Was Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) An Idol Worshipper?
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
The article will be divided into the following sections: –
-Did the Prophet sacrifice or eat food sacrificed to idols?
-The Muslims used to pray towards the direction of the Ka’bah when the Idols were filling it. Is this idol worship?
-The Prophet kissed the Black Stone. Does that mean he worshipped it?
Did the Prophet sacrifice or eat food sacrificed to idols?
The hadith presented to show this is…
Volume 7, Book 67, Number 407:
Allah’s Apostle said that he met Zaid bin ‘Amr Nufail at a place near Baldah and this had happened before Allah’s Apostle received the Divine Inspiration. Allah’s Apostle presented a dish of meat (that had been offered to him by the pagans) to Zaid bin ‘Amr.
But Zaid refused to eat of it and then said (to the pagans), “I do not eat of what you slaughter on your stonealtars (Ansabs) nor do I eat except that on which Allah’s Name has been mentioned on slaughtering.”
Here we see the hadith in a different version…
Volume 5, Book 58, Number 169:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar:
The Prophet met Zaid bin ‘Amr bin Nufail in the bottom of (the valley of) Baldah before any Divine Inspiration came to the Prophet. A meal was presented to the Prophet, but he refused to eat from it. (Then it was presented to Zaid) who said, “I do not eat anything which you slaughter in the name of your stone idols. I eat none but those things on which Allah’s Name has been mentioned at the time of slaughtering.”
Zaid bin ‘Amr used to criticize the way Quraish used to slaughter their animals, and used to say, “Allah has created the sheep and He has sent the water for it from the sky, and He has grown the grass for it from the earth; yet you slaughter it in other than the Name of Allah. He used to say so, for he rejected that practice and considered it as something abominable.
Here we see that the meal was presented to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and then it was presented to Zayd unlike the first hadith, which only shows that the Prophet (peace be upon him) presented the meal. So, it appears that BOTH the Prophet and Zayd refused to eat from the dish.
Imam Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani mentions several different narrations regarding this event (Fathul Bari, Kitab: Al Zhabaa’ih wal Sayd, Bab: Ma Zhabaha A’ala Nasab wal Asnaam, Commentary on Hadith no. 5075, and (Fathul Bari, Kitab:
Al Manaqib, Bab: Hadeeth Zayd bin Amro bin Nafeel, Commentary on Hadith no.3540, He gives different possibilities that the Prophet (peace be upon him) never ate that food nor sacrificed food to idols.
HOWEVER, ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT so that Christian missionaries won’t accuse us of trying to run away from the issue, let’s agree with them ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT and say that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did do these things.
The hadith make it clear that this incident happened before Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) Prophethood…
Volume 7, Book 67, Number 407:
Allah’s Apostle said that he met Zaid bin ‘Amr Nufail at a place near Baldah and this had happened before Allah’s Apostle received the Divine Inspiration. Allah’s Apostle presented a dish of meat (that had been offered to him by the pagans) to Zaid bin ‘Amr, but Zaid refused to eat of it and then said (to the pagans), “I do not eat of what you slaughter on your stonealtars (Ansabs) nor do I eat except that on which Allah’s Name has been mentioned on slaughtering.”
At this time the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not even guided with the truth. He did not know who God was and did not truly worship Him the way He should be worshipped. Secondly, the verse prohibiting the eating of food sacrificed under anything besides God’s name came much later and therefore there wasn’t a law that the Prophet (peace be upon him) broke in this situation.
Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) was guided to the truth by having revelations sent down to him, he did nothing but promote against idol worship.
I don’t understand how Christians have a problem with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) eating food sacrificed to idols (assuming that he even did) before his Prophethood when he wasn’t guided.
But don’t have a problem with Prophet Solomon worshipping idols during his Prophethood according to the Bible and yet he was one of the authors of the Bible, which is allegedly a book that demotes idol worship!!! Read this artile for clarification.
These are double standards from Christians. If this disproves the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) then this also disproves the Prophethood of Solomon portrayed in the Bible.
Do the following Hadith show that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was someone who liked or venerated idols?…
Volume 1, Book 1, Number 6:
Then I asked you what he ordered you to do. You replied that he ordered you to worship Allah and Allah alone and not to worship anything along with Him and forbade you to worship idols and ordered you to pray, to speak the truth and to be chaste.
Volume 3, Book 43, Number 658:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Masud:
The Prophet entered Mecca and (at that time) there were three hundred-and-sixty idols around the Ka’ba. He started stabbing the idols with a stick he had in his hand and reciting: “Truth (Islam) has come and Falsehood (disbelief) has vanished.”
Volume007, Book 066, Hadith Number 382.
Narrated By Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Neither Fara’ nor ‘Atira (is permissible):” Al-Fara’ nor ‘Atira (is permissible):” Al-Fara’ was the first offspring (of camels or sheep) which the pagans used to offer (as a sacrifice) to their idols. And Al-‘Atira was (a sheep which was to be slaughtered) during the month of Rajab.
Book 001, Number 0352:
Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported: Some people during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Messenger of Allah! shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection? The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Yes, and added:
Do you feel any trouble in seeing the sun at noon with no cloud over it, and do you feel trouble in seeing the moon (open) in the full moonlit night with no cloud over it? They said: No, Messenger of Allah! He (the Holy Prophet) said: You will not feel any trouble in seeing Allah on the Day of Resurrection any more than you do in seeing any one of them.
When the Day of Resurrection comes a Mu’adhdhin (a proclaimer) would proclaim: Let every people follow what they used to worship. Then all who worshipped idols and stones besides Allah would fall into the Fire, till only the righteous and the vicious and some of the people of the Book who worshipped Allah are left……….
Book 004, Number 1812:
‘Amr b. ‘Abasa Sulami reported: I in the state of the Ignorance (before embracing Islam) used to think that the people were in error, and they were not on anything (which may be called the right path) and worshipped the idols.
In the meanwhile, I heard of a man in Mecca who was giving news (on the basis of his prophetic knowledge); so I sat on my ride and went to him. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) was at that time hiding as his people had made life hard for him.
I adopted a friendly attitude (towards the Meccans and thus managed) to enter Mecca and go to him (the Holy Prophet) and I said to him: Who are you?
He said: I am a Prophet (of Allah). I again said: Who is a Prophet? He said: (I am a Prophet in the sense that) I have been sent by Allah.
I said: What is that which you have been sent with? He said: I have been sent to join ties of relationship (with kindness and affection), to break the Idols, and to proclaim the oneness of Allah (in a manner that) nothing is to be associated with Him……….
Book 010, Number 3840:
Jabir b. ‘Abdullah (Allah be pleased with them) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying in the Year of Victory while he was in Mecca: Verily Allah and His Messenger have forbidden the sale of wine, carcass, swine and idols, It was said: Allah’s Messenger, you see that the fat of the carcass is used for coating the boats and varnishing the hides and people use it for lighting purposes, whereupon he said:
No, it is forbidden, Then Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: May Allah the Exalted and Majestic destroy the Jews; when Allah forbade the use of fat of the carcass for them, they melted it, and then sold it and made use of its price (received from it).
Book 015, Number 4043:
Abd al-Rahman b. Samura reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Do not swear by idols, nor by your fathers.
Book 019, Number 4397:
It has been narrated by Ibn Abdullah who said: The Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) entered Mecca. There were three hundred and sixty idols around the Ka’ba. He began to thrust them with the stick that was in his hand saying:”
Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Lo! falsehood was destined to vanish” (xvii. 8). Truth has arrived, and falsehood can neither create anything from the beginning nor can It restore to life
Book 20, Number 20.51.176:
Yahya related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa that Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr used to say, “Know that the whole of Arafa is a standing-place except for the middle of Urana, and that the wholeof Muzdalifa is a standing-place except for the middle of Muhassir.”
Malik said, “Allah, the Blessed and Exalted says, ‘There is to be no rafath, no fusuq and no jidal during the hajj.’ ” Qur’an (2:197).
He added, “Rafath is sexual relations with women, and Allah knows best. Allah, the Blessed and Exalted says, ‘Rafath with your women is permitted to you on the night of the fast.’ Qur’an (2:197). Fusuq are sacrifices made to idols, and Allah knows best.
Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, says, ‘Or a fisq offered up to other than Allah.’ Qur’an (2:197) Jidal (arguing) during the hajj refers to when the Quraysh used to stand near the mashar al-haram at Quzah in Muzdalifa, while the Arabs and others would stand at Arafa, and they would argue about who was the more correct.
Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, says, ‘And we appointed a method of sacrifice for every nation, which they followed, so let them not dispute with you about the matter, and call to your Lord. Surely you are on a straight guidance.’ (Sura 22 ayat 67) This is what jidal refers to in our opinion, and Allah knows best. This I have heard from the people of knowledge.”
The Muslims used to pray towards the Ka’bah when the Idols were filling it. Is this idol worship?
Some argue that while the Muslims were in Madinah and before they conquered Makkah to destroy the idols, the Ka’bah was filled with idols and the Muslims used to pray towards the Ka’bah knowing that the idols were in it. So, they argue that this is idol worship.
This is indeed a ridiculous argument. I already quoted hadith showing that once the Muslims conquered Makkah the idols surrounding the Ka’bah were destroyed…
Volume 3, Book 43, Number 658:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Masud:
The Prophet entered Mecca and (at that time) there were three hundred-and-sixty idols around the Ka’ba. He started stabbing the idols with a stick he had in his hand and reciting:
“Truth (Islam) has come and Falsehood (disbelief) has vanished.”
Book 019, Number 4397:
It has been narrated by Ibn Abdullah who said: The Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) entered Mecca. There were three hundred and sixty idols around the Ka’ba. He began to thrust them with the stick that was in his hand saying:” Truth has come and falsehood has vanished.
Lo! falsehood was destined to vanish” (xvii. 8). Truth has arrived, and falsehood can neither create anything from the beginning nor can It restore to life
If it was the Muslim’s intention to worship the idols surrounding the Ka’bah then why did they go and destroy them once they conquered Makkah? It makes no sense.
Moiz Ahmad was asked regarding this issue, and he replied back very logically…
All that I can say about your statements cited above is that you have very successfully criticized your own interpretation of the referred incident. However, a more honest and a more academic approach of criticizing Islam.
In my opinion, would rather have been to first understand the implication of facing the Ka`bah (with or without the idols) according to the Muslim mind, and then to criticize that implication.
Nevertheless, rather than going through this academic exercise, you have ascribed a certain implication to the act of facing the Ka`bah during the Muslim prayers and have criticized that implication, as if it were the real implication held and ascribed to by the Muslims as well as promoted by the Prophet (pbuh).
Do you consider this as being intellectually honest?
Idolatry, I am sure you know, is to worship idols. Had Mohammed (pbuh) been so fond of worshiping idols, as you have implied in your comments, he would have made the necessary adjustments and compromises in his message, while he was still in Mekkah, and thereby avoided his own and his family’s persecution, when the time was right for it.
After all, what benefits would now have accrued of worshiping idols, when he had already enflamed the enmity and hatred of all of the Arab nations against himself, in particular, and his followers, in general.
If your interpretation of the incident is held to be correct, then facing the Ka`bah, with or without the idols, is itself idolatry. However, contrary to what you have interpreted from the incident, when Muslims offer their prayers facing the Ka`bah, it is not the Ka`bah that they worship, but the one God.
Facing the Ka`bah symbolizes a number of things but worshiping the Ka`bah is definitely not one of them, just as the Jews did not worship the Ark, when they turned toward it, during Amidah.
In exactly the same manner, when the Prophet (pbuh), according to the directives of the Qur’an, turned toward the Ka`bah in his prayers, even while it was filled with idols, it did not signify worshiping or paying homage to the idols. It only signified worshiping the one God, facing the direction ordained by Him.
The Prophet kissed the Black Stone. Does that mean he worshipped it?
This has to be one of the lamest arguments yet. Just because the Prophet (peace be upon him) kissed the Black Stone does not necessarily imply that he worshipped it.
Volume 2, Book 26, Number 667:
Narrated ‘Abis bin Rabia:
‘Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said “No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah’s Apostle kissing you I would not have kissed you.”
Volume 2, Book 26, Number 675:
Narrated Zaid bin Aslam from his father who said:
“Umar bin Al-Khattab addressed the Corner (Black Stone) saying, ‘By Allah! I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit nor harm. Had I not seen the Prophet touching (and kissing) you, I would never have touched (and kissed) you.’
Then he kissed it and said, ‘There is no reason for us to do Ramal (in Tawaf) except that we wanted to show off before the pagans, and now Allah has destroyed them.’ ‘Umar added, ‘(Nevertheless), the Prophet did that and we do not want to leave it (i.e., Ramal).’
We can see that Umar was even acknowledging that this stone had no power to do anything. So, if the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) truly worshipped this stone then he should have at least informed his companions that this stone was an idol and that they should pray to it.
However, we see that the companions did not do such a thing because the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not promote or believe in such a thing.
By Bassam Zawadi
Allah knows Best.