UI – Part 435 – Why Be Like Muhammad
Be Like Mike
There is an expression among sports fan, especially of Basketball, to ‘Be Like Mike.’ A skilled athlete reaching the top of his game was to be emulated and an example to others of what can be achieved with hard work and dedication. For many it is a bit of nostalgia as this theme was aired to promote Gatorade in the early 90’s. It will be recreated for an anniversary promo for the same product. But the theme morphed into an expression that called for people to find their star, the star to follow. That might be an athlete, a movie personality, a news broadcaster, a family member, a politician, or a leader at one’s school or college. By emulating that person it is thought one can improve their lives and become a better person. However that is not always the case. It can endorse a lifestyle or practice that is contrary to a proper ethical and moral lifestyle. The idol becomes something to be worshipped.
Be Like Muhammad
In the Islamic world the example to be followed is Muhammad. He made himself a star, as it were, referring to himself as a Prophet and Messenger of Allah. Self proclaimed to be chosen to relate to others what Allah had to say. It was not Allah who spoke to him, but an intermediary, Gabriel. The first time Muhammad heard from the supernatural was during a respite he took in a cave outside Mecca. He was 40 at the time. When he returned to his home in Mecca he attempted to relate his experience to his wife, Khadija. As he began to tell her about his conversation with Gabriel and Allah he fell to the floor twisting and turning, curled up and stretched out. Confused and concerned she did not know what was wrong. She stepped back sensing he was possessed. When his body began to relax, his words said, she then became his first convert. Lessons from his first revelation are reflected chronologically in the Quran as from the Meccan period.
After that time Muhammad proceeded into the streets of his home town to declare his faith in one god, a monotheistic focus on the supernatural revealed to him. His peers and family and those traveling to Mecca were taken back by his proclamations. He was overt in condemning others that did not follow but one god. His family welcomed everyone to their village. They were the maintainers of the Kaaba, a large cube housing many, many images of the gods of the people from surrounding areas. Over 360 were on display, to include Jesus. Muhammad was not happy as a lone believer and became insistent, while proselytizing, that those who were not in accord with his declarations be orally abused. His rants in the streets were disrupting to the trade that took place and the peace that prevailed in the face of a pluralistic gathering. There was peace in Mecca until then.
During the next 12 years he managed a few additional followers, while experiencing the expressed concerns for his actions and the impact it was having on trade and his family’s business. At one time he was pelted from above by those wanting him to stop, “relish your religion in private, let us be,” as fesces landed on his head and shoulders. He was mad, not crazy, but irate. The fire of hatred welled up in his heart. He declared ‘persecution is worse than slaughter,” and vowed that in his All for Allah world there would be ‘no persecution.’ Muhammad would fight to attain that objective. But he could not take it anymore, making the decision to emigrate from Mecca to Medinah (Yatrib at that time). He was welcomed there and it was possible to pursue his dedication and call for Muhammadian followers.
The Emigration (Muhammad leaving Mecca for Yatrib), referred to as the Hijrah, became year “0” for the Islamic calendar, even though this was 12 years into his declaration of faith in only Allah. Consider ‘Hijrah’ as jihad by immigration. It means moving to a new land in order to bring Islam there and is considered in Islam to be a holy and revered action. From Sura 4:100 of the Quran, ”And whoever immigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many locations and abundance, and whoever leaves his home as an emigrant to Allah and His Messenger and then death overtakes him, his reward has already become incumbent upon Allah.” The fight to achieve a borderless ideological universe began in earnest. Muhammad became the champion, the leader, the military general, and the authority in overseeing the growth of his army for Allah. He created a theocratic structure in which those who joined his cause could never leave. He led his people, as a warrior, and as the example that must be followed. The adjective to the ‘must’ was if you benefited from being a part of the raiding campaigns against non-Muhammadians and decided to no longer be a part, then ‘death’ would befall you. Ah, the sword of Muhammad would strike the blood vessels of the neck when first pieced enroute to a total and complete decapitation. Think only of Muhammad and his quest or think nevermore!
Note, however, Islam grew beyond Arabia by the Caliphs. They are more the example of the imperialistic desires of Islamists than Muhammad. The political Islamists use Muhammad, his image and religious foundation, for their personal pursuits, as did the early Caliphs.
An Army in Need of a War
Ten years after the Hijrah and many battles, decapitations, and enslavements later, Muhammad died. Having an army of warriors in the example of Muhammad, employed by Umar and other leaders, their personal wealth derived from their raiding exploits, what could they now do with their leader gone? The answer, they ‘continued’ in a manner of their own design and into areas that would have been new to the Prophet. They (Abu Bakr and other Caliphs) took Muhammad’s inheritance from his daughter Fatima. They amassed the forces for Muhammad to seek new territories to exploit, in the name of Muhammad, adding to their cadre by force if necessary. To the West and to the East the raiding parties departed, into Israel, and the northern coast of Africa, then into Spain, the troops with little resistance overtook the land. Similarly into Iraq, Iran (Persia), Afghanistan and India the militant cabal plundered in the name of Muhammad crediting their success to Allah. How convenient! As they spread and gained new territories, governments were established in the name of the order of the followers of Muhammad and his monotheistic god, Allah. The ‘example’ became the Prophet of the people, their god, Allah. This was to be stated and became what is today the Shahadah.
The Star to Be Followed
But is this the example like Mike. Is this the star we are to follow upon which our moral and ethical standards should be based. Even with biblical laws copied into the Quran, the application of those laws by the Caliphs was more a justification to control those conquered. God’s Will, as Allah’s Will, was Muhammad’s desire to enforce for the gains possible. Muhammad enforced the Will of Allah, more his will, in contrast to the biblical Will of God where upon vengeance and judgment is God’s alone. The Caliphs used their Will, Allah named repeatedly, to establish what has evolved ( that is, since Muhammad) into Islamic Law.
God may use the human component, but God does not encourage humans to act on his behalf. Not so in Islam.
Why Settle on Something that Small?
Islam and Christianity are all about salvation, a life eternal with the Creator. How is that to be achieved?
Are we to follow Muhammad, become a warrior, conquering new territories on earth for Allah? In an Islamic holy war, a jihadist scenario, by fighting, maiming, torturing and killing any who resist, in failure or victory, do the gates of the eternal city open with Muhammad awaiting? Are we being called upon to do Allah’s Will as shown by the Prophet to obtain credits enabling us to work our way up the stairway to Paradise? Those who follow the Islamic ideology, abiding each day by Islamic Law, are never assured a ticket to enter. Try as you may five times a day everyday, saying over and over the Shahadah, and more, to include the directives of The Immunity Sura, and being as much Muhammad as you can, do you believe, as a Muslim (or not) that will suffice. With all the propaganda out there, proffered frequently, does that make it true. Because Muhammad did it does that make it right. Because Muhammad said it, does that make it correct, legal and justified by God? Much is demanded. Much is required. But nothing done in the manner set forth in the Quran or by Muhammad can make a human being righteous.
And is Muhammad the example responsible for Islam as the scholars of Islam proclaim, or has his name been used, and the scholars and authorities taken for their own, creating an ideology effectively cloaked in the name of the almighty? Are Muslims being told the truth by their Imams, clerics, mufti, the ayatollah and other scholars (ulema) of Islam?
God and the Living God
God came to earth and lived as a human. How, you might ask – because he could. He was a perfect human. He walked and talked, not as a messenger, but as God. That being the case how can it be other than truth? He never sinned (to which the Quran agrees) but to make humans right with God he took upon himself our sin, our sin nature. He was condemned to die. On the cross he took the punishment we deserve for our errors, our susceptibility to temptation, suffered and died, this in accordance with Scripture (the Bible). He was buried. After three days he rose from the dead, according to Scripture (foretold). God, for us, overcame our spiritual death and our eternal death. Those who have faith in God, in Christ, are assured a place in the heavenly realm. He provided the gift (coming in the flesh to save us), his taking our sin and the punishment we deserve, making us right with God. It does not require that we earn our way.
By emulating Muhammad, or by following the pogroms of the Caliphs and Islamist authorities and scholars after his death, no-one can improve their lives and become a better person. There is too little love, too much hatred, and far too much of a want for what others enjoy when free.
My example is Christ. In faith we are set free knowing we have been forgiven. We then need to reach out to others to bring them home by being the example as Christ taught us.
Why settle for anything less!
No longer a slave of fear when living as a child of God, saved by his Grace.
Grace and Peace