Did Muhammed actually exist?

November 16, 2008 | By | 9 Replies More

Did Muhammed actually exist?

I realize that I make considerable numbers of people upset when I question whether God exists, whether Jesus ever walked on earth or whether Jesus was Divine (three entirely separate questions).

Regarding those questions, I’ve long thought that most religious people don’t actually know many facts, but mostly rampant speculation supported mainly by internal feelings of certitude and apocryphal ancient books.  This makes it rather stunning (and a rich invitation for psychological study) that so many people would make such forceful and unquestioning claims that God obviously exists, that Jesus obviously walked the Earth and Jesus was obviously Divine. Here are some of the DI posts exploring these issues:

Has Earl Doherty proved that Jesus did not really walk on earth?

Why don’t history books discuss all of the dead people who crawled out of their graves and walked around on Good Friday?

Christians put on their Skeptic Hats to deal with the “Tomb of Jesus”

Belief in Scripture and Belief in Alien Abductions – A Response to grumpypilgrim

Who changed the Bible and why? Bart Ehrman’s startling answers. (I had to close this last post down because we were getting so many comments that it was making it difficult to load the post).

If God really exists, here’s how I envision that things would go down: God returns to set the record straight.

Today, I found a WSJ article indicating that serious scholars studying Islam have their doubts too.  One prominent scholar has concluded that Muhammad probably never existed.

Muhammad Sven Kalisch, a Muslim convert and Germany’s first professor of Islamic theology, fasts during the Muslim holy month, doesn’t like to shake hands with Muslim women and has spent years studying Islamic scripture. Islam, he says, guides his life.

So it came as something of a surprise when Prof. Kalisch announced the fruit of his theological research. His conclusion: The Prophet Muhammad probably never existed . . .

Many scholars of Islam question the accuracy of ancient sources on Muhammad’s life. The earliest biography, of which no copies survive, dated from roughly a century after the generally accepted year of his death, 632, and is known only by references to it in much later texts. But only a few scholars have doubted Muhammad’s existence. Most say his life is better documented than that of Jesus . . .

He has doubts, too, about the Quran. “God doesn’t write books,” Prof. Kalisch says.

Wikipedia indicates some parallels with the lack of contemporaneous historical writings regarding Muhammed:

The earliest surviving written sira (biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him) is Ibn Ishaq’s Life of God’s Messenger written some 120 to 130 years after Muhammad’s death.

Given these many serious questions–questions of whether these great religous leaders even existed at all–I would think that we would all be better off to add the serious study of religion to the public school curriculum.  But we shouldn’t preach religion in public school. Instead, we should seriously study it, even the inconvenient parts, like this.


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Category: American Culture, History, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (9)

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  1. realest says:

    I would say they did exist, but as very normal persons…

    and all religions are so similar, that i believe they were all copied from one source.

  2. EsseneMaster says:

    The question should most likely state, as being taught today…did Muhammed actually exist? Probably not. But did Muhammed actually exist, IMHO … yes.

    Like our essene brother, the truth about his entire life, may have been made larger then life. Much like in the game Gossip …where a word, or phrase is whispered from person to person …at the end the original word is compared to the word received at the end of the line.

  3. EsseneMaster says:

    Sometimes the word or phrase match, and sometimes they don't. As in real life….

  4. Ibrahim says:

    I respect very much research work, but to speak about did Mohamed exist or not, this is not accepted by us as Muslim. Yes Mohamed was existing and he lived and the entire historical book mentioned that.

    Mohamed lived as normal person, who transfer God message to people. In Islam we don't believe that Mohamed is God, but he is a profit who selected by God to transfer his message to people.

  5. I personally feel it's immaterial whether either Jesus (Yeshua) or Mohammed existed. I think it likely. Were they what their legends tell us? Probably not. But movements do not coalesce around ghosts. As a near-to-hand example, look at the deification going on among some Americans regarding the Founding Fathers. They react very negatively when a demystifying biography comes out showing them to be, really, just men. We're only a couple centuries into this, so I use the term deification very metaphorically, but the hagiography of great people is an ongoing phenomenon which it would not be difficult to see turning into full-blown ascension in four or five more centuries.

  6. kayenath says:

    Off course he existed. Its part of the English history as well as the Islamic.

    There are remainings, his body, his grave, his clothes, and so on. Also the miracle he peformed by splitting the moon in two. Science nasa 2004- Crack in the moon has recentley been proven. This links up with the peformed Miracle.

  7. Enlightened says:

    Answering kayenath

    NASA never ever said that the moon was split. A crack in the moon does not mean a split.

  8. Saagar says:

    If religion is all about the word of God, written by him or dictated to a prophet, then why is there a furore over the existence of a man. Let the religion and its teachings be the focus. Islam prohibits images/ sculptures of Mohammed (Pbuh.) as per his own teaching, or if he did not exist then they were handed over by the creator of Islam. The most probable reason might've been a gradual fading away of the putative prophet to let the focus remain on the religion. Prohibition of physical images was just a way of driving home the point of staying away from the worship/ obsession with a person. The teaching should've been the sole survivor 14 centuries after the person left. Sadly, as happens with most of the religions, the founders of Islam could not ensure that this basic teaching could be delivered in a way that ensured compliance.

    That brings to the fore another pertinent observation regarding religions. They are perhaps the oldest brands of the most novel product 'Idea'. Religion have all the characteristics of brands; a logo be it a cross or a crescent, a product which resembles its competitors' but still distinguishes itself with some salient features and packaging, a manual for the product, physical and virtual outlets i.e. the temples, churches and mosques, reward points by way of heaven or hell or prosperity in mortal life; the list can go on but i'll restrict it to these few and the last but obviously not the least, a durable brand ambassador. A durable brand ambassador was probably the feature that modern religions, starting from Christianity, focused the most on. The lack of durability of brand ambassadors of Pagan religions was thought to be because of their highly physical and physically larger than life images. It might've been thought that the new religion could only last and thrive on humanly mythical characters. Which then might've led to the birth/ thoughtful creation of Jesus and Mohammed.

    The other facet that i mentioned was the novelty of product i.e. 'Idea'. Seth Godin in his 'Unleashin an Ideavirus' explains how an Idea is the most potent of products. The concept of God and its peripheral explanations in the form of religious scriptures are forms of nothing else but ideas. These ideas could generate currency in the form of spreading religion and its associated benefits for the founders and a disciplined way of life for the communities that followed. The 'peace' and divine alignment of their communities was perhaps the most sought after benefit that these well meaning founders wished. That is also the reason why most of the religions are similar in content. The goal of this product is the currency of peace and the way it can be achieved is by aligning human beings with nature, the sole manifestation of God.

    Still, vast majorities of the followers of the religions around the world keep on being obsessed with the peripherals of religion. The constant guard for the identity of their founders being the most common behaviour. No well meaning founder of a religion could've be so shallow as to working for his name/ image to be preserved till eternity. He/she would sure have wished the followers to indulge in pursuits more meaningful and enriching. It is only the post-foundation trustees of faith who successfully tied people to the peripherals and made legions of followers to fight Jihads for these causes which definitely never mattered to the Prophets.

  9. Plz check this says:

    Mohamad had son called Ibrahim died in 632-1-27 … in this day was eclipse of sun this link will help you to know the story http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibrahim_ibn_Muammad download this 2 software to make sure : 1-Lunar Calendars and Eclipse Finder 7.79 or 2-Astronomy by calculations 3.01

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