Answer by A Quora admin:
Muhammad's example and sayings (sunnah) inspires reverence and emulation by Muslims around the world. Ahadith (plural of 'hadith') is rich with such sunnah. If you read something in the Quran that puzzles you, you can likely consult ahadith and find clarification. Ahadith illuminates Muhammad's personality and character much more than the Quran does.
By and large, Muhammad was a practical, pragmatic, man. But he made mistakes too. After all, he was only human. He was ahead of his time where women were concerned. By all accounts, he treated his wives with respect and they were happy with him. The utter subjugation of women in modern Islam goes way beyond what Muhammad urged. And even though he subjugated Jews with dhimma contracts, the Jews were protected from forced conversions and harassment as long as they complied with their dhimma contracts. Given the persecution they faced from Christians, they were better off in Muslim territory than in Christian territory.
But ahadith also reveals that his 'revelations' were often conveniently and conspicuously timed. His wives (especially his favorite, Aisha) even teased him about it. It was his pragmatism that led him to make one of his biggest mistakes: accommodating, by revelation from Allah, the three patron goddesses of Mecca in order to ease the conversion (from idol worshiping pagans to Muslims) of the town's citizens. This incident is the 'Satanic Verses' that made Salman Rushdie a household name. According to thewiki:
The Satanic Verses are a small number ofthat, in traditional Islamic interpretation, were said to have been temporarily included in the by the Islamic prophet , only to be later removed. Narratives derived from involving these verses can be read in, among other places, the biographies of by , (who was a scribe of Waqidi), , and (the last as by ).
The ayat (verses) involved allow intercessory prayers to be made to threegoddesses: , , and . This was a major blunder because Muhammad was adamant about monotheism: he was, after all, the final prophet of Allah — the one and only God. To remedy the fiasco, Muhammad received yet another convenient revelation that was to, later, establish the doctrine of abrogation known as . Basically, Allah can supersede his own infallible revelations with better infallible ones. Convenient, no? What this means is that the more militant suwar, revealed after Muhammad established his power base in Medina, supersede the more neutral suwar revealed earlier, in Mecca.
Muslims don't like to acknowledge the Satanic Verses or the doctrine of abrogation (for obvious reasons) and neither do they like us infidels to know that he raided caravans for camels, booty and hostages to hold for ransom or to sell as (sex) slaves. As for Muhammad consummating his marriage to Aisha when he was 53 and she was 9, well, what can I say? At some point he and she were alone and they got down to the deed. This was not a religious or cultural moment. It's a moment between an experienced old man and a virgin child. The following is from thewiki:
, considered by many Sunni Muslims as the most authentic book after Quran, states:
Narrated 'Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).
Things have sure changed a lot in the last 1400 years. But not as much in the Islamic world where Muhammad's example still legitimizes child brides and inspires Al Qaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram.