Mohammed stayed in Mecca for thirteen years after declaring himself a prophet. The first half of the Koran was written during this time and is known as the Koran of Mecca. The revelations in the Meccan Koran tell repeatedly that Mohammed is the Messenger of God and that all those who disbelieve him will burn in hell.
There are also stories of people from the past who rejected their prophets. These people were consequently destroyed and are now burning in hell.
According to Mohammed, many of the biblical characters such as Abraham, Moses and even Jesus (who he claimed was not the Son of God but a prophet) were Muslims. No mention of the Islamic religion has ever been found which pre-dates Mohammed however. He further claimed that he was the last in the line of these prophets and that the Koran was God’s final message.
The Koran takes a number of stories from the Bible and retells them quite differently, in order to make a different point. In this retelling, the message is always about how the Jews ignored their prophets and were then punished by God.
This is the religious part of the Koran, which contains the biblical stories and religious themes. Mohammed used these basic themes quite skilfully to answer most of the questions his critics put to him.
Mohammed was obviously quite charismatic and very self-confident. He also had the ability to package his message in a quite beautifully poetic form. The first half of the Koran is written poetically, which also makes it easier to memorize.
Consequently he attracted quite a number of followers and as his power grew, so did his desire for it. He was extremely narcissistic and seemed to care only for the adoration of others. The fact that he tore apart his home town and even his own family did not seem to bother him.
When his uncle lay dying he went to his bedside and asked him to accept Islam. His uncle muttered something and then died. Mohammed's companion said that he thought his uncle had accepted Islam. Mohammed did not hear him clearly however and declared therefore that his uncle would burn in hell.
Abu Talib had raised him from being a child. He then secured him his first job which led to his successful marriage. Later, he protected Mohammed from all the trouble which he had created himself. Because he had refused to submit to Islam however, Mohammed declared that he was burning in hell.
That year his wife Khadija also died. He married a widow named Sauda and was betrothed to a six-year-old girl named Aisha who was the daughter of his most ardent follower.
Muslims obviously believe that Mohammed was the final Prophet of Allah. From a non-Muslim viewpoint however, he was simply a genius who designed and defined Islam for a singular purpose; to make the whole world worship him (or to worship Allah through him which is pretty much the same thing).
To do this, he made sure that Islam could never be changed. Mohammed insisted that to be a Muslim, a person must declare that there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet (there are four other “pillars” of Islam but this is the most important by far).
This is the definition of what it means to be a Muslim. Mohammed also declared himself to be the last prophet of Islam. In doing so, he cleverly prevented anyone from hijacking his religion down the track.
Despite claiming to be the last in the line of Jewish prophets he also ensured that the Jews could have no claim on his religion. Mohammed insisted that the Jews (and Christians) had falsified their Bible.
He said that this was to hide the fact that he had been prophesied in the real Bible (there is no evidence to support this claim). He also forbade Muslims from reading the Bible or the Torah (Jewish Bible). Muslims therefore can only read about Biblical prophets such as Abraham or Moses through Mohammed’s retelling. This is often quite different, sometimes illogically so, from the original Bible stories.
The point to all this is that Mohammed is not just a central figure in Islam, Mohammed IS Islam. In Churchill’s day, Muslims were referred to as Mohammedans, (people who follow Mohammed) which is a fairly accurate description.
To be a Muslim is to believe that Mohammed is the perfect man and that the Koran, as revealed to Mohammed only, is the perfect (and only) word of Allah. A true Muslim therefore follows the words of Allah (as found in the Koran) and the example, or traditions of Mohammed (which are recorded in his biographies).
This clever design of Islam means that it can never be changed. The Koran can’t be changed because it is the perfect word of Allah. Mohammed’s life can’t be changed because he’s dead.
Muslims are incredibly serious about how perfect the Koran is. To give an example of this, several chapters of the Koran start with three Arabic letters. No one knows what this means but they will never be removed because the Koran is perfect and unalterable.
To summarize then; Islam is Mohammed, Islam has never changed, Islam will never change. To change Islam, you would have to take Mohammed out of it and then it wouldn’t be Islam any more.
As Barry Sheene so eloquently put it,
“If my uncle was a woman he’d be my [word deleted] Aunty.” It is a logical absurdity. Christianity changed and evolved because it is based on broad principles, such as the golden rule, which can be debated and interpreted.
There isn’t much to debate with Mohammed, he either did something or he didn’t. People who think that Islam should, or even could change are therefore likely to be disappointed.
(To read the next chapter, click on the link below)