Muhammad and the Woman Throwing Garbage – May 23, 2011


Solving the Mid East Crisis 

 There exists a story, whether historic or legendary, concerning the Prophet Muhammad, which will not directly answer the question of who has a right to the Holy Land but, nonetheless, serves to develop the proper attitude in solving the dispute.

It is said that, during the early days of his ministry, Muhammad’s teaching that there is only one God was strongly rejected by his own Quraish tribe as well as many other local tribes. Each day he would walk down a certain pathway past the house of a woman who greatly despised his teaching. One tradition, at least, says that the woman was Jewish. Anyway, the woman would openly ridicule him and pelt him with garbage. Muhammad never retaliated. Instead, he took the persecution in a humble manner and walked on.

 One day, Muhammad walked down the same road, but the woman was not there. He wondered what had happened to her and began to inquire. Learning that she had become ill, Muhammad went to visit her at her bedside. The woman was both stunned and humbled to see him. She inquired as to why he would have such compassion upon one who had so unjustly persecuted him and was told, “If throwing garbage at me brings you happiness, then you are welcome to do so everyday.” The woman was so overcome by this that she repented and became a follower of the true God.


Now, I came across a Muslim website that claimed this story was not historic since it is not a part of the Qu’ran nor the Hadith. That may be the case. I have no idea. However, whether or not the story is historical or fictional, our main question is this: Does this story run contrary to the true nature of Muhammad? Or, is it conceivable that he would have reacted in such a way? Such an action would be similar to Jesus’ instructions concerning carrying the Roman soldier’s bag a second mile and, thus, turn an enemy into a friend. Such actions, by our definition, reflect godly qualities and would be characteristic of a prophet.


So, our question, again, is this: Was the character of Muhammad of the nature that the above story would at least be feasible? And, if so, were not the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country, as well as other attacks worldwide, worthy of being condemned by the Islamic leadership as blasphemy? We have previously noted that Muhammad did not consider either Christians or Jews to be ‘infidels’ but rather those (such as the Quraish and Collyridians) who threatened his own people with violence and destruction. Therefore, are not terrorists themselves worthy of the term “infidel.“ Surely, Muhammad would have found a more satisfactory way of resolving this issue than by blowing innocent people up.


And even more so, should not the worldwide Muslim leadership take the lead here and declare those committing acts of terrorism to be “Not Islam.” They have done so with bin Laden and need to consistently do so with all of those promoting terrorism. When President Obama states that the Israelis should not only turn over control of Jerusalem to the Palestinians but to begin negotiating with the terrorist group Hamas, he is not only making an outrageous request but placing the Jewish state in a position they should not be in. If terrorists are infidels and if terrorism is not Islam then those promoting such are NOT in fact true Muslims and have no business representing the Muslim position.


This in turn brings us back to the question as to the nature of Muhammad. If in fact he was a true prophet of God and capable of humbly resolving a situation like the woman pelting him with garbage then just as surely, he would find a better way to resolve the dispute over the Holy Land and I think it would involve both humbling one‘s self and seeking the voice of God in this matter. The Muslim leadership needs to understand that how they define infidels bears a strong reflection on the one they regard as God’s Prophet.


 Perhaps in the process, those involved in the dispute would eventually remember that they are brothers and sisters and find a way to live in peace. It can be done.


About openlettertoday

Howie Gardner has been pastor of Bel Air Assembly of God in Bel Air, Maryland since 1987. He is a graduate of Oral Roberts University and has done graduate studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, United Theological Seminary and ORU's Graduate school of Theology. He is the author of two books; "Oral Exam" (originally titled "Oral Roberts in the Eyes of One of His Students") and "The Church and Terri Schiavo." Gardner is a three time cancer survivor and, as recorded in "Church & Terri" has had a "clinical death" experience and a personal glimpse of the other side" He is quite an active distance runner with a number of awards; most recently a bronze medal in the Senior Olympics. Howie and his wife Angie have three children: daughter Lindsey (whose bone marrow donation spared his life) and twin boys Bernie and David. They live in Bel Air.
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2 Responses to Muhammad and the Woman Throwing Garbage – May 23, 2011

  1. Reed Wilson says:

    Same story was told about Zoroaster. Is it not enough for Muslims to believe that Muhammad was messenger of God and his apostle? We all know that apostles and messengers of God are chosen people. Why further glorification is needed? Do they feel any thing lacking in Muhammad. All ahadith are fake and blasphemous.

    • Reed, thank you for your comment. The purpose of the article is not to determine if the story is historical or not (and by the way, it is not a part of the ahadith) but rather to point out that Muslims hold Muhammad in high enough esteem to say that his reaction to the woman would be feasible. Now if so then it must be concluded that Muhammad would have thus taken a stand against terrorism and his followers thus are obligated to do the same. – Howie

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