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

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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 ...

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

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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

From Barnes & Noble
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: 9780195374766
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/6/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 246,971
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.80 (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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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction ix

1 Encounter with the Sacred 1

2 Birth and Education 9

3 Personality and Spiritual Quest 19

4 Revelation, Knowledge 29

5 The Message and Adversity 37

6 Resistance, Humility, and Exile 51

7 Trials, Elevation, and Hopes 63

8 Hijrah 81

9 Medina, Life, and War 95

10 Teachings and Defeat 111

11 Tricks and Treason 129

12 A Dream, Peace 149

13 Coming Home 165

14 At Home, Over There 181

15 Debtless 199

In History, for Eternity 211

Notes 217

Index 235

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    Great book, well balanced and shows the great balance that existed in the life of the Prophet (SAW)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Highly Recommend

    A must read to learn the morals of being a good human being.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    True spirit of writing

    This is by far the best book about Muhammad life i have ever read. Must for all!

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  • Posted October 21, 2011

    One of the best most accessible books on the prophet of Islam

    Great book withh references, easily accessible to non Muslims. Highly recommended.

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  • Posted November 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Don't waste you're time

    One of the best examples of poor scholorship in the name of Globalization.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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