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996 of 1,195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fills readers' deficit, October 5, 2006
This review is from: The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion (Hardcover)
Since September 2000, at the beginning of the latest phase in the Arab Muslim jihad against the Jewish people in Israel, I have done extensive reading on the history of Islam in a concerted effort to determine the cause. During my early months and years of research, I felt confounded by Islam, which scholars often described as a faith, at its core, moderate and peaceful. Lord knows, I long believed them.

Unfortunately, the more I read, the more discouraged I have become as to the true nature of Islam, and its founder.

Much, though hardly all, of my expanding base of knowledge, has come from Robert Spencer, whose books I have read both with pleasure and dismay--pleasure, because he writes and researches so well, and dismay, because his books so discourage one regarding the onerous tasks that now face Western civilization. Like it or not, we are increasingly imperiled by, and simultaneously, oblivious to the global political ambitions of resurgent Islam.

These dangers appear genuinely contemporary after one learns the details of Muhammad's dealings with the Jewish Banu Qurayzah tribe of Yathrub (Medina).

After sending a secret Muslim convert, Nu'aym bin Mas'ud, to sabotage a Qurayzah alliance with the pagan Quraysh, Muhammad debased the Jews as "brothers of monkeys." This language, as Spencer dutifully notes, "also made its way into the Qur'an"--in chapters 2 (verses 62-65), 5 (verses 59-60) and 7 (verse 166)--and is routinely invoked by current-day Muslim leaders.

Citing the famed A. Guillaume's 1955 translation of Ibn Ishaq's Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), Spencer notes that Muhammad's forces "laid siege to the Qurayzah strongholds for twenty-five days, until... 'they were sorely pressed' and, as Muhammad had warned, 'God cast terror into their hearts'." At this juncture, the leader of the Qurayzah offered his people three choices--to accept Muhammad and Islam, to kill their wives and children and fight Muhammad unencumbered, or to ambush Muhammad on the Sabbath.

The Qurayzah ignored their leader's counsel and, instead, surrendered to the Muslims. Muhammad asked Sa'd bin Mu'adh to determine their fate--and he in turn ruled that "their warriors should be killed and their children and women be taken as captives." Muhammad himself then went into the Medina market and dug trenches into which some the heads of at least 600 or 700 Qurayzah men (possibly, 800 or 900) would be struck. One boy who had not yet "begun to grow hair" later reputedly explained that this factor determined whether a boy was deemed a boy--and spared--or a man, and killed.

Every drop of non-Muslim blood Muhammad spilled, he deemed to have set "a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah" (Qur'an, chapter 33, verse 21).

It's all too clear, five years after 9/11, that most Americans lack the motivation to read the Koran--which is neither long, nor impregnable. If they had it, the public would soon discover that even the mildest of translations, which omit the most offensive verses and explicit terms, prove enlightening.

But Spencer's 224-page biography of Muhammad, based entirely on the most important and authentic of Muslim sources, is well-positioned to fill the deficit for even those readers most devoid of educational motivation.

--Alyssa A. Lappen
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Showing 1-10 of 111 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 6, 2006 10:36:12 AM PDT
I so appreciate the specificity of your review and noting the import of this book in the context of lack of Americans' will to read the Qu'ran, which you rightly point out is short and apprehendable--it's about the size of the New Testament, but (in the case of the excellent Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation) just looks long because the size is tripled by accompanying the English part with both the Arabic and a transliteration.

Posted on Oct 9, 2006 9:43:53 AM PDT
Adagio says:
Thank you for the recommendation of reading the Koran.

Posted on Nov 27, 2006 3:19:11 PM PST
Aamir Malik says:
Alyssa,

None of the translations 'omit' - because they just cant do that. Every muslim knows the books content and omitting stuff is not possible for any one who claims to have translated the book.

Secondly this biography of Muhammad is NOT based on the "most important and authentic of Muslim sources". Would you go to a chiropractor if you had a mental disorder? That is exactly what is going on here. The interpretation of the facts, the re-ordering of the sirah (just to prove some mundane points) is saddening.

It is "well-positioned to fill the deficit" of explination for tough topics in islamic history. Muslims should perhaps address these topics.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2006 8:20:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2006 2:31:19 PM PST
So, let me get this straight. Only Muslims should perhaps address these "tough topics" in Islamic history.

This is part of the typical Muslim response to any criticism; that non-Muslims can't really understand the mysterious, hightly intricate Koran without knowing Arabic, that non-Muslims are misinterpreting Islam and the actions of Muslims. I submit that this response comes because increasing numbers of non-Muslims know only too well how to analyze the Koran and to interpret Muslim actions throughout the past 1,385 years as hostile or not, rational or not, moral or not. If the Koran is so impenetrable and impossible to translate and understand, how is it that most Muslims in the world, who do not speak Arabic, recite the Koran in an Arabic they do not understand but read Korans that are translated into their many native languages.

All I see in your "review" are general statements and assertions, no specifics. If you object to the specific sources Spencer has used because you think they are not "authentic," then provide sources you deem more authentic and justify choosing them over Spencer's sources.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2006 9:46:13 PM PST
bhaloo says:
Silverback, reading a translation of the Qu'ran is not the same as reading the Qu'ran in its original Arabic. First of all a translation does not do it justice. Secondly, the context and wisdom behind why certain verses were revealed and the relevance of them is not understood by going through this manner. One needs to refer to a tafsir (explanation). A very good one available in the English language is Ibn Kathir's Tafsir. It's over 6000 pages and discusses in great detail the relevance of verses in the Qu'ran and how they relate to other verses.

I would suggest you watch the PBS documentary, Islam Empire of Faith and see a fairly accurate portrayal of Islam by some non-Muslims (although there are some biases in it still).

It's unfortunate that bigotry and hatred exist today towards Islam.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2006 10:59:02 PM PST
I agree with you A. Hussain. I think that Islam is going through the same type of hatred that the Jews went through during World War II and beyond. This hatred has to stop whether its against Christians, Muslims, Jews, or any other religion. People should learn how to be tolerant of other religions and not judge a whole religion on the actions of a few maniacs.
The killing of innocent children every day in Israel, does one blame the Jews for it? Of course not because Judaism is against that. And one cant blame Islam for a lunatic that commits suicide by blasting himself, since Islam is against those acts.
People of different religions should live in peace, and books like these just bring us apart. I suggest reading the works of Professor Carl W. Ernst, if you need a truly scientific opinion on Islam from an expert (and not Mr. Spencer, who has no formal education in this matter).

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2006 8:27:39 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Oct 13, 2008 11:15:55 AM PDT]

Posted on Dec 22, 2006 8:16:40 PM PST
Thank you for your bravery, Alyssa. Too often people are afraid to speak the truth about Islam because the followers demand death for anyone that insults their religion. They are called "violent" and to protest, they become violent. More and more books are coming out in America exposing this pathologically hateful religion. America needs a constitutional admendment banning it and any religion that calls for our death. Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 13, 2007 9:12:31 PM PST
DN Pacem says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2007 8:41:09 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Oct 13, 2008 10:57:54 AM PDT]
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