Jack Wheeler has the entire play up here and writes:
The claim is being made that Voltaire wrote Mahomet as an attack on religious fanaticism in general and as a disguised attack on Christianity in particular. Nonsense. He dedicated the play to Pope Benedict XIV, who wrote back a letter of appreciation.
Voltaire knew his Mohammed and Koran. The characters of Seid and Palmira are taken from Mohammed's adopted son Zeid and his wife Zainab bint Jahsh. Mohammed's lechery over Zainab caused him to invent a Commandment from God saying that God ordered Zeid to divorce Zainab and that is was Divinely OK for Mohammed to marry his daughter-in-law. This is in the Koran, Sura 33:37.
The play is a direct assault on the moral character of Mohammed by Voltaire. This is a classic work by a classic Western writer and should be performed on Broadway, by drama clubs and college/high school thespian groups all over the country.
Voltaire may have dedicated Mahomet to the Pope, but he generally detested Catholicism. He was not above two-faced opportunism and given his constant attacks on the Catholic Church this was probably one of those occasions.
Strangely I have just been looking at the website of the Ayatollah Sistani at www.sistani.org/html/eng/ In his Q&A section he deals with questions of adoption. Zeid was Mohammed?s adopted son. The revelation which allowed him to marry Zainab effectively forbade adoption, which meant that Zeid was not Mohammed?s son, and so Zainab was not a relative. Sistani says ?It is permissible to adopt child, but he is not legally considered one?s son; it has no inheritance rulings, Mahramiyyah (intimacy) and the like?the child's lineage has to be preserved. Social Services in the UK are very careful that an abandoned or abused child can only be placed for adoption within its own ethnic and religious group. With adoption forbidden in Islam who knows how many children languish in children?s homes.