English    Français    عربی    اردو   

Muhammad's Prophethood: Intellectual Proofs

1. The Prophet (pbuh) was unlettered. He did not know how to read or write. He lived among a people who were unlettered as well. Therefore one cannot claim that the Qur’an was authored by Muhammad (pbuh)! God, the Exalted, says:
"And you did not recite any Book before it, nor did you write one with your right hand; in that case the liars would have doubted." (29:48)

2. The Arabs were challenged to bring forth something similar to the Qur’an, and they were unable to do so! The beauty, structure and deep meanings of the Qur’an amazed the Arabs. The Qur’an is the everlasting miracle of Muhammad (pbuh). The Messenger of God (pbuh) said:
"The miracles of the Prophets (before Muhammad pbuh) were confined to their times. The miracle I have been given is the Qur’an, which is everlasting; therefore, I hope to have the most followers." (Bukhari 4598)
Even though his people were eloquent and well known for their awesome poetry, God challenged them to produce similar to the Qur’an, but they couldn’t. God then challenged them to produce a chapter similar to it, and they couldn’t.

God says:
"And if you are in doubt as to what We have sent down to Our slave, then produce a chapter like it, and call upon your helpers beside Allah, if you are truthful." (2:23)
God challenges mankind at large to bring forth similar to the Qur’an. God says:
"Say, ‘if mankind and the Jinn gathered together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even though they should help one another." (17:88)

3. The Prophet pbuh continued preaching and calling people to Islam, even though he faced many hardships and was confronted by his people, who were plotting to kill him. Yet the Prophet pbuh continued preaching, and was patient. If he was an imposter - he would stop preaching and would have feared for his life.

W. Montgomery Watt said:
His readiness to undergo persecution for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as a leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement - all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an impostor raises more problems that it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad.... Thus, not merely must we credit Muhammad with essential honesty and integrity of purpose, if we are to understand him at all; if we are to correct the errors we have inherited from the past, we must not forget the conclusive proof is a much stricter requirement than a show of plausibility, and in a matter such as this only to be attained with difficulty.

4. Every person loves the ornaments and beauties of this life, and would be swayed by these things. God, the Exalted, says:
"Beautified for men is the love of desired things –women and children, and stored-up heaps of gold and silver, and pastured horses and cattle and crops. That is the provision of the present life; but it is God with Whom is an excellent abode." (3:14)
Man, by his nature, is keen in acquiring ornaments and beauties of this world. People differ in the method they use to acquire these things. Some would resort to using lawful means to gain these things, while others would resort to using unlawful means to acquire these things.

If this is known (you should know that) Quraish tried to persuade the Prophet (pbuh) to stop calling people to Islam. They told him that they would make him the master of Quraish, marry him to the most beautiful women, and make him the most affluent man amongst them. He responded to these tempting offers, saying:
"By God, if they place the sun in my right hand, and the moon in my left hand to leave this matter, I would not leave it, until God makes it apparent, or I am killed calling people to it." (Ibn Hisham)
Were the Prophet (pbuh) an impostor he would have accepted this offer without hesitation.

Thomas Carlyle, said:
"They called him a prophet, you say? Why, he stood there face to face with them, here, not enshrined in any mystery, visibly clouting his own cloak, cobbling his own shoes, fighting, counseling ordering in the midst of them. They must have seen what kind of a man he was, let him be called what ye like. No emperor with his tiaras was obeyed as this man in a cloak of his own clouting. During three and twenty ears of rough, actual trial, I find something of a veritable hero necessary for that of itself."40

5. It is well known that subjects and wealth of a kingdom are subjected to the will of the king, and his service. As for Muhammad (pbuh) he knew that this life was a transitory stage. Ibraheem b. Alqamah said that Abdullah said: ‘The Prophet (pbuh) lay down on a straw mat which had marked his side, so I said: ‘O Messenger of God! I ransom you with my mother and father! Allow us to put bedding on this mat that you lay on, so your side would not be affected and marked.’ The Prophet (pbuh) said:
"My example in this life is like a rider who took rest under the shade of a tree then continued on his journey." (Ibn Majah #4109)
An-Nu’man b. Basheer said:
"I saw your Prophet (pbuh) (during a time) when he was not able to even find low quality dates to fill his stomach." (Muslim #2977)
Abu Hurairah said:
"The Messenger of God (pbuh) never filled his stomach for three consecutive days until his death." (Bukhari #5059)
Even though the Arabian Peninsula was under his control, and he was the source of goodness for its people, the Prophet (pbuh) would at some times not find food to suffice him. His wife, A’ishah said that the Prophet (pbuh) bought some food from a Jew (and agreed to pay him at a later time) and he gave him his armor as collateral.’ (Bukhari #2088)
This does not mean that he could not obtain what he wanted; for the moneys and wealth would be placed in front of him in his Masjid, and he would not move from his spot, until he distributed it amongst the poor and needy. Among his Companions were those who were wealthy and affluent - they would rush to serve him and would give up the most valuable of things for him. The reason the Prophet (pbuh) renounced the riches of this world, was because he knew the reality of this life. He said:
"The likeness of this world to the Hereafter, is like a person who dipped his finger in the ocean - let him see what would return." (Muslim #2858)

Reverend Bosworth Smith said:
If ever a man ruled by a right divine, it was Muhammad, for he had all the powers without their supports. He cared not for the dressings of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life.41

6. Certain incidents would befall the Prophet of God (pbuh) which would need clarification, and he would not be able to do anything because he did not receive revelation regarding it. During this period (i.e. between the incident and revelation) he would be exhausted. One such incident is the incident of Ifk’42 wherein the Prophet’s wife A’ishah was accused of being treacherous. The Prophet (pbuh) did not receive revelation concerning this incident for one month; during which his enemies talked ill of him, until revelation was revealed and the innocence of A’ishah was declared. Were the Prophet (pbuh) an imposter he would have resolved this incident the minute it came about. God says:
"Nor does he speak out of desire." (53:3)

7. The Prophet (pbuh) did not ask people to adulate him. On the contrary, the Prophet (pbuh) would not be pleased if a person adulated him in any way. Anas said:
"There was no individual more beloved to the Companions than the Messenger of God.’ He said: ‘If they saw him, they would not stand up for him, because they knew he disliked that.’ " (Tirmidthi #2754)

Washington Irving, said:
"His military triumphs awakened no pride nor vain glory as they would have done had they been effected by selfish purposes. In the time of his greatest power he maintained the same simplicity of manner and appearance as in the days of his adversity. So far from affecting regal state, he was displeased if, on entering a room, any unusual testimonial of respect was shown to him."

8. Some verses from the Qur’an were revealed in which the Prophet (pbuh) was blamed and admonished, due to some incident or happening; such as:

a. The words of God, the Exalted:
"O Prophet! Why do you forbid (for yourself) that which God has allowed to you, seeking to please your wives? And God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (66:1)
The Prophet (pbuh) abstained from eating honey, due to the behavior of some of his wives. God then admonished him because he forbade upon himself what God deemed lawful.

b. God, the Exalted, says:
"May God forgive you (O Muhammad). Why did you grant them leave (for remaining behind; you should have persisted as regards your order to them to proceed on Jihad) until those who told the truth were seen by you in a clear light, and you had known the liars?" (9:43)
God admonished the Prophet (pbuh) because he quickly accepted the false excuses of the hypocrites who lagged behind in the Battle of Tabook. He forgave them and accepted their excuses, without verifying them.

c. God, the Exalted, says:
"It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war (and free them with ransom) until he had made a great slaughter (among his enemies) in the land. You desire the good of this world, but God desires for you the Hereafter. And God is All-Mighty, All-Wise." (8:67)

d. God, the Exalted, says:
"Not for you (O Muhammad, but for God) is the decision; whether He turns in mercy, to (pardon) them or punishes them; verily, they are the wrong-doers." (3:128)

e. God, the Exalted, says:
"The Prophet frowned and turned away. Because there came to him the blind man. And how can you know that he might become pure from sins? Or he might receive admonition, and the admonition might profit him?" (80:1-4)
Abdullah b. Umm Maktoom, who was blind, came to the Prophet (pbuh) while he was preaching to one or some of the Quraish leaders, and the Prophet (pbuh) frowned and turned away - and God admonished him on account of that.

Therefore, were the Prophet (pbuh) an imposter, these verses would not be found in the Qur’an.

Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall said:
One day when the Prophet was in conversation with one of the great men of Qureysh, seeking to persuade him of the truth of Al-Islam, a blind man came and asked him a question concerning the faith. The Prophet was annoyed at the interruption, frowned and turned away from the blind man. In this Surah he is told that a man’s importance is not to be judged from his appearance or worldly station.43

9. One of the sure signs of his Prophethood is found in the Chapter of Lahab (chapter 111) in the Qur’an. In it God, the Exalted, condemned Abu Lahab (the Prophet’s uncle) to the torment of Hell. This chapter was revealed during the early stages of his Da’wah (call to Islam). Were the Prophet (pbuh) an imposter he would not issue a ruling like this; since his uncle might accept Islam afterwards!

Dr. Gary Miller says:
For example, the Prophet (pbuh) had an uncle by the name of Abu Lahab. This man hated Islam to such an extent that he used to follow the Prophet around in order to discredit him. If Abu Lahab saw the Prophet (pbuh) speaking to a stranger, he would wait until they parted and then would go back to the stranger and ask him, ‘What did he tell you? Did he say black? Well, it’s white. Did he say ‘Morning?’ Well, it’s night.’ He faithfully said the exact opposite of whatever he heard Muhammad (pbuh) say. However, about ten years before Abu Lahab died a little chapter in the Qur’an was revealed to him. It distinctly stated that he would go to the Fire (i.e. Hell). In other words, it affirmed that he would never become a Muslim and would therefore be condemned forever. For ten years all Abu Lahab had to do was say, ‘I heard that it has been revealed to Muhammad that I will never change – that I will never become a Muslim and will enter the Hellfire. Well I want to become a Muslim now. How do you like that? What do you think of your divine revelation now?’ But he never did that. And yet, that is exactly the kind of behavior one would have expected from him since he always sought to contradict Islam. In essence, Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘You hate me and you want to finish me? Here, say these words, and I am finished. Come on, say them!’ But Abu Lahab never said them. Ten years! And in all that time he never accepted Islam or even became sympathetic to the Islamic cause. How could Muhammad possibly have known for sure that Abu Lahab would fulfill the Qur’anic revelation if he (i.e. Muhammad) was not truly the Messenger of Allah? How could he possibly have been so confident as to give someone ten years to discredit his claim of Prophethood? The only answer is that he was Allah’s Messenger; for in order to put forth such a risky challenge, one has to be entirely convinced that he has a divine revelation.44

10. The Prophet (pbuh) is called: ‘Ahmed’ in a verse of the Qur’an instead of ‘Muhammad’. God, the Exalted, says:
"And remember when Eesa, son of Maryam said: ‘O Chil-dren of Israel! I am the Messenger of God unto you, con-firming the Torah which came before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmed. But when he came to them with clear proofs, they said: ‘This is plain magic.’ " (61:6)
Were he an imposter, the name ‘Ahmed’ would not have been mentioned in the Qur’an, since he was known as ‘Muhammad’ amongst his people.

11. The religion of Islam still exists today and is spreading all over the Globe. Thousands of people embrace Islam and prefer it over all other religions. This happens even though the callers to Islam are not financially backed as expected; and in spite of the efforts of the enemies of Islam to halt the spread of Islam. God, the Exalted, says:
"Verily, We sent down the Reminder (i.e. the Qur’an) and surely, We will guard it from corruption." (15:9)

Thomas Carlyle said:
A false man found a religion? Why, a false man cannot build a brick house! If he does not know and follow truly the proper-ties of mortar, burnt clay and what else he works in, it is no house that he makes, but a rubbish-heap. It will not stand for twelve centuries, to lodge a hundred and eighty millions; it will fall straightway. A man must conform himself to Na-ture’s laws, _be_ verily in communion with Nature and the truth of things, or Nature will answer him, No, not at all! Spe-ciosities are specious--ah me!--a Cagliostro, many Cagliostros, prominent world-leaders, do prosper by their quackery, for a day. It is like a forged bank-note; they get it passed out of _their_ worthless hands: others, not they, have to smart for it. Nature bursts up in fire-flames; French Revolutions and such like, proclaiming with terrible veracity that forged notes are forged. But of a Great Man especially, of him I will venture to assert that it is incredible he should have been other than true. It seems to me the primary foundation of him, and of all that can lie in him, this.45
The Prophet pbuh preserved the Qur’an, after God had preserved it in the Books, chests of men generation after generation. In-deed memorizing and reciting it, learning and teaching it are among the things Muslims are very keen on doing, for the Prophet pbuh said:
"The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it."
((Bukhari #4639)
Many have tried to add and omit verses from the Qur’an, but they have never been successful; for these mistakes are discov-ered almost immediately.

As for the Sunnah of the Messenger of God (pbuh) which is the second source of legislation in Islam, it has been preserved by trustworthy pious men. They spent their lives gathering these traditions, and scrutinizing them to separate the weak from the authentic; they even clarified which narrations were fabricated. Whoever looks at the books written in the science of Hadeeth will realize this, and that the narrations that are authentic are in fact authentic.

Michael Hart46 says:
Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world’s great religions47, and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive.

12. Veracity and truthfulness of his principles and that they are good and suitable for every time and place. The results of the application of Islam are clear and well known, which in turn testify that it is indeed a revelation from God. Further-more, is it not possible for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to be a Prophet, as many Prophets and Messengers were sent before him? If the answer to this query is that there is nothing that prevents this - we then ask, ‘why do you reject his Prophethood, and confirm the Prophethood of the Prophets be-fore him?’

13. Man cannot bring about laws similar to the laws of Islam which deal with every aspect of life, such as transactions, marriage, social conduct, politics, acts of worship and the like. So, how can an unlettered man bring something like this? Isn’t this a clear proof and sign of his Prophethood?

14. The Prophet (pbuh) did not start calling people to Islam until he turned forty years old. His youth had passed and the age in which he should have rest and spend his time leisurely, was the age in which he was commissioned as a Prophet and charged with the dissemination of Islam.

Thomas Carlyle, said:
It goes greatly against the impostor theory, the fact that he lived in this entirely unexceptionable, entirely quiet and commonplace way, till the heat of his years was done. He was forty before he talked of any mission from Heaven. All his ir-regularities, real and supposed, date from after his fiftieth year, when the good Kadijah died. All his "ambition," seem-ingly, had been, hitherto, to live an honest life; his "fame," the mere good opinion of neighbors that knew him, had been suf-ficient hitherto. Not till he was already getting old, the pruri-ent heat of his life all burnt out, and _peace_ growing to be the chief thing this world could give him, did he start on the "career of ambition;" and, belying all his past character and existence, set up as a wretched empty charlatan to acquire what he could now no longer enjoy! For my share, I have no faith whatever in that.48

Footnotes

  1. ‘Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History’
  2. Muhammad and Muhammadanism.
  3. i.e. The incident wherein the hypocrites falsely accused A’ishah, with whom Allah is pleased, of being unchaste.
  4. The Glorious Qur’an pg. 685
  5. The Amazing Qur’an
  6. ‘Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History’
  7. ‘The 100’ A ranking of the most influential persons in history.
  8. We believe that Islam is a Divine revelation from Allah, and that Muhammad (pbuh) did not found it.
  9. ‘Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History’
The Author   |   The Book   |   Your Contribution