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Answering Islamophobic Claims

Did the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) create Islam for power and wealth?

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Some critics of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) allege that he created Islam in order to get wealthy and powerful.

This argument at face value doesn’t hold much weight, for if one thinks of it, there’s so many other ways to get wealthy and powerful rather than creating an entire new religion, going against your community, and facing so much hardship.

Add this to the fact that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came from a respected-wealthy family, and was already relatively successful as a tradesman, he basically had all the foundations in place to get rich and powerful.

Nonetheless, during the Prophet’s lifetime, his people, primarily his pagan opponents, came to him with an offer. They told him they would make him their king, grant him wealth, and all the women he wanted on the condition he quit his message of Islam, or made Islam more accommodating with their pagan beliefs of being able to indulge in idol worship.

Now surely if the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was all about getting the power and wealth, then he would’ve accepted the offer right? Well here’s what happened instead:

Yazid b. Ziyad from Muhammad b. Ka'b al-Qurazi told me that he was told that Utba b. Rabi'a, who was the chief, said one day while he was sitting in the Quraysh assembly and the apostle was sitting in the mosque by himself, 'Why should I not go to Muhammad and make some proposals to him which if he accepts in part, we will give him whatever he wants, and he will leave us in peace?' This happened when Hamza had accepted Islam and they saw that the prophet's followers were increasing and multiplying. They thought it was a good idea, and Utba went and sat by the prophet and said, ?O my nephew, you are one of us as you know, of the noblest of the tribe and hold a worthy position in ancestry. You have come to your people with an important matter, dividing the community thereby and ridiculing their customs, and you have insulted their gods and their religion, and declared that their forefathers were unbelievers, so listen to me and I will make some suggestions, and perhaps you will be able to accept one of them.' The apostle agreed, and he went on, 'If what you want is money, we will gather for you out of our property so that you may be the richest of us; if you want honour, we will make you our chief so that no one can decide anything apart from you; if you want sovereignty, we will make you king, and if this ghost which comes to you, which you see, is such that you cannot get rid of him, we will find a physician for you, and exhaust our means in getting you cured of it', or words to that effect. The apostle listened patiently, and then said: 'Now listen to me, In the Name of God, the compassionate and merciful, H.M., a revelation from the compassionate, the merciful, a book whose verses are expounded as an Arabic Quran for a people who understand, as an announcement and warning, though most of them turn aside not listening and say, “Our hearts are veiled from that to which you invite us.'''' Then the apostle continued to recite it to him. When Utba heard it from him, he listened attentively, putting his hands behind his back and leaning on them as he listened. Then the prophet ended at the prostration and prostrated himself, and said, 'You have heard what you have heard, Abu Al Walid; the rest remains with you.' When Utba returned to his companions they noticed that his expression had completely altered, and they asked him what happened. He said that he had heard words such as he had never heard before, which were neither poetry, spells, nor witchcraft. 'Take my advice and do as I do, leave this man entirely alone for, by God, the words which I have heard will be blazed abroad. If (other) Arabs kill him, others will have rid you of him; if he gets the better of the Arabs, his sovereignty will be your sovereignty, his power your power, and you will be prosperous through him.' They said, 'He has bewitched you with his tongue.' To which he answered, 'You have my opinion, you must do what you think fit.' (Alfred, Guillaume. The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasu Allah. Oxford University press, 2002. PP. 131-132)

As we read, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) flat out rejected the offer from the pagans; he refused their offer of giving him all the power, all the money, and all the women.

What this reveals is that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was indeed sincere about the message he was preaching, and that he wasn’t doing it for personal gain.

As we earlier said, indeed if the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) wanted power and wealth, there would be so many other options, and available options I might add, for him to take, so why take the most complicated and hard route if this was the supposed case? 

 

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