Book Review: Muhammad: A Prophet For Our Time

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 KELS 1 Comments Category :

Mohammad: A Aprophet for Our Time by Karen Armstrong
Reviewd by Saima Ghafoor
                   Of 3rd yr.

   This is a biography of Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) which enables the reader to feel the great process of transformation of the Arab nation living in the historically recorded ‘age of ignorance’ to a well known civilized nation. Prophet Muhammad(PBUH)has been  profiled by Karen Armstrong as both “a mystic touched by God on a mountaintop and uncanny political and social reformer”. Arabs who were at that time considered ignorant, uncivilized and barbaric, on whom in those times no significant attention was paid, became what the whole world saw later as a revolutionized nation; and all this was possible through the great revelation that was brought upon Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The writer documents how it was not an easy task to reform those who were bent upon over their ugly traditions and customs and had no wish to abandon them. This whole transformation could not be achieved overnight. It was a process so tedious that it took 13 years by the prophet to complete it. It was a process of transformation that, contrary to what we see in magic movies, was real and slow and labored. It is as Karen Armstrong puts it, “[Prophet Muhammad’s]life was a tireless campaign against greed, injustice and arrogance. He realized that Arabia was at a turning point and that the old way of thinking would no longer suffice, so he wore himself out in the creative effort to evolve an entirely new solution.”
The question arises here that have we ever been able to feel this process? In spite of reading biographies of our prophet every now and then have we ever been able to feel the enormity of the transformation he brought about? The answer on my part is NO! We read it with so much devotion and sacred love that the whole effect of the process being real gets masked. This book, by Karen Armstrong, has made me travel from the “lonely mountain top outside the holy city of Makkah” till the death of this great reformer in an unusual manner. You feel as if the whole process has become alive, that the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH), apart from being a prophet was a human being also. He also had faced great great hardships and grievances in his struggle. It was not easy at all to bring that revolution to those who had no desire to have it. Can we imagine what effort it would have taken to make them like brothers and sisters? Can we possibly visualize how AWS and Khazraj, the great enemies of Madinah were subsequently bound in the bond of brotherhood? It was through the effort of just one reformer!
   In this book Karen Armstrong has also answered the western propaganda explaining the true meanings of the word jihad and Islam. Jihad is struggle not holy war and Islam is all about peace. More and more people in the western world have begun to realize by now that Islam is not at all about terrorism and this writing is clear example. The book covers the life of the Prophet from a different and realistic point of view, as it is the need of today to have such reformers or their teachings among us. Karen Armstrong is of the view that the prophet Muhammad is the prophet of our time and his life should be followed by all humanity. This is what we all need as prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is evidently the greatest man the world history has ever known.



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