The Secret of Muhammad’s Success.
In the forum of this site, one person asked if Islam is not a religion but just a cult, why it has succeeded and survived while other cults have failed.
This “logic” is the biggest stumbling block for the Muslims to see the truth of Islam. I will discuss that shortly, but first let us analyze this logic and see how logical it is.
A Few Logical Fallacies
The claim that Islam must be true because it has endured the test of time is a favorite argument of Muslim apologists. This argument in Arabic is called “Taghrir” and in English/Latin it is known as argumentum ad antiquitatem.
Argumentum ad antiquitatem, is the fallacy of asserting that something is right or good simply because it's old, or because "that's the way it's always been."
The world has known many thesis that were upheld for thousands of years and yet they were proven to be wrong eventually.
One such theory was geocentricity. Up until Galileo the majority of mankind or actually everyone, believed that the Earth is the center of the cosmos and this belief was as old as mankind could remember. The Sun the Moon and the entire firmament were believed to rotate around the Earth and few challenged this concept. Yet despite its antiquity, geocentricism proved to be false.
Another logical fallacy that Muslims cling to is the claim that since a great portion of humanity believes in Islam it must be true. The argument presented is “How can a billion people be wrong?”
This too is a logical fallacy and is called argumentum ad numerum. Argumentum ad numerum asserts that the more people who support or believe a proposition, the more likely it is that that proposition is correct.
As the examples of geocentricity and flatness of the Earth prove, this argument is also a logical fallacy.
Just as something true does not become untrue if no one believes in it, something that is not true will not become true if more people believe in it. Truth cannot be attained through the consensus of the majority. Facts are independent from people’s beliefs. We can’t decide on truth by running an opinion poll. The Earth was never flat even if the whole world believed so.
Another variation of argumentum ad numerum is argumentum ad populum. Argumentum ad populum is claiming that some thing is true because it is appealing to a lot of people. You commit this fallacy when you try to win the legitimacy for an assertion by claiming it is liked and favored by a large group of people. This form of fallacy is often characterized by emotive language. For example:
"For over 1400 years billions of people have believed in Islam. Islam has had a great impact on their lives. Islam has given the world Algebra and many sciences. The streets of Baghdad were illumined when Europe was engulfed in Dark Ages. Are you trying to tell that a billion people are all mistaken fools?"
The truth of a belief must be established on its own merits without any consideration of its antiquity or its popularity.
So, why Islam has succeeded when other cults failed?
There are two answers to this question:
1- Islam is a the biggest lie
2- Muhammad was a ruthless psychopath. .
'The broad mass of a nation will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.' These are the words of Adolf Hitler. They are living testament to the idea that the bigger the lie the more believable it becomes.
The logic behind this is that the average, normal and sane people generally do not dare to tell big lies. They content themselves with small lies. They fear a bigger lie would not be believed. They are embarrassed of making a total fool of themselves by telling outrageous big lies. And since everyone has heard or has fabricated a few small lies they generally can recognize it when they hear one. But big lies are so outlandish that often take the listener aback. Most people are not equipped to process them adequately. The average person wonders "how could anyone dare to say such a big lie?". And since telling a lie of such a magnitude is almost impossible therefore it must be true. However, what the average and normal person does not understand is that the liar is not an average and normal person but a psychopath, and his way of thinking should not be measured with the same yardstick that the thinking of an average mind is measured.
What the big lie does is that it offsets the scale of our commonsense and better judgment. This is like loading a scale that is designed to weigh kilos with tons. It breaks and stops showing the correct weight, in fact it may even show zero. That is why a bigger lie often appears to be truer than little lies.
Add to this, the absolute conviction of the psychopath lair and his readiness to apply extreme force in support of his claim. Appealing to force, in order to support a claim is yet another logical fallacy that has been often and quite successfully used by dictators and especially by Muhammad. This fallacy is called Argumentum ad baculum. It happens when someone resorts to force (or the threat of force) to push others to accept a conclusion.
This argument is often brought up by Muslims who say that the reason Muhammad won against all his enemies is because God assisted him. They completely overlook the fact that Muhammad used to send spies to bring him news about his to-be-victims and would attack when they were unarmed and least expecting. That he did not win because God was with him but because he was a cunning, perfidious and ruthless man who was bent to win even through dishonesty, treason and attacking his victims by surprise. You do not need God to be on your side to kill unarmed villagers when they are out after their daily business while you ride among them with your horses fully geared for war and with your sword unshielded.
This argument can be summarized as "might is right."
The threat of argumentum ad baculum could be direct like this:
Slay the idolaters wherever you find them. 9:5
I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them 8:12,
Or indirect like this:
And as for those who disbelieve and reject Our Signs, they are the people of Hell 5:11
For him [the disbeliever] there is disgrace in this life, and on the Day of Judgment We shall make him taste the Penalty of burning (Fire). 22:9,
This gives to the big lie a more dramatic sense of urgency. The impact is so big that one can't remain indifferent. If you are smart you may recognize it as sheer evil. But if you are gullible and foolhardy, as most people are, you may think that the liar must be endowed with a special divine knowledge, for you have never seen this much audacity, this much conviction and this much brutal force. You will never want to kill anyone if he disagrees with your lies. After all you know what you say is a lie. But there is a man who tells very strange and unheard stories that is impossible for you to verify and you don't know whether you should believe him or disbelieve. But he is so sure of what he says that he is ready to kill any number of people to prove he is telling the truth. There must be something to it, you start suspecting, or he would not be so convinced of his claim such as to readily murder anyone who doubts him.
Your scale of commonsense goes off so much that you can't even recognize that everything this man says is absurd and that he talks baloney. You marvel at the absurdities that he "reveals" to you and instead of using your logics to dismiss them you strive to find some esoteric and hidden meanings in his asinine words and somehow justify them.
Hitler attracted the support of many Germans with his big lies. He was a spellbinding speaker who had a great influence on his audiences. When he spoke, he became louder and louder as he vented his anger at the perceived enemies of Germany. He aroused the Germans with patriotism. His belief that the bigger the lie, the more believable proved to be true. Millions of Germans loved him and were moved to tears by his speeches. Had he claimed divine inspiration and had he not been defeated, wouldn't the Germans be Hitlerians today, worshipping him just as the Muhammadans worship Muhammad? Muslims think it is Allah whom they worship. But in effect Allah was but an alter ego of Muhammad. He was a convenient tool -- an anchor. It is Muhammad whom they worship.
Muhammad was the master of Hitler. This is not an ability that you and I can learn. It comes natural to psychopath narcissists. Men such as Hitler and Muhammad are absolutely bereft of conscience. They are pathological liars. Amazingly they are the first to believe in their own lies while at the same time they get more confirmation when others are fooled and believe in them.
There is a proverbial character in Persian folklore called Mulla Nasreddin. Legend has it that one day Mulla Nasredddin took his old moribund donkey to the market for sale. He extolled the attributes of his donkey so much that at once he said, why am I selling such a good donkey and rode the animal back home.
Mulla Nasreddin is a funny character but not a psychopath. The minds of the psychopaths, however, does not work the way normal minds work. Their logic is distorted and their reality is twisted. Their value system is completely different from the rest of the people. Have you ever wondered why someone would break a window of your car that cost you hundreds of dollars to replace just to steal a few coins? You wonder about this person’s total lack of conscience. How can he cause you so much damage for such an insignificant reward? It makes no sense. But the truth is that your values are distinct from his. He has no conscience. May be his brain is damaged by drugs. He does not think about you at all. You and your losses simply do not enter into his equation. The development of conscience in these people has stopped at a very primitive stag. Once I was in a South American country and read in a local newspaper that someone had killed a stranger just to steal his Nike shoes.
Would you expect a bear; for example, have any consideration of your car if he spots a bag of potato chips inside it? He will break your windshield and ruin your car or even kill you to get his hand on the bag of chips. The ethical intelligence of some humans does not develop to full extent. They can be geniuses but morally and ethically they are animals.
Muhammad, Hitler, Stalin and all other very successful pathological narcissists had no conscience. To the pathological narcissist, lives of other people are worth nothing. To him, people matter, as long as they serve his selfish purpose but they can be disposed of with no contrition when they stand in his way or simply are of no use to him.
These days in USA, there is a man on trial. He is charged with murdering his 9-month pregnant wife. All clues point to him except one thing. There seem to be no motive. Why a man would murder his wife and his own baby if there is no insurance to recover and when divorcing her is the logical option?
This is the way you and I, as normal people think. The logic of a pathological narcissist does not work quite the same way. He may think that going through the hassle of divorce, dividing the assets, paying alimony and child support for many years is not something fun. So the easy way is to get rid of his wife and his unborn child with a "perfect crime" and start all over. There is no conscience, there is no remorse there is no feeling. Many jurors may acquit this man because they may find no motive. But that is because they judge him based on their own moral values. Psychopaths have no moral values.
Just as we do not look alike, we do not think alike. Just as some humans are impaired in one way or another, some people totally lack conscience.
Muhammad was one such person. He had no conscience. He could make up all sorts of lies and kill as many people as he desired with no compunction at all. This audacity of him confounded his companions as it does a billion of his followers today. “How can one be so sure of himself?” Muslims wonder. “How he could fool so many close friends and relatives including his wife?” they argue.
The answer is that we should not use the same parameters we use for normal people when dealing with Muhammad. Muhammad was a psychopath and he should be assessed as such. We have to compare him with other psychopath cult leaders who also impressed those around them and fooled very intelligent and balanced people.
A Few Influential Psychopaths
To understand the phenomenon of Muhammad we have to study modern cults and peer into the minds of their leaders. Cases abound. I only give a few examples:
Jim Jones convinced normal decent people that he is the Messiah. He convinced them to leave their families and follow him to his “Medina” in the middle of the Jungles. He convinced the Government of New Guyana to give him 300 acres of land for free. He convinced his men to carry guns and kill anyone who dissented. These men shot and killed a senator and his guards and then he convinced his followers to drink a cyanide potion and 911 of them willingly did what he told them and died.
How do you explain this magnetism on his part and this much loyalty and faith of those who believed in him?
David Koresh gathered his followers in Branch Davidian compound outside of Waco, Texas. They were with him every moment of the day. They armed themselves because he told them so. They allowed their teenage daughters to sleep with him, much like Abu Bakr allowed Muhammad to sleep with his underage daughter. They shot and killed four ATF agents and booby trapped the compound and blew it causing their own deaths and the deaths of all their families rather than surrender. If that is not loyalty what it is? 90 people died in that incident.
Order of the Solar Temple:This apocalyptic cult claimed 74 victims in three bizarre mass suicide rituals. Most of the members of the sect were highly educated and well-to-do individuals, much more intelligent than Abu Bakr, Omar and the kid Ali who was more fond of killing than thinking.
The two known leaders of the group were Luc Jouret, a Belgian homeopathic doctor, and Joseph di Mambro, a wealthy businessman. They were like Muhammad and Abu Bakr of this cult. They too believed in their insanity and they too committed suicide.
The cult gave great importance to the Sun. Their fiery ritual murder-suicides are meant to take members of the sect to a new world on the star "Sirius." To assist with the trip, several of the victims, including some children, were shot in the head, asphyxiated with black plastic bags and/or poisoned.
Luc and Joseph wrote, in a letter delivered after their deaths that they were "leaving this earth to find a new dimension of truth and absolution, far from the hypocrisies of this world." Doesn’t this sound eerily familiar to what Muhammad preached? Except that he did not advocate suicide; there was no gain in that for him. He ordered his followers to wage war for him, kill and get killed in the cause of his imaginary Allah. Loot innocent people and bring wealth and power for him. He was much more pragmatic than these cultists and far less willing to put at risk his own life.
How can you explain the devotion of these people to their sick beliefs? Do you deny the conviction of their leaders to their cause?
Heaven's Gate: On March 26, 1997, 39 members of "Heaven's Gate" decided to "shed their containers" and get on a companion craft hiding in the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet.
The Heaven Gaters died in three shifts over a three-day period after celebrating their last meal on earth. 15 cultists died the first day, 15 the second and the remaining nine the third day. As one set of cultist ingested the poison, a lethal dose of phenobarbital mixed in with pudding and/or applesauce and chased with a shot of vodka, they would lie down and another cultist would use a plastic bag to speed up the dying. A frighteningly anal-retentive mass suicide, the cultist would clean up after each round of killing. Before the last two killed themselves, they took out the trash leaving the rented mansion in perfect order. Wanting to be helpful even after dead, all bodies had some sort of identification. Strangely, though, they also had five-dollar bill and change in their pockets and small suitcases neatly tucked under the cots and beds.
Also take a look at the story of John de Ruilter, the man whose followers believe to be greater than Jesus, allow him to have orgies with their daughters. One of his followers is a psychologist who swears in his thirty years of practice he has never come across such a “sane” man.
We have thousands of cases such as these. The cult leaders are charismatic, they are persuasive and they are convinced of their own cause. They are not normal people, they are psychopaths. They are very different from ordinary people and that is why they stand out. They are often intelligent people, but their reality and fantasy are mixed up. They mystify others with their oomph, self assurance, single mindedness and unwavering resolution. That is because they can’t distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. They are the first to believe in their own lies. This conviction fools their close friends and relatives, making them believe that they must know something that others don't.
Muhammad was no different. He was a psychopath. I have described his psychological profile in another article, titled The Force Behind Muhammad. Hitler, Stalin, or other charismatic cult leaders were not stupid. They were highly intelligent but they were insane.
More insane than that is the fact that a billion people follow a psychopath and all of them base their belief on a few logical fallacies. Each one of them bases his faith on the credulity of others and all of them like sheep follow each other. If all the sheep go one way then that must be the right way to go. "After all not a billion people could be mistaken."
The Sheep Mentality and Deindividuation
Muslims call themselves Ummah. This word is of the same root of Ummi. Ummi is how Muhammad referred to himself and it means unlettered, unschooled, uneducated.
Therefore Ummah means the community of the unlettered followers. In the case of Muhammad this implied that his knowledge was of a divine source. However that distinction does not apply to the Ummah. Hence Ummah, by definition means the ignorant mass of believers.
The verse 3:20 reads:
وَقُل لِّلَّذِينَ أُوْتُواْ الْكِتَابَ وَالأُمِّيِّينَ أَأَسْلَمْتُمْ
And say to the People of the Book and to those who are unlearned: (Ummiyeen) "Do ye (also) submit yourselves?"
Here the word Ummiyeen الأُمِّيِّينَ which is the plural of Ummi is translates as:Yusuf Ali: those who are unlearned:Pickthal: those who read notShakir: the unlearned peopleLet us take another verse (Imran 3:75):
قَالُواْ لَيْسَ عَلَيْنَا فِي الأُمِّيِّينَ سَبِيلٌ
"They say, "there is no call on us (to keep faith) with these ignorant (Pagans).(Ummiyeen)"
Yusuf Ali translates this word in this verse as ignorant.Pickthal translates it as Gentiles. And Shakir translates the word as unlearned people.
The noun "gentile" (ummot אמה) is generally applied to an individual who is ignorant of the Scriptures. In English the synonym for "gentile" is "pagan".
Historically, the term gentile was used by the governing Romans for the non-Romans (foreigners); it was adopted by the Jews to denote the non-Jews; in turn the Christians used it for the Pagans. In the Qur'an the term al-Ummiyeen, is generally translated as "the Unlettered folks". The verse 62:2 reads,
هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ
Yusuf Ali translates this thus: "It is He Who has sent amongst the Unlettered an apostle from among themselves,"
And in his commentary he writes: "The Unlettered: as applied to a people, it refers to the Arabs, in comparison with the People of the Book..."
وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَابَ
And there are among them illiterates, who know not the Book,
The root of Ummi is "Um" (mother). A literal translation of that into English would be “Natural”, although the two words have taken different meanings in time. Etymologically, Ummi is the natural state of being ignorant and unlearned, as when born by mother.
So Ummah is the uneducated and unlettered mass of people who are ignorant of the scriptures and hence unable to find their way. The Ummah is in constant need of guidance. Imam, also from the same root, is one who leads the Ummah. This is basically the concept of sheep and shepherd. The entire community of Muslims is deemed to be sheep in need of shepherd.
The believer is supposed to do whatever other believers do and all of them are to blindly follow what the Imam tells them to do, and he in turn is supposed to instruct them with what Muhammad used to do. Right and wrong, good and bad are not appraised based on their own merits. Right is what Muhammad said or did and wrong is what he did not. In other words Muslims are not to judge Muhammad by norms of morality and commonsense but rather the standards of morality and commonsense are to be measured by Muhammad's deeds and words.
This attitude exonerates Muslims from thinking. By following a uniform behavioral and thinking pattern the individual finds safety and comfort in the group.
Conformity is encouraged and independent thought is severely punished. Disagreeing with the majority can bring immense pain and hardship to the independent thinker.
Muslims are kept in line by pleasure/pain stimuli. By conforming they get rewarded. Their sycophantism is prized and it helps them to be accepted and cling to their social status. On the other hand independence of thought has sever consequences.
On psychological level the believer is terrorized with the fear of hell and lured by the promise of paradise. This psychological pressure is intended to numb the rational faculty of the believer and discourage him from ever wandering his mind on things that may shake his faith in the big lie.
This is another important factor that has helped Islam to survive for so many centuries. Muslims are discouraged and do not dare to think independently. Breaking that pattern and rebelling against the conformity is so painful that the thought of that sends shiver down the spine of the believer. By thinking differently the believer could lose his wife, his family, his friends, his job, his status, his respect, his property, his freedom and even his life.
The fear of the society and the fear of the afterlife are two main reasons Islam has endured so long. This lie has never been challenged and as long as it remains unperturbed, it will stay unscathed. The longevity of a lie is not a proof that it is true. Islam has survived because of the fear factor and not because it is true.
Socially, Islam contributes to the deindividuation of the believer. Deindividuation is a technical term for sheep mentality. This is a psychological state where sheep mentality is aroused when individuals join crowds or large groups.
Deindividuation is characterized by diminished awareness of self and individuality. In Islam individuality is completely denied and the individual's life is fused with Ummah. He is not only reduced to a virtual slave, he is actually called by that name. People, are called Ibaad, which literally means slaves.
Deindividuation reduces an individual's self-restraint and normative regulation of behavior. It contributes to collective behavior of violent crowds, mindless hooligans, and the lynch mob. Such behavior is particularly noticeable when the Ummah gets into the mosque and is roused by red faced speeches of the imams and mullahs calling upon them to curse the Jews and the infidels for “oppressing” the Muslims.
The individual is not allowed to question why. What is the proof of that oppression and why he should hate the Jews and the infidels? If a child ask that question he will be slapped on the face so he can learn this is an inappropriate question, but if an adult asks that question he could be in big trouble.
Deindividuation has been also associated with other social phenomena such as genocide, stereotyping, and disinhibition. This explains the behavioral pattern of the believing/practicing Muslims. The mob lynching of the American contractors in Fallujah and the evisceration of the Israeli soldiers and gnawing on their hearts in Ramala are just two cases that were brought to public light because the victims were Americans and Israelis. But this behavior is not uncommon in Islam. In Iran thousands of Baha’is lost their lives to mob lynching. In Pakistan the same happens to those accused of violating the blasphemy law and insulting Muhammad. Muslims are often roused to hysteric levels, after listening to the sermons in their mosques, and become ready to commit murder.
Ironically it is the brutality and the repressive nature of Islam, in conjunction with its absolute irrationality that has made this doctrine a successful religion and has allowed it to survive this long.
Islam cannot stand scrutiny. Muhammad knew perfectly that he is unable to answer the questions raised by his critics. Therefore he saw to it so no one dare question him ever.
Even in the West if someone pronounces something critical of Islam, Muslims protest en masse and murder the westerners in Dar al Islam, claming that their sensibility has been hurt. The idea is to intimidate you from criticizing their religion next time. If you do, they can't answer you and that means the end of Islam.
Why Everyone Praised Muhammad?
One question arises in the mind of the Muslims: Why all Muhammad's companions praised him so much? Why no one spoke opprobriously of him even after his death?
The answer is that In a society that is based on personality cult, speaking your mind is not easy. Telling the truth could bring you ostracism and even cost your life. People who think differently keep their thoughts to themselves. Instead the sycophants try to endear themselves by eulogizing the leader through flattery and exaggerated adulation. After the death of the cult leader, the sycophants add to their charade to gain prestige. Even today the situation is not changed. People who dissent are afraid to talk and are persecuted; while the toadies are honored for writing eulogies about Muhammad. How can truth come out in this repressive and deceitful atmosphere?
We have many stories about Muhammad ordering the assassination of those who criticized him and about Omar who was ever ready to withdraw his sword and slit the throat of one who questioned Muhammad’s authority. Muhammad encouraged sycophantism and punished criticism.
Therefore the secrets of Muhammad’s success are no secret at all. He succeeded because he told the biggest lie ever and because he was extremely ruthless towards those who questioned him and disagreed with him.
Muhammad succeeded also because he appeared among the most ignorant, the most superstitious and the most barbarous people. The qualities that he needed to bolster his marauding religion were all present among his early followers and later were imposed on others who fell prey to his cult. Chauvinism, bigotry, haughtiness, arrogance, megalomania, stupidity, greed, lust for sex, disrespect for life and other ignoble qualities such as these, that are the hallmark of Islam were already present as the materia prima in the Arabia where Muhammad launched his prophetic carrier. All he had to do was to invent a big lie and add some intolerance and some violence to create the most perfect religion of hate.
This is why Islam has survived so far and not because it is a true religion.