Total Posts:5|Showing Posts:1-5
Jump to topic:

Innocence of Muslims - Some Needed Clarity

TanusBarbarus
Posts: 124
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/28/2012 2:17:01 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
The last few weeks have seen Islamic countries and Muslims worldwide, protesting the so called "movie" the Innocence of Muslims. Crowds of thousands have taken to the streets in both Muslim and Western countries, denouncing this film, chanting pro-Islamic slogans, anti-Western slogans, burning effigies of Obama, American and Jewish flags, and storming embassies and clashing with security forces.
The protests have led to the deaths of at least 51 people worldwide, including the US ambassador to Libya.
The reaction from Muslims has been mostly one centered around what they feel is a negative portrayal of Muhammad in the film. It has been called blasphemous, derogatory, inflammatory and slanderous by many Muslims. The majority of Muslims take offense to his portrayal in the film as a womanizer, a pedophile, a homosexual and a blood thirsty tyrant.
Others point to the prohibition in Islam against making ANY portrayal of Muhammad, weather painted, carved, filmed, drawn or in any other way represented. While this may be a rule in Islamic countries, I would argue that the mere portrayal of Muhammad in this film is not what has elicited the reaction it has. If he would have been shown in only a noble light, there would be 51 people alive in the world today, in my opinion. For the sake of expediency, I will not address the issue of this prohibition in this writing. Instead I will concentrate on the grievances given by the vast majority of Muslims, namely, the negative portrayal of Muhammad in this film.
It is also worth noting the reaction by many Westerners, be they politicians, religious figures, media pundits or simply citizens. Many have tried to distance themselves from the fallout associated with the film, and have fallen over themselves to condemn the film in no uncertain terms. Western leaders have called the film disgusting, said that it defiles a great religion, and that it gives a false portrayal of the "peaceful" Muhammad loved by 1.5 billion Muslims.
So what is this film really about?
By "film" I refer to the 14 minute trailer released on YouTube, the only reference for the film, as the full length version has yet to be released, and may or may not be in the future. It was the translation of this trailer into Arabic and its subsequent release that exposed the clip to the Islamic world and sparked the current crisis.
Is this 14 minute video clip truly what many, Muslims and non-Muslims, are calling it? Does it give a false portrayal of the character of Muhammad? Does it slander the Prophet of Islam, falsely attributing to him actions and propensities to which he was not historically linked?
To try and provide some clarity, I have endeavored to remain unbiased in analyzing the claims made in the film and how they compare to the historical figure of Muhammad. I hereby make it no secret that I am an atheist, as well as someone who, after years of study of Islamic texts, finds himself firmly convinced that Muhammad, in deed and intent, was a less than exemplary figure, and certainly not one who should provide a role model for today"s homo sapiens. That being said, I will try not to let my own feelings on the matter influence my thinking, but will instead attempt to simply judge the claims of the trailer, using only Islamic sources and texts to compare them to the "true" Muhammad, insofar as he can be known.
Before going into the message, I would briefly like to comment on what I see as the worst part about this 14 minute clip, at least to my eyes, and that is the atrocious production quality. I think my friends and I made higher quality films in high school theater. The folks who produce the children"s show "Barney and Friends" look like Dreamworks Pictures compared to the hacks that made "the Innocence of Muslims". The acting is third rate, the writing is terrible, the filming is unimaginative and amateurish, and the post production is worse than the 1970"s porn industry (and that is saying something). It is hard to see how anybody, even in the poorest Third World countries, could take this film seriously just based on the production qualities alone. See this article for an example of the reaction I believe this film warranted, rather than the reaction it was given. http://www.tnr.com...

This dissection of the film will take some time, so I will post it in pieces so as not to exceed the word count limit. I will post all that I have finished so far tonight, and will continue posting in the days ahead as I finish writing.
Maintaining the illusion of consciousness since 1969...
TanusBarbarus
Posts: 124
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/28/2012 2:18:06 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Now I will delve into the messages espoused in the various scenes of this 14 minute clip. I will break them down by the individual claims made about Islam or Muhammad. I will not be addressing the claim that the film "makes Muhammad look like an idiot". This is merely because I believe that, aside from specific claims about Muhammad, most of the times where the character of Muhammad seems "idiotic" or "bumbling", I attribute to the rancid performance of the lead actor who is portraying Muhammad. It is my belief that his so called acting would make any figure of historical significance look like an idiot, be it Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln. That aside, bear with me while I give this trailer more scrutiny than it would have ever deserved.
The clip opens with scenes in what I understand is Egypt, with the actors apparently portraying Coptic Christians, one who is attempting to give some insight into the historical character of Muhammad. It is during this time that the first claim is made about Muhammad.
The character comments on the marital life of Muhammad, claiming that he had 61 wives total, 11 at one time, and even a girlfriend. The implication here, and the reaction to this scene, is that Muhammad is being called a womanizer.
How does this compare to the historical Muhammad? Wikipedia, which lists all of the Islamic source material, gives the number of wives as eleven or thirteen. www.islamonline.net, a decidedly Islamic source, gives the number as 12. There seems to be no doubt among Muslims themselves, that Muhammad had multiple wives, and this is often described as a privilege befitting his status as Prophet. So, it seems quite a stretch to arrive at a number of 61. Even among anti-Islam sites, I cannot find another reference to 61 wives. Those sites seem to cite Islamic sources claiming from 9 " 30 wives for Muhammad. It is undeniable that Muhammad had many wives, but did that make him a womanizer?
Marriam-Webster.com defines a womanizer as "to pursue casual sexual relationships with multiple women". By this definition, Muhammad is not necessarily a womanizer based on the number of wives he had, unless it can be shown that the marriages were of a casual nature and only about sex. By most accounts, Muhammad"s treatment of his wives was a marked improvement over the norms of 7th century Arabian desert tribes, but this does not by itself imply that his treatment of women was exemplary, especially by the standards of today. Where Muhammad and Islam seems to codify more "casual" sexual liaisons outside of marriage is concerning the subject of slaves, concubines or as the Qur"an puts it "those whom your right hand possesses".
The relevant verses in the Qur"an are as follows "
04:24 Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess. Thus has Allah ordained for you.
23:5-6 And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts); Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame;
33:50 O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those (slaves) whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee.
Another relevant source can be found in the Hadith of Bukhari, a respected collection of the traditions of Muhammad, that along with the Qur"an, make up the basis for Sharia, or Islamic law "
Volume 7, Book 62, Number 137:
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
We got female captives in the war booty and we used to do coitus interruptus with them. So we asked Allah's Apostle about it and he said, "Do you really do that?" repeating the question thrice, "There is no soul that is destined to exist but will come into existence, till the Day of Resurrection."
Also there is this Hadith found in the writings of Abu Dawud, concerning sex with slaves taken in battle, in which the context in which verse 4:24 of the Qur"an was revealed is told.
Abu Dawud 2150 - The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur"anic verse: (Qur'an 4:24) 'And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.'
From these accepted Islamic sources, it is clear that Muhammad, and through him, Allah, gives no prohibition to believers, including Muhammad, against casual sexual relationships outside of marriage, so long as the women are slaves. Being that these women were just captured, and are about to experience intercourse at the hands of Muhammad"s followers in front of their own husbands, it is also quite obvious that these women are not consenting to the act. This makes the acts performed fall under the category of rape by any reasonable definition, no matter the historical perspective.
It is clear that Muhammad sanctioned casual sex and rape outside of marriage, so long as it was against slave girls, considered booty in the case of those taken in battle. The fact that Muhammad, and Islamic law, set down harsh punishments for those committing adultery, or unlawful sexual conduct, within the Muslim community, or Ummah, hardly mitigates the treatment of women that once were married to unbelievers. The second class treatment toward those captured in battle seems to highlight one of the overarching themes in Islam " there are rules for the believers, and rights and benefits afforded to them, but those rights and benefits stop at the borders separating Muslims from the Kaffirs, or non-believers.
In conclusion, Muhammad did have multiple wives, though not as many as the film states, he did have sexual relations with his slaves, at least 2 that are documented in Islamic sources ( Mary the Copt and Rayhana), and he also sanctioned this behavior, even in the case of rape, by his believers. This at the very least calls into question the insistence that Islam somehow protects the rights of women, and that Muhammad treated women with nothing but respect.
Maintaining the illusion of consciousness since 1969...
TanusBarbarus
Posts: 124
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/28/2012 2:19:36 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Next is a street scene where Muslims go into a Christian community with the stated goal of burning homes and terrorizing the residents. While this depiction of bearded Muslim men rioting, burning and killing a Christian woman may be upsetting to some, the proper response to discount this image probably shouldn"t include rioting, burning, and killing unbelievers, however, that is precisely what we have seen. I have heard this behavior described as "say we are peaceful or we will kill you!"
The recent unrest notwithstanding, it is quite obvious from other recent events " the angry Pakistani crowds chasing out Christian residents in response to the alleged burning of Islamic documents by a mentally challenged young girl, or the rising levels of intimidation and fear imposed on the Coptic Christian community since the ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists in Egypt " that including this scene in the film clip can hardly be labeled as misrepresenting actual events in the Middle East committed by some Muslims.
Next there is a scene where Muhammad is derided as "a bastard" and is called "the Unknown Father". This part of the video is seemed purely as an attempt to denigrate the character of Muhammad. So far I have not been able to find any reference to the label "the Unknown Father", but I was able to find some references to Muhammad being adopted. Without further evidence, which I will continue to search for, I am more than willing to label this accusation as pure incitement.
Notice however that there have been numerous books that challenge not only the virgin birth of Jesus, but also his status as celibate, many implying that Jesus was married and had children. While this may make many Christians uncomfortable or angry, as it challenges the very nature of his character, there are so far no reported incidents of rioting, burning or killing in protest.
The next scene is one between Muhammad and his first wife, Khadija, and is taken from an account by one of Muhammad"s respected biographers, Ibn Ishaq. In this scene of the trailer, Muhammad is cowering from the vision of the angel Gabriel, who has begun to appear to him. Khadija tries to comfort him and tells him to put his head between her thighs, what looks like an intimation of cunnilingus to some, whereupon she uncovers her hair, asking if Muhammad still sees Gabriel, at which point he tells her that the angel has gone.
Here is the text from Ibn Ishaq "
Isma`il b. Abu Hakim, a freedman of the family of al-Zubayr, told me on Khadija's authority that she said to the apostle of God, 'O son of my uncle, are you able to tell me about your visitant, when he comes to you?" He replied that he could, and she asked him to tell her when he came. So when Gabriel came to him, as he was wont, the apostle said to Khadija, 'This is Gabriel who has just come to me.' `Get up, O son of my uncle,' she said, `and sit by my left thigh.' The apostle did so, and she said, `Can you see him?' `Yes,' he said. She said, `Then turn around and sit on my right thigh.' He did so, and she said, `Can you see him?' When he said that he could she asked him to move and sit in her lap. When he had done this she again asked if he could see him, and when he said yes, she disclosed her form and cast aside her veil while the apostle was sitting in her lap. Then she said, `Can you see him?' And he replied, `No.' She said, `O son of my uncle, rejoice and be of good heart, by God he is an angel and not a satan.' (Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, tr. Guillaume, 1967, p. 107)
The text recounts how Khadija devises a test to see if this is truly an angel, or instead a devil, or jinn. While Muhammad can see Gabriel, and she cannot, she first asks Muhammad to sit by her left thigh, then right, and then finally on her lap. Gabriel apparently is not perturbed by these changes in position, but when she "disclosed her form" (a reference to her body?) and "cast aside her veil", the angel Gabriel, being apparently shy about the female form, disappears.
The maker of the trailer obviously was trying to elicit a negative response by putting Muhammad"s head between her legs, but while provocative, it seems that the film stops short of making it an overt sexual act.
Aside from this slight provocation, the rest of the scene is consistent with the Islamic version of events.
Maintaining the illusion of consciousness since 1969...
TanusBarbarus
Posts: 124
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/28/2012 2:23:00 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Then comes a strange scene where Muhammad is celebrating the beginning of his new religion, having confirmed the believing status of his wife Khadija as well as his cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib in the new Islamic faith, whereupon he proclaims that the donkey will be the first "Muslim animal".
I couldn"t find any reference to the donkey, or any animal, being called the first Muslim anything, so I am left believing that the writer was merely trying to insult Islam in some way. The childlike nature of the supposed insult seems one that any confident believer would be able to shrug aside, in my opinion.
As for the first Muslim male convert, there is disagreement within Islamic texts, as well as the differing sects of Islam, as to who was the first. Some cite Ali (his son in law) and others assert Abu Bakr, who became the first Caliph upon Muhammad"s death. Obviously, the question has become politicized over the centuries for obvious reasons stemming from desires to legitimize the rightful succession to Muhammad.
In this scene, Muhammad"s cousin then states that he will help Muhammad create this new book, the Qur"an, by combining parts of the Torah with those of the New Testament. Obviously, this assertion is bound to elicit a response from Muslims, even though there are indeed many regurgitated stories and texts from both sources in the Qur"an, which one might expect of a faith which claims the same Abrahamic roots. What is distasteful to Muslims is the assertion that the Qur"an is a blatant plagiarism of other faiths.
The next scene shows Muhammad lamenting the disappearance of inspiration, and his apparent suicidal thoughts as a result.
Here are two Islamic sources detailing the actual event from Muhammad"s life. These are copied and pasted from AnweringIslam.org, a biased source, but the texts as shown are accurate and accepted by Islamic scholars.
Narrated 'Aisha:
The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah's Apostle was in the form of good righteous (true) dreams in his sleep. He never had a dream but that it came true like bright day light. He used to go in seclusion (the cave of) Hira where he used to worship (Allah Alone) continuously for many (days) nights. He used to take with him the journey food for that (stay) and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food like-wise again for another period to stay, till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him in it and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, "I do not know how to read." (The Prophet added), "The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and again asked me to read, and I replied, "I do not know how to read," whereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and asked me again to read, but again I replied, "I do not know how to read (or, what shall I read?)." Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me and then released me and said, "Read: In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists). Has created man from a clot. Read and Your Lord is Most Generous...up to..... ..that which he knew not." (96.15)

Then Allah's Apostle returned with the Inspiration, his neck muscles twitching with terror till he entered upon Khadija and said, "Cover me! Cover me!" They covered him till his fear was over and then he said, "O Khadija, what is wrong with me?" Then he told her everything that had happened and said, 'I fear that something may happen to me." Khadija said, 'Never! But have the glad tidings, for by Allah, Allah will never disgrace you as you keep good relations with your Kith and kin, speak the truth, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guest generously and assist the deserving, calamity-afflicted ones." Khadija then accompanied him to (her cousin) Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza bin Qusai. Waraqa was the son of her paternal uncle, i.e., her father's brother, who during the Pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the Arabic writing and used to write of the Gospels in Arabic as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to him, "O my cousin! Listen to the story of your nephew." Waraqa asked, "O my nephew! What have you seen?" The Prophet described whatever he had seen.

Waraqa said, "This is the same Namus (i.e., Gabriel, the Angel who keeps the secrets) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out." Allah's Apostle asked, "Will they turn me out?" Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said: "Never did a man come with something similar to what you have brought but was treated with hostility. If I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly." But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while and the Prophet became so sad as we have heard that he intended several times to throw himself from the tops of high mountains and every time he went up the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear before him and say, "O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah's Apostle in truth" whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would return home. And whenever the period of the coming of the inspiration used to become long, he would do as before, but when he used to reach the top of a mountain, Gabriel would appear before him and say to him what he had said before. (Ibn 'Abbas said regarding the meaning of: 'He it is that Cleaves the daybreak (from the darkness)' (6.96) that Al-Asbah. means the light of the sun during the day and the light of the moon at night). Quoted from the Sahih (authentic) Hadith (traditions) of Bukhari, [2], Volume 9, number 111.

Here are additional details from Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah" from Guillaume's translation, "The Life of Muhammad", [3], page 106. Words in [ ] type brackets are mine. Words in ( ) brackets are the author's.
"So I [Muhammad] read it, and he [Gabriel] departed from me. And I awoke from my sleep, and it was though these words were written on my heart. (Tabari: Now none of God's creatures was more hateful to me than an (ecstatic) poet or a man possessed: I could not even look at them. I thought, Woe is me poet or possessed - Never shall Quraysh say this of me! I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest. So I went forth to do so and then) when I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying "O Muhammad! thou are the apostle of God and I am Gabriel."
The assertion, therefore, that Muhammad at one time felt overwhelmed by what was happening to him and sought to kill himself is one that is confirmed by Islamic sources and as such, should engender no feelings of insult from Muslims.
I will continue to post my breakdown of "the Innocence of Muslims" tomorrow as I finish each scene. Please give me your thoughts on what has been covered so far.
Thanks...
Maintaining the illusion of consciousness since 1969...
Fatihah
Posts: 7,716
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/28/2012 5:36:08 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 9/28/2012 2:23:00 AM, TanusBarbarus wrote:

The assertion, therefore, that Muhammad at one time felt overwhelmed by what was happening to him and sought to kill himself is one that is confirmed by Islamic sources and as such, should engender no feelings of insult from Muslims.
I will continue to post my breakdown of "the Innocence of Muslims" tomorrow as I finish each scene. Please give me your thoughts on what has been covered so far.
Thanks...

Response: The references stating that Muhammad tried to kill himself after being overwhelmed by what was happening to him is not stated in the Qur'an or Sunnah, thus the islamic sources show that the claim is untrue. No muslim accepts the incident as true. It is reported by islamic authors, but that does not mean that it is used as an islamic source. Thus the islamic sources do not confirm that Muhammad tried to kill himself, as it comes from biographies about Muhammad, and not the Qur'an or Sunnah. Even the very authors who wrote it do not claim that it is true. They simply wrote what was reported to them, never claiming it to be true, and left it to the scholars to separate fact from fiction.