Ibn al-Rawandi was a Persian skeptic, critic of Islam and religion in general who lived between 827 and 911 CE. He abandoned Islam for atheism and used his knowledge of Islam to refute the Koran. He rejected the authority of any scriptural or revealed religion. He described the Muslim traditions as "lies endorsed by conspiracies".
He points out that Muhammad's own statements regarding the corrupted nature of the Talmud and the Bible show that revealed scriptures are untrustworthy and that the same skepticism must necessarily be applied to the Koran. I recently came across an ex-Muslim blogger who put forward a very clever argument which can be summarized thus:
- Muhammad bases his claim to being a prophet on references that he ascribes to himself in the Talmud and the Bible
- Muhammad says the Talmud and the Bible are corrupted and untrustworthy books
- Muhammad's claim that the Talmud and the Bible endorse his prophetic status therefore falls apart because he declares his own sources to be corrupted
al-Rawandi ridicules certain Muslim traditions. For example, the tradition that angels rallied round to help Muhammad is not believable because if they were willing to help him at Badr why were they absent at Uhud when they were so badly needed?
In the Book of the Emerald he criticizes prayer, ritual purity and the ceremonies of the hajj; throwing stones, circumambulating a house that cannot respond to prayers, and running between stones that can neither help nor harm.
He maintained that religious dogmas are not acceptable to reason and must therefore be rejected; the miracles attributed to 'prophets', many of whom are charlatans, are pure invention; the greatest 'miracle' in the eyes of Muslims, the Koran, is neither a revealed book nor even an inimitable literary masterpiece.