Muhammad was an enemy of God and possessed by a demon – ascribed to St Theodore Abu Qurrah

Adapted from the polemical Greek writings ascribed to St Theodore

If a king, who rules an entire country under heaven, hears that in one of his lands the inhabitants insult him and overlook his dominion, he gets angry and sends his general to them. This one either gets them to stop insulting the ruler and teaches them to speak magnanimously concerning him or he will punish with a sword those who refuse to submit. But what if this general after having conquered the land of these rough-minded subjects begins to accept bribes and encourages them to act even more insolently? He even writes them a letter by his own hand to encourage them in this, as long as he receives money from them himself.

Is there anyone worse than he who would do this to the ruler? I presume that there isn’t. If someone asks: who would be so mindless that he would excite the people to insult their master by taking bribes in exchange for insulting him? I reply to him: the madman of the Hagarenes, the false prophet Muhammad.

This is found in his own boastful lies. He said, you see, whilst he was possessed:

God has sent me to shed the blood of those who serve the Divine tri-hypostatic nature, and all who do not say: “God is in solitude, God is a malleable lump1, Who has never begotten nor begot and Who has not received any partner alongside Himself.

This is the theology of the lunatic. First he denies that God is the begetter of light and the fountainhead of holiness. Then he boasts that God ordered him to punish the Christians with the sword for blaspheming the divinity, but as soon as he receives bribes2 he relents and allows them to continue the pridefulness towards His messenger. This is how the demonic line of thought runs….3

1 – St Theodore refers to the Arabic term al-Samad (ٱلْصَّمَدُ cf. Quran 112:2) which he translated to Greek as sphyropēktos. While this might be bizarre, it has its justifications in early Islamic sources. See also: The Byzantine Understanding of the Qur’anic Term “al-Șamad” and the Greek Translation of the Qur’an

2 – Very probably a reference to jizya, the poll-tax levied upon “People of the Book” under Islamic law which allowed them to continue practicing their religion.

3 – St Theodore goes on the describe the incident known as “the Slander” (al-‘Ifk) in early Islamic sources which refers to the accusation of adultery towards ‘Aisha, Muhammad’s wife. I’ve omitted it because I am not sure how it contributes to St Theodore’s argument, although he refers to Muhammad as being “in a demonic state” and receiving an “oracle”.

Muhammad was an enemy of God and possessed by a demon – ascribed to St Theodore Abu Qurrah

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