- Hardcover: 254 pages
- Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute; 1 edition (April 23, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 161017061X
- ISBN-13: 978-1610170611
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 194 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam's Obscure Origins Hardcover – April 23, 2012
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About the Author
Robert Spencer is the author of several critically acclaimed books about Islam, including the New York Times bestsellers The Truth about Muhammad and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). He is a columnist for FrontPage Magazine and the director of Jihad Watch, a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Spencer holds a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been studying Islamic theology, law, and history in depth for more than three decades.
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In essence, the work examines the Koran (and essential accompanying traditions) in the spirit (?) of "higher criticism" to which Christianity has already been subjected. As with that earlier enterprise, the results are unlikely to be pleasant reading for believers and are open to objections that the researchers were motivated by hostility toward the religion they investigated. In the case of Christianity, "higher criticism" may have partly arisen from annoyance with its prevalance and self-satisfaction; in that of Islam, with recent violence and disruption committed in its name.
(Spolilers ahead, though this is not a work of fiction.)
The conclusion that Islam arose from a monphysite Christian sect and invented Mohammed as a role model some time later seems more plausible (to me) in the first part than the second. The evidence of the first - crosses on early coinage, verses within the Dome of the Rock - are certainly suggestive but not conclusive. More suggestive is the very absence of documentation in which Christianity is so rich as to its Councils, etc., defining points of doctrine. This may be explained by Christianity's growing up in a secure, law-ridden late empire while Islam had to make hurried notes in the intervals of killing people and breaking things as it assembled a new one.
One is forced to suspect that, though it may be nothing more damaging than what went on at the Council of Nicea, Islam has something to hide about its origins. Coming clean - promoting objective research - might strengthen the faith, or it might not. It is a question of whether Muslims today feel as secure in their faith as did the Christians who carried on the original higher criticism.
He then puts forth the proofs he has - namely the lack of any written evidence of Muhammad, the Qur'an etc. before the 8th century and also puts the historical background and the stunning lack of any commentary from the conquered peoples.
All of the facts are verifiable and I did cross-check them to ensure I was not being hoodwinked -- and I wasn't.
He also puts a compelling read,merging together long passages (not cherry picked quotes) from the Qur'an as well as depictions and texts from the 7th and 8th centuries.
His portion on Al Andalus will make you think -- a lot.