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The Prophet Muhammad: A Biography

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The Prophet Muhammad is a hero for all mankind. In his lifetime he established a new religion, Islam; a new state, the first united Arabia; and a new literary language, the classical Arabic of the Qur'an, for the Qur'an is believed to be the word of God revealed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. A generation after his death he would be acknowledged as the founder of a worl The Prophet Muhammad is a hero for all mankind. In his lifetime he established a new religion, Islam; a new state, the first united Arabia; and a new literary language, the classical Arabic of the Qur'an, for the Qur'an is believed to be the word of God revealed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. A generation after his death he would be acknowledged as the founder of a world empire and a new civilisation. Any one of these achievements would have been more than enough to permanently establish his genius. To our early twenty-first century minds, what is all the more astonishing is that he also managed to stay true to himself and retained to his last days the humility, courtesy and humanity that he had learned as an orphan shepherd boy in central Arabia. Barnaby Rogerson's scintillating biography not only looks directly at the life of the Prophet Muhammad, but beautifully evokes for western readers the Arabian world into which he was born in 570 AD.


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The Prophet Muhammad is a hero for all mankind. In his lifetime he established a new religion, Islam; a new state, the first united Arabia; and a new literary language, the classical Arabic of the Qur'an, for the Qur'an is believed to be the word of God revealed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. A generation after his death he would be acknowledged as the founder of a worl The Prophet Muhammad is a hero for all mankind. In his lifetime he established a new religion, Islam; a new state, the first united Arabia; and a new literary language, the classical Arabic of the Qur'an, for the Qur'an is believed to be the word of God revealed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. A generation after his death he would be acknowledged as the founder of a world empire and a new civilisation. Any one of these achievements would have been more than enough to permanently establish his genius. To our early twenty-first century minds, what is all the more astonishing is that he also managed to stay true to himself and retained to his last days the humility, courtesy and humanity that he had learned as an orphan shepherd boy in central Arabia. Barnaby Rogerson's scintillating biography not only looks directly at the life of the Prophet Muhammad, but beautifully evokes for western readers the Arabian world into which he was born in 570 AD.

30 review for The Prophet Muhammad: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dean

    I have read many books on this subject, this is the first time where the writer has kept me interested throughout the storytelling of the life of the Prophet Muhammed. An object outsiders view, a must read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    http://nhw.livejournal.com/932939.html[return][return]A breezily written, enthusiastic book about the early decades of Islam. Rogerson spends a good third of the book getting to the starting point, giving us a detailed description of Arabia's geographical and political surroundings in the sixth century, before we get onto the meat of the Prophet's life.[return][return]Rogerson is clearly a sympathiser, and this means that the book cannot be considered particularly neutral. But that's perhaps not http://nhw.livejournal.com/932939.html[return][return]A breezily written, enthusiastic book about the early decades of Islam. Rogerson spends a good third of the book getting to the starting point, giving us a detailed description of Arabia's geographical and political surroundings in the sixth century, before we get onto the meat of the Prophet's life.[return][return]Rogerson is clearly a sympathiser, and this means that the book cannot be considered particularly neutral. But that's perhaps not such a bad thing; I am more interested in finding out what the Prophet's followers believe than in getting the historical "facts", whatever they are. His narrative is complete enough that I did find myself taken aback at some points. Rogerson appears to expect us to be shocked that one of Muhammad's wives had previously been married to the Prophet's adopted son, but in fact while the circumstances are a bit murky this is a process that appears to have been consensual on both sides; I was much more taken aback by the fact that his marriage to Aisha took place when the latter was only nine. And whatever the record of later Muslim regimes for inter-religious tolerance (generally not bad, at least, alas, compared to many of their Christian contemporaries) the ethnic cleansing of the Jews from Medina was surely not a good start.[return][return]My biggest disappointment, however, is that we don't really get under Muhammad's skin; Rogerson is too much in awe of him to make him seem like a human being. This may be unfair of me. The thing Muhammad is best known for, his experience of divine revelation, is a long way outside the range of experience for most of us, and it may well be impossible for a biographer - especially, I suspect, a sympathetic biographer - to make it comprehensible for the general reader. But I actually I felt I had got a better idea of his character from Gibbon.[return][return]However. This was a very interesting read for me, filling in a significant gap in my knowledge which I had previously only really read in much detail in chapters L and LI of Gibbon; who is also entertaining and partisan, of course (and truth be told somewhat better written).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maryam

    Good book but too much historical and detailed descriptions of unnecessary things. Needed more details of the Prophet's life and behaviour.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Fouad Jaber

    Conclusion: truth is there, seek it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Harsh Rakesh

    Awesome description just one drawback and it is that the book has a lot unwanted elaborations and some of them are a little on the author's imaginative side. I don't say that all these points are not important but yes they have been given a lot of space than they should have been. Starting with pre-Muhammad era the book takes you to a tour of pre-Islamic era and then brings you to the struggles, wars, fights and finally success of Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam. I have read the book but Awesome description just one drawback and it is that the book has a lot unwanted elaborations and some of them are a little on the author's imaginative side. I don't say that all these points are not important but yes they have been given a lot of space than they should have been. Starting with pre-Muhammad era the book takes you to a tour of pre-Islamic era and then brings you to the struggles, wars, fights and finally success of Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam. I have read the book but I need to read it once again to understand it better but I am sure that this time it will not take that long...

  6. 4 out of 5

    S.Ach

    In every sentence, I encountered at least one unfamiliar word - a place in the middle east or a person featured in Islamic history - call it my ignorance. Like an informed guide, Barnaby focuses more on the significance of the places, than the flow of Muhammad's life. Won't recommend as an introduction to the origin of Islam.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leo Africanus

    A sympathetic and gripping account of the period of Prophecy but ultimately let down by a rather uncritical approach to source material and a questionable grasp of the Arabic language.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mikko

    While the book is well written, particularly in setting the stage, and supplies a number of maps, ideas for further reading and other addendum, in the end it is more of a summary than a biography. In approaching Muhammad with overflowing respect Rogerson praises every success while hurrying over most failures and morally questionable choices in his life. Only the way the rules regarding marriage were changed when it suited Muhammad gets any attention and even that is basically brushed of with "H While the book is well written, particularly in setting the stage, and supplies a number of maps, ideas for further reading and other addendum, in the end it is more of a summary than a biography. In approaching Muhammad with overflowing respect Rogerson praises every success while hurrying over most failures and morally questionable choices in his life. Only the way the rules regarding marriage were changed when it suited Muhammad gets any attention and even that is basically brushed of with "He was a man, after all". The end result is a book that is not likely to offend anyone but does not do a very good job in really telling about who Muhammad was either.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Zahraa A. J

    It's quite comforting to see the adoration shown through this book whilst giving an informed perspective of the prophet's life back then, making it a contrary to many other books. It also makes it more accessible to people like me who aren't used to seeing the characters that their whole society built around be dragged and belittled. There were lots of information that I remember studying about as a student, and other facts that changed my whole perspective about them. All in all, it taught me a It's quite comforting to see the adoration shown through this book whilst giving an informed perspective of the prophet's life back then, making it a contrary to many other books. It also makes it more accessible to people like me who aren't used to seeing the characters that their whole society built around be dragged and belittled. There were lots of information that I remember studying about as a student, and other facts that changed my whole perspective about them. All in all, it taught me a lot and it's definitely a great book to add if you're interested in that period of time.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jake Smaje

    The book is amazing and often very well written, but one can't help feeling it is at times simplistic. It does little to interogate deeply the quality of the sources relating to Muhammed and slips into the historical trap of being overly descriptive of what can only be described by people who were there. As a biography it is worth reading and it is a good, if basic, introduction to Islam's foundation.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    Very interesting! A classic story of the message versus the messenger, and an example of how a message can be distorted and manipulated for all the wrong reasons. I could not read this without being thoughtful regarding how so many of the "prophets" share similar messages that so often get blurred and lost in political translations.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Haider Naqvi

    Not an entirely honest account He could have been a bit more honest with the facts, some he highlighted and some he chose to hide. Nor were he able to justify two different shades he carried on a parallel note.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ady ZYN

    Highly recommended!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Umair ALI

    I would rate this book 5 stars. The information gathered and how the arguments supporting Sunni & Shitte were beautifully placed is commendable. I would rate this book 5 stars. The information gathered and how the arguments supporting Sunni & Shitte were beautifully placed is commendable.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Keegan Longueira

    I learnt a lot from this book. It is well written and the story telling captivates you. Its an interesting read if you would like to know who Prophet Muhammad was and is to the Muslim Religion.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Muueez

    Humanises the Prophet (pbuh) which only makes him an even more remarkable man.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bart

    Let me just quote Jason Webster in The Guardian: “Scholarly works on Muhammad have tended to bog themselves down in arguments over sources, or new theories cunningly devised to undermine their rivals in the field. While obviously knowing his subject inside out, Rogerson has cleverly avoided this trap, concentrating instead on the tale itself, freeing up the flow of knowledge blocked by the academic approach. Some will scoff, others will simply ignore it, but the book is designed for the general Let me just quote Jason Webster in The Guardian: “Scholarly works on Muhammad have tended to bog themselves down in arguments over sources, or new theories cunningly devised to undermine their rivals in the field. While obviously knowing his subject inside out, Rogerson has cleverly avoided this trap, concentrating instead on the tale itself, freeing up the flow of knowledge blocked by the academic approach. Some will scoff, others will simply ignore it, but the book is designed for the general audience, not for university dons. If, as the medieval Arab philosopher Al-Ghazali suggested, people oppose things because they are ignorant of them, then this is an important book, and couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.” More non-fiction recommendations & SFF reviews on Weiging A Pig...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andreas

    A biography of Muhammad. I should qualify that: A rather short and basic biography of Muhammad. Since I knew next to nothing of the man or the birth of Islam, this served as a good primer. Rogerson has been a guide in the Middle East for over two decades, and it shows in his writing. Lots of details of places, just like a guided tour. However, it is not terribly engaging reading once you get past the places to descriptions of people and events. Rogerson treats the issue of mystical revelation ra A biography of Muhammad. I should qualify that: A rather short and basic biography of Muhammad. Since I knew next to nothing of the man or the birth of Islam, this served as a good primer. Rogerson has been a guide in the Middle East for over two decades, and it shows in his writing. Lots of details of places, just like a guided tour. However, it is not terribly engaging reading once you get past the places to descriptions of people and events. Rogerson treats the issue of mystical revelation rather well, without judgement. He simply describes Muhammad as having visions. He focuses more on Muhammad’s reactions to the visions that on the visions themselves. http://www.books.rosboch.net/?p=1222

  19. 5 out of 5

    サラ サラ

    A wonderful book ,Indeed!!! I loved the author's story telling style.He kept the book interesting till the last page.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Yasir Jafri

    Another informative book by the same author, actually, this is Part-I in the sequence...

  21. 5 out of 5

    63alfred

    Great historical intro to Islam for the Westerner

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jt

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael Johnson

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cambrone

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sikander

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ceri Davies

  27. 4 out of 5

    Fitra Aden

  28. 4 out of 5

    Saul Meyer

  29. 5 out of 5

    Reem

  30. 4 out of 5

    Edward Cook

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