I have taught World Religions in college and have done some research on Islam in China. I am not a fan of Islam nor of its image of God/Allah in the Q'uran. And yet Robert Spencer's book does a disservice to Christianity by using inaccurate translations of the Q'uran and relying on just a few of the more radical ancient Islamc sources.
Arabic, like Hebrew, is a Northwest Semitic language. I may not be able to read Arabic script but I can read with a phonetic script because of it's close association with Hebrew. Any seminary trained Christian can can read Arabic phonetic by studying Hebrew. So I was surprised at some of Spencer's reading of the Q'uran. Spencer is not an Arabic scholar. He ignores the better translations.
There are pacific and militant Muslims. Within a generation of Muhammad's death, Muslims differed as to the militancy of Allah. It may be safe to say that the origin of the confusion is in the ambiguity of Muhammad himself. By siding with the radical interpretation Spencer sees pacific Islam as a contradiction. It's not. It's the part of Islam that will survive the Islamic age of the Internet more than Jihadist swords of steel.
--Dana Roberts, MA, MTS
Editor and librarian, someone who reads and heard audio materials, all the time (^.^)
This book is a mixture of truth and lies. Confuses the past with the present and offers a poor religious and political vision.
Points out important realities about the relationship between Christians, Muslems and Jews, revealing details that only someone educated in the issues could ever know. A real heads up for our current and future politics!
There is no question this book is worth reading. However, books of this nature and subject matter really need a narrator who not only can keep one's attention but who can also inspire you to keep listening. Unfortunately, the narrator, whom I usually find to be easy to listen to, this time was a struggle. The narrator seemed to be in a rush and did not use enough inflection and change in tone. It was the subject matter that made it worth it.
As you can see from some reviews, this book offends many muslims and apologetics. However, the author of this book references nothing but the most highly regarded texts and speakers of the muslim world. He doesn't present only small out of context portions of their holy book. He presents the person in full context.
The problem many people have is that they really don't want people to know what type of Person Mohamed was. They are lovers of lies.
A Christian [my implication is that he starts out biased] writing about the founder of Islam has done a fabulous job of documenting an otherwise intelligible narrative of the founder's life. The sources are Islam's holy scriputure. The emphasis is not on what actually happened, which is unimportant from a practical standpoint, but what is perceived, as sanctioned by religious scholars, to have happened. Taking the treatment of women for example, the point is not that Muhammhed was a few decades or centuries ahead of his time in his treatment of women. For example, an apolgist on this website said [paraphrased], "But, he allowed women to own land." The point is that his treatment of women is seen by Islamists as the precedent for TODAY's treatment of women. The way the Islamist want women to be treated TODAY is important. And this is directly related to how Muhammhed treated women himself. How the religious believers perceive him is what is important.
By the way, for Christians and Jews: Muhammhed's God is eerily similar to the horrible God of the Old Testament (Written 700 BC). Muhammhed was just 1,400 years later, by which time Judaism had grown and developed quite a bit. Muhammhed just took it back old school monotheism: The old My God is Stronger than Your God argument. As an example, take the story of Muhammed and the adulterous woman. The author shows the various attitudes of the onlookers, and simply shows you, the reader, what Muhammed taught about it.
And for Muslims: You may have to take a close look at what Muhammhed actually taught when you read this book. The frightening thing is that it actually may justify terrorism in the mind of the devout Muslim. In fact, that's just the problem.
Moderates teach religion for "family values." Extremists are the ones who actually believe it.
Well researched and referenced, it will open your eyes to the truth about Muhammad in his own words as handed down. As well as his revelations to justify everything he did some times after the fact.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
It often happens that you stumble upon a book that could've stayed on the shelve. If you're not American and have an academic knowledge of the Muhammad, this book might be too much to stomach. If you are American and like politics this book is for you. Still I found it very biased. I caught my mind frequently opting out when trying to listen to this audio book.
I enjoyed the book, and the pace of the reading. The author appeared to be a credible source, and it is written from a factual perspective. Great care was taken to not offend any historical or religious perspective of Muhammad, with key statements referenced to their source. I enjoyed the book (twice for effect), but did take some of the statements as the author’s perspective, subject to my own belief system and personal perspective. I recommend this book. If you are truly interested in Muhammad, this is a good start, and you should do some more reading from different sources. This was my first introduction to the life and background of Muhammad. It was very interesting; the speaking voice pace was just right.