|The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion
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In this startling new book, New York Times bestselling author Robert Spencer, provides a warts-and-all portrait of the Prophet of Islam and draws out what his life implies for reforming Islam and repulsing Islamic terrorists. Spencer relies solely on primary sources considered reliable by Muslims and evaluates modern biographies to show how Muhammad has been changed for Western audiences, lulling them into consoling but false conclusions.
- Great book!
Great book. Very enlightening book about Muhammad. A MUST read in today's world....more info
- Most Muslims Extol Slaughter of Non-Believers by Extremists; but, Most Christians are Embarrassed by the non-Christian behavior
I have Spenser's PIG book on Islam and took it to
the Peachtree City United Methodist Church in PTC,
Georgia, because various study groups where equating
the abuses done by Christians to those horrors done
by Islam and using the books of Karen Armstrong as
A lot of eyes were opened; but, the leadership of
our church continues to use books by Muslim apologists
like Armstrong, Esposito, etc... and has never recommended
any book by Spenser.
This newest book is a slam dunk.
Embarrassingly, local Baptist churches are not so blind
as our Methodist church and have had Coptic Christians
advise their comparative religious classes on the behavior
of Muslims towards non-Muslims.
- The truth about Muhammad
Product received on time and in good condition. Very satisfided with way ordered handled and will purchase more items in future. ...more info
- Interesting and informative, a must read
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in learning the history of Muhammed and Islam. I know it certainly opened my eyes. This book informs the reader on how Muhammad's views changed as he matured from a young man being more tolerant of other religions to his total intolerance of other religious views as he aged.
I also found it highly suspicious that whenever he desired someone or something that was considered "improper" he would go into a trance and he would be told by his "guiding angel" that he was allowed to have his way.
The idea that Muhammad was and is considered the "perfect man" and the goal of all Islamic men is to be like Muhammed scares the HE** out of me. In closing, I consider this book to be a "MUST READ" for a better understanding of Islam....more info
- Racism at its finest
No redneck or fascists library is complete without this book!! Highly recommended especially for "patriots" who believe in america, except for the part about religious freedom....more info
- Eye Opening Must Read
If you believe you have a grasp of the fundamentals of the people and their philosophy arrayed against us but have not read this book, you are in for a rude awakening.
Spencer shows that if we deal with the Islamic terrorist threat in ignorance, we cannot prevail. This book, fully sourced in detail, reveals what we must know about the founder of Islam AND the religion he founded. It is tightly written and profound in its ability to awaken one to built-in threats of the radical aspects of Islam. It's an excellent read. A must read. ...more info
- The Truth About Muhammad
A must read for those who believe in the freedom of speech and all other freedoms of any society especially the freedom to live your life in peace where ever you are in the world and not be threatened with violence if you think differently or believe differently....more info
- Not a pretty picture.
Having recently written a book with a similar title ([[ASIN:0736922121 The Truth Behind the New Atheism: Responding to the Emerging Challenges to God and Christianity]), I may be overly indulgent towards Spencer, perhaps out of a desire to justify my own vices. But an astonishing amount of lying goes on when it comes to religion. French literary critic and anthropologist Rene Girard explained a good bit of that dishonesty years ago when he noted that society tends to cover up its origins in collective violence. While Spenser doesn't frame his story of Mohammed and the religion he founded in those terms, Girard's theory (accessible on-line in an article he wrote in First Things magazine) does I think put early Islam in its proper context.
Aside from Spencer's courage in writing it, this book is good for several reasons: (1) He relentlessly examines the acts of Mohammed from early Muslim sources; (2) The book is frank without being sensationalistic; (2) Spenser shows good judgement, overall, in his choice of material and his evaluation of it; (4) He covers the main events in the life of Mohammed clearly; (5) At the same time he also shows how modern cruelties are justified by reference to the practice of The Prophet.
Doctrine does not determine how people act, but this book reveals just how foolish it is to deny (as some do) how deep the influence can be. Spenser recognizes that people of all faiths are capable of both cruelty and kindness; but the example the founder sets does make an enormous difference. (As to those who try to equate the Christian and Muslim records, see my article "Can Jesus Save Islam?" in Touchstone Magazine -- also available on-line.)
I do have a couple criticisms. First, one question Spenser doesn't resolve is whether the very telling hadith he cites are representative. (There seems to be quite a large amount.) Second, I question Spenser's sub-title -- I would describe Communism or Naziism as even more intolerant religions, and there are conventionally supernatural faiths (like the Tai Ping movement in China) quite as violent and intolerant as Islam. Third, I don't think Spenser offers very promising solutions to the problems he outlines. Simply telling Muslims not to rely on Mohammed so much probably won't do it. Might as well go whole hog and suggest they worship God in reference to the teachings of a less problematic prophet -- already tens of thousands of Muslims have come to believe in Jesus in jihad-bit countries like Iran and Algeria. ...more info
- A goat herding evangilist gains godhood (he says)
This is the true story of the original traveling salvation show, run by the original con artist/tent show Saviour/woman hating pedophile who finally makes it big, to the detriment of the world and posterity....more info
- A short, transparent indictment
When I came across this book I was pretty amazed it even exists. Apparently scholars are terrified of revealing what they really think about Islam or the origins of the Koran for obvious reasons (I got this from another scholar). This is hardly the sort of book you expect to see in large piles in a bookshop, except perhaps in the Bible belt of the USA. Lots of people in the world, sometimes feeling threatened by Muslims can't quite put their finger on it. I can't say that I can either, even after reading this book, except to say that I have a clearer picture of the prophet of Islam.
I think we should remember the words of Abe Lincoln in sifting through the evidence for Muhammad (You can't fool all of the people all of the time). Some of it may be false or flawed, even if many Muslims take it as a yardstick. Take the murder of Asma Bint Marwan. When Abu Afek an old gentleman around 100 years old was assassinated by one of Muhammad's supporters for having criticized the prophet of Islam, Asma was aggrieved, and also complained. Muhammad inquired: "Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?" Asma was left in a pool of blood as she slept. She was a mother, suckling her child. "Two goats won't butt their heads about this" said the prophet of Islam. In other words, the murder was insignificant and the assassin had nothing to repent for. This story appears in a number of forms but its validity is questioned.
Like so many stories about Muhammad, if people don't like the sound of them, they can question their validity. But I think there are enough stories, multiple incidents. Just one or two would have obtained for Muhammad a criminal indictment in a civilized court of law in the modern day. Even at his time, people were asking questions. Some were exiled, some were killed and some converted: they were so impressed by the brutality of the new faith that brooked no questions or opposition. Even ones parents were less important than the apostle. In one genuine act of mercy, Muhammad did not allow a son to kill his father, when he volunteered to do so as a Muslim, given his father was insulting Muhammad.
Many biographies were written in the 19th century but most modern westerners don't have a clue about the nature of Muhammad. I can't say I do even after reading this book, and I'm frightened of finding out too much. The problem is not that Muhammad was a violent man who asked unquestioning obedience and deference to his revelations coming from Allah. The problem is that support for him increased and accreted, moulding a polity and civilization that continues to generate victims to this day, including the thousands of animals slaughtered for Allah each year at Mecca.
Karen Armstrong's contribution is discussed by Spencer and since 2006 when this book was issued, even more critical works have appeared including "Understanding Muhammad" by Ali Sina. According to Sina, Muhammad was a psychopath as he was deprived of parental love at a young age and also spoiled. Spencer has no time for such speculation. His work is based on Islamic sources.
This is not a "balanced" biography, but one wonders if balanced biographies like Karen Armstrong's are not balanced in the direction of a whitewash. Armstrong's biography is more voluminous and detailed, so Spencer's contribution is quite sketchy and not especially polished.
I believe that Spencer's work will result in several new studies emerging into the popular market, to the extent that people can find out about them and buy them over the internet. Such books will not appear in academic book shops or in many libraries - they will be invariably banned in certain countries. This is why I value my copy as a record of a religious founder who inverted a common understanding of ethics.
Muhammad may be compared with Alexander the Great, Atilla the Hun or the First Emperor of China, Quin Huang, or even Mao Zedong. Unlike the other historical figures, Muhammad claimed divine sanction for all his actions - the story where his wife confirmed his prophethood sounds funny. He could see the angel Gabriel in the room while he was with her except when she stripped and chased the angel away. To this day, this is another justification for women having to cover up.
I don't think this book is as explicit as some would like it to be, neither does it offer a huge amount of context. Spencer does give sources, citations and acknowledgments and explains why he wrote the book. Mercifully the book is short and Spencer also has a section offering solutions to the problems of the violent aspects of Islam. I have personally been a bit scarred by the beheadings of people like Ken Bigley or a Nepalese hostage simply for the crime of being infidel. I think we all need to get to the bottom of some of these actions.
The most important recommendation from Spencer is a Manhattan project to find an alternative to oil. This to me is the one reason that certain strains of Islam have become so dominant recently. We've been paying them to and still continue to do so.
Perhaps Spencer could have addressed reform movements in Islam like Sufism - unfortunately, fundamentalists today even view Sufism has a form of apostacy. Can Spencer explain, why despite Muhammad's childish flaws, he seemed to succeed in the end? I don't necessarily think a second edition is needed to explore these ramifications, others will take the bait.
Apparently, in the past, Christians were violent in spite of their founder. Today, many Muslims are peaceful despite the violence of the founder of Islam - maybe we should be grateful. Examining the roots of Islam, is important in understanding the reason that Islam appears a violent religion.
Violence by itself does not frighten me, but in the rules of Islam, an Islamic man can marry a non Muslim (she'd be expected to change religion) but Islamic women can't. So the Muslim community continues to expand and grow - who is there to check the basis of their ethics and the discrimination against infidels and animals this engenders?
I don't necessarily think Spencer's book will have much impact, but I think many of us will be educated thereby. Religion has to begin from basic humanity, not submission to a destructive, malign, God. Someone start more explorations - Ibn Warraq has found a profitable niche as has Spencer (at the sacrifice of their identities or freedoms). They can't threaten to kill all of us who question Islam or perhaps, they already have. We have to defend the honor of Asma Bint Marwan, for the sake of our real or potential mothers, aunts and daughters....more info
Robert Spencer's book is not totally vacuous. He does make many points worth considering by those who are overly apologetic. However, in many ways he misses the boat. Is Christianity a religion of peace? I don't think history would bear out such an absurd statement. Religion tends to get pretty nasty- you know, us vs. them stuff. Is Judaism a religion of peace? Well, if it is, what is Israel doing right now? Has anyone read the Old Testament lately?
I truly wish that all and sundry would drop religion and become rationalists, but I highly doubt such a miracle will happen. Regardless of such a contingency, humans will continue to murder each other and go to war. Religion may justify such actions, but it is hardly necessary to get them started.
Indeed, this is the weakest part of Spencer's book. He does not rigorously link current events to the core of Islam. Yes, he tries. Clearly his examples are anecdotal and unconvincing. I could fire off fifty examples of U.S. barbarism since WW2 and tie them to Christianity, does that mean that their is a causal link? Doubtfull.
In fairness, it is to Spencer's credit that while being controversial he rarely engages in ad hominem's or unfair rhetoric. He needs to be answered in a serious manner by defenders of Islam. I think this can be done, but invective is not the way to do so.
All in all, worth a read if you have the time. If not, you are not missing too much....more info
- Should be required reading for everyone!
If you only are able to buy one book about Muhammad -- buy this one. This book gives you an honest understanding of the man Muhammad and what his life and philosophies really were. This is not right wing propaganda -- it is a brief, but razor sharp depiction of the life of Muhammad from the texts of Islam, i.e. the Quran and Hadith. You won't find empty accusations and hysteria in this book, only solid factual stories of Muhammad's life, backed up by 17 pages of citations from Islamic sources.
This book is chilling in it's frank explanations of the foundation of Islam. Spencer is very knowledgeable about Islam and the history of the religion as well as the details about the life of Muhammad from the very texts of Islam.
There are plenty of books out there on Islam and the life of Muhammad, but none more rooted in the Islamic texts themselves. Some people may not like the truthfulness of this book but they won't be able to deny it unless they are willing to argue against the very foundation of Islam, the Quran and Hadith.
It's a wakeup call that can't be refuted by anyone who is unwilling to deny the validity of the Quran. If you believe the Quran, you have no choice but to concede to truth about Muhammad in Spencer's book.
Buy it. Make everyone you know read it. I bought multiple copies to give out to key people in my community and I recommend you all do the same....more info
- The spread of Hate in the west
I read the book and I read the reviews. The only thing that both show is the amount of hatred that people have. I even left a review several weeks ago and it was removed!!
While there were few facts in this book, the myths inserted in every page is very clear.
If you want to learn about people's history, read history books not the criticizm of their ENEMY.
Islam has more respect for Jesus and Moses than a lot of Christians....more info
- Great book true eye opener!
This is a very good book about what the religon of Islam is all about. Also, judging from the negative remarks given here by the Muslims, it can only reaffirm what Mr. Spencer was saying...more info
- A very good awakening book
Thank you Robert for this awakening book for the western world, which I hope many people will recognize and understand, especially the blind and coward policymakers. The Muslims have, are, and will always be on a quest to concur the world and today we're seeing it clearly how every single one of them living among us is nothing but a provoker to their clans' invasion.
Islam, was, is, and will never be a religion, but its a faith of the devil himself. Everything in it is sinful and evil, nothing holy and definitely nothing peaceful in it.
My predictions are that the western world is on the verge of falling to Islam, and first country to fall will be France and followed by England, Spain, and then it will be a chain of reaction for the rest of Europe.
I believe, close relationships with the Russians are very necessary as they understand Islam MUCH more than the liberal Europeans and Americans. Unleash Russia to clear the world from Muslims and Islam.
Always take the Middle East as a reminder and a great example to the rest of the world, where it used to be the cradle of Christianity and great civilizations and look what Islam did to it, started from a dot in Saudi Arabia and look where the Muslim world is today after 1400 years.
Shame on any Westerner and policymaker who defends Islam and thinks it is a peaceful religion. Let the Russians do what they do best and that's cleansing the world of Islam, that's the ONLY hope this world has to live in peace and harmony and not to fall for Islam as the rest of the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia have fallen....more info
- Excellent companion piece to The Al Qaeda Reader
Robert Spencer is a brave man. Seemingly the rest of the world insists that Islam is a religion of peace and that terrorists--like those that flew planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center--have hijacked an essentially peaceful religion, a religion building on centuries of its peaceful Judaic and Christian forerunners. This view is pervasive, and Spencer dares to contradict it.
What Spencer aims to do with his book is outline the theological basis on which groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban operate. His findings are damning--rather than radical theological hijackers, Spencer shows that terrorist groups have a firm, easily defensible foundation in the example--the sunna--of Muhammad himself. Spencer accomplishes this using solely Muslim sources, including the Koran, the ahadith (the sayings of Muhammad, as opposed to the Koran, which is the divine words of Allah Himself), the sunna, and the corpus of historically authoritative Islamic theologians, the ulema. The portrait of the Prophet that emerges is not a pretty one.
If Spencer skews his view, hammering home the negative examples of the Prophet's life at the expense of Muhammad's good traits, he does so because he is not attempting to write a definitive biography of Muhammad. Rather, he has selectively chosen his material to show that all the terrible actions of modern Islamic terrorists have some solid grounding in the deeds of their supreme example himself. That Muhammad did sometimes preach peace and tolerance (of a sort, provided infidels pay the jizya) goes unsaid. Spencer is proving that Islam is just as much a religion of warfare as it is of peace.
Which is where Raymond Ibrahim's Al Qaeda Reader comes in. I recommend Spencer's book in addition to the former, as the two have a great deal in common. Where Spencer details the less than sterling example Muhammad has provided to today's terrorists, Ibrahim allows today's terrorists to speak for themselves--and they make precisely the arguments for jihad, the subjugation of women and the murder of innocents that can be found in Spencer's book.
Whether or not you read this book along with Ibrahim's, The Truth About Muhammad is a terrible but enlightening look at one of the most important figures of world history.
Highly recommended....more info
- Politically Incorrect
New York Times bestselling author and Islam expert Robert Spencer offers an honest and telling portrait of the founder of Islam. This is not a politically-correct recounting of Mohammad's life and teachings....more info
- The Koran and the U.S. Constitution are COMPLETELY INCOMPATIBLE
U.S. Constitution vs. Koran
The preamble of the U.S.Constitution states the reasons why the Constitution was written.
The Constitution of the United States of America says
""We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.""
The Koran, in Muhammad's own words says
1. In speaking of those who fight Moslems, in the book called "The Cow" [2.191] the Koran says ""and kill them wherever you find them""
2. In speaking of those who disbelieve Islam, in the book called "The Women - [4.89] the Koran says ""They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them""
3. In speaking of those who advocate abandonment of Islam, in the book called "The Women - 4.91, the Koran says "" You will find others who desire that they should be safe from you and secure from their own people..... then seize them and kill them wherever you find them; and against these We have given you a clear authority.""
Having the Koran as their "Holy" book says that those who follow it
can not possibly be Americans because the Koran mandates murder and the Constitution is written to "..... ensure domestic tranquility....".
That ends for me all the discussions about the Koran and Mohammad. The koran and mohammad are NOT compatible with the United States of America. Period.
Furthermore, the Congressman Ellison of the 5th district of Minnesota stated that he would swear his Congressional oath of office on the Koran, thereby performing a complete and utterly conflicted act.
He also claims that "the US Founding Fathers knew about the Koran" when in fact there is no such record of our founders knowing anything about the Koran until Jefferson bought one in 1797, ( eight years after the Constitution was adopted ) to understand why the Moslem pirates off the North African coast were attacking American merchant ships.
So, any Moslem claim that islam is a religion that should be afforded Constitutional protections is totally outside the founding fathers' intents because all of their knowledge and experience was based on the Judeo Christian ethic. Moslems it seems will tell any lie to further their islamic beliefs, when according to US history islam is NOT a religion.
( I contend that if any of the founding fathers had known anything about the Koran they would have written specific exceptions about it into the Constitution. But they didn't know about islam, so it's not mentioned in the Constitution or the Declaration.)
United States Constitution: http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/constitution.html
The Koran: http://www.hti.umich.edu/k/koran/simple.html
- Essential Reading
Spencer's Book, The Truth About Mohammad, is essential reading for anyone who would like the truth about the Prophet. This is a book about how Mohammad developed Islam, from what Spencer states "convenient revelations". If the reader wants a clear understanding of the intentions of Muslim's who believe in the strickest form of Islam, this is the book to read. The reader will have a very different view of Islam, from what many claim to be the religion of compassion. ...more info
- Twisted Verbage Couldn't Be Farther From The Truth
The author did not miss an opportunity to twist the meaning and in some instances the actual words being detailed and referred to as in the Qur'an as well as from other sources. Not surprised, because the author is not a scholar of Islam nor of Arabic that would be required to conduct the research he claims. This book couldn't be farther from the truth!
For an excellent, well sourced and researched text about Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, The Final Messenger of Allah (God), peace be upon him, please read Muhammad His Life Based on the Earliest Sources by Martin Lings.
Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources...more info
- More People Should Know About Islam
If more people outside of Islam knew the origins of Islam, the true history of its founder and what Islam's plan for the world is, they would not be agreeing with those who state that Islam is a religion of peace.
I find it fascinating that most Muslims do not truly know the origins of this hate-filled religion. Most have not even read their own Quran, simply leaving it to their clerics to tell them what it says and what it means! What is this, the Dark Ages? For Islam and its followers, apparently.
Muhammad's history as presented by Spencer is accurate and anyone who truly wants to know about Muhammad can do exactly what Spencer did to learn the truth.
It is reprehensible that under Islamic law, women should be packaged in shrouds when out in public. Please, do not insult my intelligence by trying to tell me that you love your women so fully that you are actually showing them respect! It is rephrensible that supposedly "peaceful" Muslims do not, nor will not decry the murdering rampages of the equally supposed militant extremists.
The facts about Islam are undeniable. Ultimately, proponents and believers of Islam see Islam as becoming the dominant one-world religion. Nothing else will be tolerated and the choice will be given to convert or be executed.
The people here who fail to believe Spencer, choosing instead to go by Armstrong, who is nothing more than a puppet, do so to their own peril.
There is nothing in the Quran or the Hadith that endeavors to engender love, or compassion on anyone OUTSIDE of Islam. In fact, for any Muslim who becomes what would be considered an apostate or infidel, their punishment is the same.
We have warring factions of Islamic believers running rampant all over this world and Islam has YET to prove that it is a religion of peace.
Anyone who KNOWS Muhammad's history would find it incredible to believe that one whose hands were so personally bloodied by murder and carnage could possibly create a religion in which its alleged chief proponent is peace. Muhammad and peace are diametrically opposed to one another and any peace that IS extended is ONLY extended to devout Muslim MEN, and that is tenuous at best.
Wake up folks! Anyone who believes the lie that Islam is peaceful either has their head in the sand, or they are unwilling to notice that the sword hanging in the air above them, is poised for their neck!
Thank you, Robert Spencer, for taking the risk necessary to write this book!!...more info
- The Truth about why Islam is dangerous
If you want to read an honest, detailed account of the prophet Muhammad's life and learn why Islam is what it is today, read this book. It tells it all and does not pull punches. ...more info
- Truth Conquers All
Robert Spencer has pulled out all stops to expose the truth about Muhammad. This is not for the faint hearted or people living in denial or who belive that all is merry and wonderful (The 70+ reviewers that have derated this book). A must read for everyone who's interested in knowing more about Islamofacism and the threat it poses to the Western Democratic free societies. Robert Spencer does not sugar coat Muhammad's hatred of the Jews and the Christians. Spencer is a real sandblaster and it is evident from his extensive research of the religion. A Must Read!...more info
This book uses little factual proof behind the claims that the author makes. Dont waste your money on this book. This guy is just showing his anti-muslim sentiment.
This book is an attempt to demonize Islam, maybe the author wanted a quick buck (I guess Islamophobia is profitable these days), but he has no degree in History, Theology, or Islamic studies.
If you want to learn about Islam really people talk or read a book by a Muslim, and not a Christian/Jewish person, who has personal problems with Islam....more info
I can only feel compassion for the author of this book. If he and his fans claim to be Christian, I feel deep sorrow for your souls. Instead of spreading hate for other religion, you should learn more about your own.
I have a passage from the Bible for you, and your followers and it is not about hating Christianity:
Mathew 7:16 says: "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs thistles, are they?
I guess we can assume that a hate book is all you can produce. How sad....more info
First of all , excuse my poor writting ..
Sometimes i read a countless sources on one subject not to learn but to
prove my own point of view .. now when i read history i try with all that
i can to not do this ! because it is wrong and it will not let me learn
anything exept my own biased point of view ..
I was so disappointment that Mr.Spencer had fallin into this trap .. He
was so " intolerant " about mohammad ..
i don't recommend that book for anyone who want to read a true history .....more info
- Great book, well rsearched
This is a great book, well researched! I cross referenced lots of the facts, to discover they all true! That "peace loving religion" is the biggest lie we have to deal with. It's hard to believe Muslim hold Muhamad as the greatest of all time, one who beheaded 800-900 people HIMSELF. No wonder today fanatics doing the same, they believe they're doing a religious duty, just as Muhammad did, You'll find a lot more shocking, historically accurate details, and who Muhammad really was and what he stood for. Please........more info
- An Examined Analysis of Muhammed's Life & Influence
This will easily be a controversial book, for Spencer pulls no punches. He seeks to examine only the primary sources regarding the life of Muhammad: the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the Sira.
From these he extracts that Muhammad pretty much "on the fly" was changing up the revelations he was receiving from Allah about such matters as tolerance of unbelievers, violence and booty, etc. Over the centuries then, this has created, in Spencer's opinion, the current situation where the vast majority of Muslim leaders look to Muhammad's life to imitate in jihad, violence, etc. He provides over five pages of contemporary examples where in the media Muhammad's example was expressed as the inspiration for aggressive, non-tolerant actions. He admits" "most Western government and law enforcement officials would dismiss all this and similar examples as manifestations of the twisting or hijacking of Islam. But we have seen that all the words and deeds of Muhammad to which the jihadists refer are amply attested in early Islamic traditions. Nor is there a wealth of material in those traditions offering a radically different view of Muhammad." He provides a list of what could be done by non-Muslim governments, but this is not a likely path for politicians to ponder implementing.
Luther's analysis here is poignant: Islam is deficient not only theologically, but treatment of two other important areas of living, i.e. family and government.
This book is a well done historiography of Muhammad, but will not sit well with those who wish to whitewash Muhammad's biography and early Islamic history, and thus they point to more liberal sources, such as Karen Armstrong's work. It by comparison draws more from liberal sources than the primary ones Spencer limits himself to. We live in a culture that wants to believe the best about everything, with the possible exception of authentic, historic Christianity. Spencer rightly points out major historical controversial point of was Jesus crucified or an impostor, as Islam purports. Investigation into primary historical sources here is telling.
Spencer should be read and considered by fair, open minds searching for historical Muhammad and early Islam.
- Unvarnished truth
Robert is a very brave man to write this book. It will explain to you so much about what's happening in the world today. Robert shows how the modern day terrorist is being 100% completely orthodox in their religion. Terrorist are rightly viewed as evil murderers, but Spencer shows how their evil acts are in total agreement with what Muhammad taught in the koran. This is very revealing and required reading for anyone who is a lover of truth. ...more info
- Intolerant Islam and child molesting "prophet"
Please read this book and others like it that expose Islam as a destructive belief system and Muhammad (Damnation Be Unto Him) as a delusional child molester whose followers are incapable of accepting or recognizing the falsehood of their beliefs....more info
- Worst pile of biased garbage I've ever read.
Nothing could be further from the truth than the lies of this highly opinionated and exceptionally biased book. If you want to the learn the truth this will set you back quite a bit. The authors picks and chooses small segments of truth and puts them together in order to prove his own point (it's similar to when late night shows edit some video to make something that never happened). It's similar to taking a statement like "There's no God but Allah" and saying muslims believe "There is no God..." This is what he has done. Go read what some non-muslim scholars have said about Prophet Muhammad or watch documentaries and find out why 20,000 americans are joining islam annually. Find out why islam is the largest religion in the world (with over a billion followers). Just because there are a bunch of terrorist, serial killer, brainwashed, ignorant people who call themselves muslim are going around killing innocent people that should not have any reflection on Islam. No muslim in the world considers these people muslim (in fact most of these people are Wahabbis - a religion fabricated by the British Government in the early 20th century). Calling all muslims terrorists is the same as blaming the actions of one christian on all of christianity. What intellectual person would do that? ...more info
- Exploitation of History
Spencer has become very important to the public discourse because he writes so much on Islam he has created an `authority' in the field in the eyes of the non-specialist who knows no better, or the polemicist who shares his views (as is evident in the reviews on this page). While his background is not at all in Islamic studies (his master's thesis was on "Christological controversies of the early Church"), nor does he even understand Arabic, much less Islamic lexicon, he has become a quasi-academic, producing what he purports to be true, unbiased historical accounts of Islamic history, theology, and theory.
Unfortunately for the non-specialist reader, Spencer's method in handling the Islamic sources that bring him to his conclusions betrays a flagrant exploitation, undercutting his argument. Instead he establishes a pattern of manipulation, which brings the reader to certain conclusions that Spencer's already determined ideology has set up. This is wholly inconsistent with a true rendering of the sources, and shows a limited academic rigor in producing his thesis.
Spencer has also become popular because, to his non-specialist audience, he is successful in his articulation. He uses Muslim sources consistently and many of these sources, in their context, can be particularly violent. Whether he is quoting from English translations of the Qur'an, hadith, various biographical Muslim sources on the Prophet Muhammad, Muslim writers, or historical Muslim treatises, Spencer is using what he claims to be 'truths' from the Muslim tradition. Instead of only using examples of conflicts today to prove Islam is violent, he believes he is strengthening this argument by using the Muslim traditions to assert his basic thesis: Muhammad and his message to the world (Allah's Islam), has set the example for extremist, militant (and all) Muslims to model their behavior after.
Put simply, there is no static and homogenized Islam that Spencer, or anyone else, can use to define what Islam 'is'. In fact all discursive traditions do aspire to be homogeneous, but this attainment is extremely problematic due as much to the restrictions of political and economic conditions in which the traditions are placed, as to their inherent limitations. Islamic homogeneity of the kind Spencer paints is almost impossible to legitimize considering the social forces that have come into play during Islamic history. As Asad wrote once back in the 80's: "'the world of Islam' is a concept for organizing historical narrative, not the name for a self-contained collective agent". But Spencer demands that a reading of the Islamic sources therefore defines Muslims around the world, and throughout world history, to be the uncritical followers of Muhammad's life. While he frequently acknowledges "reformers", or "moderates", of Islam to try and prove he does not believe all Muslims to be bad, he consistently shows that there can be no argument within Muslim perceptions of what Islam means. According to Spencer, no matter what is attempted, Muslims never have been able to, nor will ever be able to, subvert the example of their "warrior prophet" and lead a life of peace while simultaneously following the sacred texts.
The idea that a Muslim may not be following in Muhammad's footsteps when he decides to cause massive casualties through suicide bombing is a concept that would never be present in Spencer's writings. There is not one reference to Muslim political agency and how the detailed interconnections between power relations with the modern West, and emotional response to this power can affect a Muslim combatant's maneuvers. Instead, for Spencer, it is the violence of Muhammad who guides him to shed the blood of the non-Muslim, from whom he has been commanded, via the founding texts, to war against for eternity. Complicated historical spaces in which there is a circle of violence perpetrated by all sides continually is a concept that Spencer refuses to grasp as his ability to look in the mirror and reflect on the mistakes of his perfect "post-Christian" Western World. This is not to say that the West is responsible in entirety, but to say that Western actions throughout history are part of the problem.
Spencer's methodological fouls and dishonest manipulation of both historical sources and today's political climate proves the unreliability of his quasi-academic literature, and is, what I call, a true exploitation of history. One must distance oneself from not only this narrow view, but from the belief that is popularized in the complacent public discourse of our liberal societies, and begin to think deeply concerning the fact that Islam cannot be defined as concise, and also think about the implication that the relationship of power that our liberal societies have to the so-assumed uncivilized peoples of the Islamic World.
I had to give a star only to submit this review, but to all Spencer's works on Islam, coming from a non-apologist, non-Muslim, specialist on Islam, NO STARS. The best non-apologetic books on the Prophet of Islam are M. Rodinson's, Muhammad: The Prophet of Islam, (NY, 2002) [a more traditional scholar], or (my personal favorite) F. E. Peters, Muhammad and the Origins of Islam.
Here's an annotated version of a reading list I've compiled on Islamic studies if you want to read more rigorously researched studies about Islamic origins, Islam in general, Political Islam, or Muhammad, and shed the polemics of Spencer for peer-tested intellectual deduction:
General Works on Islamic Civilization from Origins (7th c.)
The most outstanding overviews of Arab and Islamic history is in three concise volumes. Marshall G. S. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam: Conscience and History in a World Civilization, 3 vols., (Chicago, 1974). He places Islam within a global context and his work is one of the most stimulating and challenging explorations of Islamic history ever written. He is particularly sensitive to religious and literary issues, and to the existential meanings of Islamic discourses. Ira M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, (New York, 2002), explores the shaping of Islamic civilization in all Islamic regions from the time of the Prophet to today. Albert Hourani's, A History of the Arab Peoples, (Cambridge, MA, 1991), treats the entire Arab world, emphasizing the development of social patterns and institutions. An additional survey of all the Islamic regions is John Orbert Voll's Islam: Continuity and Change in the Modern World, (Boulder, 1982), where he concentrates more on the period after 1800.
Obviously the Qur'an is the essential foundation for any understanding of Islam and its rise. Before reading it I suggest Michael Sells', Approaching the Qur'an, 2nd ed., (New York, 2007), where you also get a CD to hear Qur'anic recitations in context. After that introduction I like the translation from al-Qur'an, tr. Ahmed Ali, (Princeton, 1993) or the contemporary one by Rashad Khalifa. But the nonspecialist should read Fazlur Rahman's exegesis, Major Themes of the Quran, (Minneapolis, 1989), along with Jane Dammen McAualiffe, et. al., The Cambridge Companion to the Qur'an, (NY, 2006), during their exploration through the Qur'an. On Islam particularly, the best I've read is Fazlur Rahman's Islam, 2nd ed. (Chicago, 2002), but a better introduction might be Malise Ruthvan's Islam in the World, (NY, 2006), where she is good at discussing the impact of Islamic doctrines on patterns of living. Despite its inappropriate title, H. A. R. Gibb, Muhammedanism, 2nd ed., (NY, 1970), remains useful. For biographies on the Prophet, rather than picking up the earliest biography (800+ pp.), Ibn Ishaq, edited by Ibn Hisham, Life of Muhammad, translated by A. Guillaume, (NY, 2002), which was written by collecting up all of the traditions in the 2nd century after his death, one should read M. Rodinson's, Muhammad: The Prophet of Islam, (NY, 2002) [a more traditional scholar], or (my personal favorite) F. E. Peters, Muhammad and the Origins of Islam, (Albany, 1994). The best contemporary biography by a Muslim author is Martin Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, (Rochester, VT, 2006). Because the issue of sources for the early period is complicated, a must read is Fred Donner, Narratives of Islamic Origins: The Beginnings of Islamic Historical Writing, (Princeton, 1998), in order to understand the context of all of these surveys mentioned above.
The chronological underpinnings of the first 900 years of Middle Eastern Islamic history are provided by Hugh Kennedy, The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates: The Islamic Near East from the Sixth to the Eleventh Century, 2nd ed., (New Haven, 2004), and look for a general-reader book coming out soon by Fred Donner on the first 800 years of Islam. Additionally, the complexities of the interactions between Arab Islam and the conquered territories is described by Donner in The Early Islamic Conquests, 2nd ed. (NY, 2008). The development of the shari'a (Islamic law) is best described by Wael Hallaq, Origins and Evolutions of Islamic Law, (NY, 2005), and also by Noel J. Coulson, A History of Islamic Law, 2nd ed. (Edinburgh, 1994). The most comprehensive survey on Shi'ism, whether on the religious features, institutions, or history is Moojan Momen, An Introduction to Shi'i Islam: The History and Doctrines of Twelver Shi'ism, (New Haven, 1994). On Sufism the classic reference is Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, (Chapel Hill, NC, 1978). Arguably the best survey of the role of woman in the history of Islamic society is Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate, (New Haven, 1993), placing the development of the status of Muslim women within the wider context of pre-Islamic Near Eastern practices and traditions rather than excepting the "because of Islam" theory.
On Political Islam
In order to truly understand the genealogy of what is going on in the Muslim world, particularly in regards to maximalist Islamist violence, it is important to start from the beginning of, what's been termed, the salafi movement. Mawdudi in India was the originator of a transnational concept of Islamic revival in Syed Vali Reza Nasr, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism, (NY, 1996). Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 1898-1939, (Cambridge, 1983), discusses the foundations to the ideological roots of the Islamist movements of the early 20th c. in the Arab world. Richard P. Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers, (Oxford, 1993) is still the most comprehensive study on the Egyptian movement, who's ideological foundations have caused the splinter between the violent Islamic movements of today, and the political party currently struggling for legal status, and political legitimacy in Egypt. The movement's ideology went from Hassan al-Bannah to influence from Sayyid Qutb and Gilles Kepel, Muslim Extremism in Egypt, (Berkeley, 1985) maps this evolution well. Albert Bergeson, The Sayyid Qutb Reader, (NY, 2007) covers his ideas well, through Qutb's own writings, bringing us to the roots of radical Islamist reactionist violence. More analysis of his ideas are Olivier Carr¨¦, Mysticism and Politics: A Critical Reading of Fi Zilal al-Qur'an by Sayyid Qutb, (NY, 2003) and (a highly theoretical, yet excellent) Roxane Euben, Enemy in the Mirror. Islamic Fundamentalism and the Limits of Modern Rationalism, (Princeton, 2003). For an understanding of Islam, in regards to social movement theory, Carrie Rosefsky-Wickham, Mobilizing Islam: Religion, Activism and Political Change in Egypt, (NY, 2002). Discussing the North African experiment with political Islamism is Mansour Moaddel, Islamic Modernism, Nationalism and Fundamentalism: Episode and Discourse, (Chicago, 2005) and Francois Burgat, The Islamic Movement in North Africa, (Austin, TX, 1993). And Olivier Roy, The Failure of Political Islam, (NY, 1994) may have been premature, but is insightful to understand Islamism as a movement. Connecting Arabic Islamic origins with the movements of today, Nazih Ayubi, Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World, (NY, 1993), and Emmanuel Sivan, Radical Islam: Medieval Theology and Modern Politics, (New Haven, 1985) also reveals ideological genealogy, leading to the modern movements. A look at al-Qaeda from Burgat, Islamism in the Shadow of al-Qaeda, (Austin, TX, 2008) is enlightening as well.
Anthropological investigations into Islamism are some of the most exciting investigations today, with one of the best, Dale F. Eickelman and James Piscatori, Muslim Politics, 2nd ed. (Princeton, 2004), which brings out the richness and diversity of the political experiences of Muslims from different regions. Also Henry Munson, Islam and Revolution in the Middle East, (New Haven, 1989). Some of the best ethnographies on political Islamic revival include Charles Hirschkind, The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics, (NY, 2006), Saba Mahmood, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject, (Princeton, 2005), and Lara Deeb, An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi'i Lebanon, (Princeton, 2006). And on modern, activist, intellectual, "progressive", liberal Islamic reform thinking Omid Safi, Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism, (Oxford, 2003) and Charles Kurzman, Liberal Islam: A Source Book, (NY, 1998) provide great essays, writings, and speeches by reformist Muslims of the last century, and this moment.
On discussing violence in the Middle East and in Islam there are many great books that aren't whacky, or misguided by polemics. To look at the history of jihad scholarship in Islamic history, and the idea of martyrdom, David Cook, Martyrdom in Islam: Themes in Islamic History, (NY, 2003) and Richard Bonney, Jihad: From Qur'an to bin Laden, (NY, 2004). In Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, (Cambridge, MA, 2002) the argument is that contemporary jihad is mostly a reflection of the violent movements' failures. While the path in Faisal Devji, Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity, (NY, 2005) is quite odd, how he is trying to understand what he deems as "The Jihad" is interesting, and the book is creative. A couple books trying to get at the 'why' of suicide bombings are Diego Gambetta, Making Sense of Suicide Mission, (NY, 2006), which tries to dive into the mind (something rather hard), and Robert Pape, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Bombing, (NY, 2006), which sees suicide bombing resistance as a consequence of occupation (this is the academic discourse the federal government is enlisting in the most as Pape has spoken to dozens of government agencies about his thesis and research)....more info
- Exellent Work Both Logical and Accessible While Scholarly
This is the best of the books in recent years on Islam and Muhammad.
Now, it's true that the entire world in the seventh century was very different from how it is today, and our post-black-plague view of the value of the individual, and our twentieth century experience thanks to medicine, that people just don't die often or young, is a set of experiences whose cause we take for granted. It was a brutal, ignorant and cruel world. So, we cannot look at Muhammad through today's eyes. He was a man of his place and time.
While I'm at it, I don't think Spencer's opinions should be a suprise. Moses was an awful person, if what we've been able to piece together is true. Muhammad was far worse, and that evidence is far less difficult to validate. Jesus of Nazareth embraced poverty and motivated a peasantry to help topple the prosperity created by the order of the Roman empire and assisted in driving Europe into a millenium of darkness. Buddha, who gives comfort to millions, invented a godless religion to which his descendents added gods, myths and the punishments of hell - and doomed them to everlasting poverty.
None of these people is someone to admire, and Muhammed the least admirable. If the only measure of a philosophy is the economic status of it's adherents, then all these people are essentially selling abdication of reason and effort in exchange for endemic poverty.
Muhammed is just the most recent addition to the list and he is the most intolerant, antagonistic and viscious. It's too bad we can't have Zeus again - even if he was an awful god to worship. However, Spencer shows that what current voices of Islam state is not true. It is a religion of ignorance and violence because it's author was a man of ignorance and violence. And all violence is not equal in measure. Alexander's conquest was to bring something else altogether to the world, and had he lived and written his memoirs it would have perhaps been a better "book" to study than that of all the monotheists combined.
Spencer does a wonderful job, especially in the first few chapters, of creating a human being we can all understand, and judge. And it is judge that we should.
- The Scariest Thing I've Ever Read
An amazing, frightening book. Spencer's writing makes this an easy read. I've already read it twice. Wake up, America!...more info
- The Truth About Muhammad - it should scare the crap out of you
Hard to read, but scary all the same. No wonder the world is so full of hate. ...more info
- Scary Scary Stuff!!
Ever argue with someone re the disgusting violence, sexism, and racism contained in the Koran only to have them say "where does it say THAT?" or "Have you ever read the Koran?" Well, read this book and you can answer them. Although "The Truth about Muhammad" only contains excerpts, they are well CITED and discussed in both ancient and modern context. After reading this book the primary thought I had is that, similar to what Christians did by creating the "New Testament," thus toning down a lot of violent ideas that are not remotely consonant with our era, Muslims NEED to do the same thing ASAP! That is create a "New Koran," toning way down the violence and hate - thus depriving radicals of their toxic justifications for mass murder. Also, at the same time, possibly making the best parts of this book more accessible to non-Muslims. However, I see no hint of this happening, perhaps it will take a mushroom cloud....more info
- The Most Intolerant thing is...
I'm so thankful for the so called "author" of this "book" because he did Muslims a big favor, by showing how ignorant of Islam, the Quran and Prophet Muhammad he is. I guess he got his education from FOX news while eating popcorn in his apartment or out of blogs that are filled with Zionist people claiming to be Muslims. Judging 1.6 Billion people to be on the wrong path and a religion that is been for more than 14 centuries is a clear sign of the kind of irrelevant knowledge the "author" has. Jihad in Arabic mean conflict not holy war as most ignorant people think. Please before you buy any of this rubbish/ books try to get some information that is right. Prophet Muhammad is The Greatest man that ever walked the earth he always has and always will be and as the saying goes: "the dogs will bark, but the caravan will proceed". The Most Intolerant thing in this book is the "author".. Peace to All including Spencer!!...more info