03 February 2015

Islam: The Untold Story

Tom Holland's documentary film on the early history if Islam. In the 7th century the Arabs came out of nowhere, taking advantage of war and plague that devastated the Roman and Persian empires, conquering most of the known world, but there is very little evidence that these early Arab conquerors were motivated by Islam. Who was the real Muhammad? How was the Quran first written? How much of the official origin story of Islam is real and how much was invented after the fact, a century or more later, to justify the conquests of the Arabs generations earlier? It's well known that the Saudi government has been destroying early Islamic sites for years, including a house that was claimed to be the birthplace of Muhammad. Why would a people willfully erase their own history, unless there is something they are trying to hide?

Tom Holland suggests that the true origins of Islam and Muhammad came not from Arabia, but from the Negev, and it was not until much later that the Mecca story was invented to further distance Islam from Christianity and Judaism. This could explain why the early sites are being destroyed, not because of the danger of idolatry, but because those sites were fakes, built centuries later, and the Wahhabis in the Saudi government don't want anyone - especially devout Muslims - from discovering that the buildings and cemeteries date from well after the life of Muhammad and his companions. It could also explain why the Quran makes more sense when read in Syriac (the language used in the Negev and Sinai at the time) than when read in Arabic.

Runs 71 minutes.

In case of further questions, the author of the program has written a follow up article addressing various criticisms.