Huffington Post: Christians should accept Muhammad as a prophet
[If Catholic ecumaniacs can thank Luther for “the many guiding theological and spiritual insights that we have all received through the Reformation,” why not this?]]
JANUARY 30, 2016 BY DEACON ROBERT SPENCER @ JihadWatch.org/2016/01/huffington-post-christians-should-accept-muhammad-as-a-prophet
The Leftist establishment continues to shill for Islam. Can you imagine the Huffington Post publishing a piece called “Why a Muslim Can View Jesus As the Son of God”? Of course not. While unstintingly hostile to Christianity, for some unknown reason (Saudi princes lining their pockets?) the Left in the West is intent on making sure that people have a positive view of Islam, and never, ever question whether the jihadis who keep on justifying murder by quoting the Qur’an might have something to do with Islam.
And so once again Craig Considine, who has likened Muhammad to George Washington, hailed Muhammad as a “universal champion of human rights,” and claimed that Christianity has a concept of jihad just like Islam’s. He pulls off these feats of legerdemain by employing a very simple method: ignoring what doesn’t fit his thesis, as he does here.
“Why a Christian Can View Muhammad As A Prophet,” by Craig Considine, Huffington Post, January 26, 2016 [Deacon Robert’s comments in italics]:
As an advocate of interfaith dialogue, particularly between Christians and Muslims, I’m often faced with the issue of conversion. People ask me, “If you admire Prophet Muhammad so much, why don’t you convert to Islam? Why don’t you accept him as “the seal”? I see these questions popping up on my Twitter and Facebook feeds more than you might imagine.
Basically, me admiring Prophet Muhammad isn’t “enough” for Muslims; in their eyes, I must take a few concrete steps towards Islam to be fully recognized as a “true believer.” Otherwise, I’m just a weirdo Christian who respects Muhammad, but doesn’t recognize him as a “the man.” Christians, on the other hand, have called me “pseudo Catholic” and “infidel” for my positive writings about Muhammad. For these Islamophobes, I’m quite simply a heretic.
Note Considine’s usage of the smear term “Islamophobe.” An “Islamophobe” is supposedly someone who has an irrational hatred of Islam — and for what did his Christian interlocutors earn this label? They called him a “pseudo-Catholic” and “infidel” for his “positive writings about Muhammad.” Considering Islam’s rejection of the divinity, crucifixion, resurrection and salvific mission of Christ, it’s perfectly reasonable for these Christians to have considered Considine to have departed from the faith by writing positively about Muhammad. But to Considine, it only means that they hate Islam.
There’s no way around it. Perhaps my work is irritating to Muslims and Christians because I’m pushing a few traditional boundaries and making people question the very heart of their religious traditions and identities.
Or maybe it is irritating to Muslims and Christians because he is ignoring the manifest contradictions between the doctrines of the two faiths.
Here’s the main issue according to popular narratives: Muslims must recognize Jesus as a prophet of God, as laid out explicitly in the Qur’an. Muslims are’t [sic] at risk of anything when they say “I believe in Jesus.” However, if we switched the situation (“I’m a Christian. I believe in Muhammad as a prophet”), people might start to question my credibility as a self-professed Christian. People might say, “Jesus is the only way. You’ve turned your back on God. You’re no longer Christian.”
Note the sleight of hand. Considine suggests that Islam is more open-minded and generous than Christianity, since Muslims can say “I believe in Jesus,” but Christians can’t say “I believe in Muhammad as a prophet” without being read out of Christianity. But can only imply this by rigging his analogy. The actual equivalent of his saying, “I’m a Christian. I believe in Muhammad as a prophet” would be for a Muslim to say, “I’m a Muslim. I believe in Jesus as the Son of God” — which the Qur’an strenuously, emphatically and repeatedly denies. If a Muslim said that, Muslims would tell him, “Jesus is only a prophet. You’ve turned your back on Allah. You’re no longer Muslim.”
I’m writing this piece to explain why I disagree with the idea that Christians can’t recognize Muhammad as a prophet. Really, what is in question here is the definition of “prophet.” “Prophet” can be defined as “a person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God.” Outside of the dictionary, I’ve always understood “prophet” to mean a messenger of a Higher Power who works on earth to bring justice and peace to humanity.
Let me say this right off the bat: I fully recognize Muhammad’s greatness. He was an exceptional person; he might even be the greatest and most influential human being ever to walk the face of the earth. Prophet Muhammad brought love, peace, and much more to a part of the world that had little of these things.
Odd, then, if Muhammad brought love and peace, why the Islamic world is in flames. Flat statements such as “Prophet Muhammad brought love, peace, and much more to a part of the world that had little of these things” are simply fatuous, in that they ignore, and expect readers to ignore, the fact that Muslims all over the world are killing people and invoking Muhammad’s words and deeds to justify those killings. Craig Considine’s balloon may never land, but he can’t expect to carry everyone else along on his cloud of self-delusion and denial just by asserting a manifest absurdity.
One of the most overlooked aspects of Muhammad’s character is his fierce anti-racist stance. He made the unprecedented move of considering both white people and black people as equals in the eyes of God. Yet many Christians still refuse to recognize Muhammad as an “inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God” (read: a prophet). The issue for some Christians, perhaps, is that Muhammad claims to have the last and universal truth. This rubs some Christians the wrong way. Only Jesus can make this claim.
In reality, Muhammad was a white man who owned black slaves: “A man entered the mosque on camel and made it kneel down, and then tied his leg with rope. He then asked: Who among you is Muhammad? The Messenger of Allah was sitting leaning upon something among them. We said to him: This white man who is leaning.” (Sunan Abu Dawud 486) “Narrated Umar:I came and behold, Allah’s Messenger was staying on a Mashroba (attic room) and a black slave of Allah’s Messenger was at the top if its stairs.” (Sahih Bukhari 9.91.368) And aside from claiming to have the last and universal truth, other aspects of Muhammad’s message that rub some Christians (and others) the wrong way are warfare against unbelievers, hatred of Jews, women’s inferiority, and more. But Craig Considine thinks so little of his readers that he doesn’t consider such things even to dismiss them.
In conversations I’ve had with Muslims, a frequent topic of discussion is Muhammad is “the seal of the prophets.” They add that both Moses and Jesus predicted his arrival. Christians, however, find it difficult to “find” Muhammad in their Bible. While some Muslims cite John (14: 16-17) as proof that Jesus predicted the coming of Muhammad, many Christians find it difficult to interpret this verse as the “truth.” Perhaps they’re in denial, though it doesn’t even matter. Christians don’t buy it.
Nonetheless, Christians argue that it is “anti-Christian” to say that Muhammad is a prophet. Because Jesus is the clear-cut revelation of God as noted in the Bible, Christians (the argument goes) must not accept any other figure besides him. However, I see nothing “anti-Christian” in recognizing Muhammad as a prophet. As I mentioned earlier, I like to view the word “prophet” as having a very broad meaning. In fact, I don’t even like to place it in the realm of “religion,” especially not in the Abrahamic tradition. To me, a prophet is someone who has valuable insight and intuition, who is sensitive about the well-being of others regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds.
Even by that standard Muhammad fails. How sensitive was Muhammad to the well-being of Safiyya bint Huyayy? Muhammad killed her father and her husband during the raid on the Jews at Khaybar. After the massacre was completed, on the way out of Khaybar that night, Muhammad halted his caravan as soon as they were outside the oasis, pitched a tent, and consummated the marriage. Remember, her father and brother had just been killed, and then she was raped by their killer. Sensitivity to the well-being of others?
And sensitive to the well-being of others regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds? Muhammad said: “I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah, and he who professed it was guaranteed the protection of his property and life on my behalf except for the right affairs rest with Allah.” (Sahih Muslim 30) So if a non-Muslim doesn’t convert to Islam, his property and life are not protected — is that sensitivity to the well-being of others regardless of their religious backgrounds?
I realize that some Muslims may not be happy with me putting Muhammad on par with other prophets. To be honest, I don’t see Muhammad as the “final prophet.” That’s too limiting for me, but it’s also why I’m able to consider him to be a prophet on equal footing with Jesus and others. To be clear, neither Jesus or Muhammad is the “final prophet” in my mind. I can’t imagine a Higher Power that stops allowing prophets on earth. This world of ours is broken, and so prophets will emerge as the days move forward. I don’t believe in “seals” either. Nothing is “sealed.” My views on life in general are too infinite for that kind of “truth.”
With that being said, both Muslims and Christians will say that I’m “confused” or “insane.” How can you be a Christian if you say Muhammad is a prophet? Why, then, are you not a Muslim? What are the boundaries of your religious identity? Are you both Christian and Muslim? What is going on with you?
I understand. It’s confusing, but life is messy, and “religion” perhaps even more so. A clarification is in order: Do I believe in everything that Prophet Muhammad said according to the Qur’an and hadiths? No, I don’t, but I also don’t believe in everything that Jesus or Moses said according to the Gospel or Talmud. Things kind of cancel out, even out. I accept aspects of both, but neither in their entirety.
When I read the Qur’an, I don’t interpret it as a book for Muslims, but rather for all human beings. The Qur’an (5:47) requests people to “discern what God has sent down to him.” The word “discern” is a crucial one. Literally, discern means to “perceive something.” My mind tells me that Jesus and Muhammad have equally valuable messages. Both men shared some “truths,” but let’s be real: they were human beings. They were prone to error. They made some mistakes. They missed some things.
All this windy gobbledegook amounts to is that Craig Considine is neither a Christian nor a Muslim in any recognizable or genuine sense, but is fashioning his own religion, placing himself as the judge and arbiter of the validity of what Jesus and Muhammad say. He is ill-equipped for this, however, if he thinks “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” is “equally valuable” as “Slay the idolaters wherever you find them.”
That the Huffington Post would print this gallimaufry of pseudo-profundity and massive intellectual confusion only illustrates how desperate the Left is to burnish the image of Muhammad and Islam: anyone who offers to do that is welcome, even if he is as muddle-headed as Craig Considine.