This historical novel, Muhammad follows the life of Muhammad from his birth in 570 CE to his death in 632. Each chapter gives the view of a particular person in Muhammad’s circle of friends, family, followers, foes. Muhammad is orphaned at an early age, grows up to work as a merchant, does not see himself as divine. He is visited by the angel, Gabriel and told to recite. After a period of resisting this directive, Muhammad does cooperate and recites the Koran (which means “to recite”). This leads to his becoming the leader of a new religion which asks of it’s followers to renounce their ancestral idols and follow the one God, Allah. This new religion was seen as a threat to the established order and as a result, Muhammad and his followers discerned they would have to fight in order to survive.
This novel with it‘s historical detail gave me a better understanding of the culture and climate in which Muhammad lived and insight into the beginnings of Islam (which means peace). Chopra’s narrative is both compelling and insightful. I appreciated learning about Muhammad and his world through the storytelling format. And I enjoyed the beauty of this quote from the Koran.
Do you not see how he has lengthened the shadows?
The One is He who made the night a garment for you.
He gave you sleep so that you may rest,
And the morning sky to be a resurrection.
To quote Chopra, “God didn’t make life easier for Muhammad. He made it far more difficult, and the wonder of his story is how he brought light out of darkness with all the fallibility of “a man among men.”
I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in religions, Islam, Muhammad or anyone who would like an intriguing historical novel set in Middle East.