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Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman (Galaxy Book, 409) Paperback – February 7, 1974

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0198810780 ISBN-10: 0198810784

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A standard! Highly readable. A great introduction to the man and the movement. Please keep it in print!--Cheryl L. Golden, Newman University

"Good biography of pivotal figure in middle Eastern-- and world--history. Well-written, objective, straight-forward presentation of complex subject."--Dr. Andrew F. Clark, Univ. of North Carolina

"An excellent introduction to Islam. For the last 20 years I have used this text to introduce students to the Muslim tradition."--Harold Kasimow, Grinnell College

"Still a fine and thorough survey of Muhammad's life and times."--Charles A. Kimball, Furman Univ.

"A convincing book: essential reading, not only for the more casual student of Muslim problems, but also, as a kind of illuminating revision of facts and ideas, for the serious student who has read the larger volumes."--Blackfriars

"This book...admirably fulfills its purpose. It is written in a clear and interesting style, and the reader can be assured that it is not only an interesting book to read, but is also based on sound scholarship."--Journal of Semitic Studies

"This is the best, if not the only, introduction to Muhammad."--James Lindsay, University of Dubuque

About the Author

W. Montgomery Watt is at University of Edinburgh (Emeritus).
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Product Details

  • Series: Galaxy Book, 409 (Book 409)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (February 7, 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198810784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198810780
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.5 x 5.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Jedidiah Carosaari VINE VOICE on December 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you're looking to gain an understanding of the life of Muhammad, grab this book. Watt presents a prose description of Muhammad's life, backed by sound, comprehensive study. It is actually enjoyable reading, almost like a story, yet completely historically accurate. (Or as much as we can be.) Watt does not make either extreme mistake of simply accepting the traditions of the Hadith or the Qur'an as absolute truth; or of looking only at Western denigrations of Islam. Rather, he appears to recognize historical truths in the Qur'anic traditions, and in Western and Eastern scholarship. If you've been trying to learn about Islam and have spent time looking over the Qur'an, this is *the* book to turn to get that background on Muhammad and "flesh" him out. Watt shows a human, beyond the traditions and myths, that changed his world, and then the rest of the planet.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Indibean on November 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was exactly what I was looking for. It is a historical perspective of Muhammad that addresses both the political and religious nature of his life. What I really liked was how I would be questioning some aspect of his argument and two paragraphs later Watt would deal with those questions. Watt is also really good at outlining his points and conclusions so they are very easy to follow.

It's definately a sympathetic view of Muhammad, but I really enjoyed it.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Zeeshan Hasan on May 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
Most readers probably won't have the patience to slog through Watt's two bigger volumes, Muhammad At Mecca and Muhammad At Medina. This slimbooks is a good compromise, and an excellent introduction to Western scholarship on the subject. Unlike later, more radical historians like Wansbrough and Crone, Watt sifts through the early Muslim accounts and accepts most of them as being historically reliable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like most Muslims, I have studied the Prophetic biography from Muslim sources that present the life of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as a moral, ethical, and spiritual guide for everyday behavior. However, now that I am studying Islam in a western institution I thought it would be necessary to read an objective, academic account on the life of the Islam’s final prophet. I chose W. Montgomery Watt’s abridged biography, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, because it is known as the standard introduction to Seerah (i.e. the life and times of the Prophet Muhammad) in western academia. Doctor Watt (d. 2006 CE) was a historian, a priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and a professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Edinburgh. When I read that he was once referred to as the last orientalist I knew I would be engaging a text that would challenge the historicity of many aspects of the Seerah I had accepted as uncontested truths. First published in 1961, the 240-page work is an abridgment of his two longer works, Muhammad at Mecca and Muhammad at Medina. Many of the questions that are raised in this book may well be addressed in the larger volumes. It follows a chronological order to help readers gain a clearer picture of Muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) life and achievements.

Doctor Watt makes interesting observations about the authenticity of Seerah sources. He holds that the primary source for the Seerah is the Qur’an, but because it is fragmentary as a historical record it presupposes knowledge of the general outline of Muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) life. Also, he notes that the historical reliability of hadith literature, which is mainly concerned with legal or theological issues, is highly criticized by western scholars.
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By K A Khan on November 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
informative book
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