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Western Studies on the Prophet Muhammad. 2013. 001 Coursework Essay 50% 28/11/2013. Explore debates about ‘faith sensitive’ and a ‘critical approach’ in relation to academic studies on the Prophet Muhammad ( pbuh ). (2,500 words). The Study of Islam by Western scholars.

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Western studies on the prophet muhammad

Western Studies on the Prophet Muhammad

2013


001 coursework essay 50 28 11 2013

001 Coursework Essay 50% 28/11/2013

Explore debates about ‘faith sensitive’ and a ‘critical approach’ in relation to academic studies on the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). (2,500 words)


The study of islam by western scholars

The Study of Islam by Western scholars

  • Need to see as part of western encounter with the Islamic world

  • Crusades

  • Threat to Christendom in 16th century

  • Eastern Question

  • Iranian Revolution

  • Israel/ Rushdie/ 9/11& 7/7


Western studies on the prophet muhammad

Christendom

Islamic world


European

European

“By the eleventh century, when Western writers were finally beginning to form a notion of what it meant to be European, they found themselves confronted by a powerful and threatening Islam, which they by and large were neither able nor willing to understand. To be sure, there were other important elements that went into the construction of the Western identity: Europe was also the product of internal colonization and cultural assimilation. Yet the encounter with the Muslim “other” was elemental to the shaping of the Western world view. This was especially true during those centuries that began with the crusades and ended with the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire.” ( Banks, 1999, 2)


Muslim the other

Muslim = the Other

“Thus the Western need to construct an image of the Muslim, of the “other” was as twofold process that came to dominate the premodern discourse concerning Islam. On the one hand, it created an image of the Saracen, Moor, or Turk that was wholly alien and wholly evil... on the other hand, the creation of such a blatantly false stereotype enable Western Christians to define themselves. Indeed, the Muslim became, in a sense, a photographic negative of the self-perception of an ideal Christian self-image, one that portrayed Europeans as brave, virtuous believers in the one true God and the one true faith.” (Banks, 1999,3)

Banks, D. & Frassetto, M (eds.) (1999) Western views of Islam in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: perception of the Other. New York: St. Martin’s Press.


Religious studies

Religious Studies

  • Religious Studies ‘multidisciplinary and polymethodological’

  • 1873 Professor of Comparative Theology / Philosophy of Religion

  • Check out the Series preface, as well as the Introduction: Studying Islam- identifying critical issues

    Bennett, C. (2010) Studying Islam: the critical issues. London: Continuum.


Islam in the western academy

Islam in the Western Academy

  • Studied originally within Christian apologetic from 16th c.

  • Polemical picture of Islam, with negative focus on Muhammad (Polemic= aim to prove the truth of one thing against the proved falsity of an opposing belief)

  • Influenced by assumptions of superiority of Western culture

    “The need to justify the colonial and imperial projects, the idea that the European had the moral right to dominate the Muslim world produced a self-serving picture of Islam… To some degree, how Islam is taught in the Western academy still follows Western modes and approaches, despite the general bias toward insider sensitivity.” (Bennett, 2010, 3)


Comparison of esposito and muslim authors

Comparison of Esposito and Muslim authors


Critical issues and how to deal with them

Critical issues and how to deal with them

  • Seminal personality and scripture

  • Community dimension and social involvement

  • Conceptual framework and ethics

  • Rituals and spirituality

  • Aesthetics/ Material Dimension

    Issue of insider-ship / critical discussion


Nature of religious studies

Nature of Religious Studies

  • Key developments

  • Phenomenology

  • Empathy

  • Key sources:

    Chryssides, G. D. & Geaves, R. (2007) The Study of Religion. London: Continuum.

    Corrywright, D. & Morgan, P. (2006) Get set for Religious Studies. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.


Smart and worldview analysis

Smart and Worldview Analysis

Ninian Smart 1967 Department of Religious Studies, Lancaster University

  • Plural- dealing with many religions and worldviews

  • Open-ended- explores beliefs and symbols that go beyond traditional religions

  • Treats worldviews both historically and systematically to enter worldview

  • Makes thematic comparisons to understand traditions

  • Polymethodic- uses range of disciplines

  • Aims to show power of ideas and practices in interaction

  • Sets scene for educated understanding of world and personal quest

    “…structured empathy. It is the way we cross our own horizons into the world of other people.” (Smart, N. (1995) Worldviews. Harlow: Pearson. )


Studying islam contemporary intellectual landscape of islamic studies

Traditionalists

Radicals

Modernists

Traditional

Orientalists

New scholars

Media

generalists

Non-Muslim

Muslim

Studying Islam: contemporary intellectual landscape of Islamic studies

Ahmed, A. S. (1992) Postmodernism and Islam. London: Routledge.


Muslim scholars

Muslim Scholars

  • Traditionalists

    Focus on larger message of Islam, not sectarian

    Fazlur Rahman, Hossein Nasr, Ali Ashraf

  • Radicals

    Have different style and strategy, angry at West

    ZiauddinSardar,

  • Modernists (Right and left)

    Salman Rushdie


Summary of muslim scholars

Summary of Muslim scholars

  • Traditionalists dominate Muslim curriculum

  • Prominent role of South Asians

  • Issue of class, age, success and immigrant status

    Traditionalists: older, established, secure

    4. Institutional link- everyone is associated with some tendency

    5. The Satanic Verses: meeting point


Non muslim

Non- Muslim

  • Orientalists

    Positive aspects/ cultural schizophrenia

  • New Scholars

    Allow the native voice- Esposito

  • Media Generalists

    ‘rag-bag of journalists, novelists and media persons’ (1986) e.g. Robert Kilroy-Silk


Islam and the west

Islam and the West

Montgomery Watt would appear to confirm Said’s view of Orientalism when he wrote in 1988 that:

“For Muslims unchangingness is both an ideal for human individuals and societies, and also a perception of the actual nature of humanity and its environment. Unchangingness is an all-pervading assumption which colour most aspects of the standard world-view... It is thus very difficult for the Westerner to appreciate the outlook of those in whose thinking there is no place for development, progress, or social advance and improvement.” (Watt, 1988)

Geaves, R. (2010) Islam Today. London: Continuum.


Orientalism geaves r 2006 key words in religious studies london continuum

OrientalismGeaves, R. (2006) Key Words in Religious Studies. London: Continuum.

“ A term coined by Edward Said (1935- 2003) to refer to a way of coming to terms with the Orient, based on the special role assigned to the East by the West which creates a style of thought in which clear ontological distinctions are made between the categories of East and West, with the East perceived as ‘other’. In the context of a colonial relationship, this structuring of the East takes place within a power discourse in which understandings of the East are imposed by the West. Anyone from the West who studies Eastern religion and culture is by definition an orientalist” (Geaves, 2006. 70).

See Google images under ‘orientalism.’


Occidentalism

Occidentalism

“A reaction to orientalism in which African and Asian scholars reject most Western scholarship as formed within the power relations of colonialism and revolt against the global civilization dominated by the West. This negative discourse against the West and Western scholarship can be as misinformed as the orientalism that it rebelled against. A central discourse of occidentalism considers the category of religion itself to be a Western construct” (Geaves, 2006, 69).


Orientalism williams b 1973 islam in history london alcove press

OrientalismWilliams, B. (1973) Islam in History. London: Alcove Press.

  • 1779 term used in England for special discipline devoted to the study of the East

  • Theory of civilisations- essence/ sphere

  • methods included history of religions

  • Historical and comparative linguistics

  • Imperialism- superiority of Europe

  • Colonialism- European self-centredness


Clash of civilizations

Clash of civilizations

“In such a scenario Muslims would typically regard the West as a moral desert in which citizens have moved away from the God-given laws of Christianity to post-Enlightenment man-made legal systems which replaced divine revelation with human-centred secularism.”

““From the other side... there have been a number of academics and journalists who have posited the idea of a clash of civilizations in which Islam is perceived as the barbarous ‘other’, outdated and outmoded in the face of democratic liberal values that are implicitly heralded as the pinnacle of human social, moral and political achievement.”

In reality, the positions taken from both sides are far more nuanced.” (Geaves, 2010. 126)


Summary of said s view of orientalism sarder z 1999 orientalism buckingham open university press

Summary of Said’s view of OrientalismSarder, Z. (1999) Orientalism. Buckingham: Open University Press.

  • tradition of studying a region by its languages and writings

  • coming to terms with the orient based on experience.

  • based on an ontological and epistemological distinction made between the ‘Orient’ and the ‘Occident.’

  • a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient.’ (1995, 3)

  • family of ideas and unifying set of values ...explains behaviour by providing a mentality, genealogy, atmosphere;

  • ‘system of representations

  • The western ‘corporate institution’ - describing it, containing it, controlling it, teaching and learning about it,


Orientalists ahmed a 1992 postmodernism and islam london routledge

OrientalistsAhmed, A. (1992) Postmodernism and Islam. London: Routledge.

  • Knowledge stemming from colonial dominance and cultural antipathy

  • Positive features: lifetime scholarship/ languages/ vision and breadth of learning

  • Said presents ‘Orientalists’ as enemies of Islam

  • Does that include Gibb, Lewis, Arberry, Watt?


New understanding orientalism

New understanding Orientalism

“Of equal concern is the impact of Edward Said and the shadow he has placed over European scholarly constructions of the Orient in the colonial period, the publication of Said’s Orientalism in 1978 dramatically transformed the landscape in which scholars study Islam. Whereas ‘Orientalism’ was previously a value-neutral term connoting the study of Eastern cultures and religion, it is now deemed to be part of a larger European project to colonize the East through the creation of an imagined reality reinvented through the intellectual gaze of the colonizers” (Geaves, 2010, 135).


Western studies on the prophet muhammad

“To study Islam as a Western scholar since the latter half of the twentieth century is to a figure of suspicion amongst Muslims, and the accusation of ‘Orientalist’ is not one to be taken lightly. There is not doubt that some nineteenth century scholars were deeply complicit in the colonial venture or seeking to advantage the truths of Christianity over its religious rivals. Yet this is not the complete picture. It could be argued that the fascination with the East and its religions arouse out of the mixture of a Romantic sentiment and the pursuit of knowledge that arose from the values of the Enlightenment.” (Geaves, 2010, 134-5)


Bennett critical issues seminal personality and scripture

Bennett: critical issues:Seminal personality and scripture,

  • the relationship between Muhammad and the Qur’an remains critical.

  • Issues related to the collection and preservation of the Qur’an, the relationship between “revelation” and context, text and context, the debate about the textuality of the Qur’an

  • are non-religious explanations that might credit Muhammad as Islam’s founder to be banished from discussion because they are predicated on secular scholarship, proposed by sociological or political theorists?

  • Muhammad as the point of departure for discussing Islam

    Bennett, C. (2010) Studying Islam: the critical issues. London: Continuum. (pp, 22-24)


Bennett critical issues seminal personality and scripture1

Bennett: critical issues:“Seminal personality and scripture,

closely linked in Islam, the relationship between Muhammad and the Qur’an remains critical. Issues related to the collection and preservation of the Qur’an, the relationship between “revelation” and context, text and context, the debate about the textuality of the Qur’an, which were covered by Muir regardless of the polemical style of his treatment and by Gibb, invite exploration. Esposito contains no reference to the large body of critical literature on this subject or even to the work of some Muslims who do not fully endorse the classical version. In the academy, are non-religious explanations that might credit Muhammad as Islam’s founder to be banished from discussion because they are predicated on secular scholarship, proposed by sociological or political theorists? All three, including Esposito, take Muhammad as the point of departure for discussing Islam; only one of the three Muslims writers did not. The others start with “concepts.”


Gabrieli f 1977 muhammad and conquests of islam london world university library

Gabrieli, F. (1977) Muhammad and Conquests of Islam.London: World University Library.

  • Muhammad in history- although ‘he stands in the full light of history, is as difficult to grasp and evaluate in historical reality as are those two other great founders, Buddha and Jesus’(Gabrieli, 1977, 7).

  • Tradition of exaltation

  • Tradition of denigration

  • More objective modern views


Tradition of exaltation

Tradition of Exaltation

  • Human but venerated

  • Supernatural events, qualities and capacities –

    ‘isma = immunity from error

  • metaphysical and mystical primordial being

    “So the memory of the historical person of the Meccan merchant, and of the able and realistic head of state of Medina, is lost on the one hand in the speculations of a mysticism wholly foreign and unknown to him, while on the other hand it materialises in the most naive beliefs of popular piety”(Gabrieli, 1977,11).


Tradition of denigration judgment of medieval christianity

Tradition of denigrationJudgment of medieval Christianity

  • Heretic, sexually immoral, epileptic

  • Blasphemer – denied divinity of Christ

  • Muhammad for the Latin Middle Ages = “a false Prophet of the lusts of the flesh, preacher of a vile heresy, and render of the seamless garment of the universal Church”(Gabrieli, 1977,15).


Modern historical view

Modern Historical View

  • From 18th century interest develops

  • 19th century dominated by reductionist accounts

  • Twentieth century more scientific

    Buhl – genuine nature of prophetic inspiration

    Watt – methodological revaluation of tradition

    ‘shows how far the West has come from the hatred of the Middle Ages, towards a more just and sympathetic appreciation of the Prophet of Islam”(Gabrieli, 1977, 21).


Western studies on the prophet muhammad

Watt,W.M. ‘Muhammad’ in Holt, P.M. (1977) The Cambridge History of Islam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • ‘For the occidental reader there are grave difficulties in attaining a balanced understanding of the historical role of Muhammad.

  • Expectation concerning the nature of a religious leader

  • May not be free from inherited prejudices

  • Historical problems in the study of remote periods- fact and legend

  • Difficult to date or interpret historical material in the Qur’an


The study of muhammad a survey of approaches

The Study of Muhammad: a survey of approaches

‘…multitude of views and plethora or works but also from the variety of methodologies applied in studying the Prophet… Incorporating different presuppositions, employing different principles of data selection, and directed towards different objectives, these various approaches inevitably result in different conclusions’ (Royster, 1972, 49).

Royster, J.E. (1972) The Study of Muhammad: a survey of approaches from the perspective of the history and phenomenology of religion.  TheMuslim World, 62:1, pp. 49-70. Chichester: Wiley. 


Methodologies used by western writers

Methodologies used by Western writers

  • non-empirical (or normative)= non-observable

  • empirical (or descriptive) = observable

    Western orientalists- four types of reductionist methodology: cause and effect relationship between Muhammad and his natural environment

  • “The common thrust of these four approaches lies in their endeavor to explain the person and work of Muhammad in terms of factors outside the realm of religion per se. When these approaches, as they so often do regard the enigma of Muhammad as solved through their explanations, they fail to take the complexity of religious phenomena with sufficient seriousness and are to be faulted as responsible guides in the understanding of things religious’ (Royster, 1972, 58).


Types of reductionist methodology

Types of reductionist methodology

  • naturalistic reductionism- explanations of miracles

  • psychological reductionism= revelation as hallucinations

  • cultural reductionism- role in context of day= social reformer

  • exordial reductionism- Jewish/ Christian influences


Phenomenology

Phenomenology

‘The phenomenological approach is the sine qua non for understanding the commitment and convictions of believers in another religious tradition’ (Royster, 1972, 64). 

‘This survey of various approaches to the study of Muhammad has attempted to show that a scholar’s presuppositions influence his objectives and that his objectives in turn set the course for his methodology…only the phenomenological approach enables one to attribute ultimacy to the religious dimensions of Islam and, consequently, come to an understanding of the tradition from the perspective of Muslims themselves’ (Royster, 1972, 70).


Standard version of the prophet s life rippin 1990

Standard version of the Prophet’s life (Rippin, 1990)

  • 570 Birth in the year of the elephant

  • 610 Revelations begin

  • 622 Hijra - move to Yathrib

  • 624 Battle of Badr

  • 625 Battle of Uhud

  • 627 Battle of the Ditch

  • 629 Treaty of Hudaybiya

  • 630 Return to Mecca

  • 632 Death of Prophet

    Who was Muhammad http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/who-was-muhammad/314.html


Sharifi h 1 biographies vary in quality and understanding

Sharifi, H. (1) Biographies vary in quality and understanding:

  • Knowledge of original Arabic sources

  • Different socio-cultural backgrounds

  • Depth of knowledge of Islam and the life of the prophet

  • Ability to respond to the metaphysical and theological aspects of Islam

  • Motives when dealing with the phenomenon of ‘prophet

Sharifi, H. (1986) ‘A Muslim Assessment of Books on the Life of the Prophet Muhammad’ in A. Ashraf (ed.) Resources for the teaching of

Islam in British Schools, pp. 25-43. Cambridge: The Islamic Academy.


Sharifi 1986 problems

Sharifi, 1986, Problems

  • Lack of objectivity

  • Claim of Jewish, Christian and pagan impact

  • Subjective reconstruction of historical events

  • Distortion of facts

  • Misunderstanding the phenomenon of prophecy (inc. motives of author)

  • Reductionist attitudes


1 lack of objectivity

1. Lack of objectivity

  • “The orientalists who came first to deal with Islam and the Prophet doubted the reliability of the traditional sources with the excuse that the piety of an earlier time was mostly responsible for producing them”(Sharifi, 1986, 29).

  • “In Watt’s book on the life of the Prophet it is difficult to find any description of the Prophet or an event which, despite being based on traditional accounts, is not twisted or mingled with personal comments and interpretations beginning with words such as “perhaps” or ‘it is probable,’ etc”(Sharifi, 1986, 30).


Objectivity expectation

Objectivity – expectation

“What we ask from Western scholars like Andrae and Watt is to give evidence for such personal and subjective interpretations and the twisting of facts if they claim any objectivity in the context of a western scientific approach. Secondly, if they are reluctant to rely on traditional accounts in describing a case like the above, is it objective to rely on their own personal views as a base for an historical description?”(Sharifi, 1986, 31).


The first revelation lings muhammad watt muhammad at mecca

The first revelationLings Muhammad Watt Muhammad at Mecca

“… and he would go for spiritual retreats to a cave in Mount Hira, not far from the outskirts of Mecca. There was nothing strange in this that would have struck quraysh as particularly strange, for retreat had been a traditional practice among the descendants of Ishmael…” (Lings, 1983, 43)

“There is no improbability in Muhammad’s going to Hira, a hill a little way from Mecca… Judeo-Christian influence, such as the example of monks, or a little personal experiences, would show the need and desirability of solitude” (Watt, 44).


2 phenomenon of prophet

2. Phenomenon of Prophet

“None of the writers of this group has understood the Prophet of Islam properly. Even when praising him, they do it out of their purely human perspective considering his administrative talent or his statesmanship. A Prophet is himself the norm, and if one wants to understand a prophet one is in need of a metaphysical knowledge and a profound religious insight”(Sharifi, 1986, 38).


3 motives of the author

3. Motives of the author

‘most importantly, in their different motives when dealing with the rare phenomenon of a “Prophet”. Basically, it is this last point which determines the approach of the author, gives him direction and colours the conclusions the author would like his readers to draw from the biography’ (Sharifi, 1986, 25).


Sharifi criteria for assessment

Sharifi: Criteria for assessment

1. Nature of objectivity in dealing with:

  • the historical nature of the Prophet’s life

  • The Prophet’s function

    2. Quality of discernment- must understand what prophethood means and accept this dimension

    3. Awareness of the main aim of Religious Education - phenomenology


Sharifi s thesis questions and responses

Sharifi’s thesis:Questions and responses

  • How far do the criticisms represent criticisms of the Western approach to the study of religion rather than weakness in biographies?

  • Consider each of the problems in your response to this question


Sharifi on watt

Sharifi on Watt

‘In Watt’s book on the life of the Prophet it is difficult to find a description of any deed of the Prophet or an event which, despite being based on traditional accounts, is not twisted or mingled with personal comments and interpretations beginning with words such as “perhaps” or “it is probable,” etc.’ (Sharifi, 1986, 30).


Royster s assessment of watt

Royster’s assessment of Watt

“Although an implicit phenomenological attitude characterizes much of Watt’s work, his over-all approach to the study of Muhammad and Islam may be termed multi-methodological’ (Royster, 1972, 64).

- interest in sociology means he has a tendency to make ‘functional interpretations’

…the desire for social consequences was at the bottom of the acceptance of Islam by the people of Medina’ (Watt, 1961, 18 in (Royster, 1972, 65).


Assessment of watt

Assessment of Watt

“Montgomery Watt, the author of a landmark biographical study of the Prophet, concluded that Christians in dialogue with Muslims “should reject the distortions of the medieval image of Islam and should develop a positive appreciation of its values, this involves accepting Muhammad as a religious leader through whom God has worked, and that is tantamount to holding that he is in some sense a prophet” (Watt, 1991, 148 in Tolan, P.247-8).


Western studies on the prophet muhammad

Rodinson, M. ‘A Critical Survey of Modern Studies on Muhammad’ in Swartz,M.L. (1981) Studies on Islam.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Comments on Watt’s works: methodologically important

    - ‘He has taken the sources seriously, analyzed them, and formulated his conclusions with great sharpness and clarity. Taking as his point of departure the great Muslim biographies… The clear and direct way in which he formulates his conclusions on the various events of the Prophet’s life, the confident fashion in which he employs his conclusions, has appeared to some to indicate an exaggerated confidence in the reliability of these latter.”(Rodinson, 1981, 46)


Rodinson m a critical survey of modern studies on muhammad 1981 his own biography

Rodinson, M. ‘A Critical Survey of Modern Studies on Muhammad’(1981) : his own biography

  • “Attempted to show the relationship between the eschatological visions of the early preaching of Muhammad and the international political situation of that period. Taking the sociological correlations of his preaching as established, the author attempted to show how a personal, psychological evolution shaped Muhammad into an instrument capable of formulating and communicating an ideology that corresponded to the needs of the time and milieu”(Rodinson, 1981, 50).


Khan a muhammad as object and subject in studies in religion 1978

Khan, A. ‘Muhammad as object and subject’ in Studies in Religion, 1978.

  • Tendency of West to focus on Muhammad as the founder and prophet (birth- occupation- qualities- mission- man of God)

  • “This simple and basic account… is at best a sketch of Muhammad seen from outside Islam, and can hardly be accepted as a complete or true picture of Muhammad as understood within Islam… These pictures… blur Muhammad’s full significance … even though they are based on historical certainty”(Khan, 1978, 373).


Khan object subject

Khan: Object - subject

  • Need to move beyond ’Muhammad’ as an ‘object in history’ to see as a ‘subject for belief’

  • This way of seeing Muhammad escapes notice ‘because traditional Islamic thought …and the Shari’ah… have not been eager to promote the idea of Muhammad as a subject for belief” (Khan, 1978, 373).


Khan muhammad

Khan: Muhammad

  • as the model of moral perfection: “Exemplar characterizing the human form that is perfectly oriented towards the divine essence.

  • “blessing for all people: universal mission to transform all to ‘self at peace

  • ‘the archetypal man: the spiritual Muhammad in perfect harmony with the Divine, symbol of the Islamic vision of human life” (Khan, 1978, 373).


Rippin a 1990 muslims volume 1 the formative period london routledge

Rippin, A. (1990) Muslims, Volume 1. The Formative Period.London: Routledge.

  • ‘The biography of Muhammad has served a number of important functions in Islam, each of which has coloured it in crucial ways.

  • the framework for the revelation of the Qur’an

  • As a source for the sunna of Muhammad

    ‘the summary of the life of Muhammad as presented here is fraught with difficulties and insoluble problems”

    (Rippin, 1990, 34).


Rippin the mythic dimensions of muhammad s biography

Rippin: The mythic dimensions of Muhammad’s biography

  • “The overall effect is to create a picture of both Muhammad and the Muslim community in its ‘pristine’ form; this means that the picture which emerges, and the impulse behind its composition, is a normative one- this is a picture of how the Muslim community should be, projected back into the times of its founder who has been described in mythic terms”(Rippin, 1990, 35).


Rippin problem of non muslim critical studies

Rippin: Problem of non-Muslim critical studies

“It has often been commented that while Muslims may think those who deny the existence of God or who utter blasphemies about Him are misguided, such discussions will not offend in the same manner in which discussions over Muhammad will. Those who insinuate evil of Muhammad or who cast aspersions on him are considered to be insulting Islam”(Rippin, 1990, 40).


Rippin goes on to add

Rippin goes on to add

‘But further thought reveals that ‘attacking’ Muhammad is, of course, attacking the way of life of individual Muslims, for their way of life is understood to rest on the example of the founder of their religion. If something is felt by Muslims to be a denigration of one aspect of the life of Muhammad then by implication such may be seen as an attack on the whole way of life of each and every Muslim, at least in its idealized conception’(Rippin, 1990, 40).


In quest of the historical muhammad history or exegesis

In ‘quest of the historical Muhammad’: history or exegesis?

“if the skeptics are right, the story of Muhammad’s life… cannot confidently be read as history. The tradition literature may have grown out of late seventh and early eighth-century political and theological squabbles, as Goldziher argued, or of early legal debates, as Schacht suggests, or simply out of the need to interpret the Qur’an, as Burton suggests, but it cannot be confidently traced to any real events of the Prophet’s lifetime” (Brown, 2009, 96).


Brown the sira and the shaping of an islamic worldview

Brown: The Sira and the Shaping of an Islamic Worldview

1. Muhammad’s biography developed to help understanding of Qur’an

2. To ‘establish Muhammad’s prophetic credentials’- uniqueness and purity “The point to be emphasized here is that the hadith and sira literature grew up in an environment of powerful stereotypes about what a holy man or prophet should be like, and these stereotypes had a strong shaping effect on the biography of Muhammad” (Brown, 2009, 98).

3. Preoccupation with the articulation and legitimation of Islamic norms of behavior.

Brown, D. (2009) A New Introduction to Islam. Oxford: Wiley- Blackwell.


Follow up

Follow-up

Forward, M. (1997) Muhammad: a short biography. Oxford: Oneworld.

Ch. 5. Muhammad in recent debate

  • Muhammad and radical Western Scholars

  • Muhammad and the Orientalists

  • Muhammad and Christians

  • Muhammad and the Unbelievers

  • History and Myth

  • Muhammad in Muslim Estimation


Bibliography

Bibliography

Ahmed, A. S. (1992) Postmodernism and Islam. London: Routledge.

Banks, D. Frassetto, M. (eds) (1999) Western views of Islam in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: perception of the Other. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Bennett, C. (2010) Studying Islam: the critical issues. London: Continuum.

Brown, D. (2009) A New Introduction to Islam. Oxford: Wiley- Blackwell.

Burke, D. (1986) ‘The prophet Muhammad.’ in Ashraf, A (ed.) Resources for the teaching of Islam in British Schools, pp. 25-43. Cambridge: The Islamic Academy.

Forward, M. (1997) Muhammad: a short biography. Oxford: Oneworld.

Gabrieli, F. (1977) Muhammad and Conquests of Islam.London: World University Library.

Khan, A.H. (1978) Muhammad as Object and  Subject. Studies in Religion, 7: 4, pp. 275- 288,  London: Sage.

Rippin, A. (1990) Muslims, Volume 1. The Formative Period.London: Routledge.

Rodinson, M. (1981) ‘A Critical Survey of Modern Studies on Muhammad’ in M. L. Swartz (ed.) Studies on Islam, pp. . Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Royster, J.E. (1972) The Study of Muhammad: A Survey of Approaches From The Perspective of The History And Phenomenology of Religion.  TheMuslim World, 62:1, pp. 49-70. Chichester: Wiley. 

Sharifi, H. (1986) ‘A Muslim Assessment of Books on the Life of the Prophet Muhammad’ in Ashraf, A (ed.) Resources for the teaching of Islam in British Schools, pp. 25-43. Cambridge: The Islamic Academy.

Tolan, J. V. (2010) ‘European accounts of Muhammad’s life’ in J. E. Brockopp (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad. Pp. 226- 250.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Watt, W.M. (1977) ‘Muhammad’ in P. M. Holt (ed.) The Cambridge History of Islam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


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