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Muhammad: The Story of a Prophet and Reformer Paperback – 1 Sep 2013

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Man Worth Meeting 16 Dec. 2013
By Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom - Published on
Format: Paperback
Did you know that the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was saved by a spider and a dove? This is just one of the details of his life that are brought to light in Sarah Conover’s lovely book, Muhammad: the story of a prophet and reformer. It’s a book that can be enjoyed by both children and adults, and one that is especially needed in post-9/11 America – an accessible introduction to the life of the founder of one of the three great monotheistic faiths.

In popular (mis)conception, Islam is a religion of violent extremists and its founder is, perhaps, the greatest terrorist of them all. This is not to say that there are not branches on the Muslim tree that are not violent and extreme, but the trunk and the roots are something else entirely. In his day Muhammad was known as a particularly just man, a peaceful man, a man of extraordinary trustworthiness. And Sarah Conover – who is a gifted storyteller – helps us to see the man behind the myths and more modern misrepresentations.

In the early 1990s the Venerable Tich Nhat Hanh wrote a biography of the Buddha – Old Path, White Cloud – in which he combines the gentle simplicity of a children’s story with a commitment to ensuring that every incident reported is grounded in the oldest and most venerated traditions. Ms. Conover has now done the same thing. She relates the events in Muhammad’s life – from the his early days as a Bedouin herder, to his first encounter with an angel in a cave, to his flight from Mecca to Yathrib (renamed Mecca) because of the backlash from those who were challenged by his teachings. At the end of the book Conover has placed notes on each of chapter to help the reader know what was her own invention and what is accepted within Islam. The spider and the dove, for instance, are well known and well beloved parts of the Prophet’s story. A scene in which Muhammad plays with his children comes from Conover’s imagination, yet it is in keeping with what the traditions say about him. And she promises that the only words she put into Muhammad’s mouth are words that traditions ascribe to him as well. (A panel of experts reviewed the manuscript to ensure the stories told are as accurate as possible according to accepted tradition.)

Recent years have given several reminders of how seriously the prohibition against visual representations of the Prophet is taken (at least in some branches of the Muslim family), yet Conover has painted a portrait with words in which we can see the devoted husband, loving father, and man of deep faith who responded to his understanding of the voice of the sacred and called for a reform of the religion of his day. Whatever your tradition, or lack thereof, this is a man worth meeting. I can think of no better introduction than Sarah Conover’s new book.

Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom,
Charlottesville, Virginia

(I am a Unitarian Universalist minister and the author of Teacher, Guide, and Companion: rediscovering Jesus in a secular age, and, Simply Pray: a modern spiritual practice to deepen your life.)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
enjoyable reading 21 May 2014
By Amber Cahill - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Easy reading
Told in the form of a novel making it enjoyable and accessible for the curious reader.
While aimed at the younger generation it is suitable for adults
Think you know Muslims and Islam(?) --Read It and Learn Something!!!! 4 July 2014
By ShopperGuy - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a very poor reader -- I could not put this book down. Well written and easy for me to read. Keep a pencil handy. You will want to make notes in the margins to keep everything straight in your head when you refer back. This book certainly opened my eyes to Muslim people and the Islamic faith. There is much of this book that can and should be a used as a measuring stick for the United states of America today.
Three Stars 4 July 2014
By Judy - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
book did not live up to the author's stated purpose.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Compassionate and Clear Story about the Beloved Prophet 12 Oct. 2013
By Aisha KH - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have always been a fan of Ms. Conover's work. I own three of her story collections written for children. This book is a compassionate and clear presentation of the Prophet Mohamed's life. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to understand the Prophet Mohamed's life and gain insight into the Muslim faith.
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