As in many religions, Muhammad was greatly revered by his followers, many of whom wanted to live their life as he did. While he was living, people noted and remembered what he did, and said. These stories and reports are called the Hadith, and in most cases, the stories have been true and are believed by most Muslims. Some of them have been incorporated into Islamic laws (Shariah), such as the cutting of hands, stoning to death, half-inheritance and testimonial rights of women, violation of women’s rights such as compulsory veiling, a ban on driving, a requirement of 4 witnesses in the event of a woman being raped, etc. More and more Muslims are growing away from these teachings, and here are some reasons why:
“Whoever changes his religion, kill him.” (Bukhari, Hakim, Ibn Abi Shaybah, Tabarini)
Bukhari 52:177 Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”
Bukhari 52:220 Allah’s Apostle said..”I have been made victorious with terror.”
Bukhari 8:387 Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’
Tabari 7:97 The morning after the murder of Ashraf, the Prophet declared, “Kill any Jew who falls under your power.” Ashraf was a poet, killed by Muhammad’s men because he insulted Islam. Here, Muhammad widens the scope of his orders to kill. An innocent Jewish businessman was then slain by his Muslim partner, merely for being non-Muslim.
Tabari 9:69 “Killing unbelievers is a small matter to us.” The words of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.
Ibn Ishaq 3:27 “Allah said, ‘A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. Muhammad, you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom the captives would bring. But Allah desires killing them to manifest the religion.”
Ibn Ishaq 990 Lest anyone think that cutting off someone’s head while screaming ‘Allah Akbar’ is a modern custom, here is an account of that very practice under Muhammad, who seems to approve.
Ibn Ishaq 992 “Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah.” ~Muhammad’s instructions to his men prior to a military raid.
Abu Dawud 14:2526 The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Three things are the roots of faith: to refrain from (killing) a person who utters, “There is no god but Allah” and not to declare him unbeliever whatever sin he commits, and not to excommunicate him from Islam for his any action; and jihad will be performed continuously since the day Allah sent me as a prophet until the day the last member of my community will fight with the Dajjal (Antichrist).
Abu Dawud 14:2527 The Prophet said: Striving in the path of Allah (jihad) is incumbent on you along with every ruler, whether he is pious or impious.
Muslim 1:33 The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
Muslim 1:149 “Abu Dharr reported: I said: Messenger of Allah, which of the deeds is the best? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Belief in Allah and jihad in His cause..”
Muslim 20:4645 “…He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said: there is another act which elevates the position of a man in Paradise to a grade one hundred (higher), and the elevation between one grade and the other is equal to the height of the heaven from the earth. He (Abu Sa’id) said: What is that act? He replied: Jihad in the way of Allah! Jihad in the way of Allah!”
Muslim 20:4696 “the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: ‘One who died but did not fight in the way of Allah nor did he express any desire (or determination) for Jihad died the death of a hypocrite.'”
Muslim 19:4321-4323 Three separate hadith in which Muhammad shrugs over the news that innocent children were killed in a raid by his men against unbelievers. His response: “They are of them (meaning the enemy).”
Muhammad was a military leader, laying siege to towns, massacring the men, raping their women, enslaving their children, and taking what was once the property of others for his own use and pleasure. On several occasions he rejected offers of surrender from besieged inhabitants and killed those whom he could take prisoner. He inspired his followers to battle even when they did not feel it was right to fight, promising them slaves and booty if they did and threatening them with Hell if they did not. Muhammad allowed his men to rape traumatized women captured in battle. It is important to emphasize that Muslim armies waged aggressive campaigns, and it was Muhammad’s companions who made the most dramatic military gains in the decades following his death. The principle set in motion early on was that the civilian population of a town was to be destroyed (i.e. men executed, women and children taken as slaves) if they defended themselves. Although modern Muslim apologists often claim that Islam only attacked in self-defense, this is not only an oxymoron, but it is flatly contradicted by the accounts of Muslim historians and others going back to the time of Muhammad.
Muhammad’s failure to leave a clear line of succession resulted in perpetual internal war following his death. Those who knew him best first fought to keep remote tribes from leaving Islam and reverting to their preferred religion (the Ridda or ‘Apostasy Wars’). Within the closer community, early Meccan converts battled later ones. Hostility developed between those immigrants who had traveled with Muhammad to Mecca and the Ansar at Medina who had helped them settle in. Finally there was a violent struggle within Muhammad’s own family between his favorite wife and his favorite daughter-a jagged division that has left Shias and Sunnis at each others’ throats to this day. The modern Arab world has so many tribes, and so much infighting, that often they don’t even know what they’re fighting about. A good example is Gaza. Hamas has been dominant in that region for some time, but now another jihadist group has assassinated a man in Gaza for the release of another man. It just doesn’t make sense. If everyone simply wants peace, and freedom, as most say, why are they working against one another creating more unrest instead of working with one another towards peace? Perhaps it is not so simple.
It is often said that Islam is a Religion of Peace, but if every standard by which the West is judged and condemned (slavery, imperialism, intolerance, women’s rights, sexuality, warfare…) were applied equally to Islam, the verdict would be absolutely devastating. Islam never gives up what it conquers, be it religion, culture, language, or life, nor does it make apologies or any real effort at moral progress. It is the least open to dialogue and the most self-absorbed. It is convinced of its own perfection, yet brutally shuns self-examination and represses criticism. This is what makes the violent verses in the Quran so dangerous~they are given the weight of divine command. While Muslim terrorists take them as literally as anything else in the Quran, and understand that Islam is incomplete without Jihad, moderates offer little to contradict them, outside of opinion. Speaking of peace and love may be one thing, but when every 12th verse of Islam’s holiest book either speaks to Allah’s hatred for non-Muslims or calls for their death, forced conversion, or subjugation, it’s little wonder that sympathy for terrorism runs as deeply as it does in the broader community, even if most Muslims personally prefer not to interpret their religion in this way. It is hard for non-Muslims to understand how Islam is said to be a Religion of Peace when the facts speak for themselves. It is time for moderate Muslim voices to be heard. Let us denounce radical terrorism before it literally takes us over. Let us expose the agencies here in America, and elsewhere, who fund terrorism. Let us show that we are greater than they, that we are more than they, and that ultimately, good wins over evil. Let our voices be heard, for we are many, and they are few.