Muhammad's Just In Time Revelations

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This article discusses Allah's revelations to Prophet Muhammad and their more-than-convenient timing.

Introduction[edit]

Muhammad seemed to have quite a penchant for receiving revelations from Allah just-in-time to absolve him of misconduct. It seems quite astounding that an eternally existing heavenly scripture would contain revelation that applies only to one individual who lived in 7th century Arabia. Nevertheless, this is exactly what we find.

The following are but a few examples of the prophet of Allah being rescued rather conveniently from one predicament or another by divine revelation.

The Revelations[edit]

Multiple Wives[edit]

Allah revealed to Muhammad that Muslim men are permitted to marry up to four women.

"And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan-girls, then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (the captives and the slaves) that your right hands possess."

However, it seemed Muhammad had a special place in his heart for women and was not satisfied with a mere four. So Allah set an exception for him alone:

"O Prophet (Muhammad)! Verily, We have made lawful to you your wives, to whom you have paid their Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), and those (captives or slaves) whom your right hand possesses -- whom God has given to you, and the daughters of your 'Amm (paternal uncles) and the daughters of your 'Ammah (paternal aunts) and the daughters of your Khâl (maternal uncles) and the daughters of your Khâlah (maternal aunts) who migrated (from Makkah) with you, and a believing woman if she offers herself to the Prophet, and the Prophet wishes to marry her; a privilege for you only, not for the (rest of) the believers."

And although Allah allowed men to marry up to four wives, Muhammad allowed only one wife for his son-in-law Ali who was married to Muhammad's daughter Fatima. When Ali desired to take a second wife, Muhammad insisted he first divorce Fatima before taking a new wife.

Narrated Al-Miswar bin Makhrama:
I heard Allah's Apostle who was on the pulpit, saying, "Banu Hisham bin Al-Mughira have requested me to allow them to marry their daughter to Ali bin Abu Talib, but I don't give permission, and will not give permission unless 'Ali bin Abi Talib divorces my daughter in order to marry their daughter, because Fatima is a part of my body, and I hate what she hates to see, and what hurts her, hurts me."

Muhammad carved special exceptions to marriage for himself by divine revelation, and forbid for his son-in-law Ali something permitted all other Muslim men per Allah's revelation in the Qur'an.

Treating Wives Equally Well[edit]

In the same verse noted above Qur'an 4:3 is an injunction to treat all wives equally... " but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one...".

Muhammad initially gave each of his multiple wives equal attention and time with him, visiting a different wife each night. As time progressed however, he developed favorite wives who garnered more attention and affection than others. This created a great deal of tension among the ladies, and jealousy and rage ensued. But fear not; Muhammad received another revelation absolving him from the earlier admonition to treat all wives as equals and deal with them justly, and allowed him to select his favorite wives according to his desire alone:

"You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive whom you will. And whomsoever you desire of those whom you have set aside (her turn temporarily), it is no sin on you (to receive her again), that is better; that they may be comforted and not grieved, and may all be pleased with what you give them. God knows what is in your hearts. And God is Ever All-Knowing, Most Forbearing."

Aisha, the favorite wife of Muhammad, was very discerning of his just-in-time revelations. After Muhammad received the verse above, Aisha commented, "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires."[1]

Marriage to Zaynab bint Jahsh[edit]

Zaynab was initially married to Zaid ibn Haritha, Muhammad's adopted son. One day Muhammad paid a visit to Zaid's house to consult with him about a matter, but he was not home. Not expecting Muhammad to be at the door, Zaynab answered the door instead, dressed in a revealing garment, and Muhammad immediately developed a carnal desire for her. When Zaid learned of the prophet's infatuation, he divorced Zaynab so Muhammad could marry her. This turned into quite a scandal among the Arabs, who equated Muhammad's actions with incest, since he married his daughter-in-law. Soon thereafter, Muhammad received another convenient revelation:

And (remember) when you said to him (Zaid bin Hârithah; the freed-slave of the Prophet ) on whom God has bestowed Grace (by guiding him to Islâm) and you (O Muhammad too) have done favour (by manumitting him) "Keep your wife to yourself, and fear God." But you did hide in yourself (i.e. what God has already made known to you that He will give her to you in marriage) that which God will make manifest, you did fear the people (i.e., Muhammad married the divorced wife of his manumitted slave) whereas God had a better right that you should fear Him. So when Zaid had accomplished his desire from her (i.e. divorced her), We gave her to you in marriage, so that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of (the marriage of) the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them (i.e. they have divorced them). And God's Command must be fulfilled.

Muhammad and Mary the Copt[edit]

As stated above, Muhammad used to take turns among his wives, visiting a different one each night. One night during the time allotted for Hafsa, she had to take care of an urgent need with another family member and so was not at home. Muhammad instead had intimate relations with Mary, a Coptic slave that had been given to him. Muhammad was not married to Mary the Copt.

When Hafsah found this out and questioned him, he promised (on oath) not to touch Mary again if she would keep this a secret, and promised that Umar and Abu Bakr should be his successors. Hafsah, however, did not keep quiet and told Aysha about this event. As a result Muhammad had no dealings with any of his wives for a full month, living with Mary alone.[2] Aisha and Hafsa conspired with the rest of the prophet's wives against Muhammad and isolated him from physical relations.

To justify his actions with Mary, Muhammad then conveniently received a revelation:

"O Prophet! Why do you ban (for yourself) that which God has made lawful to you.."

And to add insult to injury, Allah then chastised Aisha and Hafsa for condemning Muhammad for having sex with Mary the slave girl:

And (remember) when the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives (Hafsah), so when she told it (to another i.e. 'Aishah), and God made it known to him, he informed part thereof and left a part. Then when he told her (Hafsah) thereof, she said: "Who told you this?" He said: "The All-Knower, the All-Aware (God) has told me". If you two (wives of the Prophet , namely 'Aishah and Hafsah) turn in repentance to God, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes), but if you help one another against him (Muhammad), then verily, God is his Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.), and Jibrael (Gabriel), and the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, the angels are his helpers. It may be if he divorced you (all) that his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you, Muslims (who submit to God), believers, obedient to God, turning to God in repentance, worshipping God sincerely, fasting or emigrants (for God's sake), previously married and virgins."

Again we find in a book that has always and eternally existed from before the beginning of time verses that pertain only to a select few individuals who lived in one specific time and place, and seem to absolve Muhammad of any and all wrongdoing.

The Satanic Verses[edit]

Pre-Islamic Mecca was a hotbed of paganism and polytheism. It is said 360 idols surrounded the Ka'aba and were worshiped as gods. Thus, when Muhammad first began preaching monotheism and denouncing the other 359 gods, he was met with much resistance and hostility.

In an attempt to appease the Meccans, buy some time and bring relief to his followers from hostility, Muhammad one night had a revelation found in Surah 53:19-22 which originally read, "Have you thought of al-Lat and al-Uzza and Manat the third, the other; these are the exalted Gharaniq whose intercession is approved." [3] Al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat were three female deities, known as daughters of Allah. By this revelation Muhammad acknowledged these deities as worthy of worship and whose intercession in heaven was to be sought. Acknowledging these deities had the desired effect. Later, the angel Gabriel chastised Muhammad for uttering these verses and informed him that Satan, not Allah, had put these words in Muhammad's mouth. Thus, these verses are known as the Satanic Verses.

Muhammad then conveniently received another just-in-time revelation to relieve him of any wrongdoing:

"Never did We send an apostle or a prophet before thee, but, when he framed a desire, Satan threw some (vanity) into his desire: but God will cancel anything (vain) that Satan throws in, and God will confirm (and establish) His Signs: for God is full of Knowledge and Wisdom."

In other words, all prophets before you, Muhammad, have done the same thing, so don't feel so bad. God will correct all anything Satan causes you to say. The problem with this revelation is it has no basis in fact and is concocted from thin air. Neither in the Bible nor in ancient Jewish literature is there anything to suggest previous prophets also fell victim to Satan's trickery and gave revelation from him they thought was from God.

On the contrary, when we examine Christian and Jewish scripture, the only other scripture recognized by the Qur'an as containing the words of other prophets, we see the exact opposite of what Muhammad claimed.

'But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.

Muhammad not only spoke words in the name of God which had not been given to him (Satan threw some vanity into his desire), but Muhammad also spoke in the name of other gods (Have you considered al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat). Therefore according to prophet Moses, Muhammad must die.

Yet Muhammad got himself off the hook again with a very convenient revelation.

Violation of the Sacred Months[edit]

Four months of the year were considered sacred to early Arabs. During these months no warfare was allowed and bloodshed was completely forbidden. The months which the Arabs held sacred were al Mu'harram, Rajab, Dhu'l Qaada, and Dhu'l Hajja; the first, the seventh, the eleventh, and the twelfth in the year. Muhammad adopted this custom of the Arabs and codified it in the Quran: Qur'an 2:194 and Qur'an 5:97.

In one of the earliest raids on a trade caravan by warriors dispatched by Muhammad, we find yet another example of a convenient revelation regarding the sacred months. Muhammad's men spotted the caravan passing by on the last day of a sacred month. According to ibn Ishaq:

"The raiders took council among themselves, for this was the last day of Rajab, and they said, 'If you leave them alone tonight they will get into the sacred area and will be safe from you and if you kill them, you will kill them in the sacred month' so they were hesitant and feared to attack them." [4]

In the end they decided to attack the caravan and capture its goods, thereby violating the prohibitions against warfare in the sacred month. When Muhammad learned of it, he at first admonished them for violating the sacred month, but then received a new revelation:

"They ask you concerning fighting in the Sacred Months (i.e. 1st, 7th, 11th and 12th months of the Islâmic calendar). Say, "Fighting therein is a great (transgression) but a greater (transgression) with God is to prevent mankind from following the Way of God, to disbelieve in Him, to prevent access to Al-Masjid-al-Harâm (at Makkah), and to drive out its inhabitants, and Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. And they will never cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion (Islâmic Monotheism) if they can. And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever."

In other words, fighting in the sacred months, though forbidden, is not as great a transgression as refusing to follow Allah and disbelieve in him. Since the caravan drivers were from Mecca and did not accept Allah, attacking them during the sacred month was justified.

Convenient.

Battle of the Trench[edit]

When preparing for the Battle of the Trench, Muhammad ordered his followers to dig a large trench around the perimeter of Medina, to hold off the expected army of Meccans intent on killing Muhammad. Many of Muhammad's men put less than full effort into the task, and some even left without Muhammad's permission. At the same time, another Muslim needed temporary leave to attend to an urgent matter. He asked Muhammad's permission, was granted permission, and returned to trench digging as soon as he could.

Muhammad became upset and angry at those who left the task without asking his permission. In an act of theologically sanctioned dictatorship, Muhammad received another revelation:

"Only those are believers, who believe in God and His Messenger. when they are with him on a matter requiring collective action, they do not depart until they have asked for his leave; those who ask for thy leave are those who believe in God and His Messenger. so when they ask for thy leave, for some business of theirs, give leave to those of them whom thou wilt, and ask God for their forgiveness: for God is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful."

Translation: those who are true believers in Allah ask Muhammad's permission to leave; those who do not believe in Allah and are among the disbelievers do not ask permission. To further emphasize the point, ibn Ishaq records the following words from Allah:

"Do not treat the call of the apostle among you as if it were one of you calling upon another. God knows those of you who steal away to hide themselves. Let those who conspire to disobey his order beware lest trouble or a painful punishment befall them."[5]

Muhammad and Genetics[edit]

Narrated Anas:
'Abdullah bin Salam heard the news of the arrival of Allah's Apostle (at Medina) while he was on a farm collecting its fruits. So he came to the Prophet and said, "I will ask you about three things which nobody knows unless he be a prophet. Firstly, what is the first portent of the Hour? What is the first meal of the people of Paradise? And what makes a baby look like its father or mother?. The Prophet said, "Just now Gabriel has informed me about that." ... "As for the first portent of the Hour, it will be a fire that will collect the people from the East to West. And as for the first meal of the people of Paradise, it will be the caudite (i.e. extra) lobe of the fish liver. And if a man's discharge proceeded that of the woman, then the child resembles the father, and if the woman's discharge proceeded that of the man, then the child resembles the mother." On hearing that, 'Abdullah said, "I testify that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that you are the Apostle of Allah...

Observe the hadith above. Abdullah bin Salam wanted to determine if Muhammad was a legitimate prophet and so posed three questions that he assumed only a prophet would be able to answer correctly:

  1. What is the first portent of the Hour?
  2. What is the first meal of the people of Paradise?
  3. Why does a child look like its father or mother?

Muhammad could not let the questions go unanswered, else he risked the ability to claim to be a prophet of God. So once again he received a very convenient revelation - Just now Gabriel has informed me of that. Let's examine the answers Gabriel provided to Muhammad:

  • The first portent of the hour is an all-consuming fire from east to west. Was Muhammad (Allah) right or wrong? We have no way of knowing because The Hour is not yet upon us.
  • The first meal in paradise is extra fish liver. Once again, is this answer by Muhammad (Allah) right or wrong? Once again, we have no way of knowing because nobody has ever returned from Paradise to inform us.
  • A child looks like whichever parent achieves orgasm first during sexual intercourse. On this Muhammad (Allah) was clearly wrong. Did Allah not know genetics well enough to provide Muhammad a correct response? Yet Abdullah bin Salam confirmed Muhammad as a prophet, simply because he said something rather than nothing.

Muhammad Corrects Allah[edit]

Narrated Al-Bara:

There was revealed: 'Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and those who strive and fight in the Cause of Allah.' (4.95)

The Prophet said, "Call Zaid for me and let him bring the board, the inkpot and the scapula bone (or the scapula bone and the ink pot)."' Then he said, "Write: 'Not equal are those Believers who sit..", and at that time 'Amr bin Um Maktum, the blind man was sitting behind the Prophet . He said, "O Allah's Apostle! What is your order For me (as regards the above Verse) as I am a blind man?" So, instead of the above Verse, the following Verse was revealed:

'Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame etc.) and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah.' (4.95)

Note the sequence of events in the above hadith:

  1. Muhammad receives a revelation, which is part of Sura 4:95 as it exists today.
  2. Muhammad calls Zaid to write down the revelation and begins to recite it to Zaid: All who fail to participate in jihad are viewed as inferior to those who do participate.
  3. A blind man asks how the verse applies to him, since he is blind and cannot participate in jihad.
  4. Muhammad then conveniently receives a new revelation that adds an exception to jihad for the blind and disabled.

It seems that Allah either forgot to make an exception for blind and disabled men from participating in jihad, or else he just didn't understand they were incapable of jihad. Either way, Muhammad had to rescue Allah from an embarrassing situation. Nice gesture.

Conclusion[edit]

After examining these few examples, of which there are more, one must conclude that Muhammad's revelations were not divinely inspired or sent down at all by Allah but were used instead as a convenient way of exonerating himself from misdeeds, immoral actions, or other embarrassing moments. Muhammad alone was given special privileges accorded nobody else, and always in line with his expressed personal desires.

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Sahih Bukhari 6:60:311
  2. Gerhard Nehls & Walter Eric - The Challenge of Islam/ Chapter II - English Press Limited Nairobi, New Revised Edition 1996, ISBN 9966 895 16 7
  3. ibn Ishaq, p. 165-166; see also History of al-Tabari , vol VI: Muhammad at Mecca, p. 108-109
  4. ibn Ishaq, p. 287
  5. ibn Ishaq, p. 451