Islam: The Arab Imperialism ― Muhammad the Politician
03 June, 2007
Anwar Shaikh was a Jihadist turned apostate of Islam and became one of first and prominent critics of Islam of modern times. This is a part of his famous book, 'Islam, The Arab Imperialism'.
Chapter 5: Muhammad The Politician
The very nature of prophethood requires its claimant to be a prominent person. Therefore, he must be driven, not only by the zeal of dominance-urge to seek the highest possible social dignity, but also possess sufficient wisdom and courage to achieve this goal. As a Prophet is supposed to be the Representative of God, who is the All-mighty, All-wise and All-Magnificent, the Prophet cannot represent Him unless he is a clever man. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that, without political skill, and the ambition to use it adeptly, nobody can gain the necessary clout to look a God's appointee. Since God is power, and power is God, the Prophet must be powerful to appear godly. This is why, the Prophet must be a politician: politics is the fountain of supreme power.
It is not just a logical conclusion but an historical fact. Abraham, the founder of the major Semitic religions i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam, was a prominent socio- political figure of his time. To start with, he left his own country and migrated to an undesignated land, when Yahwe (the Jewish God) promised him that he would become the founder of a new nation. It is certainly a high and prestigious ambition to be the Father of a nation. Chapter 14 of Genesis, contains a narrative about the local kings. Since many of these kings were Abraham's confederates, he was certainly a political magnate himself. This is further certified by the fact that, when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled from the battlefield, and in an orgy of plunder, kidnapped Lot, Abraham's nephew, it was he, who "armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them (the kidnappers) unto Dan" (Genesis 14: 14).
Abraham's household, consisting of 318 well-trained servants born there, was certainly a princely home. A prince, a king, a prime minister, a president or a dictator is essentially a politician because government is nothing but a political practice. This is the reason that all well known Semitic prophets were political leaders of their people. Moses, David and Solomon are some of the examples. Muhammad, who claimed to be the Last of the Prophets, also belonged to the Semitic group. Therefore, he had to be a politician in the tradition of Prophethood.
The truth is that he possessed more consummate political skills than any of his predecessors. He used the old principle of creating personal and family alliances through nuptial ties for political aims. This is the reason that all four members of the Caliphate that succeeded him, were matrimonially related to him. Abu Bakr and Omar were his fathers-in-law, and Uthman and Ali were his sons-in-law. Without the contributions of these men, Islam would have faced extinction in its embryonic form.
It goes without saying that prophethood has nothing to do with spirituality and religion. It is a complex, compulsive and cunning political doctrine of the Middle East, which treats God as the biggest pawn in the political game to realise the personal and national ambitions of the man, who claims to be the Prophet.
In a small treatise as this, it is not possible to examine careers of all the major Semitic Prophets. Therefore, I shall discuss the political role of the Prophet Muhammad in relation to Abdullah b. Ubayy.
Who was Abdullah b. Ubayy?
For being the Chief of the Khazrajites, he was the most powerful man in Medina. He was considered an uncrowned king by the people of the locality. As Muhammad took refuge there, his message started spreading among the locals, and the converts were enthused by loyalty to the Prophet. Thus, the old tribal feuds of the Aus and Khazraj (Abdullah bin Ubayy's tribe) began to subside owing to their newly found religious fervour. This novel spirituality gradually tilted the political balance against Abdullah b. Ubayy, who had enjoyed power almost exclusively.
His dislike of Muhammad, and Muhammad's policy towards him is reflected by an episode, reported by an early historian of Islam, Ibn Hisham:
"Sa'd Ibn Obada fell ill, and Muhammad rode an ass to enquire after the health of Sa'd. On his way, he saw Abdullah bin Ubayy sitting in the company of his friends under the shade of house-trees. As a matter of courtesy, the Prophet alighted, and after greeting him and his companions, he recited certain portions from the Koran and invited them to accept the Faith that he preached. Abdullah bin Ubayy listened to him quietly and then remarked: "Nothing could be better than this discourse of thine, if it were true. Now, therefore, do thou sit at home and whoseover cometh to thee, preach thus unto him, and he that cometh not unto thee refrain from troubling him with that which he dislikes."
These remarks of Abdullah bin Ubayy were so uncouth, unbecoming and undesirable that the Prophet felt grieved. Reaching his destination, when he told Sa'd bin Obada what had happened, Sa'd replied: ~Treat him (Ibn Ubbay) gently, for I swear that when God sent thee unto us, we had already strung pearls to crown him, and he seeth that thou hast snatched the kingdom out of his grasp.
Early Islamic history reveals that Sa'd bin Obada's word: "treat him gently" became the guiding political principle of Muhammad towards Abdullah bin Ubayy. Realising the expanding power of the Prophet, he soon calculated that he was not in a position to mount an open challenge to topple his rival from the political pulpit that he had occupied. So, he organised an underground movement, which in the Koranic terms is known as the "Hypocrites." This was a class of people, who apparently professed to be true Muslims, but at heart, hated the Prophet and wished him ill. Abdullah bin Ubayy became their leader.
As I shall discuss later, hypocricy is the worst form of unbelief, and carries a terrible punishment under the Islamic law. With a view to curtailing this discussion, I shall narrate only three events, which demonstrate clearly that Muhammad's role was not consistent with the stated spirit and principles of Islam. Since it was politically motivated, and it did lead to the Prophet's total grip on Arabia, he was simply a statesman, who used the old Semitic tradition of Prophethood, which has proved an effective political weapon over the centuries:
1. In the Battle of Uhad, the Prophet had initially 1,000 combatants: 300 of them belonged to Abdullah bin Ubayy. As the cry for morning prayer was raised, and the whole Muslim army knelt in prayer, Abdullah bin Ubayy collected his 300 men and marched back to Medina, leaving the Prophet to face the enemy with his 700 followers.
This was an example of high hypocrisy, yet the Prophet never invoked the Islamic punishment against the Chief of Hypocrites. Not only religiously but also militarily, it was a most heinous crime because it led to the defeat of Muhammad, causing death of his many followers.
When the Prophet won the Battle of Badr, which gave the real start to his apostolic career, he claimed Allah had sent angels to fight for him, contributing to his victory.
One wonders, why Allah did not send any angels to assist His Messenger when His reinforcement was really needed after the desertion of the Hypocrites.
2. Imputing adultery to Aisha, was another most dreadful act of Abdullah bin Ubayy. This slanderous charge caused untold misery to the Prophet's household. According to Hadith no. 6673 (Muslim), Aisha said: "Woe be upon those, who harboured doubts about me, and the most notorious among them was Abdullah bin Ubayy, the great hypocrite."
It was a dreadful conspiracy, capable of undoing the entire work of the Prophet. Even Allah took serious notice of it and revealed the following verses:
"And those who cast upon women in
wedlock, and then bring not four witnesses,
scourge them with eighty stripes, and do not
accept any testimony of theirs ever ..."
(Light, XXIV: I)
The Prophet as God's appointed Judge did flog the other false accusers of his wife but he did not touch Abdullah bin Ubayy, the chief instigator of this mischief.
A true Judge of God would have imposed the Divine punishment on such a despicable calumniator as Abdullah bin Ubayy. Only a politician could ignore it to suit his convenience. So grave was the nature of this crime that the innocence of Aisha debarred all considerations of mercy, yet the Prophet's inaction amounted to an honourable discharge for the perpetrator.
3. Chapter MCLIII of Muslim contains hadiths nos. 6677 to 6681, all dealing with the various aspects of Abdullah bin Ubaw's burial. In a nutshell, they state, when Abdullah bin Ubayy, the Chief of Hypocrites, died:
a. The Prophet brought him out of his grave (just before his body was to be covered with earth), placed him on his knee and put his saliva in his mouth (to sanctify him). He had already given his shirt to use it as a shroud for Abdullah bin Ubayy.
b. Abdullah bin Ubayy's son begged the Prophet to say his father's funeral prayer. As he got up to pray for the deceased Hypocrite, Omar, realising the enormity of such an act, caught hold of the garment of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: "Allah's Messenger, are you going to conduct prayer for this man, whereas Allah has forbidden you to offer prayer for him?" .... the Prophet replied: "Allah has given me an option as He has said: Ask pardon for them, or ask not pardon for them; if thou askest pardon for them seventy times, God will not pardon them. (IX: 80), and I am going to make an addition to the seventy."
However, I should also mention the addition that has been made to the Hadith no. 6680: "Do not offer prayer for anyone of them at all and do not stand upon their graves (IX: 84)."
Nobody knows the exact chronological sequel of the Koranic verses. This is why the Western scholars have remarked that the Koran has been written "back to front.'' The above mentioned addition to hadith no. 6680 appears to be a far-fetched endeavour to justify the Prophet's action. The fact that Umar caught hold of the "Prophet's garment" to stop him from praying, clearly shows that the Prophet's followers knew well that it was un-Islamic to pray for a hypocrite, a polytheist or an unbeliever. If this was not true, Omar would not have dared interfere with the Prophet.
It should also be remembered that, according to the Muslim scholars, there are some fifty occasions when Omar's thoughts, opinions and suggestions were confirmed by Allah in His revelations and afterwards formed part of the Koran, yet Muslims insist that this is a book from Allah, who admits no associates in anything He does!
The Hadith no. 5903 (Muslim, IV) confirms that the Koranic verses about determining Kibla, veiling women and deciding the fate of the prisoners of Badr, are Omar's judgements that have been incorporated in the Koran.
What Muhammad did was a political exercise to woo the rest of the hypocrites. Omar's judgement * (IX: 85) was made a part of the Koran as an act of rationalisation, which seeks to conceal the political nature of Prophethood. Considering the close sequence of the verse IX: 80 and IX: 85, one wonders why this total forbiddance should come to Allah's mind so quickly after the event!
Judging by the Koranic Law, the Prophet had no such option. See for yourself:
" .... and slay them (hypocrites) wherever you find
them; take not to yourselves any one of them as
friend or helper ...." (Women, IV: 90)
* And pray thou never over any of them when he is dead, nor stand over his grave; they disbelieved in God and His Messenger, and died when they were ungodly.
This is because hypocrites are unbelievers, and a Muslim has the duty to despise, detest and destroy them. See the following:
1. "The hypocrites seek to trick God, but God
is tricking them .......
O believers, take not the unbelievers (hypocrites)
as friends instead of the believers .... surely the
hypocrites will be in the lowest
reach of the Fire (hell)." (Women, IV: 140)
2. "O Prophet, struggle with the unbelievers and
hypocrites and be thou harsh with them; their refuge
is hell ....." (Repentance, IX: 70)
In fact, hypocrites are twice as evil as unbelievers because the former will receive double the punishment.
3. "And some of the people of the City are grown bold
in hypocrisy .... We (Allah) shall chastise them
twice ......" (Repentance, IX: 100)
4. " .... They (hypocrites) are the enemy;
so beware of them. God assail them!
How they are perverted." (The Hypocrites: LXIII: 4)
The Koran does not allow a Muslim to pray for his own parents if they happen to be unbelievers. According to hadith no. 2129 (Muslim), Allah would not allow the prophet to pray for his own mother! How could he have legally prayed for the Chief of the Hypocrites? It is all politics. It is interesting to know how the Prophet achieved his political aims.