*****Amazing Work, March 11, 2007
El Vate "Gabriel" (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
If you are looking for a serious work on the life of Muhammad then look no further. This is an amazing read that keeps the reader turning pages throughout the book. This will help any reader get an insight into Islam from a serious academic and unbiased perspective.
*****A Basis for Understanding Islam, March 8, 2007
David B Richman (Mesilla Park, NM USA)
Muhammad and his religion, Islam, has been usually misunderstood by Westerners in the past, and perhaps even more so after a group of extreme fanatics attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Like some violent extremists and literalists of all faiths, these people chose to commit a great crime in the belief that their religion required such an act against what they saw as an impious and decadent West. Similar attacks were launched against England, Spain and Australia (the latter in Indonesia) and led to the current impasse that threatens to become a violent religious war, not only between Islam and the West, but between branches of the faith itself.
What is the background of this faith that inspired such fanatical violence? Is it truly more violent than other religions? Exactly who was Muhammad, how did he become the Prophet of Islam and what did he teach?
These questions are to a large degree answered in Karen Armstrong's masterful book "Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet." In it we learn about what is known and what was said about the life of Muhammad, the most recent of the great religious teachers (unless you count Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism). Karen Armstrong has produced an easy to read popular introduction to Islam and the Prophet. This is certainly not a scholarly study, but in general the story as told by a non-Muslim who is trying to portray Muhammad in as good a light as she can. Certainly many people have criticized her for this portrayal, especially in regard to the treatment of women in Islamic societies (not totally Muhammad's fault, as at least some the the problem comes from fairly brutal local traditions, not Islam), his polygamy (probably as much a result of the need for widows and orphaned girls to have husbands as for lust), and his massacre of the Bani Qurayzah, which was certainly violent, but under the circumstances and the times, not exactly unknown. Indeed, Islamic armies were often more merciful than Christian ones during the Crusades.
Despite a few irritating typos, this book is the best popular treatment of the subject that I have encountered so far. Certainly it is a good introduction to the life of the Prophet for Westerners who are not blinded by the excesses of the few. I recommend this book as a antidote to the often venomous writings that have appeared, especially since 9/11, on Muhammad and the followers of Islam.
*****Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, January 9, 2007
Jocelyn D. Hart "Dragoneyes" (KC, MO)
Excellent. I've been curious about this man for a very long time. This book just emphasized what I had already known in my heart to be true. He is truly a wonder of God. I am not religious by any means, but believe in following the teachings of those that know; such as Jesus, Muhammad, Ghandi etc. What a wonderful eye opener and a heart satisfier.