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Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam's Obscure Origins

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  165 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Are jihadists dying for a fiction? Everything you thought you knew about Islam is about to change.
Did Muhammad exist?
It is a question that few have thought—or dared—to ask. Virtually everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, takes for granted that the prophet of Islam lived and led in seventh-century Arabia.
But this widely accepted story begins to crumble on close examination
...more
Hardcover, 254 pages
Published April 23rd 2012 by Intercollegiate Studies Institute (first published April 9th 2012)
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Michael Morgan
May 16, 2012 Michael Morgan rated it it was amazing
The 'quest for the historical Jesus' is hardly thought of today as being particularly controversial. For well over a century books and articles have poured out sifting the evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ. On the other hand Muhammad is generally assumed to be an historical figure - yet in fact the evidence for the Muhammad of the orthodox Muslim account is incredibly thin. In the 7th century Arabs conquered much of the Middle East. According to Muslims (and others who have been remarka ...more
Lee Boyland
Jul 09, 2012 Lee Boyland rated it it was amazing
A critical look into the story of Muhammad

The author continues his investigation into the origins of Islam with his latest work that shines a light into the murky accepted version of Muhammad and his creation of Islam. It is the sequel his book, THE TRUTH ABOUT MUHAMMAD.

Islam, unlike all other major religions, has never been subjected to critical analysis. Perhaps the reason is that any criticism of Islam’s prophet, or of Islam itself, is considered blasphemy. Critics, scholars, and even Muslims
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Danusha Goska
May 20, 2013 Danusha Goska rated it it was amazing
Robert Spencer's 2012 book "Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry into Islam's Obscure Origins," citing peer-reviewed scholarship, makes a very strong case that everything previously believed about Islam, both by devout Muslims and secular historians, was invented to serve imperial, military, political ends. Islam was invented, Spencer argues, to provide a unifying ideology for the Arab conquest that began in the seventh century and that defeated Persia, besieged Byzantium, stretched to India, and made ...more
Deborah
Feb 07, 2013 Deborah rated it it was amazing
An impeccable research, which cannot be challenged, the author shows that all Arabic sources of the life of Muhammed are late legends, tendentious, and are unsupported by historical documents or facts. The archeological and epigraphic evidence sustain the fact the Muhammed is only what the word means "THE PRAISED ONE", which qualifies to Jesus and no other. This is how people in the Middle East spoke of Jesus. This book brings manuscripts, letters, coins, and much more evidence to obliterate eve ...more
Rama
Aug 25, 2014 Rama rated it it was amazing
This is a scholarly work and it is highly recommended

This is another great book by scholar Robert Spencer who is a fearless leader in pointing out the evil effects of Islamic terrorism and Islamic culture across the globe. I have been following his timely articles on his website JihadWatch.org and also read instant messages on his Twitter account; it is an honor to know that we have a fearless scholar amongst us who dares to say that Islamic terrorists are savages and substantiate his statement
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Max Evans
Sep 05, 2013 Max Evans rated it it was amazing
I like a book where I learn a lot, especially when I don't expect to. One thing I should say coming into this, is that I did know a little bit about Islam and it's followers. For example I know that Moslems will not let anyone critically study the Quran. Well you can but you risk being killed, especially if you're Muslim. Also, the Muslims don't like archeology. Remember the Taliban blowing up the famous Buddha's? That's what Muslims do. The Saudis do it all the time. Also, I've always had quest ...more
Onyango Makagutu
Sep 18, 2012 Onyango Makagutu rated it really liked it
A must read for every Muslim and non- Muslim. Well written, engaging and informative. It puts to question many things many people take for granted on Islam, Quran and it's beginnings.
Naftoli
Dec 10, 2014 Naftoli rated it it was amazing
Shelves: islam, 2014
This book is extremely insightful. Again Robert Spencer has outdone himself! With a bit of luck this book will help to open up Islam.

Access to Islamic inquiry is so difficult due to death threats. Maybe if enough people begin studying Islam as indeed Judaism & Christianity have been studied, the jihadists will lose their iron grip on the religion.
James
Jun 19, 2016 James rated it liked it
The chapter on the origins of the Qur'an is the strongest and most interesting. A Syriac origin must be an idea taken more seriously than heretofore. One is tempted to write to the Saudi religious authorities a simple letter stating, the Arian Syriac speakers want their book back.
Colin
Jan 02, 2013 Colin rated it really liked it
It only get's 4 stars because Spencer actually brings together the well known information regarding the historicity and origins of Islam and the Quran. However due to his obvious bias against Islam which does come up near the end of the book, he does not get the full 5 stars.
BERNARD DRAI
Apr 16, 2015 BERNARD DRAI rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting insight in the early history of islam

After reading this book you are at least convinced that the existence of Mahomet is doubtful and the Quran is just a mixture of Christian and Jewish texts with many internal contradictions.
Greg
Jun 27, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it
a lot of information, and he certainly makes his argument that the idea that the origins of Islam are well attested historically is not tenable, but I'm not sure there is enough to confidently go beyond that and to be fair, the author acknowledges as much.
Todd White
Jan 05, 2015 Todd White rated it really liked it
Shelves:
Intrigued by the idea that there hasn't been the same critical examination of the evidence that there has been for Christianity over the past 200 years.

سالار إدريس
Feb 06, 2014 سالار إدريس rated it really liked it
The book in my point of view deserves to be translated to the language of Islam, Arabic.
Khaled
Nov 10, 2014 Khaled rated it really liked it
The empire came first and the theology came later... this is what the book is all about.
Arlee Bird
Feb 10, 2015 Arlee Bird rated it it was amazing
After having done much of my own research about the origins and doctrines of Islam, Robert Spencer's Did Muhammad Exist? provided an enlightening new perspective on this topic for me. The book is highly readable and thoroughly engaging as it provides solid historical reference as well as citations from the Koran and other Islamic writings to back up Spencer's findings.

This book provides a scholarly exposé without being a dry reading experience. In fact I found this to be an entertaining book th
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Rich Wooten
Jul 23, 2012 Rich Wooten rated it really liked it


This is a fascinating look at the history of Islam and the veracity of the Qur'an. I was amazed at the depth of discovery that Mr. Spencer uncovered in his studies. While reading, I couldn't help but wonder how widespread knowledge of this truth would impact our world. Obviously, there are significant objections to the conclusions of Mr. Spencer's book by orthodox Islamic interpretation of the Qur'an. But I wonder if this book were allowed to be read by 'average' people of the Muslim faith, how
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Jean
Dec 15, 2015 Jean rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jean by: Found in library
Arian Christians fled to Syria and Arabia with their holy books (now called 'Christian apocryphal books') after the 325 Council of Nicaea established the Orthodox Christian teachings on Christ's 2 natures and his membership in the Trinity. When stripped of its diacritical marks, the Arabic of the Qu'uran reveals that its substratum is a Syriac Arian Christian lectionary praising Jesus the Messiah--not divine but human. Early Arab monotheists welcomed Jews and Arian Christians as partners, but wh ...more
Martin Johnson
Nov 28, 2015 Martin Johnson rated it it was ok
Spencer gives a thorough critical investigation of the canonical account of the origins of Islam and concludes that the paucity of contemporary evidence is evidence that the canonical account is unreliable at best, fabricated at worst.

The difficulty is is disentangling Spencer's evidence from his well documented anti Islam position. So this book can only be a starting point for any critical thinker who would need to critique and evaluate the evidence presented here.

One real negative about the
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Keith Akers
Jul 17, 2014 Keith Akers rated it liked it
I only read the first 1/3 of the book, so don't pay too much attention to my rating or this review. The book isn't bad, and evidently the early history of Islam (including even the Qur'an) is less clear than I thought. However, my concern is that the author doesn't really "prove" that Mohammed did not exist, just show that the early history of Islam is much more complex than we thought and throw out a series of puzzles. It's left to the reader (or other scholars) to come up with a better story, ...more
Jon-Erik
This book presents evidence that just don't support its conclusions. Just for example, the fact that Byzantine documents did not use the term "Muslim" means less than nothing. Well into the 20th century, the most common term in English was Mohammedan. Does that mean Muslims didn't exist until 1950?

If you're looking for something on the historical Muhammad, go somewhere else.
C. Derick
Nov 29, 2015 C. Derick rated it really liked it
Spencer is not known for being fair to Islam, generally finding real but extreme elements of Islam nd painting it as representative of the core of the religion while not doing that with the other two Abrahamic religions. That said, he does not do much of that in this book. Here he talks about inconsistencies in the Hadith and Islamic tradition, the clarifying reading of Syriac and Aramiac Christian texts on obscure portions of the Koran, and the lack of contemporary reference to Mohammad until t ...more
Pedro Bonilla
Oct 11, 2013 Pedro Bonilla rated it liked it
I thought this book would more aggressively argue for the non existence of muhammad but it didnt. The book provides a lot of scholarship and keeps a scholarly tone however. Most of the book is spent undermining the credibility of muslim scholarship.
Faisal Noor
Aug 01, 2014 Faisal Noor rated it liked it
Meh. Reads more like conjectures against conspiracy theories than a compelling bunch of arguments. Good to sow some doubts in a hardcore theologian's mind though.
Bryan
Jan 24, 2014 Bryan rated it liked it
The book didn't really answer the title's question.
Michael
Nov 23, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing
Robert Spencer tells it like it is.
George Paul
Jan 29, 2013 George Paul rated it liked it
Was Islam “born in the full light of history,” as Ernest Renan claimed? Or is its origin “covered” in the “mystery” that Renan believed shrouded all other religions? Robert Spencer argues for “Islam’s obscure origins” in his new book, Did Muhammad Exist?

The “canonical story” of Islam’s origins, accepted by all Muslims and (arguably) most non-Muslim scholars begins with the birth of Muhammad in 570 C.E. in Mecca, a hub in the trade routes from east to west. In 610, Muhammad began to receive monot
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Pradeeppatel Nallamothu
Dec 22, 2014 Pradeeppatel Nallamothu rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
good
Gonzalo Corvera
Dec 01, 2015 Gonzalo Corvera rated it it was amazing
Excelente obra, muy bien documentada, lógica y creíble, que inclusive explica muchas cosas del conflicto entre Islam y todas las demás culturas.
Alex N.
Alex N. marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2016
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Robert Bruce Spencer is an American author and blogger best known for critiques of Islam and research into Islamic terrorism and jihad. He has published ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers, and is a regular contributor to David Horowitz's FrontPage Magazine. In 2003 he founded Jihad Watch, a blog which aims to bring public attention to what it describes as "the concerted effort by ...more
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