Sunday, 29 September 2013


Why would a non-Muslim want to read the story of Mohammed? For many Westerners, the life of a self-proclaimed Prophet[1], who died more than 1300 years ago in a remote part of the world, might sound not only dull, but also completely irrelevant. In fact it is neither. 

During his life Mohammed created a religious and political movement called Islam. A quarter of the world’s population is now Islamic and it is the world’s fastest growing religion by far. Importantly, the influence of this religion currently stretches into more aspects of our societies than most of us realize.

After studying Islamic doctrine and history, it soon became clear that the majority of what we hear about Islam’s goals and its influence on the actions and beliefs of Muslims, is entirely wrong.

 This lack of understanding has been the root cause of horrendous policy failures in areas such as the “War on terror,” Middle Eastern foreign policy, the Arab- Israeli conflict etc. which tend to dominate our daily news cycle. 

It is also clear that the reason for these failures is widespread ignorance of the doctrine of Islam throughout all sections of Western society. This includes politicians, academics, journalists, teachers, right on down to the man in the street. Given the rapidly rising threats from Islamic “extremists” and the growing number of conflicts involving Muslims, this would seem to be a failure of epic proportions. 

It is for this reason that I have written this book. I wanted it to be widely read and so made it as simple and entertaining as possible. It is reasonably short and avoids dry theological discussion. If you have an interest in what lies behind the news stories we see every day, you should find it both interesting and relevant.

By the end, you should also have a good grasp of the doctrine of Islam. You will know what this doctrine expects of Muslims and how it affects the societies in which Muslims are living. Most importantly, this knowledge will give you a whole new understanding of issues involving Islam. Conflicts around the globe, terrorism, immigration, treatment of women etc. can never be properly understood without a basic grasp of Islamic doctrine.

Islamic scholars have always known that the key to understanding Islam is the story of Mohammed’s life. This is good news, because Mohammed was an extremely interesting character. 

Unlike any other prophet, Mohammed was also a political and military leader. He insisted that Muslims should fight when called upon to put Islam in control of the whole world. During the last nine years of his life, he and his followers were involved in acts of violent conquest on average once every seven weeks.

 By the time he died, he was the King of all Arabia with not a single enemy left standing. The key to his success was a new system of warfare called Jihad which Westerners usually translate as “Holy War,” but which is in fact far more than this.

More is known about Mohammed than any other religious leader[2]. Strangely however, even in the Islamic world, few people know his story. This is not an accident. The life of Mohammed is the perfect example for all Muslims to follow. As such, it is the basis for the Islamic religion itself. You would expect then, that Muslims would be as familiar with Mohammed as Christians are with Jesus.  This is not the case however. 

Young Muslims are taught to recite the Koran in Arabic but are sternly dissuaded from understanding its meaning. Four fifths of Muslims do not even speak modern Arabic, let alone the archaic form the Koran is written in. 

Generally speaking, only those Muslims who are committed enough to want to become Islamic Religious leaders or “Imams” learn about Mohammed’s life. The rest are expected to follow directions from these leaders who tend to keep this knowledge to themselves.

Today, Muslim populations are exploding across the world as Western birth rates plummet. More than ninety percent of all wars and armed conflicts today involve Muslims. The great majority of terror attacks (more than twenty thousand just in the nine years since 9/11[3]) are also carried out by Muslim Jihadists. 

The largest and most influential block of countries in the UN (despite their current lack of veto powers) are the fifty seven members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. These nations also control the lion’s share of the planet’s dwindling oil reserves.

In years to come these trends will almost certainly accelerate. This will give Islam increasing power, not just in the lives of Muslims, but also in the lives of non-Muslims. Unbelievers will increasingly find themselves constricted by laws and demands which reflect this growing influence. 

This expanding Islamic power and influence is going to affect you, your children and your grandchildren. If you want to know, “how” and “why” then this book is the quickest and easiest way to find out. 

For those seeking a more serious understanding of this complex subject, this book is an excellent first step. It will set you in the right direction and serve as a solid foundation.

Tony Blair, George Bush and most other world leaders, academics, journalists and opinion formers in the Western world insist that Islam is a religion of peace which has a few violent radicals, angry at Western foreign policy. 

Ayatollah Khomeini devoted his entire life to the study of Islamic doctrine. He became the spiritual and religious leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the foremost religious authority for the entire Shiite world (differences between Shia and Sunni Islam are fairly superficial). Here is what he had to say about Islam and warfare.

“But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those (who say this) are witless.”

Read the story of Mohammed for yourself and see if you can figure out who is right.

[1] Mohammed insisted that he was the final Prophet of Allah (God). People who believe him are called Muslims. People who don’t are called non-Muslims (the Arabic word is “Kaffir”).

[2] Centre for the Study of Political Islam


(To read the next chapter, click on the link below)

Chapter One

1 Early Life

(If you think this book has been written to promote a sinister agenda or somehow encourage harm to Muslims, then please go to the end and read the appendix here first.)

Mohammed ibn Abdullah (The Prophet Mohammed) was born in 570AD, in a town called Mecca in what is now called Saudi Arabia. At that time Arabia was not a country, it was an area inhabited by a collection of tribes. 

It was and remains, a hot, dry and inhospitable landscape where people survived herding sheep and goats. Some dates were also cultivated in the North. Blood feuds were not uncommon. These would generally be resolved through the principle of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Sometimes blood money would be paid to resolve a killing.
Mecca was a holy town and a centre for all different kinds of religions. There was (and still is) a building named the Kabah which held a sacred stone. This is believed to have been a meteorite. There was also a well, whose water was thought to be holy and to have medicinal powers. Tribes from all around Arabia would come to Mecca to worship their various deities.

 There were even a few Christians and Jews living there; it was very multicultural. Mohammed came from the nobility of Mecca who were known as the Quraysh and his clan was known as the Hashim.

 The main God of the Quraysh was Allah who is believed by many to be the Moon God, (which would explain why every Mosque has a crescent moon on top). Many other Gods were also worshipped. Because it was a holy place, fighting was not allowed in Mecca. Violent disputes had to be settled outside of the town.

Mohammed's father died before he was born and his mother died when he was five. He was then raised by his grandfather, until he too died. His uncle, Abu Talib then took over his care. Abu Talib was a powerful member of the Quraysh. He seems to have been a kindly figure who, while he was alive, protected Mohammed and treated him well.

The main business of the Quraysh was religion, though they also made money from trading. When he grew up Mohammed was hired by a wealthy widow named Khadija. She ran a business trading with Syria. Mohammed managed the caravans and did the deals with the Syrians. Syria was a Christian country at that time and far more sophisticated and cosmopolitan than Arabia.

 At that time it was in fact, more sophisticated and cosmopolitan than most of Europe. The Arabs took their alphabet from the Syrian Christians. Writing was however, restricted to business transactions only. 

There were no books written in Arabic at that time. Religious traditions were passed down by word-of-mouth. Christians and Jews were known as the people of the book because they possessed written Scriptures. Mohammed did well as a trader and made a good profit for Khadija. After a while Khadija proposed marriage to him. They had four daughters and two sons together[1]
Because of his background, Mohammed was familiar with many different religions. He was of course very familiar with the rituals of his own clan, the pagan Arabs of Mecca. Many of these pagan rituals would be incorporated into Islam. 

There were also some Jews in Mecca and his wife's cousin was a Christian. Since most religions were not written down, it was not uncommon for people to have different versions of each religion, or even to start their own type of worship.

Important Facts:
To be a Muslim means to accept that Mohammed was the perfect Human Being. His life is the example for all Muslims to follow in every way possible.

 Of course not all Muslims are very successful in this endeavour but the level of devoutness of a Muslim is judged by how closely he follows Mohammed’s example and teachings. This fact is not disputed in Islam. That is why it is so important to know his story. There is even a word to describe Mohammed’s behaviour, which is “Sunnah”

Some people may feel that this book should not be read for moral reasons. Before I go any further I would therefore like to make something very clear. I am a huge fan of religious freedom. People should be allowed to believe what they want and worship in any way they see fit.

 If a group of Christians wants to worship in a weird or unusual way it doesn’t bother me one bit.

If, however those people form a political organization and start trying to influence the way their society is run then I will likely take an interest. If I don’t agree with their political agenda or methods, I assert my right to criticize these activities. 

This is not a religious criticism; it is a political criticism.This book is not overly concerned with religious aspects of Islam. We will not be investigating its religious beliefs or practices too deeply. What I will be commenting on are the political objectives, political agenda and political methods of Islam. 

These are clearly laid down in Islamic Doctrine. How Muslims interact with each other or interact with their chosen Deity is a religious matter. That doesn’t interest me at all. How they interact with non-Muslims, (who they refer to as Kaffirs) is a political matter and does concern me. As this story unfolds you will soon see why.

The original source of most of this material is Ibn Ishaq’s book, Sirat Rasul Allah (The Story of the Prophet of Allah) or just The Sira. Ibn Ishaq is the most revered and trusted Muslim scholar of all time. This work was compiled around 100 years after Mohammed’s death which makes it his oldest surviving biography. It is the absolute definitive biographical account of Mohammed’s life for Islamic scholars.

It was translated into English in 1955 by Professor of Arabic, Alfred Guillaume, under the title The Life of Muhammad with the help of a number of Arab professors. This is still the most widely used English translation for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

This direct translation has been superbly simplified and rearranged, by Bill Warner of the Centre for the Study of Political Islam. He has included material from other well trusted sources. This gives clarity and context to a story which previously took enormous amounts of painstaking study to understand.

The title of his book is Mohammed and the Unbelievers. Most of the quotes used will come from this book (which is referenced back to The Sira by a system of margin numbers contained in the original text).

[1] Only one of his daughters, Fatima survived to adulthood.

(To read the next chapter, click on the link below)
Go to Chapter Two