The other day I saw a video of a sheikh warning Muslims against disregarding Muhammad's sunna, or the rules and customs the prophet prescribed for Muslims. To support his point, he read a hadith wherein Muhammad told Muslims: "When you wake up from sleep to pray, wash your hands before you put them in the wudu water, for you do not know where your hands have spent the night."
Then the sheikh told about a man who, upon hearing Muhammad's words, had deridingly said, "What, am I not going to know where my own hand has been?!"
This man woke up to find his arm—from hand to elbow—shoved up his anus.
The moral of the story? It is dangerous to ignore Muhammad's words. The sheikh stressed the authoritative source of this absurd anecdote, Sharh Sahih Muslim, and read its closing warning: "Thus let the mortal fear Allah and not make light of the sunna—for see what happened to this man for rebelling and mocking the words of the prophet."
There is a reason why Islam's guardians—past and present—always threaten Muslims to take the sunna seriously: Muhammad has said any number of bizarre or perverse things that naturally provoke abhorrence, if not laughter.
Let us examine just one: the notion of adult breastfeeding, or rida' al-kabir in Islam, which started when Muhammad commanded a woman to "breastfeed" a grown man. Because it is contained in a canonical hadith, today, nearly 1400 years later, top Muslim authorities still advocate this perverse practice. After all, to reject it or any other canonical hadith is to reject the sources and methodology of usul al-fiqh—in short, to reject Sharia.
Now, let us connect the dots to see how the bizarre in Islam demonstrates the violent by asking the following simple question:
If Muslims are still compelled to be true to things like "adult breastfeeding," simply because 7th century Muhammad said so, is it not logical to accept that they embrace their prophet's even better documented and unequivocal words concerning the infidel?
Look at it this way: the issue of adult breastfeeding is embarrassing for Muslims; far from providing them with any sort of advantage or benefits, it places them, especially their women, in a ludicrous position (indeed, it is ranked first in this list of "top ten bizarre or ridiculous fatwas"). So why is it still a relevant issue among Muslims? Because Muhammad once commanded it. Thus, like it or not, Muslims must somehow come to grips with it.
What, then, of Muhammad's other commandments—commandments that, if upheld, far from embarrassing Muslims, provide them with power, wealth, and hedonistic joys—that is, commandments that jibe quite well with mankind's most primitive impulses? I speak of Muhammad's (and by extension Sharia's) commandments for Muslims to wage war ("jihad") upon the infidel, to plunder the infidel of his wealth, women, and children, and to keep him in perpetual subjugation—all things that define Islam's history vis-à-vis the non-Muslim.
In other words, the Muslim mentality that feels the need to address adult breastfeeding, simply because Muhammad once advised it, must certainly be sold on the prophet's constant incitements for war and conquest.
Living in an era where the Muslim world is significantly weaker than the infidel world, and so currently incapable of launching a full-on offensive, one may overlook this fact. But the intention is surely there. One need only look to how non-Muslim minorities, especially Christians, are treated in the Muslim world—where they are persecuted, kidnapped, raped and ransacked—to be sure of it.
Raymond Ibrahim, a widely published author on Islam, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. To receive all his writings, sign up on his free mailing list.