Comparing Christ and Mohammed

July 1, 2006

By Randall A. Terry

What follows are excerpts of a much larger work in progress that compares the lives, teachings, and early disciples of Christ and Mohammed. These sections deal primarily with Mohammed, in order to introduce the reader to new concepts and information.

…I wish to point out one essential factor that I believe is central to understanding the history and contemporary life of Islam. Namely this: Islam is a theocentric (God-centered) blueprint for every aspect of life. Education, art, politics, family, war, peace, tax, the care of the poor, literature, prayer, worship, dealing with unbelievers… every facet of life for the individual and the community are explicitly under the rule and commands of Allah.

Most Western “analysts” – whether authors, radio hosts, or “talking heads” on television news broadcasts fail (or refuse) to grasp the significance and the implications of the word “theocentric.” To understand Mohammed, Islam, Islamic nations, and the recent wave of terrorist attacks, one must understand and even immerse oneself in the theocentric view of life, duty, and death as taught in Islam; and that theocentric view must be seen through the eyes and life of Mohammed.

Our current “media elite” (and God knows most college elite) are distinctly incapable of viewing the world through theocentric eyes because they despise that worldview [in the Judeo/Christian sense.] Therefore they are incapable of understanding, much less analyzing the Islamic mind…

…To understand Islam, one must grasp the Islamic mind—one that is theocentric in nature, and Mohammedan in texture and direction.

Mohammed’s vision of the Almighty and His specific directives are central to understanding Islam. As Christ is the central figure, hero, and example of the Christian faith, Mohammed is the central figure, hero, and example of the Islamic faith. Doing the will of Allah as revealed to Mohammed is the duty of Muslims; exploring Mohammed is the duty of all who want to understand Islam. Only in finding Mohammed’s life and voice can we understand the patterns and passions of the Islamic world.

In that light, we must ask in deadly earnest: What would Mohammed do? …

…After a decade of preaching and teaching various aspects of monotheistic worship and faith with very meager results, Mohammed took a sudden turn towards the use of force. It came at the battle of Badr.

This development took many of his followers by surprise. He decided to launch a very aggressive raid against a large caravan: “…when the messenger of God [Mohammed] heard that Abu Sufyan was arriving from Syria, he sent the Muslims out against them, saying, ‘This caravan belongs to Quraysh, and will carry much wealth. Attack it; God may present it to you.’ The men got ready, some pleased, others apprehensive because they had not thought the messenger of God would make war.” (Kathir, 253)

Again, note the surprise of some of Mohamed’s followers. Many Muslims did not go into battle with him; perhaps they thought that Islam was a “religion of peace.” Some of those who joined the attack were polytheists who wanted the booty of war. Also note that the attack of a caravan was not seen merely as a “train robbery,” but an act of war. Mohammed–the prophet, preacher and teacher–was about to trigger a war with a very powerful and respected city; he was attempting the theft of wealth of a dreadful aristocracy.

The Quraysh were key leaders of Mecca. The caravan that Mohammed was preparing to assault had a massive amount of wealth from nearly every key family of Mecca. Three hundred and thirteen militants responded to Mohammed’s call to arms and plunder. [1000 Meccans then mobilized to protect the caravan.]

…Once Mohammed saw that his men were ready to fight in spite of the odds, he began to frame the entire oncoming battle in theocentric terms. “He then said, ‘Go Forward in good spirits! God has promised me I shall take one of the two parties. I swear by God I feel I can already see their destruction!’ “ (Kathir, 260)

It was here that Mohammed spoke of killing and dying in battle as an act of religious devotion that would please God and earn the participants eternal life. For example, Ibn Ishaq, perhaps the most respected of all Islamic historians concerning the life of Mohammed recounts the following: “Then the apostle went forth to the people and incited them saying, ‘By God in whose hand is the soul of Mohammed, no man will be slain this day fighting against them with steadfast courage advancing not retreating but God will cause him to enter Paradise.’ “ (Ibn Ishaq, 300)

The effect of this message was immediate and profound. A man named Umayr “…was eating some dates which he had in his hand. ‘Fine, fine!’ said he, ‘Is there nothing between me and my entering paradise save to be killed by these men?’ He flung the dates from his hand, seized his sword, and fought against them till he was slain…” (Ibn Ishaq, 300) He believed his death in battle under Mohammed’s guidance would guarantee his entrance into paradise.

Another devoted believer in Mohammed’s words asked this question: “‘O apostle of God, what makes the Lord laugh with joy at his servant?’ He [Mohammed] answered, ‘When he plunges into the midst of the enemy without mail.’“ [Mail was small woven links of chain worn as body armor.] After hearing Mohammed’s response, he “…drew off the mail-coat that was on him and threw it away: then he seized his sword and fought the enemy till he was slain.” (Ibn Ishaq, 300) The battle of Badr was about to begin. “When the Messenger of God saw them coming forward into the valley from their position behind the sand hill at al-Aqanqal, he said, ‘O God, these men advancing are Quraysh in all their vanity and pride; they are antagonistic to you and they are calling your Prophet a liar. Oh God, give us your victory you promised us! Oh God, destroy them this morning.’” (Ibn Kathir, 268)

And so the “miracle” unfolded: “Then the apostle took a handful of small pebbles and said, turning towards Quraysh, ‘Foul be those faces!’ Then he threw the pebbles at them and ordered his companions to charge. The foe was routed. God slew many of their chiefs and made captive many of their nobles.” (Ibn Ishaq, 301)

As far as Mohammed and his men were concerned, this was a miracle that confirmed that “…There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger.” 300 foot soldiers had miraculously routed 1000 soldiers, and killed and captured many of their chiefs. Only Allah could have wrought such a victory. In the same way that Christ’s miracles proved His message (See Matt 9:6; Mark 10:2 & 16:20; John 11: 41-45), Mohammed’s victory showed that his message and authority were true. What more proof was needed?

Another key result of the battle of Badr is that those killed in battle are now referred to and honored as martyrs. It is from this point that the theme of obtaining eternal life from martyrdom in battle takes center stage in the words and history of Mohammed. Space does not permit me to delineate this progression, but the insatiable desire for martyrdom in battle becomes a virtually unstoppable engine of war within the Muslim community and its theology. When unbelievers were encouraged to convert to Islam or face the threat of war, they were told: “We have men who love death more than you love life.”

…Allow me to quickly point out one other “miracle” associated with Mohammed. Mohammed was trying to take one of the forts of the Jews (at Khaybar) who he counted as his enemies. “The apostle said, ‘Tomorrow I will give the flag to a man who loves Allah and his apostle. Allah will conquer it by his means; he is no runaway.’ So he called Ali who was suffering from ophthalmia at that time and spat in his eye, saying, ‘Take this flag and go with it until God gives a victory through you.’ So Ali went off with it, gasping as he hurried… he did not return until God had conquered by his hands.”

On at least two occasions, Christ effected a blind man’s healing with His spittle. (Mark 8:23, John 9:6) The end of the matter was sight–with life and peace and joy. With Mohammed’s miracle of spitting in Ali’s eye, the end of the matter was war, conquering, and death…

After the Jewish fort of Khaybar had been taken by Ali, Mohammed summoned Kinana son of al-Rabi, who was a treasurer of Khaybar. Mohammed asked him where the treasure was kept, but Kinana denied any knowledge of its whereabouts.
Ibn Ishaq reports: “A Jew came to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, ‘Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?’ He said yes. The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr son of al-Awwam, ‘Torture him until you extract what he has,’ so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Mohammed son of Maslama and he struck off his head…” (Ibn Ishaq, 515)

Mohammed then took the dead man’s wife, Safiya, and he “married” her within one or two days of her husband’s killing. (Ibn Ishaq, 515) She was 19 years old, and stunningly beautiful. Imagine the horror of this young wife who had seen her husband, her father and her people slain in cold blood being taken into the tent of the 52 year old Mohammed, and becoming his “wife.”

…after the “miracle” of the battle of Badr, Mohammed enjoyed an almost unbroken string of military successes. Those military successes resulted in death for his unbelieving enemies, booty for his followers, and served as dreadful warnings to those tribes and cities over which Mohammed had cast his gaze. The message that emerged was this: Come in peace to Islam, declare your allegiance to Mohammed and his religion, or run the risk of being swept away.

During that time of sudden military victory and expansion, he began to send out individuals or small bands of Islamic soldiers to strike down his enemies. As in the battle of Badr, their mission was to strike terror in the hearts of unbelievers–with the hope that they would see Mohammed’s military victories as a divine token of approval of his apostleship.

It was during this time that Mohammed began a new practice of dealing with his detractors: assassination. He would send out individuals or small groups (two or three or four men) with specific instructions to assassinate a certain man or woman. The intent of the assassinations was the same as open war: the punishment of specific unbelievers that had offended Mohammed, and the conversion of others to Islam who would see or hear of someone’s gruesome death, and then confess their faith in Mohammed. The fruit of the battle of Badr was going to seed…

[Upcoming excerpts will show the use of beheadings and assassinations; how Mohammed “won converts;” how Mohammed treated his enemies; the part that theft and plunder plays in the Mohammedan scheme; the treatment of hostages; dealings with Christians and Jews; and the vision of Islam to conquer the world in the same way that it conquered the Byzantine Empire… and nearly conquered Europe. By Randall Terry, 3501-B, Ponce de Leon Blvd, St. Augustine FL, 32084]

Sources

The Life of the Prophet Muhammad. Ibn Kathir. Volume II, Translated by Professor Trevor LeGassick. Garnet publishing.

The Koran. Translated from the Aribic by J.M. Rodwell

The Life of Muhammad. A translation of Ishaq’s Sirat Rasol Allah. Oxford University Press.

Al-Tabari, Volume VIII, New York University Press

A Short History of Islam, S.F. Mahmud, Oxford University Press

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One Response to “Comparing Christ and Mohammed”

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