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.
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.
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
If you are trying to understand the logic behind Islam and why it's followers go to the extreme, this is a GREAT start.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Geopolitics, history, and philosophy junkie. I love smoothly flowing prose that moves me effortlessly from one idea to the next.
I found Mr. Spencer's approach to this effort was reasoned and balanced, an intellectual examination of a very controversial topic. I learned quite a lot. I wish that he had gone into the history of the Koran a little deeper, being that it was the first book written in Arabic (hence the 4-stars). Overall an excellent study of Islam. I highly recommend it.
When I first started listening to this book I thought to myself that the author must be exagerating the situation. Then I started checking all his assertions by cross referencing to a copy of the Koran I took out of the library. The terrifying truth is that everything is exactly as Spencer states it. And the most terrifying of it all is that the Koran forms the basis of criminal and civil law for parts of the Muslim world. We should take his warning seriously and beware of extremism of any kind regardless of its pedigree.. If you want more information check out the author's web site at www.jihadwatch.org.
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