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Customer Review

57 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a highly readable and balanced biography., 18 Oct. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Muhammad (Paperback)
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a balanced, informative and readable account of the Prophet of Islam. It is especially ideal for a western reader as it puts the events surrounding the coming of Islam not only into historical context but also within the context of Islam in the world today. Armstrong also dispels the popular conception of Islam as a harsh, fanatical religion that was spread 'by the sword' and of its prophet as an opportunistic womanising crusader. Indeed, she probes at the man behind the prophet and what emerges is a sensitive account of a man who was courageous yet fallible, strong yet gentle- a wise visionary who created a civilised society from what used to be the 'bloodbath' of pre-Islamic Arabia. She also emphasises the many similarities that Islam has in common with Judaism and Christianity and brings out the fact that Islam was really a continuation of those two great religions.
By setting the scene of pre-Islamic Arabia- a savage and tribal society, the reader not only appreciates that Islam was in fact a liberating force but also gains a sympathetic understanding of Muhammad's role and actions. Many aspects of his life and his actions that a westerner gazing at him through a twenty-first century lens finds hard to understand or reconcile with the actions of a prophet, are explained and put into context, such as his marrying twelve times.
Essentially, this is an excellent historical account and I would recommend it to anyone due to its readable and easy style and its well-balanced treatment of its subject.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Sep 2009 11:39:32 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Sep 2009 06:28:40 BDT
Yes we know that Islam has similarities to Christianity and Judaism; Islam developed out of Christianity, which in turn developed out of Judaism so this is inevitable; although I was surprised that the early Sumerian origin of Judaism itself was not touched on. The fact of the matter however is that neither Christianity or Judaism divide the world into two houses:- the House of Submission(Where the faithful reside.) and the House of War(Which is to be conquered by the faithful.). As to the Islamic faith not having been "spread by the sword", this is historically untrue as any glance at the relevant history books will make clear. I also found it strange that no mention was made of Adolf Hitler having been so impressed by Islam's martial qualities that he designed SS indoctrination/training around them, concealed behind a suitably Nordic mythological veneer. Yes, we also realize that, in common with most of the world at that time, pre-Islamic Arabia could be quite a savage place; but whilst employed in modernday Arabia a few years ago, I watched an unfortunate woman stoned to death for adultery. For her, the idea of Islam as a 'liberating force' was laughable.

Ironically, as a man with inclination's toward the 'Victorian values' type of society; I found living under Sharia Law a genuine liberation; the fear it inspires in the weak, and most criminals are weak in character; enabled me to forget about locks, bolts and 'security'. After the first few weeks, I knew anything I left in the back of the pickup would still be there when I returned; which it would not have been in London. Similarly; I was impressed with how Islamic polygamy works in practice. Huge numbers of men in the West today simply lack the abilities necessary to make good husbands and fathers; which in turn condemns millions of women and children to failed marrages, single parenthood and the miseries of domestic chaos. This just does not happen in the Islamic world, where father is still Master in his own house by Law, with the final say on everything, including who his daughters marry. Overwhelmingly the choices made are the right one's.

To conclude, history is the story of man's inhumanity to his fellow man; inevitably the strong will dominate, exploit and often exterminate the weak; we see this in the natural world of which humanity is just a part, every day. Taken in it's entirety, I believe Islam to be a more vigorous, stronger and better faith, which seems for the moment at least, destined to overwhelm an ever more degenerate Christianity; but the nonesense written in this book would really be better ignored as the prattlings of a deluded woman.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jul 2011 20:49:50 BDT
Well this is hardly a work of history, just an amalgamation of optimistic opinion and the Muslim version of Islamic "history". All in all, utter nonsense.

BUT it is helpful as a comprehensive account of the Muslim version, and can be compared to other more "historical" writings of the times of Muhammad. Sort of like a "control" text.

Posted on 11 Apr 2015 09:14:18 BDT
Well the blood bath hardly finished isn't it? Actually it only got worse, it migrated to other countries, where the local population was discriminated against until they become Muslim themselves. And for what? To wage war against unbelievers, and the process is very much alive now, been supported by books like this, who blinds someone instead of wake them to the true nature of Islam.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jun 2015 14:24:29 BDT
ru writing it as a Christian,humanist or atheist?what r ur beliefs?it will be helpful to put ur comments in perspective.sorry.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2016 10:18:02 BDT
Sounds like a shill for the Manifesto of The Muslim Brotherhood, and its 100 year war to destroy the West.
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