Did Muhammad Exist?
New book reveals stunning truth about origins of Islam
NEW YORK, April 17, 2012 — A startling new book about the origins of Islam changes everything we thought we knew about the world’s second largest religion. It unearths provocative evidence that forces us to ask: Did Muhammad, Islam’s founding prophet, even exist?
Bestselling author Robert Spencer’s Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins (ISI Books, April 23, 2012) is a sober but unflinching look at the early days of one of the world’s major religions. Far from an anti-Islamic polemic, it brings to Islam the same standard of searching historical criticism that scholars have applied to Christianity and Judaism for more than two centuries.
In his 2006 New York Times bestseller The Truth about Muhammad, Spencer revealed the astonishing contents of the earliest Islamic biographical material about the prophet of Islam. Now—in what is sure to be one of the year’s most controversial books—he lays bare that material’s surprisingly shaky historical foundations.
Drawing on a growing body of pioneering scholarship, Did Muhammad Exist? meticulously examines historical accounts, archaeological findings, and other records to reconstruct what we can know about Muhammad, the Qur’an, and the early days of Islam. The evidence Spencer presents challenges the most fundamental assumptions about Islam’s origins—assumptions made by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Did Muhammad Exist? reveals:
- How the earliest biographical material about Muhammad dates from at least 125 years after his reported death
- How six decades passed before the Arabian conquerors—or the people they conquered—mentioned Muhammad, the Qur’an, or Islam
- The startling evidence that the Qur’an was constructed from existing materials—including Christian texts
- How even Muslim scholars acknowledge that countless reports of Muhammad’s deeds were fabricated
- Why a famous mosque inscription may refer not to Muhammad but, astonishingly, to Jesus
- How the oldest records referring to a man named Muhammad bear little resemblance to the now-standard Islamic account of the life of the prophet
- The many indications that Arabian leaders fashioned Islam for political reasons
The real story of Muhammad and early Islam has long remained obscured in the shadows. Robert Spencer brings it into the light at last.
An Arabic translation of Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins is currently under way and will be published in electronic form for free distribution in Islamic nations.
Robert Spencer is the author of several widely acclaimed books about Islam, including the New York Times bestsellers The Truth about Muhammad and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). He is a columnist for FrontPage Magazine and the director of Jihad Watch, a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Spencer holds a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been studying Islamic theology, law, and history in depth for more than three decades.
Robert Spencer is available for interview.