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Muhammad [Paperback]

Martin Lings
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 23.95
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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.

Frequently Bought Together

Muhammad + In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad + Reclaim Your Heart
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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 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
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive. Wonderful. Heartrending Oct. 9 2003
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The art of record keeping at its best! Nov. 26 2002
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A Reflection of Islamic Tradition Sept. 4 2001
It would seem that Muhammad is gradually succumbing to the same fate as Jesus, in that each generation feels an urgent need to reinterpret him in light of their own understanding. Quite a few biographies of the prophet are already on the market, from such diverse writers as the military man John Glubb to the atheist Maxime Rodinson.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT read. Must not be missed!!
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 more
Published 22 months ago by princess_mimi
5.0 out of 5 stars A great biography
This is an excellent biography. The author has taken time to research the topic and write a concise biography from Arabic sources. Read more
Published on March 24 2012 by movies&music
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Be careful
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. Read more
Published on April 26 2003 by Munir
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 March 31 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
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