If this post was entitled: Joseph Smith Was a False Prophet, it would hardly generate controversy.
Why is it then, that claiming Muhammad to be a false prophet will likely be met with accusations of “Intolerance!”?
I suspect that it’s because many Christians feel that, in recent years, Muslims have been unjustly characterized as barbaric terrorists, when in fact they are decent, peaceful people with no intention of causing violence to non-Muslims.
While that may be the case (I hope it is), it is irrelevant when considering whether or not Muhammad a false prophet?
It’s my contention that no Christian who has even a cursory understanding of the teachings of Islam can conclude that The Qu’ran was inspired by God, or that Muhammad was a prophet of God.
I’m aware that some Christians (perhaps even you!) think that to speak poorly of other religions is unchristian and contrary to Vatican II, but as Robert Spencer notes in his new book, “It is a peculiar, albeit common, misconception of our age to think that dispensing with the truth can be an act of charity. It never truly can be.”
So what do Muslims believe about Muhammad and the Qu’ran?
Muslims believe that Muhammad is the last in a series of prophets sent by God – that he began receiving revelations from God in the seventh century. Those revelations make up the contents of the Qu’ran, which Muslims believe to be the inerrant word of God.
If the Qu’ran makes false claims, then it is not the inerrant word of God and Muhammad is a false prophet.
Rather than offering a litany of false claims stated in the Qu’ran, I’ll stick to just one.
Jesus Christ Was Not Crucified
The Qu’ran (written 600 years after the death of Christ) teaches that Jesus Christ was not crucified:
“And because of their (the Jews) saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger- they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise” (Sura 4:156-159).
Simply put, no non-Muslim scholar denies that the historical Jesus was crucified.
Bart Erhman, New Testament scholar and agnostic, affirms, “One of the most certain facts of history is that Jesus was crucified on orders of the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate.”
Similarly, Paula Fredriksen, a non-Christian historian, writes in her book, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, “The single most solid fact about Jesus’ life is his death: he was executed by the Roman prefect Pilate, on or around Passover, in the manner Rome reserved particularly for political insurrectionists, namely, crucifixion.”
Of course, for the Christian, confirmation on the part of non-Christians to establish the historicity of the crucifixion is unnecessary since we accept the reliability of the New Testament documents.
For this reason, as well as many others, Christians should agree with me that Muhammad was a false prophet.
Prophet, Liar, or Lunatic?
If Muhammad is a not a prophet who received direct revelation from God, then it seems to me—to borrow an illustration from C.S. Lewis—that we have three other options: He was a liar, mentally ill, or influenced by the Demonic.
I’m open to other suggestions.