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Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  240 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Who was the historical Muhammad, and how do Muslims remember him—as a holy prophet, a cultural revolutionary, a military leader, or a spiritual mystic? Unending media coverage of extremist fanatics, the controversy over offensive cartoon depictions of Muhammad, and fatwas against journalists and authors are all hard to ignore and have prejudiced our Western perceptions of ...more
Hardcover, 346 pages
Published November 17th 2009 by HarperOne (first published 2009)
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Andrew Marr
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
This gracefully-written book on the life of Muhammad and the crucial first four generations of the prophet's family following his life is an ideal introduction to the Islamic tradition. Safi's love of the prophet enlivens every page and it is impossible not respect him and his mission, even if one (such as myself) is of another faith. The peaceful disposition of the Prophet comes through and is a strong an important antidote to some people who make the newspaper headlines these days. A great boo ...more
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
Very readable, an introduction to Muhammad for non-Muslim readers. In the closing chapter, the author writes:

"for the past few years, the majority of Muslims have had to spend far too much time discussing what Islam is not about: Islam is not about extremism, Islam is not about terrorism, and Islam does not sanction the oppression of women. Somewhere along the way far too many have lost the opportunity to talk about what Islam does stand for, what it should stand for, and, with God's grace, what
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: islam
Omid Safi is just so nice and his niceness just flows into everything, even his writing :D if someone wants to know about the Prophet Muhammad, I'd recommend this book. It's an easy read and has Safi's trademark gentle wisdoms throughout. Even if you have read lots of books on the life of the Prophet, you will still find new information or new ways of looking at his life from this book. I got the impression it was written primarily with a non Muslim audience in mind, but he's remained fully cons ...more
Samar Dahmash Jarrah
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Yesterday I had Professor Omid Safi (of the Islamic Studies program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) on our live radio show, True Talk. The conversation was about his latest book, Memoris of Muhammad:why the prophet matters, which I finished reading last night. It’s not your typical biography of the Prophet; in fact it’s anything but a biography. The book is much deeper than that, exploring the philosophical philosophical dimensions of his life and bringing the reader to higher ...more
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religions, history
I majored in religion in college and took a few classes studying Islam. Some of the textbooks for those classes, histories of early Islam, still sit on my bookshelf. But it had been a while, so it seemed the right time to read another book on Islam. This book is a bit different then others I have read, and one reason for that is certainly being published after 9/11. How we talk about Islam in our culture is forever changed.

Another reason this is different is because those other books read like
Feb 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really like the author's balanced approach to differing interpretations of Mohamed and other aspects of Islam among Muslims globally, from the time of the Prophet up to today. This book can help Muslims understand one another better and also help non-Muslims understand Islam and Muslims better. Unlike Aslan in No God But God (which seems to be the popular book for non-Muslims to read about Islam), Safi is clearly still a Muslim yet he does not allow his own beliefs to cloud his impartial appro ...more
Mustafa Farhad
Dec 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
words from a lover, about the master of lovers.
Jul 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
This was a study of the life of Muhammad and his impact on Muslims today. The history was interesting, especially in relation to how the two factions of Sunni and Shi'i began.
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, school
I read this book for my Islamic Civilization class. It's not a book I probably would have read otherwise, mainly because I am not huge on non-fiction and will choose trashy novels or anything vaguely dystopian over anything else nine times out of ten. However, I thought that this was an intelligent, compassionate, well-written look at the life of Muhammad and the current state of Islam as it relates to the Prophet.

I am not one of those people who hates Islam and sees the entire, enormously popul
Houssam El okda
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I read books about religion, I always steer away from emotional writing. I.e. Books about Islam that are clearly written for people who heavily believe in Islam to make them feel good about their beliefs. This is not that kind of book.

This book relies on one thing: facts. It is written by an academic, first and foremost, and when opinions are present, they are backed up by a solid argument that is based on multiple sources of information. For example, this author cites The bible, as much a
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
My professor wrote this book. If you are looking to explore Islam and Muhammad's teachings and feel that the exposure you have now (through media, etc.) is biased and clearly not thorough, this is a great place to start. He writes on a simple level yet isn't pedantic. He clearly has a Shi'a bias though, but that's ok. I'm just happy to be reading about it.
Mohammad Ali
absolutely blown away. love this book!
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a Muslim reader, this book seamlessly weaved together many bits of history, religion, culture, and tradition that I had been immersed in from an early age. It of course makes sense that Safi is an academic- as the presentation of the Sira of Prophet Muhammad is notably more unbiased in this book than any other narrative I have encountered. Enlightening and enjoyable read :)
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mohamed Orikat
Apr 01, 2013 rated it liked it
very good book to read about the story, purpose and the effect of Prophet Muhhamed (PBUH)
specially when it comes from a writer with a Sufism background, which enriched the content of the book with spiritual and sensual prospective and add-ons
the issue with the book comes from the sectarian point of view of the writer, which wasn't recommended in this place.
as Shiia writer, he covered the section of the life after prophet Muhammed's death with his sectarian view.
as he stated in his book, one o
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was one of the best books about I've read about the prophet and the importance of the Islamic history. I've been trying to find a book about what cause the split between Sunnis and Shias for a long time and this book was able to give a clear answer.
There was also many tales about some of the most important people in the history of islam that i didn't even know about. Reading that book was enlightening and very knowledgable.
I would recommend this book for anyone that doesn't understand the
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
An interesting take on the well-known biography of the Prophet (S). Safi highlights critical points in the Seerah and provides some fresh insights for the benefit of muslims and non-muslims alike. Very well researched and presented and a must-read for people wishing to go beyond the staple "Muhammad" by Lings to extend their understanding of the Prophet (S), especially in a spiritual light. Safi is of Shi'ite background and therefore also presents a strong focus on the connection between the Pro ...more
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Goodreads review is excellent. Safi explained a great deal about Islam that I had not known before from earlier reading and from discussions with Muslim friends. The writing is clear and lyrical in passages.
I'd like to give this 4.5 stars, but I wonder how the author's Shi'ite background influenced his choice of which material he included and excluded. Perhaps a revision might include commentary of each chapter by Sunni and other Muslim scholars.
Jan 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Carolyn
very clear and answers a lot of questions. doesn't shy away from hard stuff and the fact of multiple interpretations. portrayal of the ahl al-bayt and massacre at Karbala is wonderful. the page i opened up to at first, about the role of God in Karbala -- one of the shi'a versions of "why do bad things happen to good people" -- echoes my own thoughts and faith journeys as I go about chaplaincy work.

Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: islam
Insightful, thoughtful, gentle and filled with spirit. A great book for delving into the heart of Islam.
Stony Point
Apr 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of the first books someone should read about Islam. New stock!
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: islam
Wonderfully written - lyrical in places and a text that will shed a lot of light for non-Muslims on the place of and traditions about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Islam.
Kamjat Khan
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Feb 22, 2015
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Nancy Turner
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Omid Safi is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he specializes on Islamic mysticism (Sufism), contemporary Islamic thought, and medieval Islamic history. He received his PhD from Duke University in 2000. Before coming to UNC, he was an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.

Safi is the
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