In his lifetime Muhammad established a new religion, Islam; a new state, the first united Arabia; and a new literary language-the classical Arabic of the Qur'an. A generation after his death, he would be acknowledged as the founder of a world empire and a new civilization. Any one of these achievements would be more than enough to permanently establish his genius, but Muhammad also managed to stay true to himself and retained to his last days the humility, courtesy and humanity that he had learned as an orphan and shepherd boy in central Arabia. If one looks for a parallel example in the history of Christianity, one would have to combine Paul the Apostle with the Emperor Constantine and Francis of Assisi.
In a world where the understanding of religions is ever more essential, Barnaby Rogerson's book could not be better timed. A sharp, thoughtful, open-minded account, it brilliantly captures the historical resonance and spiritual significance of this leader, visionary and prophet....Continua