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                    Jay Smith

Muhammad’s Biographies
• 1,548 biographies have been listed (Hamadeh 1965:112-283; taken from Royster 1972:49)
• Karen Armstrong: Muhammad was the man “who gave birth
    to a literary masterpiece, created a major religion and founded
    a world power, whose descendants are viewed as a profound
    threat to Western civilization” (Armstrong 1992:back cover)
•   W.Montgomery Watt: Muhammad was a “seer..a statesman,
    and an administrator” (Watt 1961:237)
•   Maxine Rodinson: Muhammad was an ideal, “the utopia that
    has never been achieved [which] is always before us”
•   Michael Cook: Muhammad was a historical figure whose
    historicity yet leaves us much in doubt (Cook 1983:61)
•   Alfred Guillaume: Gives us the closest and best translation of
    Ibn Hisham’s biography.
 I        The Classical Account
• 570          Muhammad was born
• 610          Met ‘Jibril’ in the Hira Cave
• 610-622      Received ‘Meccan Revelations’
• 622          ‘Hijra’ from Mecca to Medina
• 622-632      Received ‘Medinan Revelations’
• 624          ‘Mi’raj’ to the 7 heavens (5 prayers)
• 630          Conquered Mecca peacefully
• 632          Died (poisoning?)…no written Qur’an

20th-21st Century Revisionists
• The Revisionist’s Prime Concern:
• To Reassess the Classical Model

• Their principle Conclusions:
• Islam, as we know it, did not exist in the 7th century,
    but evolved over a period of 200-300 years.
        (Humphreys 1991:71,83-89)
•   The Qur’an probably was not revealed to one man in 22
    years, but likely evolved over a period of 100-200 years
        (Rippin 1985:155;1990:3,25,60; Lester 99:44-45;
        Wansbrough 1977:160-163)
•   The Prophet Muhammad’s Life as we know it is was probably
    created two centuries later...
•   How do we know? Consider:
              Problem with His biography

• The Late Dates:

Late Dates:
Nothing before 800 AD:
• Sira (Hisham=833AD),
• Hadith (Bukhari=870AD, Mishkat al-Masabih
      14th C.),
• Tafsir, Tarikh
   – (Tabari=923AD,
   – al-Baladhuri=892,
   – az-Zamakshari=1144,
   – al-Baydawi=1282,
   – as-Suyuti=1502)
• Thus, not Primary but Secondary revelation
 Problem with the Late Dates:

• Since almost all the material available to
 us concerning the life of Muhammad, and
 the emergence of Islam from the 7th c.
 (i.e. that of the Sira, Hadith, Tafsir,
 Ta’rikh), is not compiled until the 9th -
 10th c., Orientalists (from the
 Revisionist’s School) believe it cannot be

 Thus, “if knowledge of the life of Muhammad was
    transmitted orally for a century before it was reduced
    to writing, then the chances are that the material will
    have undergone considerable alteration in the process”
    (Cook 1983:65)

 So, Cook & Cröne went to Greek, Syriac, and Armenian
    sources from the 7th-8th c. & found a contrasting picture
    to the later Islamic Traditions.
   They sought to step outside the Islamic Traditions and
    start again, piecing together an original account from
    non-Islamic sources of Muhammad’s time. The two
    together wrote “Hagarism”…a sort of “What if” in 26
    pages, supported by 226 notes in a further 27 pages
    (Robinson 1996:47)
 Conclusion: They suggested that the history of Islam,
    including the life of Muhammad, upto at least the time
    of the caliph Abd al-Malik is fraudulent!!!!

                         Further Problems   ↓
Uri Rubin
• Rubin examines how the image of the Prophet was
    perceived by believers throughout the various evolving versions
    of his life. The contents of the texts are a reflection of the
    state of mind of the believers among whom the texts
    were created, preserved, and circulated over the ages.
•   Medieval Islam was preoccupied with portraying its
    prophet in a manner comparable to the biblical
    prophets. Biblical themes were adopted from the stories of the
    prophets, adapted to fit an Arabian situation, and applied
    to the biography of Muhammad.
•   Take the example of the battle of Badr: Al-Miqdad provides
    the same response regarding the Children of Israel,
    contrasting their inferiority against the superiority of
    the Arabs. “The entire Arabian umma as one collective group
    constitutes here the new chosen community that replaces
    the Children of Israel.”
• John Wansbrough (1977-1978):
(Qur’anic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation 1977)
(The Sectarian Milieu: Content and Composition of Islamic Salvation History

• The compilers took their material from collections
  compiled within the decades around 800 A.D., and not
  from any documents which were written in the seventh
  century, and certainly not from the person of
  Muhammad or his companions (Humphreys 1991:73, 83; Schacht
  1949:143 1949:143-145; 145; Goldziher Goldziher 1889 1889-90:72).
• The Maghazi, which are stories of the prophet's battles
  and campaigns, are the earliest Muslim documents
  which we possess. They should have given us the best
  snapshot of that time, yet they tell us little concerning
  the prophet's life or teachings. In fact, oddly enough
  nowhere in these documents is there a veneration of
  Muhammad as a prophet!

    Yehuda D. Nevo (1994)
    “Towards a Prehistory of Islam,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic
    and Islam, vol.17, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1994

• Arabic Inscriptions found in the Arabian Desert
    form the mid to late 7th century, say nothing about a
    people called ‘Muslim’, nor a religion known as ‘Islam’,
    nor of a revelation called the ‘Qur’an’, yet they should!
•   Caliphal Protocals (Sufyani and earlyMarwanid
    Periods, upto ‘Abd al-Malik – 691) = no reference
    to ‘Muhammad as a prophet’, or a reference to the
•   ”Muhammad Formula” is created ‘almost overnight’

Al-Tabari’s conflicting accounts - i.e.15 different accounts of
  child Muhammad meeting a religious man (Crone 1987:219-
• during his infancy (Ibn Hisham ed.1860:107)
• when he was 9 (Ibn Hisham ed.1860:107)
• or 12 years old (Ibn Sa’d 1960:120)
• Or when he was 25 (Ibn Hisham ed.1860:119)
• seen by Ethiopian Christians (Ibn Hisham ed.1860:107)
• or by Jews (‘Abd al-Razzaq 1972: 318)
• Or by a seer (‘Abd al-Razzaq 1972: 318)
• or a Kahin (Ibn Sa’d 1960:166)
• at either Mecca, (‘Abd al-Razzaq 1972:317)
• or Ukaz (Abu Nu’aym 1950:116f).
• or Dhu’l-Majaz (Abu Nu’aym 1950:95).
Cröne concludes that what we have here is nothing more than
       “fifteen equally fictitious versions of an event that never
       took place.” (Crone 1987:220)
• Ishaq (765 AD): ‘Abdallah had died early
    enough to leave Muhammad an orphan; but as
    to the specific details of his death, “God knew
    best” (Cook 1983:63).
•   Waqidi: (50 yrs. Later) when ‘Abdallah died,
    how he died, where he died, what his age was,
    and the exact place of his burial.
•   According to Michael Cook, “this evolution in the
    course of half a century from uncertainty to a
    profusion of precise detail suggests that a fair
    amount of what Waqidi knew was not knowledge.”
    (Cook 1983:63-65)
• Bukhari: from 600,000 down to 7,397 =1.2% (or
            2,762 non-repetitive Hadith)
• Names of transmitters
• No documentation before 9th century
• Prophetic authority begins with Sha’fi (820AD)
• Based on Oral Tradition…
       -No need for Oral Tradition after 4th c.
       -Conquest of Literate metropolises

• Kussas: “As storyteller followed upon storyteller, the
  recollection of the past was reduced to a common
  stock of stories, themes, and motifs that could be
  combined and recombined in a profusion of
  apparently factual accounts. Each combination and
  recombination would generate new details, and as
  spurious information accumulated, genuine
  information would be lost. In the absence of an
  alternative tradition, early scholars were forced to rely
  on the tales of storytellers, as did Ibn Ishaq,
  Waqidi, and other historians. It is because they
  relied on the same repertoire of tales that they all
  said such similar things”. (Crone 1987:225)
     Historical Anachronisms
1)   i.e. Mecca
-“Mecca is the center of Islam, and the center of
-“The first sanctuary appointed for mankind was that
     at Bakkah (Mecca)” Sura 3:96
-Mecca is the “mother of all settlements.” Sura 6:92 &
-Mecca is where Muhammad was born and lived until
-Mecca became the centre for the Qibla in 624 (Sura
• Earliest reference to Mecca’s existence:
     Apocalypse of pseudo-Methodius
     Continuatio Byzantia Arabica
     Early reign of caliph Hisham (724-743 AD)
• Cröne in her work points out that the Greek
  trading documents refer to the towns of Ta’if
  (which is close to present-day Mecca), and to
  Yathrib (later Medina), as well as Kaybar in the
  north, but no mention of Mecca!

2) Qibla (Archaeological Evidence)
• Creswell & Fehervari on ancient mosques
 in the Middle East
 Umayyad mosques in Iraq (670- early 8th c.)
         vWassit mosque
         v‘Kufa’ mosque
         vFustat (outside Cairo)
               (Creswell 1969:37,137ff,150 & 1989:40;
               Fehervari 1961:89; Crone-Cook 1977:23,173;
               al-Baladhuri's Futuh, ed. by de Goeje 1866:276;
               Crone 1980:1)

   Asia Minor                        Middle East

           Jerusalem       .Wassit
Fustat                 Kufa



• Qibla (Documentary Evidence)

 Christian writer: Jacob of Edessa (705 AD)
 He refers to the ‘Mahgraye,’ saying, “So from all
 this it is clear that it is not to the south that the
 Jews and the Mahgraye here in the regions of
 Syria pray, but towards Jerusalem or the Ka’ba,
 the patriarchal places of their races.”
 (Crone-Cook 1977:24)

    Dome of the Rock
• Built by ‘Abd al-Malik in 691 AD, and rebuilt by al Zaher Li-
    L’zaz in 1022 after an earthquake
•   Third most holy site after Mecca & Medina
•   Built to commemorate the night when Muhammad went up to
    heaven to speak with Moses and Allah concerning the number of
    prayers required of the believers (known as the Mi’raj)

•But, no Qibla (Suras 17:1 & 2:145-149)
•Inner Ambulatories have Qur’anic
inscriptions which do not parallel the Qur’an


 Islam, and the prophet’s life, as we know
 it, was not derived from the 7th century,
 but evolved over a period of 200-300
 years, and then redacted back on to the
 prophets life, and compiled in the 9th
 century (Humphreys 1991:71,83-89)

• Joseph Schacht
 “Every legal tradition from the Prophet, until
 the contrary is proved, must be taken not as an
 authentic or essentially authentic, even if
 slightly obscured, statement valid for his time
 or the time of the Companions, but as the
 fictitious expression of a legal document
 formulated at a later date”
 (Schacht, The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, 149)

Crone and Cook:

• Patricia Crone & Michael Cook in
 Hagarism (1977):
 “The [earliest] ‘maghazi-sira’ works should be
 treated as sources for religious ideas current in
 the 8th century, when they were circulated, not
 for the life of Muhammad”

• Christians (and Jews) have a separate
  responsibility from that of the historians.
  They have to make an assessment
  concerning the validity of any prophet.
  The Bible has clear conditions of who can
  carry the ‘office’ of prophethood.
• Did Muhammad fulfil those conditions?

               The Muslim Position:
• Supernatural witness points to Muhammad's
  Prophethood (angels & heart, protective cloud)
• Prophesying points to his Prophethood (Sura
  30:1-4 ‘defeat in a few years’…615 vs. 628).
• Miracles point to his Prophethood (Challenge
  in Sura 17:90-93; Response in Suras 2:118-
  119; 6:37, 124; 13:7; 17:59 = warner; & Sura
  54:1 = Splitting of the moon).
• Illiterate Creator of the Qur'an points to his
  Prophethood (Sura 7:157 & 62:2 =
The Christian Position:
1. Who Qualifies as a true Prophet of God?
  u A Prophet must be born in the Prophetic
              Race (Genesis 17 & 22)
  u A Prophet's Message must Conform to
              previous Revelation
  u A Prophet's Predictions must be Verifiable,
              or he must perform a miracle to
              verify his authority
  u A Prophet must Speak in the Name of God
              (=YAHWEH or JEHOVAH)
Questions Concerning Muhammad’s
• Was Muhammad a Specific Prophet to the
  Arabs?    (Sura 2:119, Sura 14:4, Sura 17:93, Sura 26:195,196,
  Sura 27:91, Sura 42:7, Sura 43:3, Sura 46:12)
• Or a Universal Prophet? (Sura 33:40, Sura 34:28)
• Was Muhammad a prophet of the Jews? (i.e.
  the 3 Jewish tribes in Medina = Banu Qaynuka,
  Banu al-Nadir, Banu Quraiza)
• Was Muhammad a prophet to the Christians?
  Sura 2:120, Sura 3:28, Sura 5:54= "O ye who believe!
  Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and
  protectors; they are but friends and protectors to each other.
  And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of
  them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.“
Was Muhammad the Seal of the Prophets?
•   What about Jesus
    (Jesus Superiority = Suras 19:19-20; 3:46-49)
•   What about the Other Prophets?
    (all sinned)
•   What about Muhammad’s:
    -Concessions to People (Ibn Abbas, Mutah
                 marriages, Satanic verses S.53:19-20)
    -Sexuality (Zainab, Mary, Aisha)
    -Elevation (Sura 33:21, 36)
    -Sin (Suras 40:55; 47:19; 48:2; 94:1-3)
Were there Prophecies
Concerning Muhammad?
• Sura 7:157: “Those who can follow the
  Messenger, the Prophet who can neither
  read nor write whom they find written
  with them in the Taurut and the Injeel…”
• 61:6: “And when ‘Isa son of Maryam said
  ‘O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger
  of Allah unto you, confirming the Taurat
  [Torah] before me, and giving glad
  tidings of a Messenger to come after me,
  whose name shall be Ahmad…”
       Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-20

1. Comparison: Who is the prophet like
      Moses? Is it his life or mission?
2. Contrast: This prophet cannot be
      Muhammad (“brothers”=Israelite 17:15).
3. Condemnation: See the punishment for a
      ‘false prophet’…’Must be put to death!’
      (Deut. 18:20)
4. Consideration: This prophet must be
      Jesus (John 1:45; John 5:46; John 6:14; Acts 3:22).
5. Conclusion: Without a prediction where is
      Muhammad's authority?
Other Predictions in the Old Testament?

• sword (Psalm 45:2-5; 149; Isaiah 63).
• geographical location (Deuteronomy
  33:2; Isaiah 21 & 42 (kedar), 63;
  Habakkuk 3:3)
• Name: (Genesis 49:8-10=Judah; Haggai
       Song of Solomon 5:16
Song of Solomon 5:16 = "His mouth is sweetness
itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover,
this my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem."

‘Machmad’ (Ahmad)            vs.   Hemdan
 Adjectival phrase           vs.   Proper Noun

1 Kings 20:6 = "Yet I will send my servants to thee
tomorrow about this time, and they shall search thy
house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be,
[that] whatever is Muhammad in thy eyes, they shall
take [it] in their hand, and carry [it] away”
(see also: 2 Chronicles 36:19; Isaiah 64:11;
Lamentations 1:10, 11; 2:4; Ezekiel 24:16, 21, 25;
Hosea 9:6, 16; Joel 3:5)
Muhammad in the Injil?

Parakletos or Periklytos (John 14:16 &
• Greek language confirms parakletos.
• Greek manuscripts confirm parakletos
• Therefore Muhammad could not be the
So who is the Parakletos?
• 14:16="he will be with you for ever"
• 14:17="he will be the spirit of truth"
• 14:17="the world neither sees him..."
• 14:17="...nor knows him"
• 14:17="and he will be in you"
 i.e. = Holy Spirit, who arrived 50 days later
 (Acts 1:4-5)

The original 12
Danish Cartoons,
printed in Jyllands
Posten Newspaper,
Denmark, in Sept.

Danish Cartoon reprinted in the Egyptian Al-Fajr
Newspaper, on Oct. 17, 2005, yet, resulting in no
protests! So why such a contrast?

Imam Ahmad Abu Laban (leader of the Islamic
Society of Denmark) & his campaign to anger the
Muslim World

               Imam Ahmad Abu Laban

                 Aug. 15 photo of Jacques Barrot
                 competing at the annual French
                 Pig-Squealing Championships
                 in Trie-sur-Baise

Why is he significant to Muslims?
• His role in history
• His role as intercessor
What are the claims they are making today?
• Their relationship with him
How can We use this in Evangelism?
• The need for a personal relationship with
• This is a great bridge to introduce Jesus
  as God/Man
• We have what they all want!!!!
• All we know of Muhammad comes from the 8th-9th centuries
• Much of his biography is suspect
• Muhammad does not fulfil any of the four criteria required for
    prophet-hood in the Bible.
•   He is not a prophet for the Jews
•   He is not a prophet for the Christians
•   He seems only to be a prophet for the Arabs
•   He is not even the best prophet!
•   He wasn’t prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:18
•   He wasn’t prophesied in Song of Solomon 5:16
•   He wasn’t prophesied in John 14 or John 16
•   He cannot be critiqued by Muslims…or others
•   He cannot give what Jesus can…
     – Salvation from sin and an eternal life!!!

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