Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This is cool: Muhammad Who?

So a professor in Germany, a Muslim convert nonetheless, blares out that Muhammad never existed, and naturally, some people are miffed.

I, for one, am intrigued: there's something to the theory. I don't think it is as valid as saying that Old Testament prophets were not real historical actors, or that Jesus was a composite of several persons, but still, there's plenty about Muhammad's story that doesn't add up.

Of course, there was someone who got this ball called Islam rolling in Mecca some fourteen centuries ago, but it's about time to subject this character to the non-PC intensity of historical inquiry in the Arabic language.

First things first, I was quite young when I figured out that this fellow's name could not have been Muhammad bin Abdullah. To start with, he had all sorts of other names too: Ahmad, Mahmoud, Amin, Mustafa, Taha, ...etc. And it would have been too neat to call his father "Abdullah" ("worshipper of Allah") and his mother "Aamineh" ("pious one")...these were merely descriptives.

Second, Islam has a bipolar syndrome that's never been adequately explained and that continues to spin off splinter sects: a Meccan period characterized as pseudo-Judaic and "Nasrani" (...whatever that supposedly meant at the time to the people of the Hejaz), and a period in Media, where the religion turns Manichean, probably due to the influence of Salman the Persian.

I've only read the critiques of Crone/Cook's book Hagarism, but their controversial and much-maligned foray seems to have been in the right direction.

Plus, the whispered Shia assertions that even verses from the Koran have been edited out suggest that at various points the early history of Islam has been radically rewritten.

So let's open the sewer lids, folks, and let's see what roams within. But chances are that this sort of stuff won't get discussed at the MESA conference next week.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy oh boy I can hear the fatwas coming now. ;) Solo

5:16 PM, November 16, 2008

 
Blogger bg said...

++

[I don't think it is as valid as saying that Old Testament prophets were not real historical actors, or that Jesus was a composite of several persons, but still, there's plenty about Muhammad's story that doesn't add up.]

you think those claims are valid, but not
MO's possible no show?? Bwahahahaha!!

==

8:24 PM, November 16, 2008

 
Blogger bg said...

++

[There must be a free discussion of Islam"]

Amen..

i'm sick of Islams "one way street" religion..

==

8:47 PM, November 16, 2008

 
Anonymous John in Michigan, USA said...

It is remarkable how miserable Middle Eastern studies continues to be. I imagine this topic will be mostly verboten, although here and there there are a few cracks showing.

10:57 PM, November 16, 2008

 
Anonymous Kafir said...

The best part is that he is a Shiite, the sect that believes in the descendants of Mohammad.

To all middle easterners: Unless they're girding for war, we in the West don't take the Germans seriously. This is why.

6:26 AM, November 17, 2008

 
Blogger Don Cox said...

Your problem is that much of the evidence has been destroyed. One thing is clear to me: the Quran is compiled from notes made from memory by followers, and is likely to be as accurate a version of what Mohammed actually said as any student's lecture notesor exam answers, compared to what the lecturer actually said. (The records of what Jesus said are even less reliable, whereas for St Paul we have good first-hand documents.)

6:29 AM, November 17, 2008

 
Blogger Jaguar b. p. said...

The Qur2an is direct speech of god in Arabic, unlike the bible Americans know which is translated into redneck

2:26 PM, November 19, 2008

 

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