In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad

In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad

4.6 9
by Tariq Ramadan
     
 

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Named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most important innovators of the century, Tariq Ramadan is a leading Muslim scholar, with a large following especially among young European and American Muslims. Now, in his first book written for a wide audience, he offers a marvelous biography of the Prophet Muhammad, one that highlights the spiritual and ethical teachings

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Overview

Named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most important innovators of the century, Tariq Ramadan is a leading Muslim scholar, with a large following especially among young European and American Muslims. Now, in his first book written for a wide audience, he offers a marvelous biography of the Prophet Muhammad, one that highlights the spiritual and ethical teachings of one of the most influential figures in human history.

In the Footsteps of the Prophet is a fresh and perceptive look at Muhammad, capturing a life that was often eventful, gripping, and highly charged. Ramadan provides both an intimate portrait of a man who was shy, kind, but determined, as well as a dramatic chronicle of a leader who launched a great religion and inspired a vast empire. More important, Ramadan presents the main events of the Prophet's life in a way that highlights his spiritual and ethical teachings. The book underscores the significance of the Prophet's example for some of today's most controversial issues, such as the treatment of the poor, the role of women, Islamic criminal punishments, war, racism, and relations with other religions. Selecting those facts and stories from which we can draw a profound and vivid spiritual picture, the author asks how can the Prophet's life remain — or become again — an example, a model, and an inspiration? And how can Muslims move from formalism — a fixation on ritual — toward a committed spiritual and social presence?

In this thoughtful and engaging biography, Ramadan offers Muslims a new understanding of Muhammad's life and he introduces non-Muslims not just to the story of the Prophet, but to the spiritual and ethical riches of Islam.

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Editorial Reviews

For more than a billion Muslims, the Prophet Muhammad (A.D. 570-632) is a subject of reverence. To millions of Americans, he is a figure of controversy and even fear. Reformist Muslim thinker and author Tariq Ramadan offers a comprehensive view of this influential religious and political leader that Muslims and non-Muslims alike will find revelatory. In the Footsteps of the Prophet reviews all the major events of Muhammad's life with a focus on his spiritual teachings.
Publishers Weekly
London-based Ramadan, the Oxford research fellow who authored Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, is probably best known for being denied entry into the United States, based on alleged violations of the Patriot Act. This excellent, engaging book ought to turn public attention back toward Ramadan as a writer and a skilled interpreter of Islamic history. In deliberately brief chapters, Ramadan brings Muhammad to life. He highlights Muhammad's resolute faith in spite of setbacks like orphanhood and poverty, and upholds the prophet as a spiritual hero-bravely compassionate and unusually tolerant of others, including non-Muslims. Ramadan notes his extraordinary kindness, even to those he battled. For example, a slave who had been given to Muhammad turned down emancipation, saying he preferred service to Muhammad over freedom with anyone else. (Muhammad immediately freed the slave and adopted him as his own son.) Similar tales of mercy lace through Muhammad's life: in the midst of a battle march, Muhammad advised his troops to be careful not to hurt a litter of puppies on the roadside; on another occasion, Muhammad released prisoners of war because they had taught community children how to read and write. Ramadan ably demonstrates why Muhammad is a spiritual paragon to the followers of Islam. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Foreign Affairs
Most Westerners have a pretty clear idea of what comes to themind of a Danish cartoonist when he imagines the Prophet Muhammad. They also have a good idea of what comes to the mind of a cave-dwelling Taliban fighter or an al Qaeda operative. Tariq Ramadan, however, is mortified by the caricatures that have shaped public perceptions of the man to whom Allah revealed the Koran in 610. Accordingly, the prolific Swiss-born theologian, who has become both a media star and a lightning rod for controversy, has made it his mission to change the way both Muslims and non-Muslims view Islam.

In the Footsteps of the Prophet is Ramadan's loving portrait of Muhammad, but it is also a biography written with the instincts of a savvy publicist. Beneath the book's somewhat dull exterior -- essentially a highlight reel of the Prophet's sayings and doings over 23 years of revelation -- lies a pointed agenda: to reappropriate and redefine Islam's message and messenger for Muslim minorities and the Western societies in which they live. Muhammad could have hoped for no more sympathetic an advocate than Ramadan to counter all the bad press.<

Library Journal

Swiss Muslim Ramadan (research fellow, St. Anthony's Coll., Oxford Univ. & Lokahi Fdn., London; Western Muslims and the Future of Islam) provides neither biography nor true history but instead attitudes, situations, and words that reveal the personality and deep faith of the Prophet Muhammad in order to convey the ethics, spirituality, and values his experiences bring to life itself. As Ramadan writes, "[B]elievers of any faith, and all who study Muhammad's life regardless of personal religious belief, can derive teachings from this." While some have been conditioned to view Islam as intolerant, rigid, or violent, Ramadan highlights the compassion, humanity, and respect that the Prophet felt toward all, be they Muslim, Jewish, or Christian; wealthy or poor. For Ramadan, what ultimately makes the Prophet controversial is not jihad (which, in Muhammad's view, is the daily personal struggle of all individuals for and with God), but his love ethic, made manifest in his own relationship with Allah and reflected in his life and teachings. Thoughtful and accessible, this book offers much of interest to those looking for a relatively uncritical spiritual discussion on Muhammad. Recommended.
—Sandra Collins

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195308808
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
02/05/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Tariq Ramadan is a Research Fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford University and the Lokahi Foundation (London). He is the author of Western Muslims and the Future of Islam; Islam, the West, and the Challenges of Modernity; and To Be a European Muslim.

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