However, I am reading my way through the qur'an and it seems this understanding of Muhammad's life does not work easily.
In Sura 16 (the bee)Islamic scholars say that verse 110 comes for the Medinan period and has been inserted into this Meccan sura.
Then lo! thy Lord - for those who became fugitives after they had been persecuted, and then fought and were steadfast - lo! thy Lord afterward is (for them) indeed Forgiving, Merciful. 16:110
The reason for saying this verse is inserted is that it refers to fighting in a Meccan period sura.
My problem is that it does not read as though it has been inserted. In fact is flows with the argument of the sura and seems to be repeated as an idea in later verses.
If ye punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith ye were afflicted. But if ye endure patiently, verily it is better for the patient. Endure thou patiently (O Muhammad). Thine endurance is only by (the help of) Allah. Grieve not for them, and be not in distress because of that which they devise. 16:126-127
The issues I want to discuss are:
1. If the Qur'an is the best source for understanding Muhammad's life (and I think it is), then doesn't it appear that he was fighting before the hijrah? Maybe the hijrah happened not because Muhammad was the victim but because he was the unsuccessful aggressor?
2. Is it right for Muslim scholars to use the theory of "inserted verses" to explain why their reconstruction of Muhammad's life does not match up with what the Qur'an says?
What do you think?