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Karen Armstrong the wannabe historian part six

Reader comment on item: Bolstering Moderate Muslims
in response to reader comment: Karen Armstrong the wannabe historian part four

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), May 5, 2007 at 18:28

Now Ms Armstrong switches gears and reveiw another book. Go figue and this book is by Eliot Wienberger so let us ee what she talking about

>Eliot Weinberger is a poet whose interest in Islam began at the time of the first Gulf war.

Notice that she tells us that Spencer has been studying Islam for 20 years, which is more time than Weinberger.

>His slim volume Muhammad

I really do not know what this means. But if I read the "slim volume" about Muhammad by Michael Cook I can learn more than I can learn by reading her poor so called biography of Muhammad and as a matter of fact most real historians about early islam have given up at least for now about serious research about the life of Abul Qasim as the sources are really unhistorical. I urge any reader who is really interested in great work and a "slim volume' at the same time is to read Michael Cook's "Muhammad" and the reader will understand that we really do not know very much about Muhammad not back then and not now and we can only balme the Muslim sources.

The ultimate insult to Ms Armstrong is that no serious student of early Islam will read her biography of Muhammad as we have much better primary and secondary sources

>...is also a selective anthology about the prophet. His avowed aim is to "give a small sense of the awe surrounding this historical and sacred figure at a time of the demonisation of the Muslim world in much of the media."

Notice that Weinberger is talking about the "awe" about historical sources that were written in the 3rd century of Islam in far away places be it Persia, Mesopotamia and our main source about Muhammad's life is a redaction by Ibn Hisham (the source is supposed to be Ibn Ishaq) a man who lived in Egypt more than 200 years after the death of Muhammad. Just imagine if you or are trying to write a biography about the life of let us say George Washington with no written soures. It will be all fantasy and this is indeed the probelm with the biography of Muhammad and we must all grow up and admit that we do not know very much about him and that the sources more likely than not are bogus and unhistorical.

The truth is this "awe" is a function of the tendentious Muslim tradition and the turth is we do not know very much about Muhammad. Even al-Waqidi in his book al-Maghazi never pretend to know or even tell us anything about the first 50 years of the life of Muhammad and only tells us about his so called Medina period. So much for fantasy and poor reading of historical sources.

>many of the passages he quotes are indeed mystical and beautiful

Notice that Ms Armstrong does not provide us with any examples of those "mystical and beautiful" quotes. Well again beauty is all in the eyes of the beholder. I read the Qur'an in Arabic which she cannot do and I still believe that it is poor literature and it is no match to the likes of Homer or Virgil or the Gita or the Tripitaka or the Shahnamah or even the Bible. But again this woman cannot even read Arabic.

>but others are likely to confirm some readers in their prejudice. Without knowing their provenance

Oh the bogus Islamic "context" thing again. How can we have a context when the islamic sources are unhsitorical? This is straight out of fraudulent tablighee nonsense. Shame on her. And as if we did not learn from Noth's "Quellenkritische."More later.

>how can we respond to such statments as "He said that he who plays chess is like one who had dyed his hand in the blood of a pig?" or "Filling the stomach with pus is better than stuffing the brain with poetry."

Or that Muhammad was a caravn raider and an Arabian war lord and he married a 6 year old girl when he was 53 years old or uttering such scary stuff as "slay the polytheists." Shall I say more? Too bad but it is the islamic sources that tell us such nasty stuff it is not Spencer who is the author of such silly little tales.

>It is difficult to see how selecting only these dubious traditions as examples could advance mutual understandings

Why are they "dubious" but not the "beautiful and mystical" quotes? So much for Ms Armstrong's logic

>The second section of this anthology is devoted to anecdotes about Muhammad's wives that smack of prurient gossip.

But again the sources of this "gossip" is not Spencer but it is the islamic tradition. He is only the messneger!

>Western readers need historical persepective to understand the significance of the Prophet's domestic arrangments


But again this poor historian all she needs to do is to examine, let us say Q66, and she will discover that the Quranic allusions does not make any sense, and if you read the exegesis you will notice that no one seem to agree what these allusions really mean. We are told by Tabari and Ibn ishaq about the funny story of Mariya al-Qibtiya and Muhammad's big time drama with his wives and then we have Ibn Kathir who tells us no it is all about Muhammad eating some bad "3asl nahl" or honey! So which one is it? It is either one or the other and it cannot be both. The truth is no one really knows not back then and not now what Q66 really means. This should alert a smart historian to the nature of the sources but Ms Armstrong is cluless as usual

I will even go one more step and I can say that I indeed agree with Michael Cook that with no one really know what Q66 really says, it could very well mean that the Qur'an either predates Muhammad or the Qur'an was not canonized until the 3rd century of islam, and in this case we can detach the Qur'an from muhammad and islam from the Hijaz.

>his respect for his wives and the free and forthright way in which they approached him

ROTFL. We are taking about history that is not really history and tainted sources that are bogus at best, and this wannabe historian is tyring to reach some funny conclusion from pure islamic fantasy. So much for scholarship.

>Equally eccentric are the stories cited by Weinberger to describe miracles attributed to the Prophet

Blaming the messenger again. I see.

>the Koran makes it clear that Muhammad did not perform miracles and insist that he was an ordinary human being with no divine powers

Stay tuned for my response to this little gem and it will be in the next post


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