W.H.T Gairdner, the great Arabic linguist and scholar of Islam noted with understatement in 1915, what is readily apparent from Muhammad’s actual biography (as opposed to the treacly Muslim hagiography), based exclusively on the pious Muslim sources:
As incidents in the life of an Arab conqueror, the tales of raiding, private assassinations and public executions, perpetual enlargements of the harem, and so forth, might be historically explicable and therefore pardonable but it is another matter that they should be taken as a setting forth of the moral ideal for all time.
In 1919, Gairdner wrote an essay entitled “Muhammad Without Camouflage,” responding to a mendacious birthday tribute panegyric of Islam’s prophet written collaboratively by Muslims and non-Muslims. A particularly trenchant segment of Gairdner’s rebuttal discussed the slaughter of the vanquished Medinan Jewish tribe, Banu Qurayza, whose massacre became an important motif in jihad war jurisprudence. Relying exclusively upon Muslim sources, Gairdner highlighted without equivocation the pivotal role that Muhammad himself played in orchestrating the overall events:
The umpire who gave the fatal decision (Saad) was extravagantly praised by Muhammad. Yet his action was wholly and admittedly due to his lust for personal vengeance on a tribe which had occasioned him a painful wound. In the agony of its treatment he cried out- “O God, let not my soul go forth ere thou has cooled my eye from the Bani Quraiza” [Banu Qurayza]. This was the arbiter to whose word the fate of that tribe was given over. His sentiments were well-known to Muhammad, who appointed him. It is perfectly clear from that that their slaughter had been decreed. What makes it clearer still is the assertion of another biographer that Muhammad had refused to treat with the Bani Quraiza at all until they had “come down to receive the judgment of the Apostle of God.” Accordingly “they came down”; in other words put themselves in his power. And only then was the arbitration of Saad proposed and accepted- but not accepted until it had been forced on him by Muhammad; for Sa?ad first declined and tried to make Muhammad take the responsibility, but was told “qad amarak Allahu takhuma fihim,” “Allah has commanded you to give sentence in their case.” From every point of view therefore the evidence is simply crushing that Muhammad was the ultimate author of this massacre.
Reinforcing Gairdner’s earlier observations, another major scholar of Islam, Arthur Jeffery, in his review of A. Guillaume’s seminal 1955 English translation of the earliest pious Muslim biography of Islam’s prophet, “The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah”, remarked:
Years ago the late Canon Gairdner in Cairo said that the best answer to the numerous apologetic Lives of Muhammad published in the interests of Muslim propaganda in the West would be an unvarnished translation of the earliest Arabic biography of the prophet. In this present volume such a translation is put into our hands in a beautifully printed and produced book…Byzantine, Syriac, and Armenian writers who mention him say only that he was a merchant who appeared as a prophet and sent the Arabs out on their wars of conquest
Is a film version based on Ibn Ishaq’s narrative of Muhammad’s life now in the offing?
Enter (hat tip Rachel Lipsky) the remarkably courageous Ramallah-born Mosab Hassan Yousef, eldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas cofounder, and former Hamas activist himself, who served time on several occasions in Israeli prison for these efforts.
Yousef , was also “the Green Prince,” his code name as dubbed by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), with whom he collaborated for a decade to thwart numerous terrorist attacks during the second intifada, sparing hundreds of Israeli lives. Now living in the US, two years ago, Yousef published the book “Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue and Unthinkable Choices,” in which elaborated his rejection of Hamas’s inherent jihadist violence, personal forsaking of Islam and conversion to Christianity, and decision to assist Israel, clandestinely, for approximately a decade, starting in 1996.
During a press conference on Tuesday, 6/19/12, Yousef , now 34 announced his intention to make a film depicting Muhammad’s life based upon Ibn Ishaq’s biographical account of Islam’s prophet. Citing the popular fanaticism of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, unleashed by the “Arab Spring” as evidence of Islam as a retrogressive force, Yousef insisted that the world—including Muslims—must know “the truth” about Muhammad, notably that Islam’s holiest prophet glorified and encouraged murder and violent conquest, as well as child marriage.
Yousef stated that he is working with Israeli film producer and actor Sam Feuer on the Muhammad film project, and maintained that the movie has already attracted sponsors, and a major screenwriter who is drafting the script.
Given the ongoing, millennial history of violent Muslim rage aroused by (even reverent) depictions of Muhammad in words or images—and the lethal punishment for such portrayals still sanctioned, at present, by Islam’s Sharia-based blasphemy law—it is fitting that only a person of Mosab Hassan Yousef’s remarkably intrepid conviction would attempt such a forbidding, if critically important task.