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muhammad prophet for our time
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muhammad prophet for our time (2006 original; edició 2009)

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More is known about Muhammad than any other major religion founder, yet he remains mysterious. Born in 570 CE, he spent six decades spreading his message of peace and compassion. Yet for many people today, their knowledge of Muhammad is rife with misconceptions and misinformation, often fueled by bigotry. Armstrong sets the record straight, shattering the myth that Islam is a religon of cruelty and violence.… (més)
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Títol:muhammad prophet for our time
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Informació:Harper Perennial (2009)
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Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time de Karen Armstrong (2006)

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Es mostren 1-5 de 13 (següent | mostra-les totes)
A fine, not great, short biography of Muhammad. The research is better than the prose and the prose moves along fine. A few tricky moments where Armstrong seems to be suggesting a knowledge of the divine, but only a few. An acceptable contribution to the Eminent Lives. ( )
  Eoin | Jun 3, 2019 |
I read this for a class and learned a great deal about the prophet. A sympathetic presentation of his life and beliefs. ( )
  gbelik | Apr 12, 2017 |
In 1991, Karen published a biography of Muhammed, the founder of Islam. In 2006, she published this updated biography, hoping to focus more on his life and teachings that contradict the image of Muslim extremism, so that we Americans could put September 11 behind us and recognize Islam as a religion of peace. I haven’t read the first book, but I definitely enjoyed the second.

This is not the story of Islam or an interpretation of its scriptures. It is just a sympathetic biography of its founder. While Karen gives us both the dirt and the glory, she manages to put Mohammed’s story in its societal setting so that we can grasp his original teachings and decisions.

Mohammed’s laws, for example, were designed for a small, struggling community, never for the vast empire that succeeded him. His jihad, which does not mean “holy war” but which means “struggle,” was a tireless campaign against greed, injustice, and arrogance.

Arabs in Mohammed’s time did not feel it was necessary to convert to Judaism or Christianity, because they believed that they were already members of the Abrahamic family. In fact, the idea of conversion from one faith to another was alien. Pluralism was the more natural belief, and Muhammed embraced pluralism. A verse often quoted to prove Islamic exclusive beliefs actually means just the opposite:

“For if one goes in search of a religion other than islam unto God, it will never be accepted from him, and in the life to come, he shall be among the lost.”

Of course, Muhammed did not call his religion “islam”; the word simply meant self-surrender, and had nothing to do with a particular denomination or belief. In its original context, the teaching meant just the opposite of exclusivism. Muhammed hated sectarian quarrels, and was offended by the idea of a “chosen people.”

But Muhammed did believe reform was necessary. He despised the suppression of Arab women, and he could not condone any caste which separated those with money from those without. He personally gave a large percentage of his earnings to the poor, and expected the same selflessness from his little band of followers. All such kindnesses would be rewarded in paradise, he promised.

Does that mean the stories of Muhammed’s wars and raiding expeditions are rumors? No, and here Karen shows a little too much sympathy, as she explains the cultural expectations. A clan could hardly support itself without raiding, she explains! Stories of Muhammed’s harem are juicy as well. Nevertheless, this appears to be an honest portrait of a complex man who tried mightily to reform his little area of the world for the better. Highly recommended. ( )
3 vota DubiousDisciple | May 12, 2013 |
Not nearly as engaging or well-written as her earlier biography of the prophet. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
Having recently started the month of Ramadan ( Arabic: رمضان) I wanted to familiarize myself with what non-Muslim authors and scholars were saying about Muslims, the Prophet Muhammad صلي الله عليه وسلم and Islam in general. So with this topic in mind I picked up Karen Armstrong's book "Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time".
So, to begin:
NOTE: All of Ms. Armstrong's direct quotes will be in quotation marks ("). My sarcastic or emphasized comments (To find which is which try to understand the context) will be in single quotes (').
First I applaud Ms. Armstrong for attempting to portray the Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم in a more human light. This is something the West (yes I am part of that 'West') seems to need to understand history. A pull-at-the-heartstrings story. However in doing this Ms. Armstrong takes away what it means for the Messenger to be a Messenger. That reverence that his followers felt, the honor that was given to him. At times in Ms. Armstrong's quest to provide a more "accessible account"1 the love and respect his companions (Arabic: صحاﺑﺔ) showed him becomes at best hard to see for the informed and at worst implying that at times they were almost going to overthrow him in a rebellion of sorts. This is one of the greatest complaints I have against this book.

Second Ms. Armstrong uses very few sources, chief among them a certain Muhammad ibn Is'haq. Now to be fair she does use other books and works to make her point, but I felt that while reading the book she rarely (if ever) attempted to bring an opposing opinion and disprove it. Again not really that big a deal, yet it still brought my estimate of her book down.

Third, and I would say most important factor in my irritation, is that she never uses the original Arabic for the Qur'an. It is always a translation. Now most of you would be correct, but as even Ms. Armstrong says in her book: "It is difficult for a non-Arabic to appreciate the beauty of the Qur'an, because this is rarely conveyed in translation."2
This also applies to other uses of transliteration such as when Ms. Armstrong talks about the Bani Qaynuqa'3 (Arabic : بني قينقاع) which both looks and sounds ridiculous. To the average person reading this book the Arabic would be useless, and to some even irritating and distracting (which is not really an excuse; that's what glossaries and indexes are for).

In conclusion I would most certainly never use this book to introduce a person to either Islam or the Prophet Muhammad صلي الله عليه وسلم , but as a tertiary source for someone researching him.

Quotes:
1: Page 6, line 14 of paragraph 3
2: Page 46, line 5 of paragraph 2
3: Page 91, line 11 of paragraph 1
Note: The paragraph starts from the top of the page regardless if it is just one word from the previous page or not. ( )
1 vota lafon | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Muhammed: A Prophet for Our Time (c2006) is Armstrong's second biography of Muhammed. Her first was Muhammed: A Biography of the Prophet (published in 1991). Armstrong writes in the introduction to the second biography that "in the wake of September 11, we need to focus on other aspects of Muhammad's life. So this is a completely new and entirely different book, which, I hope, will speak more directly to the terrifying realities of our post-September 11 world." (p. 7)
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More is known about Muhammad than any other major religion founder, yet he remains mysterious. Born in 570 CE, he spent six decades spreading his message of peace and compassion. Yet for many people today, their knowledge of Muhammad is rife with misconceptions and misinformation, often fueled by bigotry. Armstrong sets the record straight, shattering the myth that Islam is a religon of cruelty and violence.

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