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The novel emphasizes that of all the founders of the great world religions, Muhammad is the most like us. Muhammad, a merchant who marries a rich widow and routinely travels in caravans as part of his trade, lives a regular life until the day the archangel Gabriel appears and orders the reluctant year-old Muhammad to recite.
To recite, Chopra reminds, is the root word of Koran. Using multiple first-person narrators--slaves and merchants, hermits, and scribes--he portrays life including its brutality on the streets of Mecca. Each chapter is self-contained. Compellingly told, this is not only good storytelling; it also helps readers, especially non-Muslims, better understand the complexities and contradictions surrounding Islam.
The book focused more on the man than his teachings, which I found to be less than satisfying. I had hoped to gain more insight into the teachings of Islam, although Chopra does describe the five pillars and six core beliefs of Islam, along with some of his other teachings. However, other aspects of the work delighted me.
I enjoyed the poetry of each sura as much as the message. Do you not see how he has lengthened the shadows? He gave you sleep so that you may rest And the morning sky to be a resurrection. And Lo, I swear by the afterglow of sunset, And by the night and all it enshrouds.
And by the moon when she is at the full, You will journey to higher and higher worlds. Another unexpected delight was the wealth of Arabic sayings that were both pithy and poetic: "Fate You cannot taste the sweetness without a sting. However, his short and direct prose works well in the context of this fictionalized biography. Although much blood was spilled in the evolution of Islam, violence was integral to Arabic life at that time.
Muhammad struggled to project his message of peace, acceptance, and submission above the sometimes horrific reality of Arabic life in the 7th century.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the story was the realization that Muhammad was a man like any other, not a son of God such as Jesus nor a transcendent human such as Buddha. I wrote it to show that holiness was just as confusing, terrifying, and exalting in the 7th century as it would be today.
Muhammad: A Story of the Last Prophet
DEEPAK CHOPRA MAHOMA PDF