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Muhammad [Paperback]

Martin Lings
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 7 2006
A revised edition of the internationally acclaimed biography of the prophet

• Includes important additions about the prophet’s spread of Islam into Syria and its neighboring states

• Contains original English translations from 8th and 9th century biographies, presented in authoritative language

• Represents the final updates made on the text before the author’s death in 2005

Martin Lings’ biography of Muhammad is an internationally acclaimed, comprehensive, and authoritative account of the life of the prophet. Based on the sira, the eighth- and ninth-century Arabic biographies that recount numerous events in the prophet’s life, it contains original English translations of many important passages that reveal the words of men and women who heard Muhammad speak and witnessed the events of his life.

Scrupulous and exhaustive in its fidelity to its sources, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources is presented in a narrative style that is easily comprehensible, yet authentic and inspiring in its use of language, reflecting both the simplicity and grandeur of the story it tells. This revised edition includes new sections detailing the prophet’s expanding influence and his spreading of the message of Islam into Syria and its neighboring states. It represents the final updates made to the text before the author’s death in 2005. The book has been published in 12 languages and has received numerous awards, including acknowledgment as best biography of the prophet in English at the National Seerate Conference in Islamabad.

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Muhammad + In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad + Reclaim Your Heart
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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.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Be careful April 26 2003
By Munir
Its important to recognize that all Mr Lings did here was take some manuscripts about Prophet Muhammad from the 800s and 900s and form a synthesis of them. The result is a book that happens to be beautifully written- but not strictly historical (to say the least). There are no scholarly discussions or examinations of differing viewpoints here. The author's role is that of a traditional storyteller, not a discerning historian. This fact is reflected rather sadly in the comments of some non-Muslim reviewers who have been misled by the author's approach. A biography of Muhammad should be based primarily on the authentic hadith collections (such as Bukhari) and secondarily from folklore. For more accurate biographies I would suggest readers start with Yahiya Emerick's recent book which is short but detailed and based on authentic sources. Good luck!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the BEST books about the Prophet. Period. Aug. 10 2003
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT read. Must not be missed!! Oct. 23 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thought I knew about the life of the prophet pbuh until I picked this book up, and could not put it down afterward. This book is an amazing read for Muslims and non Muslims alike. God bless you Martin Lings
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great biography 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 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A pious biography for the believer Dec 23 2000
By Pedric
Martin Lings has written "Muhammad: his life based on the earliest sources" (Islamic Texts Society & George Allen and Unwin, 1983, London). Examination of this book reveals it to be an uncritical hagiography. By "uncritical" I mean that Lings clearly accepts without question and at face value, whatever is recorded in his Islamic biographical sources, including all the pious stories. By "hagiography" I mean that Lings has portrayed Muhammad with the pearly luminescence of character that is balm to the soul of a believer -- but death to a claim of scientific scholarship.
Now to specifics:
A look on page 349 of his "Muhammad..." gives us his "Key to References". These are his "earliest sources". They are:
1. Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasul Allah", as edited by Ibn Hisham. 2. M. ibn Sa'd's "Kitab at-Tabaqat al-Kabir 3. Waqidi's "Kitab al-Maghazi"
All of these Lings correctly dates to "the eighth and ninth centuries". That is, 100-200 years after Muhammad died.
He also lists as minor references:
al-Azraqi: "Akhabar Makkah (A history of Mecca) al-Tabari: "Ta'rikh al-Rusulwa l-Muluk (The History of the Messenger and the Kings); and his "Tafsir" (a commentary on the Qur'an) as-Suhayli: "as-Rawd al-unuf (a commentary on ibn Ishaq)
Also: various eighth and ninth century collections of Hadiths
Also, the "11th century traditionists":
al-Bayhaqi "Kitab as-unan al-Kubra" al-Bagwahi "Miskat al-Masabih"
The earliest of these sources is that of ibn-Ishaq. He wrote in the middle 700's, meaning about 120 years after Muhammad died. Ibn-Ishaq's work is lost, but we have ibn-Hisham's edited version of it.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Look no further for information on Muhammad
Martin Lings must have a degree is story telling, because he sure does have a knack for it. It is absolutely impossible to put this book down once you pick it up. Read more
Published on June 5 2004 by Taddese Zicke
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for my report!
This book helped me SO MUCH on my school report of Muhammad. The facts were what I needed, and simple enough for me to understand. I can feel an A comming on!
Published on May 24 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I don't care if ppl say that there are a few weird stories in this one, this is the BEST as far as I am concerned and one that made me relate to the Prophet like never before!
Published on March 28 2004 by "aarif1"
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography
There is indeed no better biography about Muhammad in the English language. This book is well written, and is effective at painting a complete picture of the Islamic prophet's... Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2004 by R A
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice story, but thin on documented history.
I read large sections (and perused others) of the book, Muhammad, His life Based on the Earliest Sources, by Martin Lings. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive. Wonderful. Heartrending
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. Read more
Published on Oct. 9 2003 by Puteri Azlina
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous reading
very readable with many anecdotes. it starts with the story of abraham and ends with the death of the prophet of islam. Read more
Published on April 1 2003 by Farseem Mohammedy
3.0 out of 5 stars Not recommended
The problem with many biographies about the Prophet Muhammed is the limited scope of the research. Here Ling makes a respectable effort. Read more
Published on March 19 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Revealing
I bought this book in order to gain an understanding a history of the world that produced the Koran as well as to be better able to form an opinion about the nature of initial... Read more
Published on March 13 2003 by Jonathan Bailey
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