This paper is a response to the Channel 4 Programme "Islam: The Untold Story" which was shown on Tuesday 28th August 2012 and presented by Tom Holland. The paper will address each of the main claims made by Holland.
1. The claim that there is no historical evidence in seventh century on the origins of Islam
Tom Holland's assertion that there is no historical evidence for the seventh century origins of Islam is untrue. This notion cannot be sustained in light of contemporary non-Islamic evidence. For instance, early Christian chronicles in the seventh century elaborate on the origins of Islam, the prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) and some of the laws which the Muslims practised. Below are some examples of these chronicles:
Doctrina Jacobi written in 635 CE
A document called Doctrina Jacobi written only two years after the death of the prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) clearly mentions that a prophet had appeared amongst the Arabs:
"I, having arrived at Sykamina, stopped by a certain old man well-versed in *scriptures, and I said to him: "What can you tell me about the prophet who has appeared with the Saracens?" [i]
A record of the Arab conquest of Syria written in 637 CE
A record of the Arab conquest of Syria written in 637 CE, just 5 years after the death of the prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace), clearly mentions him by name. Interestingly, the date of the agrees with the best Arab date for the battle of Yarmuk:
"...and in January, they took the word for their lives did the sons of Emesa, and many villages were ruined with killing by the Arabs of Mụhammad and a great number of people were killed and captives were taken from Galilee as *far as Bēth." [ii]
Sebeos, Bishop of the Bagratunis (Writing c.660 CE)
An early seventh century account of Islam comes from Sebeos who was a bishop of the House of Bagratunis. From this chronicle, there are indications that he lived through many of the events he relates. As for Muhammad (upon whom be peace), he had the following to say:
"At that time a certain man from along those same sons of Ismael, whose name was Mahmet [i.e., Mụhammad], a merchant, as if by God's command *appeared to them as a preacher [and] the path of truth. He taught them to recognize the God of Abraham, especially because he was learned and informed in the history of Moses. Now because the command was from on high, at a single order they all came together in unity of religion. Abandoning *their vain cults, they turned to the living God who had appeared to their father * Abraham. So, Mahmet legislated for them: not to eat carrion, not to drink wine, not to speak falsely, and not to engage in fornication. He said: with an oath God promised this land to Abraham and his seed after him forever. And he brought about as he promised during that time while he loved Ismael. But now you are the sons of Abraham and God is accomplishing his promise to Abraham and his seed for you. Love sincerely only the God of Abraham, and go and seize the land which God gave to your father Abraham. No one will be *able to resist you in battle, because God is with you." [iii]
This narrative by Sebeos clearly undermines Holland's assertion that there are no historical records elaborating on the life, teachings and mission of the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace).
2. Unjustified rejection of the Islamic narrative
Tom Holland has presented a clear bias in the programme as he did not use non-Muslim scholars that are supportive of the Islamic narrative. For example, Michael Cook, a historian specialising in early Islamic history explains the implications of early non-Muslim accounts of the origins of Islam:
"What does this material tell us? We may begin with the major points on which it agrees with the Islamic tradition. It precludes any doubts as to whether Muhammad was a real person: he is named in a Syriac source that is likely to date from the time of the conquests, and there is an account of him in a Greek source of the same period. From the 640s we have confirmation that the term muhajir was a central one in the new religion, since its followers are known as *'Magaritai' or 'Mahgraye' in Greek and Syriac respectively. At the same time, a *papyrus of 643 is dated 'year twenty two', creating a strong presumption that something did happen in AD 622. The Armenian chronicler of the 660s attests that Muhammad was a merchant, and confirms the centrality of Abraham in *his preaching. The Abrahamic sanctuary appears in an early source dated (insecurely) to the 670s." [iv]
Holland's rejection of the Islamic narrative lacks academic rigour. Commenting on Holland's approach Peter Webb, who teaches Classical Arabic literature at the University of London, SOAS, explains the "resilient" and "robust" nature of the Islamic tradition:
"Over the past century, the Muslim tradition has been challenged by many academics and it has proven remarkably resilient in its own defence...but the Muslim account of history, the textual integrity of the Koran and the mnemonic capacity of oral traditions are more robust than Holland gives them credit...few scholars today would claim it was entirely fabricated. Holland would have done better to adopt a cautious and sensitive approach to the Arabic sources, rather than abandoning them in favour of a sensational rewriting of history." [v]
Professor Robert Hoyland from the University of Oxford highlights how conclusions similar to Holland's, including the view that Mecca was in a different place, is a result of not studying the Islamic material and developing scenarios not based on evidence:
"..the historical memory of the Muslim community is more robust than some *have claimed. For example, many of the deities, kings and tribes of the pre-Islamic Arabs that are depicted by ninth-century Muslim historians also feature in the epigraphic record, as do many of the rulers and governors of the early Islamic state. This makes it difficult to see how historical scenarios that require for their acceptance a total discontinuity in the historical memory of the Muslim community - such as that Muhammad did not exist, the Quran was not written in Arabic, Mecca was originally in a different place etc. - can really be *justified. Many of these scenarios rely on absence of evidence, but it seems a shame to make such a recourse when there are so many very vocal forms of material evidence still waiting to be studied." [vi]
3. Rejecting Islamic oral tradition
As discussed above, Holland's approach is inherently biased as he unjustifiably rejects the entire corpus of the Islamic tradition, including the oral Prophetic traditions. During the programme a historian of early Islam, Patricia Crone, mentioned that with oral traditions "you remember what you want to remember". With this assertion Holland attempts to undermine the entire science of hadith (Prophetic traditions). The science of the Prophetic traditions is based upon a scrutinising the isnad (chain of narration) and the matn (the text).
Nabia Abbot, a prominent academic who has conducted extensive study on the Prophetic traditions, explains how the growth of these traditions were as a result of parallel and multiple chains of transmission which highlight that these traditions are trustworthy and a valid source of historical information. She writes:
"...the traditions of Muhammad as transmitted by his Companions and their Successors were, as a rule, scrupulously scrutinised at each step of the transmission, and that the so called phenomenal growth of Tradition in the second and third centuries of Islam was not primarily growth of content, so far as the hadith of Muhammad and the hadith of the Companions are concerned, but represents largely the progressive increase in parallel and multiple chains of transmission." [vii]
The academic Harald Motzki has similar sentiments. In an essay that appeared in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies he concludes that the Prophetic traditions are an important and useful type of source concerning the study of early Islam:
"While studying the Musannaf of `Abd al-Razzaq, I came to the conclusion that the theory championed by Goldziher, Schacht and in their footsteps many others - myself included - which in general, reject hadith literature as a historically reliable sources for the first century AH, deprives the historical study of early Islam of an important and a useful type of source." [viii]
4. The absurdity of rejecting oral tradition
Even if we follow Holland's line of enquiry it will lead us to absurdities. The philosophical implications of rejecting the Prophetic traditions are quite damning. In epistemology - which is narrowly defined as the study of knowledge and belief - testimony is considered as one of the sources of knowledge, and when applied properly it can form justified beliefs. Testimony is a valid source of knowledge only when it comes from a reliable source especially if there are multiple sources in agreement. Obviously there are conditions to how we can use testimony, but in the majority of the cases we consider testimony as a valid source of knowledge. For instance, take our certainty on the fact that China exists. Many people have never been to China, eaten Chinese food in China or spoken to someone in China. All they have as evidence is a map of the world and people telling them they have travelled to China and others claiming to be from China but is this sufficient? However, if we examine why we have such a high level of certainty that China exists, regardless of the above questions, we will conclude that it is due to recurrent testimony. Recurrent testimony is when such a large number of people have reported a claim to knowledge (such as the existence of China) that it is impossible for them to agree upon a lie or to simultaneously lie. This is accentuated by the fact that most of these people never met and lived in different places and different times. Therefore to claim they have lied is tantamount is to propose an impossible conspiracy took place.
Linking this to the Prophetic traditions, not only do we have mass testimony of events and statements of the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace), we have a detailed science dedicated to authenticate these traditions. Prophetic traditions have an isnad (chain of narration) and a matn (a text), each of these have detailed criteria that scrutinise the chain and the text to a degree that leaves very little room for doubt. To reject these traditions is tantamount to rejecting facts such as the existence of China or the entirety of history, as these events have been verified via testimony also. Moreover, each prophetic tradition has been scrutinised more rigorously than any historical fact we have with us today.
The criteria used to verify prophetic traditions are summarised below:
Some criteria for the evaluation of Isnad
The unblemished and undisputed character of the narrator was the most important consideration for the acceptance of a prophetic tradition. A branch of the science of hadith ('ilm al-hadith) known as asma' ar-rijal (the biographies of the people) was developed to evaluate the credibility of narrators. The following are a few of the criteria utilized for this purpose:
The name, nickname, title, parentage and occupation of the narrator should be known.
The original narrator should have stated that he heard the hadith directly from the Prophet.
If a narrator referred his hadith to another narrator, the two should have lived in the same period and have had the possibility of meeting each other.
At the time of hearing and transmitting the hadith, the narrator should have been physically and mentally capable of understanding and remembering it.
The narrator should have been known as a pious and virtuous person.
6. The narrator should not have been accused of having lied, given false evidence or committed a crime.
The narrator should not have spoken against other reliable people.
The narrator's religious beliefs and practices should have been known to be correct.
The narrator should not have carried out and practiced peculiar religious beliefs of his own.
Some criteria for the evaluation of Matn
The text should have been stated in plain and simple language as this was the undisputed manner of speech of the prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace).
A text in non-Arabic or containing indecent language was rejected (for the same reason as above).
A text prescribing heavy punishment for minor sins or exceptionally large reward for small virtues was rejected.
A text which referred to actions that should have been commonly known and practiced by others but were not known and practiced was rejected.
A text contrary to the basic teachings of the Qur'an was rejected.
A text contrary to another established prophetic tradition was rejected.
A text inconsistent with historical facts was rejected.
Extreme care was taken to ensure the text was the original narration of the Prophet and not the sense of what the narrator heard. The meaning of the Prophet tradition was accepted only when the narrator was well known for his piety and integrity of character.
A text by an obscure narrator which was not known during the age of the Prophet's companions or of the subsequent generation was rejected.
It is clear from the above that the criteria for verifying the Prophetic traditions are comprehensive and robust. Even in the philosophy of history we do not find such comprehensive criteria.
5. The textual Islamic tradition
Holland continues to espouse his uninformed perspective by claiming that there is an absence of textual evidence from the Islamic narrative. In response to this there are a myriad of written works in the early period of Islam. Below is a list of some of the early works:
Saheefah Saadiqah: Compiled by Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr ibn al-Aas during the life of the prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace). His treatise is composed of about 1000 prophetic traditions and it remained secure and preserved.
Saheefah Saheehah: Compiled by Humaam Ibn Munabbih. He was from the famous students of Abu Hurairah (the eminent companion of the Prophet). He wrote all the prophetic traditions from his teacher. Copies of this manuscript are available from libraries in Berlin and Damascus.
Saheefah Basheer Ibn Naheek: Ibn Naheek was also a student of Abu Hurairah. He gathered and wrote a treatise of Prophetic traditions which he read to Abu Hurairah, before they departed and the former verified it. [ix]
In light of the above the claim that there were no treatises or historical documents in the early seventh century is a false one, and clearly undermines the integrity of the programme.
6. Further baseless assumptions
Holland's unjustified rejection of the oral and textual Islamic tradition forces him to form a coherent alternative. Admitting that he cannot do this, many times describing his source of information as a "black hole", he uses certain Quranic verses in an attempt to justify his revisionist approach to the Islamic narrative. Holland uses the story of the prophet Lot and the so-called non-mention of the city of Mecca as means to justify his alternative theory.
The Story of Lot
Holland argues that the Qur'an eludes to places, landscapes and geography that are not descriptive of Mecca and the immediate surrounding areas. He claims that this implies that the Qur'an originates from a location other than Mecca or southern Arabia. He mentions the following verse of the Qur'an:
"And indeed, Lot was among the messengers. [So mention] when We saved *him and his family, all, except his wife among those who remained [with the evildoers]. Then We destroyed the others. And indeed, you pass by them in *the morning. And at night.*Then will you not use reason?" [x]
Holland claims that the words "you pass by them in the morning and at night" indicate a place outside of Mecca because the ruins are nowhere to be found in Mecca. With this conclusion Holland makes some bold assumptions. He assumes that Meccans did not travel. This is a blunder as the historian Ira M. Lapidus in his book, "A History of Islamic Societies", clearly states that the Arabs in Mecca were established traders travelling far and wide:
"By the mid-sixth century, as heir to Petra and Palmyra, Mecca became one of the important caravan cities of the middle east. The Meccans carried spices, leather, drugs, cloth and slaves which had come from African or the far East to Syria, and returned money, weapons, cereals, and wine to **Arabia." [xi]
If Holland had carefully read the Qur'an, he would have understood that the contexts of these verses was explained elsewhere in the Qur'an as the Qur'an rhetorically asks the Meccans if they had travelled through the land to see the ends of other civilisations and cities:
"Have they not travelled through the land and observed how was the end of those before them? They were more numerous than themselves and greater in strength and in impression on the land, but they were not availed by what they used to earn." [xii]
The non-mention of Mecca
Holland claims that the city of Mecca is not mentioned in the Qur'an and therefore justifies his revisionist perspective. This is a complete fabrication. The Quran in the forty-eighth chapter clearly mentions the city of Mecca.
"And it is He who withheld their hands from you and your hands from them within [the area of] Makkah after He caused you to overcome them. And ever is Allah of what you do, Seeing." [xiii]
7. Did the Arab Empire Create Islam?
Although this contention of Holland's does not provide a strong argument against Islam, it is worthwhile pointing out that his view that Islam emerged as a result of the Arab empire does not make sense when the historical events are viewed in a holistic way. The late professor of Islamic studies William Montgomery Watt asserts:
"Islamic ideology alone gave the Arabs that outward – looking attitude which *enabled them to become sufficiently united to defeat the Byzantine and Persian empires. Many of them may have been concerned chiefly with booty for themselves. But men who were merely raiders out for booty could not have held together as the Arabs did. The ideology was no mere epiphenomenon but an essential factor in the historical process." [xiv]
In a similar vein the author Dr. Lex Hixon writes:
"Neither as Christians or Jews, nor simply as intellectually responsible individuals, have members of Western Civilisation been sensitively educated or even accurately informed about Islam…even some persons of goodwill who have gained acquaintance with Islam continue to interpret the reverence for the prophet Muhammad and the global acceptance of his message as an inexplicable survival of the zeal of an ancient desert tribe. This view ignores fourteen centuries of Islamic civilisation, burgeoning with artists, scholars, ***statesmen, philanthropists, scientists, chivalrous warriors, philosophers…as well as countless men and women of devotion and wisdom from almost every nation of the planet. The coherent world civilisation called Islam, founded in *the vision of the Qur'an, cannot be regarded as the product of individual and national ambition, supported by historical accident." [xv]
8. What if the Qur'an is God's word?
One of the key reasons of why the Muslim narrative has remained resilient against baseless and uninformed polemics is based on the fact that the Qur'an is from God. The argument is simple yet profound. If it can be shown that the Qur'an is from God, an inflaiible and omnipotent being, then it follows that whatever is in the Qur’an is true. This will include the fact that Islam is a religion sent by God and not the development of an Arab empire, as claimed by Holland.
How can we ascertain that the Qur'an is from the Divine?
The Qur’an, the book of the Muslims, is no ordinary book. It has been described by many who engage with the book as an imposing text, but the way it imposes itself on the reader is not negative, rather it is positive. This is because it seeks to positively engage with your mind and your emotions, and it achieves this by asking profound questions, such as:
“So where are you people going? This is a message for all people; for those who wish to take the straight path.” [xvi]
“Are the disbelievers not aware that the heavens and the earth used to be *joined together and that We ripped them apart, that We made every living thing from water? Will they not believe?” [xvii]
“Have they not thought about their own selves?" [xviii]
However the Qur’an doesn’t stop there, it actually challenges the whole of mankind with regards to its authorship, it boldly states:
“If you have doubts about the revelation we have sent down to Our servant, *then produce a single chapter like it – enlist whatever supporters you have other than God – if you truly think you can. If you cannot do this – and you never will – then beware of the Fire prepared for the disbelievers, whose *fuel is men and stones.” [xix]
This challenge refers to the various wonders in the Qur’an, even within its smallest chapter, that give us good reasons to believe it is from God. Some of these reasons include linguistic and historical.
The Qur’an’s use of the Arabic language has never been achieved before by anyone who has mastered the language past or present. As Forster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot, a notable British Orientalist and translator, states:
“…and that though several attempts have been made to produce a work equal to it as far as elegant writing is concerned, none has as yet succeeded.” [xx]
The Qur’an is the most eloquent of all speeches that achieves the peak of excellence, it renders peoples attempts to match its miraculous style as null and void. It is no wonder Professor Bruce Lawrence writes:
“As tangible signs Qur’anic verses are expressive of inexhaustible truth, the signify meaning layered within meaning, light upon light, miracle after miracle.” [xxi]
For more information please read the essays "The Qur'an's Challenge: A Literary and Linguistic Miracle" and "The Philosophical Implications on the Uniqueness of the Qur'an".
There are many historical proofs in the Qur’an that show us it is from God. One on them include that the Qur’an is the only religious text to use different words for the ruler of the Egypt at different times. For instance while addressing the Egyptian ruler at the time of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph), the word "Al-Malik" in Arabic is used which refers to a ruler, king or sultan.
“The King said, 'Bring him to me straight away!'…”[xxii]
In contrast, the ruler of Egypt at the time of the Prophet Musa (Moses) is referred to as "Pharaoh", in Arabic “Firaown”. This particular title began to be employed in the 14th century B.C., during the reign of Amenhotep IV. This is confirmed by the Encyclopaedia Britannica which says that the word "Pharaoh" was a title of respect used from the New Kingdom (beginning with the 18th dynasty; B.C. 1539-1292) until the 22nd dynasty (B.C. 945-730), after which this term of address became the title of the king. So the Qur’an is historically accurate as the Prophet Yusuf lived at least 200 years before that time, and the word “al-Malik” or “King” was used and not the word “Pharaoh”.
In light of this, how could have the prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) known such a minute historical detail? Especially when all the other religious texts, such as the Bible, did not mention this? Also, since people at the time of revelation did not know this information (due to the Hieroglyphs being a dead language at the time), what does this say about the authorship of the Qur’an?
There are many more reason why Muslims can justify their belief in the Qur'an. We hope this provides the window of opportunity for the reader to study further and engage with a text that not only changed the Arabia, but the entire world.
"Seldom, if ever, has a set of ideas had so great an effect on human societies *as Islam has done, above all in the first half of the seventh century. In little more than twenty years, the religious and political configuration of Arabia was changed out of all recognition. Within another twenty all of the rich, highly developed, militarily powerful world enveloping Arabia was conquered, save for Asia Minor and north Africa." [xxiii]
9. Selective Scholarship
Holland's choice of scholarship was very selective and was carefully planned to substantiate his argument. He appeared to have ignored a bulk, in fact the majority, of scholarship to make his point stand out. He relied heavily upon the opinions of Patricia Crone (featured in the documentary), whose theories on the early Islamic history are discarded by most historians today. She has expressed her erroneous views on Islamic sources in a number of works. She went as far as to assert that some of the Islamic sources are ‘"debris of obliterated past"; and some of the early works, including Ibn Ishaq’s Sira (biography of the Prophet), are "mere piles of desperate traditions". [xxiv]
Crone have been heavily criticised by fellow historians for her radical views. Even Fred M. Donner, another historian featured in the documentary, rejected Crone's approach. Referring to people like Crone, Cook and Wansbrough, Donner asserts that:
"...the sceptics have encountered some scepticism about their own approach, because some of their claims seem overstated – or even unfounded. Moreover, their work has to date been almost entirely negative – that is, while they have tried to cast doubt on the received version of ‘what happened’ in early Islamic history by impugning the sources, they have not yet offered a convincing alternative reconstruction of what might have happened." [xxv]
Angelika Neuwirth, a German scholar on the Quran, has expressed similar sentiments on Patricia Crone and her likes. She states:
"As a whole, however, the theories of the so called sceptic or revisionist scholars who, arguing historically, make a radical break with the transmitted picture of Islamic origins, shifting them in both time and place from the seventh to the eighth or ninth century and from the Arabian Peninsula to the Fertile Crescent, have by now been discarded...New findings of Quranic text fragments, moreover, can be adduced to affirm rather than call into question the traditional picture of the Quran as an early fixed text composed of the suras we have...The alternative visions about the genesis of the Quran presented by Wansbrough, Crone and Cook, Luling and Luxenberg *are not only mutually exclusive, but rely on textual observations that are too selective to be compatible with the comprehensive quranic textual evidence that can be drawn only from a systematically microstructural reading." [xxvi]
Carole Hillenbrand has also rejected the extremely negative and selective approach of Patricia Crone and her school. [xxvii]
It is clear from above, mainstream scholarly opinion is that the Islamic historical narrative is far richer and more trustworthy than most historical traditions. Most historians, who have no underlying political or religious agendas, accept the historical validity of Islamic sources.
In summary, Tom Holland has selectively chosen to take a non-substantiated and marginalised view on the origins of Islam. His exclusion of established academic positions and material facts points to the only conclusion of justifying his own prejudices and ignorance of Islam.
[i] Doctrina Jacobi *V.16, 209. p. 57
[ii] A. Palmer (with contributions from S. P. Brock and R. G. Hoyland), The Seventh Century In The West-Syrian Chronicles Including Two Seventh-Century Syriac Apocalyptic Texts, 1993, Liverpool University Press: Liverpool (UK), pp. 2-3; Also see R. G. Hoyland, Seeing Islam As Others Saw It: A Survey And Evaluation Of Christian, Jewish And Zoroastrian Writings On Early Islam, 1997, op. cit., pp. 116-117.
[iii] R. W. Thomson (with contributions from J. Howard-Johnson & T. Greenwood), The Armenian History Attributed To Sebeos Part - I: Translation and Notes, 1999, Translated Texts For Historians - Volume 31, Liverpool University Press, pp. 95-96. Other translations can also be seen in P. Crone & M. Cook, Hagarism: The Making Of The Islamic World, 1977, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp. 6-7; R. G. Hoyland, Seeing Islam As Others Saw It: A Survey And Evaluation Of Christian, Jewish And Zoroastrian Writings On Early Islam, 1997, op. cit., p. 129; idem., "Sebeos, The Jews And The Rise Of Islam" in R. L. Nettler (Ed.), Medieval And Modern Perspectives On Muslim-Jewish Relations, 1995, Harwood Academic Publishers GmbH in cooperation with the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies, p. 89.
[iv] Michael Cook. Muhammad, Past Masters Oxford University Press, Page 74. First published 1983 as an Oxford University Press paperback. Reissued 1996
[vi] Robert Hoyland, New Documentary Texts and the Early Islamic State, 2006
[vii] N. Abbott, Studies In Arabic Literary Papyri, Volume II (Qur'anic Commentary & Tradition), 1967, The University Of Chicago Press, p. 2.
[viii] H. Motzki, "The Musannaf Of `Abd al-Razzaq Al-San`ani As A Source of Authentic Ahadith of The First Century A.H.", Journal Of Near Eastern Studies, 1991, Volume 50, p. 21.
[ix] M. M. Azami. Studies in Early Hadith Literature. 2001. American Trust Publications.
[x] Qur'an 47: 133 - 138
[xi] Page 14.
[xii] Qur'an 40: 82
[xiii] Qur'an 48: 24
[xiv] William Montgomery Watt, ‘Economic and Social Aspects of the Origin of Islam’ in Islamic Quarterly 1 (1954), p. 102-3.
[xv] Lex Hixon. The Heart of the Qur'an: An Introduction to Islamic Spirituality. Quest Books. 2003, page 3.
[xvi] Qur'an 81: 26 – 28
[xvii] Qur'an 21: 30
[xviii] Qur'an 30: 8
[xix] Qur'an 2: 23
[xx] F. F. Arbuthnot. 1885. The Construction of the Bible and the Koran. London, p 5.
[xxi] Bruce Lawrence. The Qur’an: A Biography. Atlantic Books, p 8.
[xxii] Qur'an 12: 50
[xxiii] Johnston, Witnesses to a World Crises (Oxford, 2010), p. 357-8.
[xxiv] Patricia Crone, Slaves on Horses (Cambridge, 2003), p. 10.
[xxv] Fred M. Donner, Modern Approaches to Early Islamic History, New Cambridge History of Islam v. 1, 2010, p. 633.
[xxvi] Angelika Neuwirth, Structural, Linguistic and Literary Features, the Cambridge Companion to the Quran, 2006, p. 100-1.
[xxvii] See Carole Hillenbrand. Muhammad and the Rise of Islam. New Cambridge Medieval History.