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- Publié sur Amazon.com
It makes sense that in a children's book that tells the most sacred of stories, one would encounter stirring profundity in charming simplicity. Alexis York Lumbard's words, while carrying a precious message, travel easily into the heart. There is nothing more that one can expect of a first-class writer. It is a wonderful contribution to the hearts and minds of young and old English-speaking Muslims. In fact, people of different religious backgrounds can appreciate the sacred story of the Prophet Muhammad (`alayhi as-Salatu was-Salam), the lucid way that Alexis Lumbard tells it, the captivating art through which Maram Al-Hidmi portrays it, and the angelic way in which David Dakake sings it.
I read this e-book on an iPhone through the "Read to Myself" feature -that is, without the voice-over narration. I assume, however, that the "Read to Me" feature, which provides the voice-over, would bring relief to parents with children who'd want to go through the story again and again. Kamran Khan's narration conveys a sense of awe throughout the read that I expect would increase the fascination of many young children with the story. The words and passages in the book roll easily off the tongue while reading to oneself. The experience is enriched altogether by the melodious voice of the singer, David Dakake, who, in a hidden sound effect, provides what might be the most beautiful call to prayer I have heard yet -and my ears have been fortunate enough to hear thousands. The recitation of the beginning of Surat Al-'Alaq is also beautiful and seems to palpably communicate some of both the gravity and beauty of that first moment of revelation. Alhamdu li Llah.
Yes, aesthetes may breathe a sigh of relief. Many well-intended storytellers, in their illustrations today of Islamic stories for the young, avoid incorporating serious aesthetics into their work. Thankfully, this specific effort, "The Story of Muhammad," doesn't. The songs, for example, are not Western pop-songs of an ephemeral genre with Islamic lyrics pasted over, nor are they a forced mesh of Eastern tunes and English lyrics. Rather, they are ballads that organically hold both a Western and an Islamic spirit. The harmonious combination of the near-timelessness of the Western ballad form with the sacred topic of these lyrics makes for something that is beautiful. For a better understanding, these songs must be listened to rather than read about.
The animation is also done well and adds an unexpectedly enjoyable dimension. Having said that, I have experienced a few technical issues with the application. In expressing this, however, I was told of a scheduled update that would soon resolve technical issues. With that noted, the technicians and animators' work in this e-book, from the gliding characters and clouds to the glowing stars around the Prophet's turban, is impressive and adds a lot to the reading experience. The choice to make some of the characters move like shadow-puppets is also commendable. The animations had me joyfully tapping away at my phone's screen throughout the read.
The story of the beloved Prophet, as told, drawn, and sung here, is moving. This application is a wonderful contribution to the Western-Islamic corpus of children's books and e-books. Of course, it is not for children alone. This review, for example, is solely based on my personal reflections on the application. I have yet to share it with my 12 year old brother; the experience for whom, I hope and expect would be just as pleasant as mine, if not more. Many thanks to those who facilitated this initiative. Masha' Allah.