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from Eboo Patel, founder of Interfaith Youth Core, as he talks about Muhammad: The Story of a Prophet and Reformer
In the pages of Muhammad: The Story of a Prophet and Reformer, young readers will encounter a man very different from the figure often presented in Western popular culture. Drawing from biographies, the Quran, and hadith, Sarah Conover, co-author of Ayat Jamilah: Beautiful Signs: A Treasury of Islamic Wisdom for Children and Parents, relates the story of a radical prophet who challenged the rich and powerful, guided his community of followers through a dangerous time of persecution and exile, formed alliances with people of different beliefs, and preached "love for humanity what you love for yourself."
Before he became one of the most venerated, and most misunderstood, religious leaders in history, Muhammad was an orphaned child and a shepherd….
Written for readers 12 and up, and with a foreword by Eboo Patel (founder of Interfaith Youth Core and a member of the President's Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships), Muhammad: The Story of a Prophet and Reformer will educate and inspire youth and adults of all faiths. To read the Discussion and Reflection Guide click here.
There aren't many books about Muhammad's life written for youth. Conover (Ayat Jamilah, 2004) has taken on the task, beginning with the prophet's childhood adoption by Bedouins and ending with his arrival in Medina. Along the way, the author details Muhammad's education, his first marriage, the revelation of the Qur'an, and the anger he faced from his community. Throughout, Conover cultivates a strong sense of place with colorful descriptions of the desert setting, and she draws the events, characters, and some dialogue from established biographies of Muhammad, hadith, and the Qur'an. . . . Conover's sensitive, respectful approach is carefully researched, and her emphasis on Muhammad's peaceful, wise nature adds nuance to the all-too-common myopic perceptions of Islam in contemporary culture. . . .
—Sarah Hunter, Booklist
Conover, author of multiple religion books including the prize-winning Ayat Jamilah: Beautiful Signs: A Treasury of Islamic Wisdom for Children and Parents, adds herself to the growing list of biographers of the Prophet Muhammad. Her approach has a twist, though: aiming at teen readers, she adds imaginative, descriptive details and writes narratively—a departure from straightforward exposition. Conover makes an effort to include accurate sayings and customs (hadith) of Muhammad, interspersed with details of desert life. Stories well known to Muslims, such as how a spider at a cave's mouth saved Muhammad's life, and how Muhammad's camel picked the location of the prophet's Medina house, shore up areas where she took poetic liberties in, for example, dialogue. Carefully separating the facts from the liberties in an appendix, which also includes a time line and glossary, Conover ends her tale with the arrival of Muhammad in Medina, marking the beginning of the Islamic calendar. In her talented hands, Muhammad's story stays rooted in tradition, but takes on new dimensions that all readers, even seasoned ones, will appreciate and enjoy. Ages 12-up.
A portrait of Muhammad not as the caricature sometimes viewed in Western culture, but as a man. A great man, yes, but a man who lived and breathed, a man with a childhood. Conover has compiled facts about his life and weaved them into the landscape of Muhammad's Saudi Arabia.
"I would like to congratulate Sarah Conover for this beautiful and inspiring book on Prophet Muhammad. Applying her storytelling skills, she has successfully done what every Muslim aspires to see, depict Prophet Muhammad as a human being in real historic terms, neither less nor more, yet project his Prophetic role through his daily activities and interaction with other human beings.
People of other faiths will be equally fascinated to know the real man of God, leader, reformer, problem solver, and bridge builder without him being demonized or misrepresented by those who are biased or who want to justify their own agendas.
I am glad to see that the author sought the guidance of knowledgeable Muslims in seeking accuracy, and the book has been reviewed by scholars and educators who are respected in our community. I recommend this book to all those who are honestly struggling against bigotry and ignorance. This is a useful tool in the hands of truth seekers and peacemakers. We are thankful to Sarah Conover for this great gift."
—Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, National Director, Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances, Islamic Society of North America
"I was told the target audience of this book is young people, and so I started reading it with two sets of eyes: the eyes of a Muslim father who is constantly on the lookout for material that will give my young boys a deeper understanding of their faith and the eyes of an interfaith leader . . . . Both sets of eyes found much to love and admire here . . . . Like the best books meant for young adults, there is much here for those who are older and fancy themselves wiser."
—from the Foreword by Eboo Patel, founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core
"This book is uniquely precious and timely. Filled with grace and beauty, this highly engaging story will stimulate minds and open hearts."
—Imam Jamal Rahman, author of Spiritual Gems of Islam: Insights and Practices from the Qur'an, Hadith, Rumi and Muslim Teaching: Stories to Enlighten the Heart and Mind