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Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time (Anglais) Relié – Séquence inédite, 17 octobre 2006

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

Karen Armstrong’s sympathetic profile paints a portrait of a very human prophet (Wall Street Journal)

A good glimpse of how the vast majority of the world’s Muslims understand their prophet. (New York Times)

Respectful, knowledgeable, and, above all, readable. It succeeds because [Armstrong] brings Muhammad to life as a fully rounded human being. (The Economist)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Muhammad was born in 570 CE, 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 little known.

Karen Armstrong's immaculately researched new biography of Muhammad will enable readers to understand the true origins and spirituality of a faith that is all too often misrepresented as cruel, intolerant, and inherently violent. An acclaimed authority on religious and spiritual issues, Armstrong offers a balanced, in-depth portrait, revealing the man at the heart of Islam by dismantling centuries of misconceptions. Armstrong demonstrates that Muhammad's life—a pivot point in history—has genuine relevance to the global crises we face today.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Relié: 256 pages
  • Editeur : Eminent Lives (17 octobre 2006)
  • Collection : Eminent Lives
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0060598972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060598976
  • Dimensions du produit: 12,7 x 2,1 x 18,1 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Bakr Sarakbi le 17 octobre 2008
Format: Relié
c'est un livre très recommendé pour les musulmans et les non-musulmans, car il donne an overview et un resume de la vie de prophète "Mohammad" (peace be upon him) en façon très proche de nous, et quand vous lisez ce livre vous allez sentir que vous vivez avec le prophète afin que vous puissiez bien comprendre son personnalité.

l'auteur a illustrée honnêtement le sujet en mentionnant toutes les détails nécessaires pour donner les lectures le pouvoir a juger.
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239 internautes sur 287 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A useful short history 14 novembre 2006
Par Ed Lewis - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Karen Armstrong's book provides a brief introduction to the life of Mohammed. At the end she offers her motivation: "If we are to avoid catastrophe, Muslim and Christian worlds must learn not merely to tolerate but to appreciate one another."

I picked up this book as a lifelong atheist who has never had much sympathy for any religion, although I respect the rights of others to their beliefs. I was looking for information because I am disturbed at the prevalence in the media and elsewhere of hate propaganda against Muslims. If I'm being told I should hate something, I want to know why.

Armstrong traces the rise of Islam to an economic revolution that occurred in Arabia in the seventh century, largely due to the growing importance of trade in a nomadic grazing economy.

She looks briefly at the rise of monotheism in the newly emerging cities, particularly Mecca, and the emergence of Islam from that as Mohammed's revelations provided a body of scripture for Arab monotheism.

Mohammed and others considered his revelations divine, the word of god. In that, he's not alone, as many religions consider the thoughts of brilliant people among their founders to have been divinely inspired. The poetic nature of Mohammed's revelations and their relevance to the social situation of their time led to their survival, and later followers of Islam used them to understand their own social situations, down to the present time. In this Islam is no different to any other religion.

Armstrong describes the decade-long struggle between Mecca and Medina, which was an economic and political struggle that took religious form, and the eventual triumph of the Muslims of Medina.

In doing so she disentangles, so far as possible, the secular from the religious aspects of this history and proves that war and conversion by the sword are not necessary parts of Islam, as the peddlars of hate and fear try to claim.

Thanks to Karen Armstrong for a brief, careful and clear-headed look at the life of Mohammed and the origins of Islam.
79 internautes sur 103 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Much Needed Look at a Very Contemporary Man 5 juillet 2008
Par Wayne Beckham - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Karen Armstrong's Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time directly addresses the central conflict of our times, "Some Muslim thinkers regard the jihad against Mecca as the climax of Muhammad's career and fail to note that he eventually abjured warfare and adopted a nonviolent policy. Western critics also persist in seeing the Prophet of Islam as a man of war, and fail to see that from the very first he was opposed to the jahili arrogance and egotism that not only fueled the aggression of his time but is much in evidence in some leaders, Western and Muslim alike, today."

Karen goes out of her way to present a balanced and fair perspective on the life of Muhammad. She does this by basing her biography on the Prophet's response to al-Jahiliyah: commonly translated as "an Islamic concept of 'ignorance of divine guidance.'" Karen examinees more than Jahiliyah's theological significance, going into its practical impact on the culture of the Arabian peninsula. The dominant jahili spirit of the time was arrogant, quick to take a offense, warlike and vengeful. Islam, as practiced and taught by the Prophet, Karen makes clear, was a rejection of all of these traits - usually to the great consternation of his followers:

"And the servants of Allah, Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant (jahilun) address them, they say, `Peace!' " (Sura The Criterion 25:63 - translation from The Qur'an: Text, Translation & Commentary.)

The revelations that form the Qur'an came to Muhammad not always in dreams or trances, but were sometimes aggressive even terrifying experiences. Muhammad describes the nature of revelation as gently falling like rain" and, at other times, traumatically, where he feels his "soul ripped away."

After revelation, even the Prophet needed to take time to understand what had been revealed. Karen writes, "[Allah] instructed Muhammad to listen to intently to each revelation as it emerged; he must be careful not to impose a meaning on a verse prematurely, before it's full significance had become entirely clear."

"High above all is Allah, the King, the Truth! Be not in haste with the Qur'an before its revelation to thee is completed, but say, "O my Lord! advance me in knowledge." (Sura Ta-ha, 20:114)

Karen, like others, notes that the Qur'an itself has been structured as high-level Arabic poetry, a concept central to the impact of the Qur'an on its Arabic audiences. This is a point entirely missed by Western audiences. You can get some sense of it by listening to a good chanter reciting the verses, but it's a shallow appreciation at best. Karen describes how listening to "the rich, allusive language and rhythms of the Qur'an helped [the Muslims] to slow down their mental processes and enter a different mode of consciousness."

Karen portrays, through the biography, the Qur'an's shared vision of the "people of the book" - the Islamic concept of a shared heritage of monotheism between Muslim, Christian and Jew:

"Say: `We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will [lahu muslimun].' " (Sura The Family Of 'Imran 3:84)

In addition to the creed that there's "no God but God" these three great religions believe in a similar destiny and consequently all deserve both tolerance and freedom to practice their faith:

"Those who believe (in the Qur'an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness,- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." (Sura The Table 5:69)

"To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah. It is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute[.]" (Sura The Table, 5:48)

I have a couple of minor complaints. I wish that Karen had used the Qur'anic names for the characters that both the Holy Bible and the Holy Qur'an have in common. For example, Jibr'l for Gabriel; Ibrahim for Abraham; Isa for Jesus; Musa for Moses, and so on. After all, Karen is telling the story of Muhammad and quotes extensively from the Qur'an. It just would have seemed more natural and less distracting to me.

Another problem is that the book is edited sloppily in a couple of places: for example on page 43 (of my paper bound edition) a footnote starts out explaining that "Arabs customarily take an honorary title known as the kunya [...] Muhammad was known as"

And the footnote ends right there. Whatever Muhammad was known as, was lost somewhere between Karen's word-processor and the printing press.

Karen's biography of Muhammad reveals a very human prophet; a man who struggled with his faith, culture, peers and enemies. She strikes a balance between the "easy" teachings of Islam (tolerance, generosity, etc.) and the "hard" teachings, contrasting "jihad" to Augustine's "just war" is a comparison most Christian minds would prefer to avoid.

Karen ends the book with some good advice, "If we are to avoid catastrophe, the Muslim and Western worlds must learn not merely to tolerate but to appreciate one another. A good place to start is with the figure of Muhammad [...]"

All in all, this was an interesting read, only occasionally "preachy" and a good introduction for those who may want to pursue deeper studies in Islam or the Islamic culture that has so dramatically shaped the Middle East. I wish I'd read it before tackling In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad. It would have made that book a lot clearer.
53 internautes sur 74 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Understanding Islam from its origins 10 août 2007
Par Cecilia Cordeiro Engels - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This biography provides a fascinating account of Muhammad's life and the origins of Islam, the religion he founded. The author allows us to picture life and society in Arabia during the Prophet's lifetime, and the tremendous achievements that he was able to develop in a very short time. It is the story of a brilliant leader, both religious and political. Armstrong's most significant contribution through this biography in my opinion is to reveal Muhammad in a very human light, devoid of both mythological allure and untainted by historical prejudices. It is an extremely useful reading for our current times, since it provides the opportunity for a better understanding of Islam.
12 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
I still like the bio by Yahiya Emerick better 7 février 2010
Par Merlin99 - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I have read five biographies of Muhamad over the years. When I got this one it covered many of the bases but it did not give a good feel for the totality of the man. I like books that tell more sides of a personality. This one was a bit sanitized, as other posters noted. I think the best I have read so far is The Life and Work of Muhammad (Critical Lives) That one reads like a story or novel and it presents what you could call the good with the bad without justifying everything. I liked that so I could make my own opinon about what he stood for.
8 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A sympathetic account 21 février 2009
Par Paul Stevenson - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Karen Armstrong offers readers a decidedly sympathetic account of the life of the prophet Muhammad. She seems to be following traditional Muslim sources for her information.

This book starts with what little is know about Muhammad's childhood and goes through his death. It tries to portray Muhammad's spiritual and worldly experiences as he himself might have perceived them. How must it have felt to be a businessman with spiritual concerns, and then to have been overcome with an incomprehensible vision? Muhammad was shaken to his core. What was it like to live in comfort while wanting to set a good example? Muhammad did his chores around the house and even mended his own clothes. How do you demonstrate the superiority of your God in the face of a hostile, armed enemy? Walk with your unarmed followers into the enemy's home ground.

More critical views of Muhammad are certainly possible, and this should not be the only book you read on such an important historical figure. But I appreciate Armstrong's effort to portray the founder of Islam in a positive light in a day when most of the Muslims in the news in the West are wild-eyed terrorists who do not actually make up the majority of Muslims. Some balance needs to be sought, and Armstrong's contribution does this.

For more information about Islam, try reading the Qur'an for yourself and see if you think it promotes a culture of violence. A very readable translation into modern English is The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics). For a sympathetic account of the history of Islam up to the beginning of the 21st century, take a look at Armstrong's Islam: A Short History. English versions of traditional Muslim accounts of the Prophet's life and sayings include The Life of the Prophet Muhammad, Volume I and The Wisdom of the Prophet: The Sayings of Muhammad.

(This review is based on the abridged audio version, read by the author.)
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