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Myths of Muhammad

The Myth:

Muhammad was
Tortured by His
Adversaries at Mecca


"Our Prophet (peace be upon him) suffered much abuse and torture at the hands of the polytheists."

The Truth:

This never happened.  Unlike some of his less fortunate followers, Muhammad enjoyed the protection of his powerful uncle, Abu Talib:
[The leading men of Mecca] went to Abu Tablib [and said] “Your nephew has cursed our gods, insulted our religion, mocked our way of life and accused our forefathers of error. Either you must stop him or you must let us get at him”
But Abu Talib would not relent:
The apostle continued on his way… In consequence, his relations with the Quraish [Meccans] deteriorated and men withdrew from him in enmity. (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 168).
For thirteen years, the worst that ever happened to Muhammad at Mecca was that he had dust thrown on him by a heckler and was occasionally mocked while praying at the Kaaba.  He continued to provoke the Meccans, at one point telling them that he had come to bring them "slaughter" (Tabari Vol. IV, page 101)  This caused them to seize Muhammad in an attempt (by one named Uqba) to "throttle" him, but he was released unharmed almost immediately:
While they were talking thus the apostle appeared, and they leaped upon him as one man and encircled him, saying, "I Are you the one who said so-and·so against our gods and OUf religion?" The apostle said, "Yes, I am the one who said that." And I saw one of them seize his robe. Then Abu Bakr interposed himself weeping and saying, "Would you kill a man for saying Allah is my Lord?" Then they left him. That is the worst that I ever saw the Quraish do to him. (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 184).

I asked 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al-'As to inform me of the worst thing the pagans had done to Allah's Apostle. He said: "While Allah's Apostle was praying in the courtyard of the ka'ba, 'Uqba bin Abi Mu'ait came and seized Allah's Apostle by the shoulder and twisted his garment round his neck and throttled him severely. Abu Bakr came and seized 'Uqba's shoulder and threw him away from Allah's Apostle and said, "Would you kill a man because he says: 'My Lord is Allah,' and has come to you with clear Signs from your Lord?"(Sahih Bukhari 60:339, 57:27)
Muhammad would have his opportunity to forgive the man who had seized him when Uqba was captured following the Battle of Badr.  According to his biographers, the prophet of Islam chose instead to have him slaughtered even as the unarmed prisoner begged for his life.

The Hadith also confirms that Muhammad was not physically harmed by the Meccans:
Allah's Apostle said, "Doesn't it astonish you how Allah protects me from the Quraish's abusing and cursing?  They abuse Mudhammam and curse Mudhammam while I am Muhammad (and not Mudhamma)" (Bukhari 56:733)
As mentioned in several places, the worst indignity that Muhammad endured was an episode in which Abu Jahl and others mocked him while he was praying by putting the intestines of an animal on his back (Bukhari 4:241).  The men who did this were later killed by the Muslims.

Neither does the Quran provide any support for the contemporary thesis that Muhammad suffered physical abuse at Mecca, despite the many harsh things said about those who rejected him - the redundancy of which is so abundant in the Quran that it comprises the majority of the text. 

There is also an entire Sura is devoted to describing the gruesome and sadistic torture awaiting Abu Lahab and his wife in hell, who are the only people mentioned by name in the Quran (other than Muhammad and his son-in-law Zaid).  Yet, according to the authentic Hadith, their only crime was personal mockery of "the Messenger" at Mecca (Muslim 406, Bukhari 60:475).

Further Reading:

 

Myths of Muhammad Index

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