Sunday, April 30, 2017

Liar, Liar! A Response to a Person of the Lie



Liar, Liar!  A Response to a Person of the Lie

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***Author’s Note: I originally wrote the following article almost 10 years ago in response to an anti-Islamic article that appeared on a discussion forum and had forgotten about it until I happened to see it in my hard drive.  I have decided to post it on the blog with some emendations.***
                                                                                 

“Fain would they extinguish Allah's light with their mouths, but Allah will not allow but that His light should be perfected, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it).”

-         The Holy Quran, Surah At-Tawba, 9:32

            It has become a habit of the Islamophobes to churn out new claims about Islam, some of them quite comical and some just down-right insane.  This article is a response to a commentary which appeared on the anti-Islamic website “Annaqed” that rightfully belongs in the latter category.[1]  The theory which is propounded by one Louis Palme seeks to associate Islam (and especially the Prophet Muhammad) with the “People of the Lie”, a concept first introduced by the late Dr. M. Scott Peck (d. 2005), a respected American psychiatrist, in his best-selling book “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil”.  Any person who has read Dr. Peck’s book will find the preposterousness of this theory to be quite obvious, but of course, we will not simply dismiss Palme’s article as the work of a crackpot without first analyzing it.  Rather, we will entertain this theory and see if it holds any merit…and then conclude rightfully that it is indeed the work of a crackpot, inshaAllah!  The format of the article will be as follows: a direct quote of Palme’s claims (in blue) followed by our response.    
           
Palme:  “Almost 25 years ago,[2] the noted American psychologist Dr. M. Scott Peck wrote a book in which he attempted to characterize human evil. The book was titled People of the Lie, and it is still available for sale in stores and on-line. While he made brief allusions to the German Nazis and other extremist ideologies, Dr. Peck did not connect human evil with Islamic doctrine. However, using his perspectives on human evil, it is easy to see evil in many pronouncements by Muhammad and the Quran.”

Response:  The first thing which should jump out at the reader is the fact that Dr. Peck was talking about evil in the context of his daily experiences as a psychiatrist counseling his patients, who were not Muslims.  The second point to make is that Palme admits that Dr. Peck made no association of his concept with Islam or Muslims![3]  Thus, the reader may ask why he is wasting his time by writing this article.  Well, we don’t have the slightest idea.  Palme has simply reinterpreted an idea which was not his own, mixed it with his own ideas and prejudices, and churned out a pathetic theory with which to demonize Islam and Muslims (which, as we will see, is not in line with the reality of the situation, inshaAllah).  Perhaps Palme should actually try to understand what Dr. Peck was trying to do and take his advice:

“…we should judge others only with great care, and that such carefulness begins with self-judgement.  […]  The battle to heal human evil always begins at home.  And self-purification will always be our greatest weapon.”[4]

Palme:  “This essay is an attempt to identify those links between human evil and Islam. In doing so, the reader must be forewarned that the focus on evil unavoidably skirts the commendable aspects of Islam. Just as the outlines of animal or human figures associated with stellar constellations do not incorporate all of the visible stars, this focus on Islamic evil highlights only the “broad outlines” of Islamic doctrine that are relevant, and so it is not an all-inclusive photograph.”

Response:  In other words, with this disclaimer, Palme admitted that he would only present the “evidence” which he felt was “relevant” to his diatribe and would skillfully manipulate this “evidence” to fit his interpretation (I use the word “skillfully” very loosely, as will be seen).  Whatever evidence which may not agree with his views will be kept safely hidden from his readers.  His motive, then, is not to “expose” the “evil” of Islam (because there is no such evil), but to create the illusion that it is evil.  He wants to do this because his motivation is his rampant Islamophobia, which he does not want to make public.  Ironically, Palme fits the description of an evil person as described by Dr. Peck, who wrote that:

“[t]he evil always hide their motives with lies”).[5]

Palme:  “That said, the principal texts quoted below (left-justified) are from People of the Lie, and the indented texts are primarily from the Quran, Bukhari’s collection of Hadith, and the biographies of Muhammad by Ishaq and al-Tabari.”

Response:  Regarding the works of Ibn Ishaq and al-Tabari, it should be noted that neither sources are considered to be reliable by Islamic scholars, as well as many non-Muslim scholars as well.  Many of the stories collected in the works of Ibn Ishaq and al-Tabari are considered to be based on questionable sources, while others are considered to be forgeries.  This does not mean that both Ibn Ishaq and al-Tabari were unreliable scholars, because their intentions in the respective works in question were not to separate truth from fiction, but to collect all the stories which had been circulating for many years.  Referring to al-Tabari, for example, M.S.M Saifullah et al. state that:

“…al-Tabari has simply refused accountability by avoiding the task of historical criticism. Therefore, any spurious accounts are not to be attributed to him.”[6]

Therefore, in collecting the various reports and narrations, al-Tabari did not intend to discuss the truth or falsehood of those collections, but rather to simply transmit the information which he received from others.  What this means is that the stories contained in the volumes of al-Tabari’s work should not be immediately taken to be unadulterated fact but should rather be scrutinized.[7] 

Palme:  Quran quotations are from N. J. Dawood’s translation. Other sources are identified as needed. The ellipses are merely to keep the length of the essay as short as possible without distorting the original meaning of the texts. The quotations from Dr. Peck’s book have been re-arranged slightly to keep similar themes together. It will be left to the reader to assess the relevance and the significance of each quotation relative to tenants of Islam.

Response:  Here we see the deceptive tactics Palme uses.  He is already vouching for the “authenticity” of his evidence, trying to avoid any suspicions about his less-than scholarly attempts to quote Islamic scripture.  The use of “ellipses” is a common tactic used by bigots to malign Islam and Muslims and to hide the truth.  Unfortunately for Palme, the truth will come out, inshaAllah.

Palme:  “Basic Premises Regarding Evil

Evil is in opposition to life. It is that which opposes the life force. It has, in short, to do with killing. Specifically, it has to do with murder – namely, unnecessary killing, killing that is not required for biological survival. (p. 42)

Allah has purchased from the faithful their lives and worldly goods and in return has promised them the Garden. They will fight for the cause of Allah, slay and be slain. . . . Rejoice then in the bargain you have made. (Surah 9:111)”

Response:  Ah, fantastic.  Finally, we come to the good stuff.  Most reasonable people would agree that Dr. Peck hit it right on the nail when he said that “evil is in opposition to life” and that acts like murder which are not required for “biological survival” are unequivocally evil.  Unfortunately, Palme completely missed the nail.  He presents a verse from the Holy Quran which says that those who slay in the “cause of Allah” will be in Paradise, but he does not provide the Quranic justification for such an act (probably because he knows there is one which refutes his false claim, but wants to keep it hidden from his readers).  Let us educate Palme and show to the reader what Islam says about life and murder (emphasis ours):

“On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.”[8]

“Say: "Come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from": Join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want;- We provide sustenance for you and for them;- come not nigh to shameful deeds. Whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.  And come not nigh to the orphan's property, except to improve it, until he attain the age of full strength; give measure and weight with (full) justice;- no burden do We place on any soul, but that which it can bear;- whenever ye speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned; and fulfil the covenant of Allah: thus doth He command you, that ye may remember.  Verily, this is My way, leading straight: follow it: follow not (other) paths: they will scatter you about from His (great) path: thus doth He command you. that ye may be righteous.”[9]

Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin.  Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).  Nor take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law).  Come not nigh to the orphan's property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength; and fulfil (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning).  Give full measure when ye measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight: that is the most fitting and the most advantageous in the final determination.”[10]

(25:68-71) “Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred except for just cause, nor commit fornication; - and any that does this (not only) meets punishment.  (But) the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to him, and he will dwell therein in ignominy,- Unless he repents, believes, and works righteous deeds, for Allah will change the evil of such persons into good, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful, And whoever repents and does good has truly turned to Allah with an (acceptable) conversion;-”[11]

SubhanAllah, what a beautiful message Islam truly is!  According to the Quran, taking life unnecessarily or not “in the course of justice” is an abomination, and is grouped with the abomination of worshipping false gods (the sin of shirk).  Over and over, Allah commanded the Muslims to protect life, and to only take life in the interest of justice.  2This is in perfect harmony with Dr. Peck’s observation that murder is evil in that it is “unnecessary” and not needed for “biological survival”.  If one is being persecuted, harassed and threatened with death for believing in Islam and finds that his fellow believers are being killed for their faith, would it not be “necessary” for that person to resist, with force if necessary?  The truth of the matter is that Islam only commands violence in response to violence (“in the course of justice”) and considers anything else to be an abomination.  Islam is pro-life.  Therefore, it is not evil according to Dr. Peck’s definition.


Palme:  “Evil is also that which kills spirit. There are various essential attributes of life – particularly human life – such as sentience, mobility, awareness, growth, autonomy, and will. It is possible to kill or attempt to kill one of these attributes without actually destroying the body. (p. 42)

Say, “I was commanded to be the first to submit. . .” Say, “I will never disobey my Lord, for I fear the torment of a fateful day.” . .If Allah afflicts you with evil, none can remove it but He. . . He reigns supreme over His servants [Pickthall: ‘slaves’]. (Surah 6:15-18)”

Response:  What is Palme’s point?  How is following Allah and obeying Him akin to killing the “essential attributes of life” especially since Allah has made life sacred?  The point of the verses in question is to teach mankind that Allah is supreme and that obedience to Him is meritorious.  The one who is obedient to Allah is one who is righteous and conducts him or herself in a righteous way.  Where is the “evil” in this? 

It is interesting to note that Dr. Peck made no secret of his faith in Christianity, referring to Jesus Christ as his “Lord”.  He also made the following observation, which Palme fails to mention:

“[a]ll adults who are mentally healthy submit themselves one way or another to something higher than themselves, be it God or truth or love or some other ideal.  They do what God wants them to do rather than what they would desire.”[12]

Had Palme actually considered the whole of Peck’s message, instead of lazily cherry-picking certain passages, he would not be making such silly mistakes and he would not have come up with his biased theory about Islam. 

Palme:  “If one wants to seek out evil people, the simplest way to do so is to trace them from their victims (p. 107 n.)

Muslims were the first victims of Islam. Many times I have observed in my travels that fanaticism comes from a small number of dangerous men who maintain others in the practice of this religion by terror. To liberate the Muslim from his religion is the best service that one can render him.
(French philosopher Ernest Renan, 1823 – 1892)”

Response:  Palme is getting desperate.  This latest assertion is known as an “argumentum ad verecundiam” or an “appeal to authority” fallacy, which is defined as an attempt:

“…to demonstrate the truth of a proposition by citing some person who agrees, even though that person may have no expertise in the given area.”[13]

Palme seeks to secure his position by quoting a French philosopher from the 19th century and his opinions about Islam.  Was Ernest Renan an authority on Islam or religion in general?  Certainly, he had his opinions regarding religion, but did that make him an authority on how we should classify a particular religion?  Clearly, Renan’s opinions about Islam and Muslims are irrelevant, and hold no intellectual influence.  We can simply move on to the next argument, but why not consider if Renan was right?  Let us examine the evidence. 

Before Islam, the Arabs were an isolated group of uneducated, ever-warring desert-dwellers.  The cycle of tribal vendettas and female infanticide was widespread and never-ending.  Cruelty to orphans, widows, slaves and animals were the norms of the society.  After Islam, on the other hand, the cycle of tribal warfare had ended.  The Arabs were united under one banner (instead of hundreds of banners marking their loyalties to their tribes and nothing else).  An age of knowledge had blossomed by the 9th century CE and spanned from China to Spain, providing the world with such brilliant minds as al-Khwarizmi, Ibn al-Haytam, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Ibn Hayyan (Geber), Ibn Sina (Avicenna), al-Mas’udi, al-Biruni, and al-Zahrawi.  Of course, there are many more that have not been mentioned here, and they were all followers of Islam.  I guess Renan (or Palme) did not know about the age of knowledge which was started by Muslims who took their inspiration for living their lives from Islam![14]  Muslims were not the “victims” of Islam.  Rather, they were saved by Islam.  Their daughters were saved from being buried alive as infants because the society they lived in considered having a female child a great “dishonor”.  The orphans and widows were saved from exploitation, from having their rightful property and wealth devoured by greedy men who had no claim to it.  The women were saved from having “…no human or legal rights” and being “…mere chattels”.[15]  Even animals were saved from being overworked, from being lacerated and having their flesh ripped-off to be cooked and eaten while they were alive.[16]  Islam prohibited all these acts of cruelties which would have been experienced by the very people who had become Muslims if they had continued to cling to the societal customs of pagan Arabia, and yet Renan and his protégé believe that they were the “victims” of Islam?  Truly, this is a comical claim! 

Now, if Palme is still not sure, perhaps the testimony of Muslims themselves will help.  When a party of the early Muslims fled to Abyssinia to escape the Meccan persecution, they were brought before the king of Abyssinia, An-Najashi.  When they were asked to explain why they should not be sent back to Arabia, one of the Muslims, Ja’far ibn Abu Talib, offered an emotional plea.  Islamic scholar Jalal Abualrub recounts Ja’far’s words as follows (emphasis in the original):

“[He]…addressed the king on behalf of the Muslims, by saying, ‘Oh, King!  Before, we were a people of Jahiliyyah (ignorance), worshipping idols, eating the meat of dead animals, committing vice, cutting relations with kith and kin and treating our neighbors badly, and the strong among us used to overwhelm the weak.  These evil conditions persisted with us until Allah sent us a Messenger from amongst ourselves…He called us to Allah…He also commanded us to be truthful when we speak, give back a trust to its rightful owner, keep relations with kindred, and be good neighbors.  He also commanded us to avoid all types of vice, bloodshed, sins of all kinds, saying falsehood, eating (unlawfully using) up the orphan’s property, and spreading false accusations against chaste women. […] He commanded us to pray, give charity and fast.’”[17]

The views of Muslims like Ja’far ibn Abu Talib and those that came after him serve as evidence against the personal opinions of Renan.  After all, who better to proffer the impact of Islam than Muslims?  Commenting on these and other views by Muslims, the historian Hugh Kennedy states that:

“[t]hey show how the early Muslims remembered Muhammad leading them out of poverty and internal divisions.  They stress the importance of his descent from Quraysh and of his new religion, which most of them accepted, if not with enthusiasm, at least peacefully.”[18]

            Finally, in contrast to the opinionated rambling of Renan, the orientalist scholar W. Montgomery Watt provided a more balanced view of the positive impact of Islam.  When discussing the impact of Muhammad (peace be upon him), Watt concluded that:

“[t]hrough him-or, on the orthodox Muslim view, through the revelations made to him-the Arab world was a given a framework of ideas within which the resolution of its social tensions became possible.  The provision of such a framework involved insight into the fundamental causes of the social malaise of the time, and the genius to express this insight in a form which would stir the hearer to the depths of his being.”[19]
           
Thus, Muslims are not the “victims” of Islam.  Rather, we have been saved by Islam and do not need fake and false pity from the likes of Ernest Renan or Louis Palme!

Palme:  “The feeling that a healthy person often experiences in relationship with evil is revulsion. The feeling of revulsion may be almost instant if the evil encountered is blatant. . . Evil is revolting because it is dangerous. It will contaminate or otherwise destroy a person who remains too long in its presence. (p. 65)

Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. But you may hate a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although it is bad for you. Allah knows, but you know not. (Surah 2:216)”

Response:  Those who “disliked” fighting did not do so because they “reviled” it but because they feared the consequences of it (i.e. dying during battle or being defeated and subjugated by a more powerful enemy).  The 13th-century CE scholar Ibn Kathir commented that the words “…though you dislike it” refer to the difficulties encountered in war and that:

“[i]ndeed, fighting is as the Ayah describes it, as it includes being killed, wounded, striving against the enemies and enduring the hardship of travel.”[20]

So, there was no revulsion because it was perceived to be “evil”.  Moreover, the Holy Quran expounds on the injunction to fight:

“And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women, and children, whose cry is: ‘Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!’”[21]

It is clear, then, that “fighting in the cause of Allah” meant fighting for the weak and oppressed, not for riches or to cause harm to innocent people.  There was a condition to fight.  Oppression was the condition and as such, Allah commanded the Muslims to rise up against their oppressors and defeat them.  Those who were lacking in faith feared being sent to fight.  They feared losing their lives or their wealth or being defeated and subjugated.  They feared that Allah would not help them, and as such, they were in reality hypocrites.  Thus, one could describe them as “people of the lie”, because they only acted as if they were righteous, but in their hearts, they were the opposite.   

Palme:  “How can they be evil and not designated as criminals? . . . They are criminals in that they commit “crimes” against life and liveliness. But except in rare instances – such as the case of a Hitler [and Muhammad] – when they might achieve extraordinary degrees of political power that remove them from ordinary restraints, their “crimes” are so subtle and covert that that they cannot clearly be designated as crimes. (p. 69)”

Response:  Palme’s little addition “…and Muhammad” is a case of his obvious lack of intellectual honesty.  He is simply manipulating and reinterpreting someone else’s observations and literally inserting his own beliefs and views, all in a vain attempt to justify his irrational hatred of Islam.  Those of us who know the truth about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) know that when he had power, he used it magnanimously, as in the case of the Conquest of Mecca in the year 630 CE.  The famous scholar of religion, Karen Armstrong, offers a detailed summary of the event of the conquest:

“He had no desire to begin bloody reprisals.  Nobody was made to accept Islam nor do they seem to have felt any pressure to do so.  Muhammad did not want to coerce the people but to effect a reconciliation.  […]  He stood in front of the house of al-Llah and begged them [the Meccans] to accept the new order, the unity of the umma, and to lay aside the haughty pride and self-sufficiency of paganism which could create only division and injustice.  He ended with a verse from the Quran, which Muslims later interpreted as a condemnation of racism, a vice from which Islam has been relatively free…”[22]

In the wake of his ascension to absolute power, Muhammad (peace be upon him) could have chosen to bring down upon his enemies a catastrophe of bloodshed and vengeance which would have consumed all of Mecca.  Yet in this position of absolute power, why did he choose to declare an amnesty?  Arab custom dictated that he should destroy all people in the city.  After all, the pagans would have done the same had they succeeded in conquering Medina during the Battle of the Trench.  Why was he merciful, if he was so “evil”?  Palme should reflect on this question with an open mind, free of his ignorance and bias.  It is a shame that ignorant non-Muslims like Palme demonize such a great man due simply to their own prejudices and hatred.  As Watt stated:

“Of all the world’s great men none has been so much maligned as Muhammad.”[23]

Palme:  “Erich Fromm . . broadened his definition of necrophilia to include the desire of certain people to control others – to make them controllable, to foster their dependency, to discourage their capacity to think for themselves, to diminish their unpredictability and originality, to keep them in line. [The aim of a necrophilic character type ] is to avoid the inconvenience of life by transforming others into obedient automatons, robbing them of their humanity. (p. 43)

If anyone introduces an innovation or gives shelter to a man who introduces an innovation (in religion), he is cursed by Allah, by His angels, and by all the people. (A quotation of Muhammad narrated by Ali ibn Abu Talib in the hadith collection of Abu Dawud)

The best speech is that embodied in the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance given by Muhammad. The most evil affairs are their innovations; and every innovation is an error. (A quotation of Muhammad narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah in the hadith collection of Muslim).”

Response:  Palme is doing a bad job of connecting the dots.  He does not support his argument well.  Simply quoting two sources without offering a hypothesis as to the association between them does not suit well for a professionally-written article.  What does discouraging innovative actions (“bidah”) have to do with controlling others?  Every religion has a code of decorum, rituals and practices which are to be maintained by successive generations.  It has nothing to do with control.  The only part of a person’s life which should not be innovated was his religious life, because religion was ordained by Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).  Other aspects of a person’s life, could certainly be innovated, as long as the innovation was lawful.  For instance, as humanity has progressed, it has made new innovations in the areas of medicine and technology.  This innovation is fueled by the intelligence of humans and their ability to learn.  Islam does not prohibit these types of innovations.  However, innovations such as performing one’s prayers in a way different from what has been taught bring about no benefit for the community.  These types of innovations would only serve to bring about divisions among the faithful and not the unity which is the core of Islam.  It is for this reason that religious innovations are prohibited.  This concept is perfectly demonstrated in the following hadith:

“Rafi' b. Khadij reported that Allah's Messenger () came to Medina and the people had been grafting the trees. He said: What are you doing? They said: We are grafting them, whereupon he said: It may perhaps be good for you if you do not do that, so they abandoned this practice (and the date-palms) began to yield less fruit. They made a mention of it (to the Holy Prophet), whereupon he said: I am a human being, so when I command you about a thing pertaining to religion, do accept it, and when I command you about a thing out of my personal opinion, keep it in mind that I am a human being.”[24]

Thus, innovating in matters of religion is prohibited, but innovating in non-religious matters is allowed.

Palme:  “It is not their sins per se that characterize evil people; rather, it is the subtlety and persistence and consistency of their sins. This is because the central defect of the evil is not the sin but the refusal to acknowledge it. (p. 69)

Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and the slave-girls whom Allah has given you as booty; the daughters of your paternal and maternal uncles and of your paternal and maternal aunts who fled with you; and any believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet and whom the Prophet wishes to take in marriage. This privilege is yours alone, being granted to no other believer . . .We grant you this privilege so that none may blame you. (Surah 33:50-51)
[Note: Muhammad is reported to have had 20 wives and a number of captured concubines.]”

Response:  This is another example of Palme’s dishonesty.  He deliberately fails to mention verse 52, as it offers some insight which refutes his ludicrous claim.  It states:

“It is not lawful for thee (to marry more) women after this, nor to change them for (other) wives, even though their beauty attract thee, except any thy right hand should possess (as handmaidens): and Allah doth watch over all things.”[25]

If Muhammad (peace be upon him) found it so difficult to “acknowledge” this “sinful” behavior, why would he have prohibited himself from having more wives (assuming that he wrote those verses)? 

We must point out, however, that this was not a “sin” at all.  Polygamy was not a sexual vice as it served a greater purpose and was a practical measure.  For a statesman like Muhammad (peace be upon him), the ability to marry more than once allowed him to make alliances with other leaders.  This was a common practice.  It also allowed him to help widows who were in need of care.  In fact, the permissibility of polygamy was made after a major battle in which many Muslim men had died, leaving behind many widows and daughters.  In order to care for so many women, the most practical solution was polygamy.  Armstrong observes that:

“There were also pressing practical problems that had to be solved.  Each one of the sixty-five Muslims who had died at Uhud had left behind wives and families who had to be provided for and it seems that after the defeat the revelation came down to Muhammad that allowed the Muslims to take four wives […]

There was probably a shortage of men in Arabia, which left a surplus of unmarried women who were often badly exploited.  The Quran is most concerned about this problem and resorted to polygamy as a way of dealing with it.  This would enable all the girls who had been orphaned to be married, but it insisted that a man could take more than one wife only if he promised to administer their property equitably.”[26]

Clearly, there were practical reasons for polygamy.  It was not done for the sake of “sinful lust” but to solve a problem which the community faced.  And indeed, had Muhammad (peace be upon him) wanted to give himself limitless ability to marry more women, he would not have put a prohibition on himself!  Palme very deceitfully expunged verse 52, which only exposes the hypocrisy and deceit within him.  I am sure Dr. Peck would have disapproved of such deceitful behavior, which is characteristic of the “people of the lie”!

Palme:  “If evil people cannot be defined by the illegality of their deeds or the magnitude of their sins, then how are we to define them? The answer is by the consistency of their sins. While usually subtle, their destructiveness is remarkably consistent. This is because those who have “crossed the line” are characterized by their absolute refusal to tolerate the sense of their own sinfulness. (p. 71)

And when Zayd [Muhammad’s adopted son] divorced his wife [after Muhammad envied her] We [Allah] gave her to you [Muhammad] in marriage, so that it should become legitimate for true believers to wed the wives of their adopted sons if they divorced them. Allah’s will must needs be done. No blame shall be attached to the Prophet for doing what is sanctioned for him by Allah. (Surah 33:37-38)

Had there not been a previous sanction from Allah, you would have been sternly punished for what you have taken [in spoils]. Enjoy therefore the good and lawful things which you have gained in war, and fear Allah. (Surah 8:69)”

Response:  Let us present a narration from the Hadith literature which will show Palme’s complete ignorance on this matter which is a favorite of the Islamophobes:

“Narrated Anas: Zayd bin Haritha came to the Prophet complaining about his wife. The Prophet kept on saying (to him), "Be afraid of Allah and keep your wife." Aisha said, "If Allah's Apostle were to conceal anything (of the Quran he would have concealed this Verse." Zainab used to boast before the wives of the Prophet and used to say, "You were given in marriage by your families, while I was married (to the Prophet) by Allah from over seven Heavens." And Thabit recited, "The Verse:-- 'But (O Muhammad) you did hide in your heart that which Allah was about to make manifest, you did fear the people,' (33.37) was revealed in connection with Zainab and Zayd bin Haritha."[27]

Clearly, the Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted Zayd to work out the problems he was having in his marriage with Zainab.  Had the Prophet wanted Zainab for himself and was jealous of Zayd, he would have immediately taken the opportunity to tell Zayd to divorce her, so he could have her for himself, and yet, we see that he actually advised Zayd to “keep [his] wife.”  He did not need to bring a divine revelation to “excuse” his “intentions” as he had a golden opportunity to get what he wanted.  Where is the “sin” in this?  The purpose of the verse was to break the custom in Arab society of equating one’s adopted son with one’s biological son.  In Islam, adoption does not make one a biological relative (and thus eligible for inheritance).  Therefore, the Prophet’s marriage to Zainab, the divorced wife of Zayd, the adopted son of the Prophet, was a lesson to the Muslims that biological relations do not exist between the adopter and the adoptee.  Once again, there was a practical purpose in the Prophet’s actions.  Had the Prophet wanted to take Zainab for himself, he already had the power to do so, as shown by Zayd’s readiness to divorce her so she could marry the Prophet.    
            Regarding Sura 8:68-69 (Palme did not realize that he was quoting two verses), we have already established that war was only allowed to counter oppression, and thus, the spoils of war were only legal when the Muslims were in a state of war with a hostile nation.  And of course, we know that whatever portion of the spoils which the Prophet took, he never kept for himself.  Rather, he selflessly gave it away.

Palme:  “The reader will be struck by the extraordinary willfulness of evil people. . . There is a remarkable power in the manner in which they attempt to control others. . . Perhaps the evil are born so inherently strong-willed that it is impossible for them to ever to submit their will. (p. 78-79)

In the name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate. From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to Kisra [Greek: Chosroes] the ruler of Persia. Peace be upon whoever follows right guidance, believes in Allah and His Messenger, and testifies that there is no god but Allah alone, Who has no partner, and that Muhammad is His servant and His messenger. I summon you with the Summons of Allah; for I am the Messenger of Allah to all mankind, to warn whoever is alive, and that the word may be fulfilled against the unbelievers. Submit yourself, and you shall be safe. If you refuse, the sin of the Magians [Zoroastrians who were conquered] will be upon you. (Letter from Muhammad. Later, when Muhammad learned that Kisra tore up the letter in defiance, Muhammad said, “His kingdom has been torn up.” -- from Al-Tabari, Vol. VIII, No. 1573)”

Response:  Palme asserts that the phrase “sin of the Magians” was an implicit threat of conquest.  The question is on what basis does he claim that this phrase was a threat?  A similar letter was sent to Heraclius, the emperor of Byzantium and a similar statement was made:
“I am writing this invitation to call you to Islam.  If you become a Muslim you will be safe - and God will double your reward, but if you reject this invitation of Islam you will bear the sin of having misguided your subjects.”[28]

So, the “sin” of Heraclius is the one of misguiding his subjects, since Islam would not be allowed to reach his subjects.  Similarly, Khosrau was warned that by opposing Islam, he would be misguiding his Zoroastrian subjects.

            Additionally, there is another event in the Prophet’s life that completely refutes Palme’s silly accusation.  Shortly after the Battle of the Trench, in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) inflicted a humiliating defeat upon the pagan Meccans and their allies, he made a peace treaty with them.  This treaty is known as the Treaty of Hudaibiyah.  During the negotiations, the pagan negotiator Suhayl ibn Amr objected to the addition of certain phrases in the draft version that had been drawn up by the Muslims.  Here is the exchange between Suhayl and the Prophet:

“The Quraysh then sent Suhayl ibn Amr. When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah saw him coming, he remarked, 'It is clear that they want peace since they have sent this man.' He told his Companions to prepare a draft agreement.

He called for Ali ibn Abi Talib and told him, 'Write: In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.'

'By Allah,' Suhayl said, 'we do not know who this "Merciful" is. Rather write, "in Your name, O Allah" as you used to write.'

The Muslims said, 'By Allah, we will only write, "in the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate." ' The Prophet said, 'Write, "In Your name, O Allah." '

Then he said, 'Write, "This is what Muhammad, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah has agreed."'

'By Allah,' retorted Suhayl, 'if we accepted that you were the Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, we would not have prevented you from reaching the House of Allah nor fought you. Rather write, "Muhammad ibn Abdullah."'

The Prophet said, 'I am the Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah even though you do not believe me. Write, "Muhammad ibn Abdullah." '

He asked Ali to erase what he had written but Ali Said, 'By Allah no, I will not erase it.'

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, 'Show me the place,' and he erased it himself. Then he said, 'This is what the Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah agrees provided that you give us leave to perform tawaf of the Ka'bah.'

Suhayl Said, 'By Allah, we will not allow the Arabs to say that we submitted to pressure. It will have to be next year.'”[29]

It should be noticed how the Prophet was willing to compromise with his enemies in the interest of peace, even going to the extent of accepting their demands on editing the treaty to remove any reference to Muhammad’s status as the Messenger of Allah, which was the whole reason the Meccans were in a conflict with Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the first place!  Where then is the “attempt to control others”?!   

Palme:  The evil in this world is committed by the spiritual fat cats, by the Pharisees of our own day, the self-righteous who think they are without sin because they are unwilling to suffer the discomfort of significant self-examination. . . . They are remarkably greedy people. [T]he most basic sin is laziness. [I]t may be pride – because all sins are repairable except the sin of believing one is without sin. (p. 72)

Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been given five things which were not given to any amongst the Prophets before me. These are: 1) Allah made me victorious by awe (by His frightening my enemies) for a distance of one month’s journey; 2) The earth has been made for me (and for my followers) a place for praying and a thing to perform tayammum (purification with dirt when water isn’t available). Therefore my followers can pray wherever the time of a prayer is due; 3) The booty has been made halal (lawful) for me (and was not made so for anyone else); 4) Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation exclusively but I have been sent to all mankind; and 5) I have been given the right of intercession (on the Day of Resurrection).” (Bukhari Vol. 1, No. 429)

Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror, and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand.” (Bukhari, Vol. 4, No. 220)”

Response:  Palme does not quote Hadith number 220 in its entirety.  Let us do that for him:

“Narrated Abu Huraira:  Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand." Abu Huraira added: Allah's Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them).”[30]

Notice that the Hadith scholars had explained the meaning of the phrase “victorious with terror” as meaning that terror was cast into the enemy during battle and then the enemy was defeated.  We have already established that these enemies were those who had oppressed the Muslims and had threatened their existence.  Notice also that the “treasures” the Prophet spoke of had been of no benefit to him, but to his people.  Where, then, is the “greed”?  

We also know that he was the most generous of men and taught his followers to be generous, as his followers attested:

“Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:  “Allah’s Apostle was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur’an. Allah’s Apostle was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds).”[31]

“Narrated Abu Huraira:  "Allah's Apostle said, the example of a miser and a generous person is like that of two persons wearing iron cloaks from the breast up to the neck. When the generous person spends, the iron cloak enlarges and spreads over his skin so much so that it covers his fingertips and obliterates his tracks. As for the miser, as soon as he thinks of spending, every ring of the iron cloak sticks to its place (against his body) and he tries to expand it, but it does not expand. The Prophet pointed with his hand towards his throat.”[32]  

“Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: "I went to the Prophet in the mosque (the sub-narrator Mas'ar thought that Jabir had said, "In the forenoon.") He ordered me to pray two Rakat. He owed me some money and he repaid it to me and gave more than what was due to me.”[33]

We also discover from the Ahadith literature that the Prophet was not proud or arrogant and actually taught that pride and arrogance were abominations in the sight of God:

“Narrated Haritha bin Wahb:Al-Khuzai: The Prophet said, "Shall I inform you about the people of Paradise? They comprise every obscure, unimportant, humble person, and if he takes Allah's Oath that he will do that thing, Allah will fulfill his oath (by doing that). Shall I inform you about the people of the Fire? They comprise every cruel, violent, proud and conceited person." Anas bin Malik said, ‘Any of the female slaves of Medina could take hold of the hand of Allah's Apostle and take him wherever she wished.’”[34]

“It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: Three (are the persons) with whom Allah would neither speak, nor would He absolve them on the Day of Resurrection. Abu Mu'awiya added: He would not look at them and there is grievous torment for them: the aged adulterer, the liar king and the proud destitute.”[35]

Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself refused to live a haughty, proud and luxurious life.  He lived very simply, not exactly the way one would expect a man consumed by pride and greed to live:

“Narrated Amr bin Al-Harith: When Allah's Apostle died, he did not leave any Dirham or Dinar (i.e. money), a slave or a slave woman or anything else except his white mule, his arms and a piece of land which he had given in charity.”[36]

“Narrated 'Aisha: The bed mattress of the Prophet was made of a leather case stuffed with palm fibres.”[37]

“Anas ibn Maalik said: No person was dearer to them [the Sahaba] than the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), but when they saw him they did not stand up for him because they knew that he disliked that.”[38]

The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not proud, boastful, arrogant or greedy.  Yet again, we see the shameful way that people like arrogant and ignorant people like Palme so brazenly slander the greatest man who ever lived and accuse him of being “proud” or “evil” when clearly that was not the case.  Palme needs to do a little self-reflection and acknowledge the evil within himself before shamelessly attacking someone else.  Dr. Peck made that amply clear as shown above.   

Palme:  Because their willfulness is so extraordinary – and always accompanied by a lust for power – I suspect that the evil are more likely than most to politically aggrandize themselves. Yet at the same time, being unsubmitted, their extreme willfulness is likely to lead them to political debacles. (p. 177)

[When Muhammad was on his deathbed, he had made no provision for his successor. He died midday on Monday. Rather than bury him immediately, as was the custom, his noble companions debated the succession issue, which was basically between Abu Bakr his father-in-law and Ali, his son-in-law. They also disputed the burial site. Finally, in the middle of the night on Wednesday, Muhammad was secretly buried by Ali right below his bed. Abu Bakr hadn’t even been told. Abu Bakr’s faction believed that successors should be chosen by the community and is called Sunni, and Ali’s faction believed succession should follow the family line is called Shi’ite (partisans to Ali). This “political” dispute was never satisfactorily resolved, and it festers to this day often in bloody confrontations. (See Ishaq, pp. 682-688)]

Response:  It already been clearly shown that Palme is a very deceptive person, who has no interest in exploring the truth but only to manipulate it.  The above description of the state of the Muslims after the Prophet’s death is complete nonsense.  I am perplexed as to how he has procured this information.  An analysis of Ibn Ishaq’s account of the Prophet’s death and the subsequent events as recorded in the “Sirat Rasul-Allah” will yield no comparison between Palme’s atrocious attempts at paraphrasing and the actual account.  For example, he claims that Abu Bakr was not even aware of the Prophet’s burial, but according to Ibn Ishaq, it was Abu Bakr’s idea to bury the Prophet under his bed![39]        

            Regarding the issue of succession, while there were disagreements, the process of electing Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) was not as chaotic as Palme makes it out to be.  Indeed, while Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was a pious follower of Muhammad (peace be upon him), the majority of the people voted for Abu Bakr, who was the Prophet’s closest friend.[40]  Thus, there was nothing controversial about his ascension to the role of Caliph.    

Palme:  Scapegoating – Projecting Evil Onto Others

A predominant characteristic, however, of the behavior of those I call evil is scapegoating. Because in their hearts they consider themselves above reproach, they must lash out at anyone who does reproach them. They sacrifice others to preserve their self-image of perfection. . . Scapegoating works through a mechanism psychiatrists call projection. . . Since they must deny their own evil, they must perceive others as bad. They project their own evil onto the world. They never think of themselves as evil; on the other hand, they consequently see much evil in others. (p. 73-74)

Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends. They are friends with one another. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number. (Surah 5:51)

Say: ‘People of the Book [Jews], is it not that you hate us only because we believe in Allah and in what has been revealed to us and to others before, and because most of you are evil doers?’
Say: ‘Shall I tell you who will receive a worse reward from Allah? Those whom Allah has cursed and with whom He has been angry, transforming them into apes and swine, and those who serve the devil. (Surah 5:59)

Response:  Yes, Palme, one should not project evil onto others.  Perhaps you should take this advice into consideration.  Sura 5:51 was revealed shortly after some hypocrites feared that the Muslims would be defeated by the pagans and thus rushed to seek the aid of the Jews and Christians, instead of relying on their faith in God.  God admonished them for being faithless and urged the believers to seek protection from Him alone.  Verse 52 reveals the context of the verse, which again was war:

“And thou seest those in whose heart is a disease race toward them, saying: We fear lest a change of fortune befall us. And it may happen that Allah will vouchsafe (unto thee) the victory, or a commandment from His presence. Then will they repent them of their secret thoughts.”[41]

In any case, while the Quran does admonish some among the Jews and Christians for being sinners, it also praises many of them for being upright, a fact that Palme does not want his readers to know.  But as was mentioned in the early part of this article, the truth will come out, no matter how hard Palme may try to keep it hidden:

“But because of their breach of their covenant, We cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard; they change the words from their (right) places and forget a good part of the message that was sent them, nor wilt thou cease to find them- barring a few - ever bent on (new) deceits: but forgive them, and overlook (their misdeeds): for Allah loveth those who are kind.”[42]

“Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, "We are Christians": because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant.”[43]

“Of the people of Moses there is a section who guide and do justice in the light of truth.  We divided them into twelve tribes or nations. We directed Moses by inspiration, when his (thirsty) people asked him for water: "Strike the rock with thy staff": out of it there gushed forth twelve springs: Each group knew its own place for water. We gave them the shade of clouds, and sent down to them manna and quails, (saying): "Eat of the good things We have provided for you": (but they rebelled); to Us they did no harm, but they harmed their own souls.”[44]

The reader can see how much of the truth Palme has kept hidden.  Time after time, he has perverted the truth in order to deceive his readers.  It is quite clear that Palme shares many of the characteristics of the “people of the lie”.    

Palme:  As has been noted, it is characteristic of those who are evil to judge others as evil. Unable to acknowledge their own imperfections, they must explain away their flaws by blaming others. And, if necessary, they will even destroy others in the name of righteousness. (p. 255)

When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. . . . For the idolaters are ignorant men. Allah and His apostle repose no trust in idolaters . . .How can you trust them?. . . Most of them are evil-doers. . . Evil is what they do. . . .They were the first to attack you. (Surah 9:5-13)

Response:  It is easy to see through Palme’s lies.  The simplest way to do that is to check his “paraphrase” of the Quran.  He has quoted Surah At-Tawba, a favorite of the Islamophobes who have quoted it ad nauseum, but always out of context.  The relevant verses state the following:

“A (declaration) of immunity from Allah and His Messenger, to those of the Pagans with whom ye have contracted mutual alliances:- Go ye, then, for four months, backwards and forwards, (as ye will), throughout the land, but know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah (by your falsehood) but that Allah will cover with shame those who reject Him.  And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger, to the people (assembled) on the day of the Great Pilgrimage,- that Allah and His Messenger dissolve (treaty) obligations with the Pagans. If then, ye repent, it were best for you; but if ye turn away, know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah. And proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject Faith.  (But the treaties are) not dissolved with those Pagans with whom ye have entered into alliance and who have not subsequently failed you in aught, nor aided any one against you. So fulfil your engagements with them to the end of their term: for Allah loveth the righteous.  But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.  If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.   How can there be a league, before Allah and His Messenger, with the Pagans, except those with whom ye made a treaty near the sacred Mosque? As long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them: for Allah doth love the righteous.  How (can there be such a league), seeing that if they get an advantage over you, they respect not in you the ties either of kinship or of covenant? With (fair words from) their mouths they entice you, but their hearts are averse from you; and most of them are rebellious and wicked.  The Signs of Allah have they sold for a miserable price, and (many) have they hindered from His way: evil indeed are the deeds they have done.  In a Believer they respect not the ties either of kinship or of covenant! It is they who have transgressed all bounds.  But (even so), if they repent, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity,- they are your brethren in Faith: (thus) do We explain the Signs in detail, for those who understand.  But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and taunt you for your Faith,- fight ye the chiefs of Unfaith: for their oaths are nothing to them: that thus they may be restrained.  Will ye not fight people who violated their oaths, plotted to expel the Messenger, and took the aggressive by being the first (to assault) you? Do ye fear them? Nay, it is Allah Whom ye should more justly fear, if ye believe!”[45]

One can see that, when read in context, there is nothing at all controversial or disturbing in these verses.  Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers were fighting for their lives, and they were perfectly justified in fighting their oppressors.  Palme is a liar, plain and simple.  To learn about Islam from someone of his pathetic credentials would be like learning how to be a nuclear safety inspector from Homer Simpson![46]

            We can see from the above verses that the command to fight was only against those pagans who had violated the Treaty of Hudaybiyah.  Even so, the Prophet was commanded to offer asylum and safety to any of the pagans who sought it, despite the fact that they were the ones who violated the treaty!  If Palme thinks that they were not to blame for their treachery, then he needs to explain why he thinks so instead of making absurd accusations and pointing fingers at others.          

Palme:  Never have We sent a single prophet or apostle before with whose wishes Satan did not tamper. But Allah abrogates the interjections of Satan and confirms His own revelations. Allah is all-knowing and wise. He makes Satan’s interjections a temptation for those whose hearts are diseased and hardened . . . (Surah 22:47) [Note: this statement is in reference to the mention of the Arab pagan godesses Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat in Surah 53:20 (actually preceding Surah 22 chronologically), for which Muhammad was widely criticized.]

Response:  The verse Palme quoted from Sura 22 is not verse 47, but verse 52.  As for the so-called “Satanic Verses” myth, it has been rejected both in the past and the present by all Muslim scholars as a forgery.  Even non-Muslim scholars tend to agree.  For example, John Burton acknowledged the lack of historical truth in the story by observing that:

“[t]here existed therefore a compelling theoretical motive for the invention of these infamous hadiths. If it be felt that this has now been demonstrated, there should be no further difficulty in suggesting that those hadiths have no historical basis.”[47]

Furthermore, Sura 22 (Al-Hajj) was revealed around the year 1 AH (c. 622 AD), whereas Sura 53 (An-Najm) was revealed almost six years earlier.[48]  So, Palme is correct in asserting that Sura 53 preceded Sura 22.  However, one can see the obvious discrepancy in the “theory” that Sura 22:47 was revealed in relation to Sura 53:20.  Why would Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) have waited six years to send down a response to Satan’s alleged “interruption” of the revelation?  If that had been the case, the Muslims would have been calling upon the three pagan goddesses for more than half a decade until the alleged “abrogation”!  Of course, there is no evidence to suggest this ever happened.  As Saifullah et al., state:

“The story which we have summarized in the beginning suggests that Muhammad(P) did not realize his fault until God admonished him six years later and that the matter was rectified perhaps another two and a half years after. In the meantime the Muslims were supposedly asking Allat, Manat and Uzza for intercession! Had the genuine state of affairs truly been this ridiculous, it would have been impossible for Muhammad(P) to have maintained such a loyal following.”[49]

People like Palme fail to pick up on these important details.  Perhaps it is due to ignorance or more likely, it is due to their evil hatred of Islam, since all of this information is easily accessible and they simply refuse to research Islam in an honest and fair manner.  There is no logical or historical reason to accept the story of the “Satanic Verses”, but many non-Muslims continue to be infatuated by the story, as they have brainwashed themselves into insisting that it must have been true so that they can demonize the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). 

Palme:  Concern Over Public Image and Respectability

Utterly dedicated to preserving their self-image of perfection, [the evil] are unceasingly engaged in the effort to maintain the appearance of moral purity. They worry about this a great deal. They are acutely sensitive to social norms and what others might think of them. . . While they seem to lack any motivation to be good, they intensely desire to appear good. Their “goodness” is all on a level of pretense. It is, in effect, a lie. This is why they are the “people of the lie.” Yet the self-deceit would be unnecessary if the evil had no sense of right and wrong. We lie only when we are attempting to cover up something we know to be illicit. (p. 75-76)

Allah has now revealed the best of scriptures, a Book uniform in style proclaiming promises and warnings. . . A Quran in the Arabic tongue, free from any flaw, that they may guard themselves against evil. (Surah 39:22-27)
If We abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten, We will replace it by a better one or one similar. Did you not know that Allah has power over all things? (Surah 2:106)

[When Muhammad and his followers were driven out of Mecca, they migrated to Medina. They were destitute, and there was little work for them to support themselves. As was sometimes practiced by the Bedoins of that era, they resorted to robbing merchant caravans that passed through the desert. Caravans dealt with this menace by having armed escorts. However, during the religious pilgrimage month, all tribes foreswore violence, so security was relaxed. On the last day of the sacred month of Rajab in 624, Muhammad’s raiding party came across a Quraysh caravan. They knew that if they didn’t attack it that evening it would pass on into safety by the next day. After conferring among themselves, the raiders decided to attack anyway, killing one Quraysh, capturing two and stealing the shipment of raisins, leather, and other merchandise. When the raiders returned to Muhammad and reported to him what they had done, his first response was, “I did not order you to fight in the sacred month.” (This was actually the first successful raid by the Muslims.) When the raiders tried to share 20 percent of their booty with Muhammad as was required, he impounded the entire ‘take’ as well as the captives. Bear in mind that the concern was not about robbing or killing, but rather the scandal of doing it in the sacred month. Some followers rationalized that perhaps the raiders got the date of their raid wrong. But the temptation of the spoils was too much for Muhammad. Soon, he “received” a message from Allah, Surah 2:217 – “Idolatry is worse than carnage” --, sanctifying the attack. (From The History of Al-Tabari, Vol. VII, para. 1274-79)]

Response:  We know that the raids began as a response to the Meccan seizures of all property which had been left behind by the Muslims when they had fled to Medina in order to escape persecution.  Armstrong notes that:

“Muhammad had arrived in Medina in September 622 as a refugee who had narrowly escaped death.  He would continue to be in mortal danger for the next five years, and during this time the umma faced the possibility of extermination.  In the West we often imagine Muhammad as a warlord, brandishing his sword in order to impose Islam on a reluctant world by force of arms.  The reality was quite different.  Muhammad and the first Muslims were fighting for their lives and they had also undertaken a project in which violence was inevitable.”[50]

Therefore, the raids were not of a criminal nature.  They were justified as the Meccans had illegally seized property which was not rightfully theirs and had continued their persecution of the Muslims. 

Concerning the raid during the month of Rajab, we know that Muhammad (peace be upon him) had actually refused to take any portion of the spoils, as Armstrong observes:

“Muhammad, therefore, repudiated the raid and refused to accept any booty. […] Abdallah and his companions were deeply depressed when Muhammad repudiated the raid… Muhammad had a duty to console them and, yet again feeling his way forward, he used the incident to take his theology of the just war one step forward.  Yes, it had been wrong to fight in the holy months, but there were worse crimes than that [hence the revelation of the verse accepting the raid].  […] This revelation eased the situation: the Jews continued to fulminate but the Helpers and the raiding-party were both reassured.  Muhammad was able to divide the spoils among the Emigrants and he began negotiations with the Quraysh for an exchange of prisoners…”[51]

Yet again, Palme is caught manipulating the facts in order to peddle his ridiculous theories. 

Palme:  Intolerance of Criticism

The evil hate the light – the light of goodness that shows them up, the light of scrutiny that exposes them, the light of truth that penetrates their deception. (p. 77)

[The biographies of Muhammad by Ishaq and al-Tabari contain accounts of several poets in Medina who were murdered because their poems criticizing Muhammad. They include Ka’b b. al-Ashraf, Abu Afak (a 120 year old Jew), Asma bint Marwan (a mother of five who was stabbed at night with a child asleep on her breast), and two slave women.]

Response:  The account of the alleged assassination of Asma bint Marwan is a forgery.  Brother Hesham Azmy observes in his excellent article “True Stories or Forgeries?  The Killing of Abu 'Afak and Asma' bint Marwan?” that the story is attributed to the scholars Ibn Sa'd, Ibn 'Adiyy and Ibn 'Asaker, but Ibn 'Adiyy mentioned that:

“...this isnad is not narrated on authority of Mujalid but by Muhammad Ibn Al-Hajjaj and they all accuse Muhammad Ibn Al-Hajjaj of forging it.”[52]

The story of Abu Afak’s assassination is also considered a forgery, as brother Azmy notes that:

“…references of the Sîrah do not provide such information. Actually, we are told that this story has no isnâd at all; neither Ibn Ishâq (or his disciple Ibn Hîsham) nor Al-Waqîdî (or his disciple Ibn Sa'd) had provided such a thing! In this case, the story is rated by hadîth scholars as "...of no basis", indicating that it has reached the lowest degree of criticism regarding its isnâd. This is in fact a proper scientific position because we cannot accept such a problematic story without evidence.”[53]

Clearly, these reports were of a dubious nature and it is therefore not incumbent upon Muslims or any student of history to regard them as truthful.  Unfortunately, ignorant people like Palme continue to refer to these myths as if they are facts.  

Coming to the account of Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf’s assassination, which is the only one Palme mentions that is historically verifiable, let us see whether his scathing attacks against not only the Prophet but also Muslims should be considered as “…the light of goodness…the light of scrutiny” or if they should be considered as sickening and dangerous propaganda.  Armstrong describes the situation concerning the poet Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf and what made him a target for the Muslims (emphasis ours):

Immediately after the victory [at Badr]…Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf, a Jewish poet of the Bani Nadir, went directly to Mecca and started to compose inflammatory verses, urging the Quraysh to march against Muhammad and avenge their dead. […]
Ka’b’s verses made it very clear to the Quraysh that not all the people of Medina stood stoutly behind Muhammad.  […] Poetry was central to the political life of Arabia and Ka’b’s songs helped to rouse the Quraysh from the torpor of depression and grief into which they had been thrown by the defeat [at Badr].”[54]

The power of poetry was a force to be reckoned with in 7th century Arabia, and Ka’b was no exception.  Contrary to the myth, Ka’b was not simply writing satirical verses about the Prophet; he was instigating his enemies to make war on him and to destroy his people.  Had his intentions proved successful, the Quraysh and their Jewish allies would have ganged up on and laid waste to the Muslim community, massacring every person, women and children included.  And yet, Palme regards Ka’b’s poetry to be “the light of goodness”!  This would be like saying that Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” was a humanitarian manifesto!  Both statements are false, of course.  

Palme:  The evil are “the people of the lie,” deceiving others as they also build layer upon layer of self-deception. [W]hile evil people are still to be feared, they are also to be pitied. Forever fleeing the light of self-exposure and the voice of their own conscience, they are the most frightened of human beings. (p. 66-67)

You must not speak ill of God’s apostle, nor shall you ever wed his wives after him; this would be a grave offense in the sight of Allah. (Surah 33:54)

Response:  The verse in Sura 33 is verse 53, not verse 54.[55]  It is talking about “annoying” the Prophet or causing him undue difficulty or duress.  Furthermore, Ibn Kathir mentioned that the verse was revealed in a specific context:

“Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said concerning the Ayah [33:53]… "This was revealed concerning a man who wanted to marry one of the wives of the Prophet after he died. A man said to Sufyan, `Was it `A'ishah'? He said, `That is what they said.''' This was also stated by Muqatil bin Hayyan and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. He also reported with his chain of narration from As-Suddi that the one who wanted to do this was Talhah bin `Ubaydullah, may Allah be pleased with him, until this Ayah was revealed forbidding that. Hence the scholars were unanimous in stating that it was forbidden for anyone to marry any of the women who were married to the Messenger of Allah at the time when he died, because they are his wives in this world and in the Hereafter, and they are the Mothers of the believers, as stated previously.”[56]

So, the verse was actually revealed concerning the status of his wives after his death.  They were his wives in the earthly life as well as the afterlife.  In addition, his wives were the “Mothers of the Believers” and more than that, they all commanded great respect from the Muslim community.  Had they remarried after the Prophet’s death, the Muslim community would have been divided along the lines of allegiance to the wives of the Prophet, spawning dynasties and rivalries.  A political situation of that caliber would have been disastrous for the Muslim world.  We already know the political power the wives of the Prophet had the potential to command, as in the case of Aisha’s rebellion against Ali for failing to bring the murderers of Uthman to justice (may Allah be pleased with them all).  Now multiply the effects of that event by 10-fold, and we can see the potential danger for disaster.  It was for this reason, a quite practical reason, that it was forbidden for the Muslims to wed any of the Prophet’s wives after his death.  This view that “dynasties and cabals” could divide the Muslim community is confirmed by Armstrong.[57] 

Palme: We can see, then, that their narcissism makes the evil dangerous not only because it motivates them to scapegoat others but also because it deprives them of the restraint that results from empathy or respect for others. As it gives them the motive for murder, so it also renders them insensitive to the act of killing. (p. 136)

I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers! (Surah 8:12)

Those that make war against Allah and His apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the country. . . As for the man or woman who is guilty of theft, cut off their hands to punish them for their crimes. That is the punishment enjoined by Allah. (Surah 5:33-38)

When the apostle heard what [Asma bint Marwan] has said [criticizing him], he said, “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?” ‘Umar b. ‘Adiy al-Khatmi who was with him heard him, and that very night he went to her house and killed her. In the morning he came to the apostle and told him what he had done and he said, “You have helped Allah and His apostle, O ‘Umayr!” When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, “Two goats won’t butt their heads about her,” so ‘Umayr went back to his his people. (Ishaq, para 996)

Response:  We have already shown the evidence to dismiss the account of the alleged assassination of Asma bint Marwan, so there is no need to dwell on the subject any further.  Concerning the alleged “insensitivity” to killing, we have already established that Islam values life and considers it sacred.  The only time that it is permitted to take life is in the “course of justice”, whether it is in executing a criminal or in fighting a defensive war.  Both of the verses which Palme quotes above refer to the context of war, which as we have seen, was only allowed in response to oppression.  Moreover, Sura 8 makes it clear that overtures of peace must be accepted by the Prophet and the Muslim community, as long as there is no sign of any treachery of deceit in the overtures:

“But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things).  Should they intend to deceive thee,- verily Allah sufficeth thee: He it is That hath strengthened thee with His aid and with (the company of) the Believers;”[58]

It is not surprising that Palme, like most anti-Muslim bigots, invariably avoided mentioning this verse, as it serves to inconveniently refute his hatred.  How typical of one of the “people of the lie”!   

Palme:  The evil flee both self-examination and any situation in which they might be closely examined by others. (p. 150)

Believers, do not behave presumptuously in the presence of Allah and His apostle. Believers do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, or shout aloud when speaking to him as you do to one another, lest your labors should come to nothing without your knowledge. Those who speak softly in the presence of Allah’s apostle are the men whose hearts Allah has tested for piety. Forgiveness and rich reward await them . . . Believers, if an evil-doer brings you a piece of news inquire first into its truth, lest you should wrong others unwittingly and then regret the action. Know that Allah’s apostle is among you. If he obeyed you in many matters, you would surely come to grief. . . Believers, avoid immoderate suspicion, for in some cases suspicion is a crime. (Surah 49:1-12)

Response:  So, what is the problem?  All these verses say is to speak softly in the presence of the Prophet, to confirm any news that may reach them (so as to avoid spreading false news about others), and to avoid casting suspicion on others.  What does Palme find so offensive about these instructions?  They have nothing to do with “self-examination”.  In fact, “self-examination” is a cornerstone of the Islamic faith.  The Holy Quran states:

“Allah does not change a people's lot unless they change what is in their hearts.”[59]

Palme:  Intellectual Deviousness

The evil always hide their motives with lies. (p. 105)

It was not you, but Allah, who slew them. It was not you who smote them: Allah smote them so that He might richly reward the faithful. (Surah 8:17)

Response:  Once again, what is the problem?  This verse says that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) destroyed the enemies of Islam for their evil deeds, and that the Muslims should realize that and not be boastful that it was they who, through their own strength and power, subdued a powerful enemy.  It urges them to avoid boasting of their military prowess because victory came to them because Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) had decreed it.  How is that akin to “intellectual deviousness”? 

Palme:  Magical thinking can take on a variety of forms, but basically it is a belief that thoughts in and of themselves may cause events to occur. (p. 36)

May the hands of Abu-Lahab [Muhammad’s uncle and one of his staunchest opponents] perish! May he himself perish! Nothing shall his wealth and gains avail him. He shall be burnt in a flaming fire [a pun on Abu-Lahab which means ‘father of flame’], and his wife, laden with firewood, shall have a rope of fibre around her neck! (Surah 111:1-5)

Response:  This surah was revealed in response to Abu Lahab’s incessant abuses and hatred hurled at his nephew and Muslims in general.  It is said that when the Prophet called some people of the Quraysh to come listen to him, Abu Lahab angrily invoked death upon him for doing so.  It is also said that when Abu Lahab was told of the Day of Judgment, he claimed that he would use his wealth and children to “buy” his salvation (hence the verse “…his wealth and gains will not avail him”).  So, it was revealed as a direct response to Abu Lahab’s incessant rants against his nephew and Islam.  It had become clear that he would do anything in his power to destroy the new religion, including taking up arms against it.  It was mostly due to his pride in his rank and power that he refused to acknowledge his nephew’s religion.  The scholar Maududi related a story narrated by Ibn Zayd which shows Abu Lahab’s arrogance and egotism:

“According to Ibn Zaid, one day Abu Lahab asked the Holy Prophet: "If I were to accept your religion, what would I get?" The Holy Prophet replied: "You would get what the other believers would get." He said: "Is there no preference or distinction for me?" The Holy Prophet replied: "What else do you want?" Thereupon he said: "May this religion perish in which I and all other people should be equal and alike!"”[60]

So, the verse was a condemnation of Abu Lahab’s sinful pride and vehement opposition to Islam.[61]  It predicted his doom and implicitly stated that he would never accept Islam, which he didn’t.  How does this qualify as “magical thinking”?      

Palme:  I know now that one of the characteristics of evil is its desire to confuse. (p. 179)

[The People of the Book] did not kill [Jesus], nor did they crucify him, but they thought they did (or literally, ‘he was made to resemble another for them’). Those that disagreed about him were in doubt concerning him; they knew nothing about him that was not sheer conjecture; they did not slay him for certain. God lifted him up to Himself. . . (Surah 4:157)

Response:  So, now Palme wants to discuss the differing views about Jesus’ alleged death?  Just because something is widely believed for many centuries does not mean that it is true.  To claim that the truth of a claim can be deduced from whether it is widely accepted or not is known as an “argumentum ad numerum”, similar to saying that since many people believed that the earth was the center of the universe, than it must have been true.[62]  Would Palme regard Ja’far al-Sadiq or Copernicus as “evil” people for “[desiring] to confuse” with their proposals that the sun was the body around which all other objects revolved?[63] 

In any case, the crucifixion of Jesus was not an open and shut case.  Many Gnostics from the early Christian era believed that he had not being crucified.  For example, the apocryphal text “The Apocalypse of Peter” described how Jesus (peace be upon him) stood next to the cross as another was crucified in his place:

“When he had said those things, I saw him seemingly being seized by them. And I said "What do I see, O Lord? That it is you yourself whom they take, and that you are grasping me? Or who is this one, glad and laughing on the tree? And is it another one whose feet and hands they are striking?"

The Savior said to me, "He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is his fleshly part, which is the substitute being put to shame, the one who came into being in his likeness. But look at him and me.”[64]

Additionally, as we have explained elsewhere, the Quran does not deny that a crucifixion did take place and that there was an attempt on the life of Jesus (peace be upon him).  As we stated in our article “The Crucifixion of Jesus in the Bible and the Quran: A Critical Examination”:

“…the Quran does not deny that a crucifixion occurred.  It simply denies that Isa (peace be upon him) was the crucified person.  In other words, the Quran states that the prophet was miraculously saved from his enemies who wished to do him harm.  As such, we would not expect secular sources to acknowledge this miracle.  They were, as were the attempted murderers of Isa (peace be upon him), simply assuming that he was crucified because that is what everyone seemed to believe, despite all the contradictions and inconsistencies of the story.”[65]

            Finally, Palme needs to explain why a supposed “impostor” would needlessly try to confuse people by complicating the issue of the crucifixion of Jesus (peace be upon him) when it was in his best interests not to?  Surely, an impostor would have simply gone along with the widely-accepted belief that Jesus had been crucified, would he not?  Why confuse potential converts by making needlessly complicated revisions to supposed historic fact?

Palme:  The postponement of sacred months is a grossly impious practice, in which the unbelievers are misguided. They allow it one year and forbid it in the next, so that they may make up for the months which Allah has sanctified, thus making lawful what Allah has forbidden. Their foul acts seem fair to them: Allah does not guide the unbelievers. [This was a condemnation of intercalculation, a needed adjustment to reconcile the 354 day Islamic lunar year with the 365 day solar year.] (Surah 9:37)

Response:  First, Sura 9:36 says that there are twelve months in a year, with four of them being sacred (Dhul-Qa`dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram in succession, and Rajab).  The reason for this is explained by Ibn Kathir:

The four Sacred Months were made four, three in succession and one alone, so that the Hajj and `Umrah are performed with ease. Dhul-Qa`dah, the month before the Hajj month, was made sacred because they refrained from fighting during that month. Dhul-Hijjah, the next month, was made sacred because it is the month of Hajj, during which they performed Hajj rituals. Muharram, which comes next, was made sacred so that they are able to go back to their areas in safety [after performing Hajj]. Rajab, in the middle of the lunar year, was made sacred so that those coming from the farthest areas of Arabia are able to perform `Umrah and visit the House and then go back to their areas safely.[66]

So, there was a practical reason for making those specific months sacred, as well as spiritual reasons. 

Concerning Sura 9:37, the idolaters were the ones causing “confusion” in that they changed the sanctity of a given month on a year-round basis.  For instance, in a given year, they would make Muharram sacred and not Safar, but the year after, they would sanctify Safar and not Muharram.  Thus, it was they who were causing confusion!  By keeping the sanctity of the months consistent from year to year, Islam actually served to eliminate confusion and also to provide ease and convenience to pilgrims.

Palme:  Satan does not understand science. Science is an anti-narcissistic phenomenon. Deceiver of itself as of others, Satan cannot understand why any beings would not want to deceive themselves [with myths of their own making]. (p. 208-209)

Tell how We [Allah] sent you [Muhammad] a band of jinn [intelligent, usually invisible, creatures who can choose between good and evil] who, when they came and listened to the Quran, said to each other: “Hush! Hush!” As soon as it was ended they betook themselves to their people and gave them a warning. “Our people,” they said, “we have just been listening to a scripture revealed since the time of Moses, confirming previous scriptures and directing to the truth and to a straight path. Our people, answer the call of God’s summoner and believe in Him!” (Surah 46:29)

Response:  Palme is once again injecting his own pathetic biases into Peck’s discussion.  It is hard to see how Peck would have regarded belief in the jinn as a “myth”, and yet accept the existence of Satan as a reality.  Indeed, Dr. Peck clearly had religious beliefs; ones which die-hard atheists might say were “superstitions” or “myths”.  In fact, Peck not only believed in the existence of Satan, he also believed in demonic possession![67]  Andrew Billen, a correspondent for “TimesOnline”, who had a chance to meet with Dr. Peck shortly before his death, described Dr. Peck’s religious views as follows:

“But injecting God into the psychological equation is, as he knows, a most unusual thing for a psychiatrist to do, and it is probably only his fame that prevented him being drummed out of the profession. But as a block to being taken seriously, his faith evaporates beside his certainties about Satan as a real and specific entity straight out of the Book of Revelation, a fallen angel, jealous of man’s superiority to the angels and out to take over the good. In his more optimistic moments, Peck refers to the defeat of evil as a ‘mop-up’ operation, the main battles having already been won by Christ, but this does not mean the remaining ones will not be hard fought.”[68]

Would a belief in a being known as Satan, a “fallen angel” to some and a “jinn” to others disqualify one from any position in science?  Dr. Peck believed in Satan, and yet he was a brilliant psychiatrist.  Would Palme care to explain why believing in the existence of Satan is not akin to believing in “myths” but believing in the existence of jinn is?  Did Peck’s belief in Satan actually expose an aspect of self-deception within the good doctor? 

Conclusion

Within this exhaustive exposé, the readers will have noticed the reprehensible incompetence of Louis Palme in his article “Muhammad and the People of the Lie”.  His article lacks any substance or originality, as well as any efficient development of a thesis.  All he has done is cherry-pick some quotes in a droning fashion from Dr. Peck’s book and the Islamic sources which he feels apply to Dr. Peck’s points, but ultimately fails to develop any sound ideas.  He does not comment on what his hypotheses are, and thus the majority of his article is not even his own words!  Had he written a paper of this mediocre caliber at the college or graduate level, he would have surely failed.  Moreover, his implicit associations between Dr. Peck’s ideas on evil and certain Islamic doctrines or events which concerned the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lacked any comparable links.  More often than not, he completely misconstrued the doctrines or events in question, a blunder which he attempted to vouch for in the introduction to his article (a characteristic of the “people of the lie” as observed by Dr. Peck).  It can be said with relative certainty, then, that his attempts to divert evil onto Islam actually back-fired as he unwittingly exposed the evil within himself.  In other words, we can say that he is a walking adaptation of “the people of the lie” (hence the title of this response).  So, not only was his article not professionally written, and not only did it fail to establish or support any of his laughable hypotheses regarding Islam, it actually exposed the evil within him.  His article is nothing more than a pathetic diatribe by just another run-of-the-mill ignorant Islamophobe. 

And Allah knows best!



[2] Palme’s article was written in 2007, almost 25 years after Dr. Peck published his famous book.

[3] Indeed, Peck was certainly familiar with Islamic teachings, as he states that he was briefly interested in “Islamic mysticism” before formally converting to Christianity (see note 63).  

[4] M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), p. 10.

[5] Ibid., p. 105.

[7] Unfortunately, it is not surprising that uneducated anti-Islamic bigots like Louis Palme so enthusiastically and lazily refer to the works of Ibn Ishaq and al-Tabari without exercising the requisite academic caution, as real scholars actually do!

[8] Surah Al-Maeda, 5:32 (Yusuf Ali Translation).
    
[9] Surah Al-Anaam, 6:151-153.

[10] Surah Al-Israa, 17:31-35.

[11] Surah Al-Furqan, 25:68-71.

[12] Peck, op. cit., p. 78.

[14] Renan was actually aware of these great Muslim minds, including Ibn Rushd (Averrhoes), and was also aware of their contributions to human civilization, although perhaps not in the way he thought!  As Karen Armstrong explains:

“…Renan hailed Ibn Rushd…as a free spirit, an early champion of rationalism against blind faith.  But in fact, Ibn Rushd was a devout Muslim and qadi judge of Shariah law” (Islam: A Short History (New York: Random House, 2002), pp. 84-85).
   
It must be embarrassing for Palme to learn Renan’s views regarding Ibn Rushd after having just supported Renan’s view that Muslims like Ibn Rushd were the first “victims” of Islam!

[15] Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992), p. 60.

[16] Ibid., 231.

[17] Jalal Abualrub, 50 Righteous and Humane Concepts Brought by Muhammad, The Prophet of Mercy (Madinah Publishers and Distributers, 2007), p. 173.

[18] Hugh Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In (Da Capo Press, 2007), p. 48.

Professor Kennedy referred to some of the testimonies of Muslims during the age of the Arab conquests, as related by Tabari, and though he expressed skepticism regarding whether these “speeches were actually made as described”, he still found them historically “interesting” as they showed the attitude of Muslims themselves towards the positive impact Islam had on their lives. 

[19] W. Montgomery Watt, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman (London: Oxford University Press, 1961), pp. 236-237.

And in his final assessment, though Watt found some of Muhammad’s ideas to be incorrect (perhaps from a western point of view), he was still able to praise the great prophet:

“…by God’s grace he has been enabled to provide millions of men with a better religion than they had before they testified that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the messenger of God” (p. 240).

[21] Surah An-Nisaa, 4:75.

[22] Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, op. cit., p. 243.

[23] Watt, op. cit., p. 231.

[24] Sahih Muslim, 30:5831.

[25] Surah Al-Ahzaab, 33:52.

[26] Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, op. cit., p. 190.

[27] Sahih Bukhari, 9:93:516.

[30] Sahih Bukhari, 4:52:220

[31] Ibid., 1:1:5

[32] Ibid., 7:63:219i

[33] Ibid., 1:8:434

[34] Ibid., 8:73:97

[35] Sahih Muslim, 1:195

[36] Sahih Bukhari, 4:51:2

[37] Ibid., 8:76:463

[38] Al-Tirmidhi, 2754.

[40] Karen Armstrong, Islam: A Short History, op. cit., p. 25.

[41] Surah Al-Maeda, 5:52.

[42] Surah Al-Maeda, 5:13.

[43] Surah Al-Maeda, 5:82.

[44] Surah Al-Araaf, 7:159-160.

[45] Surah At-Tawba, 9:1-13.

[46] Those who don’t get the joke should watch “The Simpsons”.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, op. cit., pp. 167-168.

[51] Ibid., pp. 171-172.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, op. cit., pp. 183-183.

[55] The reader will notice numerous such errors by Palme, as we have already shown.  It is perhaps a testament to Palme’s shoddy scholarship (as well as that of the website “Annaqed”) that his article has been online for almost 10 years and has never been edited to correct the silly mistakes he has made in quoting the Holy Quran!

[57] Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, op. cit., p. 238.

[58] Surah Al-Anfaal, 8:61-62.

Thus, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was willing to negotiate with the Meccans after the Battle of the Trench, even when they demanded certain revisions to the treaty draft, as discussed above. 

[59] Surah Ar-Ra’d, 13:11.

[61] Maududi also relates a story of Abu Lahab’s sickening behavior upon learning that his nephew’s son, Abdullah, had died.  Maududi states:

“Abu Lahab's wickedness can be judged from the fact that when after the death of the Holy Prophet's son Hadrat Qasim, his second son, Hadrat Abdullah, also died, this man instead of joining with his nephew in his bereavement, hastened to the Quraish chiefs joyfully to give them the news that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) had become childless that night.”


It is a little known fact that many Muslim scholars proposed a heliocentric model of the solar system, in contrast to the more popular geocentric model. 

[67] Peck, op. cit., pp. 182-184. 

Dr. Peck, a respected psychiatrist, devoted a whole chapter in his book to the discussion of Satan, possession and exorcism.  Thus, it is difficult indeed to see what Palme’s point even is! 

[68] Unfortunately, this article is no longer available online.  However, an even more interesting (and extant) article discusses Peck’s actual involvement in two exorcisms here:


Also of interest is Dr. Peck’s discussion of his brief involvement in Sufism, which only further destroys Palme’s tirade about the supposed “evil” of Islam.  Unlike Palme, Dr. Peck actually spent some time studying the Islamic faith, and though he unfortunately left it to become a Christian, one would expect that he would have had mentioned some of the “evil” aspects of Islam in his book if he had been able to identify them!  He certainly had hands-on experience, unlike Palme!  But alas for poor Mr. Palme, no such discussion was made by Dr. Peck.