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The Messenger: The Meanings of the Life of Muhammad [Hardcover]

Tariq Ramadan
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

22 Feb 2007
Named by "Time" magazine as one of the 100 most important innovators of the century, Tariq Ramadan is a leading Muslim scholar , with a large following especially among young European and American Muslims. In his first book written for a wide audience, he offers a biography of the Prophet Muhammad, highlighting the spiritual and ethical teachings of one of the most influential figures in human history. Capturing a life that was often eventful, gripping, and highly charged, Ramadan provides both an intimate portrait of a man who was shy, kind, but determined, as well as a dramatic chronicle of a leader who launched a great religion and inspired a vast empire. Underscoring the historical importance and meaning of Muhammad, "The Messenger" addresses the significance of the Prophet for some of today's most controversial issues, such as the treatment of the poor, the role of women, Islamic criminal punishments, war, racism, and relations with other religions. Selecting those facts and stories from which we can draw a profound and vivid spiritual picture, the author asks how can the Prophet's life remain - or become again - an example, a model, and an inspiration? And how can Muslims move from formalism - a fixation on ritual - toward a committed spiritual and social presence? In this thoughtful and engaging biography, Ramadan offers Muslims a new understanding of Muhammad's life and he introduces non-Muslims not only to the story of the Prophet, but to the spiritual and ethical riches of Islam.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; 1st edition UK edition (22 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713999608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713999600
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 294,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Important, readable and intelligent. -- Scotland on Sunday

About the Author

Professor Tariq Ramadan received his doctorate in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Geneva. In Cairo, Egypt he received one-on-one intensive training in classic Islamic scholarship from scholars at the Al-Azhar University. Having taught Islamic Studies and Philosophy at Freiburg University in Switzerland for many years, he was offered the post of Professor of Islamic Studies in the Classic Department and Luce Professor of Religion Conflict and Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame in the United States. He had to resign the post after the US refused to allow him entry. He is currently challenging their decision with the support of the ACLU and PEN and is Senior Research Fellow at the Lokahi Foundation and Visiting Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford. Through his writings and lectures Tariq Ramadan has contributed substantially to the debate on the issues of Muslims in the West and Islamic revival in the Muslim world. He is active both at the academic and grassroots levels, lecturing extensively throughout the world on ethics of citizenship, social justice, and dialogue between civilizations. A member of many international organizations and steering committees, he is President of the European think-tank the European Muslim Network.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Islamic monotheism has always stood in continuity with the sacred history of prophethood. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a biography but a work of theology 27 Aug 2007
By M. Amin
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Many biographies give excellent and full details of the Prophet's life. This book is different. Tariq Ramadan looks at how the Prophet dealt with unbelievers, backsliding Muslims, Jews and Christians, war captives, women etc, and what he said about them. From this he draws out universal lessons regarding how Muslims should conduct themselves. The book is short, easy to read and accessible without any past knowledge of Islam. I would recommend it to Muslims and non-Muslims alike as an exposition of what the Prophet believed and practiced.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting theology on Muhammad and Islam. 13 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having studied Islam at university, I bought a number of books about Islam and Islamic thought and culture, and this is one of the books I bought. Some of the books have been negative in nature, often by Muslim and Arab writers, but this book by Mr Ramadan is a positive book about Muhammad and what he means to Islam, and perhaps to the wider world.

It isn't so much the history of Muhammad but more the understanding of Muhammad's life and teachings and the theology and meanings that come from Muhammad's life, teachings and experience. However, I enjoyed reading it and I think it would be valuable for non-Muslims like myself as well as Muslims. I do get a little tired of the constant stream of bad press Islam gets and feel that even if there are negative aspects to Islamic culture and society, we need someone to look at it positively, for balance. Not every Muslim is a terrorist anymore than any Christian or Buddhist or Orthodox Jew.

As a Christian, I don't have to believe in Islam or Judaism or Buddhism, or anything other than Christianity; I am a Christian after all. However, I think I can respect another person's belief and their right to be whatever they want to be and whatever they want to believe in; if I respect a Muslim, he or she might respect me as a Christian. If we want to live in a world of tolerance, we have to learn to be tolerant. Religion should be summed up in four letters: L O V E!

If I have one criticism of the book, it is that it is often uncritical of certain things that are purported to have happened in the development of Islam, and Islamic theology and Islamic culture. No culture is perfect, West or East, Islamic or Christian; there are warmongers and extremists on all sides. Perhaps the moderates, the true believers in a merciful and compassionate and loving God, who truly wants the best for all of us, can claim back some of the territory we so often cede to the haters? I pray for it.
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34 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm always on the lookout for new material about the final messenger.

This book is deliberately short and focusses on key incidents or situations affecting the prophet and his community, from his birth and to his death. The factual detail will be well known to readers of standard biographies e.g. Adil Salahi's excellent book from the Islmaic Foundation. But Ramadan's prose adds to the historical facts by bringing out the extraordinary humanity and humility of the man. His portrait is of a deeply committed and passionate person who came from tragic circumstances but yet went on to change world history without becoming embittered or resentful.

Ramadan's writing can be a little philosophical or spiritual at times but he explains how the story of Muhammad has lessons for 21st century citizens. There is much to emulate in our own lives and educate both muslims and non-mulsims about misperceptions of Islam.

The ending of the book describing the prophet's last and dying days is particularly moving. I was left to cry and to follow his high example.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 28 Aug 2011
By Slima
Ramdan manages to encapsulate history, philosophy, peace and compassion for the prophet in a brilliantly written book. His ability to draw upon the life of the prophet and extrapolate the teachings and experiences into modern day lessons enables the reader to share the passion, respect and love for which the prophet stood for. A fantastic read for anyone who has a limited understanding of Islam and the prophet. A recommended read for all.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Being person of faith is walking the talk 22 Jan 2010
I really enjoy Prof. Tariq Ramadan's writing style, more academic than casual. It's also good to read the kind of book which reminds readers (esp. Muslims) that considering yourself a person of faith is about walking the talk, about trying more to live like the prophet, than defending his image in ways contrary to the example he set.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A much needed biography 29 July 2007
By Jamhead
Biographies on the Prophet Muhammad are certainly not short in supply. So what can have prompted Prof Ramadan to pen another? Well frankly this biography is a bit different in that its purpose is not to present a meticulous retelling of the life of the Last Prophet, but actually to give an insight into certain acpects from his life. This the author does in a remarkably lucid and highly apprecative way. So for those searching for a indepth retelling should look elsewhere, however for those seeking deeper spiritual and moralistic viewpoint into aspects, including those sometimes seen as controversial from the Prophets life, then this book is for you. Read it, and see the Prophet Muhammad as Muslims see him.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound 8 Oct 2008
An interesting, succinct yet profound account of the life of the Prophet Muhammad.

In short, a 'riveting' read. I eagerly anticipate futher works by Ramadan.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review on "the Messenger" 15 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This Book was better then i expected .
Concise and detailed just enough to capture ones attention.
Well written and a comprehensive account of Arabian History.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Guide
Tariq Ramadan shows, with the simplicity of knowledge, the meanings within the life of the Prophet Muhammad. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Brian Pizarro
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to follow life of the last prophet
This is an insight into the life of the prophet and the vision for Islam and Muslims.
As a western Muslim a helpful aide when reading the Qur'an and placing the very... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ummay Karim
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This is a brilliant book, very well structured, thorough, a smooth read and very engaging, I very much recommend it
Published 5 months ago by riad
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read to understand Islam in contemporary European times
Great writing style, deep content often missed out by other writers. Hard back is a bonus as is the price. Read more
Published 8 months ago by SHREK
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
Loved this book so much, the last chapter made me cry & I'm not a softie, I gave this to my young cousin to read and she now has a better insight into our prophet's life :)
Published 9 months ago by Abidha
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Biography of the Prophet
A must retread in Ramazan! Spiritually uplifting and has now become an essential part of my Ramzan ritual. Thoroughly enjoyable....
Published 13 months ago by Shuja Baig
4.0 out of 5 stars A different book
A good and different read for the biography of our Prophet. I like the fact of political angle and explanation it provides for the various known facts.
Published 17 months ago by S. Faizi
3.0 out of 5 stars A sweetened biography for a Western readership
Tariq Ramadan is in love with Muhammad and his message and wants the reader, Muslim and non-Muslim, to love Muhammad and his message too. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Graham Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning book
This was the first ever biography I had read about the Prophet (pbuh) and as someone who is looking deeply into Islam and, iA will convert, I have gotten much out of it. Read more
Published on 9 July 2012 by BlueMoon
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing
This book is one of the most important books I have ever read. I like to think that it has changed me for the better. Read more
Published on 5 July 2012 by StuckInMedSchool
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