Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters

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Overview

Who was the historical Muhammad, and how do Muslims remember him—as a holy prophet, a cultural revolutionary, a military leader, or a spiritual mystic? Unending media coverage of extremist fanatics, the controversy over offensive cartoon depictions of Muhammad, and fatwas against journalists and authors are all hard to ignore and have prejudiced our Western perceptions of Muslims and their founder. This definitive biography of the founder of Islam by a leading Muslim-American scholar will reveal invaluable new insights, finally providing a fully three-dimensional portrait of Muhammad and the one billion people who follow him today.

Memories of Muhammad presents Muhammad as a lens through which to view both the genesis of Islamic religion and the grand sweep of Islamic history—right up to the hot button issues of the day, such as the spread of Islam, holy wars, the status of women, the significance of Jerusalem, and current tensions with Jews, Hindus, and Christians. It also provides a rare glimpse into how Muslims spiritually connect to God through their Prophet, in the mosque, in the home, and even in cyberspace.

This groundbreaking book offers the opportunity to move from telling Muhammad's story to talking about how different Muslims throughout Islamic history have both honored and contested Muhammad's legacy.

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Editorial Reviews

Wisconsin Public Radio
“...Safi maintains that it is necessary to learn about the Prophet Muhammad in order to understand Islam and to engage in open and constructive dialogue.”
Booklist (starred review)
“A fresh investigation of Islam’s Prophet that uncovers a complex personality. . . . [Safi’s] depiction of a profoundly humane and compassionate visionary offers a much needed corrective to the darker perspective promulgated by some Islamic extremists.”
Read the Spirit
“This book ranks as a milestone for non-Muslim readers. When most of the other books in this era are forgotten, people will continue to read Memories of Muhammad.”
The Pilot
“Safi responds to all these Muhammad problems by giving us a highly readable and interesting retelling of the story of this man... [and] provides important background for anyone who wants to understand our friends and enemies among the more than one billion people who embrace Islam.”
Spirituality and Practice
“...A rounded and revealing portrait of the life, work, and legacies of Muhammad.”
Boston Globe
“Safi makes his argument by simply and beautifully narrating the life of Muhammad. Beyond offering a biography of the spiritual leader, Safi explicates his spiritual teachings and describes how he has been remembered by Muslims over 1,400 years.”
Washington Post Book World Blog
“Safi… brings the prophet into clearer focus with his book Memories of Muhammad. Safi provides a sweeping look at Muhammad’s life and explores many of the controversial issues that color modern perceptions.”
Raleigh News and Observer
“Safi traces the three important stages of Muhammad’s life: his climb up the mountain to receive God’s revelation (through the prophet Gabriel); his flight from Mecca and Jerusalem to heaven where he has a direct encounter with God; and his migration from Mecca to Medina and back.”
Religion News Service
“[Memories of Muhammad] attempts to discover the true Muhammad obscured by both hagiography and militant extremism...Safi is on the front edge of a generation of scholars who, with one foot in both worlds, are trying to explain Islam and the West to each other.”
Raleigh News and Observer
“Safi traces the three important stages of Muhammad’s life: his climb up the mountain to receive God’s revelation (through the prophet Gabriel); his flight from Mecca and Jerusalem to heaven where he has a direct encounter with God; and his migration from Mecca to Medina and back..”
Religion News Service
[Memories of Muhammad] attempts to discover the true Muhammad obscured by both hagiography and militant extremism...Safi is on the front edge of a generation of scholars who, with one foot in both worlds, are trying to explain Islam and the West to each other.”
Read the Spirit
“This book ranks as a milestone for non-Muslim readers. When most of the other books in this era are forgotten, people will continue to read Memories of Muhammad.”
Washington Post Book World Blog
“Omid Safi… brings the prophet into clearer focus with his book “Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters.” Safi provides a sweeping look at Muhammad’s life and explores many of the controversial issues that color modern perceptions.”
Spirituality and Practice
“Omid Safi... has written a rounded and revealing portrait of the life, work, and legacies of Muhammad.”
The Pilot
“Safi responds to all these Muhammad problems by giving us a highly readable and interesting retelling of the story of this man... [and] provides important background for anyone who wants to understand our friends and enemies among the more than one billion people who embrace Islam.”
Wisconsin Public Radio
“...Safi maintains that it is necessary to learn about the Prophet Muhammad in order to understand Islam and to engage in open and constructive dialogue.”
Boston Globe
“Safi makes his argument by simply and beautifully narrating the life of Muhammad. Beyond offering a biography of the spiritual leader, Safi explicates his spiritual teachings and describes how he has been remembered by Muslims over 1,400 years.”
Booklist (starred review)
“A fresh investigation of Islam’s Prophet that uncovers a complex personality. . . . [Safi’s] depiction of a profoundly humane and compassionate visionary offers a much needed corrective to the darker perspective promulgated by some Islamic extremists.”
Booklist
"A fresh investigation of Islam’s Prophet that uncovers a complex personality. . . . [Safi’s] depiction of a profoundly humane and compassionate visionary offers a much needed corrective to the darker perspective promulgated by some Islamic extremists."
Library Journal
★ 05/01/2014
This tribute to the life of Muhammad offers a graceful corrective to misapprehensions about Islam. Safi balances his own faith with a compelling portrait of a dynamic and powerful religion.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061231346
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/17/2009
  • Pages: 346
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Omid Safi, Ph.D., is professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he specializes in Islamic mysticism (Sufism), contemporary Islamic thought, and medieval Islamic history. He is also the author of The Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam and the editor of Progressive Muslims.

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