Islam and Truths about Muhammad, Peace, and Women

Muslim readers, take note: this page contains only quotations. No personal opinion of the author is to be found herein.

Non-Muslim readers: Islamic scriptures quoted below are: the Qur’an (or Koran), the Hadiths (narratives) of Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, and the Sirat Rasul Allah (life of Allah’s Messenger) by Muhammad ibn Ishaq, and al-Tabari.
Quotations from an Islamic site are in blue, and from Islamic holy scriptures in green, but in normal, contemporary, not archaic-sounding English. My own phrases are in black, and my explanatory remarks are bracketed and in italics [like this]. Other parenthetic comments (like this) belong to the original islamic quotations. The epithets “Prophet”, “Messenger”, and “Apostle” refer to Muhammad.

From Islam Is Peace ( on Muhammad’s character:

“As he grew up, Muhammad (pbuh)(*) became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, earning the title of al Amin, the trustworthy one. Muhammad (pbuh) was frequently called upon to arbitrate disputes and counsel his fellow Makkans.”

(*) p.b.u.h. = peace be upon him.

Let us see an authoritative opinion on the matter:

Bukhari:V7B67N427 “[Muhammad said,] ‘By Allah and Allah willing, if I take an oath and later find something else better than that, then I do what is better and expiate my oath.’ ”

And here is what Muhammad prescribed for the oaths of others:

Qur’an 9:12 “And if they [the unbelievers] break their oaths after their agreement and (openly) revile your religion, then fight the leaders of unbelief — surely their oaths are nothing — so that they may stop.”

The following quotations from the Islamic holy scriptures might also be of interest:

Bukhari:V4B52N270-271 “The Prophet said, ‘Who is ready to kill Ashraf? [Context note: Ashraf was a Jewish poet who wrote some things against Muhammad.] He has said injurious things about Allah and His Apostle.’ Maslama got up saying, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Would you like me to kill him?’ The Prophet replied, ‘Yes.’ Maslama said, ‘Then allow me to say what I like [i.e., lie].’ Muhammad said, ‘I allow you.’ ”

Tabari 7:94 “Ashraf suspected no evil when Maslama cried, ‘Smite the enemy of Allah!’ So they smote him, and their swords clashed over him. Maslama said, ‘I remembered my dagger and I seized it. I thrust it into the lower part of his body. I bore down upon it until I reached his genitals. Allah’s enemy fell to the ground.’ ”

ibn Ishaq:368 “We carried his head back to Muhammad during the night, saluted the Prophet as he stood praying, and cast Ashraf’s head before his feet. The Prophet praised Allah that the poet had been slain, and complimented us on the good work we had done in Allah’s Cause. Our attack upon Allah’s enemy cast terror among the Jews, and there was no Jew in Medina who did not fear for his life.’ ”

Tabari 7:97 “The morning after the murder of Ashraf, the Prophet declared, ‘Kill any Jew who falls under your power.’

ibn Ishaq:369 “Thereupon Mas’ud leapt upon Sunayna, one of the Jewish merchants with whom his family had social and commercial relations and killed him. The Muslim’s brother complained, saying, ‘Why did you kill him? You have much fat in you belly from his charity.’ Mas’ud answered, ‘By Allah, had Muhammad ordered me to murder you, my brother, I would have cut off your head.’ Wherein the brother said, ‘Any religion that can bring you to this is indeed wonderful!’

Bukhari:V4B56N826 “Sad became furious and said, (to Umaiya), ‘Be away from me, for I have heard Muhammad saying that he will kill you.’ Umaiya said, ‘Will he kill me?’ Sad said, ‘Yes.’ Umaiya said, ‘By Allah! When Muhammad says a thing, he never tells a lie.’ ”

Tabari 7:101 “They asked the Prophet for permission to kill Sallam. He granted it.

ibn Ishaq: 308 “Halfway to Medina, Ocba [one of the captives] was called out to be executed.” [Context note: since the other prisoners were being held for ransom, Ocba asked Muhammad why he was being treated more harshly than the other captives.] “The Prophet said, ‘Because of your enmity to Allah and to his Prophet.’ ‘And my little girl,’ cried Ocba in bitterness, ‘who will take care of her?’ ‘Hell Fire,’ Muhammad responded. At that moment he was decapitated. ‘Wretch that you were, [Muhammad said] you scoffed at me and claimed that your stories were better than mine. I give thanks that Allah has slain you and comforted me.’ ”

Tabari 8:122/ibn Ishaq:515 The Prophet gave orders to Zubayr concerning Kinanah, saying, “Torture him until you root out and extract what he has.” So Zubayr kindled a fire on Kinanah’s chest, twirling it with his firestick until Kinanah was near death. Then the Messenger gave him to Maslamah, who beheaded him.

The following is a combination of texts from ibn Ishaq: 676 and ibn Sa’d’s Kitab al-tabaqat al-Kubra: [Context note: Asma bint Marwan was a writer. She wrote critically of Muhammad, telling her tribe to be wary of him, like this:] ‘You obey a stranger who encourages you to murder for booty. You are greedy men. Is there no honor among you?’ Upon hearing those lines Muhammad said, ‘Will no one rid me of this woman?’ Umayr, a zealous and blind Muslim, decided to execute the Prophet’s wishes. That very night he crept into the writer’s home while she lay sleeping surrounded by her young children. There was one at her breast. Umayr removed the suckling baby and then plunged his sword into the poet. The next morning in the mosque, Muhammad, who was aware of the assassination, said, ‘You have helped Allah and His Apostle.’ Umayr said, ‘She had five sons; should I feel guilty?’ ‘No,’ the Prophet answered. ‘Killing her was as meaningless as two goats butting heads.’

Bukhari:V4B52N260 “The Prophet said, ‘If a Muslim discards his religion, kill him.’ ”

Bukhari:V4B52N261 “A group of eight men [...] killed the shepherd and drove away the camels, and they became unbelievers after they were Muslims. When the Prophet was informed by a shouter for help, he sent some men in their pursuit, and before the sun rose high, they were brought, and he had their hands and feet cut off. Then he ordered for nails which were heated and passed over their eyes, and they were left in the Harra (i.e. rocky land in Medina). They asked for water, and nobody provided them with water till they died.”

From Islam Is Peace (, on the relation between Islam and terrorism:

“In recent years, a great deal of attention in the media has been given to the threat of "Islamic Fundamentalism". Unfortunately, due to a twisted mixture of biased reporting in the media and the actions of some misguided Muslims, the word "Islam" has become almost synonymous with "terrorism". However, when one analyses the situation, the question that should come to mind is: Do the teachings of Islam encourage terrorism? The answer: Certainly not! Islam totally forbids the terrorist acts that are carried out by some misguided people.

Islam encourages peace, mercy and forgiveness. Killing innocent people totally contradicts the teachings of Islam.”

Let us see now what the Qur’an and the other Islamic holy scriptures have to say on the matter:

Qur’an, 8:12 “Remember your Lord inspired the angels (with the message): ‘I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.’ ”

Qur’an 33:26 “And those of the People of the Book [i.e., Jews and Christians] who aided them — Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts. (So that) some you killed, and some you made prisoners.”

ibn Ishaq:368 “We carried [Ashraf’s] head back to Muhammad during the night, saluted the Prophet as he stood praying, and cast Ashraf’s head before his feet. The Prophet praised Allah that the poet had been slain, and complimented us on the good work we had done in Allah’s Cause. Our attack upon Allah’s enemy cast terror among the Jews, and there was no Jew in Medina who did not fear for his life.’”

From Islam Is Peace, on the relation between Islam and war:

“Many non-Muslims, when they think about Islam, picture religious fanatics with a sword in one hand and a Qur’an in the other. This myth, which was made popular in Europe during the Crusades, is totally baseless. First of all, the Holy Qur’an clearly says "Let there be no compulsion in religion". In addition to this, Islam teaches that a person’s faith must be pure and sincere, so it is certainly not something that can be forced on someone. Dissociating the myth that Islam was "spread by the sword", the (non-Muslim) historian De Lacy O’ Leary wrote: "History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever accepted." (Islam at the Crossroads, London, 1923, p. 8).”

In Arabic, the word jihad means to strive, struggle and exert effort. It is a central and broad Islamic concept that primarily means to struggle against evil inclinations within oneself.

Islam is not confined to the boundaries of the individual but extends to the welfare of society and humanity in general. An individual cannot keep improving himself/herself in isolation from what happens in their community or in the world at large. Hence it also means struggle to improve the quality of life in society and the struggle against injustice, oppression and tyranny.

The word ‘Jihad’ is generally misunderstood and consequently evokes strong reactions. It is a word frequently used in the press, directly or subtly, to mean holy war. In fact the term "holy war" was coined in Europe during the period of the Crusades.  It is an alien concept to the Islamic framework.  War is not ‘holy.’

Now let us read what the holy scriptures of Islam have to say about war and jihad. (The word “fight”, below, is a translation of the Arabic word “jihad”.)

Qur’an, 2:190–193 “And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits. And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is worse than slaughter. [...] And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah.”

Qur’an, 2:216Warfare is prescribed for you, and you dislike it. But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows, and you know not.”

Qur’an, 4:74 “Therefore let those fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world’s life for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, whether he is killed or is victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward.”

Qur’an, 4:89 “therefore take not from among them [the hypocrites, who abandoned Islam] friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.”

Qur’an, 8:15–16 “O believers! when you meet the Infidels in battle, never turn your backs to them. If anyone turns his back to them on such a day — unless it be in a stratagem of war, or to retreat to a troop (of his own) — he draws on himself the wrath of Allah, and his abode is Hell.”

Qur’an, 8:39 “So, fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah.

Qur’an 8:65 “O Prophet, urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty among you with determination they will vanquish two hundred; if there are a hundred then they will kill a thousand infidels, for these are a people without understanding.”

Qur’an, 9:5 “And when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the pagans wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”

Qur’an 47:4 “Therefore, when you meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when you have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are you commanded): but if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have punished them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you.”

Qur’an 61:4 “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure.”

Quran 9:29Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the tribute with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

ibn Ishaq:587. “Our onslaught will not be a weak faltering affair. We shall fight as long as we live. We will fight until you turn to Islam, humbly seeking refuge. We will fight not caring whom we meet. We will fight whether we destroy ancient holdings or newly gotten gains. We have mutilated every opponent. We have driven them violently before us at the command of Allah and Islam. We will fight until our religion is established. And we will plunder them, for they must suffer disgrace.”

ibn Ishaq:327 “Allah said, ‘A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. Muhammad, you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But Allah desires killing them to manifest the religion.’ ”

ibn Ishaq:576 “I liked the punishment the infidels received. Killing them was sweeter than drink. We galloped among them panting for the spoil. With our loud-voiced army, the Apostle’s squadron advanced into the fray.”

Tabari 9:69 “Arabs were the first to respond to the call of the Prophet. We are Allah’s helpers and the viziers of His Messenger. We fight people until they believe in Allah. He who believes in Allah and His Messenger has protected his life and possessions from us. As for one who disbelieves, we will fight him forever in the Cause of Allah. Killing him is a small matter to us.”

ibn Ishaq:300 “I am fighting in Allah’s service. This is piety and a good deed. In Allah’s war I do not fear as others should. For this fighting is righteous, true, and good.”

Bukhari:V4B53N386Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah alone or pay us the Jizyah (tribute tax); and our Prophet has informed us that our Lord says: ‘Whoever amongst us is killed as a martyr shall go to Paradise to lead such a luxurious life as he has never seen, and whoever survives shall become your master.’ ”

ibn Ishaq:208 “When Allah gave permission to his Apostle to fight, the second Aqaba contained conditions involving war which were not in the first act of submission. Now we bound ourselves to war against all mankind for Allah and His Apostle. He promised us a reward in Paradise for faithful service. We pledged ourselves to war in complete obedience to Muhammad no matter how evil the circumstances.”

Muslim 20:4645 “...He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said: There is another act which elevates the position of a man in Paradise to a grade one hundred (higher), and the elevation between one grade and the other is equal to the height of the heaven from the earth. He (Abu Sa’id) said: What is that act? He [Muhammad] replied: Jihad in the way of Allah! Jihad in the way of Allah!”

From Islam Is Peace, on the status of women in Islam:

“Numerous verses of the Qur’an make it clear that men and women are equal in the sight of God. According to the teachings of Islam, the only thing that distinguishes people in the sight of God is their level of righteousness. Many people are surprised to find out that Islamic Law guaranteed unprecedented rights to women over 1400 years ago.  For example, Islam jurisprudence clearly states that women have the right to vote, seek an education, own property, financial independence, operate a business and receive equal pay for equal work. The very same rights that were only granted to women in Europe and America recently.

The principal difference in the way these rights came about is also important. In the Europe rights became part of the law only after women had been through great political struggles. In Islam, rights were given by God through revelation. They cannot be reversed by anyone’s decision.

If women in the Muslim World today don’t have their rights and if a particular society oppresses women, it does so in spite of Islam, not because of it.”

Here are some excerpts from the Islamic scriptures:

Qur’an 4:11 “Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children's (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females; [...] if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; [therefore the father gets the other two thirds]; These are settled portions ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.”

Qur’an 4:12 “In what your wives leave, your share is a half, if they leave no child; [...] In what you leave, their share is a fourth, if you leave no child; [...] but if they leave a child, you get a fourth; [and] if you leave a child, they get an eighth

Qur’an 2:282 [On testimony in court] “[...] get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women of your choice, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her.”

Qur’an 2:228 “and they [women] have rights similar to those that are against them, in a just manner, and men are a degree above them [women]; and Allah is Mighty, Wise.”

Qur’an 2:223 “Your wives are as a piece of cultivated land unto you; so approach your land when or how you will;”

Qur’an 4:3 “If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.”

Qur’an 4:24 [A man is permitted to take slave women outside of marriage] “And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you.”

Qur’an 4:34 “Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.”

Bukhari:V1B6N301 “[Muhammad] said, ‘O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).’ They asked, ‘Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle ?’ He replied, ‘You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.’ The women asked, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?’ He said, ‘Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?’  They replied in the affirmative.  He said, ‘This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?’ The women replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in her religion.’ ”

Muslim 4:2127 [Muhammad’s 9-year-old wife Aisha recounts how Muhammad stroke her on her chest — which, as she describes, “caused me pain” — because she followed him out of the house without his permission.]

And here is the important Islamic scholar al-Ghazali’s opinion on women:

al-Ghazali [quoted from Ibn Warraq]: [the role of a Muslim woman is to] “stay at home and get on with her sewing.  She should not go out often, she must not be well-informed, nor must she be communicative with her neighbors and only visit them when absolutely necessary; she should take care of her husband... and seek to satisfy him in everything... Her sole worry should be her virtue... She should be clean and ready to satisfy her husband’s sexual needs at any moment.”

Read the Qur’an! Read the holy texts of Islam! Learn what they say, and spread the message!

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