Skip to comments.Did the Prophet Muhammad Really Exist? This Is Robert Spencerís Shocking Answer
Posted on 05/07/2012 4:12:33 AM PDT by lbryce
Did the Prophet Muhammad really exist? This question, which may seem bizarre on the surface, is at the root of a new book by Robert Spencer, a prominent author and the director of Jihad Watch. Spencer, a figure who is praised by his fans and loathed by his detractors, has written numerous books on Islam.
Earlier this week, The Blaze spoke with the expert about his controversial, new book, Did Muhammad Exist? As can be derived from the title, the text delves into some uncomfortable subject matter, as Spencer examines the historical documentation surrounding the Muslim prophet.
The books official description perfectly encapsulates its central tenets:
Did Muhammad exist?
It is a question that few have thoughtor daredto ask. Virtually everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, takes for granted that the prophet of Islam lived and led in seventh-century Arabia. But this widely accepted story begins to crumble on close examination, as Robert Spencer shows in his eye-opening new book.
In his blockbuster bestseller The Truth about Muhammad, Spencer revealed the shocking contents of the earliest Islamic biographical material about the prophet of Islam.
Now, in Did Muhammad Exist?, he uncovers that materials surprisingly shaky historical foundations. Spencer meticulously examines historical records, archaeological findings, and pioneering new scholarship to reconstruct what we can know about Muhammad, the Quran, and the early days of Islam. The evidence he presents challenges the most fundamental assumptions about Islams origins.
The premise of the book is that Islam like Judaism and Christianity deserves to be scrutinized and appropriately examined. Spencer maintains that Islam, unlike the other massive faith systems, has never truly been given the academic attention and examination it deserves. Like Christianity, he maintains that the faith is one that deserve[s] historical scrutiny.
(Excerpt) Read more at theblaze.com ...
There are passages in the Koran whereby Muhammad says "I don't do miracles". That would seem to corroborate Robert Spencer's contention.
My advice to Mr. Spencer is to change his name, seek out a qualified plastic surgeon, go underground and take out as much fatwa insurance as possible. Well, I for one am not shocked by the author's contention that Muhammad was not a prophet of any kind, in the biblical sense, certainly not divine. The horror stories about Muhammad are endless.
Did Muhammad exist? Yes but back then he was called Satan.
Isn’t it rather obvious to all non-muslims that Muhammed was not a prophet of God?
Plus stock up on good security.
Did they look at the court records under child rape?
The pedophile was just tabbed by other wackos of his ilk to lead the cult of death. Hate was his main message with fear his main tool.
Exactly. God bless, Spencer. He does great work.
Allah is not the God of Abraham.
What is already known to historians is that the 'final product' didn't show up until well after Mohammad's death (always convenient) in the time when the Meccan Arabs had assembled a large army and taken over a Byzantine city called Damascus.
At some point the Arab leadership decided they needed to "classy up" so they began assembling all the various pieces of Koranic materials ~ which included the Hadiths, or stories of the prophet as we know them, but which also included plenty of stories going back centuries.
This was a time when oral tradition was still highly respected and the handful of folks with perfect eidetic memory were well paid for their services. So, out came the stories and they were written down by Damascene scribes (a class of folks new to the desert Arabs) in something other than Arabic. More recent discoveries show that Aramaic, same as the language in Jesus day, was the original language. Written Arabic came later.
Some elements ~ including written material ~ possibly taken from a Torah recovered from somewhere in Arabia ~ were inserted where appropriate. This Biblical material sounded like it was from God, claimed to be inspired by God, so it must be of God ~ and there it was.
Now, a personal thought here ~ I've always thought it strange that when you get to this part the Torah materials are different than the standard but through time some of those differences have been demonstrated to be archaeologically accurate, so is it the standard version that errs, or the Damascus version that errs? The translators hired by the Arabs must have known something ~ so what was it they knew? Is that the real issue raised in the Koran and the Hadiths about ancient texts having been changed ~ not the charge that Christians had changed things, but an older tradition had?
Like to read his book to see what he thinks ~ probably have to buy it myself because the Paki holy men around here (5 mosques!) will piece this one out if it shows up at the library.
Anyway, leaving it to the readers, this is not unploughed ground. The operating thesis is that the Arabs pieced the Koran together in Damascus, then developed written Arabic over time ~ and finally transliterated the Aramaic text into Arabic.
That thesis differs from the claim that it is a perfect document handed down by God from Heaven.
In other words, Islam is the Barack Obama of religious systems?
There is probably not a great deal of corroborating literature outside the work itself as Arabs probably haven’t ever been “elaborately literate”.
“In other words, Islam is the Barack Obama of religious systems?”
Yet everytime an act of terrorism takes place, folks do a “mental exam” of Islam.
Others have recognized the material from the Torah, and yet others have worked out the known history that relates to the very personal histories reflected in the Koran (e.g. Army A attacks point B, and Army B responds by riding around the Big Rock ~ and that turns into Omar attacks Medina, Mohammad's friend hits his flank ~ same story, different perspective).
Then there are the story stories. These are the Hadiths and they have a wide variety of sources ~ some written, some oral tradition, some elsewhere. Each "Source" has an internal verification telling you how many sources there were and who those sources were. Some items are highly sourced. Some items are barely sourced.
Professor Jwadeh (guy I studied under at Indiana University) was well versed in this part of the "creation" and he said they actually had pieces of wood they would write on in whatever written language someone knew. This caused some problem in Damascus whenever materials from the Far East were brought in. He'd then point out that the Kabbah was one of those places on an exceedingly long supply and trading train so literally the whole world would eventually come there and bury some sacred text or god statue in the area ~ particularly in the cave where they claimed Mohammad met with the angel.
Because of their attempt to "source" the Hadiths they actually became useful for archaeology and to some degree, for history.
Some folks consider the Hadiths to be a cooboration for the Koran. Then there's that missionary handbook, so it cooborates the real source ~ if not the document supposed to be in Heaven.
Most serious analysts agree there was a religious reformer active in Arabia long before the Christians showed up in the region. He may well have been a Jewish reformer, and may well be named but otherwise identified as a Persian engineer. There are several other possibilities. Mecca in normal times was a true backwater. At the earliest age, it had an oasis that was so stagnant that dust could settle on it and build up into a crust. You'd poke a stick in the crust to get the water (there are a couple of stories in the Bible about folks hitting a rock and water gushing out ~ here's one such place).
In abnormal times it was of interest to people who needed to flee the Persians then involved in a series of conquests. The Dark Ages had been underway for most of a century when the Meccan Arabs popped up to begin telling the world "We're Here". They stepped into an enormous power vacuum filled with exhausted kingdoms and satrapies ~ first they beat the Persians, then they worked over the Byzantines, then they tried India. They were all short little bandy legged guys still suffering from generations of privation and malnutrition, and the small stature that goes with it.
I'm not sure they were all bad.
Appreciate your analysis and knowledge. First, I take it as a given the Koran was NOT handed down by God. That’s pretty easy to do when looking at somebody else’s religion. The Muhhamed story seems to be a bit more noble than folks here acknowledge, however it is no where near the story of Jesus and to a Christian’s eyes the idea of M as a true prophet is pretty much a laugher.
Main reason is M was way more involved with his times, politically, militarily, socially - so the Koran is no where near the theological masterpiece we see in the New Testament and Jesus’ life. Then there are little things like the period when the angel started telling M to “revise” the Koran.
Main thing I want to ask you is, do you agree there was the historical M who founded Islam, took control of Mecca and Medina, fought battles, had wives and relatives, etc? It seems to me I certainly have read enough history about M to believe he was a real historical figure. Are you talking about the Koran as opposed to the man? As for the Koran, we know M was illiterate so the idea that the written Koran and Hadiths were changed over time isn’t hard to accept.
Your typical serious religious reformer has managed to stretch his mind to cover the comprehensive picture of life set out before him ~ an act of genius in every successful case ~ so if you have a genius, he could have learned to read spontaneously ~ if he also knew Aramaic because there was NO Arabic available to read for another century!
Mohammad himself says he met with Christians who archaeologists tell us were ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RED SEA. They would have used Aramaic, or maybe they taught it to whoever the reformer was.
In the early part of the Dark Age the area of Mecca and Medina picked up business and had more travelers. The economy was expanding to its natural limits ~ and within a short time they'd taken Petra, then Damascus. Business opportunity seems to have been what was driving their expansion, not the Koran. That came later by which time the reformer was gone.
It's called "sate". In Malay Indonesie "sate" is a piece of barbeque roasted meat on a stick.
I'm sure in ancient times far more than 1000 women a year were roasted in that region.
It was called “Sati”, and there is a linguistic connection to Sati, consort of Rama. Has nothing to do with cooking.
Women were not forced to enter the funeral pyre of their husbands, unless there was degradation and corruption, what to speak of horrible cruelty going on. It is forbidden in this yuga anyway. The actual system was that in ancient times, sometimes wives were so devoted to their husbands that they would voluntarily - note that word - enter the cremation fire of their husbands. They felt the fire of separation more painful than the loss of their bodies. This accomplished, according to the Vedas, two things.
1. It assured they would go with their hubands wherever they went, so they would be together in their next lives.
2. If the husband had some bad karma accumulated, the wife’s sacrifice would help purify him and grant him a better next life.
Peoples’ ideas of this practice are generally not correct. Keep in mind that the English and the Muslims lied about Indian Hindu customs and religion in order to justify their conquests and rapine. It was in ancient times not that commonly practiced and was invariably voluntary.