From the bestselling writer of ‘The History of God’ and the widely acclaimed ‘Islam – A Short History’ comes Karen Armstrong's ‘Muhammad’.
Muhammad was born in 570 C.E., and over the following sixty years built a thriving spiritual community, laying the foundations of a religion that changed the course of world history. There is more historical data on his life than on that of the founder of any other major faith, and yet his story is consistently misunderstood, and subject to much distortion and error. This story is more relevant now than ever, offering crucial insight into the true origins of an increasingly radicalized Islam.
An acclaimed authority on religious and spiritual issues, Karen Armstrong offers a balanced portrait of this revered figure. Through comparison with other prophets and mystics, she illuminates Muhammad's spiritual ideas; she uses the facts of his life, from which Muslims have drawn instruction for centuries, to make the tenets of Islam clear and accessible for modern readers of all faiths.
This is an immaculately researched new biography of Muhammad that dismantles centuries of misconceptions to reveal the man at the heart of Islam.
Praise for ‘The Spiral Staircase’:
‘The book deserves many readers…Karen Armstrong must be a Woman of Iron to have survived, made a career and a life.' Hilary Mantel
‘A subtle and funny memoir.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘An exceptionally impressive autobiography…Karen Armstrong’s account of her spiralling journey provokes thought and inspires respect.’ Daily Telegraph
About the author
Karen Armstrong spent seven years as a Roman Catholic nun and now teaches at the Leo Baeck College for the Study of Judaism and the Training of Rabbis and Teachers. A regular reviewer for the Sunday Times, her books include ‘A History of God’, ‘Holy War’, ‘The Gospel According to Women’, ‘The Battle for God, Islam: A Short History’ and ‘Through the Narrow Gate’. Her work has been translated into forty languages. She is the author of three television documentaries. In 1999 she was awarded the Muslim Public Affairs Council Media Award. Since September 11, 2001 she has been a frequent contributor to conferences, panels, newspapers and periodicals on both sides of the Atlantic on the subject of Islam and fundamentalism. She lives in London.
In a meticulous quest for the historical Muhammad, Armstrong first traces the West's long history of hostility toward Islam, which it has stigmatized as a ``religion of the sword.'' This sympathetic, engrossing biography portrays Muhammad (ca. 570-632) as a passionate, complex, fallible human being--a charismatic leader possessed of political as well as spiritual gifts, and a prophet whose monotheistic vision intuitively answered the deepest longings of his people. Armstrong ( The Gospel According to Woman ) refutes the Western image of Muhammad as an impostor who used religion as a means to power, an attitude encapsulated in a psychotic dream episode in Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. Denying that Islam preaches total intransigence, she finds in the Prophet's teachings a theology of peace and tolerance. The ``holy war'' urged by the Koran, in Armstrong's reading, alludes to each Muslim's duty to fight for a just, decent society. She draws significant parallels between the spiritual aspirations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Another great book, the best part are the first chapters which make us understand the arab culture and traditions of 6th century. Without understanding those traditions its impossible to appreciate the greatness, genius and virtue of prophet muhammad (PBUH).