Was Muhammad (SAW) Truly Deceived by Satan?
There are three theories floating around out there which non-Muslims tend to hold on the prophethood and revelations of Muhammad ibn Abdullah (SAW): that either (1) he was an outright liar, (2) he was a madman, or (3) he was deceived by Satan. Needless to say, all of the abovementioned theories are baseless and easily refuted, but today we are going to dismantle the myth about Muhammad (SAW) being deceived by Satan. Remember to be honest with yourselves whilst reading this.
Now, there are a couple ways to realize that Muhammad (SAW) was not deceived by the devil. We will discuss my favorite one first. In Islam, Shaytan (Satan) is presented as the greatest enemy of Muslims (besides their own temptations). It is Shaytan who first tempted Adam (AS) and Eve to sin, and it was Shaytan who has always called mankind away from the path of Islam to sin ever since. Shaytan works in many ways, including both spreading lies and false revelations as well as whispering thoughts in one’s head to misguide him/her. In order to teach Muslims about this danger and to help them succeed despite it, Allah commands us to seek refuge in Him:
“Whenever you recite the Qur’an, seek refuge with Allah (SAW) from the cursed Satan.” (Qur’an Ch.16 v.98)
Here we find that God Almighty actually encourages us to pray for protection from Satan, making it incumbent upon every reciter of the Qur’an before he/she starts reciting, and in effect, before every prayer. The phrase we say is “a’udhu billahi min ash-shaytanir-rajim,” or “I seen refuge in Allah (SWT) from Satan, the Accursed One.” Even more, the word used for Satan is Shaytan, and it not only means Satan, but anything/anyone used to achieve evil, or attributed to evil, whether it be jinni, humans, or even ideologies or physical impurities. As such, we are also taught to say this whenever you have impure thoughts, are in fear, etc. The question now arises: would Satan ever deceive someone into seeking refuge from all evil (including Shaytan himself) in the One God Almighty? Isn’t that like a con artist who sells fake gems but requires the buyers to check with experts to make sure that the gems are real? Now, how do we know for sure that Satan would never do that, particularly from a Christian point of view? From an objective point of view, I think the logic is pretty self-explanatory, but since this argument against Islam usually comes from Christians, lets try to approach it form a possible Christian perspective by going to the Bible.
In the gospels we read a story about how Jesus (AS) once performed an exorcism on a possessed man in front of the Pharisees. The Pharisees, unable to explain the miracle in any other way, accused Jesus (AS) of being an agent of the prince of demons, Beelzeboul. Jesus (AS) then retorts:
“…Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzeboul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.” (Matthew 12:25-27)
“…How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.” (Mark 3:23-26)
Basically, the Bible says that Satan cannot work against himself. He cannot even possess someone only to have his agent expel him. Although Muslims would actually disagree with that last statement about possession, what both Muslims and Christians would believe is that Satan, at the very least, cannot ask you to pray for protection from God Almighty against himself. That would be dividing himself against himself.
Some critics would try to make the argument that the above mentioned Bible verses pertain only to possessions and exorcisms. So, the resultant question arises: did Muhammad (SAW) ever perform exorcisms? The answer is..yes! For example, we see a story of how the Messenger (SAW) was traveling somewhere with a companion, whereupon he was called upon by a mother to heal her son who was apparently possessed by a jinn (jinni are generally, with the major exception of Satan, what Christians attribute the classification “demon” to, only that jinni are a separate creation made of fire that can be good or evil, not the fallen angels of Christian lore) while on a trip, using the words:
“In the name of Allah (SWT), I am the slave of Allah (SWT), get out, enemy of Allah!” (Musnad Ahmad, vol:4, pg. 170, and Al-Hakim, who declared it sahih)
Afterwords, the son showed no more signs of his symptoms. There is also a story about who the Prophet was accosted by a jinn once (the word used for the jinn was once again Shaytan, but like previously stated, that doesn’t always mean Satan himself), but was able to force the jinn into submission (not necessarily through any sort of physical strength, but through faith and the aegis of Allah) (Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 2 Bk.22 No.301). Even a companion (RA) of the Messenger (SAW) had the opportunity and the ability to fend of a jinn (Sunan ad-Darimi). So as you can see, the Messenger of Islam (SAW) and his Sahaba (RA), or Companions, had experiences with jinn, overpowering them, and even exorcising them. Therefore, even the most literal and narrow interpretation of the Bible verses ensure that Islam was NOT the result of Muhammad (SAW) being deceived by the devil. Mind you, these aren’t all just healings – these are exorcisms. I personally am not sure how Christians view healing, but presumably they view healing as something that can be mimicked Satan. Otherwise, I would launch into the VAST miracles of healing in Islam (ruqyah), performed by the Prophet (SAW), the Sahaba (RA), and others, all the way down to modern times. As a matter of fact, Muslims still practice exorcisms to this very day, with people like Sheikh Bilal Philips (RH) and Sheikh Yasir Qadhi (RH) being very knowledgeable in the matter.
A second way to determine that Muhammad (SAW) was not deceived by the devil, at least from a Christian perspective, is to look at it theologically/philosophically. You see, if Satan really did deceive Muhammad (SAW), that means that God Almighty let the Muslims be deceived, despite our prayers to seek refuge in God Almighty form Satan. Even more so, after God Almighty let this happened, He never rectified Satan’s endeavor. God Almighty never sent another angel, vision, or anything similar to the Prophet (SAW), warning him of Satan’s ploys. Something that came up: if something did happen like that, it would have undoubtedly have been mentioned in a book of hadith or something similar. We have many stories of the prophet which, if someone were trying to hide the truth, would not have included in books and have passed onto future generations for fear of misunderstanding or embarassment. However, it is clear after reading something like Sahih al-Bukhari that the scholars did not include or exclude stories based on how good or bad it would make Islam look, but on how authentic the story was.
It would have been in deception and undeserved ignorance that God Almighty let Muslims die from the first revelation of the Qur’an to this very day. Even though Islam would have taught Muslims to love and cherish Allah (SWT), to bond and kindle a relationship with Him, to do good, to stay away from evil, etc., God Almighty still chose to let the Muslims live in their delusions; basically, someone who was born Muslim has already been sentenced to Hell for all eternity without ever being given a chance, unless they meet a knowledgeable – enough Christian who could help shed light for the Muslim (Christians believe strictly that unless you accept Christ as your Savior that you are damned to Hell, but Muslims are taught that each individual is judged according to their own circumstances – even though a lot of the Qur’an and ahadith speaks in generalizations, it is made clear that the you cannot apply these generalizations to specific individuals, ergo you cannot say so-and-so is going to Hell just because he is Muslim).
This is a total contradiction to a fair and just Creator, especially a deity who, without any reason except perhaps compassion, apparently appeared to the murderous and malicious Paul of Tarsus and turned the Nazi-like Jewish persecutor of the Christians into a Christian himself. The bothersome question is, while Muslims are God-conscious, God-fearing, God-loving, and, if anything, totally open to God Almighty and any sort guidance to the Truth, and want nothing more than to be with God Almighty (as any Muslim can attest), God Almighty, if He indeed allowed Satan to deceive Muhammad (SAW), totally abandoned the Muslim community to our doom, whereas people like Paul of Tarsus, who really didn’t care about the Truth, or pleasing God Almighty, but rather felt more pleasure in killing “heretics,” received a vision from Jesus (AS) himself…WHY? Doesn’t God Almighty unconditionally love all human beings?
Because Christians make acceptance of Christ the only criteria for salvation, salvation in Christianity is based solely on whether God Almighty wants you to be with Him or not in Heaven, for if He does want you in Heaven, no amount of evil nor disobedience will stop Him from miraculously guiding you from salvation. Likewise, if God Almighty decides to reject you, no amount of godliness, Truth-seeking, prayer, contemplation, or sacrifice will ever invoke Him on giving you in an iota of guidance. The Christians seem to try to make it sound like there is nothing wrong with this condition, and at first, this may seem acceptable for Muslims, for its true that Allah (SWT) guides who He wills or rejects who He wills (Qur’an Ch.14 v.4), but further reading of the Qur’an says otherwise. In truth, Allah (SWT) may misguide those who refuse to believe, who refuse to seek and accept the Truth, whereas may also guide those who are trying to seek the Truth. In Islam, it is taught that honestly seeking the Truth will give you an answer, whereas in Christianity (if this theory against Muhammad (SAW) is taken to be true), no matter how much you seek the Truth, you have no promise that God Almighty loves you enough to send you appropriate guidance. In essence, if Allah (SWT) truly did allow Muhammad (SAW) to be deceived by Satan, He would have committed a gross injustice by allowing such righteousness-oriented and Truth-seeking people and the Messenger (SAW), the Sahaba (RA), and everyone else, all the way to even my own grandparents, to believe in a lie without giving us a chance to even choose and decide, giving us a chance to be convinced (for surely, God Almighty wants us to be convinced when we accept His religion, not just taking a leap of blind faith).
There are other reasons, too, such as when Jesus (AS) is reported to have said to watch out for false prophets by looking at their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). The fruits of Islam have been the the encouragement of marriage and family life, the banning of alcohol, the banning of sexual promiscuity, the development of women’s right along with human rights in general and even animal rights, the advancement and spread of basically every field of knowledge there is, encouragement of proper social manners/conduct, propagation of good personal hygiene, the fostering of the love of God Almighty and the urge to seek the Truth, etc. There is a plethora of evidence, if only people cared to look. However, it is my opinion that the two main points mentioned above enough at least to prompt more exploration into the matter, and to me, enough to thoroughly prove that Islam is NOT a product of Satan (at least from an honest Christian perspective).
– Farhan R.