Accusations of prophecy both true and false, fly fast and furious. The jabbing and sparring, the parrying of the opponent in preparation for the great revelation from some ultimate message, messianic of sorts, which will reveal for once and for all the one true religion. It would seem to be an unequal contest; 1.4 billion Christians and Moslems and only fourteen million jews, but this debate, the figure of Maimonides, the Rambam looms impressively over the arguments; arguments in which the Rambam denied Islam the role of the one true monotheistic religion. In his way, Maimonides used his views of prophecy to minimize and reduce the role of Islam and Christianity as feeder religions, farm system preparation in monotheism, for aceeding to the major leagues which was Torah based. Inevitably, invidious comparisons enter the picture, and in Maimonides thinking, the prophecy of Mohammed was not at the same level as that attained by Moses and neither was Jesus.
With Mohammed, Maimonides, essentially termed him a crazy man, an instrument who did accomplish yanking Arabs from the cult of paganism and place them on the straight though pothole filled boulevards of monotheism, with the caveat that the original and authentic true prophecy was revealed by god through Moses at Sinai, and eventually substitutes will be discarded in favor of authenticity. The numbers don’t exactly bear it out.
Rambam did not dismiss the work of Mohammed and Jesus. He claimed that Daniel said Jesus was a heretic, and Mohammed, the wicked one; The heretic would “make bold to claim prophecy, but they shall fall” ( 11:14). Rambam would likely pick Jesus in a Sophie’s choice scenario…
( see link at end) …Indeed, in the uncensored penultimate chapter of this great legal work, Rambam points out that while Christianity and Islam were prophesized by Daniel to be tests for the Jewish people, they both had the benefit of spreading the belief in one G-d . But beyond the correctness of monotheism, what does Rambam say of Islam and its founder, Mohammed?
…One of Rambam’s most well-known public letters is his letter to the Jews of Yemen , who were suffering during the “Golden Age,” as it is so often called, of Islam. Just as Rambam had been chased out of Andalusia (Spain) by marauding Muslim armies from the Maghreb, the Jews of Yemen were being persecuted by the Muslim mujahideen in the Arabian Peninsula. In this famous letter, Rambam terms Mohammed the psychopath (Meshugah) and describes the ugliness and the viciousness of the Muslims toward Jews as the worst the Jews had experienced since the Exile. Indeed, Rambam, who most certainly understood the theology of Islam, points out in this letter that Islam was theologically corrupt as well, having taken the Jewish Torah and effectively rewritten it for its own purposes….
… he was referring to Rambam as Jewish philosopher and, notably, as author of Moreh Nevuchim, or Guide to the Perplexed. But even here, Rambam has no good words for Islam or Islamic philosophy. What Rambam does appreciate and pay respect to are a handful of Muslim neo-Aristotelians, notably Alfarabi . But the Muslim neo-Aristotelians — those who sought to apply Reason to Revelation — lost out. Islam thoroughly rejected such innovations and never adopted Reason. Thus the end of the “Golden Age.” Al Ghazili, Ibn Taymiyyah, and their progeny — the Muslim Brotherhood, the Wahhabis, and the Deobandis, among the Sunni — were the theological, legal, and social victors, especially as we scan the contemporary surveys noted above. Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/09/a_response_to_rabbi_shmuly_yanklowitz.html#ixzz1wdRdYNTQ
The basis of Maimonides reasoning, his thinking less exalted of Mohammed than Moses, because the prophecy that Mohammed received came to him by dream. Visions of Gabriel’s horn, the ugly confidence of military victory and swagger, the booty of conquest; these attributable manifestations resul
Maimonides of a prophecy that is unreliable; a red light of caution when a potential prophet espouses divine teachings through dreams, an intrinsic risk of mixing dreams with divine inspiration. To Maimonides, Mohammed revealed divine teachings with fear in his heart, according to him whereas Moses, sat at God’s side while the complete secrets of the Torah were revealed at Sinai.
( see link at end) …One rabbinical scholar in Fez, Morocco exclaimed that any Jew who publicly uttered the Moslim confession–regardless whether they in truth practiced Judaism incognito—could no longer be considered a Jew. Outraged by this rabbi’s insensitive rabbinical response, Maimonides wrote a letter, where he demonstrates how this Moroccan rabbi was seriously mistaken.
Such a view of martyrdom was in Maimonides’ eyes, a misrepresentation of Judaism ‑‑ and could only push Jews away from Judaism. The mere utterance of a meaningless formula could NEVER render a Jew an apostate. In addition, the Talmud mentions how even some of its greatest Sages–Rabbis Meir and Eliezer –feigned apostasy in order to save their lives….
“Even heretics,” Maimonides argues, “were worthy of reward for a single act of piety. Those who practice the mitzvot secretly are even more worthy of reward despite the circumstances of their forced conversion.” In summary, Maimonides succeeded in saving an entire Jewish population by keeping the door to their faith open for them to return.
In contrast, the Tosafists (a school of medieval French commentators to the Talmud) refused to follow such a halachic interpretation. They held that in the case of idolatry one should be slain and not transgress, “even in the presence of one person.” Read More:http://rabbimichaelsamuel.com/2009/11/maimonides-practical-advice-feigning-apostasy/
( see link at end) …Maimonides makes clear that the unrelenting persecutions of the Jews by the Muslims is tantamount to forced conversion:
…the continuous persecutions will cause many to drift away from our faith, to have misgivings, or to go astray, because they witnessed our feebleness, and noted the triumph of our adversaries and their dominion over us…
He then notes: “After him arose the Madman who emulated his precursor since he paved the way for him. But he added the further objective of procuring rule and submission, and he invented his well known religion.” Medieval Jewish writers often referred to Muhammad as ha-meshugga, Madman—the Hebrew term, as historian Norman Stillman has observed wryly, being “pregnant with connotations.”
Georges Vajda’s magisterial 1937 essay on the anti-Jewish motifs in the hadith, includes a fascinating discussion from Maimonides Teshuvot Responsa on the question of whether Jews should attempt to teach the Torah to Muslims, versus Christians. Although, in principle the response is negative, i.e., non-Jews were proscribed from formal study of the Torah per se, Maimonides makes this striking distinction between Christians and Muslims, regarding the teaching of the commandments and their explanations, because of the unique threat posed by Muslims due to their doctrinal intolerance:
…it is permitted to teach the commandments and the explanations according to [rabbinic] law to the Christians, but it is prohibited to do likewise for the Muslims. You know, in effect, that according to their belief this Torah is not from heaven and if you teach them something, they will find it contrary to their tradition, because their practices are confused and their opinions bizarre mippnei she-ba’uu la-hem debariim be-ma`asiim [because a mish-mash of various practices and strange, inapplicable statements were received by them.] What [one teaches them] will not convince them of the falseness of their opinions, but they will interpret it according to their erroneous principles and they will oppress us. [F]or this reason…they hate all [non-Muslims] who live among them. It would then just be a stumbling block for the Israelites who, because of their sins, are in captivity among them. On the contrary, the uncircumcised [Christians] admit that the text of the Torah, such as we have it, is intact. They interpret it only in an erroneous way and use it for purposes of the allegorical exegesis that is proper to them Ve-yirmezuu bah ha-remaziim hay-yedu`iim la-hem [They would exchange secret signs known only to them.] If one informs them about the correct interpretation, there is hope that they will return from their error, and even if they do not, there is not stumbling block for Israel, for they do not find in their religious law any contradiction with ours.Read More:http://www.andrewbostom.org/blog/2007/12/26/maimonides-and-the-%E2%80%9Cmeshugga%E2%80%9D-prophet/