not dependent on being new. The question is not whether the material presented is new or old, but if it is true and well-documented. Zawadis objection is simply irrelevant.
Third, if it had been so old that it already got refuted over and over again by the Muslims, Zawadi would merely have had to collect the links to those old refutations and be done. The very fact that he had to write a long response to my article shows that he and his colleagues had not dealt with it before, or because the material had not been presented in this manner.
Note that Zawadi does not provide the links to those articles in which the arguments are found which this article is allegedly merely rehashing. He makes a harsh accusation, but he doesnt back it up with any evidence.
Zawadi may ask himself how much material in his articles is genuinely new, and how much of it is a rehash of old Muslim polemics (whether by other Muslims or from his earlier articles). How confident is Zawadi that he will not come out of such a review of his writings as being condemned by his own words and looking like a hypocrite?
Finally, the credibility of Muhammad is certainly discussed in many articles, but this paper had a very specific topic, i.e. the question of how his enemies looked at him. There is no need to justify my choice of topic for this article, but to reassure Zawadi, I know that I had never before written a comprehensive article on just this topic, although the issue may have been touched upon here and there. There are way too many issues that need addressing that I have no time or motivation to write the same thing over and over again.
When topics come up that have been dealt with before in a comprehensive way, we usually just recommend links to these articles, instead of repeating ourselves, just as we have done several times in the above given link lists.
Acknowledgement: I want to thank Jochen Katz for a number of ideas and formulations which have strengthened this response.
(1) It seems that Abu Sufyan had good reasons to question whether Muhammad would prove faithful to this treaty since it didnt take long for the latter to break the terms of the agreement. The Muslim sources claim that the treaty contained the following stipulations:
So the Messenger of God said, "Write: This is that whereon Muhammad b. Abdallah has made peace with Suhayl b. Amr. The two have agreed on these terms: that warfare shall be laid aside by the people for ten years, during which the people shall be safe and refrain from [attacking] each other; that, WHOEVER shall come to the Messenger of God from Quraysh WITHOUT THE PERMISSION of his guardian, [Muhammad] shall return him to them; that WHOEVER shall come to Quraysh from those who are with the Messenger of God, they shall not return him to [Muhammad] " (The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany, 1997], Volume VIII, p. 86; capital emphasis ours)
Muhammad agreed to return any Meccan who had defected to the Muslim camp, an agreement that he did not stick to as even admitted by Muslim sources. Al-Tabari mentions a woman who escaped to the Muslim camp and whose brothers came to take her back. Muhammad refused to return her to them in clear violation of the peace treaty:
Ibn Ishaq added in his account: Umm Kulthum bt. Uqbah b. Abi Muayt emigrated to the Messenger of God during that period. Her brothers, Umarah and al-Walid b. Uqbah, went to the Messenger of God to ask him to return her to them ACCORDING TO THE TREATY BETWEEN HIM AND QURAYSH AT AL-HUDAYBIYAH, BUT HE DID NOT DO SO: GOD HAD REJECTED IT. (Ibid., p. 92; capital emphasis ours)
Ibn Kathir provides further corroboration:
After Al-Hudaybiyyah, Emigrant Muslim Women may not be returned to the Disbelievers
In Surat Al-Fath, we related the story of the treaty at Al-Hudaybiyyah that was conducted between the Messenger of Allah and the disbelievers of Quraysh. In that treaty, there were these words, "Everyman (in another narration, EVERY PERSON) who reverts from our side to your side, should be returned to us, even if he is a follower of your religion." This was said by `Urwah, Ad-Dahhak, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd, Az-Zuhri, Muqatil bin Hayyan and As-Suddi.
So according to this narration, this Ayah specifies and explains the Sunnah. And this is the best case of understanding. Yet according to another view of some of the Salaf, it abrogates it.
Allah the Exalted and Most High ordered His faithful servants to test the faith of women who emigrate to them. When they are sure that they are faithful, they should not send them back to the disbelievers, for the disbelievers are not allowed for them and they are not allowed for the disbelievers. In the biography of `Abdullah bin Abi Ahmad bin Jahsh in Al-Musnad Al-Kabir, we also mentioned that `Abdullah bin Abi Ahmad said, "Umm Kulthum bint `Uqbah bin Abi Mu`ayt emigrated and her brothers, `Umarah and Al-Walid, went after her. They came to Allah's Messenger and talked to him about Umm Kulthum and asked that she be returned to them. ALLAH ABOLISHED THE PART OF THE TREATY BETWEEN THE PROPHET AND THE IDOLATORS ABOUT THE WOMEN PARTICULARLY. So He forbade returning Muslim women to the idolators and revealed the Ayah about testing them"
<Likewise do not keep disbelieving women,>
Then `Umar bin Al-Khattab divorced two of his wives, who were idolatresses, and one of them got married to Mu`awiyah bin Abi Sufyan, while the other got married to Safwan bin Umayyah.
Ibn Thawr narrated that Ma`mar said that Az-Zuhri said, "This Ayah was revealed to Allah's Messenger while he was in the area of Al-Hudaybiyyah, after making peace. He agreed that WHOEVER COMES from the Quraysh to his side, WILL BE RETURNED TO MAKKAH. When some women came, this Ayah was revealed. Allah commanded that the dowery that was paid to these women be returned to their husbands. Allah also ordered that if some Muslim women revert to the side of the idolators, the idolators should return their dowery to their Muslim husbands ... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 9 (Surat Al-Jathiyah to the end of Surat Al-Munafiqun), pp. 599-600, 602: ; capital and underline emphasis ours)
No wonder Abu Sufyan had doubts whether Muhammad would remain faithful to his word!
For more on the treaty of Hudaibiya we recommend the following articles:
(2) It is rather intriguing that Zawadi would deny that this particular hadith establishes that the unbelievers affirmed Muhammads impeccable character even after his prophetic career when this happens to be one of the very narratives that Muslims use to prove this very point! For instance, one particular Muslim used this report to document the fact that Muhammad never committed any heinous sins:
In this hadith it can easily be noted that no one had accused the prophet of lying or breaking a promise. How can a man who was NEVER accused of lying and was nick named by Alamin (the trustworthy) be accused of committing major sins? (Omar Alhabeshi, Were Jesus or Mohammed sinless? A Detailed Refutation to a Christian Polemic; source)
Apparently, he didnt realize that this narrative fails to establish his case since, according to Zawadi, this is only referring to the period before Muhammads prophethood!
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