O n the cusp of the month long obligatory Muslim observances of Ramadan in late May 2017, New English Review Press published an important and timely work by noted former Muslim, Islamic doctrine exegete and colleague, Ibn Warraq: The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology. more>>>
I agree with all of Ibn Warraq's views on Islam. Not by authority, but by virtue of my own study. I'd like to ask a couple of more technical questions. Reference is made to the "Life of Muhammad" by Ibn Ishaq. To my knowledge, no version of this book has survived into the present. Do any of the sources quote passages from Ibn Ishaq's Biography that are not already extant in Ibn Hisham's Biography? If not, then what independent evidence is there for Ibn Ishaq's Bio, except Ibn Hisham's testimony? If only Ibn Hisham, then why should we believe him? Could he not have been lending a false weight to his work by citing an imaginary author who purportedly lived closer to the events? Second question: there is no independent evidence of an early 7th century Muslim invasion of the near/middle east. The whole canonical story is historically insupportable. Therefore, how could Muhammad have waged many military campaigns on behalf of Islam? How could the Qur'an have played any part in the success of the early Muslim conquests when, a) there were no early Muslim conquests, and b) there was no 7th century Qur'an? The first outright Muslim caliph may well have been the first Abbasid caliph, al-Mansur. It was unlikely to have been Muawiyah or Ibn al-Malik, because there is no historical evidence of Islam in the 7th century.
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