The Misrepresentation of Prophet Muhammad in the Western Society

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Prophet Muhammad is misunderstood in the Western world, especially people in America have a lot of un-nuanced opinions and negative views about Him. From Western eyes, Muhammad was a corrupt leader who preached his followers to become intolerant and dangerous towards non believers around them. After ferocious attacks in the US, non muslims have become extremely opinionated towards Muhammad and his followers. It has not been uncommon for me to explain that as a practicing Muslim, I follow the sayings and actions of a Prophet who was completely different from their perceptions of a bloodthirsty pagan. Sadly, we live in a world where everyone is an advocate for the freedom of speech, and teaches others to be less judgmental, but still there is a huge conflict between the Muslim world and the West. Muhammad is considered to be controversial due to His embracement of polygamy and opposition of pacifism. He is also regarded as the most influential historic figures in human history, but in this essay I’ll explain that He was more than a historical figure and I’ll also explain what kind of a person was behind this influential figure/ Prophet by writing about: His early days in Mecca, the way in which He dealt with the opposition from Quraysh, how He treated non believers, His days in Medina and views about war, His marriage to Khadija.

We have information on every aspect of His life, from His role as a Prophet to the most intimate details of His personal life. There are only three ways to know about Prophet Muhammad and His life: Hadith, Quran and Sira. Muhammad who was fully a human being just like us, but an extremely special human, was born in Mecca, in 570 AD. His name means “praiseworthy”. He was an orphan and was raised during a time during a time fueled by greed, socio economic inequalities were at the peak and there was a warfare between the Arab tribes. He was a part of a rich, powerful tribe known as Quraysh. His tribe’s wealth was the reason behind Mecca’s stability and the reason why he became a merchant. He was raised among people who used to used to believe in many Gods and idol worshipping was a common practice. Trade missions and travel broadened His awareness about His surroundings and He started questioning the breadth of humanity. His honesty as a merchant earned Him the title of “Al Amin” which means trustworthy.

Muhammad was disturbed by the injustices around Him and was a firm believer in the concept of having one God. He used to mediate in a cave and it was during one of those days, when he received His first revelation from God. He was forty at that time and was asked by an angel to read the message sent by God. It amazes me that people still question Him, but can’t think how a man himself is incapable of making up so much. What He was preaching, was sent by God because He never called himself ordinary and no human being is capable of predicting so much. All of teachings can be verified by the signs we see in today’s world. There is no way possible that a man who didn't even know to write can predict all of this thousands of years ago. He was doing what He was told by God to do. He was benefiting humanity by preaching God’s message which was sent to Him. He was a human being, but He was God’s chosen one.

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The same people of Quraysh who used to call Him Al Amin, turned against Him when He started preaching that there is only one God. They treated Him and His followers poorly by cutting off their food supplies and other tribes were not allowed to have business dealing with them. Muslims were tortured and killed by the Quraysh. His followers migrated to Medina in search of support and shortly after Muhammad moved to Medina as well after learning that Quraysh was plotting to assassinate Him. Medina was a melting pot where Muslims, Jews and Pagan tribes lived peacefully due to Prophet’s efforts in turning it into a community state known as Umma. This shows that Muhammad was not intolerant towards non believers and never taught intolerance towards people we have our indifferences with. Muhammad only taught the message of love and peace. Even after winning a battle against the Quraysh, they didn't cause any harm to take revenge. Instead, they allowed them to live there and didn't force anyone to leave. This shows that Muhammad taught the lesson of including everyone without any discrimination no matter what kind of personal or political indifferences are present.

Muhammad said that war is only allowed when someone caused you harm first. He never said that you can forcefully make someone accept your idea or you can harm someone without any reason. He laid down strict rules and regulations for war and said that war should only start from your side when there is no other option left for your self defense. If He believed in war, His life would have been extremely because He could've easily forced His ideas and rules upon people. He could've fought back Quraysh the very first day, but he taught His people to have patience and to be accepting. Quran has confirmed that belief in God must be a choice so there is no way possible Muhammad could've taught anything opposite of what He was told to teach. He was preaching what He was told by God to preach.

His honesty and humility brought Him the attention of a wealthy business woman named Khadija. He was hired by her and was extremely impressed by His personality traits due to which she later proposed marriage to Him. If Muhammad’s main concern was to marry just for the sake of pleasure and entitlement then why would He marry a fifteen year older widow? He had undying love and respect for His wife which was also proven by His refusal to marry any other woman until her death. His union with Khadijah was the happiest of all and Khadijah’s death brought Him great sorrow which was also called the darkest time in His life. Khadijah played a huge role in the early development of Islam as she was the first Muslim and Muhammad’s biggest support. Muhammad always took advice from her which sows that He was an advocate for woman’s rights and was a firm believer in treating women equally.

He had a faithful monogamy, and the only reason for His embracement of polygamy was to spread Islam. he used polygamy as a political tool. He accepted widows as His wives and was a strong support for them. If He had other intentions, He would have never married older or widowed/divorced women. It was crucial for Him to spread Islam during His lifetime and there was no better way than because a Muslim man can only marry a Muslim so those women had to accept Islam and this proved to be a successful way. Quran says that a Muslim man can only remarry with the permission of his wife and only if he is capable of trading his wives equally. It is humanly impossible to treat everyone equally so this shows that Muhammad was giving a message of remarrying as many times as you want. There are strict rules and regulations in Islam for those who remarry and those men will be answerable to God for caring any injustice.

Muhammad was not divine and a human being like all of us, but He was special because He was chosen by God as the seal of all prophets. He was different from all the other prophets because He is someone whom we can easily relate to as human beings. He was chosen to be a role model for people and He taught a religion of love and peace. His goal was never to in vitiate war nor to get virgins. He married older, divorced and widowed women to provide shelter for them and to spread Islam. He taught equality of men and women. He was the one who remained men that they weren't they the only ones who had desires and desired pleasure. He reminded men that women should be treated equally with love and respect. He laid strict rules for war and said that you should never be the one to initiate war unless you are being harmed. It would've been really easy for him to forcefully complete his mission of spreading Islam. He asked us to treat our brothers like we want ourselves to be treated. How can a man like Him be a bloodthirsty pagan? I don't think no one in todays world has patience closer to His. He built a community where people were allowed to express their beliefs outwardly, where everyone felt safe and included. It was a community unlike ours. We have become so intolerant towards people of other culture and religion. It isn't necessary that what we believe in is the best. There could always be better and we can never judge what someone’s intensions were without doing proper research or having a good about it.

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