Watched this video the other day. It was quite surprising. He makes a case that some major changes occurred to the Muslim religion around the year 691. I had always thought the evidence that Mohammad wrote the Koran was quite good and that the truth of the Muslim faith rested on whether his story about how he got those doctrines was accurate. He points out that Abd al-Malik played a central role as well. That in some ways he might be considered the founder of Islam.
Now one might bring up parallels between what he is doing with Islam and what many are doing with Christianity. That is expressing doubt about the central story of the religion and declaring that there simply isn't enough evidence to believe it. There are some similarities but I wanted to point out that the differences are much more important. A few that I can think of:
Abd al Malik
- He names who changed the religion. He suggests a specific time. He suggests a motivation. That makes it a coherent theory. Often skeptics of Christianity just say somebody must have faked this at some point.
- There is actual evidence that this person destroyed pre-existing copies of the Koran and had it rewritten.
- There is evidence of a significant change in teaching right around this time.Mosques built prior to 691 did not face Mecca but rather a city called Petra.
- There is a gap in the data covering the period right after Mohammad's life. Some have talked about this in regards to the life of Jesus but the gap here is much more complete. Jesus and Christianity are mentioned in many documents written in the first century. The gap that is talked about excludes these and talks only about the lack documents that include biographical details of His life. Even this gap needs to assume a later dating of the gospels and thus begging the question. Mohammad and the Muslim faith are not mentioned at all.
- Not only is the gap more complete it is also less explainable. Christians were not in power anywhere during the first couple centuries after Jesus was on earth. So documents would be fewer and those that existed would be less likely to survive. Muslims gained power in Arabic lands during Mohammad's lifetime. They should have talked about him and the Islamic faith in much of their written work. There was nobody to hide these documents from and nobody persecuting the Muslim communities and burning their documents. So you would expect these writing to survive in much greater quantities. Yet we have nothing. Zero from the most critical time period.