The Hypocrisy of the Huffington Post’s Praise of Muhammad
Considine doesn’t mention any of the questions about the Achtiname’s authenticity. Instead, he just piles on more:
Similarly, in the Treaty of Maqnah, the Prophet stated Jews “may be in peace… you are in security [under Muhammad’s rule]. … Towards you is no wrong and no enmity. After today you will not be subject to oppression or violence.” In the Constitution of Medina, a key document which laid out a societal vision for Muslims, Muhammad also singled out Jews, who, he wrote, “shall maintain their own religion and the Muslim theirs… The close friends of Jews are as themselves.” In safeguarding the rights of Jews, Muhammad made it clear that a citizen of an Islamic state did not have to follow Islam and that Muslims should treat Jews as they would their own friends. In developing these agreements with his fellow Muslims, Christians, and Jews, Muhammad clearly rejected elitism and racism and demanded that Muslims see their Abrahamic brothers and sisters as equals before God.
Here again, both the Treaty of Maqnah and the Constitution of Medina are of doubtful authenticity. The Constitution is first mentioned in Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad, which was written over 125 years after the accepted date for Muhammad’s death. Unfortunately for Considine, Ibn Ishaq also details what happened to three Jewish tribes of Arabia after the Constitution of Medina: Muhammad exiled the Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Nadir, massacred the Banu Qurayza after they (understandably) made a pact with his enemies during the pagan Meccans’ siege of Medina, and then massacred the exiles at the Khaybar oasis, giving Muslims even today a bloodthirsty war chant: “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.” Funny how we never hear Muslims chanting, “Relax, relax, O Jews, the Constitution of Medina will return.”
Considine then goes on to claim that Muhammad “fought against racism long before the days of Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.” He says, with his inimitable gift for imitating a seventh-grader’s peroration, that “Muhammad’s final sermon informed me that Islam teaches Muslims to be tolerant of difference and welcome to diversity.”
Yet all too many Arab Muslims have lorded it over non-Arab Muslims throughout Islamic history, and some do today. Why are there so many who misunderstand Muhammad’s clear words here? Perhaps because Muhammad is also said to have declared: “Allah has chosen the Arabs above others” (‘Umdat al-Salik M4.2).