Muhammad’s Claim to Prophethood (part 2 of 3): Was He a Liar?
Description: Evidence for the claim that Muhammad was a true prophet and not an imposter. Part 2: A look into the claim that Muhammad was a liar.
- By Imam Mufti
- Published on 06 Feb 2006
- Last modified on 24 Jun 2019
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A Logical Analysis of His Claim
As discussed earlier, Muhammad made the claim, ‘I am God’s Messenger.’ Either he was true in his claim or he was not. We will begin by assuming the latter and investigate all possibilities raised by skeptics of past and present, discussing some of their misconceptions. Only if all other possibilities are exhausted can one reasonably claim that the only possibility left is that he was true in what he claimed. We will also look at what the Quran has to say on the matter.
Was He a Liar?
Is it possible for a liar to claim for a period of 23 years with unwavering certitude that he is a prophet like Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, that there will be no more prophets after him, and that the scripture he has been sent with will remain his lasting miracle till the end of time?
A liar will falter sometimes, perhaps with a friend, maybe with his family members, somewhere he will make a mistake. His message, delivered over two decades, will contradict itself sometimes. But what we see in reality is that the scripture he brought declares freedom from internal inconsistencies, his message remained consistent throughout his mission, and even in the midst of a battle, he proclaimed his prophethood!
His life story is a preserved book open for everyone to read. Before Islam, he was well-known to his own people to be trustworthy and reliable, an honest man, a person of integrity, who did not lie. It was due to this reason they named him "Al-Ameen", or "The Trustworthy" He was strongly opposed to lying and warned against it. Is it possible for him to tell a consistent lie for 23 years, a lie so monstrous that it would make him a social outcast, when he was never known to have lied even once about anything? It’s simply against the psychology of liars.
If one was to ask why a person would make claim to prophethood and lie, their answer might be one of two:
1)Fame, glory, wealth and status.
If we were to say that Muhammad claimed prophethood for fame glory and status, we would see that what actually occurred was the exact opposite. Muhammad, before his claim to Prophethood, enjoyed a high status in all aspects. He was of the most noble of tribes, of the most noble of families, and was known for his truthfulness. After his claim, he became a social outcast. For 13 years in Makkah, he and his followers faced excruciating torture, which led to the death of some of his followers, ridicule, sanctioning, and excommunication from society.
There were many other ways which a person could gain fame in the society of that time, mainly from valor, and poetry. If Muhammad had made the claim that he himself authored the Quran, as will be explained later, that would have been enough for his name and poetry to be engraved in gold and hung inside the Ka’bah for eternity, people from all over the world hallowing him. Rather, he proclaimed that he was not the author of this revelation, and that it was from the One high above, causing him to be ridiculed in his time until ours.
The Prophet was the husband of a wealthy tradeswoman, and he enjoyed the comforts of life available to him at his time. But after his claim of prophethood, he became of the poorest of people. Days passed without stove fire being lit in his house, and at one time, hunger drove him to the mosque in hope of some provision. The leaders of Makkah in his time offered him the riches of the world in order for him to leave his message. As a response to their offer, he recited the verses of the Quran.. The Following are some of these verses:
"(As for) those who say: ‘Our Lord is God,’ and, further, stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend upon them, saying: ‘Fear not, nor be grieved, and receive good news of the garden which you were promised. We are your guardians in this world's life and in the hereafter, and you shall have therein what your souls desire and you shall have therein what you ask for. A hospitable gift from one Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful!’ And who is better in speech than one who calls to God, works righteousness, and says, ‘I am of those who has submitted in Islam?’ Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel (evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate. And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint,- none but persons of the greatest good fortune." (Quran 41:30-35)
If one were to say that Muhammad lied and claimed prophethood in order to bring moral and religious reform to a society ridden with ills, this argument is futile in itself, for how can one bring moral reform through a lie. If Muhammad was so keen to uphold and preach upright morals and worship of One God, then could he have lied himself in doing so? If we say that this is not possible, the only answer is that he was speaking the truth. The only other possibility is that he was insane.