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Explore Critically The Claims By Muslims That Muhammad Was The Perfect Man.

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Explore critically the claim made by Muslims that Muhammad was the Perfect man.

Typically most Muslims would regard Muhammad as the perfect man or insan al-kamil. He is revered by most Muslims as being someone to aspire to be as Allah chose him to be the final prophet who was given the gift of Allah's word. However in this essay I am going to look at the notion that Muhammad was the not the ideal human as most Muslims would believe to be true. I am going to take this stance because I believe it impossible for a human to be perfect as we all have innate characteristics such as jealousy, greed, etc. It is my belief that anything that is not divine cannot be perfect as humans are flawed. However I do accept that Mohammad is a good role model to Muslims and that there is nothing wrong with wanting to live your life in a way that is modelled to him.

The dictionary describes the word perfect as "entirely without fault or defect." Something that is perfect cannot be flawed in any way. However our minds cannot understand the concept of perfection as it something that is very hard to find. Although we use the word perfect in every day life its actual meaning is something we do not look to. For example if I bought a cream cake from the shop and it tasted delicious, I would say "that cream cake was perfect." However if I really looked at the cream cake is it actually perfect, maybe it is a little bit too sweet or maybe someone else would think the cream cake was awful. This is similar to the view of Muhammad. Many Muslims believe Muhammad was the perfect man as he was a great ruler and follower of Islam. However it is noted in text that Muhammad did things that he even admitted to be wrong. Muhammad did not believe himself to be divine in any sort of way and was therefore capable of fault.

Firstly I am going to look at the great wars that were fought at the time of early Islam enabling the spread of the religion. After Muhammad had the Qu'ran revealed to him he was persecuted by many of the people in Mecca. The Qurayash began to oppress the Muslims which caused Muhammad to take his people to Medina. In Medina the prophet received a passionate response to his religion. This is called the 'hijra' and marks the fact that Muhammad now belonged to Medina and not to Mecca his birthplace.

Due to the great persecution from the Meccan's Muhammad took the decision that the only way for people to listen to his message was through force.

"From the first it was evident that Muhammad believed that his message was for all Arabs- and perhaps all man-kind- and it had now become clear that they could be made to listen only by force. There could be no compromise with idolatry. Therefore it followed hat all those who refused to believe in Islam would be quelled. Idolaters whose very existence was an insult to the one true God would have to accept Islam or the word; other monotheists would have to acknowledge their inferiority by paying a special tax. This became the established principle of Islam during the years of the prophet's life at Medina which remained after the opposition of the Quraysh was quelled."

(Guillaume, A.1954.p40)

However before the Muslims used force to spread their message, they seem to be very peaceful. In Medina there are reports of Jewish tribes within the Muslim community who had the same rights as the Muslims. This could not last though, religion must grow to become successful as all great religions do. For example Christianity could not have spread if it didn't progress and through the work of the early church it managed to become one of the worlds largest religions. The same had to happen to Islam in order for it to survive. In order for Muhammad to meet his aim of converting all Arabs to Islam he could not continue to use peaceful means as these had been unsuccessful and therefore needed to use force.

One of Muhammad's main objectives was to see the ka'ba purified and dedicated Allah. The ka'ba had been used by the Meccans to house their pagan idols. Muhammad in order to overthrow the Meccans would have to use force and persuade his followers to take up arms against them. Muhammad used his teachings to convince them to attack by preaching about jihad, which is the notion of war as a sacred duty.

This led to the battle of Badr in 624ce where a force of 300 Muslims led by Muhammad attacked about 1000 Meccans. The Muslims were able to win their battle and some of his most determined opponents were slain. Due to this battle many people who had not joined forces with Muhammad now became his followers.

This is not the only war that happened during Muhammad's rule and as he became less tolerant of the Jews he began operations to expel the Jews from Hijaz. The Jewish people refused to accept that Muhammad was a prophet from God and although they were pleased that Muhammad accepted some of the old prophets such as Moses they did not accept Jesus to be a prophet. This had led to tension within Muhammad's community and due to this unrest they and to be eliminated. After Muhammad had quashed the Jewish tribes he asked a leader of the Aus to determine the punishment for the Jews. He ordered the men to be slain and the women and the children to be sold as slaves. This act was carried out and around 800 men are reported to have been killed.

These acts of war for the purpose of the spread of Islam must come into question. These wars are only a couple of the great wars that occurred during Muhammad's life. The question I ask is how could a perfect man do these acts? The persecution that the Muslims faced was barbaric and unnecessary but the behaviour of the Muslims was not one of compassion either. Muhammad's task was to try and convert all Arabs to his religion and he used force in order to make this possible.

When Muhammad allowed the Aus to determine the fate of the Jews who had fought against him he agreed with the sentence that was passed and killed many men and sent women and children into slavery. Yet the Qu'ran teaches Muslims that they should be tolerant of people of the book.

"Make due allowance for human nature, and urge the doing of what is right; leave alone those who choose to remain ignorant."

(Faculty of discernment 7-199)

It appears the path that Muhammad chose was that of a warmonger. He chose to use non- peaceful methods in order to spread his religion. This to me cannot be the work of someone who is meant to be perfect as the

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