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Muhammad and his Cult
The Power of the Big Lie

          Adolf Hitler, in his Mein Kampf, wrote: "The broad mass of a nation will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one." If anyone should have known the power of the big lie and that the bigger the lie is the more believable it sounds, it was Hitler. Another good statement is that of George Orwell, author of Politics and the English Language. He wrote: "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to given an appearance of solidity to pure wind."[286]

          Why big lies are so convincing? It's because an ordinary person generally does not dare to tell a big lie. He fears that it would not be believed and that he would be derided. And since everyone has heard or has said a few white lies, most people generally recognize them when they hear one. The big lies are so oulandish that they often startle the listener. Most people are not equipped to process them adequately. When the lie is colossal, the averege person is left to wonder how anyone can have the audacity, the impudence to say such a thing. You are left with the difficult decision between three extremes: The person, who is saying this, must either insane, a charlatan or he must be telling the truth. Now, what if for any reason, such as your reverence for this person, his charisma, or your commitment to him, you can't bear the thought of repudiating him and accept the fact that maybe he's indeed insane, a quack? Then you force yourself to believe in whatever he tells you even if what he says makes no sense at all.

          The big lie offsets the scale of our common sense. This is not unlike like loading a scale that is made to weight kilos with tons. It stops showing the correct weight. The indicator may even stop at zero. Hence, Hitler was right. The big lie is often believed more than a small lie.

          When Muhammad recounted his tale of ascending to the seventh heaven, Abu Bakr was at first taken aback. He did not know what to make of this. This sounded utterly mad. He had two choices: either to admit that his trusted friend, whom he respected so much and by following him had endured ridicules is a crackpot, or believe in his fantastical tales and whatever else he might say. There was no middle ground for him.

          Ibn Ishaq says when Muhammad made his vision known, "many Muslims gave up their faith. Some people went to Abu Bakr and said, 'What do you think of your friend? He alleges that he went to Jerusalem last night and prayed there,



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Understanding Muhammad
and came back to Mecca!' He replied that they were lying about the apostle, but they said that he was in the mosque at that very moment, telling people about it. Abu Bakr said, 'If he says so, then it is true. And what is so surprising in that? He tells me that communication from Allâh from heaven to earth, comes to him in an hour of a day or night, and I believe him. That is more extraordinary than that at wich you boggle!'"287

          The logic is flawless. Basically what Abu Bakr was saying is that once you give up your rational faculty and believe in an absurdity, you might as well believe in anything. Once you let yourself to be fooled, then you should be prepared to be fooled ad infinitum because there is no end to foolishness. How many people would let a 54-year-old man sleep with their nine-year-old daughter? Abu Bakr did. This requires extreme foolishness. This much foolishness is only possible through blind faith.

          We must also remember that Abu Bakr, by now had spent most of his wealth for Muhammad and his cause. This man had a lot at stake. At this stage, he had no other coice but to go along with whatever Muhammad told him. Admitting he had been conned was too painful a thought to bear. How could he explain this to his wife? What could he say to the wise men of Mecca who had laughed at him and told him he is a fool? The doors of going back for Abu Bakr were shut. He had to protect his pride and that meant he could not admit to have been a fool. All he could do was to dig in deeper and blindly follow Muhammad to wherever he took him. He had to silence his conscience and believe in anything his prophet fancied. When you put your entire faith in someone and sacrifice so much for him, you give up your independence and become putty in his hand. This is what cult leaders want from their devotees. Only this kind of devotion satiates their narcissistic craving.

          Hitler, Stalin and many others of history's despotic leaders were insane. Those who saw their insanity could not whisper it to others. The "superior wisdom" of the despotic leader is the invisible cloak of the emperor. Those around him pretend to see it and extol its beauty. Those who are not in the immediate circle become convinced by the conviction of others. Thus the big lie is perpetuated and no criticism of it is tolerated.

287 Sira Ibn Ishaq: P 183


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