Ten Questions and Answers about the Prophet Muhammad English islamic book PDF

Ten Questions and Answers about the Prophet Muhammad English islamic book PDF

Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad
May the Blessings and Peace of Allah be upon Him
Ibrahim H. Malabari

Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Why did Muhammad marry several women?
Did he do so for sexual gratification?
Whenever Prophet Muhammad’s name
emerges, the image in many people’s minds is a
man with many wives. For Muslims, his multiple
marriages had meaning and immense implications
for Islam, and by extension, the history of the
world. Needless to say, the issue remains
controversial, and as such, any study of the matter
requires an objective approach. Therefore we will
endeavour to tackle this topic by being as objective
as possible.
The Prophet Muhammad was driven by the
goal to ensure that his mission as the Messenger of
God was fulfilled and to establish a society based
on God’s commands, and not his own. In order to
achieve this goal, he did everything that was
humanly possible: he forged relations with the
various tribes of Arabia, concluded peace treaties
with his sworn enemies and kept relations with the
heads of various tribes, nations and religions.
Taken together his marriages was one way by
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
which he fostered relationships with various
influential tribes.
If one were to view the marriages of the
Prophet from this context, the motivating factors
behind his marriages become clear. It would be
very simplistic and incorrect to view his marriages
as being merely for lustful ends.
Let us now briefly examine the context of
each one of his marriages to see whether this was
the case. From the outset, it is of ultimate
importance to note that, except for one of his
wives, all of his eleven wives were widowed or
divorced. Most were in fact widowed.
His first marriage was to a widow named
Khadijah, who had been married twice and whom
he married when she was forty years old and he
was twenty five. She was the first woman to
embrace Islam. She provided great consolation to
him throughout his life and he continued to
remember her in his later years as his most beloved
wife. He stayed with her faithfully for 25 years
until her death, at which time he was 50 years old,
and she was 65 years old.
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
If he was driven by lustful desires as accused
by his opponents, he could have married several,
beautiful young women in a society where having
numerous wives was a norm – there would be no
reason to faithfully remain with an older woman
until the age of 50. This single fact would be
sufficient to totally refute the charges against him
in this regard. However, an examination of all of
his marriages, as we shall see, should put this
question to rest.
After Khadija’s death, he married another
widow, Sawda, who was 65 years old. She and her
previous husband, Sakran, were among those who
had immigrated to Ethiopia, fleeing from the
oppression and persecution of the Meccans. It was
during their return to Mecca that her husband had
died. Seeing her difficult condition, the Prophet
married her.
Then he married Aisha, daughter of his
lifelong friend and companion Abu Bakr. Aisha
had first been betrothed to Jabir bin Mut’im at the
age of 5. Child marriages were evidently the norm
at that time. She was the only virgin among the
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Prophet’s wives and the only one who was born
into a Muslim family.
One of the Prophet’s goals in this marriage
was to strengthen the bond of his brotherhood
with Abu Bakr, who was his main defender against
the Meccans. Second, Aisha was of a lineage
known for honor and intelligence. The Prophet
knew that she would tremendously benefit his
nation (ummah) by transmitting crucial knowledge
from his life, especially family and personal matters
that others were not privy to. Indeed, the Prophet
advised his community to learn half of the
knowledge of the religion from Aisha. The
foresight of the Prophet proved itself, for she
would live for 45 years after his death, and thus
became one of the main sources of Prophetic
wisdom and knowledge.
He also married another widow, Hafsa, who
was the daughter of Umar Bin Khattab, his next
closest companion. Her husband, Khunays, had
been martyred in the Battle of Badr. He felt a duty
towards Umar, whose acceptance of Islam
provided a major boost for the Muslims in Mecca
against their foes.
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Zaynab, daughter of Khuzaima, was another
widow that the Prophet married. She was married
to Ubayda bin al-Haris, who was martyred in the
Battle of Badr. She was sixty when the Prophet
married her. She was known as the “Mother of the
Downtrodden”. She, however, passed away after
two or three months of marriage.
He married another widow, Umm Salama.
Her previous husband, Abu Salama, was martyred
in the Battle of Uhud, leaving behind four orphans.
Umm Salama was pregnant at that time and was
extremely distressed and very sad. Needless to say,
she needed much support. After her delivery,
Umar proposed that the Prophet marry her. The
Prophet accepted the proposal and married her.
What purpose can there be for a person of 54 to
marry a widow with four orphans except love,
mercy and compassion? There was another crucial
factor in this marriage: Umm Salama was from the
Bani Makhzum tribe, which was the tribe of
Islam’s arch enemies at that time, Abu Jahl and
Khalid bin Waleed. Though Abu Jahl never
changed, Khalid later accepted Islam and became a
brilliant military general. Once again, bringing
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
influential and powerful tribes closer to Islam was
one of the noble objectives of the Prophet’s
He married a divorced woman, Zaynab, the
daughter of Jahsh. She was married to Zayd bin
Haritha, the freed slave of the Prophet. She was
the cousin of the Prophet, being the daughter of
his paternal aunt. Zayd divorced her and the
Prophet married her when she was 38 years old.
His marriage to Zaynab was aimed at emphasizing
the invalidity of the age-old Arab practice of taking
adopted sons as real sons. The marriage was
divinely sanctioned, as stated in the Qur’an, “When
Zayd had come to the end of his union with her,
We gave her to you in marriage …’’(33:37)
Umm Habiba was another widow whom the
Prophet married. She was a daughter of Abu
Sufyan who was a bitter enemy of Islam until his
conversion later. She was initially married to
Ubaydallah, who was a companion of the Prophet.
Both immigrated to Ethiopia, fleeing the
persecution of the Meccans. Ubaydallah became a
Christian and later died there. Considering her very
difficult situation, her father being an enemy of
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Islam and her husband a deserter, the Prophet sent
an envoy to Negus, king of Ethiopia requesting to
arrange a marriage with her. The king arranged the
marriage and she was married to him when she was
36 or 37 years old. Like many of his marriages, his
marriage to Umm Habiba resulted in bringing a
major tribe of the Quraysh, Banu Abd al-Shams,
towards Islam.
He married another widow, Juwayria. Both
her father and husband were bitter enemies of
Islam; the former had planned to attack Medina at
the instigation of the Meccans. This led the Muslim
army to march against the clan of her father. The
result was their defeat at the hands of the Prophet
and the death of Juwayria’s husband. After the
conflict, the Muslims captured many prisoners, one
of whom was Juwayria. Juwayria’s father offered a
ransom for her freedom. She requested to stay in
the service of the Prophet and he married her at
her request. Her marriage resulted in the freeing of
all the prisoners of war of her tribe. Again, this
marriage led to the establishment of peace and
friendly relations.
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
He also married a woman named Safiyya, a
widow as well. Her second husband was killed in
the Battle of Khaybar. Her father was the chief of
the famous Jewish tribe, Banu Nazir. He was killed
in the Battle of Khaybar, and so Safiyya was taken
prisoner. She was eventually freed and the Prophet
married her. Some complained that she was
sympathetic to the Jews. Her answer was that they
were her relatives, and the Prophet defended her
position. He told her to respond in the following
way: “My father is Aaron (Haroon) and my uncle is
Moses (Musa).” This marriage had led to a closer
relationship between the Muslims and the Jews of
His final marriage was to another divorced
woman, Maymuna. She was married twice and was
very old. She married the Prophet when he was 57.
The reason for her marriage was that the Prophet’s
uncle, Abbas, suggested it in order to bring her
tribe – Halaliyyeen – to the fold of Islam. That
was actually what happened; after his marriage to
her, they entered Islam in hosts.
From the above, we see that it was not the
Prophet’s whims and desires that initiated his
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
marriages, but rather it was that God had planned
his marriages. He commanded His Messenger
after the last marriage (with Maymuna) not to
marry any more (Qur’an 33:52), because by that
time the objectives of his marriages were achieved
as the Prophetic mission was near to completion.
All of this does not mean that the Prophet
was not interested in sex. He was surely attracted
by sex and beauty, and was not a prude in
expressing it. He said, “perfume and women are
made dear to me. However, the joy of my eye is in
prayer.” He also said: “I am in full control of
myself.” In fact, a look at his life would suggest
that he approached the various aspects of human
life with moderation – be it eating, drinking, or
enjoying time with his wives – never indulging in
any one thing excessively. The portrayal of him by
many Western writers as promiscuous and
licentious, mostly due to the fact that he had
numerous wives, is far from the truth and historical
facts as shown above. Indeed, his marriages had a
social motive and a higher goal than mere sexual
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
It would be relevant here to quote a female,
Western scholar, Karen Armstrong, the author of
Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time, in relation to the
issue of Prophets marriages and polygamy in Islam:
“The Qur’anic institution of polygamy was a piece
of social legislation. It was designed not to gratify
the male sexual appetite, but to correct the
injustices done to widows, orphans, and other
female dependents, who were especially vulnerable.
All too often, unscrupulous people seized
everything and left the weaker members of the
family with nothing… Polygamy was designed to
ensure that unprotected women would be decently
married, and to abolish the old loose, irresponsible
liaisons; men could have only four wives and must
treat them equitably; it was an unjustifiably wicked
act to devour their property… The Qur’an was
attempting to give women a legal status that most
Western women would not enjoy until the
nineteenth century. The emancipation of women
was a project dear to the Prophet’s heart…”

Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Did Prophet Muhammad spread Islam by the
sword and force people to accept his religion?
It is a widespread belief that Islam was spread
by the sword. There are two main reasons showing
that this was in fact not the case.
First, the Messenger of Mercy, Prophet
Muhammad, proclaimed that he would adhere to
God’s commandments. And contrary to forcing
people to accept Islam, God explicitly prohibited
forced conversion: “There is no compulsion in
faith” (Qur’an 2:256)
There is an interesting story related to the
revelation of this verse. A man, who was among
the companions of the Prophet, had two sons who
embraced Christianity before the emergence of the
religion of Islam. The two sons came to Medina
among a group of Christians, and at that time their
father insisted that they both should become
Muslims. However, they refused their father’s
request and brought the matter before the Prophet.
The father asked, “Oh Prophet of Allah, how
could part of me enter hell while I am watching?”
It was then that God revealed the above verse
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
forbidding any compulsion in religion. Thus, the
man’s two sons were free to remain Christians.
The Messenger of Mercy did not force them to
become Muslims according to their father’s wish.
In another verse, the Qur’an says: “But had
your Lord so willed, all who are on the earth would
have believed in your message, each one of them
and all of them together – will you then be the one
to compel people so that they become believers, O
Prophet?” (10:99). All admit, even those who
accuse the Prophet of forced conversions, that the
Prophet was a God-fearing person who obeyed
Him whole-heartedly in everything. How, then,
can he violate these explicit divine commands?
There are even authentically recorded
incidents in which the Prophet advised some
individuals not to accept Islam for a time being,
due to their safety. In one instance, a person by
the name of Amr bin Abasa Assulami came from a
far distance to Mecca to embrace Islam. It was a
time when Muslims were persecuted in Mecca and
it was extremely difficult to meet the Prophet.
Somehow, Amr managed to find the Prophet and
he expressed his desire to embrace Islam. The
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Prophet, however, told him that he should not
embrace Islam at that time, since the situation
between the Prophet and his people was
dangerous. The Prophet then advised Amr to go
back to his family until the victory of the Prophet
becomes apparent. It was not until approximately
7-8 years later that Amr met the Prophet again to
embrace Islam. Surely, had the Prophet been only
concerned with converting people despite their
own safety, he would not have advised Amr to
return to his family on account of the imminent
It is true that the Prophet was extremely keen
to convey God’s message and to lead people to
salvation. The Qur’an describes this eagerness:
“Would you, perhaps, torment yourself to death
with grief over them if they are not willing to
believe in this message?” (18:6). But this eagerness
never prompted him to convert even a single
person against his will.
Second, there is no historical evidence
suggesting that the Prophet Muhammad acted
contrary to the principle that there should be no
compulsion in religion. There is not a single
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
recorded instance in the Prophet’s thoroughly
documented life of such an incident. Although
some early Western historians advanced such
claims, more recent studies have shown that
conversions did not happen suddenly at the point
of the sword, but when people living alongside
Muslims gradually and genuinely accepted the faith
voluntarily. Indeed, it is as the Orientalist George
Sale said: “Whoever says that Islam spread by the
power of the sword, his/her word is a pure
allegation, because the sword was not even
mentioned in many countries and Islam spread
Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation of
India, once said, “I became more than ever
convinced that it was not the sword that won a
place in Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It
was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of
the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges,
his intense devotion to his friends and followers,
his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in
God and his own mission.”
The famous French historian Gustaf Lobon
stated in his book, Arab Civilization, “Power was
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
not a factor in the spread of Islam; that’s because
Arabs left the people they vanquished free to
practice their own religion.”
Another famous European writer, Thomas
Carlayle, said: “Accusing [the Prophet] of relying
on the sword for people to respond to his
preaching is incomprehensible nonsense!”
History, logic, objectivity, and scholarly
research all reject the notion that the Prophet
Muhammad forced his religion on unwilling
masses. It was voluntary acceptance and the utter
conviction of the truth of Islam that caused mass
conversions in many countries. Indonesia,
Malaysia, China and several South Asian countries
are telling examples of this reality. We can see a
glimpse of this today – though in a less dramatic
way – in Europe and North America where in
those continents Islam is the fastest growing

Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Did Muhammad write the Quran? Did he
plagiarize the Bible?
The charge against the Prophet Muhammad
that he concocted the Qur’an is a very prevalent
one, especially in the West. Even those who are
sympathetic to Islam among Western writers
cannot admit that the Qur’an is revelation and its
author is God himself. There is a long and deeprooted tradition in Western literature that views the
Qur’an as the work of the Prophet. Thus, we will
look at this issue, though extremely briefly, in light
of well-documented historical facts, logic, as well
as with respect to the Prophet’s personality, life
and career.
The Prophet Muhammad is perhaps the most
fully documented person in antiquity and history.
This fact enables us to examine closely the claim
that he wrote the Qur’an himself. This is a topic of
volumes, as scholars have discussed in detail
hundreds of strong evidences that establish the
divine origin of the Qur’an. Considering the scope
of this booklet, we will mention just a few.
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
First, it was well-known among the early
Arabs of Mecca that the Prophet Muhammad did
not read or write, and was not formally educated.
The Qur’an itself states that the Prophet was
unlettered, specifically in the sense that he could
not read or write. No one in the Meccan
community attempted to deny this claim of the
Qur’an: “Believe, then, in God and His Messenger
– the unlettered Prophet who believes in God
and His words – and follow him, so that you might
find guidance!” (7:158)
As is recorded in his biography, when the
angel Gabriel approached the Prophet for the first
time at the age of 40, and revealed to him the first
verse of the Qur’an, “Read!”, the Prophet’s
response was that he was unable to read. Thus
even at the start of revelation, the Prophet was in
no position to compose a book. Indeed as the
Qur’an states, the Prophet’s being unlettered was
itself a matter of divine wisdom: “Never have you
recited Scripture before this (Qur’an oh Prophet)!
Nor have you transcribed one with your right
hand. For then, the progenitors of falsehood
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
would have had cause to doubt (the revelation).”
Second, in various instances in the life of the
Prophet Muhammad where a problem arose, he
was unable to find a solution until it was revealed
to him by God. In many of these instances, the
answer was delayed often causing the Prophet
great anxiety. If the Prophet had devised the
answers himself, why would he need to wait on
revelation? Here are a few examples:
• Once a group of people accused the Prophet’s
wife Aisha of adultery. The slanderous
accusations shook the community in Medina,
and resulted in the Prophet separating from
his wife temporarily. During this extremely
difficult ordeal he did not know what to do.
Finally, verses were revealed that established
the innocence of Aisha and rebuked those
who made the false accusations against her.
• The leaders of Quraysh once asked the
Prophet a few questions in order to test him
and to see if he really is the Messenger of
God. They asked about stories and issues,
such as the Seven Sleepers, Dhul Qarnain, the
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
nature of the spirit, etc. Weeks had passed
and the Prophet would not give any answers,
because he did not have knowledge of them at
that time. As a result of the delay, the Prophet
was accused of being a liar by the Quraysh.
Finally, the Prophet received by revelation a
whole chapter of the Qur’an, called the Cave
(Chapter 18), as well as other verses,
answering all the questions asked to the
Prophet by the Quraysh.
• In the early days of Islam, the Muslims used
to face Jerusalem while praying. The Prophet
wished and wanted to change the direction of
prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca. But he did
not instigate the change himself; instead, he
waited for a command from his Lord, raising
his head towards the heavens in anticipation.
The Qur’an states: “We have seen you (O
Prophet) often turn your face towards
heaven…” (Qur’an 2:144). Thereafter God’s
commands arrived, and Muslims immediately
turned their faces towards the direction of
Mecca, turning from North to South.
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
In all of these incidents and many others the
Prophet did not act until revelation came to him
with an explicit answer or command. This was the
case even though the delay caused him to be
rebuked and accused of being a false Prophet. If
the Qur’an were from the Prophet, surely he could
have “revealed” the verses earlier. This shows the
Quran is a revelation from God, and not from
Muhammad’s own imagination.
Third, the Arabs, both Muslims and nonMuslim, have testified to the high calibre and literal
mastery of the Qur’an:
• Umar bin al Khattab used to be a judge of the
poetry festival in Mecca. His mastery of the
Arabic language was superb. Nonetheless,
when he heard a portion of the Qur’an, he
was spellbound, and because of it embraced
Islam. How could the Prophet produce such
a literal masterpiece at the age of 40 when he
had never shown such talent before?
• Similarly, there were many others like AtTufayl bin Amr al-Dawsi, Utbah bin Rabiha
and others who had such experiences when
they heard portions of the Qur’an. They
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
would repeat statements such as, “I have
heard words of such that I never heard
before. By God, it is not poetry, nor magic,
nor divination.” This was often their first
impression. This shows that the Qur’an was
something beyond the Prophet’s talent or
genius, as its origin was other than the
Prophet Muhammad.
Fourth, there is a marked difference between
the Prophet’s sayings and Qur’anic verses. The
Prophet’s sayings are recorded in volumes, called
hadith, which are more voluminous than the
Qur’an. When he spoke, his sayings were not
accompanied with any extraordinary experiences,
but when he received the revelation he would often
experience abnormal sensations. When verses were
revealed to him, sometimes he would sweat even
on cold days, his face would become red, his body
would become heavy, etc. Was he just acting?
Definitely not! How could he have lived such a
pretentious and complicated life for 23 years? This
is indeed the difference between the hadith and the
Qur’an. As for the Qur’an, he received it by
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
revelation from God verbatim, and as for the
hadith, they were his own words.
Another crucial point in this respect is the
huge difference between the linguistic style of the
Qur’an and that of hadith. A comparison of both
suggests unequivocally that the author of the
Qur’an is entirely different from that of the hadith.
It is also recorded authentically that the Arabs
themselves were surprised by the language of the
Qur’an because the Prophet was not known to
have composed any literal piece before its
revelation. Clearly, the language of the Qur’an was
not from Muhammad’s own tongue. Even nonArabic speaking people can see this vast difference
in style and language between the Qur’an and the
hadith, even by reading translations.
Fifth, a good portion of the Qur’an includes
stories of previous Prophets and their nations.
Always, the concluding remark is that the Prophet
had no previous knowledge of any of those stories
or historical events, and that he only knew of them
through revelation, for example:
• After relating the story of Moses and Pharaoh
the Qur’an states: “You were not (there, O
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Prophet,) on the western mountainside (of
Tur) when We decreed to Moses the
Commandments. Nor were you (there among
those) of the Children of Israel who bore
witness (to these events). Furthermore, We
brought forth (many) generations (after
Moses), such that the life spans (of
heedlessness) that stretched over them grew
(so very) long – (until they forgot God’s
Covenant). Moreover, you were not (there
with Moses when he was) dwelling among the
people of Midian, conveying Our message
unto them…” (28:44-45)
• The Qur’an also states after the story of Jesus
and Mary: “This account of something that
was beyond the reach of your perception We
[now] reveal unto you: for you were not with
them when they drew lots as to which of them
should be Mary’s guardian, and you were not
with them when they contended [about it]
with one another.” (3:44)
• It also states after the story of Joseph: “This is
(but one) of the tidings of the unseen (past)
that We reveal to you, (O Prophet). For you
were not with them when they resolved (to
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
execute) their (evil) affair, and while they were
plotting (it).” (12:102)
Verses like the above appear routinely after
the stories in the Qur’an. Thus, if the Prophet had
learned these stories from Jews and Christians, why
should he ascribe them to God? Is he such a
blatant liar?
Sixth, the Qur’an severely criticized the
Prophet on several issues:
• The Prophet was once sitting with some of
the leaders of Quraysh, inviting them to Islam.
A blind man, Abdullah bin Umm Makhtum,
who was already a Muslim, came to the
Prophet to ask him some questions regarding
Islam. The Prophet ignored him, as he was
busy delivering the message of Islam to the
leaders of Quraysh, hoping they would come
to Islam. Thereupon the revelation came
reproaching and reprimanding him: “He
frowned and turned away because the blind
man approached him. Yet for all you did
know (O Muhammad) he might perhaps have
grown in purity?” (80:1-3).
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
• The Prophet used to love to eat honey. Once
he refused to consume any honey after his
wives discouraged him to do so, as a result of
a quarrel they were having among themselves.
God again reproached and reprimanded him:
“O Prophet! Why do you, out of a desire to
please [one or another of] your wives impose
[on yourself] a prohibition of something that
God has made lawful to you?” (66:1).
• At the time of the battle of Tabuk, some
hypocrites came and asked the Prophet to
excuse them from participating in the
campaign. The merciful Prophet accepted
their excuse. Thereupon revelation came
down upon him again reproaching and
reprimanding him: “May God pardon you (O
Prophet)! Why did you grant them permission
(to stay at home) before it had become
obvious to you as to who was speaking truth
and (before) you came to know (who were)
the liars” (9:43).
There are many other incidents in which the
Prophet was reproached and reprimanded by God.
The logical question here is why would the Prophet
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
make up these verses? Even if someone had
revealed these verses to him, why would he retain
them while having a firm belief that these verses
will be recited and read throughout the ages? The
logical and factual answer is that these are not the
words of the Prophet, and he is not the author of
the Qur’an.
Seventh, one of the major themes of the
Qur’an is that the source of the Qur’an is God
Himself. The Prophet did not have any right to
add or subtract from what had been revealed:
If he (Muhammad) had dared to attribute
some of (his own) sayings unto Us, we would
indeed have seized him by his right hand and
would indeed have cut his life-vein.” (69:44-
If the Prophet was really the author of the
Qur’an, why did he have to state these words?
Was he a sheer liar to the extent that he both
concocted the Qur’an and devised threats against
himself? History and logic would refute this
claim, especially since the Prophet was known
never to have uttered a lie in his whole life. Before
Prophethood, even the pagan idolaters attested to
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
his truthfulness, and he was known as the
“Trustworthy” and“Truthful” .Are we to believe
that suddenly, at the age of 40, the Prophet not
only began to utter a long string of lies but that
these lies were against God Himself? Simply

Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
The charge of plagiarizing the Bible?
The charge that the Prophet plagiarized the
Bible is unfounded due to the following reasons:
First, there are hundreds of references in the
Qur’an relating to the incidents that occurred deep
in the past that are not found in the Bible. For
example, Adam’s repentance in Paradise and God’s
acceptance of it, which essentially refutes the core
Christian concept of original sin. The Qur’an also
mentions various incidents of Prophets not found
in the Bible, such as Abraham’s being thrown into
a fire only to be saved by God and Abraham’s
construction of the holy place of worship, the
Kaaba, at Mecca. It also recounts many crucial
parts of the histories of Noah and Jesus, some of
which completely contradict the Biblical account.
Where did Muhammad get all of this information?
For sure, it could not have been the Bible. How
can anyone argue with his right mind that he
plagiarized the Bible?
As for the charge that he learned the whole
Qur’an from the Christian monk Bahira, this would
be an absurd accusation on two counts, at least.
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
First, the meeting between the Prophet and the
monk was only for a brief moment in time and
when the Prophet was only 12 years old. The
monk invited the caravan in which the Prophet
was travelling in for a dinner while the caravan was
en route to Syria. It would be inconceivable for the
Prophet to have learned all of what he needed to
learn from Bahira in one short meeting. Moreover,
there is no historical record of his learning the
Bible from Bahira, although there are records of
the monk’s predicting the prophethood of
Muhammad that he learned from Jewish –Christian
Second, vast portions of the Qur’an (including
many of its longer chapters, such as Chapters 5, 8,
9, 24, 33, 48, etc.) deal with the political and social
issues the Prophet faced in Medina for over ten
years. How could these chapters be dictated to him
by Bahira? It is mind boggling that such an
argument was forwarded by a French author who
claimed the Prophet learned the whole of the
Qur’an from Bahira in one short sitting.
As mentioned, there are many claims that the
Prophet learned a lot of the historical references of
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
the Qur’an from Christians or Jews who lived
during his time. One such argument states that
there were two Christian missionaries who would
visit Mecca during the annual fairs, from whom the
Prophet may have received knowledge. However,
these Christians had passed away long before the
Prophet Muhammad was alive and so it would be
impossible for them to have taught him.

Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Did Muhammad lead numerous wars that
were barbaric and bloody?
The Prophet Muhammad, the Messenger of
Mercy, did not prescribe war as a natural state of
affairs, and at the same time, war cannot simply be
abolished. What any reformer or spiritual leader
can do is minimize its brutality. The Messenger of
Mercy, at God’s direction, attempted to establish
rules of warfare that would make war as humane as
possible, to encourage peace and to minimize the
priceless cost of human lives.
The Prophetic approach to war can be better
appreciated by looking at some figures. The
Messenger of Mercy was forced to defend himself
militarily on many occasions, yet the amount of
human loss that resulted is surprisingly low given
similar battles and wars in human history. From a
total of 28 battles and 38 campaigns, the total
casualties from those wars, including both sides,
amounted to approximately 1 284 lives.
Someone can argue that the reason for the
decreased numbers of causalities is because of the
smaller number of combatants that participated in
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
the various campaigns. But a careful examination
shows that the percentage of people killed in these
wars relative to the number of the people who
participated in them amounted to about 1.5
percent. Since the Messenger of Mercy was
victorious in most of these battles, the numbers of
casualties indicate that he is not to be counted
among the ruthless and barbaric warlords,
conquerors, and military generals of human history
– and in fact, far from it.
Compare the above numbers to other wars in
human history. For example, in the Second World
War alone, the relationship between the amount of
people killed (including civilians) to the amount of
combatants who were involved in that war was
351%. That is, 10 600 000 participated in that war
yet the amount of human deaths were as high as 54
800 000.
Contrary to promoting barbaric warfare, the
Messenger of Mercy brought sweeping changes to
the conduct of war, radically limiting the means
and use of violence against others. Much like
today, the Messenger of Mercy lived in a world in
which brutal warfare was rampant. Like the Roman
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
and Persian empires of that time, and the empires
of today, the Arab tribes primarily engaged in
battle for material gains rather than for any higher,
moral purpose. The Messenger of Mercy, however,
would change that radically.
The Messenger of Mercy stressed the
observance of several important moral principles
even during the tumult of warfare. First, he
fundamentally redefined the basic understanding
and concept of war. By introducing an entirely new
term – jihad fee sabil Allah – he purified warfare
from its purely material or vested interests and selfserving motives. Jihad means “struggle” and for
one to carry a concerted effort to remove the
injustices and oppression imposed by others. By
adding “in the way of Allah” (fee sabil Allah), he
taught that war must not be waged for the sake of
the self, of spoils, pride, prestige, subjugation, or
oppressing other people. This belief served as the
glue holding the principles of warfare together and
reining in all potential injustices inherent within it.
Under this new conception of war, the
Messenger of Mercy introduced a comprehensive
set of laws that encompassed the conduct of war:
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
its moral boundaries, components, rights, and
obligations; the difference between combatants
and non-combatants and their rights; and the right
of envoys, prisoners of war, and conquered people.
All of these principles were expressed clearly and
unequivocally by the Messenger of Mercy.
The Messenger of Mercy also underscored the
sanctity and inviolability of human life, be it
Muslim or non-Muslim. He embodied the Qur’anic
verse: “If anyone slays a human being – unless it be
[in punishment] for murder or for spreading
corruption on earth – it shall be as though he had
slain all humanity” (5:32). Through this divine
instruction, the Messenger of Mercy purified war
from all selfish motives and inferior objectives. His
followers, although they certainly were – and still
are – prone to great errors, were remarkable
exemplars of these principles in general.
The Messenger of Mercy prohibited the
robbery, banditry, and vandalism that had been
commonplace in wars before his time. For
example, after the Khaybar peace treaty had been
signed, some of the new, young Muslims started
looting Jewish property. The Jewish leader came to
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
the Messenger of Mercy and asked: “Is it
appropriate for your people to slaughter our
donkeys, devour our crops, and beat our women?”
Suddenly, the Messenger of Mercy ordered the
entire army into the mosque for prayer and told
them: “Allah did not permit you to enter the
People of the Book’s houses without permission
and to beat their women and eat their crops”. If a
milking animal is found on the way and soldiers
want to take its milk, they cannot do so unless
permission is granted. Therefore, even in warfare,
the Messenger of Mercy stressed the importance of
the rule of law and respect for the property and
rights of others, which is far more than we can see
in modern wars.
In the past, armies destroyed crops, farmland
and property, and even entire villages. But the
Messenger of Mercy prohibited killing all noncombatants, such as women, children, the old, the
sick, the wounded, the blind, the disabled, the
mentally unwell, travelers, monks, and
worshippers. In fact, he only permitted killing
those in the front lines; everyone behind them was
protected from attack. Remarkably, the Messenger
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
of Mercy here grants far more than what is stated
in theories of just war today. Once the Messenger
of Mercy saw a woman’s corpse on the battlefield
and became very upset. He therefore ordered his
commander, Khalid ibn al-Walid: “Do not kill
women or labourers…” Moreover, the Messenger
of Mercy specifically commanded Muslims not to
kill monks or worshippers, and not to destroy
places of worship.
Before Islam, both Arabs and non-Arabs, in
the heat of vengeance, habitually burned their
enemies alive. The Messenger of Mercy
categorically prohibited this: “Nobody should
punish with fire except the Lord of Fire (God)”.
He also forbade desecrating and mutilating the
enemies’ corpses by cutting off their limbs.
The Messenger of Mercy prohibited the killing
of prisoners of war, declaring that: “No wounded
person will be killed, no one who flees will be
The Messenger of Mercy also stated that one
cannot breach one’s trust and kill those with whom
peace has been made. No peace treaty should be
violated: “If you have made a treaty with a people,
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
you cannot make any changes or alterations until it
Today, in a time of constant war under
pretexts of pre-emptive strikes, these teachings
demonstrate his just personality – a Messenger for
our time.
The Messenger of Mercy tried his utmost to
reduce human casualties to marginal amounts.
Anyone who studies the Messenger of Mercy’s
wars objectively and compares that with other wars
in human history including the wars of our modern
times (such as the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and
the War on Terror) can easily conclude that his
wars were the least bloody – and most humane.
Many portray the Messenger of Mercy as a
war monger and blood thirsty as if fighting battles
was his main occupation. But in reality, out of the
ten years of his life in Medina, only 795 days were
spent on battles and expeditions. The rest of the
ten years (that is approximately 2865 days) he spent
on bringing revolutionary changes to people’s lives
and totally reforming a pagan society. This
historical fact is overlooked by most of his
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
biographers and almost all Western writers who
depict him as a war-monger.

Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Muhammad executed barbaric corporeal
punishments – is it true?
The Prophet Muhammad, Messenger of
Mercy, turned a society that was plagued with
crimes and injustices into one that Muslims believe
was utopian. The Prophet achieved this by
following God’s command, and by among other
things, addressing the root ills of society and
applying a just and working legal system.
Let us take as an example the case of adultery
and sexual promiscuity. When the Prophet arrived
in Medina adultery was rampant and prostitution
was a profitable business. First, he raised the moral
consciousness of his people against such vices,
which took him considerable time. Then he closed
the doors of brothels and cleaned up the whole
To understand the Prophetic legal system, one
must understand that the Prophet was concerned
with all aspects of human life: from the personal to
the societal realms, as well as the spiritual. The
Prophet addressed the concerns of the individual’s
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
and society’s worldly here and now as well as the
spiritual hereafter.
With regards to this world, in analyzing the
societal benefits of the legal system brought by the
Prophet one realizes that at its core the Islamic
legal system (Sharia) has much in common with
most legal systems. For instance, in attempting to
achieve safety and security in human societies, legal
systems – including the Islamic one – employ the
principle of deterrence. The idea being that by
introducing a threat of punishment, the individual
would be less likely to commit a specific crime.
Take, for example, the crime of murder. If a
person knew nothing would happen to him if he
were to kill someone, he would not be as deterred
than if he knew that he would serve time in prison,
or perhaps lose his own life as a consequence of
his actions. By deterring an individual from
committing heinous acts through punishment,
more lives are saved and society is more secure.
As the Qur’an states, “There is preservation of life
for you in retribution, O people of
understanding…” (2:179)
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
In attempting to balance the concerns of
victims and society, legal systems, and the
Prophetic legal system (Sharia) included, employ
the principles of retribution and restitution. By
retribution and restitution, the public takes back
from the criminal the advantage he has unfairly
taken by committing the crime in question from
the public and the victim. Otherwise, leaving the
criminal unpunished would leave the scales of
justice unbalanced, and it would be unfair to both
the rest of the law-abiding members of society and
to the victims of crimes.
In relation to retribution, many would argue
that the concept does little to help victims or
criminals. For instance, killing a murderer cannot
bring back the life of the victim and would only
result in the loss of another life. Further, many
argue that victims should be encouraged to forgive
and not exact retribution – the understanding
being that forgiveness being closer to civility and
revenge more closely related to barbarity.
Indeed, Islamic law (Shariah) addresses these
and other concerns by giving the victim options: to
forgive or to exact retribution. The Qur’an in fact
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
encourages the victim to forgive the wrongdoer for
the benefit of both parties. However, in some
instances victims and their family members can
only feel pain as a result of the crime and see no
solution except to exact revenge upon the criminal,
or have the criminal pay for his crime in the form
of financial compensation or through other means.
In these instances the ideas of retribution and
restitution seek to address the concerns of the
victim and society at large. Not addressing this
aspect of human social relations can result in
injustices; today, certain legal systems are so lenient
in their punishments that perpetrators of heinous
crimes such as rape and child sexual abuse receive
only a slap on their wrists, leaving victims
tormented with the knowledge that their abusers
remain unpunished while they must live with their
suffering for the remainder of their lives.
Yet the Prophet, the Messenger of Mercy, did
not leave the criminal himself out of the equation,
and was concerned with the criminal’s spiritual
reformation. The criminal was often given a
second chance, for if he repented after the first act
and mended his ways, he may have been allowed to
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
go without punishment. In relation to the crime of
fornication, the Qur’an states, “If they both repent
and mend their ways, then leave them alone.
Verily, God is acceptor of Repentance, the
Merciful” (4:16).
Moreover, the punishment itself is seen as a
form of spiritual purification for the criminal. Seen
in this way, a criminal who is concerned about his
spirituality and his life in the hereafter may even
choose to be punished for his crimes.
The story of Maiz bin Malik is quite telling in
this regard. Maiz committed adultery and came to
the Prophet confessing to his crime and insisting
on having himself purified by being punished,
knowing fully-well the punishment for such a
crime was stoning until death. The Prophet turned
him away three times, and twice asked Maiz’s tribe
if Maiz was sane or if there was anything abnormal
with him. They insisted he was sane and that he
was one of their pious men. Only after Maiz
insisted on being punished the fourth time and
after the Prophet was assured that Maiz was sane
was his request accepted.
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
In a similar incident, a woman who
committed adultery requested to be punished, and
like with Maiz the Prophet turned her away. Only
after she insisted on being punished was the
woman punished. Even then, the Prophet highly
praised her extraordinary repentance, prayed for
her, and buried her. This shows the high degree of
moral consciousness the Prophet nourished in the
hearts and minds of his followers. The Prophet
never implemented punishments before the society
in which they were to be applied was ready for it.
It should be noted that the Prophet’s
teachings with regard to criminal law was never
meant to be applied without understanding the
circumstances of the criminal. That is, the Prophet
did not conclude that a given punishment is
suitable in every circumstance.
The importance of context in applying
corporeal punishment can be seen in the crime of
theft. In any organized society, stealing is regarded
as a punishable act. However, there may be
instances when stealing can be understandable, and
where the relevant punishment can be dispensed
with. For example, during a period of famine in
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
the reign of Islam’s second Caliph, Umar b. alKhattab, the corporeal punishment for stealing,
that is the amputation of the hand, was not applied
since in those times of dearth and starvation,
stealing could have been a crime of necessity rather
than maliciousness.
Islamic punishments, especially those for
adultery and theft are meant to be implemented
only in an Islamic society where social justice and
moral consciousness prevail and where there is no
room left for the committing of crimes except as a
result of human wickedness. The Prophet of Mercy
never implemented even a single punishment in a
context other than this.
It may be not out of place here to state that
stoning to death as a punishment for adultery,
while not practiced today by Jews and Christians, is
commanded in the Torah, a scripture sacred to
both religions.

Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Did Muhammad advocate the oppression and
subjugation of women?
It is sometimes argued that the Prophet
Muhammad advocated the oppression of women
as shown in his actions and the principles that he
taught his followers. Some ask: how can one
dismiss the oppression of women as wrongful acts
perpetrated by some misguided Muslims, when it
was endorsed by the very Prophet of Islam?
Further, since the Prophet Muhammad prescribed
laws for women from the perspective of a man and
the patriarchal, tribal society in which he lived, this
would naturally lead to diminishing the status of
women. Therefore, the argument goes, Islamic
attitudes and laws should be viewed as outdated
and in need of revision.
But is it really the case that the Prophet’s
teachings and practices endorse an oppressive way
of life for women? Moreover, were his teachings
based on his personal knowledge, experience or the
conditions of the society in which he lived? Are
Islamic attitudes toward women related to
personal, social and historical conditions?
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
As stated in the Qur’an: “It is God who
created you from a single person, and made its
mate of like nature, in order that you might dwell
with each other in mutual love” (7:189). This
important verse expresses equality in the essence of
both men and women. It is a principle that is
grounded in an overarching view of humankind in
Islam: that men and women are at the most
fundamental level equal in the pursuit of ultimate
happiness. While Islamic law takes for granted
certain biological and social differences between
men and women, this overarching view of gender
equality is never sacrificed.
At the same time, the rules and regulations
that apply to women that seem discriminatory
from a modern perspective were not based on the
Prophet’s personal opinion or historical
contingencies. Rather, Muslims believe that the
Prophet was the conveyer of divine speech which
carries far-reaching wisdom. Grasping aspects of
God’s wisdom requires learning, spiritual insight
and experience. Thus, for a Muslim, it is not to be
refuted simply because they run contrary to some
modern sentiments.
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
It should be added that although there are
biological and social differences between the
genders, the Prophet’s ethics connect man and
woman in a very significant way: in their pursuit of
good works. The two are meant to be agents of
good and help one another in doing what is
ultimately virtuous. The Qur’an not only endows
women with the lofty ideals of attaining virtue and
knowledge but also inextricably links the function
of men with that of women; thus one gender is not
privileged over another. In describing the
relationship of a husband to his wife, the Qur’an
says “you are a garment to her and she is a garment
to you” (2:187). Both are to be mutually supportive
in the pursuit of good.
The Prophet not only treated women fairly
and equally but also raised her status in a society
that treated women as a curse and as inferior. This
was a society that buried alive newly born girls to
protect a skewed view of honour.
Two critical instances demonstrate the care
and rank he assigned to women. First, at the time
of his death, when one would be concerned with
the most significant of matters, the Prophet
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
strongly advised his companions to treat women
gently and compassionately.
Another occasion was his farewell speech at
Mount Nur, on his only Pilgrimage which was
reportedly attended by one hundred and twenty
thousand people. He purposely used that unique
and rare occasion to instruct his companions to
treat women fairly and compassionately, lest
people go back to their old and unjust practices.
Hundreds of examples can be cited from his
own life that show how he treated women
compassionately and with utmost dignity and
respect. He showed respect and dignity not only
towards Muslim women but also non-Muslim
women as well. Women from various backgrounds,
race and colours found in him a refuge and a
merciful protector. This claim can be substantiated
by many incidents which are beyond the scope of
this leaflet.
He taught them that “women are exactly like
men.” This is an explicit statement from the
Prophet proclaiming the equality of women and
men in status and rank. Once a person came to
the Prophet and asked, “Who deserves my best
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
rapport?” The Prophet replied, “Your mother”.
The person repeated the question three times and
the Prophet repeated the same answer. On the
fourth time he said: “Your father.” To those
unfamiliar with Arabic expression, the Prophet’s
answering “your father” on the fourth occasion
indicates the lofty status of motherhood over
fatherhood, and the highly regarded status of
women in Islam.
On another occasion he said “A believer must
not hate a believing woman. If he does not like an
aspect of her character, he should like another.’’
Whenever his daughter Fatima would come to
his home, he would stand to greet her, kiss her,
and seat her in his place. Whenever he visited her
she would do the same: stand up to greet him, kiss
him and seat him in her place. Old women, slave
girls, and women who many would consider
unimportant were able to take his hand and go
around the streets of Medina to fulfill some of
their needs. In the Prophet they would always find
a helping hand; such was his humbleness,
tenderness and mercy towards women.
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Hundreds of examples can be cited from his
own life that show how he treated women
compassionately and with the utmost dignity and
respect. He showed respect and dignity not only
towards Muslim women and women of his
community, but also to non-Muslim women and
outsiders alike. Women from various backgrounds,
races and ages, found in him refuge and mercy.

Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Was Prophet Muhammad Anti-Semitic, and
did he slaughter the men, women, and
children of the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza?
Did he plan an ethnic cleansing of the Jewish
people from the Arabian Peninsula?
The Prophet preached to the Jews and hoped
and prayed for their salvation. He did not teach his
followers to hate or exterminate the Jews. The
incident at Banu Qurayza is often cited as the
brutal murder of innocent Jews, but what is often
left out is its historical context. The conflict was
not about the Jewish faith but about a war that the
tribe of Banu Qurayza had chosen to involve
themselves in.
When the Prophet came to Medina he made a
constitutional pact with the Jews who were a
minority. They were afforded rights and freedoms
which they enjoyed and for a time being they lived
in peace. Muslims did not harm them.
To give an example, once a Jew and a Muslim
quarreled. When the Jew praised Moses over the
Prophet Muhammad the Muslim insulted the Jew.
The Jew complained to the Prophet who said:
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
“Don’t confer on me superiority over Moses.” It
was before this backdrop of religious coexistence
that the incident of Banu Qurazya occurred.
The pact the Prophet Muhammad made with
the Jews along with the other tribes in Medina was
part of a written constitution that is considered to
be one of history’s oldest. A whole section of the
constitution pertained specifically to the Jews.
The main clauses of the constitution that dealt
with Muslim-Jewish relations stated that Muslims
and Jews must reside peacefully with one another
and that they must not transgress against each
other. The two were to both protect the city of
Medina, and if there was to be any foreign
aggression, everyone must defend the city together
and share in the financial burden.
This peace treaty included the major Jewish
tribes of Medina at that time: Banu Quraiza, Banu
Nazir, and Banu Qaynuqa. While there were other
Jewish tribes that lived with the Muslims in peace,
these particular tribes did not abide by the treaty,
and one after another, the three tribes breached the
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
First, the Banu Nazir attempted to assassinate
the Prophet, which led to a war between the
Muslims and this tribe.
Second, Banu Qaynuqa breached the right of
a Muslim woman by forcibly exposing her private
parts while she was in the market. This led to
another conflict between Muslims and Jews.
Consequently both Jewish tribes were expelled
from Medina, due to their violation of the treaty
and constitution.
As for Banu Qurayza, not only did they
breach the treaty, but they conspired with Meccan
and other Arab tribes to launch an assault on
Medina to wipe out the Muslims once and for all.
Nowadays such actions would be categorized as
treason and insurgency.
The Jews and their allies had an army of ten
thousand as they marched towards Medina. The
Prophet had only three thousand soldiers. The
ensuing battle was called the “Battle of the Ditch”
because the Muslims dug a trench around Medina
as a defensive ploy.
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Never did the Prophet face such a critical and
alarming situation in all of his military experience.
He even had to send Muslim women and children
to the outskirts of Medina for their safety. The
Muslims feared that the community would be
The Qur’an depicts the situation: “Remember
what you felt when they came upon you from
above you and from below you, and when your
eyes became dim and your hearts came up to your
throats, and when most conflicting thoughts about
God passed through your minds: for there and
then were the believers tried, and shaken with a
shock severe.” (33:10)
Suddenly a storm wind blew violently, but
strategically in favour of the Prophet and his army.
Interminable strife and difficult climatic conditions
eventually forced their enemies to leave. Admitting
utter defeat, the Meccans and the other tribes left
Medina. The Prophet immediately marched to
Banu Qurazya. After a siege of almost one month,
Banu Qurayza surrendered.
The Prophet Muhammad then had to deal
with the 700 prisoners of war from Banu Qurayza.
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
He did not make any decision regarding them, but
left it to an arbitrator, Sa’d bin Muadh, who was an
ally of Banu Qurazya and the chief of a major
Medinian tribe.
Sa’d took a pledge from both sides—the
Prophet and the leaders of Banu Qurayza—that his
verdict would be binding. Sa’d’s final verdict was
that those who fought against the Muslims should
be killed, and that the women and children should
be taken as prisoners. This judgment was applied
in accordance with the voluntarily agreement of the
Jews to be bound by the final verdict.
Banu Qurayza unfortunately faced this harsh
punishment due to their very serious act of
treason, which entirely undermined the fragile
stability of the community. In fact, the Jews did
not object to this judgment, as Sa’ad’s decision was
based on Jewish law, as expounded in the Torah:
When you march up to attack a city,
make its people an offer of peace.
If they accept and open their gates, all the
people in it shall be subject to forced labour
and shall work for you. If they refuse to
make peace and they engaged you in battle,
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
lay siege to that city. When the Lord your
God delivers it into your hand, put to the
sword all the men in it.
As for the women, the children, the livestock
and everything else in the city, you may take
these as plunder for yourselves.
(Deuteronomy 20:10-16)
A Hindu writer, Nadhuran, after a detailed
study of the historical account and the judgment
made upon Banu Qurayza, concluded: “…though
it seems harsh, Sa’d’s verdict was fair. First, this
verdict accorded with [the Jews’] own laws.
Second, the verdict was made by a mediator who
was their own ally and they themselves had chosen
him to arbitrate between them and Muhammad.”
The prolific author and scholar of
comparative religions, Karen Armstrong, states
“… It is, however, important to note that the
Qurayzah were not killed on religious or racial
grounds. None of the other Jewish tribes in the
oasis either objected or attempted to intervene,
clearly regarding it as a purely political and tribal
matter… The men of Qurayzah were executed for
treason. The seventeen other Jewish tribes of
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Medina remained in the oasis, living on friendly
terms with the Muslims for many years, and the
Qur’an continued to insist that Muslims remember
their spiritual kinship with the People of the
Therefore, it is clear from the detailed context
of this incident that the charge of ethnic cleansing
or genocide of the Jews of Medina is a baseless

Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Do Muslims attribute divinity to Muhammad?
Considering the pure and strict monotheism
of Islam this question looks at the outset irrelevant
and even absurd. But due to the fact that Muslims
highly respect and venerate the Prophet, many
non-Muslims, especially in the West, mistakenly
believe that Muslims worship him. Indeed some of
them have accused Muslims of believing that the
Prophet is God.
The spectacular event that took place at his
death is enough to put all questions related to this
issue to rest. When the Prophet passed away, his
companions, especially those close to him were
reluctant to believe the news. One of the strongest
among them who was later to become the second
Caliph, Umar Bin Al-Khattab, not only rejected to
accept the fact that the Prophet passed away, but
even threatened to kill anyone who would spread
this “rumour.” But the Prophet’s and Umar’s
friend, Abu Bakr , after verifying the earthly demise
of the Prophet stood up and declared in the
firmest of words, “O people! If anyone of you
worships Muhammad, Muhammad is dead. [But]
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
if anyone of you worships God, God is Alive and
Abu Bakr then recited the verse that had been
revealed to the Prophet after the battle of Uhud,
when many Muslims had been shocked by the false
rumor of his death: “Muhammad is naught but a
Messenger, Messengers had passed away before
him. Why, if he should die or is slain, will you turn
upon your heels?” The verses made such an impact
on the people that it was as though they were
hearing them for the first time.
Before his death the Prophet cautioned his
followers unequivocally that they should not
worship or make idols of him like the followers of
other Prophets did. He tirelessly educated them of
his mortality and his being a man, except that he is
the Messenger of God.
The Qur’an unequivocally states: “Say [O
Prophet]: “I am but a mortal man like all of you”
(18:110). The Qur’an repeats this point several
He prohibited building a place of worship on
top of his grave. The Prophet in fact was buried in
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
his apartment, which was attached to the main
mosque of Medina. It still remains attached to that
same mosque, and while Muslims visit the mosque
and pray in it, they only visit his grave and send
benedictions upon him. They do not pray to him
for any benefit because doing so is strictly
forbidden in Islam.
Finally, it is pertinent to note that not a single
Islamic sect considers Muhammad as God or
worships him.

Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Is Muhammad’s God Vengeful?
This is a misconception of the Prophet’s
teaching that is deeply set in Western attitudes
toward Islam and one that has no basis
whatsoever. The Prophet, who was sent as a mercy
to all creation, taught his followers that God has
many names which he has revealed to his creation.
Of these, the Merciful and Beneficent are the most
cited attributes in the Qur’an and two of the most
Every chapter (except one) in the Qur’an
begins by the invocation: “In the name of God the
Merciful, the Beneficent.” In fact, the name
“Merciful” (al-Rahman) as a name for God was not
known to the Arabs when it was first revealed in
the Qur’an. It was introduced to them by
revelation and when they asked what it referred to,
it was revealed: “Call upon Allah or Call upon alRahman. Whatever name you call upon, to Him
belongs the most beautiful names” (17:110).
Moreover, the name “Merciful” is not just one
of his many beautiful names; it holds a very
important place in Islam. It is an established
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
principle in Islam that God’s mercy overrides His
wrath. Indeed, the Prophet has reported that God
says, “My Mercy overcomes my Wrath.” There are
numerous verses and reports from the Prophet of
Islam that establish the centrality of God’s mercy
and compassion. For example, the Prophet states
that “Allah is compassionate and loves
compassion. He provides for compassion in a way
he does not for harshness.”
In another report, the Prophet states, “Allah
has one hundred portions of mercy and He has
sent one to the world and divided it amongst his
creation. So by it, they treat each other with
compassion and mercy. He has held back 99
portions with Himself so that he may have mercy
on his servants on the Day of Judgment.”
The Qur’an has stated that the very sending of
the Prophet Muhammad to the world was a mercy
to all of creation. Indeed God’s mercy not only
pervades the cosmos, but it is also a fundamental
legal and ethical principle in Islam. The scholars
have shown that God’s mercy is manifest in the
legal rules that has been revealed to humanity.
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
One can also see mercy in the Prophet’s
teaching of the hereafter, that is heaven and hell.
The very nature of hell as a place of human
suffering and punishment is often cited as a reason
to support the conclusion that God is vengeful.
However, a closer analysis of the way heaven and
hell is described in the Qur’an, as well as their
purpose, will offer a glimpse of God’s mercy even
in the world to come.
When God describes heaven and hell in the
Qur’an, the descriptions of hell are often very brief
in comparison to those of heaven. For instance,
chapter 55 of the holy Qur’an contains 22 beautiful
and eloquently detailed verses regarding heaven
while only 7 of its verses are concerned with hell.
Further, the Qur’an indicates that hell has not
been created for arbitrary reasons. Rather, the
Qur’an, while describing hellfire, often
complements the descriptions with reasons as to
why its dwellers ended up there in the first place.
In many places the reasons concern one’s
social behaviour, such as being uncharitable to the
poor or unjustly exploiting people. It is interesting
to note that many of these sins involve the
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
wrongdoer and other people, and are not just “sins
against God.”
Therefore punishment and hellfire itself is
related to justice, and by extension, God’s mercy.
Should a merciful God allow for criminals to go
unpunished? Should He allow for the wrongs
perpetrated against victims to go unaddressed? Of
course not! Therefore, hell and punishment is in
itself a mercy to the victims of wrongdoing, and a
necessary aspect of justice.
Keeping within the parameters of justice, the
Prophet was clear to note that punishment will not
take place until all the procedures of a fair trial are
complete: records will be presented, witnesses will
be called, even our eyes, ears and joints will give
testimony. No one shall be wronged. Moreover,
while God through His mercy will reward in great
abundance those that are righteous to exponential
degrees, He will not punish the wrongdoers except
for their crimes and bad deeds – no more. The
Qur’an states: “Whosoever shall come [before
God] with a good deed will gain [further] good
therefrom; but as for any who shall come with an
evil deed – [know that] they who do evil deeds will
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
not be requited with more than [the like of] what
they have done” (28:84).
Even while the Qur’an speaks about
punishment and hellfire, it often concludes the
statements with ideas of God’s mercy and
forgiveness, usually mentioning that “He is the
most Merciful, the Most Forgiving.” Even when
addressing wrongdoers and criminals, God
encourages them not to despair from His infinite
Mercy and forgiveness. As God states: “O My
servants! Those of you who have committed sins
in great excess against their own souls never
despond from the mercy of God! For indeed God
forgives sins, one and all. Indeed it is He alone
who is All-Forgiving, the Mercy-Giving” (39:53).
In this light, the Prophet’s teachings show that
punishment can even be seen as a merciful action
of God. There are Prophetic traditions that
indicate that for many people entering hell, it
would prove to become a mode of purification,
whereby sinners will finally enter heaven after
paying for their evil deeds. Without hell, it would
be unjust for these people to enter heaven, and yet
without hell, they could not have had the
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
opportunity to taste and appreciate heaven – again
showing the merciful reasons behind God’s
creation of hell.
Therefore, from the above, one can see that
Prophet Muhammad’s teachings show God not to
be vengeful, but Merciful and Compassionate, in
this world and the next.

Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Did the Prophet suffer from Epilepsy?
The claims that the Prophet Muhammad
suffered from epilepsy rests on a number of shaky
assumptions not supported by medical research.
They are based solely on the many different
descriptions of his state during his reception of
revelation. First, the Prophet first received
revelation when he was forty years old. This would
mean that the Prophet suddenly developed
epilepsy later in life as it has never been reported
that he suffered from such experiences before.
This is highly unlikely from a medical perspective.
Moreover, epilepsy is seen as one way of
explaining the Prophet’s visions and spiritual
experiences. The Prophet was not reported to have
suffered from any such physical or mental
conditions except during his reception of
revelation. This would mean that the Prophet’s
epilepsy occurred only when he was inspired by
verses from the Qur’an. This would be a medical
anomaly as epilepsy is not consistently associated
with such experiences.
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
Untreated epilepsy also leads to mental
damage and difficulties. The Prophet Muhammad
received revelation for 23 years and it was never
reported that his memory or mental faculties
suffered in any way.
If we consider the entire life history of the
Prophet, one sees very clearly the integrity and
consistency of his personality and qualities. He
transformed the belief, practice and mindset of a
corrupt and backward people to a moral and
civilized one. He became the father of a nation in a
manner unparalleled in human history.
From his family life to his public persona, the
details of his life were transparent. And what
emerges from a fair-minded look at his personality
is that all his achievements cannot be reduced to
some single medical reason. Unlike many of the
great figures of history, what the Prophet did, said
and sanctioned is recorded authentically and even
more so after he received revelation. Indeed the
thousands of pages that have been written on his
life reveal not a trace of erratic or irrational
Ten Questions and Answers
about the Prophet Muhammad 
The idea of the Prophet being an epileptic was
first advanced by Orientalists whose arguments
both from a scientific and historical view are very
flimsy. Since then, the argument has been rehashed
by propagandists and critics who care little for the
basis of their claims. From the above, it is clear
that when one looks fairly at the life of the
Prophet, it is hard to take such an argument