Muhammad frowned.

Muhammad frowned. August 11, 2020


A calligraphic rendition of the name of the Prophet
“Muhammad, upon whom be peace” in Arabic calligraphy
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


For all that it criticizes the unbelievers of Arabia, though, the Qur’an does not spare Muhammad either. He was never allowed to forget that he too was human. At one point, for example, despite all the Qur’an’s denunciations of the wealthy, Muhammad seems to have shown too much deference to a rich man. He had violated one of the cardinal tenets of true Islam, the equality of all men before God and before his Prophet:

He [Muhammad] frowned and turned his back when the blind man came towards him. How could you [Muhammad] tell? He might have sought to purify himself. He might have been fore­warned, and might have profited from Our warning. But to the wealthy man you were all attention: although the fault would not be yours if he remained uncleansed. Yet you gave no heed to him that came to you with zeal and awe.[1]

Muhammad was not to yield to such temptations, and he was not to give in to the unbelievers, no matter how much their mocking troubled him, no matter how much more comfortable he could have been if he had made just a few small concessions. No, his responsibil­ity was too great to allow him to make the small adjustments that seem to make life tolerable for most of the world’s less-than-saintly human beings: “If you succumb to their desires after all the knowl­edge you have been given, none shall save or protect you from God.”[2]


[1] 80:1-10. Abrupt and often puzzling shifts in person (as here, from he to you) are typical of Qur’anic style. Similar shifts appear in other Semitic writings, such as the biblical Psalms.

[2] 13:37.




I meant to call attention to these items a few days ago, but they’re still of interest.  (To me, at least.)  They focus on how religious practices are coping with, or failing to cope with, the coronavirus pandemic:


“As an isolated hajj begins, Abraham’s trust in God is ours”


(This little piece will tell you something about Abraham’s significance in Islam:  “Eid al-Adha: Submission to God and the Joy of Giving.”)


“COVID hajj restrictions leave streets of Mecca empty, pilgrimage businesses in trouble”


“Is COVID-19 the death of the synagogue? The synagogue model is teetering and will, almost certainly, collapse.”


“How We Can Access the Power of the Temple during COVID-19: Limited access doesn’t change the impact the temple can have in our lives”


Posted from Seaside, Oregon



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