Quality of research II (a)

As the book wishes to advance the idea of a psychological biography, therefore, it is roughly split into two halves. In the first the author presents an abridged version of Prophet Muhammad’s life and in the second part, he attempts to build a psychological profile of him. This additional study will look at the sources of used for both these major aspects of the book.

It has been shown to some degree, in Quality of Research I, how the author relies on secondary or tertiary sources, and is unable to examine primary sources himself, because of his inability to understand Arabic. This led to many basic errors that would otherwise not have occurred. Often, the sources he quotes are commonly found on the Internet, meaning that the author has not studied the actual books but as he came across the material on some website, it was included without verification. It is also clear that mostly the sources of his ideas and references tend to be other established, biased anti-Islamic sites.

One thing that is instantly apparent when looking at this aspect is the scarcity of any cited references that are relevant to the crux of his argument. Narrative of Prophet Muhammad life is built with sporadic references, and it is scattered with author’s views and assertions, which usually makes it difficult to discern the sources of his claims.

It appears that the two principle sources of the book used for the biography section are a Persian edition of ‘Tabqat of Ibn Sa’ad’ and William Muir’s ‘Life of Muhammad’. Some use has also been made of Ibn Ishaq and Hadith from Sahih Bukahri and Muslim are used throughout the book. Note: All books are freely available on Internet.

A section titled ‘The Myth of Persecution’ [Follow the link for complete text] from page 17 of the book and its sources and reference are examined closely as follows:

“There are also stories of Muslims being beaten by their family members for converting to Islam. A hadith narrates that Omar, prior to his own conversion, had tied up his sister forcing her to leave Islam.[25] Omar was a violent and strict man, both before and after his conversion.”

[25] Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 58, Number 207

“There is a story of persecution about a woman known as Summayyah. Ibn Sa’d is the only historian who says Summayyah suffered martyrdom in the hands of Abu Jahl. Al-Bayhaqi relying on Ibn Sa’d writes, “Abu Jahl stabbed her in her
private parts.”[26] If this martyrdom had really occurred it would have been trumpeted forth by every biographer and would have been reported in innumerable traditions.”

[26] Al-Dalaa’il, 2/282

However, Muir has shown that after Yasir died of natural causes, Summayyah married the Greek slave Azraq and had a child called Salma.27 How then are we to understand that she died under persecution?

[27] Sir William Muir: The Biography of Mahomet, and Rise 0f Islam. Chapter IV page 126

This section of the book is erroneous from several different aspect which will be dealt separately, at the moment inadequate research is under review. The whole argument that:

“There is no evidence of any persecution against Muhammad and Muslims in Mecca.”

is based around the singular report of Summeya, and nothing more. This whole section relies on just 3 references – which is inadequate, to say the least. And the whole argument that Muslims were not persecuted in Mecca is built on a singular reading of Muir [which as will be shown itself is erroneous]. The author did not see fit to gather further evidence but proceeded to declare: Muslims were not persecuted in Mecca.

However, the author continues to make further absurd and baseless claims such as:

Claim 1

“Religious persecution in those lands was unheard of. Polytheistic societies are generally tolerant by nature. They were offended when Muhammad insulted their gods, but they did not harm him.”

Answer

The assertion: “Religious persecution in those lands was unheard of” is simply baseless. Muir himself provides an overview of Arabia before the advent of Islam.

LIFE OF MAHOMET. VOLUME I.

In short, Jews were of multiple tribes and mostly based near Medina. They were powerful enough to keep the local polytheistic tribes at bay, however, not powerful enough to be able to dominate them. They had formed alliances and lived in relative peace to each other. Christians, on the other hand, were fewer in number around Mecca and weak. Their nearest base of power was Abyssinia, which tried several times dominate the Meccan pagan, but did not manage it. There was constant strife between Christians, Jews and the Meccan Pagans.

When Sina has read the work of William Muir, then on what bases has he disregarded his research on this matter? And what sources does he have to make the above claim? The author has not explored history of early Arabia – as he does. It will be repeatedly highlighted that Sina is largely ignorant of Western scholarship of Islam.

Claim 2

“Muhammad encouraged his followers to leave Mecca. This upset those whose children or slaves had converted to Islam. Some of the slaves were caught while trying to escape and were beaten. That was not, of course, religious persecution”

Answer
Claim 3

“Muslims make many baseless claims. Polytheists generally don’t give a hoot about what others believe. They are pluralistic by their verynature. Ka’ba housed 360 idols, each a patron of a different tribe. There were Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Sabeans (an extinct monotheistic faith) and all sorts of religions in Arabia, whose followers were freely practicing their religions.”

Answer

Sina seems to have missed that Arab Pagans were Hellenistic, – all their gods belonged to a single pantheon – and as such belonged to a single religion. As pointed out previously, he has no evidence for his claims. And there is evidence to the contrary, which he chose to overlook.

As to: “Muslims make many baseless claims” – It is ironic that the authors claims are the ones lacking in

“Religious intolerance in Arabia began with Islam. There is no evidence of any persecution against Muhammad and Muslims in Mecca. Nonetheless, Muslims make such claims because Muhammad has made that claim. Astonishingly, even some non-Muslim historians who are not sympathetic to Islam have fallen into that trap and have echoed this untruth.”

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