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See: Project Rebuttal: What the West needs to know about Islam

Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam

Read: Background to the Project

List of all Issues | Summary 1 | Summary 2 | Summary 3‎ — completed, 28th June 2013


September 24th, 2011

Issue 20

Issue 20 [@ 17:43]: Serge Trifkovic – “Well it all changes with the establishment of Muhammad’s theocratic statelet in the city of Medina. He becomes a warlord. He becomes the head of the totalitarian state. He becomes very rich. Very powerful and very intolerant. And then many of these early verses in fact get abrogated.”

Rebuttal 20: Serge Trifkovic ridicules Muhammad when he was “powerless” (Issue 18) and when he was “powerful” (Current Issue). Trifkovic will criticize Muhammad regardless. This is not logic, but simply reeking of his hate towards Muhammad no matter what. He wishes Muhammad never was. With this kind of hate, he loses any standing what so ever to be even rebutted, but we will still give him room. He only exposes himself with his bigotry.

Serge Trifkovic tries to set new moralities and standards of interpreting history. Never has it been possible in history, for one to be a warlord, totalitarian, very rich, powerful, intolerant yet declared by secular history to be the most successful man ever on the basis of him being – Active as a social reformer, diplomat, merchant, philosopher, orator, legislator, military leader, humanitarian, philanthropist – which is how Muhammad is ranked #1 in The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. There are many good reasons why Michael H. Hart describes Muhammad as – “supremely successful” in both the religious and secular realms, which Trifkovic apparently fails to perceive.

Serge Trifkovic, sorry you came to the anti-Muhammad game too late. About fifteen hundred years ago, after the incessant persecution proved futile, the Makkans had already made the offer to Muhammad of great riches, totalitarian and theocratic powers, women, heaps of gold and silver which he rejected when he was “powerless” (Trifkovic’s own word – Issue 18). All this was offered to him by the delegation of Makkans sometime before his immigration to Medina in the following words:

“If your ambition is to possess wealth, we will amass for you as much of it as you wish; if you aspire to win honour and power, we are prepared to swear allegiance to you as our overlord and king; if you have a fancy for beauty, you shall have the hand of the finest maiden of your own choice.” [Muhammad the Prophet, p. 60]

To all these temptations Muhammad replied:

“I want neither pelf nor power. I have been commissioned by Allah as Warner to mankind. I deliver His message to you. Should you accept it, you shall have felicity in this life as well as in the life to come; should you reject the word of Allah, surely Allah will decide between you and me.” [Muhammad the Prophet, p. 60]

It is to this that the Holy Quran refers in the following verse:

17:74. And if We had not made thee firm, thou mightest have indeed inclined to them a little.”
[Muhammad the Prophet, p. 60]

It totally makes no sense for Muhammad to endure decades of incessant persecution for himself, his family, his friends, his peers, and his followers just to get to Medina to become in words of Serge Trifkovic – “a warlord, totalitarian, very rich, powerful, intolerant” which was offered to him on a platter in Makkah in the first place. Next time Serge Trifkovic please check your facts.

The epithets that Serge Trifkovic uses for Muhammad, in fact, befit himself perfectly rather than Muhammad, since Serge Trifkovic was undeniably an adviser to genocidal, “warlord, totalitarian, very rich, powerful, intolerant,” Hague convicts – his fellow Serbians. Serge Trifkovic should consult his own resume first before trying to sling mud on others.

Lets see each of adjectives used by Trifkovic in light of Quran. Maybe he can learn a lesson in morality. In his scorn for government of Medina he uses the words – Muhammad’s theocratic statelet – totalitarian state. Has he ever wondered what made that statelet spread to all corners of the then known world in a very short period of time? How come the same statelet replaced the then mighty and tyrannical Persian and Roman empires? Who moved the Roman and Greek sciences out of Europe? Who invented Algebra and Algorithms? Who introduced decimal positioning system and “zero” to the modern world? Who made advances in chemistry and physical sciences that formed the basis of current modernity? Ever wondered why the major stars systems have Arabic names. It owes it all to the same very statelet that Serge Trifkovic terms as Theocratic. At least that theocracy did not punish it scientists with life imprisonment nor made them recant their heresy that earth is the center of universe.

Some of the moral principles underlying the success of that “theocratic statelet” are outlined in Quran as follows:

Merit yes, Cronyism no, Equal Justice for all:
4:58. Surely, Allâh commands you to make over the trusts (such as the affairs of the state) to those who are competent to it, and that when you judge between the people you should judge with justice. That which Allâh exhorts you to do is best indeed. Allâh is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.

Allegiance to the Flag:
4:59. O you who believe! obey Allâh and obey (His) Messenger and those who are in authority among you (to decide your affairs). And should you differ among yourselves in anything, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (and judge according to their teachings), if indeed you believe in Allâh and the Last Day. That is (in your) best (interests) and most commendable in the long run.

State for moral uplift of individuals and the society:
42:36. (People!) whatever you have been given is only the passing enjoyment of the present life. But much better and more lasting is that (reward) which Allâh has for those who believe and put there trust in their Lord;

Virtuous and Tolerant society:
42:37. Those who avoid the more grievous sins and acts of indecency and who forgive when their anger is aroused,

Democratic and Benevolent society:
42:38. And those who respond to their Lord and observe Prayer and whose affairs are (decided by) mutual consultation, and who go on spending (in Our cause) out of what We have provided for them,

Strong but Non-Aggressive society:
42:39. And those who, when they meet wrongful aggression, defend themselves.

Forgiving Society:
42:40. And (they keep in mind that) the recompense of an evil done is a punishment equal to it (for an evil merits an equal evil). But he who pardons (an offender) and (thereby) improves the matter (and effects thereby a reform in the offender) shall have his reward from Allâh. Behold! He does not love the wrong doers.

Just society:
42:41. No blame shall lie on those who defend themselves after a wrong is done to them.
42:42. The blame only lies on those who wrong people and commit aggression in the land without justification. It is they for whom there awaits a grievous punishment.

Forbearing society:
42:43. But the one who bears (the wrong done to him) and forgives, (let it be remembered that) surely to do so is a matter of great fortitude and high resolve.

After using adjectives for Government in Medina, Trifkovic then moves on to use derogatory adjectives for Muhammad i.e. warlord – very intolerant – very rich – very powerful. For the record all his allegations against Muhammad are unfounded and lack support in history. Trifkovic cannot even invent a hypothetical event to back up his malicious claims. His allegations are hollow words, completely devoid of any facts.

Still, inadvertently, he draws our attention to the subject of tolerance from life of Muhammad which reflects Quran. Before quoting from Quran, lets compare the concept of tolerance pervasive in faith of the most of the participants of this movie in the following excerpt:

From orphan to king, Muhammad passed through many different stages of life. Events of diverse nature arose in the course of his career which demanded the manifestation of various
characters. At every step he was weighed, but was never found wanting. We need a perfect model suitable to our needs in our several walks of life, and the life of the sacred Prophet in itself eloquently promises such a model. A king, a statesman, a warrior, a general, a lawgiver, a judge, a conqueror, a persecuted fugitive, a tradesman, a friend, a son, a father, a husband, a neighbour all these characters are mirrored in most beautiful colours in his life. It is not through his sermons and teachings that we have to make our estimate of his character or teaching, but through his actions and deeds. In this respect Muhammad is the only solitary noble example in history. How can any other personality be taken as an ideal and a universal model for the human race if his own life has not been of a universal character? Jesus is no example to others in various walks of life, leave apart his being ideal and he is not decidedly so in its higher avenues.

For example, forgiveness requires given conditions for its exhibition, in the absence of which no one can fairly claim to have fulfilled it. In the first place let us suppose that a person is persecuted ruthlessly by his enemies and in the second, that his enemies fall and the change of circumstances places them at his mercy; and in third that he possesses the power to give them the punishment they rightly deserve. Mercy, like forgiveness, can be shown only by him who finds others at his mercy. The mere preaching of mercy is no proof, or even any indication, that the person so preaching really possesses that quality, unless he is in a position to show mercy. Moreover, a persecutor and a tormentor would regard forgiveness as an insult to himself if it came from his helpless victim. Jesus on the cross prayed for forgiveness for his tormentors. It shows the beauty of his heart. He, however, was situated in circumstances which were very far from constituting the necessary condition for the display of the quality of mercy. He could neither vanquish his enemy nor were they at his feet craving mercy.

In sacred history there is only one noble example which has the three conditions precedent for the manifestation of forgiveness, and that example was Muhammad. Consider his triumphal entry into Mecca. Arabia lay prostrate at his feet, and Mecca, the stronghold of opposition, was at his mercy. He could have cut off the heads of everyone there, those implacable enemies of his who gave him no quarter, who forced him to leave his native land and seek shelter among strangers; who held him up to senseless ridicule and cruel scorn. Muhammad would have been quite justified if he had punished them. Many of the Hebrew prophets did punish their enemies, and severely. Ramchandra and Krishna, the prophets and gods of Hindus, were relentless to their conquered foes. But the moral attribute of Forgiveness, which had never, till then received its full revelation in the history of religion, would have remained in abeyance, perhaps for ever, but for Muhammad.

The personal element never entered into his actions at all. He rejected every token of personal homage, and declined all regal authority; and when, at last, his haughty enemies appeared, humbled, before him, he asked what treatment they could expect at his hand. The Quraish, though cruel and callous themselves, knew full well the compassionate nature of the Prophet. They cried out:

“Thou art a noble brother and a noble cousin.”

Whereto the Prophet responded:

“There shall be no reproach against you this day: Go! Ye are free.” [Bukhari]

[Read on about Muhammad’s forgiveness of his arch enemies when he conquered Makkah – Hinda, the daughter of the Arab Chief Utba who chewed the liver of Muhammad’s uncle when he fell in Battle of Uhad; Hinda’s husband, Abu Saffyan who took leading part in all battles against Muhammad; Habbar-bin-Al Aswad, killer of Muhammad’s daughter, Zainab; Ikrma, son of Abu Jahl, the most implacable and inveterate enemy of Muhammad etc. – “The Ideal Prophet” p. 174-7]

Some of the Quranic principles underlying Muhammad’s example of tolerance are:

3:159. So (O Prophet!) it is owing to the great Mercy of Allâh that you are gentle towards them. Had you been harsh, hard-hearted, they would have certainly dispersed from around you; hence pardon them and ask protection for them, and consult them in matters (of administration), and when you are determined (after due consultation), put your trust in Allâh. Verily, Allâh loves those who put their trust in Him.

41:34. And good and evil are not alike. Repel (evil) with that (benign and graceful way) which is best, and lo, the person between whom and you there is enmity will behave as if he were your warm-hearted friend.

41: 35. Yet it is only the steadfast and patiently persevering who are allowed this (grace) and it is only those who possess a large share of good who are allowed this (moral standard).

Trifkovic describes Mohammad as being “very rich”as if he himself managed Muhammad’s secret Swiss bank accounts. It is a well recorded fact of history that the alleged “warlord” left his family with meager provisions upon his death. By public announcement he had paid off all his debts before his death which amounted to no more than a few dirhams (dollars). He was buried in his own home and not on some public land that would incur favor from taxpayer. His home was small and made of mortar and was bare of any furnishings as he used to sleep on palm leaves mat laid on the floor. Some warlord!

Reader might be interested to know about Muhammad’s morals which are summarized by Muhammad Ali in his book “Muhammad the Prophet” [p. 167]

The Prophet’s Sublime Morals

The Prophet an exemplar
No work was too low for him
Simplicity
Food
Dress
No attraction for comforts
Cleanliness
Love for friends
Generous to enemies
Equal justice for all Humility
Sympathy for poor and distressed
Hospitality
Gentleness
Faithfulness
Forgiveness
Modesty
Affection
Respect for others
Courage
Steadfastness.

Similarly, Khwaja Kamaluddin in his book “The Ideal Prophet” outlines the qualities of Muhammad in the following chapters:

The Ideal Exemplar

Keeping of Promise
Doing Justice
Sacrificial Spirit
Fairness in Dealing
Disregard of Distinction
The Prophet Discouraged undue Reverence
Modesty, Leniency, Shyness and Humility
Praise Discouraged
Sublimity of Manner

The Assemblage of Virtues

Benevolence
Bravery
Forgiveness
Humility of Mind
The Prophet would do the work of others
Exchange of Presents
His Aversion for Beggary
Hospitality

Trifkovic repeats “And then many of these early verses in fact get abrogated.” – We will hold off discussion of any verses until the he actually quotes a verse.

References:
The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History – Wikipedia
Michael H. Hart – Wikipedia
Serge Trifkovic – Wikipedia
Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī – Wikipedia
Muslim Scientists & Their Contribution – Civil Services of Pakistan
List of Arabic star names – Wikipedia
List of Muslim Scientists – Wikipedia
Galileo Galilei – Wikipedia
Father forgave them – Wikipedia
Muhammad The Prophet – Muhammad Ali
The Ideal Prophet – Khwaja Kamaluddin
Holy Quran – Nooruddin

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