People who know the least about the religion of Islam still probably know its most prominent professed belief: There Is No God But God.
Those with a little more information about Islam know that this negatively stated militant belief is always coupled with a fierce denunciation of idolatry, most obviously expressed as the denunciation of the worship of any mere human being, or even any human representation in Muslim art—hence all the religious buildings devoid of any statues, paintings, or anything inside or outside to suggest these buildings are related to human concerns.
There is even a story that in one of the perennial rebirths of Islam over the centuries in its most Fundamentalist form, newly energized militant Muslims in Saudi Arabia destroyed the tomb of Mohammed as being itself an example of idolatry.
When you have a completely abstract and non-personalized, de-humanized god, I suppose this was a logical act.
And yet at the same time, throughout Islamic history, there has always been, in direct contradiction of its most defining professed belief, something very like a deification of Mohammed. After the Koran, of which Mohammed is the sole author, the holiest scripture of Islam is the Hadith, a huge collection of the sayings and doings of Mohammed, the idolatrous content of which is almost completely unknown by non-Muslims.
As a result of Mohammed’s centrality, indeed exclusive presence, in Islam’s most basic scriptures, is it any wonder that a Cult of Personality should have arisen alongside the Muslim God, and indeed to the outside historian’s eye, with the strong approval and encouragement of Mohammed himself? Is it therefore the least bit surprising that Mohammed is so often defined by Muslims as the “Perfect Man”?
Is this not idolatry, a contradiction at the very core of the religion?
Although the only slightly covert deification of Mohammed has been a constant of Islamic history from the very beginning, it has in recent years become a far more vital issue for the non-Muslim world, which we can no longer politely or safely ignore behind the deceptive Muslim mantra that ‘there is no god but god’.
For it appears there is, in fact, another Muslim god alongside god, and his name is Mohammed.
The new importance and immediacy of this issue is largely symbolized by the events of 2005.
That is, the publication of several Danish cartoons including some suggesting Mohammed was a terrorist, the worldwide reaction of Muslim mobs deliberately incited by Islamic clerics in many countries, and the also-worldwide reaction of the leaders of non-Muslim countries, who without exception decided to appease rather than stand up to the rioters and the violence.
That is, they decided to accept rather than oppose the Muslim claim that Mohammed, alone of all human beings, cannot be criticized. In other words, the idea that Mohammed’s ideas and actions, as expressed in the Koran and the ample historical record, cannot be questioned has been largely agreed to, including by the American President who recently said at the United Nations that any criticism of Mohammed, (right or wrong) is “slander.”
Put another way, this means that we have gone very far down the road to accepting the Muslim PERSONALITY CULT of Mohammed as an untouchable God.
Aside from the fact that this Muslim insistence that Mohammed is a God or God-like figure who cannot be criticized, is a violation of their professed belief that There is No God But God (Allah), and amounts to placing a figure alongside God (which is the chief Muslim criticism of Christianity’s attitude to Jesus), we can only accept this claim by surrendering several core beliefs of Western civilization.
First we must surrender Free Speech, which has already been given away in several European countries in the form of legislation against “hate” speech, defined as any criticism of Mohammed or Islam, regardless of the truth of the criticisms or discussion. This large beachhead of the successful suppression of freedom of speech in much of Europe is now being belligerently pursued by the OIC organization of 57 Muslim States as they seek a planetary ban established by law on any critical discussion of Mohammed, or of Islam.
Second, we must surrender Freedom of Religion, since having censored ourselves from discussing or criticizing Mohammed or the tenets of Islam, we cannot offer any verbal or other support to those who may wish to leave Islam, a crime punishable by death wherever Islam is the state religion. If we cannot support or even encourage those who might like to consider having the rights of Free Speech and Freedom of Religion (including freedom from religion), how much longer are we likely to preserve that freedom for ourselves?
Third, if we can no longer discuss or oppose the belief system of a religion which, more than any other, is inseparably entwined with a political agenda, we must surrender Separation of Church and State. For how can we, over time, keep such separation if we have a growing, proselytizing religion in our midst which adamantly refuses to accept any such separation, a refusal ferociously taught by its founder, who has become a praised cult figure and is himself off limits to criticism?
Since Europe has largely given up support of its historic religions (which is their right), they may not notice in time this fusion of Religion and State that is a core belief of Islam and teaching of Mohammed. The attack on Separation of Church and State is apt to be more resisted in the United States—unless that attack is facilitated by Americans failing to understand that agreeing to legally forbid criticism of Mohammed out of a mistaken and misguided respect for mere religious belief is actually agreeing to bow down before a Personality Cult.
There was a time when many Americans understood something of State-enforced personality cults, as existed for decades in Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China, and even the tin-pot variations that existed more recently in North Korea and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
How ironic then, if we continue to fail to recognize a much bigger and far older Personality Cult because the Idol at the center of the cult is seen as the founder and leader of a major religion but not as also a veritable god of that religion, the reality of his status masked behind the misleading and untrue mantra that ‘There is No God But God’?
We cannot avoid the advance of this Personality Cult out of the countries of the Middle East and into our own societies, from Europe to the United States to Australia and elsewhere, if we do not insist on examining the words and historical actions of Islam’s PERFECT MAN.
We need to discuss his ideology as expressed in the Koran and the Hadith, with its many references to the complete supremacy of his religion, and more slyly, to the cult of himself which accompanies that supremacy.
We need to look at his actions as a military figure and how this led to the exclusive spread of Islam in its early centuries by the sword.
We need to look at his actions toward anyone who opposed him, which means his approval of assassination and the delivery of conquered opponents into either slavery or permanent inferior status as a matter of divine Law (Sharia).
And yes, we need to look at his sexual behavior and his attitude toward women, because that, along with everything else he did, is taken as a supreme model of human behavior.
Put simply, we must reject the Personality Cult of Mohammed, masquerading as an innocent product of freedom of religious belief. It is anything but mere belief, and it is not related to freedom in any way.