Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters

by Omid Safi (Author)

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Safi recognizes that in painting a portrait of the prophet Muhammad, he does not begin with a blank canvas. Indeed, he begins by confronting the negative images of Muhammad within the Western tradition—from Dante’s horrifying portrayal of the prophet’s damned soul to the mocking caricatures proffered by twenty-first-century Danish cartoonists. Safi invites his readers to lay aside the prejudices fostered by such images as they join in a fresh investigation of Islam’s Prophet. That investigation—based on the Qur’an and on Ibn Ishaq’s eighth-century biography, supplemented by other ancient and modern sources—uncovers a complex personality: a towering spiritual leader who dramatically challenged traditional Arab polytheism and a resourceful political strategist who appealed to the socially marginal while outmaneuvering the powerful elite. As he fills in the historical picture with accounts of important figures close to Muhammad—Khadijn, Ali, Hossein—Safi must delve into the tensions that developed among Muhammad’s followers, pitting the Shi’a against the Sunni, radical against moderate. Because of the persistence of these tensions, Safi despairs of delivering a single definitive understanding of the prophet. However, his depiction of a profoundly humane and compassionate visionary offers a much-needed corrective to the darker perspective promulgated by some Islamic extremists.

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Additional Information

Category Biographies & Memoirs, History,
Language English
Format Paperback
Pages 352
Publisher HarperOne
Publication Date 2010
Edition Reprint Edition
ISBN 978-0061231353

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Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters

New York $14.99