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Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources Paperback – Oct 6 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions; 5th Edition, Revised, Revised Edition edition (Oct. 6 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594771537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594771538
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 458 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


“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 who taught at several European universities and the University of Cairo. He was the keeper of Oriental manuscripts in the British Museum and the British Library and the author of numerous books on religion and spirituality, including The Book of Certainty, What is Sufism?, Ancient Beliefs and Modern Superstitions, and the internationally acclaimed Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Puteri Azlina on Oct. 9 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the first time I read a book about Muhammad (pbuh). This book is rather comprehensive, chronologically covering the historical background up until the demise of Muhammad. This includes:
- overview of the Ka'ba, Mecca, and the Quraysh
- Muhammad prior to the First Revelation
- the early days of Islam in Mecca
- the migration to Medina
- the battles of Badr, Uhud, Trench
- the treaty of Hudaybiyah
- the spread of Islam
- the conquest of Mecca
- the return to Medina
The events were told entwined with the verses as they happened - providing a good brief background to the verses. The story-telling is nice and easy, sometimes direct and matter-of-factly yet heart-rendering. The language is a bit archaic, but understandable.
A bonus for me is that the book provides some understanding of the cultural practices of that time and place, as well as references such as the family tree of Muhammad, (consisting of key people), and the map of the Arabia during that time. So it greatly helps me comprehend some of the things that seem foreign, such as the practice of sending babies to suckling mothers. I still struggle to identify the many different characters especially when it comes to the customary "Abu" and "Umm" names, though :-)
In short, this is a very good book on the subject. It made me appreciate the wonders of the Prophet, his Companions, and their tireless struggles. I intend to read other books on the subject as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By movies&music on March 24 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent biography. The author has taken time to research the topic and write a concise biography from Arabic sources. I may never have the opportunity to read the detailed version of the biographies available but this book not only provided me the necessary information but also arose my interest to read more on this topic. I strongly recommend this book to all Muslims and especially to inquisitive minds from other religions. In fact I have bought this book as a gift for a few of my non-Muslim friends. I also like the manner in which the author has written this book and treated the subject matter. It is a very interesting narrative style. I especially like and recommend this book to everyone. The chapter on "The Degrees" is a treasure in itself. May Allah bless Martin Lings.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kamran Pasha on Aug. 10 2003
Format: Paperback
When I first read this wonderful book by Martin Lings, I felt something I've never experienced before in biographies of early Islam -- a sense that I was actually there, experiencing the drama, tragedy and triumph of the early Muslim community. Lings is an incredibly gifted storyteller who makes you feel like you are an active witness to events unfolding right now, rather than reading 1400-year old stories.
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...?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By raziah ahmed on Nov. 26 2002
Format: Paperback
The book, Muhammad, by Martin Lings is a lucid and awe inspiring insight into a culture, a people, their lifestyle, their growth and the development of the religion of Islam. This it does by tracing the life of one whose actions are so well intentioned, so meaningful, so thoughful. Their culture, their scribes, their oral traditions, their love for poetry, remind one of the more studied and familiar Shakespearian tradition, only this is non fiction. The book relates the trails and travails of the clans and tribal etiquette, from his grandfather's parents, their marriages, their journeys, their businesses, in a manner that their lives jump out at you.

Islam is the religion that he brought, those opposed to Islam should read this book so that that their opinions may be reworked to appreciate the reality of the man called Muhammad. saw. The Prophet May Allah be pleased with him, brought peace, negotiation, justice, a mandate for education, respect for women, love , brotherhood, and the deepest appreciation for our common humanity, all of which the book chronicles so well. His wars, were never senseless slaughter of women and children, he did not enforce his Islam, but allowed others to worship as they pleased. He was a strategic thinker, a planner and a slave of Allah. He loved people as his brothers, he was gentle with his wives, he leglislated with equity. He never professed greatness, he was such a simple man, unassuming, and he suffered like all of God's Prophets. However, he outshun them all. First because so much detail has been preserved as recorded by Lings, about his life, his family, their acceptance of Islam as a religion. Second, because when he died he was the most beloved by all the community, he was respected by world leaders of that day.
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