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  • Pitcrew

    I spent a day or two last year reading Holland's book In the Shadow of the Sword, so I can't say this comes as a complete surprise. From my layperson's perspective it was an interesting read, and I enjoy Holland's prose style.

  • Ibn Warraq (the modern scholar who uses this as a nom-de-plume, not the 7th century contemporary of Muhammad) has mentioned this theory, as well as his theory that Muhammad was a fictional character out of Medieval bedouin society almost like England's Lancelot or Arthur. I'm not certain I agree with him but my specialty is Christian studies, not Islam. Then again, as someone who collects Umayyad coinage, I find he bases a lot of this theory on the fact that there are coins dating from after Muhammad with the Shahada on them but yet they have Christian crosses and ICXC NIKA (a Byzantine monogram for 'Ιησούς Χριστός vika' or 'Jesus Christ is Victor) on them. This isn't syncretism as he claims but rather these dinars and dirhams come from confiscated Byzantine coinage which were then re-used by the Caliphate by simply stamping the Shahada on them. His works are nonetheless interesting, in particular Christmas in the Quran"

    This presents a big problem because several schools of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) interpret the Koran as a perfect document, almost going above and beyond what many sola scriptura Christians believe about the Bible (I have yet to encounter a Southern Baptist who believes the New Testament to be a perfect piece of Greek prose much in the same way some Muslims believe that the Koran is the perfect example of Arabic poetry). There are Salafis that even claim that the Koran is pre-eternal in the same way that Allah is.

  • Admin

    That's pretty interesting, thanks for that @BigDaddyAmin .

  • ​In the very least, I hope that this encourages Muslims and Muslim scholars to be bold and engage in textual criticism of the Quran in the same way that Christian study scholars have done with the New Testament and Jews have done with the Old Testament in the Medieval to the Modern era.​ But with ISIS/Daesh trying to recreate the Abbasid Caliphate right now, I don't think we will see anything like that out of Islamic universities in Baghdad. And we certainly can't rely on the Wahabis in Saudi Arabia to produce any kind of scholarship like that.

  • Admin

    Beheadings do tend to discourage wide use of the scientific method, yes.

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