“Imagine if Mohammed Had Never Existed” (FrontPage, 29 September) is
an invitation to explore some alternative “what might have been”
history. It is tempting, for example, to imagine recent history and the state
of America had President Barack Obama never existed – if, say, Stanley Ann
Dunham had decided to try out for the Dallas Cheerleaders, or pursued a degree
in physics, instead of trying to prove her “tolerance” with a sham
marriage with a Kenyan Muslim and making whoopee in Hawaii with a black
Communist on the FBI’s watch list while pursuing degrees in anthropology and
micro-financing – and so have never been born and sparing the country of his
brand of super-sized community organizing. But, that would be too easy. We
should go for the grand vista.
be instructive, if not entertaining, to imagine what the world would have been
like had not Karl Marx, or Thomas Jefferson, or Immanuel Kant, or Martin Luther
ever existed, or none of the other prominent thinkers and movers. In their
absence, however, other ideas would have filled the hypothetical vacuum. What they
might have been, it is impossible to project. We can extrapolate ad infinitum, and really add nothing to
article was prompted by the announcement on YNET News that, in the midst of all
the Muslim rioting, flag-burning, embassy- and consulate-storming ostensibly
over the trailer for Innocence of Muslims,
a bargain-basement-produced film about the scurrilous and
controlled-substance-assisted life of Mohammad, several Arab and Muslim outfits
are going to produce their own films, about Islam, and especially about
political movement, the Salafist al-Nur party, said it will produce a movie
about the life of Mohammed, titled “what would the world look like without
Allah-less Life.” Or, “It’s a Sharia Life.”
members of the al-Nur Party have been copping a feel of decadent Western
culture, admitting that they have been inspired by Frank Capra’s hoary old
altruist chestnut, It’s a Wonderful Life.
I can’t think of a better film to rip off for Islamic themes and material, not
to mention for secular collectivist themes and material. It’s all about the Ummah of Bedford Falls exercising its
claim on the life of hapless George Bailey, so that he may continue to
sacrifice for the sake of the “community.” Recall the famous scene on
the bridge when he contemplates suicide, and is rescued by the angel Clarence.
At one point he wishes that he had never been born. So Clarence shows him what
his town would have been like if he hadn’t.
depicts a town that has succumbed to the alleged depredations of capitalism, in
the form of Mr. Potter, that mean, heartless, conniving, garrulous old banker
and nemesis of George Bailey.
filmmakers will have the angel Gabriel to show him the way. But we will not be
shown Mohammad. That’s against the law. Gabriel will doubtless be shown
whispering sweet-nothings into – if we’re lucky – an ear, in the dead of night,
or amongst the dead by Mohammad’s hand. Or as he shivers in a cave. Or perhaps
they will adopt the “I am a camera” device, with a visible Gabriel
showing an unseen Mohammad the world had he not been born, and we see it
through Mohammad’s eyes. That device has been used with limited success in
other films. But one wonders if there is a prohibition of it in some past
version of the Koran. More effort
will be put into Gabriel’s costume and makeup than into Mohammad’s. Not a
finger or a sandaled toe of Mohammad can be shown. In fact, the filmmakers
needn’t cast anyone for the role.
filmmakers begin at the year of Mohammad’s birth, 570 A.D., there is really
nothing they could show of the world. Mohammad won’t be there to see it, unless
they adopt the George Bailey-Clarence the Angel device. There’s no record that
Mohammad ever left the Arabian Peninsula or knew that trees grew in what would
in the future become Brooklyn. All we would see is baking desert, a few oases,
perhaps a dusty town or two, camel caravans, and men who were old by the age of
forty. There’s no evidence that he had any knowledge of Rome or even of
Constantinople, or of the Atlantic Ocean.
the producer and director of “The Life of Mohammad” or “The
World Without the Prophet” would be to somehow account for the lives of
Mohammad’s twenty-four predecessors, all revered “prophets” in
Islamic lore. To not mention them would be a snub of the gravest import. But,
then, Mohammad is regarded as the last in that line of monotheists. His
immediate predecessor is ‘Īsá, or Jesus Christ.
“Real” revelation began with Mohammad, not with that puffed-up
Christian imposter, according to Islamic lore, and not with his predecessors. So,
it is okay to burn Bibles that include Christ’s name.
it. Al-Nur’s movie about “the prophet” will not be a musical, Muḥammad
ibn `Abd Allā, Superstar.
regarded the end-all and be-all of all those prophets. And, for some
unfathomable reason, while it is permissible to publish imagined likenesses of Nūḥ, Hūd, Ibrāhīm, Ayyūb, Mūsá, Zakariyyā, Yaḥyá,
‘Īsá, and all the others, it is not permissible under pain of death to
portray Mohammad. Go figure. Every one of them preceded Mohammad by centuries
and has doppelgangers in Judeo-Christian lore. Every one of them needed
barbering, too. But they were first, all the way back to Adam.
year of Mohammad’s birth, Eastern Emperor Justinian had been dead for five
years, and the Roman Empire he had sought to resurrect in the West had fallen
apart. There were empires, kingdoms, and dynasties elsewhere in the globe, some
reaching the apex of their power, others enfeebled by age and stasis, still
others besieged by barbarians. A tenuous commerce existed in a world made
desolate by warring tyrants and the conquest by barbarians. In the previous
century, the Huns had battled the Vandals and the Visigoths over the scattered
carcass of the Roman Empire. Justinian had reclaimed some of it, but it
disintegrated almost immediately on his death. In Mohammad’s time, Europe was a
chaos of rival Germanic and Frankish tribes.
the Dark Ages began with the accession of a Germanic barbarian, Flavius Odoacer, in
476, when he deposed Romulus Augustus, to a literal kingship over Rome and
Italy. It is interesting to note here that Odoacer was an Arian Christian.
Arianism rejects the Trinity of the mainstream Christianity, that is, it denies
the divinity of Christ. So does Islam. Because Islam is very likely a patchwork
religion deriving its essential doctrine, texts, and iconography from
Christianity, Judaism, and a variety of contemporary pagan religions (see
Robert Spencer’s Did Mohammad Exist?),
one may credibly argue that Islam also borrowed the Arianist view of Christ to
better inflate Mohammad’s stature of the One and Only True Prophet.
at that time, and Arianism was to Christianity what Scientology is to Methodism
today. It was known and novel. Why not “borrow” some of its doctrine?
Who’s going to stop Mohammad?
Allah’s. But, then, Mohammad cadged from a pagan religion and adopted its moon
god, Allah. It could just as well have been Kilroy. Or Kill Joy. Or Joe Shmoe. Mohammad
turned him into a very scary creature.
looked dark and desolate with or without Mohammad for roughly the next one
thousand years. It was truly a world “lit only by fire,” and
certainly not by the fire of the intellect, not until the 14th
century humanist Petrarch first made the distinction between his time and the
centuries before him. The Arabian Peninsula – Mohammad’s world – would have
remained as it actually remained without him, a place of warring tribes of various
creeds, devoted to plunder, rapine, slaughter and stagnation. Islam, as a call
to conquest, did not begin making inroads in the known world until well into
the seventh century, after Mohammad’s death in 632. The “Moors” of that
time were not necessarily “Muslims,” but rather a generic appellation
for tribes that lived in North Africa. Shakespeare’s Othello, “The Moor of
Venice,” was certainly not a Muslim.
not have been much difference. Religions of all stripes were the reigning moral
codes, even for barbarians. It is hard to imagine what al-Nur’s filmmakers will
concoct, unless one can project what committed ideologues can create assisted
his imagination to project a world without Mohammad. It is a Mideast
unrecognizable today. It is a center of learning, technology, civil societies,
and genuine human progress and happiness. And not a single mosque, minaret, or
mass arse-lifting in submission to a rock in sight. Not a single OPEC sheik, not
a single Uzi-bearing terrorist or “freedom fighter” extant, either. But
I’m more realistic and argue that not much would have changed at all, had
Mohammad not existed. If the Islamic world has anything of value at all, it is
by grace of the free West. This includes all their bomb-making materials and
rocketry. For 1,400 years, it has preferred stagnation and submission and
unfreedom. It is the only way it can rule.
their faith, that is all they’re going to inherit. All else is fantasy.