For Islam the example is Muhammad. The inhabitants of the ideal Islamic state or city live as Muhammad lived using Muhammad’s life, his sayings, and his diary as their guide. Muhammad was a mortal man, just as you or I, yet he commanded a gathering of followers to obey Him using the name of Allah to unify the Arab world in which he lived under his demand for monotheism. They were rewarded with the spoils of caravan raids,
In UI – Part 10 – A Story (dtd January 18, 2010) I wrote: “Is the Qur’an a story? A story covering a period of the last 22 years of a man’s life, to be accompanied by a diary of the same man’s life, compiled by close associates that enjoyed his life, accomplishments and goals. It is the story of one man’s view of war made against his profession of monotheism, received from the angel Gabriel during a dream, the words of Allah, in a cavern. What he dreamt was to be recited to his people – at the time a pagan population consisting of many tribes. He could not write down his recollection as he was illiterate, depending then on his recall and the repetition of his words by companions. As his followers grew, even though small in numbers, and resistance also grew (in Mecca) forcing him to flee (what he then considered an act of war) to Medina, the battle against all ‘non-believers’ began. Is it a story requiring the Truth of the Christian heritage be altered (yet claiming this alteration as the truth) and denying the divinity of Christ. This was to enable the followers to comfortably join forces (or uncomfortably by force – jihad) to repeat and compel others to accept the Muhammad recitations and belief in Allah?”
Another Blog, UI – Part 16 – Influences on Muhammad’s Thinking (dtd February 16, 2010) noted: “Muhammad was a very intelligent person. He was taught well and was exposed to many religious ideas. From an early age, pre-teen, he traveled with his uncle in trade caravans on routes from Mecca to Syria. Along those routes he journeyed through many of the areas of Jesus, Jewish and Christian history. He accepted the concept of one god. The principal input he received, I believe, came from the Old Testament and the New Testament, but also from writings of early Christian thinkers…. He was informed on the development of Christianity and of the revelation and influence of Constantine. He was learned also in the classical authors such as Plato and Cicero. Yet he was an Arab and knew well his lineage… He wanted and he wanted his people to know more about who they were and how they came to be.”
Treatment of Women
Describing Muhammad as the example must also take into consideration his treatment of women, including young women. He had many wives, more than the 4 allowed in the Quran. He married Aisha in her prepubescent years, consummating this marriage as soon as humanly possible. He allowed for marital punishment.
Sura 4:34, “So the good women are obedient, guarding the husband’s rights….And (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the beds and chastise them. So if they obey you, seek not a way against them….”
Possessions were allowed, encouraged, wealth, viewed as a manner of success. Woman under the roof of the potentate, as wives and/or concubines, the harem, was a sign of either virility, stupidity, or stature as a powerful man. Also the Quran suggests the voice of one man is equal to that of two woman, or in defense it would take two woman to bear witness to the crime of a man (such as rape).
Sura 3:14, “Fair-seeming to man is made the love of desires, woman and sons and hoarded treasures of gold and silver and well-bred horses and cattle and tilth. This is the provision of the life of this world. And Allah – with Him is the good goal (of life).” The focus is to be on Allah, but many have mis-interpreted this paragraph to enjoy the comforts of their palace or harem or stable of race horses.
Sura 2:223 emphases that women are a tilth (as land under a plow, a possession) and can be approached by man as they will, especially wives. Muhammad reciting that men can do as they will with their wives.
In the case of rape, it takes 4 male witnesses. Or a man to admit his crime. The woman is seen as having illicit sex if the proper number of aviable witneeses are not available. A problem for Muslim women? (reference Bukhari (5:59:462)
Muhammad had a quick temper and was prone to eliminate, kill, those in disagreement with him, or in opposition to him. He called for forced conversion to the worship of Allah to the extent necessary. He provided immunity to those who killed non-believers.
Sura 2:193, “And fight them until there is no persecution, and religion is only for Allah.”
Sura 9:5, “…Slay the idolaters, wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush….”
Sura 9:29, “fight those who believe not in Allah…. nor follow the Religion of Truth (Islam).
Paying a tax and acknowledging the superiority of Islam is a means by which non believers may be safe, as subjects, but it does not insure that if killed by a believer, the Islamic believer will be punished. Hatred (enmity) towards others is allowed.
Sura 60:4: “We disbelieve in you and there has arisen enmity and hatred between us and you forever until you believe in Allah alone”
His pattern became the example for Islam. Lying was acceptable.
Sura 3:54, “Allah is the best of planners.” repeated in Sura 8:30
Standards for Himself
He established standards for himself, as the authority in Islam, that were not in accord with the Quran (such as more than 4 wives); in fact they were frowned upon and considered wrong. This was allowed as he was the superior of this ideology. This practice continues for those in power, having power over the lesser in Islam dominated societies.
Is this the example you wish to follow? It is a male dominated, female controlling, abusive, vindictive, superior, Nietzschean, hateful example of machismo-ism to the extreme – using god as a shield. It is self-righteous and evil. Love of neighbor is not an ideal. Lying is permitted to advance the cause. Deceit is respected as a means to an end.
Muhammad, as is the case of many Prophets of religions, is an example, not a servant of his people and not one who sacrificed for his people or humbled himself for his people.
From the Bible, Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The Son of Man is what Jesus often referred to himself and is the messianic title for Jesus Christ. Jesus knew himself as both human and divine.
Tim Keller, his book, King’s Cross (pg. 140, Dutton, NY, NY, 2011) describes the verse noted from Mark, “Jesus Christ came not to be served but to die, to give his life. That set him apart from the founder of every other major religion. Their purpose was to live and be an example; Jesus’s purpose was to die and be a sacrifice.” Jesus had no sin. He is and was the perfect example for all of us to follow.
But it was not his example that stands out as much as his love and willingness to die for those he loves. He loved humans so much, knowing too their sinful nature, he gave himself humbly as a parent loving a child, a needy person to whom service is provided without expectation of any rewards, suffering death on the cross, a horrific death, as punishment for the sins of all whom he loves. Those that have faith in Christ, his sacrifice, knowing why he suffered, were and are freed of the wrath of God. His saving Grace provides for those who accept Him.
Man cannot heal himself of his sinful nature. Being moral or good is not the answer alone; it is what man cannot do for himself that Jesus did for man. It is not religion, not obedience to laws, not ritual, not hatred for non-believers, and it is not taking god’s role as judge and condemning others in the name of God, or Allah or whatever you wish to call your Authority. It is accepting and being thankful for the sacrifice made by God for you, out of love. Love becomes the example. It is an unselfish act, a gift to all by grace. You do what you do for others not out of a need or requirement to do so, but because you want to, you simply and lovingly want to assist, provide, care, teach, and serve. Happiness will follow.
Another quote from Tim Keller’s book (page 144), “… where the God of the Bible is most radically different from the primitive gods of old. The ancients understood the idea of the wrath of God, they understood the idea of justice, the idea of a debt and a necessary punishment, but they had no idea that God would come and pay it himself. The cross is the self-substitution of God.”
When Jesus was asked by local teachers of the law and in Jerusalem, professionals and scholars, what was the most important of all the rules, especially the rules that they studied and knew as were written in the Bible, his answer was:
“The most important one is this: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31).
LOVE is the only and most important action we must perform and do so selflessly, humbly and without expectation of reward. It is all the laws of God compressed into one principle – love God, love others. “…love is what fulfills the law,” is what Jesus is saying according to Tim Keller (pg. 134). Jesus is not asking for perfection; he seeks our heart for Him, thus opening up the gateway to the Eternal Kingdom.
We know of Jesus sacrifice on the cross. The cross is a symbol of this selfless act, but it is so much more. Another comment from Tim Keller (pg. 102), “the cross reveals the systems of the world to be corrupt, serving power and oppression instead of justice and truth. In condemning Jesus, the world was condemning itself. Jesus’s death demonstrates not only the bankruptcy of the world, but also reveals the character of God and of his kingdom. Jesus’s death is not a failure. By submitting to death as penalty, he broke its hold on him and on us.” (See also Acts 2:24; one Corinthians 15:54-57)
“O Death, where is your Victory? O Death, where is your Sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Example to Follow
What is the example you follow? Who is the example you follow? Who do you love? Who loves you unconditionally, and of that you can be certain? Who would you prefer as your example, your guide to the eternal kingdom?
May the Love of God, the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with everyone.
Grace and Peace