Muslims have come forth in massive international propaganda to try and portray Islam as a democratic religion where Sharia law equal the U.S. Constitution. This under claims ‘they’ brought enlightenment to a backward Europe, where people apparently lived in caves before the appearance of the Arabs, who brought everyone together in peace and harmony. As if that is not parody enough they imagine they also gave us modern inventions which we utilized to drag ourselves from cave-like conditions into the modern age. They must have held up a mirror.
And like in all fairy tales they then all lived happily ever after. Amen.
But what are the REAL facts about Islam, and the perception different societies and cultures had of prophet Mohammed and his self-made militant cult movement of barefooted, illiterate tribal soldiers who was described by Persian King Yazdgird III as a cruel and inhumane people who fed on lizards and buried their daughters and women alive?
Judging from original records in Museums around the world, Persia was a benevolent nation, built on compassion and well-wishes for all people under the doctrine of the Zorohaustra, until it was transformed into the Mohammedan terrorising nightmare it is today.
Persian King Yazdgird I, a worshiper of light, compassion, humanity and dignity – pre-Islam. He and his soldiers were brutality slaughtered in refusal to convert to Islam and hand their country over to the Caliph.
Criticism of Muhammad has existed since the 7th century, when Muhammad was decried by his non-Muslim Arab contemporaries for preaching monotheism. During the Middle Ages he was frequently seen in European and other non-Muslim polemics as a Christian heretic, and/or possessed by demons. In modern times, criticism has also dealt with his sincerity in claiming to be a prophet, his ownership of slaves, his morality and his marriages.
In the Middle Ages, it was common for Jewish writers to describe Muhammad as ha-meshuggah (“The Madman”), a term of contempt frequently used in the Bible for those who believe themselves to be prophets.
Muhammed and the Monk Sergius (Bahira). This 1508 engraving by the Dutch artist Lucas van Leyden shows a legend that circulated in Europe. In early Christian criticism, it was claimed that Bahira was a heretical monk whose errant views inspired the Qur’an.
Mohammed tortured in Hell from fresco in San Petronio Basilica.
This illustration, taken from the German book Mahomets und Türcken Grewel published in Frankfurt in 1664, depicts Mohammed in the bottom panel being tormented by demons. The book is “An account of the wars between Austria and Turkey in the 1660’s, prefaced by an account of Islam.” It was sold at auction by Sotheby’s in 2002.
(Hat tip: Kilgore Trout.)
This drawing has the caption “Muhammad Leads Muslims in a Massacre,” but it’s unclear how definitive that attribution is. The costumes and other details are historically inaccurate. Source and year unknown.
Mohammed, along with Buraq and Gabriel, visit Hell, and see a demon punishing “shameless women” who had exposed their hair to strangers. Mohammed then sees women strung up by hooks thrust through their tongues by a green demon. Their crimes were to “mock” their husbands and to leave their homes without permission. Persian, 15th century.
Next, Mohammed sees women strung up by hooks thrust through their tongues by a green demon. Their crimes were to “mock” their husbands and to leave their homes without permission. Persian, 15th century.
Further on, Mohammed sees a red demon that is torturing women by hanging them up by hooks through their breasts, as they are engulfed in flames. The women are being punished for giving birth to illegitimate children whom they falsely claimed were fathered by their husbands. Persian, 15th century.
Gabriel (left) emerges before the flames of hell to appear to Mohammed (top right). From the 15th century manuscript Miraj Nameh.
Early middle ages
The earliest (documented) Christian knowledge of Muhammad stems from Byzantine sources, written shortly after Muhammad’s death in 632. In the Doctrina Jacobi nuper baptizati, a dialogue between a recent Christian convert and several Jews, one participant writes that his brother “wrote to [him] saying that a deceiving prophet has appeared amidst the Saracens”. Another participant in the Doctrina replies about Muhammad: “He is deceiving. For do prophets come with sword and chariot?, …[Y]ou will discover nothing true from the said prophet except human bloodshed”. One Christian who came under the early dominion of the Islamic Caliphate was John of Damascus (c. 676–749 AD), who was familiar with Islam and Arabic. The second chapter of his book, The Fount of Wisdom, titled “Concerning Heresies”, presents a series of discussions between Christians and Muslims. John claimed an Arian monk (whom he did not know was Bahira) influenced Muhammad and viewed the Islamic doctrines as nothing more than a hodgepodge culled from the Bible. From the 9th century onwards, highly negative biographies of Muhammad were written in Latin, such as the one by Alvarus of Cordoba proclaiming him the Anti-Christ.
During the 12th century Peter the Venerable, who saw Muhammad as the precursor to the Anti-Christ and the successor of Arius, ordered the translation of the Qur’an into Latin (Lex Mahumet pseudoprophete) and the collection of information on Muhammad so that Islamic teachings could be refuted by Christian scholars. During the 13th century a series of works by European scholars such as Pedro Pascual, Ricoldo de Monte Croce, and Ramon Llull depicted Muhammad as an Antichrist and argued that Islam was a Christian heresy. The fact that Muhammad was unlettered, that he married a wealthy widow, that in his later life he had several wives, that he ruled over a human community, was involved in several wars, and that he died like an ordinary person in contrast to the Christian belief in the supernatural end of Christ’s earthly life were all strategies used to discredit Muhammad. One common allegation laid against Muhammad was that he was an impostor who, in order to satisfy his ambition and his lust, propagated religious teachings that he knew to be false. Some medieval ecclesiastical writers portrayed Muhammad as possessed by Satan, a “precursor of the Antichrist” or the Antichrist himself.
The Tultusceptrum de libro domni Metobii, an Andalusian manuscript with unknown dating, recounts how Muhammad (called Ozim, from Hashim) was tricked by Satan into adulterating an originally pure divine revelation. The story argues God was concerned about the spiritual fate of the Arabs and wanted to correct their derivation from the faith. He then sends an angel to the monk Osius who orders him to preach to the Arabs. Osius however is in ill-health and orders a young monk, Ozim, to carry out the angel’s orders instead. Ozim sets out to follow his orders, but gets stopped by an evil angel on the way. The ignorant Ozim believes him to be the same angel that spoke to Osius before. The evil angel modifies and corrupts the original message given to Ozim by Osius, and renames Ozim Muhammad. From this followed the erroneous teachings of Islam, according to the Tultusceptrum.
This wooden sculpture in the Church of Our Dear Lady in Dendermonde, Belgium depicts Mohammed on the ground, clutching the Koran, being trampled on by angels. As first reported at The Brussels Journal, “The sculpture represents the triumph of Christianity over Islam.” It was carved by the 17th-century sculptor Mattheus van Beveren.
In 1481, Botticelli created some illustrations for the earliest printed edition of the Inferno. This expansive scene shows all the “Sowers of Discord.” Mohammed is the one near the upper center-left with his entrails hanging out.
High Middle Ages
Medieval scholars and churchmen held that Islam was the work of Muhammad who in turn was inspired by Satan. Muhammad was frequently calumniated and made a subject of legends taught by preachers as fact. For example, in order to show that Muhammad was the anti-Christ, it was asserted that Muhammad died not in the year 632 but in the year 666 – the number of the beast – in another variation on the theme the number “666” was also used to represent the period of time Muslims would hold sway of the land. A verbal expression of Christian contempt for Islam was expressed in turning his name from Muhammad to Mahound, the “devil incarnate”. Others usually confirmed to pious Christians that Muhammad had come to a bad end. According to one version after falling into a drunken stupor he had been eaten by a herd of swine, and this was ascribed as the reason why Muslims proscribed consumption of alcohol and pork. Leggenda di Maometto is an example of those in which he is taught from childhood the black arts by a heretical Christian villain who escaped imprisonment by the Church to Arabia and set up a false religion by selectively choosing and perverting text from the Bible and the Old Testament to set up Islam. It also ascribed the Muslim holiday of Friday “dies veneris” (day of Venus) vs. the Jewish (Saturday) and the Christian (Sunday), to his followers’ depravity as reflected in their multiplicity of wives. A highly negative depiction of Muhammad as a heretic, false prophet, renegade cardinal, or founder of a violent religion also found its way into many other works of European literature, such as the chansons de geste, William Langland‘s Piers Plowman, and John Lydgate‘s The Fall of the Princes.
During the Middle Ages, especially in places where there was frequent Christian-Muslim conflict, it was popular to depict Muhammad being tortured by the demons in Hell. One such example is in Dante’s The Divine Comedy in which Muhammad is in the ninth ditch of the eighth circle of hell, the realm for those who have caused schism; specifically, he was placed among the Sowers of Religious Discord. Muhammad is portrayed as split in half, with his entrails hanging out, representing his status as a heresiarch (Canto 28):
- No barrel, not even one where the hoops and staves go every which way, was ever split open like one frayed Sinner I saw, ripped from chin to where we fart below.
- His guts hung between his legs and displayed His vital organs, including that wretched sack Which converts to shit whatever gets conveyed down the gullet.
- As I stared at him he looked back And with his hands pulled his chest open, Saying, “See how I split open the crack in myself! See how twisted and broken Mohammed is! Before me walks Ali, his face Cleft from chin to crown, grief–stricken.”
One common allegation laid against Muhammad was that he was an impostor who, in order to satisfy his ambition and his lust, propagated religious teachings that he knew to be false. Cultural critic and author Edward Said wrote in Orientalism regarding Dante’s depiction of Muhammad:
|“||Empirical data about the Orient […] count for very little [i.e., in Dante’s work]; what matters and is decisive is […] by no means confined to the professional scholar, but rather the common possession of all who have thought about the Orient in the West […]. What […] Dante tried to do in the Inferno, is […] to characterize the Orient as alien and to incorporate it schematically on a theatrical stage whose audience, manager, and actors are […] only for Europe. Hence the vacillation between the familiar and the alien; Mohammed is always the imposter (familiar, because he pretends to be like the Jesus we know) and always the Oriental (alien, because although he is in some ways “like” Jesus, he is after all not like him).||”|
A more positive interpretation appears in the 13th century Estoire del Saint Grail, the first book in the vast Arthurian cycle, the Lancelot-Grail. In describing the travels of Joseph of Arimathea, keeper of the Holy Grail, the author says that most residents of the Middle East were pagans until the coming of Muhammad, who is shown as a true prophet sent by God to bring Christianity to the region. This mission however failed when Muhammad’s pride caused him to alter God’s wishes, thereby deceiving his followers. Nevertheless, Muhammad’s religion is portrayed as being greatly superior to paganism.
The depiction of Islam in the Travels of Sir John Mandeville is also relatively positive, though with many inaccurate and mythical features. It is said that Muslims are easily converted to Christianity because their beliefs are already so similar in many ways, and that they believe that only the Christian revelation will last until the end of the world. The moral behaviour of Muslims at the time is shown as superior to that of Christians, and as a standing reproach to Christian society.
Other Romantic depictions of Muhammad also began to appear from the 13th century onward, such as in Alexandre du Pont’s Roman de Mahom, the translation of the Mi’raj, the Escala de Mahoma (“The Ladder of Muhammad”) by the court physician of Alfonso X of Castile and León and his son.
Medieval European literature often referred to Muslims as “infidels” or “pagans”, in sobriquets such as the paynim foe. These depictions such as those in the Song of Roland represent Muslims worshiping Muhammad (spelt e.g. ‘Mahom’ and ‘Mahumet’) as a god, and depict them worshiping various deities in the form of “idols”, ranging from Apollo to Lucifer, but ascribing to them a chief deity known as “Termagant“.
Conversely, in medieval romances such as the French Arthurian cycle, pagans such as the ancient Britons or the inhabitants of “Sarras” before the conversion of King Evelake, who presumably lived well before the birth of Muhammad, are often described as worshipping the same array of gods and as identical to the imagined (Termagant-worshipping) Muslims in every respect. In the same vein, the definition of “Saracen” in Raymond de Peñafort‘s Summa de Poenitentia starts by describing the Muslims but ends by including every person who is neither a Christian nor a Jew.
When the Knights Templar were being tried for heresy reference was often made to their worship of a demon Baphomet, which was notable by implication for its similarity to the common rendition of Muhammad’s name used by Christian writers of the time, Mahomet. All these and other variations on the theme were all set in the “temper of the times” of what was seen as a Muslim-Christian conflict as Medieval Europe was building a concept of “the great enemy” in the wake of the quickfire success of the Muslims through a series of conquests shortly after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, as well as the lack of real information in the West of the mysterious east.
An earlier scene of Mohammed being trampled [top left] was depicted in this ca. 1500 woodblock print, which was used and reused in various liturgical books of the era. It shows the allegorical Faith (“Foy”) stepping on Mohammed (“Machomet”) who presumably represents heresy or disbelief. The image on the left shows a closeup of the print, while the one on the right shows another version of it in context on a manuscript page. An enlarged images of Faith stepping on Mohammed can be found here .
Martin Luther referred to Muhammad as “a devil and first-born child of Satan.”
In the early 20th century Western scholarly views of Muhammad changed, including critical views. In the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia Gabriel Oussani states that Muhammad was inspired by an “imperfect understanding” of Judaism and Christianity, but that the views of Luther and those who call Muhammad a “wicked impostor”, a “dastardly liar” and a “willful deceiver” are an “indiscriminate abuse” and are “unsupported by facts: Instead, 19th-century Western scholars such as Sprenger, Noldeke, Weil, Muir, Koelle, Grimme and Margoliouth give us a more unbiased estimate of Muhammad’s life and character, and substantially agree as to his motives, prophetic call, personal qualifications, and sincerity.” Muir, Marcus Dods and others have suggested that Muhammad was at first sincere, but later became deceptive. Koelle finds “the key to the first period of Muhammad’s life in Khadija, his first wife,” after whose death he became prey to his “evil passions.” Samuel Marinus Zwemer, a Christian missionary, criticised the life of Muhammad by the standards of the Old and New Testaments, by the pagan morality of his Arab compatriots, and last, by the new law which he brought. Quoting Johnstone, Zwemer concludes by claiming that his harsh judgment rests on evidence which “comes all from the lips and the pens of his [i.e. Muhammad’s] own devoted adherents.”
“Mohammed Cursing the Vines,” German woodcut print, c. 1481. Presumably Mohammed is cursing the vines for producing the grapes that got him drunk (and out of his mind).
The Regensburg address is a lecture delivered on 12 September 2006, by Pope Benedict XVI at the University of Regensburg in Germany. The Pope had previously served as professor of theology at the university, and his lecture was entitled “Faith, Reason and the University – Memories and Reflections”. The lecture contained in the quotation by the Pope of the following passage:
Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached
The passage originally appeared in the “Dialogue Held With A Certain Persian, the Worthy Mouterizes, in Anakara of Galatia”, written in 1391 as an expression of the views of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, one of the last Christian rulers before the Fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Ottoman Empire, on such issues as forced conversion, holy war, and the relationship between faith and reason.
In the 1920s, three caricatures published by Hindus attacked Muhammad and marriages– the book Vichitra Jivan (meaning Strange Life) by Pandit Kalicharan Sharma in 1923, the pamphlet Rangila Rasul (meaning The Colourful Prophet) by an anonymous author going by the pseudonym of Pandit Chamupati in 1924, and the essay Sair-i-Dozakh (meaning The Trip to Hell) by Devi Sharan Sharma in 1927. In Vichitra Jivan, Sharma wrote that Muhammad fell victim to many evils, all his marriages were extraordinary and improper, and that he suffered from epilepsy. Sharma wrote that “According to Muhammad, loot and arson is the highest act of the religious life, and this religious aggression will go on until the end of time. A paradise where there will be lovely young women is the reward for spreading Islam in this way.” In the final chapters of the book, Sharma examined in detail the “marvelous powers” of Muhammad, the “products of his body”, and every feature of his “marital and sexual relations”, and ended the book by saying that such a person could not have been a divine messenger.
Rangila Rasul had a surface appearance of a lyrical and laudatory work on Muhammad and his teachings, for example it began with a poem which went “The bird serves the flowers in the garden; I’ll serve my Rangila Rasul,” and called Muhammad “a widely experienced” person who was best symbolized by his many wives, in contrast with the lifelong celibacy of Hindu saints. The Sair-i-Dozakh was a take on the Isra and Mi’raj, Muhammad’s journey to heaven and hell according to Islamic traditions. Described as a “brutal satire” by Gene Thursby, it described a dream purportedly experienced by the author in which he mounts a mysterious animal and sees various Hindu and Sikh deities and Gurus in the realm of salvation. This is followed by a trip to hell in which he sees suffering figures with disguised epithets like Mahamand (Muhammad), Asha (Aisha), Jannabi (Zaynab bint Jahsh) and Mirtunja (Ali). The figures confess to the author their many sins, and beg him to intercede for them. The author justifies the punishment of Mahamand and Aisha and condemns them for eternal suffering, before waking up from his dream.
Jai Maharaj, sponsor of the Satyameva Jayate website, wrote that Muhammad was “in fact a terrorist, criminal and murderer whose entire life was based on victimizing innocents and indulging in mindless violence, carnage and massacre.” Maharaj chronicled what he called were Muhammad’s “criminal acts in the form of battles and murders”, including the killing of four merchants during the sacred month of Rajab, the killing of 70 merchants and 900 men from Mecca, the killing of the poets ‘Asma’ bint Marwan and Abu ‘Afak, and the initial motivation to kill followed by eventual expelling of the Jewish tribe of Banu Qaynuqa.
In his 1875 work Satyarth Prakash, Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj, quoted and interpreted several verses of the Koran and described Muhammad as “pugnacious”, an “imposter”, and one who held out “a bait to men and women, in the name of God, to compass his own selfish needs.” Swami Vivekananda wrote in his 1896 book Raja Yoga that though Muhammad was inspired, “he was not a trained Yogi, nor did he know the reason of what he was doing.” Vivekananda wrote that great evil has been done through Muhammad’s fanaticism with “whole countries destroyed” and “millions upon millions of people killed.”
Mahomet (French: Le fanatisme, ou Mahomet le Prophète, literally “Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet”) is a five-act tragedy written in 1736 by French playwright and philosopher Voltaire. It made its debut performance in Lille on 25 April 1741. The play is a study of religious fanaticism and self-serving manipulation based on an episode in the traditional biography of Muhammad in which he orders the murder of his critics. Voltaire described the play as “written in opposition to the founder of a false and barbarous sect to whom could I with more propriety inscribe a satire on the cruelty and errors of a false prophet”. Voltaire also ascribes to Muhammad a brutality that “is assuredly nothing any man can excuse” and suggests that his following stems from superstition and lack of enlightenment.
The story of “Mahomet” unfolds during Muhammad’s post exile siege of Mecca in 630 AD, when the opposing forces are under a short term truce called to discuss the terms and course of the war.
In the first act we are introduced to a fictional leader of the Meccans, Zopir, an ardent and defiant advocate of free will and liberty who rejects Mahomet. Mahomet is presented through his conversations with his second in command Omar and with his opponent Zopir and with two of Zopir’s long lost children (Seid and Palmira) whom, unbeknownst to Zopir, Mahomet had abducted and enslaved in their infancy, fifteen years earlier.
The now young and beautiful captive Palmira has become the object of Mahomet’s desires and jealousy. Having observed a growing affection between Palmira and Seid, Mahomet devises a plan to steer Seid away from her heart by indoctrinating young Seid in religious fanaticism and sending him on a suicide attack to assassinate Zopir in Mecca, an event which he hopes will rid him of both Zopir and Seid and free Palmira’s affections for his own conquest. Mahomet invokes divine authority to justify his conduct.
Seid, still respectful of Zopir’s nobility of character, hesitates at first about carrying out his assignment, but eventually his fanatical loyalty to Mahomet overtakes him and he slays Zopir. Phanor arrives and reveals to Seid and Palmira to their disbelief that Zopir was their father. Omar arrives and deceptively orders Seid arrested for Zopir’s murder despite knowing that it was Mahomet who had ordered the assassination. Mahomet decides to cover up the whole event so as to not be seen as the deceitful impostor and tyrant that he is.
Having now uncovered Mahomet’s “vile” deception Palmira renounces Mahomet’s god and commits suicide rather than to fall into the clutches of Mahomet.
Modern Western criticisms
Modern critics have criticized Muhammad for preaching beliefs that are incompatible with democracy; Somali-Dutch feminist writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali has called him a “tyrant” and a “pervert”. Netherlands Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders calls Muhammad a “mass murderer and a pedophile”. American historian Daniel Pipes sees Muhammad as a politician, stating that “because Muhammad created a new community, the religion that was its raison d’être had to meet the political needs of its adherents.” Scholar Ibn Warraq finds Muhammad’s message problematic due to abrogation of passages advocating “clemency and tolerance” by passages advocating “violent action.”