Posted by Zia Shah
Book written by John Davenport
This is a short but a wonderful book and a must read for all Muslims and Christians.
The Muslim Times has the unique privilege to make a PDF file of this beautiful book, An apology for Mohammed and the Koran, available online. I will encourage all readers to download and not only read the book, but, save it for future generations. Let us call this book a very important world heritage.
In his book An apology for Mohammed and the Koran, John Davenport has a chapter dedicated to refuting four different allegations against the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him. In the beginning of the chapter he makes a list of the four allegations that he is going to defend:
Is it possible to conceive, we may ask, that the man who directed such great and lasting reforms in his own country by substituting the worship of the one only true God for the gross and debasing idolatry in which his countrymen had been plunged for ages; who abolished infanticide, prohibited the use of spirituons liquors and games of chance (those sources of moral depravity), who restricted within comparatively narrow limits the unrestrained polygamy which he found in existence and practice—can we, we repeat, conceive so great and zealous a reformer to have been a mere impostor, or that his whole career was one of sheer hypocrisy? Can we imagine that his divine mission was a mere invention of his own of whose falsehood he was conscious throughout? No, surely, nothing but a consciousness of really righteous intentions could have carried Mohammed so steadily and constantly without ever flinching or wavering, without ever betraying himself to his most intimate connections and companions, from his first revelation to Khadijah to his last agony in the arms of Ayesha.
Surely a good and sincere man, full of confidence in his Creator, who makes an immense reform both in faith and practice, is truly a direct instrument in the hands of God, and may be said to have a commission from Him. Why may not Mohammed be recognized, no less than other faithful, though imperfect servants of God, as truly a servant of God, serving him faithfully though imperfectly? Why may it not be believed that he was, in his own age and country, a preacher of truth and righteousness sent to teach his own people the unity and righteousness of God, to give them civil and moral precepts suited to their condition.
The Muslims, however, believe that the Prophet Muhammad did serve his God perfectly. Having said that, any Muslim cannot but help being grateful to John Davenport for his eloquence in the defense of Islam.
In another place John Davenport beautifully explains that the religion of Islam is a continuation of the religion of all the previous prophets:
It has also been objected that Mohammed, while pretending not to deliver any new religion to the Arabians, but only to revive that old one which God had revealed to Abraham, and Abraham had delivered to Ishmael, the founder of their nation, actually did found a new religion, and, consequently, spake that which was false. But, if that only be a new religion which differs from the former in the object of its worship, and the moral duties imposed by it, then, certainly neither that of Moses, nor that of Jesus Christ, nor that of Mohammed, were new religions. That of Moses was no more than the renewal and enforcement by laws of that religion which Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Ishmael professed, and which was to adore the one only God, and Him to love and obey with their whole soul, and to practise those moral duties which the necessity of human society as well as the will of God imposed upon mankind. Thus, Jesus Christ tells us that to love God above all things and our neighbour as ourselves was the whole law and the prophets, that is, that Moses and the prophets taught the Israelites a religion which entirely consisted in the love and adoration of one eternal God, and an extensive love of one another; and hence the doctrine of Jesus Christ himself was not new, but the same that Moses had taught before, with this only difference, that our moral duties to one another were commanded with more force than before, and this admirable and divine rule set down, by which the meanest and most ignorant of mankind might know with almost certainty when he offended against these moral duties and when not, as the precept ’do unto others as you would they should do unto you’ clearly shows.
At the appearance of Jesus, the Jews inhabiting Judea were extremely corrupt in their morals, and a criminal self love and egotism having been long spread among them, both priests and people, there was nothing to be found but avarice, rapine, injustice and oppression, for, placing their righteousness in the rigid observance of some ceremonies and formulas of religion, they had entirely lost its real substance. To restore this seems to have been the whole aim, drift and design of the mission of Christ, for to that all his doctrines plainly tend—a consideration sufficient to show that the Christian religion in its foundation was but the renewing of that of Moses. The business of Mohammed was not only to enforce moral doctrines, but also to establish the adoration of one God, for the people among whom it was his lot to be cast were gone vastly astray in both; it was, therefore, his intent to revive the religion of Ishmael the founder of his nation—namely, the worship of one God; and this is enough to prove that Mohammed did but speak the truth when he told the Arabians that he did not preach to them a new religion, but only the ancient one which their forefather Ishmael had proposed many ages before.
Mohammed, then, was doubtless fully convinced of his own mission, as well as that in the name of God, and in the character of his Apostle he wrought a great, albeit perhaps an imperfect reform, in his own country. Nor was his belief in his own mission ill founded. Through mockery and persecution the Prophet kept unflinchingly his path; no threats, no injuries hinder him from still preaching to his people the unity and the righteousness of God, and exhorting to a far better and purer morality than had ever up to his time been set before them. He claimed no temporal power, no spiritual domination, he asked but for simple toleration, free permission to win men by persuasion into the way of truth. He required that men should do justice and love mercy, and walk humbly before their God, and, as the sanction of all, he taught that there will be a resurrection of the dead as well of the just and the unjust.
Compare Mohammed with his own degenerate followers, with Timour at Ispahan, and Nadir Shah at Delhi, with the wretches who, in our times, have desolated Chios and Cyprus, and Kassandra. The entry of an Eastern victor is ordinarily the signal for murder and massacre alike of the armed and unarmed, of the innocent and the guilty. Mohammed had his wrongs to avenge, but they are satisfied by a handful of exceptions to a general amnesty, and the majority, even of these, are ultimately forgiven. It is the temple of God desecrated by idols, which he had come to ransom. With the sublime words, ‘Truth is come, let falsehood disappear,’ he shivers, in succession, the 360 abominations which were standing erect, in the holy place, and his work once accomplished, he did not, like his victorious namesake, in later times, fix his throne in the city he had won. He reared no palace for his own honour by the side of the temple which he had recovered to the honour of God. The city of his fathers, the metropolis of his race, the shrine of his religion, was again deserted for his humble dwelling among those who had stood by him in the day of trial.