Not just because he is such a brilliant screenwriter, but also because he is a constant reminder that there is someone around whose mind is more unpleasant and twisted than my own. There is ample historical evidence to prove that until the time of the attack of the Abyssinian invaders on Makkah with the intention to capturing the Ka’bah, it was in this strong tribal division that the people of Arabia lived – this was the year 570 C.E. Tom Holland, the populariser of ancient history in bestsellers such as Rubicon, which examined the triumph and tragedy of the Roman Republic, kept on asking questions like that during Islam: the Untold Story (Channel 4). Even she does not doubt that Mohammed existed or even that the Koran is a collection of his utterances. Western historians have always wanted the origins of Islam to be examined under a strict academic method of research.2 They have tried to do so and have arrived at conclusions not much different to what would be, or rather, is, the case in a study of many of the ancient civilisations. Al Quran 48:30 mentions this miraculous growth of the newly founded faith in to a fully grown, strong tree which leaves the rest of the society astonished. How could you ever hope to understand Christianity if you only knew (what little there is to know) about Jesus but did not know about St Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Erasmus, Luther, Descartes, C.S. I.M. It examined claims that rather than Islam’s doctrine emerging fully-formed in a single text, the religion instead developed gradually over many years with the expansion of Arabic empires. That it was a bloodless conquest is the proof of the general pardon that the Prophetsa had granted to the Makkans, otherwise, there seems no reason why the conquest, or taking over of Makkah by Muslims, should have been nonviolent, contrary to Arabian warfare culture. None should be forthcoming, as towards the end of the programme Holland returned to Dr Nasr for reassurance that he hadn't caused any lasting offence. Nor are we told about al-Ghazali. With this complexity of conflicts “came the potentiality for revolutionary change, a potentiality realised through the inspiration and leadership of the Prophet Muhammad.”25 Based on what the Prophet Muhammadsa claimed and all Muslims accept to be divinely revealed—the Qur’an—the Prophetsa laid the foundations of a society that contained all the positive aspects of the prevalent systems in and around Arabia, and actually, in all the major civilisations of the world at the time. Holland, the writer of best-sellers Rubicon and Persian Fire, said that Islam is “a legitimate subject of historical inquiry”. Brockelmann, History of the Islamic People, 16. It was as if Roman coinage had borne the name of Jesus while the Apostle John was still alive. She had weathered the slings and arrows of maritime misfortune for almost ten weeks at that point, but the passengers thought the discomfort of crossing a small price to pay for passage to the Promised Land. The documentary – to abridge it considerably – argues that the Prophet Mohammed was not from Mecca, but more likely from the present day Israel-Jordan-Palestine area. Co, 1975). The case, however, is different with Islam in the sense that historians tend to confuse civilisation with faith. asked historian Tom Holland. 20. With the birth of Muhammadsa, Arabia became ‘the Cradle of Islam.’”10, “The extraordinary events of seventh century completely reversed the role of the Arabs and changed the nature of their contribution. One message sent to Holland read: “You might be a target in the streets. 7. It is this reaction that has thus far dominated much of the comment about the programme. Photograph: BBC. No charge. The starting point was that there are a number of serious discrepancies between the Qur'an and the surviving documentary evidence for the birth of Islam – most fundamentally that the first Arab conquerors didn't appear to identify themselves as Muslims and there is no mention of Mecca in any dateable text (apart from one ambiguous reference in the Qur'an) until 100 years after the Prophet Muhammad's death. 3. "Can a non-Muslim hope to understand the origins of the Muslim world?" I'm all for cultural and religious sensitivity, but the degree to which Holland tiptoed around the subject and apologised for his findings went way beyond what was required. It is also generally agreed upon that Makkah was under the rule of the Quraysh at the time of Abraha’s invasion, in 570C.E.. There was however, no higher authority to judge between disputes that would arise amongst tribes from time to time. Historians’ interest in the pre-Islamic Arabia has reached certain conclusions that none would contest, as enough historical evidence seems to be in place for them to be unanimously agreed upon. Islam: The Untold Story is a documentary film written and presented by the award-winning English novelist and historian Tom Holland. There is no emotional screw, no indignity, no suffering he won't inflict on his characters and his writing always seems to bring out the best in his actors. Who has heard of Ibn Tufayl? Letters had to be written and deeds signed for various agreements and this required dates to be recorded on the documents, hence an Islamic Calendar had to be brought into use and was made to commence from the year of the migration (Hijrah) of the Prophet.sa 36 Since this happened in the time of Umarra, it would have happened sometime between the second and twelfth year of the Prophetsa’s death (years of Umar’sra succession and demise respectively). This religion that we know as Islam, and what some would call an empire or merely a civilisation, was initiated by a man called Muhammadsa, who was born in Arabia in the late 6th century.