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 defining pious Muslim biography of Islam’s prophet, 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.
During a press conference on June 19, Yousef 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. Most notably, he wants it known 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.
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.