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Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  10,495 ratings  ·  478 reviews
Martin Lings’ biography of Muhammad is an internationally acclaimed, comprehensive, and authoritative account of the life of the prophet. Based on the sira, the eighth- and ninth-century Arabic biographies that recount numerous events in the prophet’s life, it contains original English translations of many important passages that reveal the words of men and women who heard ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 6th 2006 by Inner Traditions (first published 1983)
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Anti Wibawa
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who love Muhammad saw
Shelves: biography-memoir
i had read 3 of similar books, one of those was written by karen amstrong. however, after reading this book, i found my love for Muhammad saw, he is my true love. while reading it, i felt so close to him. i cried on some chapters. i read this book within 3 days.
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Like Abraham, Moses and Jesus before him, the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) came to unite not divide. From one vantage point the religion known as Islam is an evolution, culmination or perfection of expression regarding the One essence that is also known as the Real. From another perspective it shows how much nothing has changed. “Islam” or “submission to God” is simply a return to the true nature of who we are. Past all the religious externalities that have accumulated over centuries, Submission is ...more
Muhammad Abdullah

The biography of the world's most renowned personality, whose life is a perfect role model to follow for every human being who is belonging to any age or living in any part of the world.

This is one of the best book about the seerat of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) I have ever read. This book is awarded by both Pakistani and Egyptian governments. Martin Lings (Abu Bakar Saraj-ud-Din, a Muslim convert) describes the whole life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in a
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, religion
Muhammed: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources is true to its title. Martin Lings cleverly describes the social, economic and political aspects of Makkah in the pre-islamic times before narrating the life of Prophet Muhammed(PBUH).It really helps the reader to understand the people of its age. The Book also describes Prophet's earlier times as an orphan under his Uncle's protection. Being a muslim, I was brought up listening to Prophet's life & struggles and reading this book brings back a lot ...more
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in learning about Muhammad
Recommended to Hamidur by: Zawad Ahmed
Dear future me:

If you are told by someone that Muhammad was a peaceful man, consult this review or book immediately. Of course, you should remember that there were many instances when Muhammad's acts impressed you and made you think twice about him. In case you have forgotten the instances, remember when he wept while embracing a child of his dead companion, who had recently died? Also remember his patience and nonviolence while he was in Mecca and was vulnerable. Remember the restraint he showe
Apr 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those seeking meaning to Life
Best book I've ever read in English about the life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Based in the earliest classical sources, yet written in beautiful and fluid English.

To compliment it, listen to Hamza Yusuf's seerah tapes!
Mar 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: islam, want-to-buy
I've had this book 3 times and each time it winds up going to live at someone else's house.
That's how good it is!
Irving Karchmar
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Martin Ling's biography of the Prophet Muhammad, based on the earliest available sources, is a masterpiece of engaging writing on a immense topic, and he carries it off beautifully. From his birth and early life to his first marriage and the vision in the cave of the angel Gabrial, who ordered him to "recite," the Koran, this enthralling life is the best work on the subject so far. I loved it, and reread it often. Highly recommended to all who wish to know what Islam is about. ...more
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
I wonder if the high rating of this book comes from Muslims reading this book and loving how "true" it must be. Or perhaps, people were fascinated by the miraculous nature of Muhammad and his numerous "miracles" presented in this book. I will instead provide you with a separate light to understand this book.

Muhammad began his prophetic mission at the age of 40. While he certainly had a positive reputation amongst his people, due to his manners and his tribe affiliation, people began to seriously
Jul 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
what a great man Muhammad SAW was and how if people put their egos and prejudices aside they would discover the same..that he truly came as a mercy to makind.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-east, islam
It can be a delicate matter reviewing books that involve sacred texts and holy people. Let me be clear: this is a review of Muhammad the biography. It is not a review of Muhammad the Prophet.

The author Martin Lings was a Muslim convert and Arabic speaker who spent formative years in Cairo and earned a Ph.D. on Sufism at SOAS University of London in 1959. He had a brief career overseeing eastern manuscripts at the British Museum and Library. This biography of Muhammad was written in 1983 and rece
Sistri k
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
the best epic biography i've ever read but there's no word can descibe how great Muhammad is,,, ...more
Hasham Rasool
Before the appearance of this book, Western languages lacked almost entirely a comprehensive and authentic account of the life of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W)... Now, Lings...has produced a superb narrative that, in its sobriety and dignity of style and its scrupulous and exhaustive fidelity to authentic and reliable sources constitutes a major addition to Islamic literature in English. While remaining close to the Arabic sources he cites, Lings shows himself able to render Arabic speech in comp ...more
Ramiz Qudsi
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The thing with the Muslims writer in general is that when they start writing about the life and deeds of the Prophet they are so much in awe of the personality that they can barely portray him as a normal human being. They somehow always end up creating an image which is so close to the divinity.
In this context, Martin Lings has been extraordinary. He not only describes the Prophet as the way he was, but do so most elegantly. That feeling of being in awe of the person is completely missing, and
Ahmad Mushtaq
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Shelves: prophets
Love knowing more about the prophet.
Martin Lings did a great job in connecting the different puzzles together. The book requires some focus in the beginning as the reader will encounter many characters but then it will be easy once you have focused already.

I read the first 24% and the remaining I listened to the audio book version which can be found here for free:
Azimah  Othman
Jul 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly an extremely easy read. I enjoyed it very much. The first book that made me feel as if I really know the Prophet. I love the war chapters. Though very detailed, it made me feel as if I was there witnesssing them. BTW, I thought the discription of the Battle of Badr is a little mythtical in parts.
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Abu Bakr Siraj Ad-Din (Martin Lings) was a Muslim convert. Therefore, it must be understood that his rendering of the Prophet's (PBUH) narrative was a work of piety, and not necessarily one of historical scholarship.

This does not necessary mean that Lings' contribution is completely useless. For Muslims, the book is an eloquently written narrative of the Prophet(PBUH) which provides chronology and context for the revelation of the the Holy Qur'an and the several important hadiths.

For non-Musl
Jafar Isbarov
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jafar by: Farhad A.
(The Qur'an, 33:56) Verily God and His Angels whelm in blessings the prophet. O ye who believe, invoke blessings upon him, and give him greetings of peace.

This is exactly what I was looking for: no-nonsense, non-compromising, purely Islamic biography of Muhammad. I abhor Islamic Modernism; Martin Lings has not a single trace of it.

Mind you, this book does not treat Muhammad or anyone or anything else objectively. Martin Lings does not even try. If I started about controversial fact-claims, I
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really liked the narrative structure of this book, as well as the relative wealth of information included for a single volume, but I did have a few nitpicks about it. For one, the history isn't explored too much. Lings seems to use accounts of certain events that aren't even the most well-known, much less the most authenticated. It's almost as if he added in some elements of fiction (or at least speculation) to fill in the gaps. I'm sure this sort of book is hardly easy to write, but I would'v ...more
Sajith Kumar
Martin Lings was born in England and spent his higher studies in the US. At 31, he went to Cairo and became a lecturer in Cairo University. He learned Arabic and got immersed in the study of Sufism. He converted to Islam and adopted Abubakar Sirajuddin as his new name. Lings produced and staged Shakespearean plays which were always a fascination for him. He belonged to the perennialist stream of mystical philosophy and considered himself as a Sufi. The author wanted to be known by his adopted Mu ...more
Rosey Rouz
Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
What i liked most is that this book flows easily and reads like a novel. Its an excellent book for Muslims, but i wouldn't say its a good introductory book for non-muslims who know very little about Islam or have misconceptions, as i found this book didn't give much focus on the teachings of Islam but tends to focus more on the battles which took place to defend the muslims against attacking armies. I also felt sometimes a bit more context was needed for these battles.
My only other small issue w
Ahmad Sharabiani
Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, Martin Lings

It contains original English translations of many important passages that reveal the words of men and women who heard Muhammad speak and witnessed the events of his life.
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Best seerah book I've read so far. The details combined with Ling's excellent writing makes it a very worthwhile read. It was also refreshing to read a seerah that wasn't a translation ...more
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a simple straightforward biography of Prophet Muhammad saw. This is my 2nd read through, this time by audiobook and the audio version was lovely. Such a great read to start Ramadan, the month of Quran in which Muslims fast. Muhammad saw and the Quran are so linked, that his biography, which is known as seerah is pivotal in understanding some of the parts of the Quran. This is a great basic seerah and definitely the one I would recommend to anyone who is looking to know more about Islam or M ...more
Umm Y²
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book took me on a journey, I really wanted to go on. It was an amazing read. Loved it!
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I did little else for the past 2 days but read this, and I regret it not one bit.
It is too boring and I could not force myself to finish it at least for now:(
Faheem Hussain
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Best Prophetic biography in the English Language. Perhaps best modern biography period.
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was written by the scholar of Sufism Martin Lings. It treats the life of Muhammed based on the Hadiths and the Siras, mainly Ibn Ishaq's life of Muhammed( published by Oxford university press). The book is not trying to be a neutral critical edition of the life of Muhammed; it is written very much from the Hadiths etc. and maintains their version of the life Muhammad. It reads very much like a medieval islamic hagiography in the proper sense of the term, where miracles are recorded ove ...more
Hina Tabassum Khatri
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review originally published on Hina Loves To Read

For the full review, visit the blog.

What do I rate it?

To answer this question, I have to first answer as to what am I rating it on.

For the way it is written, I give it a 4. In between, it sort of gets confusing, Though I understand the reason for that is not on the part of the author. People in Arabia had a penchant for some names and people for the part had the same names and it got confusing as to who was being referred to at the time.

For th
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Martin Lings was an English writer and scholar, a student and follower of Frithjof Schuon, and Shakespearean scholar. He is best known as the author of a very popular and positively reviewed biography, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, first published in 1983 and still in print.

Lings was born in Burnage, Manchester in 1909 to a Protestant family. The young Lings gained an introduct

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“- The Azan story -

The five daily ritual prayers were regularly performed in congregation, and when the time for each prayer came the people would assemble at the site where the Mosque was being built. Everyone judged of the time by the position of the sun in the sky, or by the first signs of its light on the eastern horizon or by the dimming of its glow in the west after sunset; but opinions could differ, and the Prophet felt the need for a means of summoning the people to prayer when the right time had come. At first he thought of appointing a man to blow a horn like that of the Jews, but later he decided on a wooden clapper, ndqiis, such as the Oriental Christians used at that time, and two pieces of wood were fashioned together for that purpose. But they were never destined to be used; for one night a man of Khazraj, 'Abd Allah ibn Zayd, who had been at the Second 'Aqabah, had a dream whieh the next day he recounted to the Prophet: "There passed by me a man wearing two green garments and he carried in his hand a ndqiis, so I said unto him: "0 slave of God, wilt thou sell me that naqusi" "What wilt thou do with it?" he said. "We will summon the people to prayer with it," I answered. "Shall I not show thee a better way?" he said. "What way is that?" I asked, and he answered: "That thou shouldst say: God is most Great, Alldhu Akbar." The man in green repeated this magnification four times, then each of the following twice: I testify that there is no god but God; I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God; come unto the prayer; come unto salvation; God is most Great; and then once again there is no god but God.
The Prophet said that this was a true vision, and he told him to go to Bilal, who had an excellent voice, and teach him the words exactly as he had heard them in his sleep. The highest house in the neighbourhood of the Mosque belonged to a woman of the clan of Najjar, and Bilal would come there before every dawn and would sit on the roof waiting for the daybreak. When he saw the first faint light in the east he would stretch out his arms and say in supplication: "0 God I praise Thee, and I ask Thy Help for Quraysh, that they may accept Thy religion." Then he would stand and utter the call to prayer.”
“In after-years he would tell of an incident that took place at one of their encampments: "We were with the Prophet when a Companion brought in a fledgling that he had caught, and one of the parent birds came and threw itself into the hands of him who had taken its young. I saw men's faces full of wonderment, and the Prophet said: 'Do ye wonder at this bird? Ye have taken its young, and it hath thrown itself down in merciful tenderness unto its young. Yet I swear by God, Your Lord is more merciful unto you than is this bird unto its fledgling. And he told the man to put back the young bird where he had found it.

He also said: "God hath a hundred mercies,and one of them hath He sent down amongst jinn and men and cattle and beasts of prey. Thereby they are kind and merciful unto one another, and thereby the wild creature inclineth in tenderness unto her offspring. And ninety-nine mercies hath God reserved unto Himself, that therewith He may show mercy unto His slaves on the day of the Resurrection.”
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