Just a few years ago, I published a biography entitled Muhammad: Prophet of God. It was essentially my section from David Noel Freedman and Michael J. McClymond, eds., The Rivers of Paradise: Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus and Muhammad as Religious Founders, a hefty (and heftily-priced) volume that featured a foreword by the celebrated/controversial Swiss theologian Hans Küng.
It’s a simple narrative biography, on the whole, that doesn’t pretend to break significant new historical ground, but seeks to tell the basic story of Muhammad as clearly as possible. On the whole, I’ve been gratified at the response to it. I’ve been especially pleased that the Muslims who have spoken to me about it seem overwhelmingly to have liked it. (Unlike many anti-Mormons, I think it important that descriptions of other peoples’ religious beliefs should be recognizable to those people.)
I was also amused at some of the responses from conservative Christians. One in particular. A certain Protestant polemicist, based in Arizona, who opposes other faiths (principally Mormonism, Catholicism, and Islam) as a kind of full-time job — in my judgment, he’s something of a professional religious bigot — was especially incensed that a very respected and influential Evangelical publishing house (Eerdmans, in Grand Rapids, Michigan) was distributing a sympathetic biography of Muhammad written by . . . a Mormon. Could anything possibly be worse than this? (His indignation still brings a smile to my face.) If such things are allowed to continue, why, people might begin to respect each other’s religious beliefs, and who knows how that might end?
Well, one of the functions of this blog is to advertise things. Including, sometimes, my things.
As biographies of Muhammad go, this one is surely not the worst. I spent quite a few hours writing it. The least you can do is to buy a few hundred copies. Give them to all your relatives. Pass them out to strangers.
P.S. Greetings from Santa Clara, California. I wonder whether I’ll ever stop feeling that I’m really still a Californian?