This biography is very well written. I agree with most of the other reviewers when they alluded to the fact that it brings the Prophet's times to life. When reading it you feel like you were there. I am, no doubt, alone when I say that there were times when I was brought to tears. My favorite situation is the speech that the Prophet gives to the Medinese when the question why he didn't allot them any spoils of war after the battle after the conquest of Makkah! It presents an awesome dynamic between a Prophet of God and his followers. I do however have some problems with the book. The methodology of the author is to present the life of the Prophet as portrayed by the earliest sources without taking into account whether or not the earliest sources could have included in their texts traditions with suspect authenticity. Hence, Lings, uncritically chooses to include the incident in which the Prophet is said to have (basically) asked his step-son to divorce his wife, because the Prophet was in love with her and wanted to marry her. This incident is not accepted by all scholars to be authentic. In fact, there are many that would argue that it was completely fabricated. Another example of this is when Lings writes or alludes that the Prophet had a concubine. Again, because of Lings methodology of merely conveying what is latent in the earliest sources, one can leave the book with the impression that everything that was described therin is completely authentic and undisputed. This, ofcourse, is not the case at all. For centuries scholars have disputed and doubted the authenticity of many traditions, through which the Prophet's life may be constructed. I would tell would-be readers to just be aware of this fact before undertaking their journey into the Prophet's life.
I was surprised at the objectivity of the biography. Lings related what happened according to hadiths and historical references written by arab historians in the centuries following Muhammad's death. He draws no conclusions, leaving that to the reader. I especially liked the chapters concerning arabia preceding Muhammad; they were fascinating and provided an excellent background to the situation of Arab society before his birth. Through the whole book I only noticed one anecdote derived from a questionable hadith. Suffice it to say, Martin Lings has written an impressive and thorough book.
while teaching english in casablanca, morocco, i read several books and spoke with many muslims about islam. the most lucid, unbiased presentation of the life of muhammad that i came across is lings's. muslims that i've met since then are generally pleasantly surprised at my knowledge of early islam -- practically all of which comes from this book. i avidly recommend this book to anybody who wants to know how islam was founded, knowledge of which is key to understanding much of what is happening in the islamic world today.
This is probably the best biography of Prophet Muhammad ever written. A must-read, and must-have. Wonderful resource. I have read it more than once and yet it yields more each time - and so have found it to be a valuable gift to give to friends : a wonderful account of his life and the beginnings of Islam, and the inner and outer journeys, that is absorbing, simple and yet multi-levelled. Devoid of any kind of prejudice, an open and true book that is a pleasure to read, a tremendous learning experience for Muslims and non-Muslims, Easterners and Westerners, equally. Every home must have a copy !!
Ling's narrative is exquisite. His provides a vivid description of the society in which the Prophet (pbuh) lived, which makes it easier for us to appreciate and understand the trials and tribulations that Muhammad (pbuh) had to endure to perform his task. Ling's factual manner of presentation guides us to knowing and loving Muhammad (pbuh), as the man and the prophet. Thank you, Lings, for with this book, I am able to get to know Muhammad (pbuh) better, and to appreciate and love him more. Highly recommended to all readers.
This is the first book ive read on Islam that has not been biased in any way. Anyone who wants to learn about Islam or any Muslim who wishes to know the detailed history of the Prophet should read this book.
this is by far the best bio i have ever read on the prophet of islam (pbuh). lings brings ancient arabia to life with vivid details and colorful characterizations--all based on factual evidence and hadiths. he gives importance to women as well. aisha is a fascinating woman. and until i read this book, i had never heard about the prophet's daughters, other than fatima. an absolute must-read!