A book by Karen Armstrong
In 2018, many people perceive Islam as a fearsome and provoking religion, which its believers are alleged of incorporating terror and atrocity into their creed. With this kind of worrisome yet prevailing accusation it’s only natural that Muhammad as the chief figure of Islam to be perceived as a man of war. Although Muhammad’s life story tells a different tale.
Muhammad: The Prophet for Our Time is a remarkable book. For what its worth, this book immediately made to my lifetime must read list (without question!).
Writing my opinion about this book I realize that it’s only right for me to confer both my personal conviction and creed of my environs first. I reside in Indonesia, a country which Islam is a major religion (above 90% of citizens are Muslims). Yet I was raised as a Christian (10% of citizens). These two facts have essentially shaped my faith by inducing myself to contemplate the one right belief to follow. And as of today, I am by all means agnostic.
Karen Amstrong wrote her book addressing Western world which is deeply affected by thus skeptic of Islam. Indonesia is not a Western country yet the context Karen brought in fits perfectly in this nation. Our politicians exploit religion based chasm among citizens to manipulate poll results all the time. As I write this article, people are ubiquitously insulting each other by offensively defending each religion on and offline.
Recently, a governor won his position by convincing otherwise neutral Muslims that it’s a reprehensible sin for a Muslim to vote for a Christian. This record belies the fact that one’s religion is totally irrelevant with his integrity. This event naturally spread insecurity among Christians in the nation hence the hatred in the air. This hostile situation is evidently tough to straighten out.
If you have ever read any of Karen Amstrong’s books, you would have known that Karen constantly asserts that Muhammad himself is not a man of war. Muhammad is in fact (she argues), a man of peace. I imagine that if people tried to understand Muhammad as hard as Karen did, we would have been able to avoid this debacle. It’s greatly ironic to think that Muhammad had strived for peace which many people who profess to be his believers had made it hard to achieve.
I suppose this book would be perfect for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Reading this book would help to emphatize with the Prophet, to rectify erroneous allegation, and eventually to establish harmony. Harmony which until today, has been nothing but utopic.