How About Saddam as a Prophet? Muhammad was a Successful Saddam
16 Jan, 2005
TODAY, IT WILL BE madness to accept any person to be a prophet, never mind a dictator like Saddam Hussein, with so much blood on his hands and a reputation of being brutal and ruthless in dealing with his opponents. There is little doubt that Saddam Hussein does not appeal to most of us and the chances for him to make a successful claim of prophethood, should he decide to make one, are very slim indeed. This is rather unfortunate for him, as, I believe, he got what it takes to make a prophet-more precisely, an Islamic prophet. The toughest hurdle for him remains that he is born in the wrong time, as nowadays, most people do not believe in prophets anyway. The usual group of people who are likely to believe in such an absurdity, that is, the Muslims, have committed themselves to Muhammad, an earlier impostor, who told them never to believe a man who claims to be a prophet (he knew best) after his death. Muhammad declared himself to be the last and the final prophet of Allah-all Muslims must believe this firmly.
A fair and open-minded analysis of history reveals a striking resemblance between Muhammad's career and the careers of other brutal dictators and gang leaders of our time. In this essay, I chose to compare Muhammad with Saddam. But the same arguments can also be used to compare Muhammad with Hitler, Bin Laden or Abu Musab al-Zarkawi.
The Tyrants' CV
Saddam Hussein was obsessed with the ideology of the Baath party and its call for Arab independence, Arab unity and socialism, which sound rather noble missions to pursue. His hero was a Syrian Christian called Michael Aflaq, a founder of the Baath party. Muhammad also was obsessed in his early life with the various religious parties of his time like Ahnaf, Sabeaa, Christianity and Judaism. By the age of forty, he was sure of his ambitions and of what appealed to him most. This again sounds a rather noble obsession. Muhammad's hero was Waraqa Bin Nofal, a Christian priest. He was also the cousin brother of Khadijah, Muhammad's first wife.
As a leader, Saddam Hussein was so ruthless that he killed all his opponents in Iraq and sent assassination squads to hunt down those who were outside Iraq. Saddam had no tolerance for criticism and he persistently demanded to be praised and glorified by all. When Muhammad seized power in Medina, he also wanted to be praised by all and accepted no criticism at all. He also sent assassination squads to kill opponents like Ka`b bin al-Ashraf, Abu `Afak, `Asma' Bint Marwan and many others. Zero tolerance of opposition is an important feature of both of them. The only difference is that Muhammad justified all his actions by using the handy divine tool of Allah to his advantage, which meant no one could blame him or argue with him.
The Arabic poetry in the seventh century addressed many issues like: romance, pride, praise and hijaa, which is a form of critical poetry. Hijaa poetry is deep in the history and culture of Arabia, and had been so before and after Muhammad. Poets used to say hijaa against any one they did not like or against each other; the other party responds by another equally or better constructed hijaa while ordinary Arabs listen and enjoy the poetry. No bloodshed is involved in such a poetry competition. In the beginning, for his defence, Muhammad responded to hijaa by constructing special Quranic verses. But these were neither strong nor good enough to do their job. So he turned to the professionals for help. He recruited experienced poets to work for him; the best among them was known as Hassan Bin Thabet, who started constructing poetry in praise of Muhammad and hijaa against the unbelievers of Quraish. It was a fierce media war that Muhammad seemed to be losing. So, he introduced the method of assassination against his opponents and those poets who dared to construct hijaa against him.
At the moment, Saddam Hussein is on trial on charges of killing of few hundreds of Iraqis of a Shiite town in southern Iraq because of a failed attempt on his life that took place years ago. This reminds us of how Muhammad attacked the Jewish tribe of Bani Nadir claiming they attempted to kill him by dropping a stone on him. As Muhammad had no witnesses to support his claim, he ascribed it to Gabriel, his angel friend, as the one who told him about the claimed attempt at his life.
Accusing treason, Saddam Hussein nearly annihilated the Kurdish town of Halbja when he used chemical weapons to kill thousands of innocent women and children accusing them of treason. In Medina, Muhammad had killed all men of the Jewish tribe Banu Quraiza and took all their women and children as slaves when he accused them of sedition.
Saddam was opportunistic and invaded Khomeini's Iran to score an easy victory which turned out to be a very costly war indeed. He invaded Kuwait to control its oil (war booty) to finance his corrupt regime which lacked the ability to successfully manage trade and industry to produce economic growth like other respectable countries. Muhammad took control of Medina in 622 AD and had no idea of how to finance his regime, so he turned to the easy money of war booties. Saddam set fire to Kuwait's oil fields which reminds us of how Muhammad behaved when he invaded the Jewish tribe of Bani Nadir and set fire to their palm orchards.
Muhammad was surrounded by his companions (sahaba) who are greatly revered by Muslims to our time. Sahabas were very loyal to Muhammad and were the main beneficiaries of his regime, much in a similar way of how Saddam was surrounded by his comrades who, even today, are still revered by his supporters. Both groups of sahabas are corrupt and power-hungry gang members, but the image of them given to simple Arabs and Muslims is that of patriotic heroes.
The Image of a prophet
Despite today's means of easy access to reliable and accurate information, the Ba'ath Party's propaganda managed to recruit a huge number of fans of Saddam and the Ba'ath regime. Most of those fans are brainwashed Arabs and Muslims who only see Saddam from the Ba'ath Party's point of view. There is no shortage of books, news articles or documentaries that praise the man and raise him to a very high status. In the eyes of those fans, Saddam appears as a perfect hero who did not commit any mistakes. All his crimes against humanity, his political and military blunders are fiercely defended and excused and sometimes completely denied.
Saddam's propaganda machine told his believers that Iraq, before him, was in the dark ages, which, of course, is very farther from truth. He tried to re-write Iraq's history just to glorify him and to claim imaginary victories just to cover his defeats. He also perpetrated his own form of democracy to justify his brutal dictatorship. In his last Iraqi election he won 100% of votes, beating even Allah in popularity!
It is sad that there are always people who are prepared to believe and support gang leaders like Saddam. It is also distressing that gang leaders know very well how to find such gullible people and recruit them to ruthlessly accomplish their dirty jobs.
To me, Saddam's methods were in no way different to the tactic Muhammad had used to subjugate Arabia. Muhammad organized a very ruthless and loyal gang to help him to rule, and he paid them well. Once they seized power they successfully managed to rewrite history. Everything before them was condemned as a dark age (called Jahilya, meaning ignorance). Muhammad, however, was clever enough to justify all his actions on the basis that he had only obeyed Allah's orders, so he could not, at all, be blamed for anything.
Muhammad was no more than a 7th century Saddam but far more successful in the scale of success. He succeeded because he had the right personality, had been born at the right time, at the right place and among the right people. All the circumstances to succeed were in his favour. The legacy of that success is probably the biggest lie in human history and the most lethal ideology ever known to mankind.
Islam demands that it must remain beyond criticism and puts ultimate punishment on those who dare to question its history or teachings. In other words, Islam demands from its followers to disable their minds and to accept it (the concept of Islamic fascism) without question. Muhammad and his companions were very keen to rewrite Arabia's history to reflect their own views. Arabia's history before Islam was deliberately tarnished and Muhammad's life was deliberately brushed clean to make it palatable to future generations.
Even with such extensive manipulation of history, we can still find much evidence of corruption on the part of Muhammad and his companions. They had set the worst examples in social corruption, political deception and gratuitous mass murder. In this sense, I believe, Muhammad occupies a place in history that is far worse than Saddam or Bin Laden. Saddam is facing a trial these days; I think it would be interesting to see if Muhammad and his gang will ever be brought to the court of history to mete out absolute justice.
Mumin Salih is a Middle Eastern ex-Muslim.