Review: Muhammad (sal Allahu `alayhi wa sallam) by M. Lings

Discussion in 'Bibliophile's Corner' started by Wadood, Sep 15, 2006.

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  1. Wadood

    Wadood Veteran

    Dr Abu Bakar Siraj al-Din was an astonishing personality to me personally!

    Inna lilAllahi

    Man is capable of so much understanding! Is there a limit in the Love of Allah and His Habeeb :sas: ?
  2. :s1:

    Thanks Abu Nibras for the link to Shaykh GFH's article and critical review. It was indeed wonderful--Shaykh GFH is unique amongst English-speaking/writing scholars I know of in his quality and scrupilousness.

    May Allah preserve him!
  3. nik61

    nik61 New Member

    I bought the book when I was in my 20s. It moved me to tears when I read it. A wonderful book indeed. May Allah bless the late Shaykh Abu Bakr.
  4. abu nibras

    abu nibras Staff Member

  5. abu nibras

    abu nibras Staff Member

    Jazakallah Khair Sidi Asif for the wonderful review - Though I have not read this book myself I have heard Shaykh Hamza Yusufs audio lecture series The Life of the Prophet Muhammad alayhi afDalus salatu was salaam - which uses this book.

    the fact that he used this book to teach the seerah speaks about the book !

    The three points in this book which Shaykh Hamza cautioned against are

    1) The mentioning of the presence of the picture of Saiyyiduna Mariam alaihis salaam in the Kaaba

    2) The way the episode of the marriage of Sayyiduna Zainab is dealt with.

    3) an ever so gentle current of disparagement against Sayyiduna Aisha - although I dont remember where.


    abu nibras
  6. Muhammad (sal Allahu `alayhi wa sallam): His Life Based on the Earliest Sources

    author: Martin Lings (now Abu Bakr Siraj al Din)

    I read Martin Lings' wonderful biography of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam --may Allah bless him and give him peace) for the first time when I was a teenager from the local library; what attracted me then was the caption on the cover which said, 'based on the earliest Islamic sources'. I loved the book the very first time I read it and since then I have read it a few times and bought my own copy. It is a book I always recommend to anyone interested in Islam as I believe it is the best introduction one can have to Islam. After all, if one does not know the Messenger, how can one ever accept the Message?

    This book is wonderfully written and although the English is slightly archaic, I think that in this instance it actually adds to the books qualities, as such noble language is totally concommitant with the grandeur and theme of the book. The quality of the language used is indeed one aspect of this book which sets it apart from other biographies of the Beloved of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) written in English and for that alone it is superior to the others. As the facts of the Messenger's blessed life are known in great detail, it is obvious that any biography will cover the main events including the blessed birth, the childhood events, the meeting with Bahira the Monk, the outward proclamation of Prophethood at the age of 40 , the time in Makkah, the emigration to Madina, the Miraj journey, the battles,the many miracles, the conquest of Makkah, the farewell pilgrimage etc. but it is the style in which this book covers them that is so captivating--one feels one is actually there! Subhan Allah! Glory to Allah!

    In addition however Martin Lings' book covers the personal and spiritual aspects of the life of the Greatest Messenger in the most beautiful and moving way. Many passages in the book moved me to tears such as the one during the preparations for the Battle of the Trench when one of the Companions sees the Beloved of Allah in a red cloth wrapped around the waist and comments on how beautiful the Master of The Prophets alayhi salaato salaam looked!

    Also, Martin Lings' book is filled with intimate incidents from the life of Allah's darling Messenger which show his perfect humanity, his humbleness, humility, greatness of character and, above all, spirituality as well as his day-to-day personal interactions with his family, companions and friends as well as the foes of the Messenger of Allah. Above all, the book is saturated with the Prophet's constant and uniquely intimate relationship with Allah and it really shines through almost on every page. This biography emphasises the spirituality of the Messenger (peace be upon him) and in this way one can catch glimpses of the teachings of sufism as well which formed the highest level of the Prophet's teachings.

    As others have mentioned he does not comment on any of the hadiths or events which has both advantages and disadvantages in that it is possible that some people may misinterpret a saying and not understand it as it is meant to be understood or as it is understood by Muslims wordwide. However most of the hadith used are clear and unambiguous and so this problem only arises a couple of times. (And it is only for those totally new to Islam--those with a little background in islam will not have this problem at all.)

    I could write pages for this book but I will end here by saying that it is one of the few books I would consider a 'must buy'. It is the (almost) perfect introduction to the amazing life of Allah's final and most beloved Messenger and the best written. Once you have read this you can then graduate to more specialist texts such as the Shifa' of Qadi Ayad al Maliki which is *the* definitive classical book about the Prophet's character and qualities of perfection (and it is now available in an excellent English edition too by Aisha Bewley) or the Sira of Ibn Hisham (very detailed but not as readable English translation by A. Guillame) or the myriad other biographies available in the islamic languages such as Arabic and Urdu.

    It might be worth noting that Martin Ling's great work has won many prizes from all over the Muslim world for being the best biography of the Beloved Prophet in English including from Egypt and the government of Pakistan.

    The life of Allah's Beloved is, in reality, like an endless ocean from which everyone can take whatever he wants and it will not diminish and only Allah Most High truly knows the exalted status of His Prophet, but books like this one make it possible for us mere mortals to catch a glimpse of that Prophetic majesty and to bask in his exaltedness.

    I challenge anyone to read this book with an open mind through to the end and not fall in love with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).


    Note to Pakistani readers: in Pakistan this book is available in an excellent hardback edition by the Suhail Academy.


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