Is Islam a myth?

muhammad_isa

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Yes, it is. It's also true .. it is relatively recent history. :)

Muhammad, peace be with him, was born in 570 AD in the Arabian city of Macca.
When he was 40 (610), Muhammad reported being visited by Gabriel in a cave {hira) and received his first revelation from God. In 613, Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", and that he was a prophet and messenger of God.

@juantoo3 does not believe it, it seems..
 

Aupmanyav

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Don't know about the Gabriel bit, but yes he claimed one God and his being the messenger of the God. Similar to claims by Zoroaster, Moses, Jesus (son), Joseph Smith (Later Day Saint), Bahaollah (Manifestation), Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (Mahdi). These being the major one's who succeeded to various extents. There are thousands who made such claims and perished. This is the normal Abrahamic religion template. In time there will be more, not withstanding claims of Mohammad that he is the last.
 

Cino

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Yes, it is. It's also true .. it is relatively recent history. :)

Muhammad, peace be with him, was born in 570 AD in the Arabian city of Macca.
When he was 40 (610), Muhammad reported being visited by Gabriel in a cave {hira) and received his first revelation from God. In 613, Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", and that he was a prophet and messenger of God.

@juantoo3 does not believe it, it seems..

I don't think Muhammad's existence as a historical figure is much disputed. There are always people who will doubt even the existence of any events prior to last Thursday, but in general, I think his biographical data and his impact on world history are acccepted.

Whether to accept his message, well, that is a matter of faith.
 

muhammad_isa

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Whether to accept his message, well, that is a matter of faith.

Not another one!

"A matter of faith" .. perhaps you mean a matter of choice?
Of course we can choose what we wish. I can vote for "the raving loonies" party in a general election .. not my scene.

I think that God expects us to choose what we consider to be the truth.
There has to be a better reason than "I don't like what Muhammad's Quran says", so reject it for what I do like.
 

Thomas

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As I understand it, his existence is accepted, based on contemporaneous or near-contemporaneous records, but attempts to distinguish between the historical elements and the mythology of the man have not been very successful. I think the historicity, rather than the existence, is debated.

On the one hand, Muslim academic sources claim that everything he did and said was recorded, but then as they would not know of deeds or words not recorded, this is a statement of faith, not fact. Other academic sources claim that we do not have even a scrap of information of real use in constructing the human history of Muhammad, beyond the bare fact that he once existed".

The Qur'an gives little personal information and its historicity is debated. Prophetic biography, known as sīra and hadith, date from the third and fourth centuries of the Muslim era (c. 800−1000AD). They provide a great deal of information, but the reliability is very much debated. Considering 20 years is 'questionable' when critiquing Christianity, 300-400 years later speaks for itself in Islam.

Generally, one can accept the traditional biography of the Prophet if one suspends all credibility; on the other hand, apply the same critical tools applied to early Christian or Jewish texts and its simply not possible to affirm any biography at all – one simply cannot recover a scrap of information of real use in constructing the human history of Muhammad, beyond the bare fact that he once existed.

Michael Cook, scholar of Islamic history, notes that comparing Ibn Ishaq with the later commentator Al-Waqid – who based his writing on Ibn Ishaq but added much colourful but fictional detail – reveals how oral history can be contaminated by the fiction of storytellers (qussa). "We have seen what half a century of story-telling could achieve between Ibn Ishaq and al-Waqidi," because of written materials to make comparisons, "What the same processes may have brought about in the century before Ibn Ishaq is something we can only guess at."
 

muhammad_isa

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The Qur'an gives little personal information and its historicity is debated..

What's that supposed to mean?
I assume you've read it. I also assume that if it agreed with your creed you'd be more likely to "like it" :)

..one simply cannot recover a scrap of information of real use in constructing the human history of Muhammad, beyond the bare fact that he once existed..

Funny that. The same critics that you presumably follow, are very quick to criticise his military expeditions.
 

Thomas

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What's that supposed to mean?
Sorry, I mean to tag that post with --wiki --

It's Wikipedia summation of the situation. If there's a critique of his military expeditions, that's probably all part and parcel of the general critique of a supposed historicity.
 

Cino

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Not another one!

"A matter of faith" .. perhaps you mean a matter of choice?
Of course we can choose what we wish. I can vote for "the raving loonies" party in a general election .. not my scene.

I think that God expects us to choose what we consider to be the truth.
There has to be a better reason than "I don't like what Muhammad's Quran says", so reject it for what I do like.

For me, it was like this: Why do I want to believe? What is the source of this desire? And so on, following it all the way, not stopping at my likes or dislikes, or my parents' approval, or my friends' or family's, not being satisfied with what I learned at school or what a spiritual teacher told me, or the scriptures: this was between me and my urge to believe in something, anything - why? What is it that drives me to believe? And I did not know where it would take me, or I might have stopped early on. I did not choose, except that I would not be satisfied with anything but the truth.

I suspect it is similar with you, and all sincere persons on this forum: we all have tested our faiths and convictions to the limit, removing untruth, excuses, wishful thinking, in our spiritual effort, in our striving.
 

juantoo3

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Yes, it is. It's also true .. it is relatively recent history. :)

Muhammad, peace be with him, was born in 570 AD in the Arabian city of Macca.
When he was 40 (610), Muhammad reported being visited by Gabriel in a cave {hira) and received his first revelation from God. In 613, Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", and that he was a prophet and messenger of God.

@juantoo3 does not believe it, it seems..
First, this was a cordial invitation for all participants to be polite. I haven't even looked at the other posts yet, but I ask EVERYONE in this thread to be respectful even in disagreement.

Second, my invitation had nothing to do with belief or disbelief, and EVERYTHING to do with the strong desire among Muslims of my acquaintance to analyze Christianity while adamantly refusing to do the same with their own faith. This has always struck me as curious, as if there were something to hide. I am not accusing, I certainly have no inside or special information. I have long been of the opinion that my faith is wide open to being analyzed, and I understand the "warts and all" as Thomas has said many times, and I can in the proper audience discuss those warts intelligently. I have yet to meet a Muslim willing to do the same for their own faith.

Aside, the thought occurred to me that Islam today seems in some ways very similar to Christianity about 600 hundred years ago, when that Church held the reigns of so many governments and the people were not encouraged to "peek behind the curtain."

I would also request to change the title of the thread, please, I know the mod staff are capable. This thread isn't an overt challenge to Islam, this is an exploration for understanding, and the current title begins with an argumentative tone.
 
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juantoo3

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I'm still trying to absorb the little I found after some cursory reading today, it seems like the Prophet was born into great wealth in a prominent "pre-Islam" Arabic family. When he began his "ministry" (I'm sorry, I don't know what else to call it) he went from town to town, often being chased off by those unwilling to hear his message. According to the article if I read correctly, at one point some of his followers went into brief exile in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) under a Christian King, and rejoined him a few years later. At another point he and a follower were run out of town by being stoned by the children with the parents looking on. A Christian slave and his master had mercy on the two and nursed them back to health, and the slave eventually converted to Islam. Sometime shortly after that, seemingly overnight, he gained a warlord (for lack of a better word) as an adherent and convinced this man to lead his army in retaliation. His new faith never looked back from that moment.

History of Islam - Wikipedia

Besides the Quran, Muhammad's teachings and practices (sunnah), found in the Hadith and sira (biography) literature, are also upheld and used as sources of Islamic law (see Sharia).
Muhammad - Wikipedia

The Quran ... provides minimal assistance for Muhammad's chronological biography; most Quranic verses do not provide significant historical context.
ibid

SIRA:
Important sources regarding Muhammad's life may be found in the historic works by writers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the Muslim era (AH – 8th and 9th century CE). These include traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad, which provide additional information about Muhammad's life.

The earliest written sira (biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him) is Ibn Ishaq's Life of God's Messenger written c. 767 CE (150 AH). Although the original work was lost, this sira survives as extensive excerpts in works by Ibn Hisham and to a lesser extent by Al-Tabari. However, Ibn Hisham admits in the preface to his biography of Muhammad that he omitted matters from Ibn Ishaq's biography that "would distress certain people". Another early history source is the history of Muhammad's campaigns by al-Waqidi (death 207 of Muslim era), and the work of his secretary Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi (death 230 of Muslim era).

Many scholars accept these early biographies as authentic, though their accuracy is unascertainable. Recent studies have led scholars to distinguish between traditions touching legal matters and purely historical events. In the legal group, traditions could have been subject to invention while historic events, aside from exceptional cases, may have been only subject to "tendential shaping".
ibid, emphasis mine as a point of discussion

HADITH:
Other important sources include the hadith collections, accounts of the verbal and physical teachings and traditions of Muhammad. Hadiths were compiled several generations after his death by followers including Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, Muhammad ibn Isa at-Tirmidhi, Abd ar-Rahman al-Nasai, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, Malik ibn Anas, al-Daraqutni.

Some Western academics cautiously view the hadith collections as accurate historical sources. Scholars such as Madelung do not reject the narrations which have been compiled in later periods, but judge them in the context of history and on the basis of their compatibility with the events and figures. Muslim scholars on the other hand typically place a greater emphasis on the hadith literature instead of the biographical literature, since hadiths maintain a verifiable chain of transmission (isnad); the lack of such a chain for the biographical literature makes it less verifiable in their eyes.
ibid, emphasis mine as a point of discussion
 
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muhammad_isa

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..Sometime shortly after that, seemingly overnight, he gained a warlord (for lack of a better word) as an adherent and convinced this man to lead his army in retaliation. His new faith never looked back from that moment.

Oh, please. Muhammad, peace be with him, thought he was going mad intitially, but when he started preaching publicly [ an order from God via angel Gabriel ], he had no doubt that it was real. Nothing to do with warlords!
 

juantoo3

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Oh, please. Muhammad, peace be with him, thought he was going mad intitially, but when he started preaching publicly [ an order from God via angel Gabriel ], he had no doubt that it was real. Nothing to do with warlords!
There is sincerely no disrespect, prior to converting the warlord, well over ten years into his ministry, he and his followers had a really rough go of it - presuming the cursory history I read is anything close to accurate. I don't know that to be fact, do you have more detailed information to point to?
 

juantoo3

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Islam arose within the context of Late Antiquity. The second half of the sixth century saw political disorder in Arabia, and communication routes were no longer secure. Religious divisions played an important role in the crisis. Judaism became the dominant religion of the Himyarite Kingdom in Yemen after about 380, while Christianity took root in the Persian Gulf. There was also a yearning for a more "spiritual form of religion," and "the choice of religion increasingly became an individual rather than a collective issue." While some were reluctant to convert to a foreign faith, those faiths provided "the principal intellectual and spiritual reference points," and Jewish and Christian loanwords from Aramaic began to replace the old pagan vocabulary of Arabic throughout the peninsula. Hanif, "seekers," searched for a new religious outlook to replace polytheism, focusing on "the all-encompassing father god Allah whom they freely equated with the Jewish Yahweh and the Christian Jehovah." In their view, Mecca was originally dedicated to this one true religion, established by Abraham.

Most likely Muhammad was "intimately aware of Jewish belief and practices," and acquainted with the Hanif. Like the Hanif, Muhammad practiced Taḥannuth, spending time in seclusion at mount Hira and "turning away from paganism." When he was about forty years old he began receiving at mount Hira' what Muslims regard as divine revelations delivered through the angel Gabriel, which would later form the Quran. These inspirations urged him to proclaim a strict monotheistic faith, as the final expression of the prophetic tradition earlier codified in Judaism and Christianity; to warn his compatriots of the impending Judgement Day; and to castigate social injustices of his city. Muhammad's message won over a handful of faithful, but was met with increasing opposition from notables of Mecca. In 622, a few years after losing protection with the death of his influential uncle Abu Talib, Muhammad migrated to the city of Yathrib (subsequently called Medina) where he was joined by his followers. Later generations would count this event, known as the hijra, as the start of the Islamic era.

In Yathrib, where he was accepted as an arbitrator among the different communities of the city under the terms of the Constitution of Medina, Muhammad began to lay the foundations of the new Islamic society, with the help of new Quranic verses which provided guidance on matters of law and religious observance. The surahs of this period emphasized his place among the long line of Biblical prophets, but also differentiated the message of the Quran from Christianity and Judaism. Armed conflict with Meccans and Jewish tribes of the Yathrib area soon broke out. After a series of military confrontations and political manoeuvres, Muhammad was able to secure control of Mecca and allegiance of the Quraysh in 629. In the time remaining until his death in 632, tribal chiefs across the peninsula entered into various agreements with him, some under terms of alliance, others acknowledging his prophethood and agreeing to follow Islamic practices, including paying the alms levy to his government, which consisted of a number of deputies, an army of believers, and a public treasury.

History of Islam - Wikipedia
 

muhammad_isa

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.. prior to converting the warlord, well over ten years into his ministry, he and his followers had a really rough go of it..

They certainly did have a rough time for 10 years. I presume you are referring to Umar bin Khattab. I also presume you mean "his conversion", which was not forced, incidentally.
It is well known that their lives were in danger and they therefore emigrated to Madina.
 

juantoo3

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OK, but at no time did I imply or infer that the warlord's conversion was forced. Yes, it is noted a bit of back and forth between Mecca and Medina. It is also noted the Kaaba was initially a pagan shrine, complete with circumambulating, prior to Islam. In that instance it reflects the Catholic practice of modifying existing practice, "baptizing it" as I've read before in another context.
 

Aupmanyav

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I think that God expects us to choose what we consider to be the truth.
God is an unproven entity, but has always brought power and prosperity to Shamans, be it Hariram Ojha in Santhal Paraganas (a district of West Bengal, India) or the likes of Mohammad, Joseph Smith, Bahaollah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, as well as many charlatan gurus in Hinduism, some of whom are presently in jail for murder or rape.
 
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Aupmanyav

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The same critics that you presumably follow, are very quick to criticise his military expeditions.
No doubt about that. He was the leader of a group of brigands who tasted success in Medina and later in the whole of Arabia. His only condition was 20% of the spoils (money, slaves, women, livestock, whatever) for Allah. And hadith records he beheaded one who did not do that.
 

muhammad_isa

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..It is also noted the Kaaba was initially a pagan shrine, complete with circumambulating, prior to Islam. In that instance it reflects the Catholic practice of modifying existing practice, "baptizing it" as I've read before in another context.

Actually, the kaaba in Macca goes back to the time of Anraham, peace be with him. He had 2 sons, Isaac & Ishmael.
They had 2 different mothers who didn't get on, and so he took Hagar & Ishmael into the desert where he established Macca. Over the generations, his descendants lapsed into idolatry. It is no different than God sending prophets to Israel. They also lapsed and had to be reminded of God's Oneness. i.e. to preach truth
 

Aupmanyav

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Add to it, Mohammad's desire for young women. All his life he had to do with a women 25 years older to him. Then he married another old women, Sawda. That is why, his child-wife, Aisha was the light of his eyes. Between the age of 52 and 62, he married some 11 women (He had Allah's special permission). Actually hadiths say that when he heard that one of his companions was marrying an old woman, he asked him why was he doing so? Did not he like young women?
 
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