Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

10/18/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Muhammad's moral life is all there is with which to assess him.

Since the natural law, albeit natural, is God's own law, that is, of his design, it follows that God's revealed law cannot contradict the natural law.  It necessarily follows that the law which God has writ in man and his nature ought not to conflict or contradict, though it may be supplemented with and supported by, revealed or divine law.   The life and message of one who claims to be a purveyor of God's revelation, whether it be Moses, or Jesus, or Muhammad, or anyone else, can be tested through the compatibility of that claimed revelation with natural law. 


By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (

10/18/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Islam, Muhammed, Muslim, Islan, Koran, Quran, Jihad, Andrew M. Greenwell

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Muhammad is a man who must be taken seriously.  He is, after all, touted by over a billion Muslims to be the mouthpiece of the most-high-God.  He is the only witness that God talked to him and recited through him his Qur'an.  Muhammad claimed to be, and his followers hold him to be, the prophet of prophets, the seal of the prophets, khatim al-nabiyin.  This means no one can improve on or change his message. 

But there is more, Muhammad claimed to be, and his followers hold him out to be, the most perfect human, what the Muslims call al-insan al-kamil.  The Qur'an--in the view of Muslims the uncreated word of God himself--says that Muhammad is a good example to imitate, uswa hasana.  Repeatedly, the Qur'an holds Muhammad out to be an exemplary man.  E.g., Qur'an, 33:21, 3:32, 3:132, 4:13, 4:59, 4:69, 4:80, 5:92, 8:1, 8:20, 8:46, 9:71, 24:47, 24:51, 24:52, 24:54, 24:56, 33:33, 47:33, 49:14, 64:12, 68:4.  For this reason, Muhammad is sometimes referred to as the "living Qur'an."

That is why Muslims are so hostile when it comes to criticism of their supposed prophet.  That is also why Muslims object to any depiction of Muhammad: he is simply too perfect to portrait.  That also explains why particularly pious Muslims slavishly imitate him, from the most mundane matters--his toilette habits, his likes for food, his beard growing and dyeing--to more transcendent matters--his prayer habits, his pilgrimage habits, to more troublesome matters--his dislike of critics, his penchant for violence, his sexual and marital habits.

Now the claims of the Muslim cry for scrutiny to see if they are true.  If they are true, it seems Muhammad as the self-professed prophet of the Creator God must be followed.  If they are false, he and his message must be rejected.  Tertium non datur.  Given the claim by Muhammad and his followers, there is no third option between yeah or nay.

The only means we have to determine whether Muhammad was the prophet of all prophets and the perfect example of human living is to invoke the judgment of reason.  Is it a reasonable claim on the part of Muhammad and his followers to claim that this man Muhammad is the prophet of all prophets and the perfect human?

In the realm of morals, the reason we use is called practical reason.  It is what helps us determine the good.  The product of reason in the realm of morals yields us what we call the natural law. 

The natural moral law provides us with sure guidance in both our personal life and our life in common.  The natural moral law, a law resident in our hearts, is a law placed there by God the Creator of men and women.  It reflects His ordered reason, His ratio ordinis, and it informs us, through self-evident principles, through conscience, through inclinations, and finally, through the application of practical reason in further determinations to know the good and discover legitimate means to pursue that good. 

The existence of the natural moral law exists before we come upon the question of God revealing Himself through supernatural means, through Revelation.  Accordingly, the natural law ought to be the common language, the lingua franca, by which and through which all men of good will can speak.  It is the law universal and shared by all men, a law superior and precedent of, all claimed positive revelation and all moral convention.

Since the natural law, albeit natural, is God's own law, that is, of his design, it follows that God's revealed law cannot contradict the natural law.  It necessarily follows that the law which God has writ in man and his nature ought not to conflict or contradict, though it may be supplemented with and supported by, revealed or divine law. 

Similarly, the life and message of one who claims to be a purveyor of God's revelation, whether it be Moses, or Jesus, or Muhammad, or anyone else, can be tested through the compatibility of that claimed revelation with natural law. 

The natural law, then, serves as a litmus test that may be applied to any claimed revelation and any man who claims to be a messenger of God.  A man who claims to be a prophet but who lives a life that contradicts the natural law may be confidently rejected for he is an inauthentic prophet, a false prophet. We may accept here the admonitory words of Jesus which are eminently reasonable.

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit, and the evil tree brings forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that brings not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them."  (Matt. 7:15-20)

In the next various articles, I intend to tackle what is no doubt a controversial subject, but one that needs to be approached honestly and forthrightly.  How does Muhammad fare when his life is judged against the natural moral law?  What are his fruits, the fruits of his life and the fruits of his teaching?

While we are unable with certainty to judge the subjective sincerity of Muhammad, we are able to make an objective and morally certain assessment of his external actions, at least as those are reported to us by Muslim sources.  In this analysis, we may take the earliest Muslim sources regarding Muhammad's life as true.

Obviously, a man who has reached moral perfection must live a life in perfect conformity with the natural moral law in addition to one in conformity with any revealed law.  The moral perfection ascribed to Muhammad by the Muslims necessarily means that Muhammad could not have been trapped by conventional Bedouin morality.  Though he could live within convention and custom to the extent that these were not in contradiction with natural moral law, as a prophet whose ear was supposedly in tune with the voice of God, one would expect him to be able to overcome or criticize conventions to the extent that these contravened natural moral law.

In making this assessment regarding Muhammad, we are fortunate to have Islamic sources upon which we draw on to form a fairly accurate description of Muhammad's life.  Although the Qur΄an is not particularly biographical, there is a wealth of narrations or reports (called hadith) concerning the words and the deeds of Muhammad and these have been gathered in a number of authentic collections such as the Sahih al-Bukhari, the Sahih Muslim, the Sunan as-Sughra, the Sunan Abu Dawud, the Jami al-Tirmidhi, and the Sunan ibn Majah

Moreover, there are some fairly old and traditional biographies of Muhammad (sirat rasul allah or al-sira al-nabawiyya), such as the biography by Ibn Ishaq or the history of at-Tabari.  There are also recountings of Muhammad's military expeditions (maghazi), such as that by al-Waqidi.

In the exploration of the topic, we are aided by what Ernest Renan observed to be a unique feature of Islam relative to Judaism or Christianity; namely, that Islam was born "in the full light of history."  Islam, Renan says, "was born in the full light of history, its roots are even with the ground.  The life of its founder is as well known to us as the reformers of the XVIth century.  We can follow year by year the fluctuations of his thought, his contradictions, his weaknesses."

And it is the moral weaknesses in Muhammad that we will follow, relying on the description of Muhammad in Muslim sources, even though we may assume that these would be palpably biased in favor of Muhammad.

Given what the Muslims ask us to believe of Muhammad, it is fair that we demand more from him than we would from an ordinary mortal.  Human foibles and peccadilloes (or worse), while forgivable or at least understandable in a mere man among men, are not forgivable and are anomalous in a man who has set himself up as a divine standard against which there is no appeal, the normative canon by which human virtue is to be measured. 

This is particularly true since Muhammad's messages were buttressed by no miracle, and his flesh has not yet risen from the dead, but lies smoldering, like that of all men, in his mausoleum, the Rauda at Medina, waiting the Resurrection both he and Jesus preached.

Muhammad's moral life is all there is with which to assess him.

In the next series of articles, incidents in Muhammad's life will be compared and contrasted to those natural law precepts dealing with a variety of circumstances.  For convenience, we intend to rely upon the statement of those natural law precepts found in the Ten Commandments or Decalogue: You shall not commit adultery. You shall not murder. You shall not lie (bear false witness). You shall not steal.  You shall not covet your neighbor's goods. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.  To these precepts, I have also added the precept that the chattel slavery of humans is a violation of the natural moral law.

Most men would agree that adultery, murder, lying, stealing, lusting after another's goods and wife, and treating humans as property, as things, are, from a perspective of natural law, offensive regardless of conventions or customs.  In the words of J. Budziszewski, all humans know that these things are wrong: these are things we can't not know.  These absolute prohibitions are part of what St. Paul called the law written in the hearts of all men.  (Rom. 2:15)

The reader is forewarned.  The analysis which these series of articles will set forth is not particularly complimentary to Muhammad, and is sure to give offense to Muslims, but it is not calculated to give offense.  That it gives offense is something that is collateral to the calculated purpose, which is to tell the truth about Muhammad.  The appraisal is intended to give a frank, candid, and honest assessment of some of the external actions of Muhammad, together with a fair comparison of those actions to the natural moral law, the law of God written in our hearts.  If the heart's witness against Muhammad is severe, that is the heart's witness. 

In his Pensées (No. 277), the philosopher Blaise Pascal famously wrote: Le coueur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point.  The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.  In this instance, however, there is no division.  The heart and reason--both components of the natural moral law as they are components of man--stand together arm-in-arm in solid witness against the claimed prophet of Islam.

(This article is adapted from the book written by the author entitled, The Heart's Witness Against Muhammad: Why the Natural Law Proves Muhammad False.)


Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Middle East

CRYBABY KILLER: Islamist State fighter breaks down in tears after being captured -- on video Watch

Image of The prisoner, in civilian clothing seems to have his hands bound behind his back, his eyes covered with a blindfold.


Despite the fact that they frequently attack unarmed women and children, the Islamist State terrorist group likes to provide an image to the world that they are unrepentant, fearless warriors. Part of that image was tarnished with the discovery of a video of an ... continue reading

GRAPHIC IMAGES: Islamic extremist shown being BLOWN UP while making propaganda video Watch

Image of A bearded Islamic fighter, identified as some as being Ajnad al-Sham, gives a propaganda speech to the camera as a bomb drops from the sky, destroying him.


It at first appears to be a horrible, horrible TV comedy sketch. A bearded Islamic fighter, identified as some as being Ajnad al-Sham, gives a propaganda speech to the camera as a bomb drops from the sky, destroying him. The agonized cries of both him and his camera ... continue reading

Evidence mounts: U.S. supplying ISIS, herding fighters towards Syria to attack Assad Watch

Image of A fighter poses with what is reported to be to be U.S. supplies.

By David Drudge (California Network)

The pattern is becoming even clearer. Obama is supplying ISIS in Syria, while bombing them in Iraq. It is becoming apparent that the Obama administration is using the military to nudge ISIS towards Assad as part of its ongoing campaign to reshape the Middle East. LOS ... continue reading

How to balance compassion with security concerns with influx of Syrian refugees Watch

Image of In the wake of the attacks, U.S. Catholic bishops have asked Americans not to scapegoat all Syrian refugees as possible terrorists and to remember their dire humanitarian plight.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

As the U.S. plans to increase its intake of Syrian refugees to 10,000 next year, Americans - including Catholics - are trying to balance national security concerns with compassion for the refugees. Washington D.C. (CNA) - "Americans need to understand that ... continue reading

The one thing ISIS is afraid of - and it's not what you think! Watch

Image of Nicolas Hnin was an ISIS hostage for ten months, during which he observed the remarkable ignorance of Islam extremists.


In a blog written by Nicolas Hénin, posted to, Hénin wrote what life was like as an ISIS hostage, and revealed the one thing ISIS fears most. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During his ten-month captivity, Hénin observed the extremist view of ... continue reading

UPDATE: Did the U.S. military actually know they were bombing the Doctors Without Borders hospital full of innocent people? Watch

Image of The burned Doctors Without Borders hospital following explosions in the city of Kunduz, on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 (Mdecins Sans Frontires/AP).


In a log released by Doctors Without Borders on Thursday for a report on the October 3 bombing of its Kunduz, Afghanistan medical facility, it was revealed that the United States military was aware the building was not in use as a Taliban headquarters. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

You won't believe what happened to these misguided teens who joined ISIS Watch

Image of Sabina Selimovic was only 15-years-old when she disappeared from her home in Austria and resurfaced as a married woman in Syria after joining ISIS.


Two Austrian teenagers joined ISIS and became "poster girls" last year. Since then, one has been reportedly beaten to death during an attempt to escape Syria, while the other has been declared missing. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The teenagers, Samra Kesinovic ... continue reading

'A stab in the back': Putin accuses Turkey of treachery after Russian warplane shot down Watch

Image of Turkey claims it warned Russian plane ten times before shooting down the Russian warplane (Getty Images).


Russian warplane ignored ten warnings and repeatedly violated Turkey's airspace before being shot down in what Russian president Vladimir Putin has deemed an act of treachery. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Putin claims the downed plane will result in "serious ... continue reading

Russia kills 472 ISIS targets over the weekend Watch

Image of A French Rafale fighter jet takes off (AFP/Getty Images).


This weekend, France launched their first fighter jet attacks on ISIS from their Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. They used Rafale fighter jets to carry out their mission, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 500 ISIS targets within a two-day span. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

Writer visits the Islamic State, what he reports will chill you and give you nightmares Watch

Image of Islam is on the march once again, and they do not plan to stop this time.


German author Jürgen Todenhöfer spent 10 days in the Islamic State, interviewing its fighters and working to understand their aims and ambitions. What he learned will chill you to the bone and give you nightmares. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Jürgen ... continue reading

All Middle East News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Readings for Monday, November 30, 2015
  • CRYBABY KILLER: Islamist State fighter breaks down in tears after ...
  • GRAPHIC IMAGES: Islamic extremist shown being BLOWN UP while making ...
  • MIRACLES DO HAPPEN: Days-old baby girl buried alive pulled to safety ...
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • St. Andrew: Saint of the Day for Monday, November 30, 2015

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 33:14-16
14 "Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall fulfil the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
4 DIRECT me in your ways, Yahweh, and teach me your paths.5 ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
25 'There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations ... Read More

Reading 2, First Thessalonians 3:12--4:2
12 May the Lord increase and enrich your love for each other and for all, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 29th, 2015 Image

St. Saturninus
November 29: St. Saturninus Bishop of Toulouse and Martyr ... Read More