Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Life of Muhammad - The Sira - Book Review


I just finished reading The Life of Muhammad, by Bill Warner. It is a condensed version (66 pages long) of the Sira, which is the biography of Muhammad. It traces the life of Muhammad from his early years as an orphan boy to his rise to become a powerful military leader. If you want to understand Islam you need to understand that it is not just founded on the Quran but also the Sira and Hadith. This trilogy together make up Islam based upon the teaching and life of Muhammad. The Qur'an teaches that Muhammad is the ideal Muslim that all Muslims should try to emulate.

While threats of doom and hellfire for the kafirs were 2 of the biggest themes in the Quran (see my summary of the Quran), the Sira fleshes out these threats of doom with actual accounts of Muhammad and his followers waging jihad. In the early phase of his life while in Mecca this jihad was non-violent struggle, but in the later phase of his life in Medina when Muhammad had grown in political power his primary method was violent jihad. The story of Muhammad's life is a tale of battles and wars, theft and war booty, sex slaves, espionage and treachery.


Often apologists for Islam say that Islam is a religion of peace. This is wrong and misleading for two reasons - Islam in its full form is not peaceful, and it's not primarily a religion - it's a violent political ideology of conquest with the ultimate goal of world domination in the name of Allah. This is made clear in the Quran, but even clearer in the Sira.

To give you more of an idea of what's in the book here's one excerpt:

CRUELTY

B2,24,577 [Bukhari 2:24:577]
Some people came to Medina, but the climate made them sick, so Mohammed gave them permission to stay among the camels that had been collected for taxes. He told them to drink the camel’s urine and milk, as that would cure their illness. However, the people instead murdered the shepherd and stole the camels. Mohammed sent men after them and they were quickly captured. Mohammed ordered that their hands and feet be cut off, and their eyes pierced with hot pokers. They were left to die of thirst on the rocks of Harra.

Muhammad's revelations began when he was about 40 years old. From age 40 to age 50 he lived in Mecca and preached a mainly peaceful message. At the end of this Meccan phase he had only 150 followers. From age 50 to his death around 60 years of age he was based in Medina and it is during this phase of his life that he waged violent jihad and that we find all of the jihad related verses in the Quran.

An explanation of the latter Medinan phase of Muhammad's life from page 50 :

SUMMARY OF MOHAMMED'S ARMED EVENTS

"In a nine year period Mohammed personally took part in twenty-seven raids. There were thirty-eight other battles and expeditions. This is a total of sixty-five armed events, not including assassinations and executions, for an average of one armed event every six weeks. Mohammed succeeded through politics, not religion. An estimate can be made that there were 100,000 Muslims when Mohammed died. Using this information allows a graph to be drawn:"


The same pattern holds today - when Muslims are in the minority and a state of weakness they preach a peaceful message. When Muslims reach a position of strength that is when violent jihad becomes an issue.

I'd like to end with Bill Warner's closing words from the book:

"Today our culture stumbles in the darkness of dhimmitude. But the light of knowledge of the doctrine and history of political Islam can dispel this darkness. Once we understand the true nature of the civilization of Islam, we can unite and overcome dualism and triumph over submission. to the reader Take the time to refl ect on what you have read and draw your own conclusions. If you would like to know more, read Mohammed and the Unbelievers, CSPI Publishing. If you would like to read the original of the Sira, Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, get A. Guillaume’s The Life of Mohammed."

For Further Reading / Research:

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