Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"

"Source of the Qur'an II - Impossibility of Muhammad's Authorship"


Dr. Badawi attempts to convince us that Muhammad did not write the Qur'an because he gained no material benefits from his claim to Prophethood. When we look at Muhammad's history, we find that he was interested in both wealth and power and committed unspeakable acts to obtain both.

Host: You said that Muhammad was not the author of the Qur'an as many Orientalists claim, how do you support this?

Jamal Badawi: Usually a person is challenged to prove that they did do something. It is unusual to ask someone to prove that they did not do it. That is proof.

That is not proof at all! How could Muhammad prove that it was from God? It is relatively easy to prove that the Qur'an is not from God, and this will be done throughout this series.

Host: What about those who claim that Muhammad credited the Qur'an to God for his own benefit?

Jamal Badawi: Let's analyze that. What personal benefit would Muhammad receive by doing this? People benefit when they claim something, not when they disclaim something and Muhammad was a disclaimer, what did he gain?

The Qur'an gave Muhammad apparent divine authority to have what he wanted, and to get him out of trouble when necessary. We will discuss the details in a moment.

Host: Suppose those who say that by attributing the Qur'an to God, Muhammad gained even more?

Jamal Badawi: To make this assumption, we must assume that Muhammad did not tell the truth. This is inconsistent with what we know of the Prophet and his life. Did his wealth or material life improve after Prophethood? Before he was a Prophet, 15 years before his mission, he married a rich woman named Khadijah and was well liked and was living in comfort. Compare this with what happened when he was a Prophet, we find that he was worse off and had to go through hunger. What did he gain?

The fact of the matter is that Muhammad was often not honest. For example, Bukhari tells us:

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:

Allah's Apostle said, "Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?" Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, "O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?" The Prophet said, "Yes," Muhammad bin Maslama said, "Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab). "The Prophet said, "You may say it." .......

So, Muhammad tells his followers that they must not only lie, but they must kill a man who has "who has hurt Allah and His Apostle"! How can a man hurt Almighty God? Muhammad clearly condoned dishonesty as well as murder when it suited his purposes.

Host: Could you give some documentation?

Jamal Badawi: Aiasha narrated a saying in Muslim and Bukhari which said that months would go by when no fire was lit, they survived on water and dried dates. Some of the neighbors sent goat and camel milk. This was not temporary, after his victory, the same simple life continued Sura 33:28-on talks about the household of Muhammad having complaints about their poverty. Hafsa was asked about his bedding and she said that it was a piece of canvass. One night he made it four fold to be more comfortable and he said keep it as it is because the comfort may stand in his way of doing his late night prayer. One time one of his companions entered his room and he cried seeing the Prophet sleeping on a mat that left marks on his body and asked him to pray for God to make life easier. Muhammad told him that the comfort in the hereafter is better. Another companion said that he saw Muhammad teach all day and he could not find enough bad dates to fill his stomach. Another said he never had a full stomach for three consecutive days before he died. What benefit did he get?

Times were difficult for Muhammad and his followers in Mecca, however, to say that Muhammad did not care about wealth is simply not true. Let us look at the history of Muhammad's rise to prominence.

Muhammad's first violent act took place when he and his men attacked four unarmed merchants who were traveling to Mecca to sell their goods in the year 623 A.D.. Two major issues arise from this attack:

1. Muhammad attacked, robbed, and killed two of these unarmed men by stabbing them in the back. These men were from Muhammad's own tribe, and this attack took place during the holy month of Rejeb, a time when all forms of warfare is forbidden. Muhammad claimed to have received a "revelation" which eased his guilt and the guilt of his men:

Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not. They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: "Fighting therein is a grave (offence); but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members." Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can. And if any of you Turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be companions of the Fire and will abide therein. (Sura 2:216-217)

2. Muhammad and his followers proceeded to steal all of the merchant's goods and Muhammad received one fifth, according to the instructions that he received through, yet another, "revelation":

And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire (in war), a fifth share is assigned to Allah,- and to the Messenger, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer,- if ye do believe in Allah and in the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the Day of Testing,- the Day of the meeting of the two forces. For Allah hath power over all things. (Sura 8:41)

Later that year, Muhammad and 300 followers attacked another caravan and the Battle of Badr was fought. The goods taken by Muhammad and his men were estimated to be worth 50,000 Gold Dinars! The surviving Meccans were exchanged for ransom. Those who did not fetch a good ransom were killed. Muhammad, once again, needed a "revelation" to excuse his barbaric behavior and he got it:

It is not fitting for a prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he hath thoroughly subdued the land. Ye look for the temporal goods of this world; but Allah looketh to the Hereafter: And Allah is Exalted in might, Wise. Had it not been for a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe penalty would have reached you for the (ransom) that ye took. But (now) enjoy what ye took in war, lawful and good: but fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (Sura 8: 67-69)

So Dr. Badawi, can we honestly say that wealth was not a factor?

Host: What about his assets at the time of his death compared to his younger days?

Jamal Badawi: Khadijah was rich and he was an honest employee. They were in love and her wealth was his wealth. After she died, when he was 50, her wealth became his. What did he have at his death? Bukhari and Muslim say that when he died, his shield was held as collateral by a Jew in Medina for money borrowed. Aishah said that there was nothing in his house to eat when he died. The Prophet did not leave anything behind, except his light and his sword. There was a piece of land reserved by the Prophet to support the orphans and poor, his household. He said that Prophets are not to leave material possessions, it must be spent as a charity. What benefit did he gain?

My question is: where did all of the money plundered from the caravans go? The Qur'an also tells believers to give money to Muhammad:

Of their goods, take alms, that so thou mightest purify and sanctify them; and pray on their behalf. Verily thy prayers are a source of security for them: And Allah is One Who heareth and knoweth.(Sura 9:103)

O ye who believe! When ye consult the Messenger in private, spend something in charity before your private consultation. That will be best for you, and most conducive to purity (of conduct). But if ye find not (the wherewithal), Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.(Sura 58:12)

Apparently, Muhammad was not a good steward of the wealth. Also, how can Muhammad purify and sanctify anything? I thought that only God could do that.

Host: Some may say that he did not benefit materially but he could have benefited in other ways such as leadership?

Jamal Badawi: Muhammad is regarded as a great leader. With these talents he could have been a success without claiming Prophethood, it would have been easier not to claim Prophethood to gain power. The Qur'an challenges the eloquent of that day to write something like the Qur'an. What about his character, was he egotistic? You cannot support the pursuit for power without the incentive of material benefits, you need big palaces, nice meals, clothing to have power. He sat on the ground and mixed with the poor and needy. He did not like it when people stood up to recognize him. Some girls said that the Prophet knows the future and he told them not to say that. He consulted with his companions to make decisions. The Qur'an says that a leader must not aspire to leadership.

Was Muhammad egotistical. Dr. Badawi tells us in another segment "....Muhammad hoped on the Day of Judgement to have the largest group of followers." Perhaps Muhammad did not want to flaunt his wealth for a variety of reasons, religious, his superstition concerning the "evil eye", or political, however, he did commit heinous acts to enrich himself. For example, after Muhammad and his men capture Khybar, Muhammad ordered his men to torture the Jewish chief of this settlement who was named Kihouna so that he would tell where the community treasure was buried. Ibn Hisham's, "Sirat Rasulallah" gives us the details:

Kinana b. al-Rabi`, who had the custody of the treasure of B. al-Nadir, was brought to the apostle who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came (or was brought) to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, "Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?" he said "Yes". The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr b. `Al-Awwam, "Torture him until you extract what he has," so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.

Incidentally, after Kinana died, Muhammad married his 17 year old widow, Safiya, the very same day!

Host: Is there any evidence in the Qur'an saying that Muhammad did not aspire to be a leader?

Jamal Badawi: There are several. Sura 28:86:

And thou hadst not expected that the Book would be sent to thee except as a Mercy from thy Lord: Therefore lend not thou support in any way to those who reject (Allah's Message).

Sura 6:50:

Say: "I tell you not that with me are the treasures of Allah, nor do I know what is hidden, nor do I tell you I am an angel. I but follow what is revealed to me." Say: "can the blind be held equal to the seeing?" Will ye then consider not?

Sura 7:188:

Say: "I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah willeth. If I had knowledge of the unseen, I should have multiplied all good, and no evil should have touched me: I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings to those who have faith."

The Qur'an indicates that he did not know the future except what Allah revealed. Sura 56:9

And the Companions of the Left Hand,- what will be the Companions of the Left Hand?

Sura 18:110:

Say: "I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me, that your Allah is one Allah: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.

People were not to make his grave a place of worship, he did not want worship like Jesus received.

Once again, Dr. Badawi is trying to prove the Qur'an by relying exclusively on the testimony of the Qur'an. Many of the stories of Muhammad's poverty are from Ahadith written more than two centuries after Muhammad and many of these traditions are not supported by the historical facts of Muhammad's life. As we will see throughout this series, Muhammad conveniently receive revelations which allowed him to have his way with money (Sura 58:12), women (Sura 66:3-5), and power (Sura 5:33).

Andrew Vargo

Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
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