Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources Paperback – Oct 6 2006
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“This work is widely recognized as the most readable account of the life of the Prophet to date.” (Times of London)
"Lings provides a wealth of detail on the life of Muhammad, the time and place of many Koranic revelations, and the foundation of Islam, all based exclusively on 8th- and 9th-century Arabic biographical sources and collections of the sayings attributed to Muhammad. General readers will find a well-written, straightforward chronological narrative; Muslim readers will appreciate the favorable treatment of Muhammad; while specialists will find a faithful and convenient rendering of source material." (Joseph Gardner, California State Univ. Lib., Northridge Library Journal)
“For those interested in Islam . . . it is mesmerizing.” (Parabola)
About the Author
Martin Lings (1909-2005) was a renowned British scholar with degrees in English and Arabic from London University and Oxford University. At Oxford, he studied English under C. S. Lewis, who later became a close friend. Lings taught at several European universities and the University of Cairo and served as the keeper of Oriental manuscripts for the British Museum and the British Library. His friendship and similar beliefs with philosophers René Guénon and Frithjof Schuon inspired Lings to convert to Islam. He went on to become an influential member of Western Muslim society, participating in several international Islamic councils and conferences, including acting as consultant to the World of Islam Festival Trust. He is the author of twelve books on religion and spirituality.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This one is different. As the title indicates, it is a life of Muhammad based on the earliest sources. The "sources" in question here are the sirat, or biographies of the prophet, which were written a couple of centuries after his death. These original biographies were compiled based on the traditions handed down regarding what the prophet did, much the same as the hadith are a transmission of what the prophet said. The contents of these biographies are canonical; their position in Islam is somewhat analogous to works of the fathers of the church in Christianity.
Which explains the air of piety about this book, which unfortunately may throw some readers off. What this book achieves, and achieves greatly in my opinion, is a reflection of how the Muslim world traditionally thinks of Muhammad. It does not attempt to break new ground or provide new interpretations of Muhammad's life and mission; rather it assists the Western reader in understanding the traditional interpretation of his life and mission. I would recommend this book highly to anyone interested in understanding Islamic belief and the position that Muhammad occupies in traditional Islamic values; I have come across no other book in English that conveys it as well as this one does.
Some reviewers have criticized this book because it tells the story of the Prophet's life story without "critical" analysis. What these reviewers are really complaining about is that the book does not start off under the presumption that the Prophet was false in his claim to be the Messenger of God. This is a book that presents the earliest accounts of the Prophet's life, which were passed along by devout Muslims who believed in his Divine inspiration. These early accounts DO contain stories of remarkable miracles and list countless examples of the Prophet's piety and idealism. And, of course, if the Prophet was who he claimed to be, these stories are perfectly plausible as historical events.
But if you are a non-Muslim bent on denigrating the Prophet, you have to presume that these stories are myths and hagiographies, because they do not fit into your predetermined worldview. So anyone who accepts them either is an apologist or deluded, and any book presenting these accounts without rejecting them as human inventions must be "uncritical." The truth is that you will approach the Prophet exactly the way you have already decided you want to -- as a believer or an unbeliever regarding his fundamental mission.
But as you read this wonderful tale of a remarkable man who single-handedly changed human history, you must ask yourself -- what if, as one billion human beings already know in their hearts, the story is actually true...?
This book is wonderfully written and although the English is slightly archaic, I think that in this instance it actually adds to the books qualities, as such noble language is totally concommitant with the grandeur and theme of the book. The quality of the language used is indeed one aspect of this book which sets it apart from other biographies of the Beloved of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) written in English and for that alone it is superior to the others.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Very informative and moving. Reading this book one feels a gentle breeze softening hearts. Excellent and highly recommended.Published 8 months ago by saab
Recommended read for anyone wanting to know about the Prophet Muhammad.
The chapter on Banu Qurayza explains this issue especially well. Read more
Excellent recap of lifetime and rise of Islamic Prophet that depicts an unbiased and true picture of the most influential personality of all times.Published 10 months ago by Nancy
I love it.Its a perfect book for someone who wants to know the history of Islam.Published 16 months ago by Henna
I thought I knew about the life of the prophet pbuh until I picked this book up, and could not put it down afterward. Read morePublished on Oct. 23 2012 by princess_mimi
This is an excellent biography. The author has taken time to research the topic and write a concise biography from Arabic sources. Read morePublished on March 24 2012 by movies&music