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The Religion of Peace

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Charbonnier
"I’d rather die standing up
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Stephane Charbonnier
(1967-2015)


Myths of Muhammad

The Myth:

Muhammad and His
 Followers were Forced
to Flee Mecca Under Persecution


"Our Prophet (peace be upon him) was chased with his followers from their homes and forced to seek refuge [in Medina]"

The Truth:

Only Muhammad was in danger at Mecca - and this was after he made a treaty of war against the local residents while living among them, thirteen years into his preaching.

After his influential uncle (Abu Talib) died, Muhammad was exposed to the wrath of the Meccans, whom he had been insulting free of personal consequence for so many years.  Even so, they still weren't looking to harm him, because they believed that he would stop stirring up trouble following the loss of his protector.

They were mistaken.

Muhammad eventually made an alliance with another town, Medina, that included provisions of war against the Meccans.  The parties to the treaty were asked “Do you realize to what you are committing yourselves in pledging your support to this man?  It is to war against all and sundry” (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 299 and 305). 

The pledge to war is further confirmed by Ibn Kathir: "The Quraysh were concerned... since they knew that he had decided to do battle with them. (Vol.2 p151)

Therefore, it was only after Muhammad committed himself to armed revolution against the Meccans that the town’s leaders sought to have him either killed or evicted.

The historical account also flatly contradicts the popular view that all Muslims had to flee Mecca following Muhammad’s declaration of war.  In fact, it was only Muhammad himself whom the Meccans were interested in seizing.  This is proven by the episode recounted in Ibn Ishaq/Hisham (326-328) and Ibn Kathir (Vol.2 p153) in which Muhammad's own son-in-law, Ali, sleeps in his bed to trick his enemies into thinking that they had cornered him on the night they came to seize him.

Not only did the Meccans do no harm to Ali, even after finding out that he had fooled them, but he remained in the city for several days thereafter with Muhammad’s daughter Fatima in order to arrange the transfer of the family business to Medina.

The story of Fatima's sister, Muhammad's oldest daughter, is of acute embarrassment to those who insist Muslims were suffering in Mecca.  Zaynab was married to Abu al-Aas ibn al-Rabee, one of Muhammad's arch enemies, and had no desire to leave.  When Muhammad took her husband prisoner at the Battle of Badr, Zaynab tried to ransom him, but the prophet of Islam would not free the man until she promised to leave Mecca and live in Medina with him instead.  She was actually forced to trade her marriage for her husband's life.  It was not until Abu al-Aas agreed to "embrace" Islam (after being taken hostage again six years later following a Muslim caravan raid) that Muhammad allowed the two to live together.

Muslim biographers provide the names of other Muslims who continued to live in Mecca following Muhammad’s departure and there is no record that they were persecuted.  There is even some evidence that the Muslims in Medina were allowed to conduct pilgrimages back to Mecca during the holy months (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 424 & Qur’an 2:196).

It is important to note that Muhammad justified his own eviction at the hands of the Meccans by his subsequent actions in Medina, where he began evicting the native Jewish tribes within just a few months of arriving.  Apologists are fond of claiming that the eviction (and outright execution) of the Jews on the direct order of Muhammad was necessary because of their “enmity” towards him. 

Unfortunately for the Jews, the Muslims were far less patient and far more severe with them than the Meccans had been with Muhammad – but this is just one of the many grand hypocrisies of Islam. 

A supremacist ideology is always its own justification.

Further Reading:

 

Myths of Muhammad Index

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