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Book Review: Understanding Muhammad

By: U. Mahesh Prabhu
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(Author is Editor-In-Chief of upcoming apolitical and illustrated family magazine FOLKS and Fellow of Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London (UK))

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UNDERSTANDING MUHAMMAD: A PSYCHOBIOGRAPHY OF ALLAH"S PROPHET | Author: Dr. Ali Sina | Pages: 292 | Publisher: Felibri Publications (distributed by Ingram Book Group)

A large section of Muslims created hullabaloo recently for banning of Dr. Zakir Naik from entering UK. "He"s banned for having spoken the truth." many Muslims along with their apologists assert. "See he has proved the supremacy of Islam in front of several religious leaders." This idea of having "proved the supremacy of Islam" for these Muslims is little more than showing down upon others" faith by concocted ideas and theories. That Dr. Naik thrives by demeaning gods and prophets of other faiths is well known. However, what about Islam? Are there are no shortcomings in this faith like all others? If you think "yes"; think again.

Remember the state of Salman Rushdie after the release of his book "Satanic Verses"? A great number of Muslims were thirsty for his blood. They revolted, threatened and even attempted to kill him. Fatwa issued by Islamist fanatic Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran isn"t still recalled. Why did Muslims do this? Any guesses? Muslims, however, claimed that Rushdie had "defamed" their holy prophet. How? They don"t even have the faintest idea - after all how many Muslims have even cared to even touch the book?

Rushdie"s may have been work of a fiction but this book by Dr. Ali Sina - Understanding Muhammad: A Psychobiography of Allah"s Prophet - is based completely on facts derived from the holiest of Islamic sources - namely: Koran and Hadith. And what he has to say here, as an ex-Muslim, is completely inconvenient to every "faithful" of Islam. One shouldn"t be surprised if Muslims call this work "preposterous", "work of a fiction" or even "blasphemous". In past 1400 years of their history Muslims haven"t even once faced criticism with scholarship; violence has been their legacy and "peace" their deception.

Consider these three cases presented by Dr. Sina in the book, below:

Case 1: Samaira Nazir, a bright and well educated 25-year-old British national of Pakistani descent was stabbed to death. Her throat was slashed by her thirty - year old brother and her seventeen-year-old cousin at her parent"s home. Samaira had "dishonored" her family by falling in love with an Afghan man, who, they thought, was of lower caste and had rejected suitors lined up to meet her in Pakistan. In April 2005 she was summoned to the family home and was ambushed by everyone. A neighbor witnessed seeing her trying to escape while her father grabbed by the hair, pulled her back into the house and slammed the door. She was heard screaming, "You are not my mother anymore!" which indicates that her mother was also involved in her cold-blooded murder. Her nieces, aged two and four were made to watch the whole proceedings as the neighbors heard them screaming. The amount of blood on the children suggested that they were only a feet from the attack. The family was educated and well to do.

Case 2: Sanao Menghwar and his wife, a Hindu couple residing in Karachi, Pakistan, were traumatized one November evening in 2005, when upon returning from work they discovered that all their three daughters were missing. After two days of futile searching, they found out that their daughters had been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. The police arrested three Muslim youths in connection with the crime, who were later granted bail by a court because they were "minors". The girls remain missing. "Kidnapping Hindu girls like this has become a normal practice. The girls are then forced to sign stamped papers stating that they"ve become Muslims," says Laljee, a Hindu resident of Karachi. "Hindus here are too frightened to vent their anger - they fear victimization," he added. Many Hindu girls meet similar fates in Pakistan. They are abducted, covert to Islam by force and compelled to marry a Muslim man while their parents are denied the right to see or talk to them. "How can a Muslim girl live and maintain contact with Kafirs (infidels)?" remarked Maulvi Aziz, the cleric representing a Muslim kidnapper in another case that was taken to the court. When a Hindu girl is converted to Islam, hundreds of Muslims take to the streets and chant religious slogans. The cries of the parents fall on the deaf ears of authorities. The unfortunate girls are then threatened that if they recant Islam they will be executed as apostates. Often lawyers avoid taking up these cases, fearing backlash from the extremists.

Case 3: Muriel Degauque was a 38-year-old Belgian woman who, according to her neighbor, who knew her since childhood, was an "absolutely normal" little girl who liked to go for sled rides when it snowed. She converted to Islam when she married a Muslim man. Later she travelled with her husband through Syria to Iraq, where she blew herself up in an attack on an Iraqi police patrol on November 9, 2005. Five policemen were killed outright and a sixth officer and four civilians were seriously injured.

Now, what makes these sane people commit insane and often barbaric acts? They were absolutely normal, after all. "The answer is Islam." says Dr. Sina, adding "Such occurrences are daily events in the Islamic world."

Dr. Sina claims here that "Muslims are twigs from the tree of Islam and the root of that tree is Muhammad. They share his character, his attitude and his mindset. You could say each Muslims is a mini Muhammad of a sort. To them, he is the best part of creation, the most perfect human being and the example to follow. They believe that if he did something, no matter how egregious, that must be the right thing. No question is asked and no value judgment is allowed."

He further states that "As a subject, Muhammad is one very few like to engage. Muslims get offended if anyone slights their prophet. Any comment, no matter how innocuous, can elicit opprobrium. Though they may allow you to criticize his followers, they do not tolerate any criticism of the prophet himself. You can criticize Allah and get away with it, but you can"t criticize Muhammad."

So who was Muhammad and what was his way of life? One is certainly intrigued. To answer this Dr. Ali Sina digs deep into Islamic scriptures to find out more.

As we all know Muslims often speak with pride about Muhammad"s "battles". "It is a pride based on illusions," points the author, adding "Muhammad avoided battles. He preferred ambushes and raids, which allowed him to take victims by surprise and massacre them while they were unprepared and unarmed." To support this he quotes Sahih Bukhari (Vol. 3. Book 46, Number 717):

"The Prophet had suddenly attacked Banu Mustaliq without warning while they were heedless and their cattle were being watered at the place of water. Their fighting men were killed and their women and children were taken as captives; the Prophet got Juwairiya on that day. Nafi said that Ibn Omar had told him the above narration and that Ibn "Omar was in that army. "

Dr. Sina is very candid while suggesting that Muhammad "allowed his men to rape the women captured in raids." He recalls a very apt incident where Muslims were faced with dilemma after capturing the women. "They wanted to have sex with them but also wanted to return them for ransom and therefore did not want to make them pregnant. Some of these women were already married. Their husbands had managed to escape when taken by surprise and were still alive. The raiders considered the possibility of coitus interruptus (withdrawing from intercourse prior to ejaculation). Unsure of the best course of action, they went to Muhammad for counsel." The counsel of the Muhammad was recorded by Bukhari (Vol. 5, Book 59 Number 459):

"Abu Saeed said: "We went out with Allah"s Apostle for the Ghazwa of Banu Al-Mustaliq and we received captives from among the Arab captives and we desired women and celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interruptus. So when we intended to do coitus interruptus, we said, "How can we do coitus interruptus before asking Allah"s Apostle who is present among us?" We asked (him) about it and he said, "It is better for you to not to do so, for if any soul (till the Day of Resurrection) is predestined to exist, it will exist."

The author comments "Notice that Muhammad does not forbid raping women captured in war. Instead, he indicates that when Allah intends to create anything, nothing can prevent it. In other words, not even the absence of semen can prevent it. So what Muhammad is telling his men is that: coitus interruptus would be futile and ill-advised because it would be an attempt to thwart the irresistible will of Allah."

The world is shocked when Muslim terrorists kill children and the Muslim apologists are quick to announce that killing children in Islam is prohibited. "The truth" says Ali, "Muhammad allowed killing children during night raids." To enforce his claim he quotes Sahih Muslim (Book 019, Number 4321, 4322 and 4323):

"It is reported on the authority of Sa"b b. Jathama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them. They belong to them."

What is recalled about prophet of Islam is hardly tip of the ice berg. Dr. Ali Sina"s research is commendable and worthy of praise for its courage. Yet, Muslims are bound to be disapproving of his work. This can be possible owing to two legitimate reasons: one, they are unaware of the hadith (most of the Muslims hardly even know Koran properly. They just revise but never understand it in essence.) Or they are using Taqqiyyah.

Taqqiyyah (or Takia) is something unknown to non-Muslims even to this day. Dr. Sina has gone in great detail to explain it. Dr. Sina suggests "Lying as a strategy to advance Islam is called taqiyyah, or "holy deception". Under taqiyyah, a Muslim is allowed to lie and saying anything to pull the wool over the eyes of non-Muslims and deceive them."

"Practicing Muslims come to the West and pretend to be moderates. They say everything you want to hear but secretly plan for your destruction. They smile; are friendly and amiable; they even pretend to be patriotic. However, their only objective is to make Islam dominant. They talk the talk, but will not walk the talk." He asserts.

Apart from this Dr. Ali Sina"s psychological profile of Muhammad is something which is hell bound to invite the "wrath of Muslims". It"s undisputedly one of its kind efforts and deserves to be applauded - at least by non Muslims. But will they?

What is important to note here is that Dr. Ali Sina was born in Iran and some of his relatives were Ayatollahs. Like most educated Iranians he believed that Islam was a humanistic religion that which respected human rights - to begin with. But Dr. Sina was also blessed with an enquiring mind, a rationalistic spirit which questioned, probed and looked at the evidence unflinchingly. His www.faithfreedom.org records hits much more than that of Islamist hate preacher Dr. Zakir Naik. His work isn"t a rant or a based on fiction - his book is a must read for every individual who thinks that "Islam is a religion of peace."

Finally, as Ibn Warraq, in his forward to the book, suggests: "Thanks to the courageous efforts of independent scholars like Dr. Ali Sina, there can no longer be any excuse for remaining ignorant about a religion that may annihilate all that you cherish and hold worth defending."

U. Mahesh Prabhu

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