Muhammad: A Prophet For Our Time Book Review Examples
Human civilization has come a long way to its contemporary form. With the development of science, religion, sociology, and politics, modern society learned a lot of valuable lessons that shaped the direction of its further development. From the ancient times to nowadays, humanity experienced many difficulties and faced numerous challenges on its way to brighter future. However, one of the major obstacles that people faced with throughout the history was human nature itself. During numerous wars and conflicts, population of Earth significantly declined, though it did not stop civilization’s development. Humanity’s spirit got stronger in multiple conquests and struggle with devastating epidemics. In the twentieth century, humanity had experienced bloom of scientific and economic development. With its countless discoveries and revolutionary breakthroughs, the twentieth century became the height of civilization’s development. However, this period brought not only growth and prosperity. In addition to dreadful tragedy of WWII, people experienced significant separation from their religious, national and ultimate traditions, values, and historic heritage. Today, in the 21th century, more and more people tend to reexamine their past and find a way to their original national traditions.
Any religious tradition is built on stories about certain events or figures. Often, these stories include description of specific symbols and objects that have an important meaning and endowed with mystic and sacral sense. These objects and symbols are sacred to the followers of the religious tradition and often associated with religious context only. Sometimes, objects regarded as sacred in one or another religion, have no significant value if considered outside religious context. Sacred objects and symbols often have deep historical meaning and background. Although, the religious figures attract more attention of the researchers as the life of a person can tell much more about the essence of the religion than objects. This paper will examine one of the most controversial religious figures in the world – the Islamic prophet Muhammad on the example of the book Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time written by Karen Armstrong in order to understand what makes this figure so important and controversial to the modern society.
In this book, Armstrong focuses on the issues of religious figures and their influence on people. More specifically, she investigates the role of Islam in the development of a religious identity of a person and its different social outcomes (Lovat 43). I would like to analyze Armstrong’s view on these topics and outline the implications of my observations. The major goal of my essay is identifying the most important issues in Karen Armstrong’s book that are related to faith and religion and their impact on the development of the religious identity. In order to achieve this goal, I would like to analyze Armstrong’s writing and sort out the key features influencing the contradictory social outcomes of a religious commitment. This paper serves as an analysis of Armstrong’s view on religious and social topics.
As I mentioned previously, Karen Armstrong tends to investigate the different social outcomes of a religious identity that is formed by Islamic culture. The life of the prophet Muhammad and his teaching has the central role in the book. Through thorough analysis of Muhammad’s life, Armstrong explores the influences of the programs and people on individuals and their religious identities. In order to provide a reliable analysis of the text, I chose few more key issues Armstrong discusses in her book. The author emphasizes that there is a lack of material about Muhammad’s early political career in Mecca (Armstrong 17). Armstrong argues that the fact that we miss so much information about the activities of the prophet distorts our vision of his figure. She says that in order to be objective in our judgments, we must approach his life in a balanced way (20).
In order to convince the reader in her argument, Armstrong begins an honest dialogue with the audience and operates the simple facts. The way the book is written makes it very enjoyable and inspirational one. This is supported by multiple positive and grateful reviews and comments from the readers around the world. Armstrong’s writing is not just a simple demagogy, but an explanation of complex social processes from the perspective of religion (Curtis 71). Karen Armstrong makes her readers think about the way we perceive and interpret the events and figures of the past in relation to contemporary world.
In order to understand what Armstrong writes about, I had to conduct some additional research on some specific religious issues discussed in the book. Apart from the general overview of the Islamic culture, I had to explore the extremists Muslim movements and their role in modern religious society. My other goal was to examine the topic of the religious pluralism, especially in the context of Islamic culture. Researching these issues helped me to understand some of the specific details of Karen Armstrong’s book.
Karen Armstrong has made a great attempt to present the prophet Muhammad from different angles in order to balance the interpretation of his teachings and gain more objective perspective. Her book indicates that it is wrong to judge someone and his deeds when there is an obvious lack of information regarding this person, and when our interpretation comes from the prejudices and subjective opinions of someone else.
Armstrong, Karen. Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time. New York: Atlas Books/HarperCollins, 2006. Print.
Curtis, Edward E. The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. Print.
Lovat, Terence. "Educating About Islam and Learning About Self: an Approach for Our Times." Religious Education. 100.1 (2005): 38-51. Print.
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