Real Face of Tor Andrae the Orientalist


Tor Andrae. (1885-1947)

He is an author of many scholarly books. He has a written a book on Sirah titled,

“Muhammad, Sein Leben, and Sein Glaube” in German. This book has been translated into English by Thcophil Menzil under the title of “Muhammad (PBUH)The Man and His Faith.”

Theophil Menzil describes in its preface, “The study of Muhammad’s life and work is advancing so rapidly that no apology is needed for publishing this excellent study. We have readied the stage where it is possible to approach his personality with a measure of understanding and balance impossible of attainment a few decades ago. It is hoped that this work will appeal to the students of the history of religion, lovers of biography, and adherent of Islam.” Tor Andrae remarks, “The concept of the period of enlightenment permitted a more just estimate of Muhammad’s personality. In their naive fashion, the thinkers of this period often evaluated the outstanding wisdom and virtue of ancient lawgivers and founders of religions, and stressed the reasonableness of alien faiths, praising them at the expense of Christianity. They extended to Islam this benevolent evaluation of the non-Christian religions.

He also remarks about the genuineness of Muhammad’s inspiration. “It is hardly believable that a man could have won such absolute confidence, or could have made such an impression upon his surroundings, had he not possessed an overwhelming and convincing faith in his own message. Muhammad (PBUH) regarded his call with the utmost sincerity; he felt his heart tremble before the king of the judgment day and he responded to his prophetic commission with fear and trembling. But if Muhammad (PBUH) had fabricated concerning us any sayings, we had surely seized him by the right hand and cut through the vein of his neck, nor would we have withheld any of you from him.”

Tor Andrae’s thesis seems to be positive at first sight but a deep and keen reading would show, he is taking an anthropological and psychological view of Islam and the Prophet of Islam. He seems to be denying the metaphysical foundations of Prophethood.

His interest in religious psychology is clearly evident in his work, “The Psychology of Mysticism” and “Muhammad: The Man And His Faith.” Distinguishing between two types of mystical inspiration, the auditory and the visual, he classed Muhammad (PBUH) amongst the former, and comparing reports of Muhammad’s inspirations with similar accounts concluded dial these were without a doubt psychologically possible.