It’s a rough google translation of the piece, but it’s readable. Congrats to Fjordman for finally being treated by the Norwegian media in a respectful way, contrary to the smear and demonization he has experienced over the past 11 months by them.
Did Muhammad exist?
The traditional story of Muhammad and his life has many holes and inconsistencies.
OFF: TheTherapists Jensen Alias Fjordman
The American writer Robert Spencer has recently published a book with the provocative title “Did Muhammad Exist?” Did Muhammad, Islam’s founder, over the head around? This seemingly silly question is now actually asked by a growing number of credible scientists, which is both important and appropriate.
Personally I doubt whether Islam can be reformed, but to the extent that this should be theoretically possible, Islam’s texts become subject to the same historical-critical research that the Bible and Christianity has become.Spencer quotes the great Ignaz Goldziher scientists, Theodor Nöldeke, Joseph Schacht, Yehuda Nevo, Michael Cook, Ibn Warraq, Judith Koren, Ibn Rawandi, Gunter Luling and John Wansbrough.
It is open to debate whether Muhammad existed. Personally, I think he may have done so.
Hans Jansen, a Dutch Arabist and professor of modern Islamic thought, points out that the sparse data and physical evidence we often do not match the usual Islamic accounts of what should have happened in the sixth and seventh centuries.
Need for archaeological excavations
Archaeological findings contradict the traditional image of a number of points. Only further archaeological work in the Arabian Peninsula, plus Jordan and Syria, may shed more light on these questions. In Saudi Arabia is such studies, unfortunately, prohibited, and historic sites are sometimes actively destroyed. The religious authorities are not particularly keen to produce findings that can undermine Saudi Arabia’s central status in Islam.
For example, it is possible that the virgins that Islamic, jihadi warriors will enjoy in Paradise, are not virgins at all, but rather white raisins or grapes?
Modern scholars such as Patricia Crone, has questioned whether the Mecca really existed as an important trading port and center of pilgrimage around the year 600, as Islamic sources claim. Mecca location makes no sense if it were to be placed on the trade routes between the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Europe. No non-Muslim historians mention the city in some accounts of the trade from this time. Given the central position of Mecca is to Islam, this puts large questions about the traditional story of Islam’s origins.
Halvor Elementary Norwegian Muhammad biography provides a realistic and not always sympathetic, picture of the man as he appears, if it is based on the traditional Islamic sources, but perhaps one should not do it. As Hans Jansen points out, wrote Ibn Ishaq (d. after 760) a text that makes up much of the basis for all biographies of Muhammad. When the text-critical analysis of Ibn Ishaq says that he is largely useless as a reliable historical source, we must accept that we may never find the truth about Islam’s founder.
Hadith collections which explains Muhammad’s personal example, or Sunna (“established custom, custom, tradition,” Great Norwegian Encyclopaedia, ed. Tlf.), Was to generations after the alleged events and is considered partially unreliable, even by Muslims. It is likely that much of this material was downright invented in a period of political and cultural struggle long after the great conquests.
Lay the Koran behind conquests?
Historian Emmet Scott shows in his book “Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited” how archaeological evidence strongly suggests that the Arab conquest caused extensive damage throughout the Mediterranean region, from Spain to Syria and Egypt. Ole Jørgen Benedictow, professor of medieval history at the University of Oslo, describes how the Arabs largely destroyed the Greco-Roman heritage, contrary to what is now often claimed.
Maybe conquests shaped Islam more than Islam shaped conquests.
We know that the great Arab conquests were made in the 600s, but we are less sure what triggered them.Non-Muslim chroniclers during the early Arab conquests mentioned not at the Qur’an, Islam or Muslims, and barely enough Mohammed. The Arab conquerors even referring not to the Koran in the first decades, possibly because this book as yet existed in a recognizable form.
Get references to Muhammad
A fully developed Arabic script was not at this time, which introduces significant error sources for the book’s development. Qur’an as a text has been considerably less stable and were collected later than the Muslims like to claim. It also contains remarkably few references to Muhammad. The very few that exist, can partly be interpreted as a title instead of references to the person we imagine that Islam’s founder.
Mostly written in Aramaic?
The Quran claims to be written in clear Arabic, but even educated Arabs will find parts of it difficult to understand. The pioneering German philologist Gerd R. Puin argue that perhaps 20 percent of the short, is incomprehensible. It is conceivable that parts of the Koran was not originally written in Arabic, but on related Semitic languages.
More modern critical scholars, including Christoph Luxenberg, has been forced to write about these issues under a false name because of continuing threats to their lives from Islamic groups. This happened almost never with the people in Christian Europe that critically examined the Bible or the historical Jesus in the 1800s.
Luxenberg suggests that certain strange verses in the Koran was really written in gammelsyrisk, a dialect of Aramaic which for centuries was used as a literary language in much of the Middle East. For example, it is possible that the virgins that Islamic, jihadi warriors will enjoy in Paradise, not virgins at all, but rather white raisins or grapes. The misunderstanding is due to an improper translation of the older texts into Arabic.
Islam shaped by conquest?
The early Arab conquerors may have had a vague monotheism partially inspired by Christians and Jews, but afterwards they left this and developed a more militant creed that was to serve as a vehicle for Arab nationalism and imperialism. Maybe conquests shaped Islam more than Islam shaped conquests.
Hull and contradictions
It is open to debate whether Muhammad existed. Personally, I think he may have done it, at least as a militant leader who united the various Arab tribes and redirected their energy towards the conquest, not unlike what Genghis Khan did with the Mongols. What we can conclude is that the traditional Islamic story of Muhammad and his life contains many holes and inconsistencies. Only further research can tell us more.