Overall, the revelations that Muhammad allegedly received from the angel Gabriel during his time in Mecca were peaceful. However, after the death of his uncle, Muhammad migrated from Mecca to the city of Yathrib (now known as Medina) in 622 AD. This migration is known as the hijra and is the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
Muhammad did not assimilate into the host city, but rather eventually took it over. When he moved to Medina, the city was half Jewish. Muhammad considered himself in the lineage of Jewish prophets, and as so he believed he was a reformer of Judaism. However, he had most likely picked up bits and pieces of Jewish scriptures on the trade routes in ancient Arabia, so the Jews were able to easily point out some of the contradictions between Muhammad’s revelations and Jewish scriptures. The rabbis in Medina, quite correctly, did not accept him as a Jewish prophet. Because the Jews refused to accept Muhammad, he developed a hatred for the Jews and eliminated them. Within three years all the Jews living in Medina were either killed, enslaved, or had fled the city.
Muhammad arrived in Medina with approximately 150 followers, but by the end of Muhammad’s life the number of Islamic followers had increased to nearly 100,000. Once he moved to Medina, the nature of his revelations changed, and it is in Medina that the doctrine of jihad was born. “I shall cast terror into the hearts of the kafirs [non-Muslims]. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers” (Sura 109:1). By the end of his life, Muhammad averaged an act of violence every six weeks for his last nine years.
Since Muhammad’s earlier revelations in Mecca contradicted the revelations he received in Medina, the concept of abrogation was born, which means “the repeal or abolition of a law.” Therefore, the later passages that Muhammad received in Medina take precedence over the Mecca passages. In a way, the later revelation supersedes the previous one, however that does not mean the earlier verse is incorrect. Because the Qur’an is considered the actual words of Allah and Allah cannot be wrong, the early Mecca revelations cannot be wrong. So, when a Muslim states that Islam is a religion of peace, he can also fully believe (as declared in the later texts) that it is okay to “smite” the necks of disbelievers.
We Take Up the Rod of Heaven’s Authority:
Numbers 23:19a assures us, “God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind.” We learn in Islam that it is said that Allah would often “change his mind,” which seemed to happen when it would fit the situation. Father God, we thank You that You are bringing this understanding to the minds of the precious Muslim people, causing them to reflect on this truth, realize the living God can be trusted, that He loves them unconditionally, and they can fully put their trust in His son, the Lord Jesus Christ for their eternal destiny!