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Muhammad: A Story of God's Messenger and the Revelation That Changed the World Paperback – 20 Jun 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (20 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061782432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061782435
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 360,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“Chopra shows that neither revering nor reviling Muhammad will unlock the meaning he embodied. So what will? Chopra’s answer is bound to challenge Muslims and non-Muslims alike.” (Irshad Manji, Director, Moral Courage Project, New York University)

“Chopra takes us into the past through the Prophet Muhammad’s journey, and brings wisdom and perspective to an often misunderstood figure. His compassionate and clear depiction is a courageous undertaking, and a valuable effort against the enemy of ignorance. An important and timely book, indeed.” (Greg Mortenson, New York Times bestselling author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools)

“I am grateful that Deepak Chopra, instead of adding to the often useless pile of [Muhammad] biographies, has instead crafted an absorbing novel based on Muhammad’s life. Any reader will come away better informed both about the prophet himself and about Islam, the world’s second largest religion.” (Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity at Harvard University, and author of The Future of Faith)

“It’s worth discovering Muhammad through Deepak Chopra.” (Ayaan Hirsi Ali, bestselling author of Infidel and Nomad)

“Compellingly told, this is not only good storytelling, it also helps readers, especially non-Muslims, better understand the complexities and contradictions surrounding Islam.” (Booklist)

“[O]ne of the most imaginative and touching biographies of Muhammad….Chopra’s grasp of Muhammad’s life and mission extends his range in a surprising direction; his popularization is welcome.” (Publishers Weekly)

“...an intricate, deeply considered depiction of the Prophet’s life. At a time when Muhammad is largely misunderstood outside (and sometimes inside) of the Muslim world, the novel givesa vivid voice to his story.” (The Daily Beast)

“It is a positive portrait that nonetheless points to human flaws and complexities.” (The Arizona Republic)

“...profound summation of his life, teachings, and service of humanity...” (Spirituality & Practice)

“His approach is as engaging as it is informative and deeply humanizing. The first-person narratives each paint a new layer onto the picture of the Beloved of God, in all his humanity and complexity and perfection.” (Dalia Mogahed, in a Huffington Post review)

“...the finest of his long shelf of books. ...Chopra returns in his own attractive voice with one of the more level, tough-love, discussions of Islamic religion available.” (The Daily Beast)

“[Chopra] produces an imaginative, evocative rendition of what it must have been like to be in the company of such an individual, making his way in an environment in many ways so alien to our own.” (The Historical Novels Review)

From the Back Cover

In this riveting novel, beloved international bestselling author Deepak Chopra captures the spellbinding life story of the great and often misunderstood Prophet.

Islam was born in a cradle of tribal turmoil, and the arrival of one God who vanquished hundreds of ancient Arabian gods changed the world forever. God reached down into the life of Muhammad, a settled husband and father, and spoke through him. Muhammad's divine and dangerous task was to convince his people to renounce their ancestral idols and superstitious veneration of multiple gods. From the first encounter, God did not leave Muhammad alone, his life was no longer his own, and with each revelation the creation of a new way of life formed and a religion was born.

Muhammad didn't see himself as the son of God or as one who achieved cosmic enlightenment. His relatives and neighbors didn't part the way when he walked down the parched dirt streets of Mecca. There was no mark of divinity. Orphaned by age six, Muhammad grew up surrounded by dozens of cousins and extended family to become a trusted merchant. Muhammad saw himself as an ordinary man and that is why what happened to him is so extraordinary.

Rooted in historical detail, Muhammad brings the Prophet to life through the eyes of those around him. A Christian hermit mystic foretells a special destiny, a pugnacious Bedouin wet nurse raises him in the desert, and a religious rebel in Mecca secretly takes the young orphan under his spiritual wing. Each voice, each chapter brings Muhammad and the creation of Islam into a new light. The angel Gabriel demands Muhammad to recite, the first convert risks his life to protect his newfound faith, and Muhammad's life is not a myth but an incredible true and surprisingly unknown story of a man and a moment that sparked a worldwide transformation.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Animecrazy on 6 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I found this book hard to read at first, I picked it up at my local library because I thought it was a factual book but I was a bit taken back that Deepak Chopra was trying to portray the feelings of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and others of that time in a narrative form and some of the things that were mentioned... well I suspect they were embellishments.

The book is written in chapters, each chapter is from the perspective of a different person in the Prophet's(PBUH) life, some people were family, some where supporters or enemies. Further in to the book I did start to enjoy reading different peoples perspectives but again I don't know how true these accounts were.

Despite this, I did feel this book offers a different perspective and a gives you a more 3d story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked up this book mostly out of the curiosity to understand a culture about which you hear so much but never seem to get many details. For me, Islam, like Arabia in those times, has been ever shrouded in mystery, and with the association or stigma sometimes applied to the entire culture and faith due to 'current events' it is difficult to express an interest without quickly being rushed to judgement. The format of the book is good, in that its told from various perspectives of people in the prophet's life, which the author explains in the introduction the reasons for having done so - it works splendidly. In the end we are left with a novel in which Muhammad is certainly the protagonist, yet the reader can approve or disapprove of the choices he makes. He isn't presented as a hero, as such. Enough historical content is there to satisfy my quest to know how Islam came about but mixed with enough storytelling to provide an interesting fictional work.
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difficult book to review cos it straddles fact and fiction so much, but purely from the point of view of another perspective then I think its worth reading. the language is still modern and an effort has been made to immerse the reader into the cultural backdrop that works well
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 44 reviews
83 of 98 people found the following review helpful
First and Foremost a Powerful Spiritual Novel 24 Sept. 2010
By L. Erickson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I think it's inevitable that many of the reviews of this book will focus on opinions of Islam, and/or an analysis of how orthodox or unorthodox Chopra's portrayal of Muhammad is. And as an ongoing discussion, that is certainly valid and interesting. I give Chopra credit for taking on the tale of Muhammad, as he will certainly open himself up to controversy by doing so (and hopefully the controversies will ultimately lead to constructive discussions and new understanding.)

However, I'm going to focus my review of this book on how it is as a spiritual novel, because I think it is first and foremost that. I think it is best read along with Chopra's Buddha and Jesus, which are my two favorite of his books. In these three fictional (but well-researched) accounts of the world's most well-known religious leaders, Chopra presents three very different spiritual journeys, but highlights common themes. Each feels himself as different from a young age. Each is a profound and devout seeker, and yet at some point is shocked and frightened by where his seeking leads him. Each grapples with his spiritual calling in a personal way, and then feels compelled - although for different reasons - to share what he has come to understand. And Chopra does a good job of placing each of them within the context of their respective historical times, thereby showing us how and why each of their teachings evolved into the religions that they did.

However, Chopra also recognizes the very key differences between these three individuals, or at least how they have come down to us through history. As he says "Muhammad didn't see himself like Jesus, called the son of God, or like Buddha, a prince who achieved sublime, cosmic enlightenment." Muhammad saw himself as an ordinary man, called upon by Allah through the angel Gabriel to 'recite' the teachings that became the Koran (or Qur'an.) He was, according to Islam "the last prophet." And this book does a good job of showing the relationship of Muhammad's teachings to the Jewish and Christian teachings of the time.

Chopra chooses to tell the story of Muhamad's life in a unique form - each chapter is told from the perspective of a different individual in his life, 19 in all. They range from his nurse-maid to family members, from slaves in Mecca to early converts, from his children to his worst enemy. This makes the novel read almost like 19 separate short-stories, which can feel disjointed at times, but the episodes they tell from Muhammad's life are sequential, so this provides a through-thread. In his introduction, Chopra states that he chose to do this in order to "lessen the impact of our modern-day judgments". As he puts it, "The first people to hear the Koran had as many reactions to it as you or I would if our best friend collared us with a tale about a midnight visit from an archangel."

For those looking for a more academic introduction to Muhammad and the teachings of Islam, Chopra does provide a basic life chronology, and an Afterword covering the 5 pillars and 6 core beliefs of Islam, along with other teachings. He also provides some more details on Muhammad's life, and how Islam evolved after his death.

Overall, I think this is an important book, if for no other reason than it will introduce many people for the first time to Muhammad and Islam. Of course, no one should read this and consider themselves fully informed about Islam. This book is one author's fictional take on Muhammad - although it is an author who has spent decades immersed in spiritual and religious studies. And as I said above, I actually think it has the most value when read as an account of one man's spiritual journey. Seekers will recognize the humanity of Chopra's Muhammad, his own spiritual longings and fears, and the complexities of his own reactions and those of people around him. To me, this seems to be Chopra's main goal in writing all three of these novels - Muhammad, Jesus, and Buddha - and I recommend all of them.
24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Interesting read 14 Nov. 2010
By RS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book every much. Im a muslim so I already know the stories but wanted to read from a mainstream writer after watching him on CNN. The book served its purpose, Chopra wrote "I didnt write this book to make Muhammed more holy. I wrote it to show that holiness was just as confusing, terrifying, and exalting in the 7th century as it would be today" (location 120 in the book). Chopra accomplished this in the book, he showed all the confusing calamities and crazy wars that happened in the time of Muhammed peace be upon him, yet He had to take difficult actions for survival and not going against what he preached and believed in. He truly believed that God has reached out to him, even though it sounded crazy to him for the longest time. People believed him more than he believed himself. In the book preached things like "Do you want to show how much you love your Creator", the villager replied "with all my heart", Muhammed responded "then love your fellow behings first" (location 2305). There were skeptics in Muhammed's days, where they thought he was crazy, But after being around Muhammed, Muhammed told one non believer friend "I would lose any battle to win a heart of a great soul". These are teachings of islam, compassion and believing in god, yet Islam gets a bad reputation in present day today. I highly recommend this book because its an easy read. Chapter 18 Yasmin the Women at the Well made me cry so much, i was boohoo-ing as I was reading, it was very touching.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Novel about Islam's founder proves surprisingly accessible and entertaining 24 Oct. 2011
By P. J. Swanwick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
4.5 stars: I had braced myself to slog through Deepak Chopra's biographical novel "Muhammad: A Story of the Last Prophet." Instead, I was delightfully surprised by the compelling story of Muhammad's journey from affluent trader to reluctant prophet, and the engagingly lyrical music of the suras (verses) he channeled from Allah.

Story: Although ostensibly a novel, Chopra bookends his story about the Muslim prophet with an author's note and an afterword, offering the reader a history lesson while reflecting on the current relationship between Islam and the rest of the world. The novel emphasizes that of all the founders of the great world religions, Muhammad is the most like us. Muhammad, a merchant who marries a rich widow and routinely travels in caravans as part of his trade, lives a regular life until the day the archangel Gabriel appears and orders the reluctant 40-year-old Muhammad to recite. (To recite, Chopra reminds, is the root word of Koran.) Using multiple first-person narrators--slaves and merchants, hermits, and scribes--he portrays life (including its brutality) on the streets of Mecca. Each chapter is self-contained. Muhammad's wife, Khadijah, laments there have been no warnings that this tumultuous, life-changing event is about to occur; Ali, the first convert, explains how the Prophet approached him. Compellingly told, this is not only good storytelling; it also helps readers, especially non-Muslims, better understand the complexities and contradictions surrounding Islam. (From Booklist)

Spiritual/metaphysical content: Medium. The book focused more on the man than his teachings, which I found to be less than satisfying. I had hoped to gain more insight into the teachings of Islam, although Chopra does describe the five pillars and six core beliefs of Islam, along with some of his other teachings. However, other aspects of the work delighted me. I expected to learn much about Islam, but what I didn't expect was the love of poetry that suffused Arab hearts and the attendant lyricism of Muhammad's suras. I enjoyed the poetry of each sura as much as the message.

Do you not see how he has lengthened the shadows?
the One is He who made the night a garment for you.
He gave you sleep so that you may rest
And the morning sky to be a resurrection.

And

Lo, I swear by the afterglow of sunset,
And by the night and all it enshrouds.
And by the moon when she is at the full,
You will journey to higher and higher worlds.

Another unexpected delight was the wealth of Arabic sayings that were both pithy and poetic: "Fate ... was like a wasp covered in honey. You cannot taste the sweetness without a sting."

My take: In addition to being a simple and easy introduction to the life and teachings of Muhammad and Islam, "Muhammad" proves to be entertaining, historically accurate, and relevant to our times. Chopra's stilted writing style made several of his non-historical novels less than enjoyable to me in the past. However, his short and direct prose works well in the context of this fictionalized biography. By writing each chapter from a different character's perspective, including Muhammad's enemies, Chopra offers fascinating perspective and varies what might otherwise be a monotonal story. The actual events of the Prophet's life provide a thrilling framework fraught with conflict that propels the story forward.

I learned a great deal about Muhammad's life and the rise of Islam. Although much blood was spilled in the evolution of Islam, violence was integral to Arabic life at that time. Muhammad struggled to project his message of peace, acceptance, and submission above the sometimes horrific reality of Arabic life in the 7th century. Chopra's author's note, afterward, timeline, and family tree helped clarify the complex history of the times and placed his life in a clearly defined context.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the story was the realization that Muhammad was a man like any other, not a son of God (such as Jesus) nor a transcendent human (such as Buddha). The angel Gabriel chose him as a medium to deliver Allah's message, and the reader clearly sees how Muhammad was forced into the role of reluctant prophet but also military commander, master politician, and sometimes brutal judge in order to ensure the survival of Allah's message. As Chopra notes, "I didn't write this book to make Muhammad more holy. I wrote it to show that holiness was just as confusing, terrifying, and exalting in the 7th century as it would be today."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Pretty good! 2 Jun. 2011
By lawliss - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was browsing through the stacks at the library and saw this and was immediately intrigued. Deepak Chopra attempts to tell the life of the prophet of Islam through the eyes of the people that are often closest to him - his wife, his daughters, his followers. And it was amazing, to say the least. I had never read anything by Deepak Chopra before, so I was a little nervous, but it was totally worth it.

This book is one of a trilogy of sorts - Chopra also wrote fictional accounts of Buddha's life and Jesus' life (aptly - Buddha and Jesus) and I intend to read at least the one on Jesus but will probably end up reading the one on Buddha as well. This is a really well researched novel that discusses Muhammad's teachings and how they relate to Christainity and Judaism, both older religions relative to Islam. I was also really impressed by how Deepak Chopra chose to tell the tale - he told each part of the Prophet's life through the viewpoint of an important person in his family. It included everyone from his nursemaid, to his wife and children, to a slave and even his worst enemy. It was a very effective way of conveying the Prophet's life and his belief system and i was absolutely enthralled.

This book was also really good because it provides a very simple explanation of the basic tenets of the Islamic faith. People that have read the Koran or have a much better education in the Muslim faith would probably not get a whole lot of out of this but for everyone else, it would be a pretty good introduction. It has inspired me to learn more about the Muslim faith!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Thank you Deepak Chopra! 10 Oct. 2012
By Sparkle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I had barely any prior knowledge about the Prophet Muhammad, the Arab culture and/or "Islam." I find this book engaging and an interesting read. We mainly learn about the Prophet through the perspective of those who knew him, it's pretty cool. I thank Deepak Chopra for this book, and for allowing me a trip to the part of the world I will most likely never see or touch. I look forward to reading Deepak Chopra's novels about Jesus and Buddha.
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