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Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction

(Very Short Introductions)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  156 ratings  ·  23 reviews
As the founder of Islam, a religion with over one billion followers, Muhammad is beyond all doubt one of the most influential figures in world history. But learning about his life and understanding his importance has always proven difficult, as our only source of knowledge comes from the biography of him written by his followers, the reliability of which has been questione ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 15th 2011 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published March 1st 2011)
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4.01  · 
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 ·  156 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Mohammad Javad
Jul 05, 2017 added it
Shelves: history
I bought this book after participating in one of Dr Brown's talks. I was impressed by his genuine efforts to present history in a scholarly and non-biased way a quality that I found in the writing of this book too. The book also has great suggestions at the end for further reading which is very helpful.
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! Based on the title, it isn't something on the surface that would really interest a "veteran" Muslim however, this book gives a good once over of the life of the Prophet and includes little known facts and opinions. For the novice, this is an excellent start to learn about Muhammad and the aura that surrounds him. It is written in short, easy to read paragraphs and the book can be read easily in a few sittings and keeps the reader interested and encouraged to finish. Nothing I hat ...more
Barbara Burd
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book for the Bridging Ccultures: Muslim Journeys book discussion. This is a project sponsored by the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The very short introduction books provide brief overviews of specific topics. Brown is a well-known and distinguished scholar of the Muslim culture and was an excellent choice as the author of this book. Brown addresses the life of Muhammad from the historical and cultural context and pieces together the narra ...more
Mehrukh Nasim
May 29, 2016 rated it liked it
'Short' being the operative word! the ending was a bit abrupt, too!
Left me yearning for a detailed version!
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An impartial work of condensed scholarship. Very accessible.
Nov 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Was pretty good. Sometimes confusing. But a short overview.
Christopher Roberts
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
While reading through the Oxford " very short introduction" series I have to evaluate the books by two standards. If it is a subject I know little or nothing about then I have to go by how much it teaches me. If it is a subject that I know a lot about though, I have to go by how well explained it is. In the case of the ones on subjects I know little about, there is a chance that I might have a simplified view of the subject from the book, and not even realize it. I am starting to wonder if my re ...more
Joseph Ruelas
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction is a historical, scholarly analysis of the life of the prophet Muhammad. Mr. Brown thoroughly describes the life of Muhammad from his genealogy to his teachings and their effect. This book provides a distinctly cultural look on the life of Muhammad in which the author dives into what one might call “Muhammad culture” and what that consists of. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. Another feature of this work that I noticed is the detail and historical fac ...more
Alex Linschoten
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: islam, ah
A clear and comprehensive overview of the Prophet Muhammad's life story and the ways in which it has been used and interpreted over the years since his death.

This book is split into three sections. In the first, Brown retells Ibn Ishaq's well-known 'sira' of the Prophet's life. In the second, these events are placed into historical context. In the final section, Brown looks at how Muslims have interpreted and added to the bare facts of the Prophet's life over the years, and how critics of Islam
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read for school. It does an amazing job not only telling te life of Muhammad as through the religious lenses but also through the critical historical perspective. A great introduction if anyone is wanting to learn more about Islam and it’s founder.
Daniel Wright
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Chapter 1: The life of the Messenger of God
Chapter 2: Shaping Muhammad in history
Chapter 3: Muhammad in Islamic civilization
Vince Ciaramella
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
First I would like to say that the series "A short introduction" have become on of my favorite things in the world. There are lots of great books and topics available that give you what you want without all the fluff or bias. This volume was no exception.

Muhammad has to be one of the most controversial figures in human history. To one billion, he is the Messenger of God and the Seal of the Prophets. To others he is a charlatan, mad, or the Anti-Christ. No matter where you stand on the issue this
Jan 11, 2015 rated it liked it
I decided to read this book in order to find out more about Islam following the Charlie Hebdo killings in France.

The book is split into three parts: the first is about the life of Muhammad as it would be related by a devout Muslim; the second part looks at the life of Muhammad from an historical standpoint, looking at the sources for the accounts of his life and explaining the context in which the religion of Islam developed; the final part of this short book, entitled Muhammad in Islamic Civil
Aly Lakhani
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Although the first third of the book is heavily and sometimes maddeningly Sunni, the author clarifies and critiques the popular mainstream narrative and very academically explains to his audience how exactly the image of the Prophet evolved as the Sunni dynasties were trying to find their own identity. He also fends off the accusations of the Satanic whispers and the problems modern historians have of the Muslim-written biography of their own Prophet. Very good and concise read that should get t ...more
Margaret Sankey
May 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Another winner from the Very Short series, offering an even-handed account of the life of Muhammad, followed by a chapter on the context of the Prophet's life and a conclusion examining the way in which Muslim scholars sorted the hadith and the modern historiography of Muhammad's biographers. As always, the bibliography is useful in locating key supporting texts and the volume is a useful gateway to any further inquiry.
Saad Omais
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
An excellent introduction to anyone who wishes to know about Muhammad, be it Muslims, skeptics, atheists, historians or even anthropologists. Brown has done a great job in thoroughly addressing every single issue that has been raised, while in a simple and straightforward manner. Already considering reading his other two books: Muhammad's Legacy and Misqouting Muhammad.
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very well written. Includes a window in the reverent Muslim account of the Prophet's life (upon him blessings and peace). Balanced between this account and modern historical criticism. But not perfect, perhaps understandably so for a necessarily short work.
Megan RFA
Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I liked the format. Narrative-style telling of Muhammad's life, followed by two more chapters of scholarly input.
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This was, indeed, a very shorty introduction. And a very good one at that.
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I had decided to learn a little more about Islam, and so picked up this book. I think it really helped my own understanding of the faith and its people.
Apr 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting reading, a little slow.
rated it liked it
Oct 04, 2012
Mark Devenney
rated it it was amazing
Sep 06, 2017
Tim Goodacre
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Nov 05, 2013
Izar Surau
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Jul 05, 2013
Abdel-minem Mustafa
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Sep 26, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Jul 07, 2013
Andrew Wardle
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Aug 04, 2015
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May 20, 2019
Azwar Iqbal
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Jan 15, 2018
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Jonathan Andrew Cleveland Brown is an American scholar of Islamic studies. Since 2012, he has been associate professor at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He holds the Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization at Georgetown University.

He has authored several books including Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy

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