Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time
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The Man Who Inspired the World's Fastest-Growing Religion
Muhammad presents a fascinating portrait of the founder of a religion that continues to change the course of world history. Muhammad's story is more relevant than ever because it offers crucial insight into the true origins of an increasingly radicalized Islam. Countering those who dismiss Islam as fanatical and violent, Armstrong offers a clear, accessible, and balanced portrait of the central figure of one of the world's great religions.
accepted the revelations, but his uncles ‘Abbas and Hamzah did not, though their wives did. Muhammad’s son-in-law, Abu l-‘As, who had married his daughter Zaynab, refused even to consider the new religion. Naturally, this was distressing to Muhammad. Family solidarity was a sacred value, and like any Arab, he respected the elders of his tribe and clan. He expected leadership to come from the top, but it was the younger generation who responded to his message. The revelations had already started
one version of the story, Muhammad asks Moses for advice about how frequently Muslims should pray. Originally, God wanted salat fifty times a day, but Moses kept sending Muhammad back to God until the number of prescribed prayers had been reduced to five (which Moses still found excessive).8 The fact that this appreciation of other traditions is written into the archetypal myth of Muslim spirituality shows how central this pluralism was to early Islam. From this point, the Qur’an began to
up permanent residence with another. While awaiting developments in Yathrib, Muhammad made some changes in his household. He needed a wife, and it was suggested that he should marry Sawdah, the cousin and sister-in-law of Suhayl, the devout pagan chief of the Qurayshan clan of Amir. She had been married to one of the Muslims who had migrated to Abyssinia in 616, but was now a widow and this was a good match for her. Abu Bakr was also anxious to forge a closer link with the Prophet, and
On his return from Badr, he learned that his daughter Ruqayyah had died. ‘Uthman was sincerely grieved, but was glad to accept the hand of his late wife’s sister Umm Kulthum and retain his close relationship with the Prophet. One of the prisoners of war was Muhammad’s pagan son-in-law, Abu l-‘As, who had remained true to the traditional faith. His wife Zaynab, who was still living in Mecca, sent the ransom money to Medina together with a silver bracelet that had belonged to Khadijah. Muhammad
far more formidable opponent. In the late summer, a contingent of Muslim ghazis captured a large Meccan caravan. Abu Jahl would have retaliated immediately, but Abu Sufyan did not allow this defeat to interfere with his long-term objectives. He simply intensified his preparations, building up a large confederacy of Bedouin allies. Once the winter rains were over, three thousand men with three thousand camels and two hundred horses left Mecca on March 11, 625 and began their journey northward.