An idealized painting of Mohammed. In reality he was anything but the compelling, stirring, charismatic apostle of Islamic legend and lore.
In an undelivered speech which he was to give back in September 2011 at a rally in Berlin an ill Robert Spencer wrote:
"Few people realize that the Sharia, Islamic law, forbids representational art and music. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, said: “Allah Mighty and Majestic sent me as a guidance and mercy to believers and commanded me to do away with musical instruments, flutes, strings, crucifixes, and the affair of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance.” He also said that “on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress.""
"Can you imagine," continues Spencer, "believing in a God who not only did not inspire great composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Handel, and Mendelssohn, but who says that to listen to the works of such men is an act of “ignorance” for which one will be punished – indeed, tortured (see)?"
Now while Mohammed, as Spencer notes, was opposed to all representational art: drawings, paintings, statues, etc. his harshest words for artists were reserved for musicians and music. He did not say that painters and sculptors, and those who view their works, would have their eyes gouged out on Resurrection Day; but that musicians and singers and their audiences would be punished in the most cruel and sadistic way imaginable as if they were the evilest of sinners-worse than Jews.
But the question is why was Mohammed so violently opposed to music and musicians? Why did he single out music as the worst and most sinful of the arts? What was his problem with flutists, harpists and vocal artists? Why did he loath and fear them? Let me answer the question with a question: Is there anything in the Koran that can inspire and elevate the soul (one’s heart, mind and spirit) like a Beethoven's 9th or a Verdi opera? Was there anything that Mohammad said or wrote that was as thrilling or exalting? The answer is no. Read the Koran from cover to cover, do any of the prophet's words inspire such lofty feelings? If they do there wouldn't be a need for Sufism in Islam-which is a mystical escape from the worldly, carnal, materialistic, power crazed Mohammed and his spiritually vapid faith of routine, monotonous, spiritless rituals. Why then did Mohammed fear musicians and their music? Because musicians could stir the soul in ways that he and his supposed prophetic revelations could not. He was envious of them and their art because he offered nothing emotionally comparable, nothing so captivating, enthralling and sublime.
Think about it. Mohammed claimed to be God's last divine prophet of history with the supremely perfect message of salvation, the ultimate revelation of God's truth for the world. If true there could be nothing greater coming from the mind and pen of man. But after peacefully laboring for 13 years to save and conquer Mecca (one of Arabia's largest cities) what did Mohammed achieve? What did he have to show for all his effort and toil-his pleading, threatening, haranguing, struggles and tears? Not very much. Not nearly what he envisioned when he started his mission as he saw himself master of Mecca with all Meccans Moslem. Far from his inflated expectations when Mohammed left the city he had no more than 100 disciples-100 disciples out of a city of thousands after 13 years and of relentless preaching and dawa! That averaged out to a disappointing eight converts per year. For all his pretensions of being God’s last, most perfect and greatest prophet God wouldn’t work miracles for Mohammed to assist him in his work. No manna falling from heaven; no healing of the sick; no raising of the dead, no walking on water or turning it into nectar (wine was forbidden). Mecca had rejected his call, his message, his word, his claim to divine election, grace and ultimate prophethood. The city remained unredeemed, steeped in sin, a pagan metropolis worshipping a multitude of idols and false gods. In short, there was no Mohammed effect-the man was roundly ignored or ridiculed.
The above suggests that Mohammed was anything but the great, irresistible, charismatic personality portrayed in Islamic lore. This failure suggests that God's "divinely inspired messenger," greater than Jesus, Moses and Abraham combined, was anything but a great communicator-a soul stirring, spellbinding, mesmerizing speaker. There was nothing of the colossal apostle Paul in him. Nothing of the faith that moves mountains with the spirit-filled word. On the contrary, Mohammed's personality and words failed him, his cause and his God.
Qatadah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: 'Allah never sent a prophet who had a sweet voice.' Attested by Tirmizi*.
*Al Hadis, Book 2, Chap. 12, No. 25.
In this Hadith Mohammed was responding to criticism about his lack of skill and talent as a speaker-to his perhaps gruff, unpleasant, offensive sounding voice which turned most people off. Not only did the Meccans laugh at Mohammed's message and pretensions to prophethood but at his poor, unpersuasive speaking skills as well. Using more vinegar than honey (threatening damnation on unbelievers) Mohammed caught few flies in his web of fantasies and deceit. He was a boorish, uncouth eccentric with a handful of deluded followers-a David Koresh, a Jim Jones at worse; a gadfly and nuisance making noise at best, but no real threat to the Meccan establishment. In other words, Mohammed the unlettered, the unlearned, the illiterate, the man who couldn't read or write Arabic, the chosen, anointed, blessed one who emerged from the cave at Hira miraculously transformed into a bewitching, eloquent, awe-inspiring orator is a myth. If he had become such a man he might have conquered Mecca with the word and force of his character; or failing that he’d have at least left the city with 100 x 100 men. But up to that point there was nothing exceptional about him. Nothing to distinguish him from most men in Mecca except his Judeo-Christian belief in a single God. He was an incompetent, blundering visionary driven by illusions of grandeur and failed badly; and out of anger and desperation he turned to the one thing that would prove his salvation and that of Islam: THE SWORD. It was do or die for Mohammed. War (jihad) was his last resort, his one final hope which, as it turned out, he possessed considerable talent for. In short, the force of persuasion failed so Mohammed used the persuasion of force to turn around his fortunes and realize his dreams of wealth, women, power and renown.
Indeed, so that Islam wouldn't perish with his death the prophet became an unholy terror, a bloodthirsty warlord, a killing machine for God and Islam. The failed, ineffective, mediocre Meccan preacher would distinguish himself on the battlefield winning honor, fortune, power and glory by spilling oceans of blood. Then the savages around him would take notice and listen to him. Then he'd be taken seriously. Then they'd submit to Islam and be saved.
In sum Mohammed envied musicians and their art as deeply as he resented and feared them. They could do what he couldn't do: stir men to the depths of their being and enthrall them, and he hated them for it. The musicians and singers of Mecca were more compelling than his tedious, tiring, uninspiring message and he reserved the worst places in hell for them.
This I believe explains Mohammed's fear of musicians and hatred of music and song.
GOD THE GREAT MUSICIAN
Robert Fludd's Divine Monochord depicting the Music of the Spheres; a concept abhorrent to atheistic materialists (chance is their God) and the Prophet Mohammed (power was his God) as musicians for him of any kind were the sinful enemies of Islam. Are you listening Cat Stevens?
In the Western concept of God (going back to ancient Greece) the Creator was the Great Mathematician, the source of number and the mathematical sciences: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and HARMONICS, the science of proportion and musical scales. The Pythagoreans discovered that the harmony of music is controlled by mathematical proportions which come from God, and that these proportions, ratios or musical intervals could be found throughout nature and the universe-even in the spiritual world where angels are said to eternally sing hymns to God.
Indeed, the idea of the Music of the Spheres is based on this mathematical world view; and that if outer space was filled with air the revolutions of the planets around the Sun would emit pleasing sounds that the ear could hear. This beautiful poetic intuition and theory was proved by Johannes Kepler who demonstrated it using the Five Platonic Solids and additional musical intervals. Said Kepler, "The heavenly motions... are nothing but a continuous song for several voices, perceived not by the ear but by the mind, a figured music which sets landmarks in the immeasurable flow of time." In other words, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are God's musical instruments playing a wonderful, continuous interplanetary symphony*. But the idea that the heavens were a vast musical harmony ("the morning stars sang," says the Bible) would have been abhorrent to the prophet of Islam; the man who hated music with a passion and worshipped an unmusical God of discord, wrath and military conquest-a God from hell.
Man who comes from God (THE GREAT MUSICIAN) and is fashioned in His intellectual image is a musical creature (like the singer/harpist King David) with a love for music and poetry (and all the fine arts) innate in his spiritual nature. Therefore, whoever condemns music and musical instruments on religious and moral grounds as evil, satanic, and forbidden by God (and who threaten musicians with torture and death in this life and the next) is a deluded ignoramus out of harmony with God and ignorant of His truth.
MOHAMMED ON MUSIC AND MUSICIANS
Al Hadis, Book 2, Chapter 12, No. 21, Abu Omahmah reported that the apostle of Allah said: 'Sell not singing girls, nor buy them, nor train them, and their price is unlawful...' Attested by Ahmed, Ibn Mahjah
Same reference, No. 283, Abu Omahmah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: 'None raised up his voice with a song but Allah sent him two devils upon his shoulders who beat his chest with their heels till he stopped.' Attested by Tirmizi.
Al Hadis, Book 2, Chap. 10, No. 4, Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: 'Bells are the singing instruments of the devil.' Attested by Muslim.
Al Hadis, Book 2, Chap. 12, No. 20, Na'fe reported: I was with Ibn Omar on a journey. He heard the sound of a flute and put his fingers into his ears and turned to go another way. Then he said to me after we walked some distance: 'O Na'fe! do you hear anything?' I replied: 'No.' Then he took his fingers out of his ears and said: 'I was with the Messenger of Allah. He heard the sound of a flute and did what I have done.' Attested by Ahmed, Abu Daud.
Those Muslims who enjoy music, fine silk, drinking and sex—some of them Allah will destroy, some of them will be transformed into monkeys and pigs… (Sahih Bukhari, 7.69.494v)
REFUTING MOHAMMED'S CLAIM THAT THE PROPHETS LACKED ELOQUENCE
Mohammed said that he alone wasn't lacking in eloquence; that this gift was denied to all of the ancient Prophets-the implication being that ineloquence was the mark of true and holy Prophets. Bolderdash! Did Mohammed ever read the Bible, or have it read to him by man or God? Apparently not. Apart from Moses and his wounded tongue, where in the Bible does it say that Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Jesus were poor, ineffective speakers like him? Read Jeremiah chapter 1 where the young Prophet said that God put His words in his mouth and turned him into a great and fearless speaker. Then read the Sermon On The Mount. What Mohammed said was a self-serving lie, putting his controversial speaking deficiencies in the best possible light-making it into a trait from the Most High. What a sham and charlatan he was.