Does the Quran show that Muhammad made up revelations in order to benefit himself and to respond to situations in his life or do we see it being the ultimate work of a creator from above?
A video presentation of these points:
For a book that claims to be from God, the uncreated word of Allah that comes from above the seven heavens before the universe was created, it strangely seems to come quite conveniently to Muhammad’s rescue time after time. From getting involved in his marital problems to giving him special permissions and moral justifications to fulfill his personal needs and desires.
First of all we must remember that the Quran is timeless and uncreated. It was revealed by Allah in entirety to the lowest heaven into the lawhil mahfoodh (preserved tablets), long before the creation of the universe. To even claim that the Quran is created is a major sin and could take a person out of Islam.
Ahl al-Sunna agree one and all that the Qur’an is the pre-existent, pre-eternal, uncreated Speech of Allah Most High
Despite this, many of the verses in the Quran seem to have been revealed JUST for Prophet Muhammad’s convenience and even involve seemingly petty or private household matters that could have been resolved without God’s involvement.
A bunch of his companions came to his house and they stayed too long, but he felt embarrassed to tell them to leave, so Allah himself decided to let them know to go home!
O you who have believed, do not enter the houses of the Prophet except when you are permitted for a meal, without awaiting its readiness. But when you are invited, then enter; and when you have eaten, disperse without seeking to remain for conversation. Indeed, that [behavior] was troubling the Prophet, and he is shy of [dismissing] you. But Allah is not shy of the truth. (33:53)
Now that’s interesting. God himself comes to your rescue to tell your guests to go home.
Now look at this next example, the second wife of Prophet Muhammad, Sauda, was a big lady, and she was getting old. Sauda got scared that Prophet Muhammad might divorce her (because she was less attractive and more old now compared to the young and beautiful Aisha and some of his other wives), so she told Prophet Muhammad that she would give up her night with him (because Prophet Muhammad used to have one night with each wife) in order that he would remain her husband and continue to provide for her materially. Infact she even gave up her day with him while travelling
“Sawdah feared that the Prophet (ﷺ) was going to divorce her, so she said: ‘Do not divorce me, but keep me and give my day to ‘Aishah.’ So he (ﷺ) did so, and the following was revealed: Then there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves, and making peace is better (4:128). So whatever they agree to make peace in something then it is permissible.” (Tirmidhi)
Prophet Muhammad being the kind, honourable, noble husband, and man of God of course told her that he would never take away her night and would never divorce her. Actually, scratch that, he accepted her offer to sleep with young pretty Aisha instead and not spend time with Sauda as she was an unattractive old lady who probably didnt need sex, right? Does this personality seem to befit a Prophet of God?
Allah revealed a verse saying its okay for him to do that – because I guess it seemed unfair, so God wanted to make sure nobody thinks this is unfair to Sauda.
You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive whom you will. And whomsoever you desire of those whom you have set aside (her turn temporarily), it is no sin on you (to receive her again), that is better; that they may be comforted and not grieved, and may all be pleased with what you give them. God knows what is in your hearts. And God is Ever All-Knowing, Most Forbearing. (33:51)
Aisha herself found this quite interesting, that Allah revealed things in favour of Prophet Muhammad’s desires:
Narrated Aisha: I used to look down upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah’s Apostle and I used to say, “Can a lady give herself (to a man)?” But when Allah revealed: “You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily).’ (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), “I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
There is also the obvious example that Prophet Muhammad got a special exception from Allah (Quran 33:50) to marry as many women as he wanted that no other man was allowed.
There is also the story of Zainab, and how it is mentioned in the seerah she was married to Zaid, but Prophet Muhammad he saw her and fell in love with her. This story is also mentioned in the biography of Muhammad by Martin Lings. Hamza Yusuf said he wished that Martin Lings wouldn’t have mentioned this story. Also Yasir Qadhi said that this is one of the most problematic stories and biggest criticisms against Prophet Muhammad made by the non Muslim scholars of Islam. The reason why is because it looks like from the story that Prophet Muhammad caused the breakup between Zaid and Zainab.
Anyway, back to the story, once Zaid divorced her, Allah married them in heaven without any ceremony, wali (male relative), or maher (marital gift), and so Prophet Muhammad marched right into her house even though she wasn’t wearing hijab or dressed for guests. (See link at bottom for more details on this complete story). The following hadith talks about it in summary:
Anas (Allah be pleased with him) reported: When the ‘Iddah (waiting period after divorce before remarriage) of Zainab was over, Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said to Zaid to make a mention to her about him. Zaid went on until he came to her and she was fermenting her flour. He (Zaid) said: As I saw her I felt in my heart an idea of her greatness so much so that I could not see towards her (simply for the fact) that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) had made a mention of her. So I turned my back towards her, and I turned upon my heels, and said: Zainab, Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) has sent (me) with a message to you. She said: I do not do anything until I solicit the will of my Lord. So she stood at her place of worship and the (verse of) the Qur’an (pertaining to her marriage) was revealed, and Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) came to her without permission… (Muslim)
Zainab even used to boast about how God married them. He just was instantly married to her and walked into her home!
Zainab bint Jahsh used to boast to the other wives of the Prophet and say: “Allah married me to him from above the Heavens.” And the Verse of Hijab was revealed concerning her. (An Nasai)
Some of the scholars even boast about how Prophet Muhammad was given any woman he wanted, unmarried or even married (reference needed).
Another example of Allah getting involved and helping Muhammad in his marital problems is when Aisha and Hafsa teamed up against him and then Allah revealed that he will replace all of them with better women if they don’t behave themselves:
And (remember) when the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives (Hafsah), so when she told it (to another i.e. ‘Aishah), and God made it known to him, he informed part thereof and left a part. Then when he told her (Hafsah) thereof, she said: “Who told you this?” He said: “The All-Knower, the All-Aware (God) has told me”. If you two (wives of the Prophet , namely ‘Aishah and Hafsah) turn in repentance to God, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes), but if you help one another against him (Muhammad), then verily, God is his Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.), and Jibrael (Gabriel), and the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, the angels are his helpers. It may be if he divorced you (all) that his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you, Muslims (who submit to God), believers, obedient to God, turning to God in repentance, worshipping God sincerely, fasting or emigrants (for God’s sake), previously married and virgins.” (Quran 66:3-5)
Another interesting example is when Omar made suggestions to Prophet Muhammad, and then miraculously “Allah” revealed the same thing. Omar used to actually boast about how Allah “agreed with him” on these matters. One of them was at Makkah taking the Sanctuary of Ibrahim as a place of prayer, the second was regarding the wives of the prophet wearing hijab, and the third was that he told the Prophet if your wives don’t listen to you, Allah will give you better wives. In all these three cases it seems like Allah really liked these suggestions and decided to include it in the Quran.
My Lord agreed with me in three things:
1. I said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), I wish we took the station of Abraham as our praying place (for some of our prayers). So came the Divine Inspiration: And take you (people) the station of Abraham as a place of prayer (for some of your prayers e.g. two rak`at of Tawaf of Ka`ba)”. (2.125)
2. And as regards the (verse of) the veiling of the women, I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! I wish you ordered your wives to cover themselves from the men because good and bad ones talk to them.’ So the verse of the veiling of the women was revealed.
3. Once the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) made a united front against the Prophet (ﷺ) and I said to them, ‘It may be if he (the Prophet) divorced you, (all) that his Lord (Allah) will give him instead of you wives better than you.’ So this verse (the same as I had said) was revealed.” (66.5).
There are other examples of course, especially related to the Muslim community, but these examples above show how the revelation of the Quran greatly benefited the personal individual of Muhammad and gave him authority over people in a way that nobody else had.