In the book's 19 chapters, Ram Swarup provides representative quotes from the collected traditions of Islam to illustrate the main beliefs of Muslims: faith, purification, prayer, fasting. pilgrimage, marriage, divorce, crime and punishment, jihad, paradise, hell, repentance, and many more.
The introduction states: "Muslim theologians make no distinction between the Quran and the Hadiths. Both are considered works of revelation or inspiration.... In the Quran Allah speaks through Mohammad; in the Sunnah he acts though Mohammad....The Quran cannot be understood without the aid of the Hadith, for every Quranic verse has a context which only the Hadith provide."
Ricoldo, a 14th century Dominican monk, studied the Qur'an in Arabic before refuting it. In 1542 Martin Luther translated the Confutatio Alcorani from Latin into German. In 2002 Thomas Pfotenhauer translated Luther's German version of Ricoldo's book and added copious notes.
Ricoldo went to Baghdad in order to present the case for Christianity to the Muslim intellectuals. Overwhelmed and depressed by the task, he wrote the Confutatio to persuade those misled by the Qur'an to return to the true God. Martin Luther shared Ricoldo's desire to recover the straying. Luther asked, "How is one to proceed in an attempt at converting these Muslims?" If Muslims could not be converted, Luther at least wanted Ricoldo's book to guard Christians against the teachings of Muhammad.
In seventeen chapters Ricoldo attacks the authenticity, accuracy, and ability of the Qur'an to reflect either the will or the gospel of God.
Pfotenhauer's notes balance some of the statements of Ricoldo and Luther with portions of the Qur'an and Hadith.
See attachment below to read a summary of each chapter in the book.
Ibn Warraq (a pseudonym) grew up in a Muslim family. Study and reflection led him to reject the teachings of Islam. And there, he says, the matter would have ended were it not for “the Rushdie affair and the rise of Islam.” Prompted by the deaths of “ordinary, decent Muslim people” at the hands of other Muslims in Iran, Turkey, Saudi, Pakistan, and northern Africa and by the apologies for Islam that were written by Western authors following the Rushdie affair, Warraq takes “an uncompromising and critical look at almost all the fundamental tenets of Islam” in this book.
Chapter headings provide a brief tour through the content: 1 The Rushdie Affair; 2 The Origins of Islam; 3 The Problem of Sources; 4 Muhammad and His Message; 5 The Koran; 6 The Totalitarian Nature of Islam; 7 Is Islam Compatible with Democracy and Human Rights?; 8 Arab Imperialism, Islamic Colonialism; 9 The Arab Conquests and the Position of Non-Muslim Subjects; 10 Heretics and Heterodoxy, Atheism and Free Thought, Reason and Revelation; 11 Greek Philosophy and Science and Their Influence on Islam; 12 Sufism or Islamic Mysticism; 13 Al-Ma'arri; 14 Women and Islam; 15 Taboos: Wine, Pigs, and Homosexuality; 16 Final Assessment of Muhammad; 17 Islam in the West.
An attached document provides some thoughts from Chapter 17, "Islam in the West."