This work of sirah attempts to focus the reader on not only the details of the Prophet's life, but on the practical lessons which can be learned from...moreThis work of sirah attempts to focus the reader on not only the details of the Prophet's life, but on the practical lessons which can be learned from it, something which is prevalent in other works, but not nearly to this degree. Dr. al-Buti also levels an adequate response to Orientalist history when relevant, without detracting from the work. The translation is also well-done and fluid. This work deserves a new, well funded edition, as it is my opinion that it is one of (if not the) best work of sirah in the English language.
After giving more than sufficient amount of detail of the Prophet's life and mission, he then spends around 100 pages summarizing the rule of the Righteous Caliphate, continuing the "Lessons and Principles" for these chapters as well. In it, is included a wonderful clarification of the primary Shi`a misconceptions surrounding the political leadership of the early Muslim community in a manner that is perhaps as diplomatic, but unabashed as I have ever seen. He then concludes with a refutation of Ibn Taymiyyah's (may Allah forgive him) breaking with consensus on the issue of the permissibility and merit of visiting the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) with a level of succinctness that should put the issue to rest.
This book is amongst my essential reading list for English-speaking people and it is perhaps the only book I have ever read where the introduction was perhaps as important as the book itself. Though others have noted it should be read as a supplement to other Prophetic biographies, it is not short on detail and anyone reading attentively would have a firm grounding in the subject. Thus, rather than it being a supplement to other works, I would rather suggest that more details works be read as a supplement to it!(less)
The beauty of this book is that Dr. Hamid Algar relies on Saudi historical writings themselves to proves his case. As it is an essay, it is quite shor...moreThe beauty of this book is that Dr. Hamid Algar relies on Saudi historical writings themselves to proves his case. As it is an essay, it is quite short. I only wish it was expanded into a full-fledged book.(less)
Professor Ehrman writes in a highly accessible and entertaining style. The message is profound: forgery was a widespread practice in Early Christianit...moreProfessor Ehrman writes in a highly accessible and entertaining style. The message is profound: forgery was a widespread practice in Early Christianity - so widespread that in one way or another, it found its way into almost half of the books of the New Testament. But as it is not a new claim, I got the book to serve as a comparison between the canonization of Christian scripture and hadith authentication. With that aim in mind, I appreciate Ehrman's focus on the discipline of textual criticism and how it applies to Christian religious literature. He purposely avoided duplicating his previous works, only mentioning their content as needed to provide examples to demonstrate his contentions.
Having not entirely read his previous works (this is all the local library had in stock at the time), I would imagine it is not as profound or have the shock value of something like Jesus Interrupted or Misquoting Jesus for a general audience. I would also assume that it was written in part as an answer to his critics and for that reason, it will probably not be as well received.
All I can think of when reading this book is the Prophetic curse, "Whoever lies on me, let him take his seat in the Hell-fire" and how fearful the early Muslim community was of making even unintentional mistakes. Much could be said on that topic... Giving the more academic nature of this particular work, I would recommend this as a companion piece to his previous publications. It would be more readily appreciated by people concerned with methodology and jurisprudence - two subjects which bore most people. (less)
Reads like a textbook, probably because it is one... Extremely dry and factual. There are some contentions with some of the information here and there...moreReads like a textbook, probably because it is one... Extremely dry and factual. There are some contentions with some of the information here and there, but the author attempted to be as unbiased as she could while recognizing that she is in fact an outside observer. I read the book to get a grasp on the effects of the global and internal slave trade upon Africa during the time period, along with the forms that slavery took internally amongst the Muslim and animist populations. She did do an excellent job with the subject overall. She also does an good job with the effects of the climate (which is extremely relevant given the affects of climate change on the poorer nations of the world), as well as Christian and Muslim movements upon the populace.
I struggled through the first half of the book, putting it down several times and nearly gave up on it. The second half read a little easier, mostly because I paced myself and read only a few pages at a time. It hence took me four months to complete it. It isn't something that you can just read in a few sittings: it literally put me to sleep several times and I had to stop reading it before driving any considerable distance. This is a decent college textbook, but I would not recommend it as a casual read.(less)