Sale Episode on The Origins of Islam

Find out how you can buy the sale episode on the Origins of Islam by listening to this episode.

To listen to the episode please sign up for the Ad-Free Bonus Feed at Patreon. You can cancel your sub any time and resubscribe at any time.

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Coin from Palestine 647-58 (from "Did Muhammad Exist?" by Robert Spencer

A coin from Palestine 647-58 (from “Did Muhammad Exist?” by Robert Spencer)

A coin from Syria 686-87 (from "Did Muhammad Exist?" by Robert Spencer)

A coin from Syria 686-87 (from “Did Muhammad Exist?” by Robert Spencer)

A coin from Palestine in the reign of Muawiyah (from "Did Muhammad Exist?" by Robert Spencer)

A coin from Palestine in the reign of Muawiyah (from “Did Muhammad Exist?” by Robert Spencer)

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Categories: Podcast | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Sale Episode on The Origins of Islam

  1. Sounds like fascinating nugget of an episode. Your sales pitch (or pitches, rather) did the job on me; was happy to purchase it, all the more if it helps keep this podcast going!

  2. Luka

    Think it would be good if you tell how long/big the episode is next time you do this.
    Keep up the good work, looking forward to next episodes. 🙂

  3. Greg

    I just bought and listened to it and I have to say I am both impressed and fascinated. I never knew there was so much to doubt in the traditional account, and you did a great job laying out what I was missing. Thanks for putting such a great podcast together!

    I find especially interesting (if not overly compelling) the idea that Mohammed of the Koran was actually referring to Jesus – if you to be skeptical all the way down, you could suggest that Mohammed was actually based on Jesus, who didn’t actually exist, which would be a great way to tick off a couple billion believers. Not that I believe that, but fun to think about nonetheless.

  4. I sure hope you’re not using Robert Spencer as a credible source on the origin of Islam. The man is a proven biggot. I’d say an atheist like Karen Armstrong would have been a good unbiased source. The only I’ve read that doesn’t try to push an agenda.

    • Atheists are very very seldom unbiased sources about anything religious, in my experience.

    • I use his collection of evidence but the podcast contains no comment on the rest of his work.

      • In the world of non-Islamic writing and commentary on Islam, there are “hawks” and “doves”. Spencer is a “hawk” and Armstrong is a “dove”. Armstrong is not an “atheist” (but a sort of spiritual liberal with Catholic background), and Spencer does have connections that are a bit of a worry. While it is never possible to be unbiased in historical writing, both write from very strong (and diametrically opposed) ideologies. While this does not preclude anything either of them might say as being true or factual or even just plain helpful (such as the business about the coins), I personally do not recommend either author to people who ask me for reliable information on the history and current reality of the Islamic world.

  5. Michael Cain

    I’m looking forward to purchasing it I don’t need a sales pitch! Is there any chance you can just post a link on how to buy it? Or do you really want us to listen to the podcast on “how to purchase the next podcast?”

    • If you click on the Episodes for Sale link (above in the right hand menu), then click “Register” you can enter your email. You will then get a password by email. You can then click on “Sign In” (next to “Register”) and buy the episode. If you get into any trouble please listen to the podcast 🙂

  6. Bryan

    I’d like to be able to buy the episode using bitcoin.

  7. Would it be possible to pay using Google wallet or something? I don’t have a functioning Paypal account (it was hacked and I don’t want to use it anymore) and I don’t wish to create another Paypal account.

    Thanks so much!

    • Google wallet is only letting me take payments from UK users at the moment. If you go through to the Paypal pay window though it should give you an option to pay using a card with no need to have a paypal account.

  8. Hi Robin,

    Great episode! Regarding mistranslations and Aramaic, I have read similar things in the past regarding the Gospels, also. I don’t remember the Aramaic/Hebrew, but for example, “It is easier for a camel to fit through an eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” doesn’t really make an awful lot of sense, but the words for “camel” and “rope” are very similar, and fitting a rope through an eye of a needle makes a lot more sense!

    The same phrase also appears in the Qur’an, and in the commentary of the translation by MAS Abdel Haleem the issue you describe is discussed.

    I hope you find that little titbit interesting if you hadn’t already come across it before!

  9. Micheal

    I am pretty disappointed with this episode Robin. You seem to do little more than re-tell the “popular science” books by Tom Holland and Robert Spencer, both of which have been discredited by more knowledgeable and mainstream historians (read some reviews of In the Shadow of the Sword to see what I’m talking about). I have really enjoyed your podcast so far, but now I’m wondering whether you have some sort of agenda or slant that has previously not been obvious?

    • The podcast is obviously just a summary of the books I read. During that period of research I failed to discover many good texts which make the argument for the accuracy of early Islamic history. There are plenty of articles criticising the authors I read (as you say) but that doesn’t mean their work is discredited. Any area of history which attracts attention also attracts debate. Understandably there haven’t been many attempts by Muslim scholars to write, in English, a defense of Islamic historiography from a the pov that it might not be accurate. The reality is that there is huge doubt over a period of history that was transmitted orally and then became religious orthodoxy. I would love to see work which goes deep into the sources and finds evidence to support it and therefore answer some of the questions posed by Holland/Spencer etc. But until that appears I’m not going to discount what they’ve written just because of the vehemence of certain critics.

  10. Dan P.

    I have to add my voice here and strongly protest the use of Robert Spencer as any kind of serious source for this episode. I have really enjoyed your podcast so far but I am deeply troubled to find him presented as a legitimate researcher and historian. I understand your point that the exact historical origins of Islam (like Judaism and Christianity) are impossible to know with 100% accuracy, but if anything that makes it even more important for you to vet your sources and exclude “researchers” with such an obvious agenda as Spencer’s. Anyone listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an Anti-Muslim Extremist, or banned from the UK for Anti-Muslim extremism should not be included in any serious historical exploration. This would be akin to citing known anti-Semites in an investigation of the history of Judaism. If you need more evidence, in November of last year Spencer published a book entitled “Confessions of an Islamaphobe.” I know that book hadn’t been published when this episode aired, but plenty of evidence existed at that time that he was not a reasonable source, and is in fact a racist hate-monger.

    I truly hope this was a genuine oversight. I would like to continue with your show but I will certainly look with a keener eye at your sources going forward.

  11. Sarah L. Obhan

    Perhaps you could revisit this episode using newer material by the likes of Karl-Heinz Ohlig, Gerd-R. Puin and the Inârah group from Germany. They are much less inflammatory than Spencer and they delve deeper into the heterodox, pre-Nicaean Christianity that could have been the foundation for early Islam.

  12. Ilham

    I know I’m behind, I just listened to this episode. Love this series by the way.

    As a believing Muslim who have learnt the traditional Muslim version for most of my life, its an eye opener to hear other theories on the origin of Islam.

    I do actually know some of the answers to your questions/statements in this episode from a traditional Muslim point of view. However, I’m neither a religious/historical scholar in any sense, just a common believer you can find on the street. What I know is mainly from school textbooks and religious sermons, of which i havent touched for at least 5 years. Thus what I know is sketchy at best.

    If you want, you may try visiting a local mosque in your area and discuss your questions with an imam there. Those in the Western world are usually open to discussion, and will know a lot more than me. If they don’t know, they can always look it up or discuss it within their religious circles

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