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The reviewed book entitled Muhammad, Seal of the Prophets were written by Muhammad Zafrulla Khan in 1980. The book is aimed at highlighting various facets of Muhammad’s life and personality. The author also notes that this information is necessary to understand the value of the messages articulated by the prophet. The author’s credentials show the relevance of the book. Khan was a member of a missionary movement within Islam, the Ahmadiyya Muslim movement. Apart from that, he was Foreign Minister of Pakistan and the leader of the Pakistan Delegation to the General Assembly of the UN. Khan also was Judge of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
The reviewed part dwells upon the early years of Muhammad. The chapter starts with a brief description of one of the most important events in the Muslim world. Abraha, Yemen viceroy, tried to attack Mecca as he wanted Ka’aba to be demolished. Muhammad’s grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, who was the chief of the city attempted to persuade Abraha not to attack Mecca. However, Abraha did not give any reply, which made Abdul Muttalib tell the people of Mecca to leave their houses to remain safe during the attack.
He went to Ka’aba and prayed to God. The troops of Abraha were affected by a horrible disease and vanished almost entirely. People of Mecca, as well as people living in the desert and many tribes, understood that God could protect the holy place and those who worshiped him, “One True God” (Khan, 2012, p. 19). Ka’aba was also viewed as a place protected by God.
An important aspect of Muhammad’s life was the fact that he spent his childhood with tribes where he lived with a foster mother. The practice of sending children to a foster family was common among wealthy families of Mecca. Khan (2012) notes that this period contributed to the development of the prophet’s character that was “free and independent” and his ability to contemplate, remain in control of his feelings and words, and so on (Khan, 2012, p. 20). Muhammad also developed quite close bonds with his foster mother, as well as the tribe, which proved to be lasting as the prophet helped the people of the tribe many years later when there was a horrible drought. The prophet provided the resources necessary for the tribe’s survival.
Another important aspect of Muhammad’s early years was associated with the death of his close ones. The prophet’s father had died before Muhammad’s birth. His mother died when he was only six years old. The prophet was raised by his grandfather after his mother’s death. Abdul Muttalib loved his grandson and made everything to raise him as a good and honorable man. However, this period lasted two years only, and Muhammad lost a very close person again.
He was then taken to the house of Abu Talib. Khan (2012) stresses that all these losses also played an essential role in the development of Muhammad’s somewhat “pensive and meditative character” (p. 23). It is also emphasized that God guided the prophet and made him live through the events that made him the prophet who managed to unite people. It is noteworthy that Muhammad lost his close ones at an early age, but he was still loved and properly nurtured and educated.
The life in Abu Talib’s house, as well as his foster family’s choices, had a considerable influence on the prophet’s future life. Muhammad had to work to provide for himself as his family lost its high position in the Meccan society. Abu Talib was a merchant, and he often undertook mercantile journeys to different places. At the age of 12, Muhammad accompanied Abu Talib in one of such journeys and managed to understand some peculiarities of the business. Khan (2012) states that the future prophet gained valuable “opportunities of observation” that helped him become a wise and honorable man (p. 23).
Abu Talib also decided to find a job for Muhammad who was a young man in his twenties at that time. The prophet was employed by Khadija, a wealthy woman who sent caravans to different areas. Muhammad used his experience, as well as his wits and character, to make the business trip even more successful than expected. Later, Muhammad married Khadija, and they had many children. It is noteworthy that Muhammad took two boys and called them his sons. This kindness can be explained through the analysis of his early years when he was brought up by relatives or simply wise and loyal citizens.
It is possible to note that the message articulated by the author is successful. Khan (2012) reveals some of the most meaningful events in the prophet’s life. These events affected the development of his personality. It is clear that as a small boy, Muhammad had to endure many sorrows, but he also enjoyed the love and care of people around him. The described events help readers understand the power of Muhammad’s character.
Importantly, the author uses some quotations from Quran, which makes the evidence he provides valid and reliable. However, the piece would benefit from the use of other sources as well. The author does not refer to any outside source when describing the milestones of Muhammad’s life. Therefore, there is a certain area for improvement. Irrespective of this gap, the book is a valuable source of knowledge concerning the life and character of Muhammad. Readers can learn about the most influential events and the most aspects of his character. Some of the most striking and eye-opening facts provided in the book include Muhammad’s solution to the reconstruction of Ka’ab, or the prophet’s business activities.
In conclusion, it is necessary to note that the book under analysis is a good source of knowledge concerning the life and character of Muhammad. The book can be beneficial for different groups. Irrespective of age, cultural or educational background, socioeconomic status, and so on, people can enjoy reading the book in question. The author does not simply enumerate certain events but draws people’s attention to the most significant points.
The book can be recommended to people who want to know more about the Seal of the Prophets. The author uses quite simple language, which makes the target audience very large. Notably, the book is inspirational writing that encourages readers to seek more information associated with Muhammad, his life, and death. The author sheds light on Muhammad’s life, but this information helps readers better understand Islam. This religion appeared at a very difficult stage of the development of Arabic society. Islam became the glue that united different groups, clans, and individuals.
Khan, M. Z. (2012). Muhammad, Seal of the Prophets. London, England: Routledge & Kegan Paul.