This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.Muhammad saw himself as the first of a new religion; a religion that was ancient yet was being reset, restarted anew. He was to be the first both in time and prestige.
"Say: 'I have been commanded [bidden] to be the first of them that surrender [themselves to God]: 'Be not thou of the idolaters [those who join gods with God].'" (Koran 6:14)Certainly, Muhammad was not the first to surrender themselves to God. Elsewhere in the Koran even he states that Abraham was a Muslim; one surrendered to God.
"No; Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim and one Pure of [sound in] faith; certainly he was never of the idolaters [not of those who add gods to God]." (Koran 3:60)However, in this new reset of religion, he was the first to believe and obey the prophesies sent down by Gabriel. As such, Muhammad was not like the others who would believe after him. He was special and a cut above the rest of the believer.
"Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but the Messenger [Apostle] of God, and the Seal of the Prophets." (Koran 33:40)This is not to say that Muhammad did not have any children of his own. However, it is to say that none was to take him as their close kin or even their brother. He was to be considered as special, separate, and due to receive certain honors from the people. Even the term, "Seal of the Prophets" was meant to indicate that, even among the prophets, he was special and deserved to be treated with deference, loyalty, honor, and obedience. Muhammad was their leader and spiritual guide, but he was not their brother or their kinsman.
"Make not the calling of [address not] the Messenger [Apostle] among yourselves like your calling [addressing] one of another." (Koran 24:63)This attitude of superiority is foreign to the record of the Jewish and Christian history. When Peter refereed to Paul, the Apostle, he simply refereed to him as "our beloved brother Paul," (2 Peter 3:15) Jesus Himself taught us that we "are all brothers." (Matthew 23:8) And in the context He explicitly included His disciples and Apostles. Furthermore, Jesus taught us that the greater we are the lower we ought to position ourselves; that the greatest among us ought to be the servant of all.
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:25-28)Even being an Apostle was a call, not to be first, but to be last.
"For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men." (1 Corinthians 4:9-10)I am always leery of leaders who claim themselves to be special and require others to treat them with special honor, care, and support. Jesus did not come to be served but to serve, yet Muhammad prophesies of himself that he ought to be served and exalted by those who surrender to God. Such self exaltation is not mark of a mature man or woman of God and most certainly not that of a true prophet of God.
More to come...