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.
This book serves three major purposes. First, it helps you understand the structure and origin of the Islamic Religion. Second it gives a recount of the life and times of Muhammad. Third, it places the puzzling actions of Muslims in a clear and stark light of their traditions and beliefs. While I was somewhat disturbed by the implications of this book it is an invaluable read. No responsible Westerner should overlook this book . . . or disregard its warnings.
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.
Here is current information not found in news reports, a perspective taken from Islamic documents. In light of hair-trigger reactions, it's amazing that the author and publisher decided to provide this insight.
Audio: Narrator James Adams does an excellent job. His British accent and pronounciation of the many Arabic words are both very understandble. The pace is just right, neither dragging nor being a "speed-read". The recording is clear and unobstructed by any interference. I will look for other works J. Adams has read as possible future choices.
Content: As in Spencer's P.I. Guide to Islam that I read, this book is packed with referenced facts. These are largely quotes and accounts from the Quran, Sura, and hadith. The book is largely a fascinating and reasonably brief historical account of the life of Muhammad. As a Protestant Westerner and minor history buff, I enjoyed it and felt educated by it! I was enthralled enough to listen to the 7 hour book within a single 24-hr period. Spencer sticks to the facts throughout and lets them speak for themselves. Only in the final chapter does he coalesce the various points presented and apply them to our modern world. Is 7th century Muhammad a bad example for conduct in the 21st century? (My question.) Read\listen and decide for yourself. I highly recommend this book.
Given the current political situation in the Muslim world, it's important for westerners to learn about the prophet Muhammad and the origins of Islam. This book presents a clear, concise account of the prophet and his religion, while stimulating thought--and, hopefully, discussion on the topic. Makes for good, interesting listening.
I was shocked to learn about Islam & their prophet, Mohammed. I took those saying Islam is peaceful at their word - it is not. Mohammed was a brutal, warring figure. One has a far better understanding of why the Jihadist are so fanatic in their ways after listening. I would be interested in any books that say otherwise about this religion and their prophet. The book is well-referenced and well read.
Spencer’s book will make you want to learn more about early Islamic history. He does not mince harsh words about one of the world’s largest and fastest growing religions.
This book is a careful and scholarly analysis of Muhammad and his legacy based on respected islamic sources.
Muhammad is revered by something close to one billion people and held up as an example of how his followers should live their lives. His apologists often point out his wisdom, his charisma, and the respect he earned from his contemporaries. What his islamic apologists don't mention to non-muslims is that he was a bloodthirsty warlord who married a seven year old girl, his daughter-in-law, and 10 to 15 other women. He conquered the Arabian peninsula in the name of his new religion, and repeatedly commanded his followers to kill non-muslims "wherever they found them". His example reverberates to this day. The "religion of peace" is often anything but, and no amount of wishful thinking will make it so. The West sorely needs a better understanding of the life of Muhammad and the example he set.
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
I am guessing I have purchased better than 60 audible books to date. I should review more of them on this site. Robert Spencer is one of Audible's invaluable authors. Before I got hooked up with Audible, I bought and listened to the cassette tape edition of Spencer's "Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World's Fastest Growing Faith." It is excellent. I notice with Islam Unveiled, as with these reviews here on "The Truth About Muhammad," there are some one or two starred reviews from people that either did not appear to have listened to the audio book or from people who only reviewed "one" audio book on the Audible web-site:
I've got three good biographies of Muhammad including Audible's "Muhammad" by Martin Lings. I recommend it, though unlike Spencer, Lings' biography is more of an apologetic of the prophet's life. Suffice it to say, Muhammad, unlike Jesus and Moses, was a warrior-king along the order of King David, though perhaps more violent than David. There may be those who will dispute this point. A Biography that details the violent exploits of a warrior-king is not necessarily an exciting read or listen, yet in the case of Muhammad it is a must read; because he was and still is such an important historical figure. Robert Spencer is a scholar on Islam whether you agree with his conclusions or not. I cannot recommend Spencer's books enough to audible subscribers; all of them.
It is really fantastic that Audible.co.uk offers such a diverse range of literature on it's website. "The Truth about Muhammad" adds an interesting and balanced account which is more topical today than ever before. Although I am against established religions per se, so have no "angle" (or loyalty to the religion of my ancestors!) It is clear from just browsing Audible.co.uk that there are plenty of books criticising Christianity and the other religions, far more than criticise Islam, but I don't hear people whining about them. That's because people still (at the moment) have a right to write books on topics that they choose to write about and have an expertise and interest in. Most civilised people respect that. It is therefore ridiculous to hysterically demand that someone writes sequels on other religions! My ancestors fought Hitler to ensure that EVERYONE could have an opinion without fear and intimidation. This book is well researched, interesting and fair. Buy it now!
"Surprised & enlightened"
I have passed over this author on several occasions as I did not want to read a one sided polemic against the father of Islam, but then finally downloaded this book and held my breath. Not only was I very surprised at the scholarly approach of the book but was very encouraged by the depth of Spencer's knowledge on the subject. It is encouraging in the sense that he adds credibility to his thesis by avoiding an over-interpretation of the subject matter, and simply lets the Koran/Hadith speak for itself. This is not an attack on Islam or Mohammad or a tyraid by an uninformed blogger spouting a 'western slant' on the patron of Islam, to satisfy some conspiratorial bias against Islam, but simply a well documented and researched collection of written evidence to answer the question 'Is Islam a religeon of peace?'. He is also not suggesting Muslims are not peaceful, but simply if Mohammads actions are to be held in such high esteem as to be considered virtuous above all others, the world is in for a very rough ride. I recommend it for dedicated truth seekers...enjoy!
"WIll there be"
Although some of what Spencer writes in this book may well be true, a lot of it can easily apply to other "religions" including Judaism and Christianity. His attempt to judge 1400 year old events by today's moral standards calls his judgment and motives into doubt. I wonder if he intends to publish "The Truth About Moses" or "The Truth About Jesus" and how women and slaves are treated in those religions. How about the Crusades! He clearly doesn't seem to have any objections to some of the clearly immoral practices of the other religions when judged by today's standards. His agenda is clearly to go after Islam alone and that makes him more of a propagandist than an objective writer.
I am a secular person but nevertheless can't help but question Spenser's motivations, particularly in light of his known views and "Anti-Islamist" associations. He can be described by some as your average Islamophobe and racist.
"is it really the truth?"
I think its really sad when people instead of working on finding reality, simply build their opinion on the first information they get on a particular subject, without bothering to find balancing information or verifying whether their interpretations of that subject are correct or not. Unfortunately it seems the same with this book.
"Meticulous presentation with mesmerising evidence!"
Robert Spencer audaciously offers a meticulously presentation with mesmerising evidence the bitter truth about Muhamad, his lifestyles and violent ideology, his anti-Semitism and Anti-Christian Bigotry. A must to everyone!
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