Ep.8 Why are Historical Critics of Islam censored? [Video]

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Ep.8 Why are Historical Critics of Islam censored?

Why do Muslim scholars, as well as Western Academic scholars react so negatively and vociferously against any historical critique of the Qur’an, or of Islam itself?

To best understand the question, let’s look at the treatment against Dr Luling’s in Germany in the 1970s, after he produced his Doctoral Thesis, which suggested that much of the beautiful poetry in the Qur’an is nothing more than pre-Qur’anic Christian hymns written in Aramaic, and then borrowed and adulterated later by Muslims when translated into Arabic. Because of his thesis, he was not only thrown out of German academia, but lived the rest of his life mostly in obscurity, and was forced to live off the wages of his wife.

Dr Fred Donner, a friend of Dr Luling and one of the world’s leading scholars on Islam, in his ‘Memoriam’ to Gunter Luling in 2017 (see “In Memoriam”, Al–‘Usur al-Wusta 25, pgs. 229-234, 2017), explains what happened to Dr Luling this way:

“Luling’s hypotheses represented a bold challenge to the traditional view of the Qur’ān and its environment held not only by Muslims, but also by Western scholars at the time, for which reason it was received with great hostility by most of the academic establishment in Germany.”

“The revolutionary nature of Lüling’s hypotheses on the Qur’an and Islam’s origins led fairly quickly to his being forced out of the German academic establishment, even though his dissertation had originally been supported enthusiastically by his Doktorvater and was accepted by his department with the mark of eximium opus, “extraordinary work.”

“Lüling’s ideas were just too threatening to certain established scholars whose work would have been overturned by it.”

“His effort to submit a Habilitationsschrift or “second dissertation,” necessary to qualify for a permanent teaching position in Germany, was thwarted; a number of senior Orientalists, led apparently by the influential Prof. Anton Spitaler of Munich, blocked his efforts to find a position, and organized a virtual conspiracy of silence against him so that his work was hardly reviewed in Germany—and, since it was written in German, few foreign scholars were able readily to follow Lüling’s complex argumentation, or bothered to do so.”

“Gunter Lüling was never shown the decency of straightforward critical engagement. The way Lüling was treated by those who should have been his colleagues can only be deemed shabby, and stands as a dark stain on the record of the German academic establishment of his time.”

“Deprived of a university career, Luling nonetheless continued to pursue scholarship for the remainder of his life, working essentially in isolation.”

“He and his wife lived frugally on her salary, and his scholarship was self-published. He was, naturally, embittered and considered himself a martyr to the causes of true scholarship and proper theology, and sometimes had choice things to say about the German academic establishment; but in his later years, he worked without much overt complaint, ever confident that his ideas would, in the end, be vindicated.”

It is only now that his ideas are being taken seriously, due to the translation of his PhD thesis into English, and published in 2003 in India (you can buy it on here:

But Luling is not alone. Christoph Luxenberg, wrote his book, “The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A Contribution to the Decoding of the Language of the Koran” in 2007, taking what luling did, but expanding it to include the ‘dark passages’ of the Qur’an (around 25% of the Qur’an which Muslim scholars still don’t understand), and it also has been vilified and attacked by Western academics vociferously, yet with little to no engagement with the content of the book itself.

So, why these attacks? It seems that the academics are fearful, as Donner noted above, that if Luling and Luxenberg’s research is true, than much of their own academic research will be proven false, which would lead to the curtailment of many of their careers.

This, then is the state of our pitiful Western academia today, which indeed is sad.

© Pfander Centre for Apologetics – US, 2022
(68,230) Music: “Feeling the Caribbean Sun” by Horst Hoffman, from filmmusic-io


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