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Historical Fiction

Reader comment on item: The Prophet's Heir

Submitted by Reno Deno (United States), Jun 7, 2021 at 11:49

Like Dr. Pipes, I tend to expect a scholarly book with the imprimatur of a world top-ten university to be a work of substance, but sadly, that's not what "The Prophet's Heir" is. It most closely calls to mind a historical salvation novel - in a phrase, a work of fiction masquerading as a factual historical account.

True, I have not read the book other than the excerpts Dr. Pipes referred his readers to. But that was enough. Once I saw the weird spelling "Makkah" for the usual "Mecca" used in an effort to sound more "authentic" (it doesn't) and closer to how the name is pronounced in Arabic (it isn't) among several other orthographic peculiarities, disillusion set upon me heavily - I knew I wasn't going to learn anything.

Briefly, the book is a rehash of the Islamic/Shia tradition particularly for the very early history of Islam. But modern scholarship, modern "Western" scholarship, that is, has questioned the factual authenticity of this tradition. This book totally ignores this modern scholarship.

"The Prophet's Heir" is reminiscent of a similar text I recently came across: Prof. Juan Cole's "Muhammad: Prophet of Peace..." another phantasmagoria of early Islamic history posing as the "last word" on the subject. This work also avoids the astonishing research in the field in recent decades questioning the traditional narrative.

My beef with Dr. Abbas has little to do with his approach to the subject matter. He can say and write whatever he wants.

My problem, my disbelief, in fact, is that he was apparently let loose at the National Defense University in Washington DC instructing, teaching and influencing defense professionals and similar high ranking and powerful government officials and academics.

In view of the content of his latest book, one wonders to what degree our decision makers may have been mislead and misinformed, to our disadvantage and ultimately, our peril. I guess time will tell, but it must be admitted that to date, time doesn't seem to have been all that much on our side.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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