“Happy Birthday, Muhammad,” the New York Times proclaimed happily last Tuesday in a propaganda piece by Haroon Moghul, the author of a book confidently entitled How to Be a Muslim. I’d say it was a new low for the Times if the Gray Lady didn’t keep stooping lower every day.
Moghul details how he rediscovered Muhammad during a time of doubt, marveling “that he buried the least loved of his fellow Arabs with his own hands. That he put two of his fingers together and promised that he and the orphan would be that close in the life to come. That he so loved the vulnerable that God loved him in turn.”
Laying it on even thicker, Moghul continues: “He was an outsider like me. Being an orphan from age 6 in a very patrilineal, very patriarchal and very tribal society must have been a social death sentence. Muhammad could have reacted by seething with resentment and lashing out at the world. He could have turned on himself. Instead he became a paragon of compassion.”
Why should we believe Moghul? Because he knows: “I’d memorized Muhammad’s life story in Sunday school, cramming facts, dates, lineages into my head as if I was preparing for an A.P. exam, a good Muslim like my parents wanted me to be.”