Last night, I finished this book that had been with me for the past 3 years. Each time I would make up my mind to read it, I’d always find one excuse or another to delay, or pick up something more “easy” or “light” or “quick”. Safe to say, I didn’t know what I had been missing out on, specifically to say the chasm of knowledge just waiting for me to dive in.
Muhammad SAW- his life based on the earliest sources by Martin Lings is a book on the Last Prophet of Islam sent by God to deliver His message of Oneness and Truth. It begins with the story of Hazrat Ibrahim(Abraham) AS and his two sons – Hazrat Ishaq AS (Issac) and Hazrat Ismail AS (Ishmael) – when he takes his son and second wife Hajra (Hagar) to a far away land, on the outskirts of Makkah. As Hazrat Ismail AS was an infant at that time, he cried from thirst and hunger that caused Bibi Hajra to run seven times between the mountains of Al Safa and Al Marwa, that led to the discovery of ZamZam which translates to “stop flowing”.
“Abraham was thus the fountain head of two spiritual streams, which must not flow together, but each in its own course…”
Thus, the author starts narrating all the events that led to the creation of Kaba’ah – the Holy House -the Pilgrimage, addition of idols to the precinct, the fights for control of the land, and ultimately the birth of Prophet Muhammad SAW. Although, this book is only some 350 pages long, the amount of information, names of tribes and the people, the idols, and the old names of cities and places in Saudi Arabia, is astonishing and enlightening.
“They had no choice but to accept, yet very few of them were capable of believing that God would send a Prophet who was not a Jew.”
All the important events in Prophet Muhammad’s – Peace be upon him – life has been described meticulously and accurately. From the story of Miraj, Battle of Uhud, Battle of Badr, the First Revelation, the Farewell Pilgrimage, his passing away and much more has been narrated. Moreover, his family, his close relationship to the his Companions, the way even disbelievers trusted him with matters of property and security, to his demeanor with children and animals give an insight into the man famously known as Al-Amin.
Every incident, every battle, and the various personalities mentioned, have been read and studied by many of us during the class of Islamiat, in school. But reading about it all now, was a whole another experience, one that allowed for better understanding of events that shaped the Islamic history. For me, this book opened up my mind to a horizon I had not yet explored in my quest of reading books. It felt like a learning experience, unlike any.
Even if you don’t believe in Islam or have reservations against it, I’d suggest reading it to gain a picture that lays it down as it is.
- Rating: 5.0/5.0
- Favorite quote: “Tell me what is excellence. He answered: ‘To worship God as if thou sawest Him, for it thou seest Him not, yet seeth He thee.'”
- Reader level: In the middle.
- Should you read: If you’re interested in Islamic history.
- Would I read it again: Absolutely, God willing.
Till next time,