We live in an age where people bend over 180 degrees backward to avoid offending people. Even in the Church, many are adamant that we avoid saying anything critical of other religions — especially Islam.
The result is that some Catholics — in an effort to be “polite” — refer to Muhammad as a prophet in discussions with Muslim friends and coworkers.
Not that these Catholics really believe he’s a prophet, but if Muslims want him to be revered as such, then who are we to do otherwise?
Except that referring to Muhammad as a prophet is not charity. It’s a lie.
Charity always has to be united to truth. And the truth is that Muhammad can’t be a prophet of God because his teachings often directly contradict the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.
Muhammad emphatically denied the divinity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We affirm it. Both cannot be true.
And if Muhammad is not a prophet, then he could very well be a liar or a lunatic. That is not something Catholics want to prop up!
One may ask if there is any evidence that he was one of these.
To be fair, it doesn’t seem that Muhammad was a liar. After his strange experience of being possessed by something in a cave, some of his family members convinced him that this was God speaking through the angel Gabriel. Muhammad didn’t just walk out of that cave declaring himself a prophet.
But he does refer to himself as feeling possessed by something. He describes the experience in the cave as feeling like his heart was ripped out of his chest, split, drained, put back together, and shoved back into his body. He also felt incredible fear.
This suggests a possibility of delusions — or worse — befalling him. Which, if true, is definitely not an experience of prophecy. And we do a great disservice by referring to such a man as a prophet.
Not that you should refer to Muhammad as a lunatic when talking to your Muslim friends. We talked about the importance of truth, but charity is also necessary. Many Muslims sincerely believe that Muhammad was a prophet sent from God. Many sincerely practice their religion according to what they believe to be true.
Love the one in error, even if you hate the error itself. We’re all made in the image of the God of love, so we should respect each other as such.
But we are also made in the image of the God of truth. By referring to Muhammad as a prophet, we disrespect Christ, who commands our loyalty above all others.
The question is, are you willing to face false accusations of “hate” to show your love for our Savior?
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