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Foreword

As I read this book, I kept thinking of one of my favorite lines in Islam:


God is beautiful and loves beauty. The book you hold contains a beautiful
story beautifully told. I wish this were the case more often, but the truth is that
the tale too often told about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in
our times is twisted to the point of deformationwhich just makes Muhammad:
The Story of a Prophet and Reformer that much more meaningful and powerful.
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 whose
organization, Interfaith Youth Core, focuses on inspiring young people to bridge
the faith divide. Both sets of eyes found much to love and admire here. I
especially appreciated the way the author brought to life the key role that nonMuslims played in the life and Prophethood of Muhammad. How two
Christians, Bahirah and Waraqah, were among the first to recognize
Muhammad's spiritual significance. And how a pagan, Muhammad's uncle Abu
Talib, risked his own life to protect the Prophet from those who wished him
harm. So frequently we hear the perversion that Islam is a tradition that seeks
either separation from others or domination over them. These stories highlight
the relational dimensions of Islam, an important lesson for both Muslims and
non-Muslims.
Which brings me to my next point: Even though I started reading this
book with the eyes of a father and interfaith activist, I found myself enjoying it,
and learning a great deal, as a writer and teacher on Islam. This is to say that,
like the best books meant for young adults, there is much here for those who
are older and fancy themselves wiser. I personally found the description of
Muhammad's private life with his wife Khadija and their daughters especially
moving.
It occurred to me about halfway through this book that it felt a bit short
to be a full biography of Muhammad. After reading how the author told the tale
of the initial revelations, the early days of the Prophet's preaching, the
unconditional love and support his wife Khadija displayed, the generosity with
which Muhammad engaged his detractors, I was eager to read about the
episodes in the Prophet's later life. Alas, the book ends in 622, the year the
Prophet makes the Hijrah from Mecca to Medina, about halfway through his
Prophetic mission. I confess to letting out a deep sad sigh when I realized that I
would not get the author's take on those final ten years in this book. Part of me

wished the publisher had demanded the whole biography. But I suppose there
is no higher compliment for a reader to pay a writer than to say, I wish the
book were longer."
Eboo Patel
Taken from Muhammad: The Story of a Prophet and Reformer