The following video is an excellent introduction by Dr. Jay Smith to the deconstruction by Western scholars of the Koran, Mohammed, and Islam itself. Using hermeneutics, textual analysis, archaeology, and other modern disciplines, he demonstrates that the three principal elements of Islam could not possibly be factually true in the way they are traditionally expounded:
The archaeology and relevant historical documents simply do not support the traditions of Islam. Something happened in Arabia between the 7th and 10th centuries, but it certainly wasn’t what is described in the Koran, the Hadith, and the Sira.
A large part of Dr. Smith’s analysis focuses on the qiblas in the oldest mosques, which did not point to Mecca, but to Petra, in what is now Jordan. He explains the likely significance of the switch from Petra to Mecca, which was prompted by the conflict between the Abbasid and Umayyad dynasties in the late first millennium. He also explains the political necessities that likely motivated Abd al-Malik to invent and backdate Mohammed, the Koran, and Islam itself:
Hat tip: acuara.