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By Muhaideen Batah
I am writing in response to the article by Megan Schultz about beer tasting in The Valley/Green Mountains dated August 8. In her article she wrote, "If the beer will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the Green Mountains."
As a Muslim, I was offended by this statement. I'm sure it was not intentional on her part. It's a common enough statement. However, it is important to understand where this idea comes from and the racism behind it. This statement harks back to common European criticisms of Islam as an ideology, not a true religion. The authors were making fun of The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and the Muslims.
The full phrase, "If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain," arises from the story of Muhammad, as Francis Bacon, a European orientalist wrote in Essays, 1625 ce. "Mahomet cald the Hill to come to him. And when the Hill stood still, he was neuer a whit abashed, but said; If the Hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet wil go to the hil." Then later in 1643, John Owen another Englishman wrote, "If the mountaine will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will goe to the mountaine."
In this phrase, Bacon was claiming that the Arabs of Mecca told the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), "Show us a miracle so we can believe in you. Bring that mountain to you." Then he claimed that Muhammad said to the mountain, "Come to me" but the mountain did not move, so he said, "If the mountain will not come to Muhammad then Muhammad will go to the mountain" and he went to the mountain. Such a thing never happened. The Prophet was never asked by the Arabs of Mecca to do such a thing nor did he ever say such a thing.
As you can see in this phrase, the aim of the Europeans was to disqualify the Prophet, to "prove" he was a false prophet. Dante in his Inferno wrote about the Muslims and the Prophet: "Maometto. He wrote that "He is located in the eighth of the nine circles of Hell." Dante talked more about the torture of Muhammad (PBUH) in a disgusting way and that he was one step above Satan in Hell as his eternal fate.
The other reason this statement offended me was because it connected Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with beer. Muslims do not drink alcohol. It is forbidden in the holy Qur'an. It is insulting to say the Prophet (PBUH) was going around searching for and drinking beer. For anyone interested, please read Covering Islam to learn more about how the media think Muslims see the world and the classic book, Orientalism by the late Edward Said. These are very valuable books for anyone who wants to know more.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain and clarify some of the misunderstanding towards Muslims.
Muhaideen Batah lives in Waitsfield.