By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
5 January 2016
In many quarters it is believed that God’s Messengers were exempt from the universal rules ordained for mankind to obey. Therefore Messengers as Pontifex Maximus could practice a few things contrary to the messages of change they preached.
This assumption is illogical and propagated in self interests. Consider the following:
Quran exhorts the use of reason as necessary to comprehend the message of the Book, for example:
34-46, “(Oh Messenger) Say, I exhort you to one thing only; that you should rise is God’s way by one and twos and ponder …” and many more in this vein asking mankind to ponder, contemplate and even question.
This refutation is not made on the basis of any knowledge of Arabic language but deduced from a few different translations of Quran and by referring to Arabic dictionaries. The deductions are based simply on the understanding of the “spirit” of Quran; which is meant as a code of instructions—Highway Code of life for mankind, without exemptions to travel safely:
17-77, “This was our way with the apostles sent before you. You will find no change in our ways”. This Code then was followed by the messengers to the letter and spirit of the word.
The glaring example of this exemption bestowed on Muhammad via Apocrypha is in terms of the multiple wives that he is alleged to have married and had concubines, in contradiction to the ordinance of the Book. The numbers allocated vary from eight to twelve women at a time. However not one of his spouses are named in Quran.
The Book referring to all the previous Messengers says:
48-29, “… you see them bowing and prostrating seeking God’s pleasure in obedience…” Obeying every command given in their Books.
36-3,4, “Surely you (Muhammad) are one of the Messengers. On the right path”; Of course following it without any exceptions to the rule.
The Messengers are often ordered to announce and say that they claim no exceptions to the rule as they too are human being like all other human beings:
14-11, “Their messengers said to them: ‘We are nothing but mortals humans like yourselves,…’”
18-110. “Say: I am only a human mortal like you- it is revealed to me that your God is one God, …”. That brings the Apostles on par to other humans in terms of obeying the Book’s ordinances without exception.
The command against polygamous marriage is made abundantly clear; that marriage is to one wife at a time:
4-20, “And if you wish to take a wife in place of another and if you have given one a heap of gold, take nothing back from it…(do you wish to) doing her manifest wrong?”
In this chapter four, there are other references too for marriage. But the contentious issue arises when this chapter refers to emergency conditions where it becomes imperative to safeguard the society from the deleterious effects of abundance of widows and orphans; for example as a result of wars where husband-soldiers are killed in large numbers!
This was particularly the case with the early and small Muslim community in Madinah who in the very first year of arriving there, was attacked by the Makkan forces. Although this attack was successfully repelled; but at a high price in loss of many of Muslim soldiers.
This emergency lasted almost all his last years of Madinah life of about ten years. Hence it must be remembered that this exemption is valid only in case of such emergency and not as the regurgitating translators, churches and its operatives would have us believe in their self-interest an open cheque to marry four women of one’s choice at the drop of a hat.
Verse 1 to 6 of chapter four and indeed most of this chapter is specific in this regard. What is more, scholars of Arabic language give even stricter interpretation and in grammatical terms that the choice is not for males to make but for the widowed mothers to make!
So much for the academics to wrangle out of the intricacies of this issue in the spirit of the advancement of human societies and their moral standings. For a lay person the simple fact that Muhammad’s life paints a clear picture of his commitment to commands of the Book is enough to get the message.
Firstly, He got married to a rich woman quiet senior to him and twice married before; in his mid-twenties. This delay must be unusual for a male in those days;
Secondly this marriage lasted monogamously for over twenty years till she died in Makkah; about two years before he migrated to Madinah. They had, some say four and some say six children. No son survived infancy!
For a rich man to have stayed monogamous for so long must be considered even more unusual in the context of Arab society.
Thirdly, In Madinah he is said to have married ten to twelve wives, all widows and war widows; except, as it is alleged for one-- a baby girl named Ayisha, the daughter of his best friend and first Khalif Abu Bakar Siddique. She was with the messenger for a decade or so till he passed away, yet she did not give him any child.
Therefore strange as it may seem, all these women were barren except one widow who sired a son. This son also died in infancy!:
33-40, “Muhammad is not the father of any of you men…” Neither of his sons lived to adulthood. A divine plan perhaps to avoid the human weakness of inheritance claim by the male offspring, as was the case then and is the custom today.
The question being; how it is possible that all ten or twelve women were barren although some were young to very young and of child bearing age; when it is established that he certainly was not sexually impotent?
Simplistically therefore one is forced to conclude that he had married only one woman out of the twelve or so and sired a son. The rest were under his protection and care according to chapter four. Is this what is meant by the idiom “right hand possess”; a mode of expression peculiar to Arabic language of the time?
Messengers come to change the behaviour and the degeneration of character in the society’s prevailing customs and modes. Therefore to give exception for them to practice the same faults as what the people had practiced is to say the least illogical. It can only be concluded therefore that such allegations made by ancient scholars and translators and heaped on the messengers can only be to legitimize their immoral practices for themselves and give them holy sanctions.
For some reason the young of the Muslim world today; although well versed in biology, is falling more and more under the spell of these vile people in other respect too; to the utter disgust of those who may use the God given gift of reasoning. They beseech the Lord to save them from the disgrace that has become their lot now:
3-193, “Our Lord grant us what you have promised us through your Messengers and disgrace us not …”
A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer