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Sheds new light on a very familiar subject,
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This review is from: Muhammad: Prophet for Our Time (Eminent Lives) (Kindle Edition)
Being a person very familiar with the life of Muhammad, both through personal study, and from the interactions with learned Muslims, I was at first a little ambivalent as to whether there was much for me to learn in this study. I am happy to be proved wrong in this case, as Karen Armstrong's work provides a realistic and healthy rebuttal to the many detractions against Islam's Prophet.
Even the most stubborn skeptic of the supernatural would find it hard to disagree that Muhammad was a much better man than the times he lived in. He was, as Karen Armstrong demonstrates, a benevolent social reformer who tried to provide a better path forward than the eclectic paganism of his time, and the lawless, dog eat dog system of tribal honor.
Armstrong's study does not concern itself greatly with the supernatural aspects of the prophet's life. Revelations are mentioned, but only in passing, and the main bulk of the text concerns the intentions and deeds of the prophet's life.
Contrary to the claims of his detractors, Muhammad was a man who abhorred violence, and took to it only as a last resort, and even then did so with a system of rules, far more noble and lenient than the other tribes of his time.
Muhammad is presented as a man with a great degree of respect and reverance for the people of the book, and one struggles to imagine as to why the three holy faiths are at loggerheads today.
Very little attention is given to the supernatural, rather the biography simply focuses on the man, and presents a positive, yet wholly human, portrait of the prophet.
On the whole, a much needed study, and one that can be recommended to all, regardless of one's familiarity with the subject matter.