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Thread: The non-existence of Muhammad

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    Default The non-existence of Muhammad

    My fave book on this is Did Muhammad Exist: An Inquiry into Islam's Obscure Origins by Robert Spencer, especially the "Revised and Expanded Edition"

    The books summary is as follows:

    A Revisionist Scenario

    After the investigations of the preceding chapters, here is what we know about the traditional account of Muhammad’s life and the early days of Islam:

    • No record of Muhammad’s reported death in 632 appears until more than a century after that date.

    • A Christian account apparently dating from the mid-630s speaks of an Arab prophet “armed with a sword” who seems to be still alive.

    • The early accounts written by the people the Arabs conquered never mention Islam, Muhammad, or the Qur’an. They call the conquerors “Ishmaelites,” “Saracens,” “Muhajirun,”
    and “Hagarians,” but never “Muslims.”

    • The Arab conquerors, in their coins and inscriptions, don’t mention Islam or the Qur’an for the first six decades of their conquests. Mentions of “Muhammad” are nonspecific and on at least two occasions are accompanied by a cross. The word “Muhammad” can be used both as a proper name and as an honorific.

    • The Qur’an, even by the canonical Muslim account, was not distributed in its present form until the 650s. Contradicting that standard account is the fact that neither the Arabians nor the Christians and Jews in the region mention the Qur’an until the early eighth century.

    • The Qur’an contains numerous characters and stories that have been taken over from Judaism, Christianity, and other sources.

    • The Qur’an contains a great many words that make little or no sense in Arabic, but are clearly derived from Syro-Aramaic, or become clear when they are read as Syro-Aramaic. Even the Arabic words for the Five Pillars of Islam are derived from Syriac and Hebrew.

    • During the reign of the caliph Muawiya (661–680), the Arabs constructed at least one public building whose inscription was headed by a cross.

    • We begin hearing about Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, and about Islam itself in the 690s, during the reign of the caliph Abd al-Malik. Coins and inscriptions reflecting Islamic beliefs begin to appear at this time also.

    • Around the same time as the reign of Abd al-Malik, Arabic became the predominant written language of the Arabian empire, supplanting Syriac and Greek.

    • Abd al-Malik claimed, in a passing remark in one hadith, to have collected the Qur’an, contradicting Islamic tradition that the collection was the work of the caliph Uthman forty years earlier.

    • Multiple hadiths report that Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, governor of Iraq during the reign of Abd al-Malik, edited the Qur’an and distributed his new edition to the various Arab-controlled provinces—again, something Uthman is supposed to have done decades earlier.

    • Even some Islamic traditions maintains that certain common Islamic practices, such as the recitation of the Qur’an during mosque prayers, date from orders of Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, not to the earliest period of Islamic history.

    • While the canonical Islamic account holds that Muhammad was born in Mecca, which was a thriving center for trade and pilgrimage, the extant records show that during the time Muhammad is supposed to have lived, it was not a city of any importance.

    • Although the directive to Muslims to pray toward Mecca is supposed to have been revealed during Muhammad’s time, the earliest mosques were built facing Petra in Jordan, up until the early years of the eighth century. Some of these ancient mosques face Petra to this day.

    • In the middle of the eighth century, the Abbasid dynasty supplanted the Umayyad line of Abd al-Malik. The Abbasids charged the Umayyads with impiety on a large scale. In the Abbasid period, biographical material about Muhammad began to proliferate. The first complete biography of the prophet of Islam finally appeared during this era—nearly 150 years after the traditional date of his death.

    • The proliferation of hadith literature, including biographical material about Muhammad, reached its zenith in the ninth century, over two hundred years after Muhammad is traditionally said to have died.

    • The biographical material that emerged situates Muhammad in an area of Arabia that never was the center for trade and pilgrimage that the canonical account of Islam’s origins depends on it to be.

    In short, the lack of confirming detail in the historical record, the late development of biographical material about the Islamic prophet, the atmosphere of political and religious factionalism in which that material developed, and much more beyond suggest that the Muhammad of Islamic tradition did not exist, or if he did, he was substantially different from how that tradition portrays him.

    How to make sense of all this? If the Arab forces who conquered so much territory beginning in the 630s were not energized by the teachings of a new prophet and the divine word he delivered, how did the Islamic character of their empire arise at all? If Muhammad did not exist, why was it ever considered necessary to invent him?

    Any answer to these questions will of necessity be conjectural—but in light of the facts above, so is the canonical account of Islam’s origins.
    I recommend the pfanderfilms Youtube channel for a lot of content about why we should doubt the existence of Muhammad, and many claims about early Islam. It's from the bias of a Christian, but I generally find it difficult to dispute the claimed facts put forward:
    https://www.youtube.com/@pfanderfilms

    I also recommend the MythVisionPodcast Youtube channel for a lot of content about skepitical about religious claims generally:
    https://www.youtube.com/@MythVisionPodcast

    I'll try to post some of my favourite videos here at some point, and maybe passages from various books depending how the discussion goes.
    Last edited by Socionics Is A Cult; 12-10-2023 at 01:23 AM.

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    There are always reasons to doubt in anything.
    More important is a proof for something. The longer time events were - the lesser trusty sources which are known will be.
    In case someone will publish a quality proof that there was no Muhammad or @Subteigh, - that would be interesting.

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    In Mahometanism is overtouchy relation to seen body of people, what is explaned there as provoking to "bad behavior". Mainly this is applied to women, which may be demanded to have as closed even hairs and the face. As a comparision, in today Europe culture the limitation to show women breasts would be same strange for nowdays wild tribes of forrests, islands and in Africa.

    This have reminded recent behavior of Alive / @Awake, who felt strangely annoyed and produced inadequate fantasies by thoughts and pictures of women having lack of clothes. This also was matched with his negative emotional relation (his base F) and probably was an unconscious try to protect his weak S region in "dangerous situations".

    Sexual attractions have much relation to Si. The least adequate processing of info is expected in weak and nonvalued functional regions, what is for Ni types.

    The both Muhammed and Alive I suspect to have EIE.
    An interesting case when problems of people are same what were thousands years ago and in very differing cultures. The similarity in Jung types appeared as more meaningful.

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    I just bothered to listen Quran. The main thing I was able to grasp was a message of submission, sometimes having damming tones, sometimes genocidal tones towards non-submissive. Anyway, to me the historicity of this dude seems rather meaningless as it just seems figurative.
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    Yeah sounds like what I’ve skimmed of the book

    and also kinda sounds like religion

    sometimes the fact that there are so many aspects like this (submit or be damned) is considered healthy or rational in any way scares me
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    @Enters Laughing

    To be honest I don't really understand the point of threads/discussions like these. Religion requires deception: that's the conclusion anyone willing to think honestly about the topic will come to. And any such person more or less familiar with the history (or lack of history in this case) of Islam will realize quickly that Mohammed is the same kind of person as the Buddha, Lycurgus, King Arthur, or Paul Bunyan. The only people who wouldn't think so are people who don't have rational reasons for their beliefs in the first place, and I doubt you're going to be able to convince of anything.

    If there's an exception, it would be Jesus, just for the fact that modern biblical scholars are virtually unanimous in their opposition to mythicism. I don't think their reasons are very good, or there's a shred more evidence for a historical Jesus than a historical Mohammed, and I think why they say such a thing has to do more with ideological, social, and financial incentives than honest thought (just witnessing the hammed-up condescension and derision with which people like Bart Ehrman treat mythicism reveals that there's something more than dispassionate analysis going on), but someone unfamiliar with the subject will tend to accept the opinion of the "experts" in that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by necrosebud View Post
    Yeah sounds like what I’ve skimmed of the book

    and also kinda sounds like religion

    sometimes the fact that there are so many aspects like this (submit or be damned) is considered healthy or rational in any way scares me
    Are you going to form and popularize your own values system? Based on what? Is rationality "healthy?" Does it make you or anyone else less depressed, anxious, neurotic? Jihadists aren't posting on psychology forums trying to figure out what's wrong with them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FreelancePoliceman View Post
    @Enters Laughing

    To be honest I don't really understand the point of threads/discussions like these. Religion requires deception: that's the conclusion anyone willing to think honestly about the topic will come to. And any such person more or less familiar with the history (or lack of history in this case) of Islam will realize quickly that Mohammed is the same kind of person as the Buddha, Lycurgus, King Arthur, or Paul Bunyan. The only people who wouldn't think so are people who don't have rational reasons for their beliefs in the first place, and I doubt you're going to be able to convince of anything.

    If there's an exception, it would be Jesus, just for the fact that modern biblical scholars are virtually unanimous in their opposition to mythicism. I don't think their reasons are very good, or there's a shred more evidence for a historical Jesus than a historical Mohammed, and I think why they say such a thing has to do more with ideological, social, and financial incentives than honest thought (just witnessing the hammed-up condescension and derision with which people like Bart Ehrman treat mythicism reveals that there's something more than dispassionate analysis going on), but someone unfamiliar with the subject will tend to accept the opinion of the "experts" in that.
    Quoted for greatness and intellectual clarity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FreelancePoliceman View Post
    @Enters Laughing

    To be honest I don't really understand the point of threads/discussions like these. Religion requires deception: that's the conclusion anyone willing to think honestly about the topic will come to. And any such person more or less familiar with the history (or lack of history in this case) of Islam will realize quickly that Mohammed is the same kind of person as the Buddha, Lycurgus, King Arthur, or Paul Bunyan. The only people who wouldn't think so are people who don't have rational reasons for their beliefs in the first place, and I doubt you're going to be able to convince of anything.

    If there's an exception, it would be Jesus, just for the fact that modern biblical scholars are virtually unanimous in their opposition to mythicism. I don't think their reasons are very good, or there's a shred more evidence for a historical Jesus than a historical Mohammed, and I think why they say such a thing has to do more with ideological, social, and financial incentives than honest thought (just witnessing the hammed-up condescension and derision with which people like Bart Ehrman treat mythicism reveals that there's something more than dispassionate analysis going on), but someone unfamiliar with the subject will tend to accept the opinion of the "experts" in that.
    While I think it's more difficult to persuade someone away from superstition and views generally that are not based in reason by using evidence, I still had some successful experiences.

    I like to think that even if people have no irrational interest in believing in Muhammad, Jesus, Socionics etc. that my raising of skeptical arguments against will encourage others to be wary of tentatively accepting the claims of their adherents simply because the majority of people in the past have tentatively accepted that there must be some factual basis behind the superstition.

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