Why I Admire Muhammad: A Response to Islamophobes

Islamophobes have attacked me because I’ve written positively about Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam. Because I am a Catholic, they consider me to be a heretic and feel that my interfaith activities are sacrilegious. Islam, to these critics, is evil and Muhammad is nothing but a terrorist. I see Muhammad very differently from these fanatics. This short piece highlights his exemplary character and challenges Islamophobes to think differently about the Prophet.

One reason why I admire Muhammad is that he was an advocate of equality. In his Last Sermon at Mount Arafat, he declared: “An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab… a white person has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action.” The Prophet’s sermon ensured freedom for all people in society. His democratic message could be seen as a precursor to the American Constitution, which stands for similar egalitarian values, and to the pluralist outlook of the Founding Fathers, such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.

I also admire Prophet Muhammad because he advocated for religious tolerance, particularly towards Jews and Christians. In the Treaty of Maqnah, the Prophet told followers of Judaism that “[you] may be in peace… you are in security [under my rule]… Towards you is no wrong and no enmity.” As in his relations with the Jews, Muhammad wanted to protect Christians, who are also considered to be revered people to Muslims. In a covenant he made with Christian monks at Mount Sinai, Muhammad ensured the monks that Christian judges would be protected and churches preserved. The words of the covenant state that Muslims should look to Jews and Christians as their brothers and sisters who are children of the Almighty. In light of these treaties and covenants, the recent attacks by the Islamic State against religious minorities in Syria and Iraq are particularly striking because they blatantly contradict the Prophet’s call for tolerance within the Abrahamic tradition.

By extending religious tolerance to non-Muslims, Muhammad stood for human rights. The Prophet wanted women to have liberty so that they could live the kind of life that they desire. Two of his closest female companions demonstrate this point. His first wife, Khadija, was a successful merchant who ran a thriving caravan trade. Another of the Prophet’s wives, Aisha, became a leading Muslim scholar and jurist who was the first ever-female scholar of Islam. The relationship that he had with his wives showed that the Prophet believed that women should take leading roles in society and partake in important matters related to law and politics. The integration of these women into Arab society demonstrates that Muhammad did not want women to live in isolation, but rather he wanted them to become active members of society.

Smaller things outside of equality, religious tolerance and human rights also make me appreciate Prophet Muhammad. The Quran, as revealed to Muhammad, tells Muslims not to defame or be sarcastic towards other people. The Prophet believed that name-calling was wicked and he encouraged his followers to be civil in their interactions with others. He also taught us the importance of humility, and he encouraged Muslims and non-Muslims to be humble and pray.

The Islamophobes who do not see the value in Muhammad’s qualities are simply being close-minded. If the Prophet were alive, he would show them mercy and compassion in spite of their actions. He would also tell them to seek more knowledge.

Written by Craig Considine

Craig Considine

Craig Considine (Irish: Carrig MacConsáidín) is a Catholic American and native of Massachusetts. As a sociologist, he focuses on religion, Islam, Christianity, interfaith, race and ethnicity, identity as well as comparative research and ethnography.

  • Ken

    Nonsense. The united colours of islam was no more advanced than a pirate crew AS LONG as the members were islamic. It was a religious, political and conquering brotherhood.

    If not part of the team then infidel. Have a read about what the koran says about infidels.

    Total and utter historical nonsense that has led to endless internal and relgious war to this day.

  • bob

    Islam as it was revealed by the prophet was revolutionary. It was peaceful and promoted equality.
    Unfortunately no where in the Muslim world is that practiced today. Modern islam & modern Muslims have lost touch with the original and authentic message of the prophet. That is why the Muslim world is in such disarray.

    • olive

      Sad but true; Muslims are not perfect but Islam is.

      • Yellowman King

        islam is not perfect by any means, islam is a disgrace that I would agree with. But perfect heck no, not even good or alright or even tolerable it’s lower than dung on a hot day on a good day.

    • Sherif Yehya

      I totally agree with you. Should we restore the original and authentic message of Muhammed (Peace and blessings be upon him) we would re-rule the world.

    • guest

      honestly, how did the current interpretation of islamic religion by the muslim terrorist organizations become the complete opposite of that of the prophet? also, what ambiguous text was in the Quran that they were able to use it to justify their actions?

      • Troubled

        They just carry out their devilish Horror without any reference. Only ” Allah Akbar”. That is easy to say by any animal!
        No one can verify who they actually are. Major world Media owned and controlled by Illuminati Isfeeding us Crapp.

      • danato

        Because he abrogated most of it in later life

    • Ми же целог света славни

      We do not want purported but in fact fake “equality” under the monotheistic homophobic yoke you promulgate.

      We want to have sex men between men and women between women and to worship as many Goddesses and Gods we like. And to never have to listen to your claims that what we do is wrong.

  • Rebeccah Guy

    Thank you brother very interesting hearing an article from a non Muslim perspective 🙂 I wish more Muslims would follow the example of the prophet pbuh x many of us are trying to ,despite what it might look like!! 😀

  • Nor

    There’s error here… “The words of the covenant state that Muslims should look to Jews and Christians as their brothers and sisters who are children of the Almighty.” It’s stated clearly in the Quran that Allah the Almighty is not the same as human. He does not give birth nor given birth to.

    • Sarfaraz Abbasi

      Man, you misinterpret the meaning of ‘children’ very miserably.

  • Huda Siddiqui

    Thank you for noticing and acknowledging the fact that Prophet Muhammad PBUH was pure mercy for not just the Muslims but for the whole of mankind. I was one of those Muslims who did not understand the nature of my religion and the teachings of my Prophet Muhammad PBUH, because I never tried to find out about him. I realized how far I was with peace and tranquility until I married a very practicing Muslim, who before everything, puts his trust in the Qur’an and believes that his life should be according to the ways of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH.
    I and my husband and now a lot more of us try to revive the ways of the Prophet PBUH by working on the Muslim communities. It is so beautiful reminding other Muslim brothers and sisters ex: that Muhammad PBUH was the one who spared a Jew when he urinated in the mosque and told his companions to not say anything to the man because of which he became a Muslim and hope that more people like you will come out and share their thoughts on how the world had misunderstood us. I really appreciate you for what you have done. Thank you once again.
    A sister from Chicago, US.

    • danato

      People he was merciful for were minions of allah (the meaning of the word MSLM). He was cruel to his enemies.

  • yusuf

    As a Muslim, thank you Craig for standing for my Prophet (PBUH). I wish you success in all your endeavours.

  • neveralone

    Muhamad was Muhamad, the peace and blessing be upon him, and the muslims of nowadays, some of them, I dar to day, the majoritie of them, are really far for his teachings of tolerance, peace and love.

  • neveralone

    I don’t blame catholics, I blame muslims because them made people percibe Muhamad completely wrong, because Muslims are all the time saying with their mounts that they follow and love Muhammad, and with their actions they have berry few love, respect and tolerance towards others, not all the muslim are the same, that’s true, but if they could take power in Europe for example, for sure they will make a disaster, this is not islamophobia, this is the reality, most of muslim wanted to be perceived as a victims to allow them extra protection and tolerance meanwhile they don’t give the same respect that they claim for others, I must say again that is not all the muslim because there is very good persons between them also, so we need to be fair, if you request respect and tolerance you must give it to others too.

    • Guest

      Spot on. I agree with you 100%

    • danato

      Moderate muslims don’t know their own qur’an and if they do, everything they preach is taqiyya. Those native speakers in the levant know very well what’s in it.

  • The Truth14

    Thank you Craig for standing up for our Prophet Mohammed and seeing that he is a good example, and represented peace and love for everyone. I wish people would stop being closed minded and educate their minds with real and honest facts. Its the people that ruin the image of ISlam, not Islam itself. This is for all religions out there. God doesn’t send messengers who make mistakes and hurt people, but rather send them to help,educate and enlighten them.

    • danato

      Strangely, altough he meant to be the seal of the prophets of the Jews (which he was not related to) he has not included the books of the people of the book in his teaching.
      Because the booklet that is qur’an is so little, people have started to write down all the narrations about the history and biography of their prophet as Great Example of life, to have something to live up to.
      All ISIS’ doings are repetitions strait out of the hahadith of what their prophet has done to his enemies during his life.
      Alahu snackbar.

  • Yellowman King

    Show us then where today any of your muhammadeian accolades are being followed? Arabia is that not the main spot for Muslims do they all not have to travel to this islamic centerpiece once in their life, yet we find all sorts of outrageous laws banning the Bible for example, a book so dangerous not even allah can protect them from it so they write laws. What you have done is lie to us all with this nonsense as if we don’t know already. It’s disgraceful

  • Guest

    “An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab… a white person has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”
    And yet the jizya is an Islamic practice.

    “The Prophet’s sermon ensured freedom for all people in society. His democratic message could be seen as a precursor to the American Constitution, which stands for similar egalitarian values, and to the pluralist outlook of the Founding Fathers, such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.”
    I’m calling this out as an alarming leap in logic and a blatant claim with no evidence to support this statement other than the burning desire to attribute the some of the dearest and most core values of the American Constitution to Islam. I need not point out that none of the Founding Fathers were Muslim.

    ” His first wife, Khadija, was a successful merchant who ran a thriving caravan trade.”

    She was a successful merchant PRIOR to marrying the prophet, meaning he had no contribution in the form of supporting her as a husband in achieving this success. She was also 20 yrs his senior when they married. Sounds a bit like a sugar mama to me. On the topic of women and wives, need we bring Aisha into the picture? (his 9-year old WIFE)

    I appreciate the intention of this article, which is to rightly call out Islamophobes for the hate they have. Nevertheless, the lack of integrity through which this is done is downright appalling. The presentation of these supposed qualities of the prophet make me question and doubt if it was actually true, given the gross neglect to address certain facts that so obviously contradict the very point the author is trying to make.

    • Troubled

      He was working witther even before he became a prophet. Get your facts before you vomit. Also Aisha was 9 at the time of Marriage. Know how many years they were married. Also you must differentiate the 9 Year old of that time and of now. Do you know the average Marrying age of the people of those generations.? What was their average Size compared to ours of today?
      Do you know one of the swords brandished by one of his Companions. Can only be lifted up from it’s Museum table today by 10 strong Men? Weren’t they giants?

  • danato

    I wonder if the sermon is from the hand of muhammad and if it is, I double wonder if he has uttered it at the end of his life. Because whatever beautiful words he spoke about tolerance towards the people of the book was sooner or later abrogated. He died a bitter man, poisoned by the woman who’s family and husband he had slaughtered before her very eyes.
    (…) specific narrations actually provide evidence that Muhammad only realized that his food was poisoned after seeing what had happened to his companion:
    “… When the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, conquered Khaybar and he had peace of mind, Zaynab Bint al-Harith, the brother of Marhab, who was the spouse of Sallam Ibn Mishkam, inquired: Which part of the goat is liked by Muhammad? They said: The foreleg. Then she slaughtered one from her goats and roasted it (the meat). Then she wanted a poison which could not fail… The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, took the foreleg, a piece of which he put into his mouth. Bishr Ibn al-Barra took another bone and put it into his mouth. When the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, ate one morsel of it Bishr ate his and other people also ate from it. Then the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, said: Hold back your hands! because this foreleg… informed me that it is poisoned. Thereupon Bishr said: By Him who has made you great! I discovered it from the morsel I took. Nothing prevented me from emitting it out, but the idea that I did not like to make your food unrelishing. When you had eaten what was in your mouth I did not like to save my life after yours, and I also thought you would not have eaten it if there was something wrong.
    Bishr did not rise from his seat but his color changed to that of taylsan (a green cloth)… The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, sent for Zaynab and said to her: What induced you to do what you have done? She replied: You have done to my people what you have done. You have killed my father, my uncle and my husband, so I said to myself: If you are a prophet, the foreleg will inform you; and others have said: If you are a king we will get rid of you…
    The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, lived after this three years till in consequence of his pain he passed away. During his illness he used to say: I did not cease to find the effect of the (poisoned) morsel, I took at Khaybar and I suffered several times (from its effect) but now I feel the hour has come of the cutting of my jugular vein … [which is the aorta]
    (Ibn Sa’ad’s Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. (Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi – 110 002 India], Volume II, pp. 251-252)
    Surpise, surprise, What does qur’an say:
    69/40 indeed, the Qur’an is the word of a noble Messenger.
    /41 And it is not the word of a poet; little do you believe.
    /42 Nor the word of a soothsayer; little do you remember.
    /43 [It is] a revelation from the Lord of the worlds.
    /44 And if Muhammad had made up about Us some [false] sayings,
    /45 We would have seized him by the right hand;
    /46 Then We would have cut from him the aorta.
    /47 And there is no one of you who could prevent [Us] from him.
    /48 And indeed, the Qur’an is a reminder for the righteous.

  • Muhammad may well have had mystical revelations but they were principally used to subjugate, thieve, kill and rule over others. The best bits of his ‘revelations’ were clearly plagiarised from Jewish teachings.