By: Sarah Conover
Published 2013 by Skinner House Books
Reviewed by: Naseer A. Tahir, MD
I enjoyed reading this book. It presents positive aspects about the Greatest of all Prophets, Muhammad (saw) in a beautiful and powerful way. I wish there were many more books like this one.
Sarah Conover has written this book like a storybook and in a very easy to understand style. The target audience is youth. The chapters are episodes of glimpses into the life of The Prophet, with the description of scenes decorated with fanciful descriptions and ideas of the author.
Author wrote on page 101:
I wrote Muhammad: The Story of a prophet and Reformer because there are few books that place us in Muhammad’s time, help us feel both the beauty and perils of desert life, or give us a sense of tribal traditions that his prophet hood overturned.
On page 103 she wrote:
I used a sensory palette evoking the Arabian Peninsula of long ago for setting scenes, and from my own research and imagination…in a few places I have fabricated what others say, but never the quotations from the Prophet himself.
The author is a good storyteller. All quotations and sayings of the Holy Prophet (saw) are authentic; either directly from the Holy Quran or Ahadith. I found no fabrication there.
It is a very useful book, particularly for young readers. Unfortunately, the story ends with time of the migrations of the Prophet to Medina, leaving an unquenched thirst for more, almost wishing the author would write part two of the book in future.
The book is spread over one hundred and eleven pages and twenty-four chapters. Chapter one, “The Orphan” is where the story begins.
“Aminah awoke early, swung her legs onto the dirt floor and paused. Muhammad, her infant son, lay fast asleep on their mat of woven palms.”
The other chapters follow smoothly as the story progressed. The author describes how Muhammad (saw) grew up and got to be known as Al-Amin, the trustworthy. The history about Kaaba and Zamzam, 360 statues in Kaaba, journey of The Prophet to Syria, and meeting with Bahirah the monk who saw the mark of Prophethood on The Prophet body between the shoulders, is nicely detailed in few chapters.
The time The Prophet spent in solitude on the mountain in the cave and appearance of the angel asking him to read and thus start of the revelation of the Quran is covered in next few chapters. The boycott, the migration of some across the red sea to Abyssinia, and then finally the migration to Medina, are described in the remaining chapters.
Certainly not a textbook of history, but this book would be a very useful addition for your library. You can very comfortably give this book to your children to read.
After having read this simple to understand book, they will be better equipped to benefit from books like:
1. The Excellent exampler—Muhammad (saw) by Zafrulla Khan.
2. Life of Muhammad (saw) By Khalifatul Masih the second (ra)
3. The life and character of the Seal of Prophets (saw) by Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra)