The Truth About Muhammad
20 January 2015
atrocities committed by ISIS, the heinous abuse of children under Islam, the barbaric Charlie Hebdo massacre, the über-Nazism of Islam, and all of the lying propaganda about Islam being “a religion of peace,” this book, although it was published 8 years ago, is more relevant than ever.
I purchased The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion by Robert Spencer, about 5 years ago, but for some reason never got around to presenting it on this Web site. The time has come!
His two previous books which I have read — The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran — were both written in a popular tone which detracted somewhat from the credibility of the material presented. Thankfully, in contrast, The Truth About Muhammad is more scholarly in tone.
In the remainder of this article, I will share with you some extracts from the first chapter of the book: “Why a biography of Muhammad is relevant today.” In it, Mr. Spencer explains why he wrote this book, and what he is hoping to achieve.
For the actual details of Muhammad’s life, and the truth about Muhammad, I encourage you to get your own copy of this book and read it in its entirety. There is a Kindle version available for $11.49, which makes it fairly inexpensive and convenient to start discovering the truth about Muhammad today!
What was Muhammad really like? The question becomes more pressing every day — for if he was indeed a man of peace, one may reasonably hope that his example would become the linchpin of reform efforts in the Islamic world that would eventually roll back the influence of jihad terrorists. If he really championed democracy and equality of the sexes, one could profitably invoke his example among Muslims, who revere him as the highest example of human behavior, to work for these ideals in the Islamic world.
But if the jihad terrorists are correct in invoking his example to justify their deeds, then Islamic reformers will need to initiate a respectful but searching re-evaluation of the place Muhammad occupies within Islam — a vastly more difficult undertaking.
The common distinction drawn between “Islam” and “Islamism,” which is accepted without question by the vast majority of Western non-Muslim public policy analysts, opinion-makers, lawmakers, and diplomats, rests on the idea that there is a core, a kernel, or perhaps an original form of Islam that did not teach warfare against non-Muslims. “Islamism” is widely reputed to be a Muslim imitation of fascism and communism that has little or nothing to do with the actual teachings of Islam....
Of course, even if the jihadists are right about Muhammad, that does not mean that all or even most Muslims will not be law-abiding and opposed to terrorism. In Islam, as in every religious tradition, there is a spectrum of belief, knowledge, and fervor. One cannot be sure from anyone’s self-identification as a Muslim how much he knows about the Qur'an and the life of Muhammad.
This is true particularly because Islam is an essentially Arabic religion. Muslims must learn the daily prayers and the Qur'an in Arabic, which is the language of Allah. To pray to him in another tongue is unacceptable. Since most Muslims today are not native Arabic speakers, and the Qur'an is in difficult, classical, seventh-century Arabic (and most English translations are in equally difficult ersatz King James Bible-like language), many Muslims, even those who are quite serious about their faith, have only a dim awareness of what the Qur'an actually says....
As both reform-minded Muslims and bloodthirsty jihadists invoke Muhammad’s example to justify their actions, the question of which group is likely to prevail in the future, and which will guide an Islamic world that is in the grip of a religious revival and increasingly hostile toward America and the West, will largely be determined by Muhammad — by what he was really like according to Islamic texts.
By examining the Islamic texts and what they say about the religion’s founding prophet, we can learn something of Muhammad, even if there has not been a scholarly “quest for the historical Muhammad” the way there has been, and still is, a great quest for the historical Jesus.
The true identity, words, and deeds of the Prophet of Islam are topics that have only been lightly explored by scholars, largely owing to the paucity of early, reliable sources, and the entrenched Islamic resistance to any questioning of accepted Islamic beliefs, even if that questioning is based on non-polemical, scholarly principles.
While historical critics of the Bible have operated freely and wielded tremendous influence in the Christian and post-Christian West, in the Islamic world such studies are virtually nonexistent. The few scholars who work in this field, such as Christoph Luxenberg, receive death threats and publish under pseudonyms.
But ultimately, the quest for the historical Muhammad, while fascinating and important, is not what will determine the course of the Islamic world will take in the coming decades. For any such investigations are extremely unlikely to gain any significant audience in the Islamic world.
What is certain to be influential, however, is the figure of Muhammad as he appears in the Qur'an and other accepted Islamic sources — especially the Hadith, the traditions of the Prophet that have largely determined the bases of Islamic practice and piety.
This battle is already raging. Members of jihad groups are already claiming the Qur'an and Hadith as their allies in their efforts to win over cultural Muslims. Muslim hardliners have made deep inroads into peaceful Muslim communities by preaching violent Islam as the “pure Islam” and calling Muslims back to what they present as the full observance of their religion. And that full observance involves warfare against non-Muslims in order to establish the hegemony of the Islamic social order. This recruitment centers not only upon the Qur'an and other key Islamic texts, but also on the figure of Muhammad....
This is not a comprehensive biography of the Prophet of Islam, although it does provide a general outline of the trajectory of his career. Above all, it is an examination of some aspects of his life that non-Muslims find problematic, and that are used by Muslims today to justify violent actions or other behavior not in accord with Western notions of human rights and the dignity of the human person.
Western readers will learn why moderate Muslims — on whom Western governments and law enforcement officials are placing so much hope — appear so weak and marginalized compared to jihadist movements in the Islamic world. And they will learn why Muslims find Muhammad’s example so compelling, and why that example can be used to justify such widely divergent actions.
Along the way, I will show how popular views of Muhammad and Islam have been shaped in the English-speaking world and the West in general, and reveal some of the biases of those who did the shaping....
I determined, after a great deal of hesitation and uncertainty, that I must write this book. I am fully aware of the risks involved. But the question of Muhammad — of who he was, what he did, and what he believed — is key to understanding today’s global conflict with the jihadists, and what we must do about it.
The subject matter is provocative — possibly lethally so.
But I will report on what Muslim sources — sources regarded as reliable by most Muslims — say about Muhammad. And I will discuss some of the implications. It is not necessary — and it is not my intention — to insult Muhammad, to deride him, to lampoon or mock him, or to write anything except a scrupulously accurate account of what he said and did about some key issues. But in these areas tempers run hot very quickly.
Still, that is why this book had to be written. Freedom of inquiry and speech, the quest for truth, should not be cowed into silence by violent intimidation or the acceptance of half-truths and propaganda meant to appease freedom’s enemies.