Maxiitic Rodinson: (1915-21)04)
Maxim Rodinson is an erudite contemporary Orientalist and Sociologist. He is the author of many books but his important book is ‘Muhammad1. Basically, this book was written in
French. Later on, Anne Cater translated this book into English. He was greatly influenced by Marxim.
“In 1932, he gained entry to the Ecole Langues Orientales to prepare for a career as a diplomat and interpreter. He learned Arabic and Hebrew. He studied Islam from a sociological point of view. In his book, ‘Muhammad1, he studied the prophet of Islam in his social context. In this work, he tried to explain the economic and social origin of Islam.
According to Lu Rodinson, “Islam was no longer seen the land of Antichrist but essentially that exotic and picturesque virilization- He is of the view that all this development produced Western scholarship which really understood Islam or at least was objective towards Islam. Rodinson was a man who as a historian, sought desperately to delineate “Muhammad (PBUH) of history from the Muhammad (PBUH) of faith.” He made it quite plain in his forward that the biography of Muhammad (PBUH) would always be built on speculation, that the information we possessed on Muhammad (PBUH) is far from being a certain historical fact. .There is nothing of which we can say for certain that it incontestably dates back to the time of the prophet.
Many of Rodinson’s sources are Greek-Ammianus Marcellinus, Artemidorus of Ephesus and Plenty, Procopius and Cosmos and Theoplianes, etc- Rodinson approaches towards the Messenger as under:
If we understood him rightly, Muhammad (PBUH) was a complete man, full of contradictions. He was fond of his pleasures yet indulged in bouts of asceticism. He was often compassionate, yet sometimes cruel. He was a believer, consumed with die love and fear of his God, and a politician ready for any expedient. Without any great gift of eloquence in ordinary life, he was able for a short period to produce, from his unconscious, phrases of disturbing poetic quality.
In Rodinson’s view Muhammad, because of a personal psychological solution, became an instrument Capable of formulating and communicating an ideology that corresponded to the needs of the time and milieu. His emergence is of a type found in similar conditions in other socio-economic settings. Thus Rodinson admits to the significance of the non-Muslim source in the rise of Muhammad (PBUH) and the Quran. He insists that both emerge in response to socioeconomic problems and are explicable according to classic sociological categories of interpretation of Marxist coloring. Through the thorough study of Rodinson’s work, we conclude that he was much impressed by Tor Andrae, Goldziher, and Watt. He had repeated most of their ideas and blasphemies and badly failed to make an independent analysis of the biography of the prophet.