THE IDOLIZATION OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD
By: Kassim Ahmad
5th June, 2016
The first and only syahadah or declaration of Muslim faith is found in the Quran in verse 18 of Surah 3. It goes like this: “God bears witness that the is no god except He, and so do the angels and those who possess knowledge, standing firm with justice. He is the absolute god; the is no god but He, the Almighty, Most Wise.” There are many other verses that proclaim this paramount concept of tauhid or divine unity throughout the Quran. Furthermore, God states that He forgives all sins, except that of associating Him with his creatures, including Prophet Muhammad.
Now Prophet Muhammad is the last of a series of divine prophet-messengers from Adam right up to Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Before Muhammad they were all sent to human communities of their times, in other words, they were national prophets. Moses and Jesus were sent to the Israelites. But prophet Muhammad was sent to all mankind with the last divine scripture, the protected Nobel Quran. The verse proclaiming this goes like this: “… those who follow the gentile prophet whom they find written in their Torah and the Gospel … O people I am God’s messenger to all of you … you shall believe in God and His messenger, the gentile prophet, who believes in God and His word. Follow him that you may be guided.” (7: 157-158)
Prophet Muhammad’s sole mission was to deliver the Quran. He was warned by God never to introduce any other teachings except the Quran. Let me give this verse. It goes, “Had he uttered any other teachings, We would have punished him. We would have stopped the revelation. None of you could have helped him.” (69: 44-47)
But 136 years after him, the great jurist Shafi’e (768-820) promulgated a new doctrine of two principle sources, the Quran and the Sunnah/Hadith. On the heels of this new doctrine, the hadith collectors went to work and collected and selected the so-called authentic hadiths of today’s two Sunni and Shiah sects that have caused confusion and trouble in the Muslim world.
To tell the truth, hadiths were invented soon after the Prophets death by different political and theological factions and falsely ascribed them to the great name of the Prophet. Its proliferation by Shafi’s’s time was so widespread that made Shafi’e do what he did. He should not have done this. What he should have done was to uphold the primacy of the Quran and treat the so-called sunnah/hadith as a subsidiary source. This is a case of deterioration in faiths in history. It has happened before with all great teachings.
God has warned that most believers will not believe without associating God, especially in the case of Prophet Muhammad. Thus the second syahadah, elevated Muhammad to a position equal to God. Again our great jurist Shafie played his role. It was he who interpreted the verse, “Obey God and obey the messenger” (4: 59) to make way for the emergence of the sunnah/hadith by stating that the phrase “obey God” means “upholding the Quran” and “obey the messenger” means “upholding the hadith, thus splitting the principle of one source to become two. I would shiver to be in the place of Imam Shafie on the Day of Judgement! God will ask him, :”Did you say to the people ‘Worship My messenger other than Me?’ “ , what will he answer?
The second syahadah practiced by most Muslims today is null and void, according to verses 1 and 2 of Surah 63. Look at most mosques and Muslim homes where the words “Allah” and “Muhammad” are written on the same level, implying that Muhammad is on par with God. To clinch the matter, the Quran has clearly warned, “Do not worship two gods. There is only one god… (16:51)
I want to give another example of idolizing Muhammad by most Muslim today. In the chapter Al-Ahzab (33) there are two verses stating that God and His angels bless and support first the believers ( verse 43) and then the Prophet (i.e. their leader) (verse 56). Today most Muslims make a talisman of the verse 56, blithely forgetting verse 43. Evert time Prophet Muhammad’s name is mentioned, they would repeat the talisman!
Our leaders should be reminded of the lightning speed with which early Islam under the Prophet and the righteous caliphs liberated the then world under the hegemonic Persian and Byzantine empires to become the number one power in the 8th Century until the 13th, lasting for eight centuries. Medieval Europe sat the feat of Muslim teachers in Baghdad for three centuries, resulting in the emergence European Renaissance. Today where are the Muslims? Remember what scholar Muhammad Abduh of the early 20th Century said, “I went to the West and saw Islam. I came back to the East and saw “Muslims”.
KASSIM AHMAD is a Malaysian author. His website is www.kassiahmad.blogspot.com