From Merchant to Messenger

The Prophet Muhammad's struggle for legitimacy as revealed in the Koran


From Merchant to Messenger2:151 Just as We sent forth to you a Messenger (Muhammad) from among you reciting Our Revelations (the Qur’an) to you, purifying you (from polytheism), instructing you in the Book (the Qur’an) and the wisdom, and teaching you what you did not know.

6:51 And warn with it (the Qur’an) those who fear that they will be gathered before their Lord, other than Whom they have neither a protector nor an intercessor, so that they may be God-fearing.

14:1 A Book which We have revealed to you (Muhammad) so that you may, with the will of their Lord, bring mankind from darkness to light, to the Path of the Mighty, the Praiseworthy One.

It took almost ten years before a significant number of Muhammad’s contemporaries warmed to Allah’s ideas for a new world religious and domestic order. During those difficult years of his ministry, God’s self-proclaimed spokesman was the object of much scorn, derision, and accusations of the most hurtful kind.


20 Tâ Hâ

In the Name of Allah,

the Compassionate, the Merciful

20:1 Ta Ha (no consensus on exact meaning).

20:2 We have not revealed the Qur’an to you (Muhammad) so as to make you unhappy.

20:3 But only as a reminder to him who fears.

20:4 A revelation from Him Who created the earth and the high heavens.

He Made It Up


32 As-Sajdah

In the Name of Allah,

the Compassionate, the Merciful

32:1 Alif – Lam – Mim.

32:2 The revelation of the Book from the Lord of the Worlds, wherein there is no doubt.

32:3 Or do they say: “He invented it?” Rather, it is the truth from your Lord, so as to warn a people to whom no warner came before you, that perchance they might be well-guided.

In his alleged fabrication of the Koran, Muhammad was accused of receiving assistance from the Jews.

25:4 The unbelievers say: “This (the Qur’an) is nothing but deceit, which he (Muhammad) has invented and was assisted therein by other people (the Jews).” They have simply come up with wrongdoing and falsehood.

Did the Jews do for Muhammad what God accused them of doing with His Torah: making things up, then saying it was from Him to make some money?

2:79 Woe unto those who write the Book (rabbis, with their hands, then say that it is from Allah in order to sell it for a small price. Woe unto them for what their hands have written, and woe unto them for what they have earned.

2:80 And they say: “The Fire will only touch us for a few days.” Say: “Have you received a pledge from Allah, and Allah does not revoke His Pledge, or are you imputing to Allah what you do not know?”

2:81 Indeed, whoever commits a sin and his sin takes complete hold of him is one of the people of Hell, wherein they will dwell forever.

2:82 Those who believe and do good works are the people of Paradise, where they will dwell forever.

That Muhammad had friends among the Jews is well documented. The most infamous was a Jewish rabbi and convert by the name of Abdullah bin Salam who was his main source of information on Jewish law. The witness in Revelation 46:10 is believed to be Abdullah bin Salam.

46:10 Say: “Have you considered? What if it be from Allah and you disbelieve in it, while a witness from the Children of Israel bears witness to the like of it and believes, whereas you wax proud? Surely, Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people rightly.”

Muhammad’s preaching initially attracted people from the lower strata of Meccan society, prompting their better-informed brethren to dismiss their conversion.

46:11 The unbelievers say to the believers: “Had it been any good, they would not have beaten us to it”, and since they have not been guided by it, they will certainly say: “This is an old fabrication.”

Some of the accusations of fabrication may have been the result of Allah changing his mind. -Islamic Arabs were a practical, no-nonsense people. The logic of an omniscient god who knows everything, including the future, and is never wrong, changing His mind was simply inconceivable. It was profoundly illogical! They simply did not buy God’s argument in Revelation 2:106 that abrogating, i.e., replacing one revelation with another because He did not get it right the first time, was His prerogative (Allah would annull or modify more than 240 of His Revelations, all documented in Let Me Rephrase That!, Boreal Books). A stupefying concept in and of itself.

2:106 Whichever verse We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring instead a better or similar one. Do you not know that Allah has the power over all things?

It did not matter that Allah said that He knows what He is doing when He replaces one unassailable truth by another.

16:101 And if We replace a verse by another – and Allah knows best what He reveals – they say: “You are only a forger.” Surely, most of them do not know.

16:102 Say: “The Holy Spirit (Gabriel) has brought it down from our Lord in truth, in order to reassure the believers, as a guidance and good news to those who submit.

Some accused Muhammad’s slaves of helping him fabricate the Koran. “In this connection,” according to, “traditions mention the names of several persons, one of whom is Jabar. According to the disbelievers of Makkah he taught the Prophet (peace be upon him). However, one thing particularly noteworthy about all these persons is that they were non-Arab slaves.”

16:103 And surely a mortal teaches him.” The tongue of him to whom they allude is foreign, whereas this is a clear Arabic tongue.


Gabriel appears to have only spoken Arabic to Muhammad.

26:192 And this (the Qur’an) is the revelation of the Lord of the Worlds; 26:193 Brought down by the Faithful Spirit (Gabriel),

26:194 Upon your heart (O Muhammad), so that you might be one of the warners;

26:195 In manifest Arabic tongue.

Research into the origins of the Koran, such as that conducted in Germany by Christoph Luxenberg (pseudonym), has revealed a great number of words in Aramaic and/or Syriac which would indicate that many verses have a Christian or Jewish origin. Allah may be indirectly recognizing this fact in the following revelations where He acknowledges the contribution of the Torah to the Koran and the work of Jewish scholars.

26:196 And, it is, indeed, in the Scriptures of the ancients.

26:197 Is it not a sign for them that the scholars of the Children of Israel recognized it?


God cannot be bothered leading those who will not be led. This is His trademark explanation when instructions delivered by Muhammad on His behalf fail to convince people to follow the Guide. For not doing so: the inescapable promise of a painful punishment.

16:104 Those who do not believe in Allah’s Revelations shall not be guided by Allah, and a very painful punishment awaits them.

If you say often enough that those who refute the Revelations are liars, and the Koran repeats it often enough, the disparagement will eventually be accepted as the truth. Trump understood that logic only too well.

16:105 It is those who do not believe in Allah’s revelations that fabricate falsehood. It is they who lie.

If the Koran is a fabrication, it is a fabrication only a god could produce. Allah challenged anyone to produce a single chapter like one found in His Book.

10:38 Or do they say: “He (the Prophet) has forged it.” Say: “Come up, then, with a single Surah like it, and call upon whomever you can, apart from Allah, if you are truthful.”

Maybe someone did, and God raised the ante.

11:13 Or will they say: “He has forged it (the Qur'an).” Say: "Come up then with ten forged surahs like it, and call upon whomever you can, apart from Allah, if you are truthful.”

11:14 But if they do not answer you, then know that it (the Qur’an) was revealed with Allah’s knowledge and that there is no god but He. Will you then submit?

What if jinn and men got together to produce a Koran?

17:88 Say [O Muhammad]: “Were men and jinn to band together in order to come up with the like of this Qur’an, they will never come up with the like of it, even if they back up one another.”

Only the ingrates would deny a book that contains “every kind of example.”

17:89 We have indeed given mankind in this Qur’an every kind of example (different ways to make the people understand the Message, Moududi), but most people insist on being ungrateful.

If Muhammad invented it, Allah would be pissed, so why would a messenger tasked with delivering a clear warning risk His wrath?

46:8 Or do they say: “He invented it.” Say: “If I have invented it, you have no means of helping me against Allah. He knows best what you are expatiating upon. Let Him suffice as a witness between me and you. He is the All-Forgiving, the All-Merciful.”

46:9 Say: “I am not the first of the Messengers and I do not know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me and I am only a manifest warner.”

Muhammad did not always have a revelation handy to respond to the taunts and accusations of his detractors, prompting them to tell him to make one up; this is what they believed he did all the time.

7:203 And if you do not bring them a revelation, they say: “Why don’t you yourself invent it?” Say: “I only follow what is revealed to me from my Lord. This (the Qur’an) constitutes a clear proof from your Lord and a guidance and a mercy to those who believe.”

Accusations of Plagiarism

23:78 It is He Who created for you ears, eyes and hearts; but how little you give thanks.

23:79 And it is He who created and multiplied you in the land, and unto Him you will be gathered.

23:80 It is He who gives life and causes death, and His is the alternation of night and day. Do you not understand?

23:81 No, they said just what the ancient said.

23:82 They said: “What, when we are dead and become dust and bones, we will be brought back to life?

23:83 “We have been promised this, we and our fathers before. This is merely legends of the ancients.”

The Koran was revealed during a period known as the Dark Ages to a desert-dwelling people. A time and place where facts, fiction and superstitions were effortlessly mixed into stories told and repeated, often around a campfire, with countless variations, then passed down from generation to generation in what is known as oral traditions. The fantastical stories of the trials and tribulations of the Jews, of which you find many variations in the Koran, would have been a favorite topic of conversation during stopovers when Muhammad led caravans north from Mecca to Syria and back. Many of these stories, repeated by Muhammad as revelations from Allah (see Shared Prophet: Biblical Figures in the Koran, Boreal Books), were dismissed by his Arab brethren as “fables of the ancient.”

8:31 And when Our Revelations are recited to them, they say: “We have heard. Had we wished, we would have uttered the like of this; this is nothing but fables of the ancients.”

16:24 And if it is said to them: “What has your Lord revealed?” they say: “Fables of the ancients.”

Allah acknowledged the accusations of plagiarism and responded with a revelation instructing Muhammad on what to say in rebuttal (more in Chapter Allah’s Response to the Slander).

25:5 And they say: “Legends of the ancients which he solicited their writing down. Hence they are dictated to him morning and evening.”[12]

25:6 Say: “He Who knows the secret in the heavens in the earth has sent it down; He is indeed All-Forgiving, Merciful.”

Often, when Muhammad’s transmission of God’s many messages fell on deaf ears, Allah took the blame so as not to discourage His spokesman, as He does here.

6:25 And some of them listen to you, but We have cast veils over their hearts, lest they should understand it (the Qur’an) and a deafness in their ears. And even were they to see every sign, they will not believe in it; so that when they come to dispute with you, the unbelievers will say: “This is nothing but fables of the ancients.”

6:26 And they forbid others from [following] him (the Prophet), and they keep away from him, but they only destroy themselves, without perceiving it.

Saying the Koran is “merely legends of the ancients” is the opposite of doing something that will get your evil deeds pardoned.

46:16 Those from whom We accept the best of what they do and overlook their evil deeds shall be reckoned among the companions of Paradise, this being the promise of the truth which they were promised.

46:17 But as for him who says to his parents: “Fie upon you. Do you promised me to be raised up (from the dead), while generations have already gone before me?” They both call upon Allah to help them: “Woe unto you, have faith. Allah’s promise is true.” But he will say: “These are merely legends of the ancients.”


[12] An example using a famous saying of Jesus: “It will be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 16:23).”

7:40 Indeed, those who have denied Our Revelations and rejected them arrogantly – the gates of heaven shall not be opened for them and they shall not enter Paradise until the camel passes through the eye of the needle. Thus we punish the wicked sinners.



10 Yûnus

In the Name of Allah,

the Compassionate, the Merciful

10:1 Alif – Lam –Ra. Those are the verses of the sound Book.

10:2 Is it a wonder to the people that We have revealed to one of them (Muhammad): “Warn the people and announce to the believers the good news that they have a sure footing with their Lord?” The unbelievers say: “This indeed is a manifest sorcerer.”

That this Koran was some form of sorcery appears to have been a widely held belief among the Meccans, a belief reinforced by the fact that Muhammad was not held in high esteem.

43:29 Yet, I gave these (Meccans) and their fathers some enjoyment, till the Truth and a manifest Messenger came to them.

43:30 But when the Truth came to them, they said: “That is sorcery, and we are definitely disbelieving therein.”

43:31 They also said: “If only this Qur’an had been sent down upon some outstanding man from the two cities (Mecca and Ta’if).”

The Truth as sorcery:

46:7 And when Our Clear Signs are recited to them, those who have disbelieved will say to the Truth when it comes to them: “This is manifest sorcery.”

A verse containing both accusations of sorcery and fabrication.

34:43 And when Our Signs are recited to them clearly, they say: “This is only a man who wishes to bar you from what your fathers used to worship.” They also say: “This is nothing but a fabricated falsehood”; and the unbelievers say of the Truth when it comes to them: “This is nothing but manifest sorcery.”

Laughing Stock

25:41 And when they see you, they only take you for a laughing stock: “Is this the one Allah sent as Messenger?

25:42 “He almost led us away from our gods, had we not stood fast by them.” They will certainly know, when they see the punishment, who is more wayward.

25:43 Do you see him who has taken his fancy as his god? Will you, then, have to be his guardian?

25:44 Or do you suppose that most of them hear or understand? Indeed, they are merely like cattle; no, even more wayward.


Some believed Muhammad to be quite mad, prompting God, on numerous occasions, to vouch for His spokesman’s sanity and excoriate those who would make the accusation.

7:184 Do they not consider that their companion (Muhammad) is not mad. He is only a plain warner.


15:6 They say: “O you, to whom the Reminder (the Qur’an) is revealed, you are indeed a madman.


34:46 Say: “I only give you one exhortation, that you arise for Allah in couples and singly, then to reflect that there is no madness in your companion (the Prophet). He is merely a warner on the eve of a terrible punishment.”

Muhammad, after he left the cave where he first met the angel Gabriel, reported seeing the angel’s face on the horizon wherever he looked. This only increased the suspicion of his detractors as to his sanity.

81:22 Your companion is not mad;

81:23 He saw him (Gabriel) upon the luminous horizon.

If it’s any consolation, those who came before you were also accused of being mad.

51:52 Likewise, no Messenger came to those who preceded them but they said: “A sorcerer or a madman.”

51:53 Have they attested to each other concerning him (Muhammad)? No, they are an unjust people.

51:54 So, turn away from them, you are not to blame.

51:55 And remind; for the reminder will benefit the believers.

Accusations of madness may have also been made in print.

68 Al-Qalam

In the Name of Allah,

the Compassionate, the Merciful

68:1 Nûn (No consensus on meaning). By the pen and what they inscribe,

68:2 You are not (O Muhammad), by the Grace of your Lord, a madman.

68:3 You will have a wage which is unstinted;

68:4 And you are truly a man of noble character.

Bear with me; those who accused you of being demented will get what is coming to them.

68:5 You shall see and they shall see,

68:6 Which of you is the demented one.


Others thought their kinsman gullible and tried to be nice, with some even pretending to believe him; they, too, would pay dearly!

9:61 And some of them molest the Prophet saying: “He hears [all what is said and believes what he hears].” Say: “He hears what is good for you. He believes in Allah and believes what he hears from the believers; and he is a mercy for those who believe.” Those who hurt the Messenger of Allah will have a very painful punishment.

9:62 They swear to you by Allah to please you; but Allah and His Messenger they should rather please first, if they are true believers.

9:63 Do they not know that whoever opposes Allah and His Messenger, the Fire of Hell is reserved for them, abiding in it forever. That indeed is the great disgrace.

A Poet Possessed

Muhammad was no poet, and you have God’s Word on that!

36:69 We did not teach him (the Prophet) poetry, nor did it become him. It is only a Reminder and a Manifest Qur’an;

36:70 So as to warn those who are alive and the word may be fulfilled against the unbelievers.

God also promised a painful punishment for those who would accuse Muhammad of being possessed.

37:35 For when it used to be said to them: “There is no god but Allah”, they would wax proud.

37:36 And they would say: “Are we going to forsake our gods for the sake of a poet possessed?”

37:37 Indeed, he brought the truth and confirmed the other Messengers.

37:38 You shall indeed taste the painful punishment.

Muhammad claiming to quote from a book beyond anyone’s reach written by God obviously elicited strong emotions, as could be expected.

68:51 The unbelievers will almost strike you down with their glances, on hearing the Reminder (the Qur’an) and will say: “He is truly possessed.”

68:52 It is only a Reminder to all the Worlds.


34:44 We did not bring them (the Arabs) heretofore any Books to study and We did not send them before you (Muhammad) any warner.

34:45 Those who preceded them denounced the Messengers, although they have not attained the tenth of what We gave them; yet they denounced My Messengers as liars. How, then, was My Wrath?

In the Koran, vestiges of cities such as Petra (see Getting to Know Allah: "Salih and the Destruction of Thamud," Boreal Books) are places Allah claims to have destroyed because their inhabitants called the messengers He sent them liars (see Getting to Know Allah: "Allah Days – A Litany of Death and Destruction," Boreal Books). Then there were the people of Noah, Lot, etc., and for some reason Abraham, (see Shared Prophets, Boreal Books) whom He annihilated for denouncing His Messengers. If He did that to avenge Muhammad’s predecessors, imagine what He would do to those who called His last and greatest a liar.

22:42 If they denounce you as a liar, then the people of Noah, ’Ad and Thamud have denounced before them;

22:43 And the people of Abraham and the people of Lot, too;

22:44 And the people of Midian. And Moses was denounced. Then I reprieved the unbelievers; then I struck them down. How, then, was my punishment?

22:45 How many a city We destroyed when it was doing wrong; and now it has fallen down upon its turrets; and how many a deserted well, and lofty palace?

22:46 Have they not travelled in the land, so as to acquire hearts to reason with; or ears to hear by? For it is not the eyes which are blind, but the hearts within the breasts.[13]

22:47 They ask you to hasten the punishment. Allah will never break His Promise; but a day for your Lord is like a thousand years of what you reckon.

22:48 And how many a city have I reprieved, although it was unjust? Then I struck it down, and unto Me is the ultimate return.


35:4 If they denounce you as a liar, surely they have denounced other Messengers before you; unto Allah all matters shall be returned.


35:23 You are only a warner.

35:24 We have sent you forth in truth as a bearer of good news and a warner. There is not a nation to whom a warner has not come and gone.

35:25 If they denounce you as a liar; those before them have also denounced; their Messengers came to them with clear proofs, with scriptures and the illuminating Book.

35:26 Then I seized the unbelievers; how then was My wrath!


39:25 Those who preceded them denounced as liars [the Messenger], whereupon punishment afflicted them from whence they did not know.

39:26 And so Allah made them taste disgrace in the present life; but the punishment of the Hereafter is surely greater, if only they knew.

He killed them all, and He would kill you Meccans if you continue ignoring His warnings after He made the Koran in your own tongue so as to make it easy to understand.

19:97 For We made it easy (the Qur’an) [to understand] in your own tongue, so as to announce the good news to the God-Fearing and warn trough it (the Meccan unbelievers).

19:98 And how many generations before them We have destroyed! Do you perceive any one of them or hear any sound of theirs?


[13] Like many classical philosophers, including Aristotle, Allah considered the heart to be the seat of reason not the brain. Probably one of Allah’s more confounding revelations was His statement about travel giving you a heart that is not blind.

A Man Bewitched

Some thought of Muhammad as a man bewitched.

17:45 When you recite the Qur’an, We will place between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a hidden curtain.

17:46 And We have placed veils upon their hearts and deafness in their ears lest they understand it. And if you mention your Lord alone in the Qur’an, they turn their backs in aversion.

17:47 We know best what they listen to when they listen to you, as they confer secretly when the wrongdoers say: “You only follow a man bewitched.”

17:48 See how they coin similes for you and so go astray and are unable to find their way.


This is to say that they expressed different opinions at different times which contradicted each other. Sometimes they said, "You are a sorcerer" and at other times, "You have been bewitched by someone, or you are a poet or you are possessed of some evil spirit." These contradictory things were a proof that they did not know the reality.


25:7 And they say: “What is the matter with the Messenger? He eats food and strolls in the markets. If only an angel had been sent to him to be a warner with him;

25:8 “Or a treasure had been cast upon him, or he was given a garden from which he could eat.” And the wrongdoers say: “You only follow a man bewitched.”

25:9 See how they invent the parables for you, and so they err, and they cannot find their way.

Not Worthy

The tribal leaders of Mecca, given their importance, thought that they were just as worthy of receiving revelations, “scrolls unrolled” in Revelation 74:52. Until that happened, they would not believe.

74:49 Why are they running away from the Reminder (the Qur’an)?

74:50 As though they were startled asses,

74:51 Fleeing from a lion?

74:52 Rather, each one of them wishes to be given scrolls unrolled.

74:53 No, they do not fear the Hereafter.

74:54 No, it is indeed a Reminder.

74:55 So that he who wishes might remember it.

74:56 But they will only remember if Allah wishes. He is worthy to be feared and worthy to forgive.

An Object of Curiosity

In a strange conversation between Allah and Muhammad where God appears to be swearing by God (Revelation 70:40), we learn that Muhammad was obviously, for many, an object of curiosity who attracted large enough crowds for some to have to stretch their necks to get a glimpse of the man.

70:36 What is it with the unbelievers stretching their necks towards you?

70:37 From the right and the left banding together?

What appears to be a question from Muhammad:

70:38 Does every one of them hope to enter the Garden of Bliss?

God, in answering the question asked, swears by Himself (Revelation 70:40 “No, I swear by the Lord of the East and the West”) that He is capable of doing what He insists, by God, He can do. WOW!

70:39 Not at all. We have created them from what they know.

70:40 No, I swear by the Lord of the East and the West that We are Capable,

70:41 Of Replacing them by many who are better than they; and We shall not be outstripped.

70:42 So leave them to romp and play till they meet their Day, which they have been promised.

70:43 The Day they will come out of their tombs hastily, as though they are hurrying towards their idols;

70:44 Their eyes cast down; overwhelmed by humiliation. That is the Day which they were promised.

A Poor Man

If Muhammad is who he says he is, an intimate of the Almighty, why has Allah, or the knowledge imparted by God, not made him a wealthy man?

7:188 Say: “I do not have the power to benefit or harm myself, except as Allah pleases. Had I the knowledge of the Unseen, I would have acquired much good, and misfortune would not have touched me. I am only a warner and a bearer of good news to a people who believe.”

Allah Mocked

Muhammad was not the only one mocked. Those who made fun of the most effective of schemers by perverting His “Beautiful Names” (99 superlatives by which God refers to Himself in the Koran) Allah will surreptitiously lead “step by step” to their destruction.

7:180 And to Allah belong the Most Beautiful Names; so call Him by them and leave those who pervert His Names. They shall be punished for what they used to do.

7:181 And among those We have created is a nation that guides by the truth, and by it the nation acts justly.

7:182 And those who deny Our Revelations, We shall lure them step by step to destruction, whence they do not know.

7:183 And I will grant them respite. Surely My Scheme is very effective.

The mocking may have had much to do with the god “in charge of everything” not willing to give any sign that His distraught “warner” is the genuine article.

11:12 Perhaps you are passing over (not reciting) a part of what is revealed to you, and your heart is distressed lest they should say: “If only a treasure was sent down upon him or an angel accompanied him!” You are only a warner, and Allah is in charge of everything.