Tag Archive for: Muhammad: A Critical Biography

Muhammad — A Critical Biography: ‘A groundbreaking work that will revolutionize the popular understanding of Muhammad’

Muhammad: What can we really know about him?

We know a great deal about Muhammad—or so it seems. Islamic tradition contains an astonishing wealth of information about the founding figure of the Islamic faith, and most historians take for granted that this material is generally reliable.

In his latest book, historian and Islamic scholar Robert Spencer shows that there is no agreement in the earliest Islamic sources about the most fundamental details of this towering figure’s life. There are conflicting accounts of key details of his life, including the circumstances and contents of the first revelation he claimed to have received from Allah; the year of his birth; the length of his prophetic career; the name of the angel who supposedly appeared to him; and even his own name.

Muhammad: A Critical Biography takes a detailed look at the Islamic traditions regarding Muhammad and lays bare their contradictions, inconsistences, and incoherence. Spencer continues the groundbreaking research he began in The Truth About Muhammad and Did Muhammad Exist?, exposing the shocking reality of how shaky Islam’s foundations really are. He meticulously explains why competing traditions may have been invented and definitively demonstrates that, contrary to the complacency of establishment historians, the Muhammad of Islam is more legend than history, more fable than fact.

Muhammad: A Critical Biography does the work that mainstream academics—who are either bought by Saudi Arabia or Qatar, or too afraid to depart from the herd—should have done long ago. Not for the faint-hearted, this book will do nothing less than rock the Islamic world to its very core.

“Ernest Renan famously claimed that Islam emerged in the ‘full light of history.’ Spencer’s startling non-biography biography finds quite the reverse. When it comes to Muhammad’s life, ‘we appear to have precise and detailed historical information, but what we actually have is myth, fable, folk tales, sermonizing, factionalism, and guesswork.’ This fascinating book by an accomplished scholar establishes that, in place of Muhammad’s supposedly minutely detailed biography, from birth to death ‘what he said and did, and who he really was, is … thoroughly lost in the mists of time.’ This has immense implications for Islam – and the world.” (Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum)

“Robert Spencer’s Muhammad: A Critical Biography offers not just an overview of the singular life of the founder of the Islamic religion; it is also a unique evaluation of the historical value of the traditions regarding Muhammad’s life that most historians take for granted as being historically accurate. Spencer demonstrates that virtually every aspect of what Islamic tradition teaches about Muhammad, including the circumstances of his first revelation, the identity of the being who appeared to him, and even the Islamic prophet’s very name, is controverted by other Islamic traditions. He proves definitively that the accounts of Muhammad’s life, which he examines in detail, are not historical records, but the product of mythical and legendary development, with the renowned aspects of Muhammad’s biography being the result of selection from a great mass of material rather than of remembrance by his contemporaries. This is a groundbreaking work that will revolutionize the popular understanding of the figure of Muhammad and the circumstances of Islam’s origins.” (Ibn Warraq, author, The Quest for the Historical Muhammad)

“The always brave Robert Spencer offers his readers once again an amazing opportunity to look at the history of Muhammad — and the stories that have been told about him — in a thought-provoking manner. Spencer is a genius and this book historical. What is simply accepted by many as the historical truth, deserves further consideration. How trustworthy can a narrative be that was written decades and sometimes even centuries later? This paragon of critical literature shows that not everything always has to be accepted at face value, especially when the consequences of what is said and written can be disastrous. This book a must read for anyone interested in the truth.” (Geert Wilders, Party for Freedom, Netherlands)

“What an amazing book! This was such a joy to read, and with all the ‘marking-up’ I’ve done with it, I’ll be using it for decades to come. This latest book studies the biography of Muhammad’s life through the prism of historical criticism, something which has never really been done adequately before, possibly due to the controversy such an endeavor will cause any author who dares take on such a task (something Spencer is well accustomed to and refers to in his closing statements). Yet because this book is so unique, it will, I believe, be foundational for anyone who wants to really understand who this man Muhammad was (or was not), and why so many millions in the world today choose to follow him. This is certainly a ‘must have’ book for your library, not only because it is so interesting and readable, but because Spencer has taken the time to amalgamate the best research by the best scholars, and put them all into one book.” (Dr. Jay Smith, Pfander Films)

“Robert Spencer has once again produced a scholarly tour de force. Muhammad: A Critical Biography is a searching enquiry of the earliest islamic texts pertaining to the ostensible prophet of Islam, demonstrating that these are not and cannot be viewed as first-hand historical sources, but at best as posterior apocryphal hagiography. He perspicuously shows their many contradictions, disparities, and sundry inconsistencies. This book is an accessible yet thorough and comprehensive introduction to the overwhelming difficulties that the early Islamic literary traditions present to those wishing to discover the authentic words and deeds of this towering yet mysterious persona who even so remains firmly enshrouded in the shadows of lore.” (Prof. Robert M. Kerr, Research Director, Inârah Institute for Research on Early Islamic History and the Qur’an, Saarbrücken, Germany)


Muhammad: A Critical Biography, will be out October 22, and is available for preorder now: click here.


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