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I reviewed "Did Muhammed Exist?" by Robert Spencer on Amazon

Reader comment on item: Uncovering Early Islam

Submitted by Dave (United States), Sep 4, 2021 at 10:05

Meanwhile, from Amazon:

Generally, I'm not interested in religious works, and could care less about those studies which purport to verify or debunk some aspect of an organized religion. It's a different story, however, when it comes to Islam, which differs from other religions in so many ways: its presence as a major force in world politics, as a motivator to warfare, its claim to infallibility, and, most relevant here, its intolerance of criticism, which it calls blasphemy, a capital crime.

Thus, Robert Spencer, in claiming to debunk several foundational credos of Islam, is committing blasphemy, and is actually putting his life in danger. Technically, by endorsing his work, I'm risking my own neck. All this makes reading the book far more exciting than would be the case if Islam was more tolerant.

As for the actual arguments made, I think Spencer does a great job of making a logical case, using the works of notable scholars, that Islam was a man-made creation designed to justify and regulate the vast Arab conquests of the early middle ages; that it arose from a need to unify an empire using political theology.

My favorite part was his analysis of the Koran, which is very disordered and incomprehensible in Arabic, but when examined as a clumsy copy of ancient Syriac Christian and Jewish liturgy, it makes much more sense. For example, the Arabic scripture on which Ramadan is based is actually a mutation of the liturgy for Christmas Eve. Crazy, funny, but the scholars cited make a compelling case.

The parts of Islamic scripture which were developed earliest were complied many decades after Muhammed allegedly lived. At first fairly peaceful and tolerant, Islamic scripture became more militant later on with imperial hubris.

Whether Muhammed really lived is unimportant, as the late date of reports on his life, the syncretistic nature of the liturgy, and the obvious fictions in the narrative, make him more of a convenient legend than a real person.

Enough said, read the book.


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