Questions asked anonymously, answered by Theresa Corbin, and originally published on Al Jumuah
There are so many untruths spreading through the Western world (and have been for centuries) about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). For those of us who love and deeply respect the Prophet, these egregious fallacies can be hard to fathom, much less refute. But we must answer the hard questions for those who are curious and have been wading through the mountain of ignorant cant about this noble man.
And recently, I had the honor to do just that for one brave person who chose to ask a Muslim –and not the number of unreliable sources out there– honest questions that were born out of research into Islam. I hope that sharing the following Q&A can help others clear up some of the misconceptions and malicious errors about the Prophet (PBUH), his example, and the message of Islam.
Q: Why would Muhammad send followers to loot and raid caravans travelling through Madinah? OK, so it was an accepted practice at the time, but you kind of wish that your prophet could rise above stuff like stealing and killing.
A: This is one weapon Islamophobes use to paint the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a war monger. But they don’t seem ever to talk about the context: that would put a damper on the claims they are trying to make.
The polytheists of Makkah during the time of Revelation tortured, killed, starved out the Muslims. When the Muslims made their exodus from Makkah for Madinah, they had to do so in secret for fear of being murdered. And that meant they would escape only with what they could carry for a safer place to live and to worship God alone.
Once they had left, the Quraysh tribesmen (the polytheist kinsmen who were boycotting and torturing them) took possession of the Muslims’ homes in Makkah and all that was in them. The Muslims weren’t just out raiding the caravans; they went to the caravans of the Quraysh to gain back the necessities of life that had been confiscated from them. Also because of their tenuous financial situation as refugees in Madinah, this amounted to the means of survival for many of the Muslims who migrated to Madinah. 
Q: How do you know that Muhammad wasn’t simply an opportunist, using religion to further his social status, which was tenuous based on his deprived upbringing as an orphan?
A: In the early days of Revelation, the Quraysh tribesmen offered Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) a position as leader in Makkah and all that he desired –if he would only stop proclaiming his message from God.
One of the leaders of the Quraysh, named Utbah, said to the Prophet (PBUH), “O son of my brother, if by this affair you intend to acquire riches, honors, and dignity, we are willing to collect for you a fortune larger than is possessed by any one of us; we shall make you our chief and will do nothing without you. If you desire dominion, we shall make you our king; and if the demon which possesses you cannot be subdued, we will bring you doctors and give them riches until they cure you.” 
The Prophet (PBUH) refused this offer, reciting the first thirteen verses of a chapter of the Quran called “Explained in Detail”. Which included the verse, “Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds – for them is a reward never ending.” [Quran, 41:8]
And then the Prophet (PBUH) said, “This is my reply to your proposition; now take what course you find best.” 
If he had been an opportunist only out to gain worldly status, wouldn’t he have taken them up on that offer? Before he became a messenger of Allah he enjoyed a certain status in society as ward of his uncle –a man of high status in his tribe and in Makkah.
Furthermore, he was from a tribe that held much esteem. He married into wealth and was loved and very much respected by all of the Quraysh. They called him “THE trustworthy one,” ‘THE honest one.” Rather, the reversal of his status came as messenger, when he suffered mockery, losing status and wealth (even though they still called him “THE trustworthy one,” ‘THE honest one”).
Read the rest of the questions and answers here on aljumuah.com
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