Muhammad: The Story of a Prophet and Reformer

Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
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In the pages of Muhammad: The Story of a Prophet and Reformer, young readers will encounter a man very different from the figure often presented in Western popular culture. Drawing from biographies, the Quran, and hadith, Sarah Conover, co-author of Ayat Jamilah: Beautiful Signs: A Treasury of Islamic Wisdom for Children and Parents, relates the story of a radical prophet who challenged the rich and powerful, guided his community of followers through a dangerous time of persecution and exile, formed alliances with people of different beliefs, and preached "love for humanity what you love for yourself."

Before he became one of the most venerated, and most misunderstood, religious leaders in history, Muhammad was an orphaned child and a shepherd.

Written for readers 12 and up, and with a foreword by Eboo Patel (founder of Interfaith Youth Core and a member of the President's Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships), Muhammad: The Story of a Prophet and Reformer will educate and inspire young adults and adults of all faiths.

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The number of Believers grew by a handful of converts each week. They called themselves Muhammad's Companions. Through the revelations, God was their educator, their Rabb. Muhammad told them, "Seeking knowledge is the duty of every Believer. It will enable you to be your own friend in the desert, it will be your mainstay in solitude, your companion in loneliness, your guide to happiness, your sustainer in misery."

Twice a day now, in the morning and in the evening, small groups met in secret for worship. Some walked in groups of two or three into the desert so they would not be seen; some met with Muhammad in the house of a Companion where a new revelation could be memorized and explained.

When Mecca slipped out of the sun's grasp and stars freckled the eastern horizon, the first soft knock on a Companion's door opened it just enough to let in a single person at a time. "As-salaam alaykum, peace be upon you," said Ali, entering. He was Muhammad's first cousin and one of the first Companions.

"Wa alaykum as-salaam, and with you also," replied the host, smiling-this was the greeting of peace that Gabriel taught Muhammad. The last of a small group arriving for worship, Ali locked the door behind himself. In the wandering light of the courtyard, unseen and unheard from the street, Muhammad's Companions formed lines and knelt on palm mats in order to pray.

Muhammad and Khadija needed to be watchful. The revelations would spin the world of the powerful in Mecca upside down. Not only had Muhammad declared a belief in one God-the statues at the Kaaba were nothing more than statues he said-but also the money from religious pilgrims for food, water, and housing while in Mecca kept the large and powerful Quraysh tribe, the guardians of the shrine, very rich.

Additionally, Muhammad taught that all people, wealthy or poor, were equal before God, "as equal as the teeth of a comb," he said, and the rich had a duty to share their wealth with the poor. A revelation that would further upset the powerful stated that the oppressed must be freed: Women were men's partners, not property; infant girls must not be killed; slaves must be able to earn their freedom.

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Publisher
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
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Published on
Dec 31, 2013
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Pages
114
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ISBN
9781558967045
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Religious
Religion / Islam / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

Book Club Pick for Now Read This, from PBS NewsHour and The New York Times

“A coming-of-age memoir reminiscent of The Glass Castle.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable.”—USA Today

“The extremity of Westover’s upbringing emerges gradually through her telling, which only makes the telling more alluring and harrowing.”—The New York Times Book Review

Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills” bag. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged metal in her father’s junkyard.

Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when an older brother became violent.

When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy, and history, learning for the first time about pivotal world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing one’s closest ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.
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