Orientals on Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Arab American Encyclopedia- Hasan Yahya
Understanding Islam took a long way in history to be known as a religion like other historical religions (like Judaism, and Christianity,etc.,), but until recent years, almost all western scholars believe that Qur’an is a document produced by Muhammad himself. (1(. Surveying the 20th Century Literature, we find Margoliuth’s book Muhammad and the Rise of Islam published in 1905. This book Opened the gate for English writers after 1910 until 1980. Historically scholars or Orientalist began to wrote about the Prophet of Islam. Leones Caetani wrote ten volumes appeared in Menzil, titled: The Life and Religion of Muhammad, The Prophet of Arabia.in 1912. One year later, in 1913, Rev. Ganon Edward Sell wrote: The Life of Muhammad (1913). Both works were written extensively on Islam. Canon emphasizes the political factor in the Prophet’s life. He depends on Muir, Margoliouth and MaDonald, but while following their theory about epileptic about the Prophet. His study of biographies of the Prophet colored by harsh tone. Two decades later, Father Henri Lammen, (a Jesuit priest) in his book: Islam – Beliefs and Institutions (1929), one chapter was on Muhammad. The rest of the book book describes beliefs and institutions as the book title shows. In 1926, Richard Bell published his book: The Origins of Islam in its Christian Environment. In his book Bell tried to follow reductionists approach, in order to prove that Islam is borrowed from Christianity. Bell biased judgment describes revelation as not genuine. But Andrae later in his book, justifies the writing of his book by saying that there is a need for people to know more about Islam, and especially about the Prophet, because what they are used to is biased. In 1930, Franz P.W. Buhl a Danish author wrote his book in German. But the article in the Encyclopedia of Islam, he wrote: “…. [It] contains a considerable mass of information taken from all the available sources, studied and analyzed critically in the light of the discussions of European Islamists, of whom he had an almost exhaustive knowledge. With the robust sense of a good researcher, he rejected both the hypercriticism of certain Arabists and the blind confidence of Muslims in their sources.” (2). In 1932, Emile Derminghem, a French writer wrote a book in French (translated into English and was published in the same year. (3) In the same period, a German Jew using a Muslim pseudonym, Muhammad Essayyed Bey, wrote his Mohamet which was translated from the French original into English under the title: Muhammad A Biography. (1934F, 1936E) This book, however, can only be described as deficient in any scholarly measures of its methodology. Tor Andrae : Muhammad, hans liv och hans tro, was published in Swedish. (The Swedish original was published in 1930, the English edition: Muhammed-The Man and His Faith, was translated and published by Theophil Menzeil in 1936. The doubts about Muhammad’s credibility as Al-Amin, Pickthall refers to a statement in Andrae’s book page 35, which says:” It is said that he was known by the epithet Al-Amin, “the reliable”, and even if this designation does not seem to express the most apparent trait of Muhammad’s character, it does show that he had an unusual power of inspiring confidence.” Theodora Barton: Talks on Mohammad and His Followers was published in 1932 to follow the list of discrediting Islam. In the same year, a book titled: The Muslim Creed, Its Genesis and Historical Development was published by Arent Jan Wensinck, the emphasis was that Islamic doctrines were influenced by Greek philosophy in their formative periods. Richard Bell followed Tor Andrae, with two volume work: The Qur’an –Translated with a Critical Rearrangement of the Surahs. (4)Bell’s other major work: Introduction to the Qur’an, was published in 1953, and was supposed to be a companion volume to his translation of the Qur’an.William Montgomery Watt, revised and enlarged this work in 1970 as part of the Islamic Survey Series. Watt was one of Bell’s students, but he studied his teacher’s work critically. The main difference between the student and his teacher, was that he unlike his teacher, believes that Qur’an, was not Muhammad’s own handiwork as his teacher professed. (5) In 1949, Gibb’s Muhammadanism:An Historical Survey, was published. One of the writer’s essential objectives was to improve upon Margoliouth’s work published under the same title in 1911. In essence, he argued that after 35 years, the time was ripe for a relook at the subject. He wrote: “ Between one generation and the next, the bases of judgment necessarily suffer change. They are modified firstly in the material or scientific sense, by the discovery of new facts and the increase of understanding which results from the broadening and deepening research.” (6)
Hegel says: “The sun of the spirit is always new, ……” continuing that “…. It is to be observed that every work of a genious, whether in religion or art or thought, is unique in its own way and cannot be understood by anything outside itself”. (7) Modern critical scholarship required testing to stand up to all rigors tested. In 1981, A Critical Survey of Modern Studies on Muhammad by Rodinson is an example of serious undertaking toward understanding Islam. (8) Rodinson mentions an instance in which Ignaz Goldziher expressed such concern in a private discourse with Louis Massignon. But Massignon followed a methodology in which could hardly withstand academic scrutiny, where his efforts directed to discredit the Prophet and Islam. He expresses his prejudice Goldziher is reported to have said:”What would remain of the Gospels if he applied to them the same methods he applies to the Qur’an?”.(9)
In conclusion, I like to explain the Judeo-Christian agreement, it is the body of concepts and values held in common by Christianity and Judaism, and execludes Islam from such tradition of ethics and values. They describe how Christianity was emerged from Judaism in the first century of the common era. Christians brought from Judaism its scriptures; fundamental doctrines such as monotheism; the belief in a Messiah, a term that is more commonly known as Christ, including a priesthood, concepts of sacred space and sacred time, the idea that worship here on Earth is patterned after worship in Heaven, and the use of the Psalms in community prayer. I wonder, how this description excludes Islam from such an agreement? Users Judeo-Christian, pointing out that Christians and Jews (whom their leaders killed Christ) have many sacred texts and ethical standards in common, also generally hold that Christians and Jews worship the same God, which is not true, the difference between God as Yahva and His Apostles like, Christ is clear. Islam principles is not strange from worshiping the same. Allah. But politics interfere to make the Western unity against Islam. And I believe it worked well so far. But lies about Islam, will appear to those who study religions and searching for peace on Earth. Islam as divine religion, beside other religions, still the most misunderstood by many, they lack tolerance and understanding of Islam and Muslims and replace what history accumulated of hatred I think, the unity of Judaism and Christianity against Islam was the factor of such hatred. Business-Paid Churches around the United States and parts of Europe, still prophesize that Islam is not a religion. And that Muhammad is not a Prophet.
After 9/11, however, the crusade spirit was close to be alive, but 9/11, even though was a horrible incident in recent history, one advantage came up from it, You may hate something, and it satisfies you later, and you may love something later prove dissatisfaction to you. (10) People in the West began seriously to understand the Islamic faith and people history, and many of them were converted to Islamic faith. The Judaic-Christian agreement should include Islam on equal bases with their faith, otherwise, the conflict will continue between the East and West. God does not belong ONLY to Jews or Christians or Hindus, God belong to all human beings on this earth. And all religions should be equal having the same chances to explain their ethics which, in my opinion do not differ in principles, except in the minds of those racist or politically oriented to make enemies fight each other for selfish purposes rather than spiritual ones. www.hasanyahya.com
- (Bell, Andrae, and others.,)
- (Rodinson: in Martin L. Stwaetz (trans), Studies on Islam (1981), p.27.
- La Vie de Mahomet, in 1932.
- (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2 vols. 1937-1939)
- (Bell: 1970, 1990, Islamic Survey – 8: p.v.
- (Gibb : Muhammadanism:An Historical Survey, 1949, preface, p.v.)
- (R. Bells study of the Qura’n: A Critical Analysis. IC, Vol.30, No 3 ( July 1956)P272,
- Rodinson in Martin L. Stwaetz (trans), Studies on Islam (1981)
- Encyclopedia Britannica, different years
- Qur’an: 2:24 عسى ان تكرهوا شيئا وهو خير لكم
إلى القراء والقارئات العرب في كل مكان
عرب يارسول الله ….. عرب !
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واجعلوا من الكتاب هدية لمن تحبون ، فوالله ما ألفت ولا كتبت ولا نشرت إلى لزيادة المعرفة بين العرب في المهاجر ولكن أكثر العرب لا يقرأون حتى المربين منهم والمربيات ……….. واأسفاه… فمعظم الكتب تصلح لمناهج للمدارس العربية والإسلامية في بلاد الغربة وعتبي على المربين وعلى إدارات المدارس في المهاجر الذين لم يستفيدوا بعد من هذه الكتب، ونشكر بشدة أولئك الذين قرروا استعمال بعضها في مدارسهم .