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In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad Paperback – January 6, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0195374766 ISBN-10: 0195374762 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. London-based Ramadan, the Oxford research fellow who authored Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, is probably best known for being denied entry into the United States, based on alleged violations of the Patriot Act. This excellent, engaging book ought to turn public attention back toward Ramadan as a writer and a skilled interpreter of Islamic history. In deliberately brief chapters, Ramadan brings Muhammad to life. He highlights Muhammad's resolute faith in spite of setbacks like orphanhood and poverty, and upholds the prophet as a spiritual hero—bravely compassionate and unusually tolerant of others, including non-Muslims. Ramadan notes his extraordinary kindness, even to those he battled. For example, a slave who had been given to Muhammad turned down emancipation, saying he preferred service to Muhammad over freedom with anyone else. (Muhammad immediately freed the slave and adopted him as his own son.) Similar tales of mercy lace through Muhammad's life: in the midst of a battle march, Muhammad advised his troops to be careful not to hurt a litter of puppies on the roadside; on another occasion, Muhammad released prisoners of war because they had taught community children how to read and write. Ramadan ably demonstrates why Muhammad is a spiritual paragon to the followers of Islam. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Communicates a sense of spiritual transcendence Guardian Draws lessons that are crucial for Muslims and non-Muslims alike Financial Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195374762
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195374766
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.9 x 5.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tariq Ramadan is Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at the Oxford University (Oriental Institute, St. Antony's College) and also teaches at the Oxford Faculty of Theology. He is Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, (Qatar), Senior Research Fellow at Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan) and Director of the Research Centre of Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE) (Doha, Qatar).

He holds an MA in Philosophy and French literature and PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Geneva. In Cairo, Egypt he received one-on-one intensive training in classic Islamic scholarship from Al-Azhar University scholars (ijazat in seven disciplines). Through his writings and lectures Tariq has contributed to the debate on the issues of Muslims in the West and Islamic revival in the Muslim world. He is active at academic and grassroots levels lecturing extensively throughout the world on theology, ethics, social justice, ecology and interfaith as well intercultural dialogue. He is President of the European think tank: European Muslim Network (EMN) in Brussels.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 163 people found the following review helpful By L. F Sherman on April 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This biography of Prophet Muhammad can be called a "spiritual biography" that tells the story of a life but emphasizes decisions, revelations, and the spiritual and emotional lessons therein. Emerick's biography of the Prophet and that by Karen Armstrong are good, this is better. Incidentally, it hints at the paranoia of those in government who cancelled the author's visa while he was en route to teach at Notre Dame University. (I taught there briefly and can assure you that it is not a hot bed of radicalism.)

The position of women, place of jihad, role of law, and relations with non-Muslims are totally different than the media caricatures and also different from some Fundamentalist politicization and corruptions.

Under duress and attack we see un Islamic practices claiming to be Fundamental (the Western media is more than happy to second that claim). One needs to know that the Shari'a is partly a product, close to two centuries later, that evolved to empower scholarly elite promoting its own interests by which time patriarchal elements had also degraded practice regarding women some - although women had right of inheritance not much available in the West until the 19th and 20th centuries except for royalty.. Also, the most infamous practices predated Islam in much of the Mediterranean - the stoning of adulterers was now much harder to prove that before.

It is reading for those who have an open mind and would learn more, for those who aren't quite sure what to believe after the pervasive toxic climate of criticism. Christians and Jews are very much at a disadvantage in that Muslims know far more about their faiths naturally from reading the Qur'an than they would know without significant effort.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By L. B. Lloyd on January 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Ramadan's scholarship, appreciation for pluralism, personal faith and passion for his Muslim heritage infuse this wonderful book. He takes us on a brief journey through the life of the prophet Muhammad and pauses to reflect on the way the Prophet used specific events to teach his contemporaries and on how those events and teachings have formed the Muslim community over the centuries.

As an American, I appreciated how the book responds to Western mis-understandings of Islam (for example, the greater jihad is the personal struggle to follow Allah; the lesser jihad is armed struggle) without being defensive. As a Christian, I appreciated "going along" with Ramadan as he reflects on his faith and makes it accessible because it comes from the heart.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. S. C. on June 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Having studied Islam at university, I bought a number of books about Islam and Islamic thought and culture, and this is one of the books I bought. Some of the books have been negative in nature, often by Muslim and Arab writers, but this book by Mr Ramadan is a positive book about Muhammad and what he means to Islam, and perhaps to the wider world.

It isn't so much the history of Muhammad but more the understanding of Muhammad's life and teachings and the theology and meanings that come from Muhammad's life, teachings and experience. However, I enjoyed reading it and I think it would be valuable for non-Muslims like myself as well as Muslims. I do get a little tired of the constant stream of bad press Islam gets and feel that even if there are negative aspects to Islamic culture and society, we need someone to look at it positively, for balance. Not every Muslim is a terrorist anymore than any Christian or Buddhist or Orthodox Jew.

As a Christian, I don't have to believe in Islam or Judaism or Buddhism, or anything other than Christianity; I am a Christian after all. However, I think I can respect another person's belief and their right to be whatever they want to be and whatever they want to believe in; if I respect a Muslim, he or she might respect me as a Christian. If we want to live in a world of tolerance, we have to learn to be tolerant. Religion should be summed up in four letters: L O V E!

If I have one criticism of the book, it is that it is often uncritical of certain things that are purported to have happened in the development of Islam, and Islamic theology and Islamic culture. No culture is perfect, West or East, Islamic or Christian; there are warmongers and extremists on all sides. Perhaps the moderates, the true believers in a merciful and compassionate and loving God, who truly wants the best for all of us, can claim back some of the territory we so often cede to the haters? I pray for it.
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Format: Paperback
A good, worthwhile read about the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), what he believed and what he taught. An especially important and meaningful read for Christians wanting to understand Islamic belief and tradition. Especially important.

Christians readers will be surprised, perhaps shocked, to find the similarities of Jesus' teachings and those of Muhammad (pbuh). There is more Christian thought and principle in the Quran than in some "Christian" churches of today.

Yes, there are some differences in the two faiths, some of them major, but learning all that Christians and Muslims have in common, gives hope that we--Christians and Muslims--might find a way to live in peace and harmony with each other---just as both Jesus and Muhammad (pbuh) taught.
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