The Jewel of Medina: A Novel

The Jewel of Medina: A Novel

by Sherry Jones

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780825305184
Publisher: Beaufort Books, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/15/2008
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Since the publication of her controversial first novel, [i]The Jewel of Medina[/i], Sherry Jones has spoken to audiences around the world on censorship, freedom of speech and the many issues around fictionalizing the lives of historical figures. [i]The Sword of Medina[/i] is her second novel.

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Jewel of Medina 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Ian_Page More than 1 year ago
I have just read the Jewel of Medina and it is an inspiring, well written adventure that brings the early days of the Muslim religion to life. This is my first exposure to the Muslim culture and it is a very positive experience. Muhammad, A'isha and Ali become real people expressing honest human emotions and a genuine desire for creating a religion of peace, understanding and equality. This is such a relief from their minimalist image portrayed by today's Muslim extremists. The Jewel of Medina held my attention from the opening prologue and never faltered. It is fast paced, complex, emotional and even lighthearted as Muhammad, A'isha and Ali each evolve into powerful leaders for their faith. Read the Jewel of Medina for entertainment, understanding and compassion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just read the Jewel of Medina and it is an inspiring, well written adventure that brings the early days of the Muslim religion to life. This is my first exposure to the Muslim culture and it is a very positive experience. Muhammad, A'isha and Ali become real people expressing honest human emotions and a genuine desire for creating a religion of peace, understanding and equality. This is such a relief from their minimalist image portrayed by today¿s Muslim extremists. The Jewel of Medina held my attention from the opening prologue and never faltered. It is fast paced, complex, emotional and even lighthearted as Muhammad, A'isha and Ali each evolve into powerful leaders for their faith. Read the Jewel of Medina for entertainment, understanding and compassion.
DaDa More than 1 year ago
Jewel of Medina is a scorching tale of exploitation and eroticism... told with a knowing tenderness and yet brutal and pointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a page turner that tells a wonderful and compelling story about the beginning and maturation of the relationship between the Prophet Muhammad and his favorite wife A'isha. Through that story we get not only to see A'isha's character grow and mature, but we also learn something of the struggle of Muhammad and his followers to practice their faith, and worship their God as they wished. In the hands of author Sherry Jones, A'isha is shown as a remarkable and irresistible character. How A'isha learns to deal with these obstacles, how she learns to live as one of several wives of the prophet, and how the experiences contribute to her growth and strength as a woman constitutes the central conflict in the story, and its resolution is truly beautiful. The Jewel of Medina is historical fiction in the best sense of the genre. Jones' writing style is a pleasure, always inviting us deeper into the story, often soaring, and is always a veritable feast of metaphors! It is, of course, written with modern sensibilities, and the author takes full advantage of artistic license to create vibrant and living characters from historic personages about whom little in the way of everyday detail is known. If 'text book' history is sometimes modified to suit the dramatic requirements of giving us a forceful narrative, the story is accurately anchored in history at all the key points, and thus gives us non Muslims a glimpse into the very human side of Islam and its founding prophet, and and particularly of his plucky and adventurous favorite 'jewel' of a wife A'isha.
susiesharp on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This was historical fiction telling the story of A'isha Bint Abi Bakr child bride of the Prophet Muhammad. It's set at the beginning of the of Islam, while it is a story of the beginnings of Islam it is more a story of A'ish and her life. It¿s told in first person from A'isha's point of view, she was promised/engaged to Muhammad very young and married him when she was 9 years old. She was his third wife and after seeing her mother be a kind of slave to the head wife in her own home A'isha vows to be hatun or "Great Lady" and never be a slave to anyone. A'isha is just a child when she marries Muhammad and has a quick tongue and a jealous streak that gets her in trouble alot, she can be rash and petty but she is also strong, independent and eventually very loyal to those she allows to love her.I enjoyed this book I've read alot of historical fiction but never any set in this time and place so it was a new experience for me. It was interesting how Ms. Jones brings a humanity to Muhammad that maybe we non-Muslims didn't know about him like how he treated his wives he listened to their opinion and would never have beat them, which in that day and age no matter what religion was something different.I will be reading the next book in this series to see what happens to everyone after the sadness at the end of this book.I would say if you like historical fiction with a good love story try this book.
CatieN on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is the story of the birth of the Muslim religion told through the eyes of the Prophet Muhammad's child bride, A'isha. Excellent writing and very interesting to this reader who knew nothing about Islam. This is a love story but a very realistic one. Life was not easy in Arabia in the year 622. War and drought and lack of food were the only constants. Add into the mix the fact that Muhammad had many wives who lived in his "harem" and that A'isha was a very jealous wife, this created a lot of competition and drama. Most of the marriages involved politics and alliances in furtherance of Islam. I did feel the book tried to cover too much territory at the expense of character development, but it was still a good read.
zibilee on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A'isha bint Abi Bakr has known the prophet Muhammad all her life; in fact, he was present at her birth. When her father, a close ally to Muhammad, decides to cement his loyalty and friendship to the prophet by betrothing A'isha to him when she is just 6 years old, her fate as his "child-bride" begins. Though A'isha will not be married to Muhammad for three years, her betrothal to the prophet brings many unusual changes into the life of the young girl. Beginning with an unusually early purdah (forced segregation from the opposite sex), A'isha discovers that life as Muhammad's favored wife will not be an easy task. Not only must she give up her freedom and taste for adventure, she must navigate a path to her husband's heart among a plethora of other women who also call Muhammad "husband," and forsake the man who is her true heart's desire. As A'isha grows from child to woman, the new religion of Islam, under Muhammad's care, grows with her. The Jewel of Medina is the little-known story of the woman behind Allah's chosen messenger; Here are A'isha bint Bakr's desires, disappointments and dreams for all to see, woven amongst the inception of one of the worlds most formidable and misunderstood religions.After hearing all the hype surrounding this book, I was expecting a tome filled with controversy. I wasn't sure what it would deliver. Would it be a blasphemous portrayal of the foremost man of Islam? Would it be slanderous or rife with sexual impropriety? What could possibly be so contentious about this book? So, I read it, and what I found was a bit disappointing. The book, although interesting and timely, was a bit heavy-handed and trite. It seems that the elements that were most upsetting must have been Muhammad's taking so many wives. His appetite for women and marriage seemed at times almost comic and unbelievable. If a new woman was described in the narrative, chances are that in a few pages Muhammad would take her as a wife. This portrayal made Muhammad seem like an unscrupulous and lewd old man. I believe that was one of the reasons it was so hard for me to see this character as a great leader to many people. I just couldn't believe a man who had such tremendous sexual appetites was a holy and revered man. In a way, this depiction made Muhammad look manipulative and crafty. For example, when he heard the voice of God commanding him to take more wives, he claimed his need for more women only had to do with strategic alliances for Islam. But tied up in these protestations was the story of a lusty man amassing a harem of women. Which brings me to my next point: This unabashed parade of new wives seemed to be the center of the story.Instead of character or story development, it seemed that the story was about many women fighting over one man. The story had no other underlying plot than the jealousies and competitions of A'isha and the rest of the women. Instead of relating the story of one woman's love and relationship with a charismatic leader, what I got instead was a novel full of infighting, insecurity and envy. When I realized that this book was not going to be the serious piece of semi-history that I had hoped for, I was able to take it for what it was and begin to enjoy the ride. As far as historical romance goes, this wasn't a bad book. The problem is that with all the attention surrounding this book, readers may be expecting a more factual or enlightening interpretation of Islam and it's first lady, when in fact this is more of a book filled with unrequited romantic intrigue.I also felt that the book contained a weak interpretation of Muhammad. As a reader, I never saw him as a forceful personal leader. In fact, he seemed a bit wishy-washy and irresolute. Without belaboring the point, the fact was that he was so busy with all of his wives that he was never seen in any other capacity. Another thing that I noticed was that the book also had almost no atmospheric touches, so it seemed that there was a scarcity of historic
lookingforpenguins on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Quick Synopsis:The Jewel of Medina is a historical fiction novel about A'isha bint Abu Bakr, one of the Prophet Muhammad's numerous wives and, according to Muslim history, his favorite. The story is told in first person and covers A'isha's life from childhood to young adulthood (she was 18 years old when Muhammad died.)The Tempest in a Teapot:Much controversy has surrounded this debut novel from Sherry Jones. It was originally picked up by Random House in a two-book, $100,000 deal in 2007. Prior to scheduled publication in August of 2008, galleys were sent out and a subsequent firestorm erupted when a University of Texas Professor by the name of Denise Spellberg decided to warn Random House that the book could incite violence from radical Muslim groups, calling the book "an ugly, stupid piece of work" and "soft-core pornography."Random House dropped the book like a hot potato. Some people screamed "censorship!". Others screamed "heresy!". The publishing world was in an uproar. Enter British publisher Gibson Square, who picked up the rights and published the book. A short time later, Gibson Square headquarters were set on fire in an apparently related arson case.Long story short, Beaufort Books, a small American publishing house who apparently knows a cash-cow when they see one, picked up the rights here in the U.S. and that's how it ended up in my reading pile.The Literary CriticismWhile I wouldn't go so far as to call it "an ugly, stupid piece of work," as Ms. Spellberg did, it's not going to be nominated for any literary awards in the near future. I found the novel to be something of a missed opportunity. Jones writes the novel from A'isha's viewpoint, but rather than exploring the thoughts and actions of a 7th-century Middle Eastern girl caught up in the birth of a major new faith that will change the course of history, she instead gives us a fluffy historical romance novel.Now there's nothing wrong with a good romance novel, in my elevated opinion. (The Thornbirds, anyone?) Unfortunately, The Jewel of Medina doesn't even make a good romance novel. Jones tries to use the ol' tried-n-true romance formula:1. Girl yearns for freedom to be an independant, free spirit who transcends the gender limitations of her era.2. Somewhere along the way she falls in love with the perfect man.3. They clash.4. They overcome the obstacle.5. They live Happily Ever After.The reason this formula works in a historical romance novel is because modern-day women identify with the protagonists goals, which are quite attainable in the 21st-century. But it is a formula and an overused one, at that.The problem with this formula in The Jewel of Medina is that A'isha was but six years old when Muhammad asked for her hand in marriage and only nine years old when the marriage was consummated. By modern day standards this would be considered the rape of a child. Jones tries to gloss over this by delaying consummation of the marriage until A'isha is a teenager and at the same time presenting A'isha as much more mature than a child could possibly be. She is given thoughts and dialogue more consistent with a much older girl. Except she plays with toy horses. Alot. With Muhammad (which only makes him look creepier. I can see why this might offend some people.)Jones never seems to reconcile exactly how she wants to paint the Prophet Muhammad. She seems to go out of her way to emphasize his compassion and enlightened (at least by 7th-century standards) views of women. Yet when it comes to his acquisition of wives, which was common for the time, she ends up giving us a lecherous old man. Perhaps a dichotomy was intended, but it only reads as inconsistency instead.Similes abound and are so heavy that they sometimes illicit an unintended chuckle:"That evening I stepped into the courtyard to see the moon. It dangled like an ornament from the bejeweled sky, dipped in gold and looming so close it beckoned my fingers to reach out and pluck it."Dialogue doesn't fare m
alaskabookworm on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Earlier this year, in an attempt to learn more about Islam, I spent some time trying to find a fictionalized account of Muhammad¿s life. At the time, I felt this would be a starting point for learning more about the foundations of Islam. Though my search was certainly not exhaustive, it was purposeful, but in the end I didn¿t find any historical fiction about early Islam. I remembered thinking this seemed odd; a completely unmet literary niche. But since I had no plans to write such a book myself, I settled instead for a couple of nonfiction books by Karen Armstrong, which were highly recommended as primers about Muhammad and Islam.By the time Sherry Jones¿ book ¿The Jewel of Medina¿ became an LT ER option, I¿d forgotten about my earlier quest to find historical Islamic fiction. Consequently, I neglected to realize that ¿The Jewel of Medina¿ is actually something of an extraordinary undertaking. It wasn¿t until I was well over half way through the book that I learned about its controversial publication. ¿The Jewel of Medina¿ tells the story of A¿isha, who was married to Muhammad at a very young age (nine?). Her story explores the unique perspective of not only being a child bride, but also of being one of many wives. A¿isha¿s life occurs during a significant historical crossroads; she was witness to the birth of one of the world¿s great religions, and all the bumps that attended that birth. It is also a story about love and friendship, communication and trust. It illustrates A¿isha¿s journey towards finding peace with oneself and one¿s lot in life. While Muhammad is certainly a central character, this is a book about women, and its plotline is driven by their actions and feelings. From a strictly literary standpoint, the book is mediocre. It is a moderately engaging story; neither difficult book to put down or difficult to pick up. Jones spends most of her time drawing the female characters and fleshing them out (specifically from A¿isha¿s perspective; the book is written in the first person). There is little room given to the sights, smells, and atmosphere of being in 7th Century Middle East. Consequently, that place to which the reader longs to step into is disappointingly blank. Little of the imagery lingers; there is little sensory stimulation. This was disappointment for me, because the aspect of historical fiction I most enjoy is to be transported to another place and time. Authors are supposed to write what they know, and though Jones is certainly a woman and writes about women¿s issues, she isn¿t Muslim. Jones¿ characters seem to be drawn heavily from a 20th Century perspective. There is a chasm of character-intuition that is self-defeating. This is a book more about feminism, 7th Century-style, and less about Islam itself.Furthermore, I kept encountering the fatal flaw of a lot of historical fiction: how much of the story can be trusted as factual? For me, and a lot of my reading friends, this is a significant question. When this question comes between me and my ability to absorb the story, there is a problem. Especially when the story in unfamiliar territory. Jones¿ novel is relationally-driven, rather than driven by historical fact. For a story about the origins of one of history¿s most influential and significant religions, the book is notably void of spirituality. This may be part of the inherent problem with writing about another person¿s faith. The lack of Muhammad¿s poetic revelations is notable. Everyone in the story seems to be paying lip service to ¿al-Lah¿, but there seems to be no real ¿showing it¿ examples of the characters being molded and shaped by God. There is no sense of any character ¿ Muhammad included ¿ having a genuine encounter with God. On the plus side, what Jones does right is to make her characters fully human. Despite their historical importance, they make mistakes; they are driven by lust, greed, and selfishness. In this sense, they are real and ac
xrayedgrl on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This was an awesome book, the main character was one of Mohammad's wives. She was a child bride and this book chronicles her struggle to become a woman, and to find her place in life, and love. I would definately recommend this book to others and plan on reading the sequel as soon as it comes out.
shsb on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is the story of The Prophet Muhammad's second wife, A'isha. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found the writing to be elegantly descriptive--I felt like I could see, hear, and even smell exactly what A'isha was experiencing. I also enjoyed learning more about the birth of Islam as a religion. I was actually sad to see this book end--I finished it in 1 day! Throughout the read, I did have to keep reminding myself of A'isha's young age--she was known as Muhammad's child bride because she was married to him at age 9.I highly recommend this book to Historical Fiction fans, those interested in the roots of Islam, and those who like to read books about strong, empowered women.
damfino83 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I'm not really sure who this book would or was supposed to appeal to. If you're looking forward to learning a bit about the history of the Muslim faith while enjoying a nice fiction narrative (like I was), you will pick up a bit of 101 level knowledge but that's about it. For those well-versed in the faith and members of it- well many have found a lot to object to and may just become frustrated. If you're a romance fan- well, I just didn't find the situation at all romantic. There's a few light situations but no humor, and no real warmth. It's funny that this book claimed so much controversy- it's so light, unsubstantial and quickly forgettable that while it DESERVES to be published, I guess I don't see what the publisher did when they decided to pick this up.
PattyJC on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is a wonderful book that I highly recommend to fans of historical fiction. It is the story of the Prophet Muhammad second wife, his child bride A'isha. Through her eyes, we experience the struggle of being the young wife of Prophet Muhammad, growing up in the harim. We also get a taste of the birth of Islam and the politics of the day.The writing is wonderful and quite descriptive without being overbearing. It sucked me into A'isha's world, a world so different from today's world. I only wished I could have known more about what happened to A'isha in her later years. Would she continue to be the same strong woman, ready to battle for the people and religion she loved?
Sararush on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Jewel of MedinaSherry JonesThe Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones is set in the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad¿s harim and the plot consists of the battle to win his favor. The story is told entirely from the point of view of A¿isha, Muhammad¿s most beloved bride amongst a bevy of beautiful wives. Married at nine she is affectionately called ¿child bride¿, and as such her position in the harim is constantly undermined. As she navigates the politics of Muhammad¿s harim, she is embroiled in controversies, intrigues and betrayals. As she comes of age, A¿isha tests the concepts of faith and love.A book for Muslims and Non-Muslims alike, Jones¿ subject matter is absorbing. A¿isha is a strong central heroine who you can¿t help but root for. For example, I¿ve never rooted so hard for a pre-teen to consummate her marriage (as disturbing as that is). Jones¿ admits some liberties, but also educates genuinely educates her reader about Muhammad¿s times and the origins of Islam. Though billed as historical fiction, the language leans a little flowery, and at times the story¿s tension will remind you of a romance novel. And beware--some readers will find some of the subject matter offensive. But if you¿re a fan of the ¿histomance¿ genre, this book is definitely recommended. But do be prepared for a cliff hanger ending, and the anticipation of Jones¿ second book in the series.
Lallybroch on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A'isha was a fairly likeable heroine. She was strong willed and quick witted, and this was both a blessing and a curse. Her sharp tongue often caused her problems with her sister-wives and her husband. Her immaturity also came through, as it should, as she was quite young when she married Muhammad. One critic of the book called it "soft-core pornography", and I found that to be grossly exaggerated. The writing was a bit flowery for my taste, but not even remotely explicit. I believe that the criticism of the book was based on the fact that Muhammad was not always written in the most flattering light. For example, there are a couple of scenarios in the book where A'isha thought Muhammad's love of power was greater than his love of God.My favorite part of the book was the interaction between the sister-wives. This gave a sense of the times they lived in and also highlighted how most women were treated. Muhammad was an exception in that he seemed to listen to and value the opinion of his wives.For me, good historical fiction makes you want to read and learn more about the time period the book was set in. The Jewel of Medina introduced me to an interesting time, and I would like to learn more.
karen_o on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A fictionalized account of the life of the presumed favorite wife of the Prophet Muhammad, nine-year old Aisha bint Abu Bakr. Though I know very little about the subject presented and thus cannot verify its historical accuracy, it did ring true to what little I do know of the period. Many might think that Aisha's attitudes seem far too modern but this is the woman who fought for Islam after the death of her husband. This is an engaging story and well told. I predict it will be a big hit among women with both an interest in the subject and a penchant for stories with a romantic bent.
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
Not knowing much about the documented life of Muhammad - I can't speak to the accuracy of this story. Accuracy aside - this was a very well written historical novel. The characters came to life and I became attached to just about all of them. The story follows Aisha from the time she is 6 and through her life as one of Muhammad's many wives. There is love and tragedy - sins and forgiveness - war and peace, all very well written in a way that kept me wanting to read more and more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought a hard copy at a dollar tree hoping for something to read that wasnt aweful. This book is outstanding.you love and hate each charecter. If you like historical fictioh, romance, and/or stories about other cultures this is a MUST read.
Leena_Clifford More than 1 year ago
I'm not even past chapter 10 (yet). However I can tell that this book is gonna be amazing. I know that I am rooting on the side of Muhammad and A'isha. I want Muhammad to protect his people and I want A'isha to win over Muhammed and serve her people. The history lesson this book provides is also makes it worth while. Everyone always needs to learn new and different things. This is a way to learn a little about the creation of Islam through the eyes of a child (and finally a young woman).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book not too long ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I did not put the book down at all! It is a wonderful blend of history and fiction, the emphasis being on the fiction part. I did not come to know about the controversy surrounding the book until after I had read it, to me it seemed completely understandable why people would not be fond of this book and the way the story is written, considering it's about the prophet Mohamed and his youngest bride A'isha. It's written in her perspective and if you are a fan of historical novels this is an absolute wonderful read. If you can look past the fact that it is written about Mohamed and take the story for what it is: a young girls tale of coming of age as an individual, a wife, and becoming accustomed to her place in her marriage and the world at a time when her husbands mission holds utmost importance, then you will enjoy this book just as much as I did.
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