Al-Kitab Club: Our Thoughts on This Month’s Book

March 20, 2018
If you’ve ever wanted to delve into the Seerah of the Prophet but didn’t know where to start, this book is for you! Title: Muhammad (PBUH): his life based on the earliest sources Author: Martin Lings Rating: 5/5 Quick summary This book details the life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), starting from before he was born until his death in 632 AD. As stated in the title, it covers the story of his life by referring to the ‘earliest sources’ and presents an accurate and authentic picture of his life course. Beginning with context of Makkah and the tribes residing there, the book proceeds to cover all of the fascinating components of the prophet’s life, including: his birth in Makkah (570 AD), the descent of revelation when he reached the age of 40 (601 AD); the hijra (emigration) to Medina (622 AD), battles such as Badr (623 AD) and Uhud (625 AD), the conquest of Makkah (629 AD), and finishing off with the death of the Prophet (632 AD) and his succession. Comments on the style The book skilfully utilises dialogue, causing it to be engaging and appear to present a very realistic portrayal of events. The level of detail and realistic description is brilliant and allows the reader to almost feel as if they are living the experiences as they read them. The book utilises short chapters, with descriptive titles which help to signpost to important events in the Prophet’s (PBUH) life, allowing the book to be clear to follow at all times (e.g. ‘The Year of Sadness’, ‘The Entry into Medina’). The fact that the chapters are very short, although there are a lot of them, adds to the ease of reading the book as the reader does not feel overwhelmed by lengthy chapters filled with historical information. The author’s writing is captivating and is effective at drawing the reader into a story that, to its incredible credit, is entirely based on records of real events. Personal insights Reading about the Prophet (PBUH)’s life and his interactions with the people in it, highlighted aspects of his character which acted to increase my love and admiration for him. He treated everyone in his life with the utmost respect and kindness and was a constant calming influence on those around him. He was an entirely devoted and charitable member of society, and everything that he did was done with excellence. He touched the hearts of so many people, to the extent that those in distant lands would simply hear of him and instantly wish to be around him. Furthermore, I was able to gain a greater appreciation of the love of the companions for the Prophet (PBUH) – seeing the way that those who actually knew him and interacted with him would revere him and hold him in such high esteem was enlightening. As described in the book:
“those who were with him were always loath to leave him. Nor could they have been blamed if they stayed, for when he spoke to anyone he would turn to him so fully and make him so amply the object of his attention that the man might well imagine himself to be privileged enough for liberties which others dared not take” (page 214).
Final thoughts Martin Lings was able, using his various sources, to package and present the magnificent story of the blessed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in an easy to read, detailed and engaging book. Anyone can read and learn from it, and it is a perfect introduction to the life of one of the most important figures in Islam. It will leave the reader with a greater appreciation for the Prophet’s (PBUH) life and story, and ultimately leave them wanting to find out more. Let us know what you thought of the book in the comments below!