Mathew's Reviews > Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet

Muhammad by Karen Armstrong
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Dec 21, 12


Unless you are a scholar of Islam, what you think you know about it is probably wrong - or at best, incomplete.

Karen Armstrong is one of the most lucid modern expositors of theology and religion. The fact that she considers herself atheist somehow lends her writing even more power. She is not alone among theologians who consider the contradictions and difficulties of faith to be the very essence of meaningful discourse on religion. But she may be alone in the incisive clarity with which she cuts through the fog of confusion that tends to obscure all things religious. And unlike so many scholars, she takes a broad look across the whole face of religion, looking for big themes that concern theists and atheists alike.

This book is important for several reasons. First, it is a fascinating read. In painting a very human portrait of the Prophet of the Islamic world, Armstrong sheds unexpected light on a religion much misunderstood and often reviled in the West. Second, it underscores Armstrong's larger concerns about unbridled bigotry of the Western world towards the Islamic. Whether or not you agree with her slant, you can't dismiss her concern for the violent rhetoric that increasingly pervades public discourse between Christendom and Islam. And it's hard to refute her argument that as much irrational hatred and vitriol streams from the supposedly rational Western world as from the Islamic.
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