The proper noun ‘muhammad’ is not found written in the Koran. This means the Koran does not recognise ‘muhammad’ as the name of the prophet. This is a very big claim but as usual it is easy to prove this point from the Koran.
In Arabic all proper nouns are prefixed with ‘al’. So it should be al-muhammad. But there is no ‘al-muhammad’ in the Koran. In Arabic a proper noun is called an ismema’rifah.
What is found written in the Koran are the words “muhammadoon”, “muhammadeen” and “ahmadoo”. These are all adjectives in the arabic language and are definitely not proper nouns (ismema’rifah) nor even simple nouns (nakirah).
“Muhammadoon” and “muhammaddeen” are adjectives meaning a ‘praiseworthy person’. Similarly ‘ahmadoo’ is an adjective meaning someone ‘who shall be praised’. We will relook all the five related verses in the Koran to see how theadjectives like ‘praiseworthy person’ fit perfectly into the context and meaning of those five verses.
The four verses in the Koran where the mullahs misinterpret and mistranslate the adjectives “muhammadoon” and ‘muhammadeen” to become the proper noun ‘al-muhammad’ are 3:144, 33:40, 48:29 and 47:2. The mullahs are being dishonest.
The fifth verse which the mullahs misinterpret and mistranslate is 61:6 where the adjective ‘ahmadoo’ is twisted to become the noun ‘al-ahmad’.
Then they twist the meaning once more by saying that this imaginary noun ‘al-ahmad’ also refers to the ‘Prophet Muhammad’. So they magically invented the proper nouns ‘al-ahmad’ and ‘al-muhammad’. They say that all the adjectives muhammadoon, muhammadeen and ahmadoo mean the same thing ie ‘Prophet Muhammad’. This is just more dishonesty.
To be precise there are no such things in the Koran. There are only five different mentions of the adjectives “muhammadoon”, “muhammadeen” and “ahmadoo”.
When I studied the Koran, minus any preconceived notions or prejudices, I realised there was something not right with the traditional understanding of the following verse:
33:40 Ma kaana muhammadoon abaa’a ahadin min rijaali-kum walaakin rasoolullaahi wa khaatama al nabiy-yeena wa kaana-llaahu bi kulli shay-in aleeman
Here is the traditional translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali:
33:40 Muhammad is not the father of any of your men (sons), but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things.
The question that popped into my head was why would Allah NOT make the prophet the father of any sons and only allow him daughters? Why deny the prophet the joy of being the father of sons?
It is also a biological impossibility to be able to father daughters and not be able to father sons. A man can either father children or he may not be able to father any children at all (for example due to a low sperm count). There is no medical evidence that a man can only father daughters or he can only father sons. So for the Koran to say that a person is not the father of any sons only is scientifically impossible. And despite what some critics say the Koran is scientifically robust.
Then the mullahs contradict themselves. They say that the Prophet did have up to fivesons – Ibrahim, Kassim, Tahir, Tayyab and Abdullah– who all died young. (There is serious dispute among the mullahs as to the exact number of sons of the prophet and their names.) The mullahs say that some of his sons were born before the revelation of the Koran while the last son Ibrahim was born after.
Either way this means that this particular verse in the Koran has already been debunked by the mullahs hadith because at some point in time (according to them) the Prophet did father sons. So how could the Koran say the Prophet was not the father of any sons, especially since Ibrahim the prophet’s youngest son was born after the revelation of the Koran?
And surely Allah already knew He would be revealing this verse to the prophet at some point in the prophet’s life. So had Allah condemned the prophet and his wives to witness the early deaths of all their sons just so that the integrity of this verse would remain intact? Asides from trying to potray Allah as very cruel, it is also illogical.
Then there is also the following in the Koran :
13:38 We have sent messengers before you AND WE GAVE THEM WIVES AND CHILDREN. No messenger can manifest a sign without Allah’s authorization, and in accordance with a specific, predetermined time.
So all the previous messengers, with no exceptions including Jesus the Messiah, were husbands who had wives and children. This is a simple, logical and perfectly normal statement. Having said thus, the Koran cannot say that just one particular prophet was not the father of any sons. If that were the case, these last two verses above will debunk each other. Again this is not possible.
Then I realised that there was no proper noun ‘al-muhammad’ in this verse at all. ‘Muhammadoon’ is an adjective which means ‘praiseworthy’. Only then the true meaning of the verse fell into place:
33:40 It is not praiseworthy (maa kaana muhammadoon) to be the father of sons from among you, but it is so to be the Messenger of Allah, and to be the last of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things.
Obviously this verse addresses a culture which prefers sons over daughters. Not only Arab but many other cultures have a distinct preference for sons over daughters. This verse seeks to correct this misconception. It is not praiseworthy to have sons over daughters. The meaning of this verse then tallied fully with other verses in the Koran which chastises the wicked custom of burying female infants alive. Here are the verses:
81:8 – 9 “And when the female (infant) buried alive shall be questioned. For what sin she was killed?”
It is not praiseworthy to prefer sons over daughters. Once I realised this simple truth, the three other verses that mention “muhammadoon” and “muhammadeen” fell into place too.
3:144 :Wamaa muhammadoon illa rasoolun qadkhaa-lat min qablihi al rasoolu afa-in maata au qutila in qalabtum ala aqaabikum waman yanqaliba la aqibayhi falan yadurra-llaaha shay-an wasayaj-zee Allahu al shakireena.
Here is the traditional translation by A Yusuf Ali:
3:144 Muhammad is no more than a messenger: Many were the messengers that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will ye then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude.
Here is the more accurate translation:
3:144 There is no (greater) praiseworthiness than to be a messenger: Many were the messengers that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will ye then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; and Allah will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude.
And here is 48:29 : Muhammadun rasoolul-laahi wallatheena ma’ahu ashid-daoo alal kuffari ruhama’au baynahum tarahumru ka’an sujjadan yabtaghoona fadlan minal-laahi wa ridwaanan seemahum fee wujoohi him min athaari as sujoodi thaalika mathaa-luhum fee al tawraati wa mathaa-luhum fee al-injeeli kazar’in aakhraja shat’ahu fa’azarahu fa istaghlazhaa fastawaa ala sooqihi yu’ajibu al zurra’a liyagheeza bihim al kuffaara wa’dallaahu allatheena amanoo wa’ amiloos saalihaati minhum maghfiratan waajran atheeman
Again here is Yusuf Ali’s translation: 48:29 Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Taurat; and their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness, and a great Reward
Rephrasing just the beginning of this verse, it sounds like this:
48:29 “It is praiseworthy indeed to be the messenger of Allah and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other..”
This tallies exactly with 3:144 too. Here is the last one which mentions ‘muhammadeen’
47:2 Wal-latheena amanoo wa’ aamilus saalihaati wa’aamanoo bimaa nuzzila ala muhammadeen wahuwal haqqu min rabbihim kaffara anhum sayyi-aatihim wa’aslaha baalahum
Yusuf Ali translates it as : 47:2 But those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, and believe in the (Revelation) sent down to Muhammad - for it is the Truth from their Lord - He will remove from them their ills and improve their condition.
The more acccurate translation is : 47:2 “And those who believe and work righteousness and believe in what was sent down upon praiseworthiness – and it is the truth from their Lord – He will remove from them their ills and improve their condition.”
Finally lets look at the adjective “ahmadu” which is mentioned in 61:6 and which has been twisted to become a noun ‘al-ahmad’.
61:6 Wa-ith qaala eesa ibnu maryama ya baneeisra-eela innee rasoolul-laahi ilaykum musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya minal tawraati wa mubashiran bi rasoolin ya’tee min ba’dee ismuhu ahmadu falam-maa jaa’ahum bil bayyinaati qaloo haatha sihrun mubeenun
Here is Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation : 61:6 And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, "this is evident sorcery!
Here first I would like to show you two translations of this verse by Muhammad MarmadukePickthall and Rashad Khalifa.
Muhammad MarmadukePickthall :And when Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah unto you, confirming that which was (revealed) before me in the Torah, and bringing good tidings of a messenger who cometh after me, WHOSE NAME IS THE PRAISED ONE. Yet when he hath come unto them with clear proofs, they say: This is mere magic.
Rashad Khalifa : Recall that Jesus, son of Mary, said, "O Children of Israel, I am ALLAH's messenger to you, confirming the Torah and bringing good news of a messenger to come after me WHOSE NAME WILL BE EVEN MORE PRAISED." Then, when he showed them the clear proofs, they said, "This is profound magic."
Please note that both Pickthall and Khalifa do not use any noun form “AL-AHMAD”. They stick to the adjective ‘ahmadu’ and translate it as ‘praised one', and 'will be even more praised’.
So the proper nouns ‘Muhammad’ and ‘Ahmad’ are not found in the Koran.
In 2009 Professor Muhammad Svend Kalisch, a native German Muslim and professor of Islamic studies at the University of Munster in Germany made a statement that was quite startling to many people. Professor Kalisch said that there was no evidence to support the existence of a historical “Prophet Muhammad”. Here is an English translation of an extract from Professor Kalisch’s paper.
Up to some time ago I was convinced that Muhammad was a historical figure. Although I always based my thinking on the assumption that the Islamic historical narrative regarding Muhammad was very unreliable, I had no doubts that at least the basic lines of his biography were historically correct. I have now moved away from this position and will soon publish a book in which I will, among other things, comment on this question and explain my arguments in more detail.
This essay is only a short summary of my most important arguments. It also deals with the question of what implications historical-critical research has for the Islamic theory and how I deal with my research results as a theologian. With regard to the historical existence of Muhammad ... I consider my position simply as a continuation of the most recent research results. It appears so spectacular only because it has been said by a Muslim ...
Most Western scientists turn down such an hypotheses out of respect for Islam or because they are afraid of the reactions of their Muslim friends or because they think it is speculative nonsense. The word "respect" sounds wonderful but it is completely inappropriate here because one really refers to the opposite.
Whoever thinks that Muslims can't deal with facts puts Muslims on the same level as small children who can't think and decide for themselves and whose illusions of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny one doesn't want to destroy.
Whoever really bases his thoughts on the equality of all human beings must expect the same intellectual performance. Really treating Muslims with respect would imply that they are strong enough to deal with their religion on the basis of our modern level of knowledge. "Islamophobes" think we Muslims are barbarians, the "kind-hearted" take us for "noble savages"... The result is the same: Muslims are seen as different from the rest of the world -- they either belong in a "petting zoo" or in cages for wild animals, but by all means they belong in a zoo.
The final argument is even more awful because it can only be described as cowardly. Religious fundamentalists are spreading out (not only Islamic fundamentalists) and freedom of thought must be defended no matter what. There must not be any compromise on this otherwise we set the track for a retreat into the Middle Ages and this can happen much faster than many people think.
My position with regard to the historical existence of Muhammad is that I believe neither his existence nor his non-existence can be proven. I, however, lean towards the non-existence but I don't think it can be proven. It is my impression that, unless there are some sensational archeological discoveries -- an Islamic "Qumran" or "Nag Hammadi" -- the question of Muhammad's existence will probably never be finally clarified.
It would appear that by denying the name ‘Muhammad’ we will also be denying the very existence itself of a prophet of Islam. I beg to differ. There was a messenger who was also a prophet. He was no doubt an Arab because he delivered the Koran in arabic. But his name was not Muhammad – at least not in the Koran.
Is the identity of the messenger important? Lets listen to the Koran (4:163-166)
4:163 We have inspired you, as we inspired Noah and the prophets after him. And we inspired Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, the Patriarchs, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon. And we gave David the Psalms.
4:164 Messengers we have told you about, AND MESSENGERS WE NEVER TOLD YOU ABOUT. And ALLAH spoke to Moses directly.
4:165 Messengers to deliver good news, as well as warnings. Thus, the people will have no excuse when they face ALLAH, after all these messengers have come to them. ALLAH is Almighty, Most Wise.
4:166 But ALLAH bears witness concerning what He has revealed to you; He has revealed it with His knowledge. And the angels bear witness as well, but ALLAH suffices as witness
The Koran lists many Messengers or Rasools who were despatched to mankind. Noah, Abraham, Ismail, Jacob, Jesus were just some of them. But in 4:164 above, the Koran says that there were also other “MESSENGERS WE NEVER TOLD YOU ABOUT”
So the exact history and identities of all the messengers is not important. What is really important is the content of the message which the messengers brought. This is made clear in 4:165 and 4:166 above.
“Thus, the people will have no excuse when they face ALLAH, after all these messengers have come to them. ALLAH is Almighty, Most Wise”.
Whether the messenger’s name is known or not, the message has been delivered. And all the messengers from Abraham, Moses right down to the last messenger have delivered the same message. Here is the Koran:
87:18 – 19 Surely this was also recorded in the earlier books. The books of Abraham and Moses.
So the teachings of the Koran are exactly the same as what was revealed to Abraham and Moses. This is simple logic – the same Allah cannot be teaching different things to different people. The Message is certainly more important than the messenger.