Unmasking Muhammad’s Dubious Existence
Author Robert Spencer, founder of the major website Jihad Watch, recently published a book with the provocative title Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins.
The foreword was written by the eminent scholar Johannes J. G. (Hans) Jansen, an Arabist and a Professor of Modern Islamic Thought at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands until his retirement in 2008. Among his other accomplishments, he has translated the Koran into Dutch. Jansen points out that what sparse information and physical evidence we do have does not seem to confirm the traditional Islamic accounts of the sixth and seventh centuries.
In fact, archaeological findings contradict the traditional picture. Only further archaeological work in present-day Arabia and Greater Syria can shed more light on these issues. In Saudi Arabia, such excavations are forbidden, and Wahhabi hardliners have actively destroyed some sites. Furthermore, the religious authorities may not be interested in bringing to light findings that might contradict their religious views or undermine Saudi Arabia’s central status in Islam.