Mr. Spencer is no stranger to controversy, as his books and his 'Jihadwatch' Web site speak for themselves, yet he manages never to pull his punches. He takes quotations from the Qur'an, and other works held in high regard, and uses them to present different sides of the Prophet's character: his skill as a military leader, his views on other religions, his pressure and agitation for constant war against unbelievers. It's a challenging work, and will probably win him fans and sworn enemies in equal measure.
James Adams reads the audiobook, endowed with a mellow English accent, yet tackling the Arabian pronunciation with skill and aplomb. The English accent surprised me, since Robert Spencer is American, but being a straight factual work I believe a good voice from either side of the Atlantic would suffice. I listened in one sitting; the near seven hours passing remarkably swiftly (always a good sign) and the narration and audio quality were of consistently high quality. Simply an all-round excellent book.
--Brad Jackson, UK
Spencer details Muhammad's development from a preacher of hellfire and damnation into a political and military leader who expanded his rule by force of arms, promising his warriors luridly physical delights in Paradise if they were killed in his cause. He explains how the Qur'an's teaching on warfare against unbelievers developed, with constant war to establish the hegemony of Islamic law as the last stage.
© 2006 Robert Spencer; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.
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!
Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.
I had so very much looked forward to listening to The Truth About Muhammad, by Robert Spencer. I never had much opportunity to learn of the genesis and theoretical underpinning of Islam other than readings from a few other authors. (See last paragraph of this review). It would be good to understand why there is a potentially irreconcilable abyss between Muslims and the World, the Americans, the Chinese, the Russians and of course, why is there such a competition between the Muslims, the Sunni and the Shia? Why is there a mutual disgust? How can we overcome our differences?
Spencer’s teaching in TTAM leaves me in total despair. Spencer tells me Muhammed was without a philosophy other than what was good –at the moment- for Muhammed was allegedly what God has decreed. Muhammed was hypocritical in that when he needed to do something he had previously condemned, it was forgiven in his case by God telling him he can although others can’t as he was Islamic and the voice by which God spoke. He treated women as worthless chattel, and provided nothing for them other than momentary enjoyment for men. He was dishonest in dealings in that his word was without obligation to live up to his commitments, and in war he was heinous in the treatment of the defeated. Perhaps worse of all Islamic peoples model Muhammed as the perfect being and all Islam is to model itself after his ethics. If Muhammed is to be accorded a soothsayer status by Islam there is no working with any Islamic peoples. Worst of all, this warped sense of self has been the basis of Islam for now over 1400 years and has become an embedded part of Islamic self. There is an impasse, an abyss, they are diabolical and dispassionate and are taught by their religion never work cooperatively with others but to seek only the death of non-believers. I might add this is not my experience with Islamic peoples. Much to the contrary. TTAM left me in despondency. I cannot accept his insights.
To make matters worse the book was a bore to read. It did not provide history, but canting reiterations of several of the Koran’s rulings which Spencer then employs to set up examples of Muhammed’s history all ending in some degradation of his human character. I found the presentation style a terrible manner in which to display a history, or biography. It gave no theater in which to consider and analyze.. The story felt discombobulated; and worthless in providing understanding.
One last point. I have – many years ago – read Karen Armstrong, the comparative religion author. I do not know why Spencer had to discuss his disagreement with her four times in the book, to say she was wrong in her measurement of Islam and he was more accurate. On the contrary, I have found her writing well researched, well written and a complete positive experience.
I am a psychiatrist.I am 80 year old,in excellent health and believe there is no end in learning and good books is the best. Way to Learn.
The writer has not done thorough review of literature.The author appears not. To be ableto differentiate between his time and muhammed's time.I hate to say that this is what happens < if your mother tongue is different from the language of the poetry you are Translating.)
To give such strong conviction one needs to have thorough knowledge of current a few hundred years old Arabic ,history of current old culture in which those things happen.
Finally do not quote socalled Mullahs and unauthanticated religious schoolers,these are the one and only one responsible for confusion.
If you want to write on religion especially Islam ,Islamic history Read Quran in contex,
we Americans are educated people and believe in things which are varifiable.
Apolagise for my English and no disrespect to wards the author.
The conclusions are not ,most of the time based on history.
He is good.
I think my reply is close to accurate at least in my opinion.r
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.
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.
Omg. Everyone has been lied to. You need to read and understand only then can you realize how much the Koran and Muhammad call his followers to jihad. Violence against non Muslims is throughout the book over and over. Who said this is a faith of peace. Why do millions of faithful misread their own holy Koran. Allah gives directions to give his followers directives to wage war against non believers.
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