Modern Sirah texts are deeply affected by the formidable historical currents that have shaped the post-colonial Muslim world. The intellectual rigor of some of these texts notwithstanding, the trend that dominates most nineteenth and early twentieth century Sirah works is to justify and apologize. Muslim intellectuals of this period were generally reacting against two centuries of colonial dominance; with few exceptions, their characterizations of the life of the Prophet were attempts to rationalize the miracles mentioned in classical works of Sirah, omit events which would be considered “scandalous” in the political climate of their times, and more generally introduce an ‘historical-critical’ mode of so-called scientific objectivity borrowed from the intellectual apparatus of Orientalism.
Dr Ahmad Ghorab is to be commended for his fine book, Subverting Islam: The Role of Orientalist Centres. His courage and forthright honesty is an inspiration for concerned Muslims in search of the truth. He has succeeded in identifying an important front in the current Euro-American crusade against the Islamic movement: the formation of an anti-Muslim network of institutions and scholars marching under the banner of `Islamic Studies'.1