By Answering-Islam Team
Purpose of this series
Many Muslims have been taught, and sincerely believe, that they belong to the most purely monotheistic religion on earth. We have scrutinized Muslim source materials (Quran, ahadith, and Muslim "devotional literature") to examine whether this truly is so. Although some of our findings may be disturbing, we ask all of our readers, specifically our Muslim audience, to please carefully read the entire series, i.e. all the evidence that was collected, before drawing their conclusions. We want Muslims to know that publishing this information is motivated by love of God's pure truth — not a superficial, warm and fuzzy kind of love — but a genuine love that cares enough to warn those in peril. Our prayer to the sovereign and living God is that He might use this information to help many make sure that they have placed their trust in HIM ALONE. "Thus says the LORD: 'Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD.... Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD." (Jeremiah 17:5,7 NKJV)
In studying Islamic traditions, it becomes apparent that Muslim devotion to Muhammad has become more intensified through the passing of time. As the centuries unfolded, Muslims have become more and more obsessed, even, at times, fanatical, in their devotion to Muhammad to the point that many have actually ended up deifying him. Many have turned a mere, fallible human being into a god of sorts, a demi-god, a superhuman figure.
Now we realize, of course, that many of these narrations attribute such obsessive and fanatical behaviour to Muhammad's own time, amongst his very own followers, without him ever objecting to such acts. Yet, there may be Muslims out there who will deny that these narrations are historically valid, calling into question their veracity due to the great time factor involved (i.e., some of these reports were written more than two hundred years after Muhammad's death). Regardless whether these anecdotes recount actual events within Muhammad's lifetime, these stories still serve to demonstrate the great lengths some (even many) Muslims went to in elevating and deifying Muhammad.
In this series of articles, we will examine the Quranic and Islamic data documenting how Muhammad went from being a mere mortal into a divine being, whether one wants to see this transformation happening already during the time of his prophetic career or two or three centuries later.
Part 1: Muhammad's
Part 2: The Implicit Deification of Muhammad in the Quran (continued)
Part 3: Analyzing the Deification of Muhammad Within Muslim Tradition (continued)
Part 4: Analyzing the Deification of Muhammad Within Muslim Tradition (continued)
Part 1: Muhammad's mere humanness
We first begin by analyzing the clear witness to Muhammad being nothing more than a frail human being. The Quran's statements regarding Muhammad's mortality and frail humanity, that he was only human and had all the limitations and frailties that go along with being nothing more than a finite creature, seems to be pretty clear:
And they say: We will by no means believe in you until you cause a fountain to gush forth from the earth for us. Or you should have a garden of palms and grapes in the midst of which you should cause rivers to flow forth, gushing out. Or you should cause the heaven to come down upon us in pieces as you think, or bring Allah and the angels face to face (with us). Or you should have a house of gold, or you should ascend into heaven, and we will not believe in your ascending until you bring down to us a book which we may read. Say: Glory be to my Lord; am I aught but a mortal apostle? S. 17:90-93 Shakir
Say: I am only a mortal like you; it is revealed to me that your god is one God, therefore whoever hopes to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds, and not join any one in the service of his Lord. S. 18:110 Shakir
And they say: Why are not signs sent down upon him from his Lord? Say: The signs are only with Allah, and I am only a plain warner. Is it not enough for them that We have revealed to you the Book which is recited to them? Most surely there is mercy in this and a reminder for a people who believe. S. 29:50-51 Shakir
Say: If I err, I err only against my own soul, and if I follow a right direction, it's because of what my Lord reveals to me; surely He is Hearing, Nigh. S. 34:50 Shakir
The Quran also says that Muhammad was uncertain about his own future:
Say: "I am no bringer of new-fangled doctrine among the messengers, NOR DO I KNOW WHAT WILL BE DONE WITH ME OR WITH YOU. I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration; I am but a Warner open and clear." S. 46:9
Muhammad himself denied having knowledge of the future, saying that Allah alone knows both the unseen and the future:
Say, `I do not say to you: I possess the treasures of ALLAH, nor do I know the unseen; nor do I say to you: I am an angel, I follow only that which is revealed to me.' Say, `Can a blind man and one who sees be alike?' Will you not then reflect… And with HIM are the keys of the unseen; none knows them but HE. And HE knows whatsoever is in the land and in the sea. And there falls not a leaf but HE knows it; nor is there a grain in the deep darkness of the earth, nor anything green or dry, but it is recorded in a clear book. S. 6:50, 59 Sher Ali
Say: I do not control any benefit or harm for my own soul except as Allah please; and had I known the unseen I would have had much of good and no evil would have touched me; I am nothing but a warner and the giver of good news to a people who believe. S. 7:188 Shakir
The ahadith reiterate this point:
Narrated Ibn Umar:
The Prophet said, "The keys of the unseen are five and none knows them but Allah: (1) None knows what is in the womb, but Allah: (2) None knows what will happen tomorrow, but Allah; (3) None knows when it will rain, but Allah; (4) None knows where he will die, but Allah (knows that); (5) and none knows when the Hour will be established, but Allah." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 476: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/093.sbt.html#009.093.476)
Another Muslim source says:
Also, when a young girl once said, "And among us is the Messenger of Allah, who knows what tomorrow will bring," he ... said to her, ... "Abandon these words, and say that which you were saying before (i.e., an old Arabic poem)." ... (Ibn Qayyim al-Jauziyyah, Zad-ul Ma'ad fi Hadyi Khairi-l 'Ibad [Provisions for the Hereafter Taken From the Guidance of Allah's Best Worshipper], translated by Jalal Abualrub, edited by Alaa Mencke & Shaheed M. Ali [Madinah Publishers & Distributors, Orlando Florida; First edition, October 2001], Volume 4, pp. 285-286)
Muhammad’s youngest wife, Aisha, had these harsh things to say to those who claim Muhammad knew the unseen:
'Aisha said, "If anyone tells you that Muhammad has seen his Lord, he is a liar, for Allah says: 'No vision can grasp Him.' (6.103) And if anyone tells you that Muhammad has seen the Unseen, HE IS A LIAR, for Allah says: "None has the knowledge of the Unseen but Allah." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 477: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/093.sbt.html#009.093.477)
Professor Jeffery Lang, a convert to Islam, makes this statement about Muhammad's knowledge of the unseen and his trouble with later tradition which attributed all kinds of futuristic insight to him:
(3) the Qur'an states that the Prophet was recurrently questioned concerning the timing of the Day of Judgement and was repeatedly commanded by God to simply reply, "Knowledge thereof belongs to God alone." In the Hadith records, however, the Prophet supplies numerous predictions of events that will herald its coming. Since the Qur'an is so insistent on how the Prophet should respond to these queries, I find it odd that he would offer so many details and hints about the arrival of the Hour. (Lang, Losing My Religion: A Call For Help [Amana Publications, 2004], p. 250)
In his footnote he provides a whole slew of references which expressly deny that Muhammad knew the future:
140. Surahs 7:187; 10:48-49; 27:71; 31:34; 32:28; 33:63; 34:29; 36:48; 43:85; 51:12; 67:25-26; 72:25; 79:42-45. (Ibid., fn. 140)
Muhammad is so mortal that he gets rebuked for being a sinner:
Lo! We reveal unto thee the Scripture with the truth, that thou mayst judge between mankind by that which Allah showeth thee. And be not thou a pleader for the treacherous; And seek forgiveness of Allah. Lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. And plead not on behalf of (people) who deceive themselves. Lo! Allah loveth not one who is treacherous and sinful. S. 4:105-107 Pickthall
Allah forgive thee (O Muhammad)! Wherefore didst thou grant them leave ere those who told the truth were manifest to thee and thou didst know the liars? S. 9:43 Pickthall
Then have patience (O Muhammad). Lo! the promise of Allah is true. And ask forgiveness of thy sin, and hymn the praise of thy Lord at fall of night and in the early hours. S. 40:55 Pickthall
So know (O Muhammad) that there is no Allah save Allah, and ask forgiveness FOR THY SIN and for believing men and believing women. Allah knoweth (both) your place of turmoil and your place of rest. S. 47:19 Pickthall
Lo! We have given thee (O Muhammad) a signal victory, That Allah may forgive thee of thy sin that which is past and that which is to come, and may perfect His favour unto thee, and may guide thee on a right path, S. 48:1-2 Pickthall
His sins included neglecting the poor and the blind, for which he got severely chastised:
And do not drive away those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, they desire only His favor; neither are you answerable for any reckoning of theirs, nor are they answerable for any reckoning of yours, so that you should drive them away and thus be of the unjust. S. 6:52 Shakir
He frowned and turned (his) back, Because there came to him the blind man. And what would make you know that he would purify himself, Or become reminded so that the reminder should profit him? As for him who considers himself free from need (of you), To him do you address yourself. And no blame is on you if he would not purify himself And as to him who comes to you striving hard, And he fears, From him will you divert yourself. S. 80:1-10 Arberry
The late Christian Scholar 'Abdallah 'Abd al-'Fadi commented on these texts:
It has been reported that Ibn Umm Maktum came to Muhammad while the latter was talking with the nobility of Quraish, and said to him, "Recite to me and teach me what God taught you." Muhammad, however, paid him no heed and turned away from him, and said to himself, "Those mighty men say that only the boys, the slaves, and the scum of society follow him." So Muhammad frowned and turned away from him in disdain, and continued talking to the honourable people.
We ask: How could Muhammad attend to the influential people and reject the poor, the needy, and, in this instance, the blind? How far is he from Christ, who acted compassionately and tenderly when a blind man came to him - and restored his sight!
It has been told that al-Aqra' Ibn Habis al-Tamim and 'Uyaina ibn Hisn Fazarite came to Muhammad and found him seated with Suhaib, Bilal, 'Ammar and Khabab along with a group of lowly believers. When those men saw the poor people around him, they despised them and said to Muhammad, "Why don't you sit here in front of the people and banish those men and the stench of their garments; then we would follow you. We would prefer it if you took your seat among us as a sign of our superiority over the Arabs. Arab delegations will come to you and we will be ashamed to be seen with those [black] slaves. So when we come to you, banish them from our presence, and when we finish [talking with you] you can seat them wherever you want." He agreed, and they said, "Then write us a contract in this respect." So he brought a sheet and asked 'Ali to write, but on second thought he perceived it was a trap. So he claimed that Gabriel forbade this.
Ibn 'Abbas said: Some poor folk
were with the Prophet. Some of the nobility said, "We believe in you, but
when we come to pray, put those men behind us." He was near to agree to
their request, but when he perceived the injustice in it, he said that God
forbade him from doing this. (Al-'Fadi, Is the
Qur'an Infallible? [Light of Life,
He even gets threatened by Allah!
This is (part) of that wisdom wherewith thy Lord hath inspired thee (O Muhammad). And set not up with Allah any other god, lest thou be cast into hell, reproved, abandoned. S. 17:39 Pickthall
Indeed they were near to seducing thee from that We revealed to thee, that thou mightest forge against Us another, and then they would surely have taken thee as a friend; and had We not confirmed thee, surely thou wert near to inclining unto them a very little; then would We have let thee taste the double of life and the double of death; and then thou wouldst have found none to help thee against Us. S. 17:73-75
O Prophet! Keep thy duty to Allah and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise. S. 33:1 Pickthall
Had he invented against Us any sayings, We would have seized him by the right hand, then We would surely have cut his life-vein and not one of you could have defended him. S. 69:44-47
The hadiths also attest that Muhammad was no more than an ordinary, fallible, imperfect human being:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
When Allah revealed the Verse: "Warn your nearest kinsmen," Allah's Apostle got up and said, "O people of Quraish (or said similar words)! Buy (i.e. save) yourselves (from the Hellfire) as I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O Bani Abd Manaf! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment, O Safiya, the Aunt of Allah's Apostle! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O Fatima bint Muhammad! Ask me anything from my wealth, but I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 51, Number 16: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/051.sbt.html#004.051.016)
Narrated 'Um al-'
An Ansari woman who gave the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet that the Ansar drew lots concerning the dwelling of the Emigrants. 'Uthman bin Maz'un was decided to dwell with them (i.e. Um al-'
Narrated Abu Huraira:
I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The good deeds of any person will not make him enter
Muhammad emphatically denied being as great as the prophets Moses and Jonah:
The Prophet said, "None has the right to say that I am better than Jonah bin Matta." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 127: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/060.sbt.html#006.060.127)
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Whoever says that I am better than Jonah bin Matta, is a liar." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 128: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/060.sbt.html#006.060.128)
Narrated Abu Huraira:
"A man from the Muslims and a man from the Jews quarreled, and the Muslim said, ‘By Him Who gave superiority to Muhammad over all the people!’ The Jew said, ‘By Him Who gave superiority to Moses over all the people!' On that the Muslim lifted his hand and slapped the Jew. The Jew went to Allah's Apostle and informed him of all that had happened between him and the Muslim. The Prophet said, ‘Do not give me superiority over Moses, for the people will fall unconscious on the Day of Resurrection, I will be the first to regain consciousness and behold, Moses will be standing there, holding the side of the Throne. I will not know whether he has been one of those who have fallen unconscious and then regained consciousness before me, or if he has been one of those exempted by Allah (from falling unconscious).’" (See Hadith No. 524, Vol. 8) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 564: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/093.sbt.html#009.093.564)
He even said that Abraham was the best creature:
Anas b. Malik reported that a person came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: O the best of creation; thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: He is Ibrahim (peace be upon him). (Sahih Muslim, Book 030, Number 5841: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/030.smt.html#030.5841)
Contrast Muhammad to the glorious Lord Jesus. Muhammad was in desperate need of God's mercy, whereas the Lord Jesus is the Source of grace, mercy, peace and salvation to all who receive him by faith:
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth ... For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." John 1:14, 16-17
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27
"I have said these things to you, that IN ME you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1
"For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace," Ephesians 2:14-15
"and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are IN Christ Jesus. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners; but I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life." 1 Timothy 1:14-16
"John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins BY HIS BLOOD and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." Revelation 1:4-6
Being God’s eternal and beloved Son, Jesus is infinitely superior to all creation, which includes Moses and Jonah:
"I tell you, something greater than the temple is here… For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." Matthew 12:6, 8
"The men of
"Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" John 5:45-47
"Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses--as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope." Hebrews 3:1-6
Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's
daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy
the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ
greater wealth than the treasures of
In fact, Abraham rejoiced at knowing that Jesus the Christ was coming:
"‘Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.’ The Jews said to him, Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, "If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death." Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, 'He is our God. But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.’ So the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’ So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple." John 8:51-59
Since Muhammad was nothing more than a simple human, he eventually had to die like all men:
And Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the apostles have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to Allah in the least and Allah will reward the grateful. S. 3:144 Shakir
Surely you shall die and they (too) shall surely die. Then surely on the day of resurrection you will contend one with another before your Lord. S. 39:30-31
Muhammad's death caused much shock and trauma to those who loved him:
(the wife of the Prophet) Allah's Apostle died while Abu Bakr was at a place called As-Sunah (Al-'Aliya) 'Umar stood up and said, "By Allah! Allah's Apostle is not dead!" 'Umar (later on) said, "By Allah! Nothing occurred to my mind except that." He said, "Verily! Allah will resurrect him and he will cut the hands and legs of some men." Then Abu Bakr came and uncovered the face of Allah's Apostle, kissed him and said, "Let my mother and father be sacrificed for you, (O Allah's Apostle), you are good in life and in death. By Allah in Whose Hands my life is, Allah will never make you taste death twice." Then he went out and said, "O oath-taker! Don't be hasty." When Abu Bakr spoke, 'Umar sat down. Abu Bakr praised and glorified Allah and said, No doubt! Whoever worshipped Muhammad, then Muhammad is dead, but whoever worshipped Allah, then Allah is Alive and shall never die." Then he recited Allah's Statement.:-- "(O Muhammad) Verily you will die, and they also will die." (39.30) He also recited:-- "Muhammad is no more than an Apostle; and indeed many Apostles have passed away, before him, If he dies Or is killed, will you then Turn back on your heels? And he who turns back On his heels, not the least Harm will he do to Allah And Allah will give reward to those Who are grateful." (3.144)... Then Abu Bakr led the people to True Guidance and acquainted them with the right path they were to follow so that they went out reciting:- "Muhammad is no more than an Apostle and indeed many Apostles have passed away before him." (3.144) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 57, Number 19: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/057.sbt.html#005.057.019)
The Lord Jesus, on the other hand, is He who conquered death by his resurrection, ushering in immortality:
"but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel," 2 Timothy 1:10
"When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.’" Revelation 1:17-18
"And to the
angel of the church in
The ahadith even warn Muslims from over-praising Muhammad:
I heard the Prophet saying, "Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Slave. So, call me the Slave of Allah and His Apostle." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 654: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/055.sbt.html#004.055.654)
Other narrations say that Muhammad gave wrong advice, cursed fellow Muslims in anger, would forget things and even searched for lice!
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Allah's Apostle used to visit Um Haran bint Milhan, who would offer him meals. Um-Haram was the wife of Ubada bin As-Samit. Allah's Apostle, once visited her and she provided him with food and started looking for lice in his head… (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 47: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/052.sbt.html#004.052.047)
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) used to patch his sandals, sew his garment and conduct himself at home as anyone of you does in his house. He was a human being, searching his garment for lice, milking his sheep, and doing his own chores.
Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 1530- ALIM CD-ROM Version)
A'isha reported that two persons visited Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and both of them talked about a thing, of which I am not aware, but that annoyed him and he invoked curse upon both of them and hurled malediction, and when they went out I said: Allah's Messenger, the good would reach everyone but it would not reach these two. He said: Why so? I said: Because you have invoked curse and hurled malediction upon both of them. He said: Don't you know that I have made condition with my Lord saying thus: O Allah, I am a human being and that for a Muslim upon whom I invoke curse or hurl malediction make it a source of purity and reward. (Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Number 6285: )
Salim, the freed slave of Nasriyyin, said: I heard Abu Huraira as saying that he heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: O Allah, Muhammad is a human being. I lose my temper just as human beings lose temper, and I have held a covenant with Thee which Thou wouldst not break: For a believer whom I give any trouble or invoke curse or beat, make that an expiation (of his sins and a source of) his nearness to Thee on the Day of Resurrection. (Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Number 6293: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/032.smt.html#032.6293)
Rafi' b. Khadij reported that
Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) came to
Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas'ud:
The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) offered prayer. The version of the narrator Ibrahim goes: I do not know whether he increased or decreased (the rak'ahs of prayer).
When he gave the salutation, he was asked: Has something new happened in the prayer, Apostle of Allah? He said: What is it? They said: You prayed so many and so many (rak'ahs). He then relented his foot and faced the Qiblah and made two prostrations. He then gave the salutation. When he turned away (finished the prayer), he turned his face to us and said: Had anything new happened in prayer, I would have informed you. I am only a human being and I forget just as you do; so when I forget, remind me, and when any of you is in doubt about his prayer he should aim at what is correct, and complete his prayer in that respect, then give the salutation and afterwards made two prostrations. (Sunan Abu Dawud , Book 3, Number 1015: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/003.sat.html#003.1015)
To the average reader these verses would seem to be pretty clear and straightforward that Muhammad is a finite creature and should not, therefore, be worshiped. In fact, Muslims become irate when non-Muslims accuse them of worshiping Muhammad. The following quotation — taken from a Muslim website — protests against this alleged misconception:
Misconception #2: Muslims worship Muhammad
According to Islamic belief, the Prophet Muhammad was the last Messenger of God. He, like all of God's prophets and messengers - such as Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus -- was only a human being. Christians came to the mistaken assumption that Muslims worship Muhammad by formulating an incorrect analogy - they worship Jesus so they assumed Muslims worship Muhammad. This is one of the reasons that they called Muslims by the incorrect name "Mohammedans" for so many years! Muhammad, like Jesus, never claimed divine status. He called people to worship only Almighty God, and he continually emphasized his humanity so that people would not fall into the same errors as Christians did in regards to Jesus. In order to prevent his deification, the Prophet Muhammad always said to refer to him as "the Messenger of God and His slave". Muhammad was chosen to be God's final messenger --- to communicate the message not only in words but to be a living example of the message. Muslims love and respect him because he was of the highest moral character and he brought the Truth from God - which is the Pure Monotheism of Islam. Even when Islam was in its very early stages, God revealed that Muhammad "was sent as a mercy to all of mankind" - thus informing us that the message of Islam would become very widespread. Muslims strive to follow the great example of Muhammad, peace be upon him, but they do not worship him in any way. Additionally, Islam teaches Muslims to respect all of God's prophets and messengers - but respecting and loving them does not mean worshipping them. All true Muslims realize that all worship and prayer must be directed to Almighty God alone. Suffice it to say that worshipping Muhammad --- or anyone else --- along with Almighty God is considered to be the worst sin in Islam. Even if a person claims to be Muslim, but they worship and pray to other than Almighty God, this cancels and nullifies their Islam. The Declaration of Faith of Islam makes it clear that Muslims are taught only to worship God. This declaration is as follows: "There is nothing divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God, and Muhammad is the Messenger and Servant of God". (Source: http://www.muslim-answers.org/Introducing-Islam/miscons.htm)
Thus, Muslims certainly don't worship Muhammad, or do they?
What you are about to read in parts 2 - 4 of this series will be shocking to most Christians, and probably even to many Muslims. Despite the clarity of the Quran and many Islamic narrations that Muhammad was merely a finite creature, Muslim piety ended up deifying him and turned him into a god of sorts.
Continue with Part 2.