Monday, December 22, 2008

Muhammad, Just the Last of Many?

Although Muhammad incautiously took several fateful steps in what he chose to relate of the true story of Christ in the Qur'an, often showing Jesus’ exalted character in spite of the overall spirit of Muhammadan revelation that was evidently calculated to denigrate Christ’s divinity and transcendent dignity, it is nevertheless clear that Muhammad held exceptionally high views of himself and wanted others to do the same. In spite of this, it is common to hear many of the rank and file among Muslims saying that they hold all prophets to be on an equal footing, with none being greater or less than another. Just how they can read Muhammad’s self-flattering remarks and arrive at such a conclusion is beyond me, especially when you consider that many of his claims go well beyond teaching that he is simply greater than the prophets, and, in some cases, are difficult to distinguish from the rankest of pagan idolatry.

Of course it is usually westernized Muslims or Muslim apologists to the West who make such humble claims for Muhammad, saying that he was nothing more than one of many prophets, none of whom stand out with any distinction above the others, all the while contentedly leaving the bulk of the worlds Muslims to hang on Muhammad’s every word, judgment, and action, even down to such trivial matters as what side of their body they sleep on or what direction they urinate in. Notwithstanding that, the point of this post is not to ascertain the upper limits of how Muhammad wanted his followers to regard him, or how far he wanted them to go in their fetishism, but simply to show that Muhammad, at least according to such revered Muslim authorities as Yusuf Ali, did maintain that he was eminently greater than all other prophets, including Abraham, the friend of God (Khalil Allah), Moses, to whom God spoke directly (Kalim Allah), and even Jesus, the Word of God.

The following are given in the order they appear in Yusuf Ali’s commentary of the Qur’an.

“…In Muhammad’s mission these [Moses, David, Joshua, Jesus] and other characters were combined. Gentler than Jesus, he organized on a vaster scale than Moses, and from Madinah he ruled and gave laws, and the Qur’an has a vaster scope than the Psalms of David. (Cf. 2:285).” #289

“Belief in the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be on him) is thus an integral part and a logical corollary of belief in Allah.” #779

“In this verse is a prefiguring, to Moses, of the Arabian Messenger, the last and greatest of the Messengers of Allah.” #1127

“Out attention having been directed to various prophets, who were sent with missions to their several peoples, and in each of whose careers there is some prefigurement of the life of the last and greatest of them, we are now asked to listen to the proclamation of Muhammad’s universal mission.” #1131

“That the last and greatest of the Prophets should arise among them [the Arabs], and they and their language be made the vehicle of the new, full and universal light, has also a meaning, which is explained in C. 12-16.” #1132

“It is a necessity of a Prophet’s soul that he should speak out and teach all that he knows, to worthy and unworthy alike. This, Jacob did to his unworthy sons, as well as to his worthy sons whom he loved best. It was not for him as a Prophet to guarantee any results. In this case he could not save his sons from getting into trouble merely because they followed the letter of his advice in a small matter. Apply this to the teaching of one who is greater than Jacob. Men who literally observe some small injunctions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and neglect the greater principles which he taught cannot blame him for their troubles and difficulties. If they examined the matter, they would find that they brought the troubles on themselves.” #1732

“Cf. 2:49. The reference back to Israel and Moses serves a double purpose – as an appeal to the People of the Book, and as a reminder to the Quraysh of the favour now conferred on them by the coming among them of a greater Prophet than Moses.” #1878

“Now we come to the time of our Holy Prophet. In spite of all the past, the Jews could still have obtained Allah’s forgiveness if they had not obstinately rejected the greatest of the Prophets also. If they were to continue in their sins, Allah’s punishment would also continue to visit them.” #2181

“To the Prophet was to be assigned in the Hereafter the highest Post of Honour and Glory – the Maqam Mahmud implying his excellence above all other Prophets. The immediate reference may be to the hope that the Makkan persecution will soon be over and the glorious work in Madinah will begin. (R).” #2278

Here is a Prophet and a Book, greater than Moses and his Book. Are you going to reject him and it? (R).” #2711

"....But 'man' in this connection is understood to mean the Leader of man, the noblest of mankind, Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah...." #3943

“The People of the Book immediately referred to are the Jews and the Christians, who had received scriptures in the same line of prophecy in which came our Holy Prophet. There scriptures should have prepared them for the advent of the greatest and last of the Prophets…” #6221

No comments: