Love of the Prophet runs like blood in the veins of his community– Muhammad Iqbal
Not only am I thankful that my local public library does a superb job acquiring fantastic books , I’m also thankful that I have a quirky little habit of grabbing those books whenever I do visit the library. When I saw Omid Safi’s 2009 book Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters I almost didn’t grab it. I had too many books in “to read” pile, I’d never heard of the author and frankly, I just wasn’t in the mood for another book on Islam and/or the Middle East. But I grabbed it anyway. Oh man, after finishing it early yesterday morning, I’m really glad I did. It is superb.
Safi, a Shia Muslim and professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has written an incredibly readable and fascinating portrait of the years leading up to and following the birth of the Islamic faith. Using superb exegesis of both Quranic and classical Islamic source material, coupled with a mastery of classical Arabic, Safi paints a sympathetic yet complex picture of the Prophet Muhammad and the religion he founded.
Despite being just 10 percent of the world’s Muslim population, the Shia community has produced a number of insightful and intelligent writers such as Reza Aslan, Vali Nasr, Fouad Ajami and even the combative Amir Taheri. Based on his recent book, Safi should be considered among the ranks of those and other elite Muslim writers.