The Messenger, The meanings of the life of Muhammad by Tariq Ramadan, who is also known as one of the most important innovators of 21ST century by Times magazine, deserves wide readership. The book has a different style of presenting events and interpreting the meanings of life of Muhammad (saw).
Though classical biographies give us a detailed account of historical facts, great achievements, or famous wars of the messenger but there is no profit in dealing with them exhaustively, this book focuses on narration of the story of his life, on situations , attitudes or words that could reveal Muhammad (saw)’s personality and what it can teach and convey us today. It approaches Muhammad (saw) life from the perspective of our own times considering how it still speaks to us and what its contemporary teachings are.
The book is strictly faithful to the classical biographies as far as chronology is concerned but constantly introduces reflections and comments of a spiritual ,Philosophical ,social , judicial ,political or cultural nature. It tries to make Messenger’s life a mirror through which readers facing the challenges of our times can explore their hearts and minds and achieves an understanding of questions of being and meaning as well as broader ethical and social concerns.
Muhammad (saw)’s relationship and dealings specially with non-Muslims, his trust and treaties with them, His overall approach towards diversity of human thoughts and beliefs is expressed many times in this book. It teaches us lessons and brings out many points which often are neglected or discarded but they play a very vital role in our understanding of how do we address the diversities and live in a plural society. It draws lessons which are crucial for Muslims and Non-Muslims alike.
No book can be last word on the Prophet (saw)’s life, and as time passes we will see many more exploration of this final Messenger. Readers will find a spiritual experience while going through this discourse, It is interspersed with spiritual & philosophical meditations and shows how Muhammad (saw) message can be used to address some of today’s most controversial issues ..from the treatment of the poor and the role of women to the interpretation of jihad and relations with other religions.
Mirza Kamran Baig
(sio-india.org / 23.09.2011)