In this final part we will delve into more examples of Cole's Fantasy Islam, and then end by addressing the issue of stoning adulterers to death and providing proof that can be used to show that such stoning is an established part of Islamic Doctrine.
Muhammad spread Islam peacefully with no compulsion
On p. 3 Cole wrote that during Muhammad's lifetime "Islam spread peacefully in the major cities of Western Arabia." On p. 170 he wrote that the Koran does not allow the forced conversion of non-Muslims.
We'll start out with Cole's comment about the Koran prohibiting forced conversions. On p. 216 he mentioned Koran 2:256, and stated that this verse prohibited all compulsion in religion. Other than this verse, which is commonly used to make an argument like Cole's, he relied on his own re-interpretation of Koran verses and dismissal of much of Islamic history during Muhammad's lifetime to support his argument.
However, in 2016 I wrote a book refuting the claim of no compulsion in Islam: Islam's Militant Prophet: Muhammad and Forced Conversions to Islam. In this book I showed that 2:256 was only valid from the time period of August 625 to December 627, after which it was repeatedly abrogated. I took a chronological approach to show that Muhammad had conquered the Arabian Peninsula largely at the point of the sword; the vast majority of non-Muslims were given the option of converting to Islam or fighting to the death.
With regard to Cole's general claim that Muhammad spread Islam peacefully, here is what two authoritative Muslim scholars wrote:
Ibn Kathir: Allah's Messenger remained in Makkah for thirteen years. During that time, the revelation continued being sent to him...When the evidence was established against those who defied the Messenger, Allah decreed the Hijrah. Then He ordered the believers to fight the disbelievers using swords, using them to strike the necks and foreheads of those who opposed, rejected and denied the Qur'an.
Muhammad ibn 'Abdul Wahhab at-Tamimi: He [Muhammad] continued for more than ten years warning them by preaching, without fighting and without imposing the Jizyah and Allah commanded him to be forbearing and to patiently persevere. Then He [Allah] allowed him to migrate (Hijrah) to Al-Madinah and He permitted him to fight. Then He commanded him to fight those who fought against him. Then He commanded him to fight the polytheists until all and every kind of worship is for Allah (Alone).
In February 632, just a few months before he died, Cole's "Prophet of Peace" said:
Indeed I was commanded to fight people until they say there is but one God, and when they say it, their blood and their property is protected and they are answerable to God.
Cole and the Banu Qurayzah
The Banu Qurayzah was a Jewish tribe located on the south side of Medina. During the Battle of the Trench (February 627) this tribe had allied itself with the Meccans who were marching on Medina to fight the Muslims. After the Meccans were defeated and left the area, Muhammad led his Muslim army against the Banu Qurayzah. After a 25 day siege, the Banu Qurayzah surrendered and 600-900 captured Jewish males were beheaded by the Muslims.
This is the basic outline of the story. But even in the beginning Cole appeared to not know what he is talking about. On p. 141 he quoted a source that said the Banu Qurayzah were located in the town of Khaybar. Khaybar was Jewish town located to the north of Medina and was conquered by the Muslims in June 628; the Banu Qurayzah had nothing to do with Khaybar.
On p. 141 Cole stated that "...the Qur'an does not mention anything about a mass slaying of the men of Khaybar," a claim he repeated on p. 199 where he referred to "no massacre of prisoners of war at Khaybar". The Koran does not mention it because there was no "massacre of prisoners of war at Khaybar."
On p. 139 Cole disputed that the captured Jewish males were beheaded, because it violated the command on how to treat prisoners found in Koran 47:4; on pp.127-128 he had briefly discussed 47:4 and had written, "The Qur'an insists that prisoners of war be released, one way or another, and not be harmed." Here is how Cole quoted 47:4 (pp. 127-128, and 139):
Tie fast the bonds, then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its burden.
But here is the entire first part of 47:4 and I have underlined the portion Cole left out:
So, when you meet (in fight – Jihad in Allah's Cause) those who disbelieve, smite (their) necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives). Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity or ransom, until the war lays down its burden...
So Cole claimed that the Quran insisted that prisoners of war be released and not harmed, but the verse he used to justify this claim actually commanded Muslims to cut the heads off of their prisoners and only take captives after they had killed and wounded many of the non-Muslims.
Here is what really happened after the Banu Qurayzah surrendered. It is well documented that Muhammad supervised the beheading of 600-900 of the captured Jewish males (including both combatants and non-combatants). As it was later described:
The Messenger of God breakfasted at the market and gave instructions for a furrow to be dug there [in which to bury those to be killed]...The Messenger of God sat with the distinguished among his companions. He called for the men of the Banu Qurayza, and they came out at a leisurely pace, and their heads were cut off.
Muhammad had ordered that all of the males who had reached puberty were to be killed. As one pre-pubescent survivor later related:
It was narrated from Sufyan: "Abdul-Malik bin 'Umair narrated to us; "Atiyyah Al-Qurazi narrated to me, he said: I was among the captives of Banu Quraizah, and they examined (us). Those whose pubes had started to grow were executed, and those whose pubes had not started to grow were not executed. I was among those whose pubes had not started to grow."
It was a hot summer day, and eventually Muhammad felt some compassion for those waiting to be beheaded:
The Messenger of God said, "Be good to your captives. Let them rest; quench their thirst until they are cool. Then, kill those who remain. Do not apply both the heat of the sun and the heat of the weapons." It was a summer's day. They let them rest. They quenched their thirst and fed them. When they were cool the Messenger of God began to kill those who were left.
After the men were executed, Muhammad divided the Jewish women and children among his Muslim warriors, while keeping some of the women back to be later sold for horses and weapons.
It is not surprising that Cole denied this event. It wouldn't have helped in his portrayal of Muhammad as a "Prophet of Peace."
Muhammad died and ignorant Muslims launched raids
On p. 192 Cole wrote:
After Muhammad's death on June 8, 632, some of these pastoralists [Bedouins who really didn't understand Islam]...beginning two years later, launched raids into Roman and Iranian territory in disregard of the Prophet's option for peace.
These "raids" started two years after Muhammad's death because the Muslims were occupied during those two years in fighting the Wars of Apostasy. After the Arabian Peninsula had been secured for Islam, the Muslims started their "raids" into foreign territories. But who were the individuals leading these raids and did they really know very little about Islam? The 14th Century Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir wrote this about those "raids":
[Muhammad was] succeeded by Abu Bakr, through whom Allah secured Islam well. Abu Bakr prepared his Muslim army to fight the Romans, the worshippers of the crosses, and the Persians, the worshippers of Fires. He subdued Kisra (Khosrau) and Qaisar (Caisar) and their followers against their will, and spent their wealth in Allah's Way.
Omar Ibn Al-Khattab...succeeded Abu Bakr, and subdued the disbelievers and pagans. He seized their kingdoms in the east and the west; safes full of wealth were brought to him, from every district, near or far...[His successor was "Othmane Ibn 'Affane"]...Islam was spread widely, and the Word of Allah was made supreme, and every time the Muslims defeated a nation, they would move on to conquer another, in response to Allah's Call [9:123]: (O you who believe! Fight those among the disbelievers who are close to you.) (And let them find harshness in you.) [sic] This means that the disbelievers should find harshness when the believers have to fight them. An ideal believer is normally kind towards his fellow believer, but harsh towards his infidel enemy...
Abu Bakr, Omar ('Umar), and Othmane ('Uthman) were the first three Caliphs to succeed Muhammad, and they were considered "Rightly Guided" because it was believed that they most closely followed the teachings and example of Muhammad.
This was best summarized in the Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan in the commentary on 9:123:
The verse sets an important rule for strategy for jihad: Muslims should fight those disbelievers first who are close, followed by those who are further, then the next, and so on, in the same order. This is what the Messenger of Allah did. He fought the pagans of Arabia first...until almost all the Arab tribes embraced Islam. Then he turned to the People of the Book...Following his policy, his successors, the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, fought the Christians of the Roman Empire, and the Zoroastrians of Persia.
Cole wrote that these "raids" were led by individuals who had a poor understanding of their religion. In reality, these "raids" were led by Muslim leaders who knew their religion and the teachings of their prophet very well.
On p. 205 Cole wrote this about the penalty of stoning for adulterers:
A saying falsely attributed to Muhammad prescribing stoning for adultery...convinced many Muslim judges to overrule the Qur'an, which prescribes lashes, not death (Light 24:2).
For some reason Cole did not provide any information about this supposedly false saying. With regard to Muslim judges supposedly overruling the Koran, Cole provided no source for this eye-opening claim. But it is understandable that Cole could make such a claim because he believed that the Koran was largely man-made, so what one man has made, another man can remake. But from the point of view of Islamic Doctrine it would be blasphemy for a Muslim judge to "overrule the Qur'an."
The stoning of adulterers is valid Islamic Doctrine, and here is how you can prove it.
First, keep in mind that during Muhammad's lifetime there were numerous verses of the Koran "revealed" that stated Muhammad spoke for Allah and that Muslims were to obey Muhammad, e.g.:
624-626 3:31-32, 3:132, 4:65, 4:80, 4:115, 33:36, 59:7
625-627 58:5, 58:20, 33:21
628 61:9, 48:13, 48:17, 48:28
631 9:33, 49:1
So Muhammad's words had Koranic authority, and this was confirmed by Muhammad:
Whoever clings to what I say and understands it and retains it, then it will be like the Qur'an for him. Whoever considers the Qur'an and what I say unimportant and neglects it loses this world and the Next. My community is commanded to take my words and obey my command and follow my sunna [sic]. Whoever is pleased with my words is pleased with the Qur'an. Allah says, 'Whatever the Messenger gives you you should accept.' (59:7)
Now it is true that the stoning of adulterers is not mentioned in the Koran. The original punishment for adultery was to be found in 4:15 of the Koran, which was revealed during the time period of June 625 – June 626 (4 AH):
And those of your women who commit illegal sexual intercourse, take the evidence of four witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them (i.e. women) to houses until death comes to them or Allah ordains for them some (other) way.
Ibn Kathir explained this verse in a section titled The Adulteress is Confined to her House; A Command Later Abrogated:
At the beginning of Islam, the ruling was that if a woman commits adultery as stipulated by sufficient proof, she was confined to her home, without leave, until she died...'Some other way' mentioned here is the abrogation of this ruling that came later. Ibn Abbas said, "The early ruling was confinement, until Allah sent down Surat An-Nur (chapter 24) which abrogated that ruling with the ruling of flogging (for fornication) or stoning to death (for adultery)."
The Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, Tafsir Ibn 'Abbas, and the modern Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan all pointed out that this verse was later abrogated by the command that stoning was the penalty for married women or married people who committed adultery.
The Tafsir Al-Jalalayn also noted that there was a hadith which clarified the new penalty of stoning that had resulted from the phrase or Allah ordains for them some (other) way. Here is that hadith:
'Ubada b. As-Samit reported: Allah's Messenger (SAW) saying: Receive (teaching) from me, receive (teaching) from me. Allah has ordained a way for those (women). When an unmarried male commits adultery with an unmarried female (they should receive) one hundred lashes and banishment for one year. And in case of married male committing adultery with a married female, they shall receive one hundred lashes and be stoned to death.
What about the penalty of flogging for adultery? Prior to the above statement by Muhammad this penalty had been codified in 24:2 of the Koran:
The fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment.
Ibn Kathir noted that flogging applied only to someone who was an unwed virgin; if the person was married, the punishment was stoning, based on the actions and examples of Muhammad (the Sunnah). This was also pointed out in the Tafsir Al-Jalalayn and the Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan.
It is interesting to note that there had been a claim that a verse about stoning had actually been revealed to Muhammad. And it was further claimed that this verse had been left out when the Koran was compiled after Muhammad's death. The claim came from 'Umar, the second Caliph after Muhammad's death, and he made this claim from the pulpit of the mosque in Medina sometime after Muhammad's death:
Allah sent Muhammad with the Truth and revealed the Book (the Qur'an) to him, and among what Allah revealed, was the Verse of the Rajm (the stoning to death) of married person [sic] (male and female) who commits illegal sexual intercourse, and we did recite this Verse and understood and memorized it. Allah's messenger did carry out the punishment of stoning and so did we after him. I am afraid that after a long time has passed, somebody will say, 'By Allah, we do not find the Verse of the Rajm in Allah's Book,' and thus they will go astray by leaving an obligation which Allah has revealed.
But 'Umar had tried to get the verse included in the Koran. During Muhammad's lifetime the "revelations" had not been collected into one book. After Muhammad died there were no more "revelations." Then there came the realization that, while many of the "revealed" verses had been written down by scribes (because Muhammad was reportedly illiterate), others of the verses had only been memorized by one or more of the Muslims who had reportedly heard them from Muhammad. And in the Wars of Apostasy after Muhammad's death, some of these Muslims were getting killed in battle. Consequently, Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, commanded that all of the "revelations," whether written down or only memorized, be collected in order to be put into one book. He was assisted by 'Umar, who required that each "revelation" had to be "certified by two witnesses" before it would be accepted as part of the Koran.
Zayd Ibn Thabit was put in charge of the compilation, and he adhered to 'Umar's requirement of two witnesses. This created a problem for 'Umar in terms of the Verse of the Rajm:
And verily, 'Umar brought Zayd ayat al-rajm (the "stoning verse") to include in the codex, but Zayd did not include it because 'Umar was the only witness.
But there appeared to have actually been a second witness, Muhammad's wife Aisha. Here is what she said about the "stoning verse":
It was narrated that 'Aishah said: "The Verse of stoning and of breastfeeding an adult ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it."
Now in property matters, the Koran requires the testimony of two women to equal that of one man (2:282). This was a standard certain to be upheld in compiling the Koran. Consequently, if we accept the claims of 'Umar and Aisha that there really had been a "stoning verse," we would still only have at best one and one-half witnesses, and so fail to meet 'Umar's requirement of two witnesses. Perhaps this is why there is no "stoning verse" in the Koran.
There have been claims that although Muhammad had ordered stoning, it was later abrogated by 24:2 of the Koran and replaced by flogging. However, this goes against the commentaries mentioned above. The fact that stoning was not abrogated by 24:2 is also supported by the following considerations, in chronological order:
1. Chapter 24 was revealed.
2. Muhammad clarified the new penalty of stoning adulterers.
3. In January 630, Muhammad ordered adulterers to be stoned.
4. In 630-631 Muhammad ordered an adulteress from Ghamid to be stoned.
5. In 632 Muhammad ordered adulterers to be stoned. 
And, according to 'Umar, the second Caliph, stoning continued to be a part of Islam:
'Umar bin Al-Khattab said: "The Messenger of Allah stoned, Abu Bakr [the first Caliph] stoned, and I stoned..."
There were also numerous authoritative reports that Muhammad had ordered adulterers to be stoned to death; here are some:
It was narrated from 'Aishah that the Messenger of Allah said: "It is not permissible to shed the blood of a Muslim except in three cases: A [sic] adulterer who had been married, who should be stoned to death..."
Muhammad said: I am the first to revive the order of God and His book and to practice it [stoning].
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: When Ma'iz bin Malik came to the Prophet (in order to confess), the Prophet said to him, "Probably you have only kissed (the lady), or winked, or looked at her?" He said, "No, O Allah's Messenger!" The Prophet said, using no euphemism, "Did you had [sic] sexual intercourse with her?" The narrator added: At that, (i.e., after his confession) the Prophet ordered that he be stoned (to death).
Narrated Ash-Sha'bi: When 'Ali stoned a lady to death on a Friday, he (Ali) said, "I have stoned her according to the Sunna (legal way) of Allah's Messenger."
Simply put, stoning is Sunnah and part of Islam:
...Ibn 'Abbas said, "He who disbelieves in stoning (the adulterer to death) will have inadvertently disbelieved in the Qur'an, for Allah said, 'O People of the Scripture! Now has come to you Our Messenger explaining to you much of that which you used to hide from the Scripture,' and stoning was among the things that they used to hide."
And the Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan explained it this way:
Now the punishment of adultery has been fixed, which is stoning to death. That punishment also remained in force during the times of the Rightly-Guided caliphs (successors of the Messenger of Allah) and that remained the unanimous opinion of all the jurists [my emphasis] and scholars afterwards... A Muslim has, therefore, no choice except to acknowledge and accept it.
In spite of Cole's unsupported claim, stoning adulterers is a part of Islam.
Cole's book has been touted as "brilliant and original," "filled with astute observations," and "a brilliant reconstruction of early Islamic history" that has "firmly rooted scholarship." As we have seen, the only one of these accolades that applies to Cole's book is the word "original."
Cole's book is original in that he arbitrarily decided that if an event was not mentioned in the Koran, outside reports about that event were likely a later fabrication by Muslim scholars; he was assisted in this by the fact that most events that occurred during the time of Muhammad were not mentioned in the Koran. Cole was also original in the fact that he created his own interpretations, meanings, and chronology of Koran verses. This gave him carte blanche to sculpture a personal version of Islamic Doctrine and history that supported his claim that Muhammad was a "prophet of peace." His book is an example of Fantasy Islam par excellence and it is quite fitting that Cole's book received a positive review by the Historical Novel Society, an organization for people "who love historical fiction."
Dr. Stephen M. Kirby is the author of five books about Islam. His latest book is The Lure of Fantasy Islam: Exposing the Myths and Myth Makers.
 Stephen M. Kirby, Islam's Militant Prophet: Muhammad and Forced Conversions to Islam (Charleston, SC: CreateSpace, 2016). For a review of this book by Raymond Ibrahim, see "Muhammad and Forced Conversion to Islam," FrontPage Mag, February 1, 2017; accessible at https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/265621/muhammad-and-forced-conversions-islam-raymond-ibrahim.
 Islam's Militant Prophet: Muhammad and Forced Conversions to Islam, pp. 51-56, and 130-141.
 Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 9, pp. 499-500.
 Abridged Biography of Prophet Muhammad, p. 113.
 The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi's Kitab al-Maghazi, p. 544.
 E.g., The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), p. 464; The History of al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, p. 35; Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p. 93; The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi's Kitab al-Maghazi, pp. 252-254; The Sealed Nectar, p. 377; and When the Moon Split, p. 250.
 The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi's Kitab al-Maghazi, p. 252.
 The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), pp. 465-466; The History of al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, p. 38; The Origins of the Islamic State, p. 41; and 'Imaduddeen Isma'eel ibn Katheer al-Qurashi, In Defence of the True Faith: Battles, Expeditions, Peace Treaties and their Consequences in the life of Prophet Muhammad, trans. Research Department of Darussalam (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2010), p. 206. For general reports about all who had reached puberty being executed, see The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi's Kitab al-Maghazi, p. 254; and Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p. 95.
 Abu Dawud Sulaiman bin al-Ash'ath bin Ishaq, Sunan Abu Dawud, trans. Yaser Qadhi (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2008), Vol. 5, No. 4404, p. 45.
 The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi's Kitab al-Maghazi, p. 252.
 The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), p. 466.
 Abu al-Fida' 'Imad Ad-Din Isma'il bin 'Umar bin Kathir al-Qurashi Al-Busrawi, Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), abr. Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa'i, trans. Chafik Abdelghani ibn Rahal (London: Al-Firdous Ltd., 1998), Part 11, pp. 78-79.
 Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 2, pp. 425-426.
 The chronology for these Koran verses was based on authoritative Islamic sources. For this chronology see my book Islam's Militant Prophet: Muhammad and Forced Conversions to Islam, pp. 17-18, 27, 36, 43, 49-51, 53-55, 58-61, 63-64, 66-67, 101, and 119-120.
 Qadi 'Iyad ibn Musa al-Yahsubi, Muhammad, Messenger of Allah: Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad, trans. Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley (Norwich, UK: Diwan Press, 2011), p. 218.
 The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, p. 91.
 Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 2, p. 400.
 Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, p. 180; Tafsir Ibn 'Abbas, p. 101; and Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 1, p. 430.
 Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, p. 180. Also see Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 1, p. 430.
 Sahih Muslim, Vol. 5, No. 1690, p. 131.
 Ibid., n. 1, p. 141.
 Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 7, pp. 18-19.
 Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, p. 749, and Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 3, pp. 664-665.
 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 8, Book 86, No. 6830, p. 431.
 For an interesting overview of how the Koran was compiled see Jalal-al-Din 'Abd al-Rahman al-Suyuti, The Perfect Guide to the Sciences of the Qur'an, trans. Hamid Algar, et al. (Reading, UK: Garnet Publishing, 2011), pp. 137-153.
 Ibid., p. 140.
 Muhammad bin Yazeed ibn Majah al-Qazwini, Sunan Ibn Majah, trans. Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2007), Vol. 3, No. 1944, pp. 113-114.
 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Book 64, No. 4303, pp. 360-361.
 The Sealed Nectar, p. 509. For the hadith about this incident see Sahih Muslim, Vol. 5, No. 1695R1, p. 137.
 The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), p. 652.
 Abu 'Eisa Mohammad ibn 'Eisa at-Tirmidhi, Jami' At-Tirmidhi, trans. Abu Khaliyl (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2007), Vol. 3, No. 1431, p. 215.
 For additional reports about Muhammad ordering adulterers to be stoned to death see my book Letting Islam Be Islam: Separating Truth From Myth (Charleston, SC: CreateSpace 2012), pp. 64-68.
 Abu 'Abdur-Rahman Ahmad bin Shu'aib bin 'Ali bin Sinan bin Bahr An-Nasa'i, Sunan An-Nasa'i, trans. Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2007), Vol. 5, No. 4053, pp. 56-57.
 The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), p. 267.
 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 8, Book 86, No. 6824, p. 426.
 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 8, Book 86, No. 6812, p. 420.
 Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 3, pp. 131-132.
 Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 3, p. 665.