An Account by Fr. Zakaria Botros
By Raymond Ibrahim
Father Zakaria Botros recently ran a show dedicated to discussing the question of morality and how it is—or should be—one of the hallmarks of "prophethood." At the start, he posed the focal question of the show: "Was Muhammad the prophet a moral man—the most upright man, worthy of being emulated by the world?"
He opened the show by relying on an Ibn Taymiyya quote, which evaluated the signs of prophethood. Taymiyya asserted that there are many false-prophets, such as Musailima "the Liar," a contemporary of Muhammad. Taymiyya concluded that many of these so-called prophets are, in fact, "possessed," and that the only way to determine the authenticity of any prophet is by examining his biography (sira) and deeds, and see if he be found worthy of the title.
Being that this is the first of several episodes devoted to examining the concepts of morality and prophethood (with the notion that the former reinforces the latter), the theme for this particular episode was "purity" (tahara): "Was Muhammad a 'pure' man?"—in this context, a question concerning his sexual mores (or lack thereof).
After the preliminaries, Botros looked at the camera and gave a stern warning: "This episode is for adults only! I am going to discuss many things that make me blush for shame, so please: have the women and children leave the room."
He then asked Muslims watching to keep in mind the question "Is this the prophet I follow?" as he delineated some of Muhammad's sexual habits.
First, from the Koran, Botros read verses unequivocally stating that Muhammad is the paragon of all virtue and morality, such as "And most surely you [Muhammad] conform (yourself) to sublime morality [68: 4]." He further quoted the ulema, such as Ibn Kathir, all insisting that Muhammad was the "Noblest of all humanity, and the greatest of prophets."
Botros and his ex-Muslim cohost—the priest had insisted that it be a man for this particular show, lest he be too ashamed to delineate Muhammad's sexual habits—discussed Koran 4:3, which "limits" a Muslim's wives to four, plus "what your right hands possess," that is, slave-girls.
That was apparently not good enough for Muhammad, asserted Botros; an entire verse had to be "revealed" justifying more women for him (Koran 33:50). In fact, Father Botros has carefully compiled a list of all the women—66 are known—to have had sexual relations with Muhammad.
Botros said that was only normal: according to Sirat Al-Halabi, Muhammad can have a woman no matter what, even against her will; and if Muhammad desired a married woman, her husband would have had to divorce her. According to Ibn Sa'ad, who wrote another authoritative biographical account of Muhammad, "The prophet did not die till all women were permitted him" (see Kitab Al Tabaqat Al Kubra, v.8, 194).
The co-host, rather abruptly, interjected – "What of all those rumors that Muhammad exhibited homosexual tendencies?"
Botros dropped his face in his hands and mumbled, "So you still insist we discuss that?" The co-host was adamant, saying it was for Muslims' own good to know everything.
Thus Botros, after profusely apologizing to his Muslim viewers, saying how embarrassing this was for him, declared: "Look! We're merely readers here, bringing up what we have read in Islam's own books! If Muslims don't like it, they should go and burn these books."
The first anecdote discussed by the priest revolved around a hadith that, while some ulema say is "weak," is, nonetheless according to Botros, present in 44 Islamic books—including some highly respected collections, such as Sunan Bayhaqi and Al Halabi.
According to this hadith, a man named Zahir, who used to declare that "the prophet loves me," said that one day Muhammad crept unawares behind him and put him in a bear-hug. Zahir, alarmed, yelled, "Get off me!" After turning his head and discovering that it was Muhammad, he stopped struggling and proceeded to "push his back into the prophet's chest—prayers and blessings upon him."
Another curious hadith contained in Sunan Bayhaqi and which traces to Sunan Abu Dawud (one of the six canonical hadith collections), has Muhammad lifting up his shirt for a man who proceeded to kiss his entire torso, "from his bellybutton to his armpits."
Botros looked casually at the camera and said, "Imagine if the sheikh of Al Azhar [nearest Muslim equivalent to the pope] went around lifting his shirt for men to kiss his torso" (he proceeded to make smacking kissing noises, for effect).
Said the co-host: "Surely there's more?"
Botros: "Indeed there is. No less than 20 Islamic sources—such as the hadiths of Ahmad bin Hanbal—relay that Muhammad used to suck on the tongues of boys and girls"...
Last we left the priest and his co-host, the former noted that, "No less than 20 Islamic sources—such as the hadiths of Ahmad bin Hanbal—relay that Muhammad used to suck on the tongues of boys and girls."
Botros proceeded to read aloud from various sources, such as a hadith relayed by Abu Hurreira (deemed an extremely reliable narrator), where Muhammad sucked on the tongues of his cousin (and future caliph) Ali's two boys, Hassan and Hussein—they of revered Shia memory.
Next he read a hadith of Muhammad sucking on the tongue of his own daughter, Fatima. Fr Botros also added that the Arabic word for "suck" (muss) cannot, as some apologists insist, mean anything but "suck." "After all," added the perspicacious priest, "this is the same word used when discussing Muhammad's 'activities' with his wives, especially his beloved child-bride, Aisha."
With an extremely disgusted look on his face, Botros turned towards the camera and said: "Dear lady, imagine, for a moment, coming home to find your husband sucking on your daughter's tongue? What would you do? It's even worse: it's your prophet—the most "morally upright" man, a man to be emulated by the world! A man who on record used to go around sucking the tongues of his wives, his daughters, and young boys: Are these the activities of the man described in the Koran as being the pinnacle of moral perfection?"
"Muhammad would not sleep until he kissed his daughter Fatima and nuzzled his face in her bosom [the priest provided the appropriate sources]. Dear lady! what would you say to your husband sleeping with his face in your daughter's breast—is that the height of morality?!"
At this point, Fr Botros, looking downcast, began apologizing profusely, saying he could only imagine how all these anecdotes must be troubling for Muslims, to which the co-host reassured him: "It's not your fault, father, but rather the fault of those Muslims recording these vile incidences. Either way: Muslims must know. More please."
Botros continued reading more revealing hadiths, including one from the Musnad of Ahmad bin Hanbal, which records Muhammad seeing a 2-3 year old girl in her mother's arms. Muhammad was so "impressed" by her that he said, "By Allah, if this girl reaches marrying age and I am still alive, I will surely marry her."
Another hadith goes on to say that Muhammad ended up dying before this particular girl reached marriage age, to which the by now vexed priest, unable to contain himself, exclaimed, "Awwww! Poor prophet! He missed one!"
Botros then told viewers to keep this last hadith in mind, for "context," as he read another hadith from theSunan of Bin Said, which records Muhammad saying "I hugged so-and-so when she was a child and found that I greatly desired her."
"What prophet is this you follow?!" cried the outraged Coptic priest. "Where is his morality? This is the man that Muslims follow slavishly? Use your minds!"
It was late in the night, yet Fr Botros was not done cataloging his findings regarding the prophet's "sexual" habits (these shows are an hour and a half long). So, when he moved on to a hadith depicting Muhammad lying next to a dead woman in her grave, as well as pointing to hadith categories called "intercourse with a dead woman," I happily turned off the satellite and called it a night—till this moment, as I am (somewhat reluctantly) revisiting my notes to prepare this report.
Last we left the Coptic priest, he was reading from hadith reports stating that the prophet of Islam "admired" a 2-3 year old girl (saying that he hoped to live long enough to make her his wife), and "laid" in the grave with a dead woman.
In this episode, he began with the prophet's "transvestite" tendencies. He read from several hadiths, including Sahih Bukhari—Fr Botros claims that there are no less than 32 different references to this phenomenon in Islam's books—wherein Muhammad often laid in bed dressed in women's clothes, specifically his child-bride Aisha's.
Fr. Botros: "Perhaps Muslims think that he only dressed in Aisha's clothes? Being that she was his "favorite," perhaps after being intimate with her, he would merely lay in bed with her clothes?" (Here the priest put his face in his hands lamenting that he had to talk of such shameful things.)
Then he offered an interesting and revealing hadith, from Sahih Bukhari (2/911), which records Muhammad saying, "Revelations [i.e., the Koran] never come to me when I'm dressed in women's clothing—except when I'm dressed in Aisha's," implying that it was something of a habit for the prophet to dress in female clothing.
Fr Botros next moved on to some commentaries in the Tafsir of al-Qurtubi—an authoritative exegesis in Islam. He read one anecdote where Aisha said that, one day, while Muhammad was lying naked in bed, Zaid came knocking; Muhammad, without getting dressed, opened the door and "hugged and kissed him"—in the nude. Elsewhere, Qurtubi concludes that, "the prophet—prayers and blessings upon him—was constantly preoccupied with women."
Fr Botros to Muslims: "So this is your prophet—the most morally upright man? Instead of being preoccupied with, say, prayer or good deeds, he was preoccupied with women?"
He next read from Faid al-Qabir (3/371), wherein Muhammad is on record saying, "My greatest loves are women and perfume: the hungry is satisfied after eating, but I never have enough of women." Another hadith: "I can hold back from food and drink—but not from women." After reading these hadiths, Fr Botros would just look at the screen in silence, shaking his head.
He next read an interesting narrative (contained in Umdat al-Qari and Faid al-Qabir). Reportedly, Allah sent Gabriel with some sort of celestial food (called al-kofid) to Muhammad, commanding the latter to "Eat!"—identical to when Gabriel came to Muhammad saying "Read!" (i.e., iqra, the word for Koran). The report goes on to quote Muhammad saying that the food given to him "gave me the sexual potency of 40 heavenly men." Fr Botros next read from the Sunan of al-Tirmidhi, where it says that the "heavenly man" has the sexual potency of 100 mortal men.
Wondered the priest: "So, doing the math, 40x100, we can conclude that Muhammad, whenever he ate his heavenly aphrodisiac, had the sexual potency of 4000 men? Really, O umma, is this the claim to fame of your prophet—that he was a raving sex maniac?" Then, less seriously, "Imagine the surprise when Westerners find out that, once again, it was Muhammad who first discovered Viagra!"
Zakaria Botros went on to read from more sources, such as Sunan al-Nisa'i, wherein Muhammad used to in a single night "visit" all his women, without washing in between. Asked the priest: "Why even record such obscene and embarrassing things?"
Perhaps most entertaining, Fr Botros spent some time analyzing an anecdote recorded in Ibn Kathir's al-Bidaya we al-Nihaya. Here is a translation for this lengthy account:
After conquering the Jews of Khaybar, and plundering their belongings, among other things, a donkey fell into the lot of the prophet, who proceeded to ask the donkey: "What is your name?"
The donkey answered, "Yazid Ibn Shihab. Allah had brought forth from my ancestry 60 donkeys, none of whom were ridden on except by prophets. None of the descendants of my grandfather remain but me, and none of the prophets remain but you and I expected you to ride me. Before you, I belonged to a Jewish man, whom I caused to stumble and fall frequently so he used to kick my stomach and beat my back."
Here, chuckling, the priest added, "a taqiyya-practicing donkey!" He continued reading, "The prophet – may Allah's prayers and peace be upon him – said to him, 'I will call you Ya'foor. O Ya'foor!' Ya'foor replied, 'I obey.' The prophet asked, 'Do you lust after females?' The donkey replied, 'No!'"
Cried the priest: "Even the donkey blushed for shame concerning your prophet's over-sexed inquiries! Here we have what is supposed to be a miracle—a talking donkey; and of all things to communicate to this animal, your prophet's most urgent question was whether the donkey lusts after females?"
Next, reading from Sahih Bukhari (5/2012), Fr Botros relayed an account where Muhammad went into the house of a young woman named Umaima bint Nua'm and commanded her to "Give yourself to me!" The woman responded, "Shall a queen give herself to the rabble?" Shaking his fist, Muhammad threatened her, and then sent her off to her parents.
Zakaria Botros: "You see, people, even back then, in those dark ages, there were still people who had principles, who did not give way to threats and coercion. However, the real question here is, why was Muhammad contradicting the commandments of his own Koran—"if a believing woman gives herself to the prophet" (33:50)—trying to coerce this young lady?"
Finally, with a most distasteful look on his face, the priest read from a hadith in al-Siyuti (6/395), where Muhammad asserts that, "In heaven, Mary mother of Jesus, will be one of my wives."
"Please, O prophet," quoth the Coptic Orthodox priest, "do not implicate our saints with your filthy practices…"
Once again, at the start of the show, Fr Botros read from a famous Ibn Taymiyya excerpt regarding how to differentiate between real and false prophets. Taymiyya asserted that there are many false-prophets, such as Musailima "the Liar," that many of these so-called prophets were, in fact, "possessed," and that the only way to determine the authenticity of any prophet is by examining his biography (sira) and deeds, and see if he be found worthy of the title of prophet.
After reading the lengthy quote, Fr Botros concluded with a, "Good for you, Ibn Taymiyya! You at least knew this much."
The viewers were then given the usual warning: "This show is for adults only! Young ladies and children should leave now." He then exhorted the viewers to keep in mind as he reads about Muhammad that "this is the prophet you follow. Bear this in mind, O you Muslim!"
Fr Botros then lamented how for 1400 years barriers have been erected around Muhammad so no one—Muslim or infidel—could critique his life: "But the time has come, my friends; the barrier is broken!"
Next he recapped the past three episodes dealing with Muhammad's sexual habits—including (but not limited to) his sucking the tongues of boys and girls, kissing the breasts of his daughter Fatima, "lusting" after 2-3 year-old girls, laying with a dead woman, homosexual inclinations, receiving revelations while dressed in women's clothing, copulating with nine women in a row without washing in between (and then bragging about it), greeting people while in the nude, and proclaiming that he will copulate with Mary the mother of Jesus in heaven. (To this latter one, the priest, with a disgusted look on his face, said, "Come on, guy! Get real.")
He began this episode by saying that no less than 34 books, including the Tafsir of al-Qurtubi and Sahih Muslim, record that Muhammad used to "fondle"—Botros scowled at the screen—"kiss and have sex while fasting, though he forbade others from doing so."
Said the host: "Interesting. But we know that prophets have special dispensations: Do you have anything more explicit?"
Fr Botros: "Fine. How's this: the prophet used to visit [copulate with] his women when they were menstruating -- so sorry for this disgusting topic! Forgive me, people!"
He then pointed out that the main problem with this is that the Koran (2:222)—"Muhammad's own words," as he put it—forbade Muslims from going near menstruating women.
He went on to quote from a number of hadiths affirming that Muhammad freely had sex with menstruating women, including from Sahih Bukhari (v.5, p. 350), which said that if Muhammad desired a menstruating woman, he placed a sheet around her and proceeded with his business, to which the priest cried:
"Come on man! Couldn't you find another one of your 66 women? It just had to be the one menstruating?"
Then, earnestly looking into the camera: "But seriously, people: are you not ashamed of these things? I know I am—just mentioning them. And this is your 'prophet'—the 'exemplary man'?"
He then read a hadith, narrated by Aisha, and contained in the canonical six, wherein the prophet's young wife recounted how, whenever she was menstruating, if the prophet "wanted her," he used to "command" her to have sex with him, to which the priest exclaimed—"Commanded! This is rape! Who is this character you are following?"
He read from a number of other hadiths, all demonstrative of Muhammad's sexual proclivities toward menstruating women—which the Koran forbids—adding, "People, if this is how the 'prophet of God' behaves, what can we expect from the average man?"
Asked the host: "Well, could other men behave this way?"
Fr Botros: "Sure, the prophet was always generous to his followers, giving them ways out. According to eight hadith compilations, Ibn Abbas relayed that Muhammad said if a man cannot help himself and copulates with his menstruating wife, all he has to do is pay one dinar in atonement; if he sleeps with her towards the end of her cycle, when she isn't bleeding as much, he need only pay half a dinar—a discount!" [saying "discount" in English and laughing].
Host: "As you pointed out, since Muhammad had so many women, why did he even feel the need to resort to the ones that were menstruating?"
Fr Botros: "Ahhhh. I see you are wisely connecting the dots. The simple reason, my friend, is that Muhammad used to like smelling"—here he went sniff, sniff—"menstruation blood." He then quoted from al-Siyuti, where Aisha relayed that Muhammad said to her "Come here," to which she replied, "But I am menstruating, O prophet of God." So he said "Expose your thighs"; she did so and "he proceeded to lay his cheek and chest on her thighs."
Fr Botros: "Help me people! How can such perverse behavior come from a prophet—the 'greatest role model'?"
He then read a Sahih Bukhari hadith (v.6, p.2744) relayed by Aisha where she said that, while menstruating, the prophet used to lay his head on her thighs and recite the Koran.
Fr Botros: "While reciting the Koran!!"
Next he read from Ahkam al-Koran (v.3, p.444) where a woman declared that she used to cup water from a well that had, not just menstruation blood, but dog flesh, and all manner of filth, and give Muhammad to drink.
Fr Botros: "What happened to Koran 2:222?! Yet the 'seal of the prophets' can drink such foul water?"
Then, while shaking his head with eyes downcast: "O Muhammad, Muhammad, Muhammad..."
Last we left the Coptic priest, he was discussing Muhammad's predilection for menstruating women—even though the Koran itself (as Fr Botros put it, "his own words") forbid men from getting near to menstruating women.
Here, the priest was interested in examining Muhammad's faithlessness towards his wives (though one would have thought the plural renders the notion of faithfulness moot), his sexually exploitative behavior, and his reliance on very obscene language.
First, Fr Botros spent some time discussing the well known story where the prophet betrayed his wife Hafsa with a slave-girl (Unfortunately, one cannot capture the hilarity with which the priest recounted this tale.)
In short, after sending Hafsa to visit her father, the latter, halfway there, realized that it was "her day"—that is, the day when, of all his wives, Muhammad would visit her for "conjugal relations." She hurried back (Fr Botros added "She knew him well: if she wasn't there on her day, he would go crazy and grab the first female passing by!").
In fact, Hafsa caught Muhammad with a slave-girl on the former's bed. Muhammad quickly evicted the slave-girl and told Hafsa that if she kept this between them, he would henceforth refrain from the slave-girl.
To no avail: Hafsa gabbed and soon all of Muhammad's wives revolted against his incessant philandering; As Fr Botros put it, "When things got critical, Muhammad decided to drop a 'new revelation' on them; so he threw surat al-tahrim (66: 1-11) at them, wherein Allah supposedly chastises Muhammad for trying to please his wives by not sleeping around, threatening the wives to get in line lest the prophet divorce them—indeed, lest they all go to hell."
Then, looking at the screen, Fr Botros asked, "Imagine, dear lady, if your husband asked you to go on errand and then you return before your time only to find him in bed with another woman? What sort of man would that make him in your eyes? Yet it's worse—it's your prophet, whom you all extol as the most perfect human, to be slavishly emulated!"
He then pointed out that "clever little Aisha knew him [Muhammad] well": whenever such verses were revealed rescuing Muhammad, Aisha would often observe that "Verily, your lord [Allah] is ever quick to fulfill your whims and desires (e.g., al-Siyuti v.6, p.629).
Next the priest relayed an account portraying how the prophet sexually exploited a "retarded" woman. According to 23 sources (e.g., Sahih Muslim vol.4, p.1812) a feeble-minded woman came up to Muhammad saying, "O prophet of Allah! I have something for you." He clandestinely met her out back and took this "something" from her.
Added Fr Botros: "I fear now that many believers will want to implement this sunna—don't do it, guys, this is just to illustrate.... Listen you Muslims: don't hate me for revealing all this to you; don't lie in wait to kill me. I am merely revealing what your books contain. And, as always, we humbly await the great sheikhs and ulema to address these issues and show us where we went wrong."
Next, Fr Botros discussed the sort of foul language Muhammad -- the "greatest example" -- employed: "Sorry, so sorry to reveal to you the sort of despicable language Muhammad used—language I am too ashamed to even mention. In fact, your prophet said one of the most obscene Arabic words—the equivalent of the 'f-word' [he counseled his Arabic viewers to google the "f-word" to understand what he was talking about]. "
Refusing to pronounce or spell this word, which he said appears in 67 books, including Sahih Bukhari, the text containing this word, "inkat-ha" -- or, in context, Muhammad asking a man about a woman if he "f***** her" -- was portrayed on the screen for all to read.
Then, "Quick! take that filth down! What would you Muslims do if the Sheikh of al Azhar went around using such language? Worse -- it's your prophet, the 'greatest creation.'"
The host asked if Muhammad used any other foul language, to which the priest responded, "Oh, boy, did he ever; unfortunately this program is way too short to list them all."
According to Qaid al-Qadir (v.1, p.381), Muhammad told Muslims to retort to uppity infidels by saying things like -- again, he didn't pronounce it, but the text appeared on the screen -- "Go bite on your mother's clitoris!" or, according to Zad al-Mi'ad (v.3, p305), "Go bite on your dad's penis!"
Then, once again while shaking his head in sheer disappointment, "O prophet of Allah...prophet of Allah....Would that you would've heeded your lord Jesus' counsel: 'The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks' (Luke 6:45)."