1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Group Reading and Discussion: Biography of the Prophet Muhammad

Discussion in 'Islam DIR' started by Bismillah, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,210
    Ratings:
    +366
    Religion:
    Islam
    Salaam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

    I wanted to see the reception here for a group reading of a biography of the Prophet Muhammad.

    Who: This is for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

    What: We will read a Prophetic biography of Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. It will be a journey of the circumstances of Arabia before the birth of the Prophet, his childhood, young life, and Prophetic timeline including the Meccan and Medinan time periods.

    When: Every Night I will post a Chapter for the reading and the following night will post my thoughts, excerpts that are meaningful to me, questions, comments, and concerns. I hope that we can have a discussion surrounding it and the summary so as to allow people to catch up with chapters they have missed. This schedule I will keep as best as I can but being a student, volunteering, and working I might not be able to keep to the schedule as rigidly as I hope to do so.

    Which book: I am going to use the book by the convert Martin Lings: Muhammad his life based on the earliest sources. This is the world acclaimed book.

    I have picked it because

    • Provided for free over the internet for every member to read
    • It is not abridged, but a comprehensive look throughout his life
    • Excerpts from the Qur'an giving the nature of their revelation and adding meaningful context that makes the verses that much more relevent and moving
    • Non biased

    I know there are other books but these are some of the reasons for why I picked this book.

    The link to the pdf version of the book is here. You should save the file to your computer, if you do not know how go to the bottom right section of the screen and a toolbar should pop up. Click the floppy disk (the second rightmost icon) and save it to your computer. The links for kindle, EPUB, Daisy, and full text is here if anyone wants that format instead of PDF.

    The first reading will be short because I don't want to overwhelm people and the time period before the birth and discussion of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is always the dullest.

    Thus tomorrow night's discussion will be

    • Chapter 1: The House of God
    • Chapter 2: A Great Loss
    • Chapter 3: The Quraysh of the Hollow
    July 23 Chapters 4-6

    Inshallah this will gather some interest and benefit and if not to anyone else it will for me.
     
    #1 Bismillah, Nov 7, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2013
  2. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,210
    Ratings:
    +366
    Religion:
    Islam
    Actually I am thinking it would be better to leave 2 nights between readings so that there is more time to discuss and reflect inshallah. This way if I post tomorrow night regarding the reading there is still time for members to go through and read as well as comment the next night.

    I am hoping there is some interest in this, just one other person is fine by me, otherwise I will continue this for a bit to see if anyone is interested and then just move it to resources.
     
  3. Rational_Mind

    Rational_Mind Ahmadi Muslim

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,296
    Ratings:
    +53
    I will join. Initially I feared a chapter would be 20-30 pages. But these are just a couple of pages. I am quite busy with university but I will try my best to keep up. Inshallah, I should be able to manage with some delays.
     
  4. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,210
    Ratings:
    +366
    Religion:
    Islam
    Jazak allah khair for your intention to join. I wanted to keep the number of pages down to a minimum so that people are interested in joining, at least initially. I'll see later what the consensus is regarding reading pace.

    Also is the online link I provided fine?
     
  5. TashaN

    TashaN Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Messages:
    13,496
    Ratings:
    +1,246
    Religion:
    Islam
    Insha'Allah i'll join as well. The link works just great.
     
  6. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,210
    Ratings:
    +366
    Religion:
    Islam
    Salaam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    So I thought I'd kick off the first discussion for this group reading of the Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad sal allahu alay wa salaam :)

    There are three things that intrigue me

    The first is that of the origins of the Muslims. Often times people tend to say that Islam is a religion of pagan origins and something that is outside of the traditional monotheistic Judeo-Christian values. To this I say, as quoted in the book
    While the Bible focuses on the offspring of Ishaq alay as salaam and the revelation of Isa alayhi as salaam the Qur'an is the focus of the offspring of Ismail alay as aslaam and the revelations of the Prophet Muhammad sal allahu alay wa salaam. This is not some aberration from the desert it is proscribed but that both brothers, descended from Ibraheem alay as salaam, were divinely guided as Genesis states "God was with him [Ismail]" Thus the Qur'an is the story of one great tribe and the Bible of another

    Secondly something that I thought was cool and perhaps meaningful was the losing of the well of Zam Zam. The well in a desert society represents life and is an escape from the scorching heat. Indeed the people and traders to first settle in the valley where the Kaabah rests stopped because of the well. So if a well is life, then we can think of the Zam Zam well as symbolic of spiritual life and indeed just as the well protects the people from the heat of the desert the spiritual guidance and life of the zam zam (culminating in Islam) protects the people from Jahannam. And as the people forgot this blessing and connection with Allah and began to worship idols, placing them within the Kaabah itself, the well was lost to them. They had cut themselves off from Allah and thus their hearts have hardened which brings my mind to the verse
    And indeed the commentary makes this parable even clearer
    Third thing that interests me is the situation in Mecca at the end of the third chapter. We have Abd Al-Muttalib, the grandfather of Prophet Muhammad sal allahu alay wa salaam, a son of Hashem son of Qussay who was king of the Quraysh who draw their line back to Ibraheem alay as salaam. Abd Al-Muttalib is the custodian of Mecca, wherein there is now rampant idolatry, disbelief, and heedlessness of Allah. The setting is now clear for a man from this noble and esteemed line to reform man and beckon him to his creator. The next couple chapters will demonstrate the need for a Prophet and the next one will then introduce Prophet Muhammad sal allahu alay was salaam

    Today is the Ninth of November, inshallah on the 11th we will discuss Chapters 4-6. I will link the discussions and readings for each day in the first post of this thread (my introductory post). Also I am curious for feedback. What do you think of the reading pace so far, should we increase or maintain it? Since there are not too many participants if both of you wish to add some more we can add a couple chapters as well inshallah but I will keep it to three chapters every two nights for the next two discussions regardless.
     
  7. Dingbat

    Dingbat Avatar of Brittania

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    Messages:
    981
    Ratings:
    +112
    Religion:
    Perpetual Seeker
    I would like to join in with this as well. Though I don't know how long I will be able to keep up as the semester moves towards the end and finals.

    I think the most interesting thing of note in the recent reading was the fact that Allah always keeps his word. This is especially highlighted in my mind when you look at Ishmael's and Hagar's life. While they were driven out by Abraham's (PBUH) wife and were wandering the wild not only did Allah send an angel for them to find water but also reminded her that the promise originally made was still intact whether she was Abraham (PBUH) or not.

    I also thought it was interesting to read about how Mecca was slowly made into a Pagan pilgrimage site due to the fact that what was original imitation of the Kaaba pilgrimage but slowly became worship of actual idols. It was interesting to see how it shifted away from a worship of Allah and became the pagan pilgrim site that the Prophet (PBUH) knew during the early part of his life.
     
  8. TashaN

    TashaN Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Messages:
    13,496
    Ratings:
    +1,246
    Religion:
    Islam
    I think we also have to add what did Islam bring to the picture when it comes to the story of Abraham, his wives, children, because what the bible say sometimes differ from what we Muslims believe in. What do you all think?
     
  9. Dingbat

    Dingbat Avatar of Brittania

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    Messages:
    981
    Ratings:
    +112
    Religion:
    Perpetual Seeker
    I think that is an excellent point as well. What I always found confusing from the Torah itself was that it made it seem like contact between Abraham (PBUH) and Ismael was minimal. Yet somehow his family knew where Ismael resided he attended the funeral. To me this lends heavy support towards the Qu'ran which states that the pilgrimage was an age old tradition otherwise how would anyone know where Ismael lived? In the Torah it makes Abraham (PBUH) who is loving seem quite cold just to cast off his child but with the revelations of the Qu'ran it shows that Abraham maintained contact with his son and even worshipped with him at the Kabba.

    It brings the behavior of Allah and Abraham onto the same level whereas with just the Torah it seems only God is merciful.
     
  10. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,210
    Ratings:
    +366
    Religion:
    Islam
    I totally fell out of my daily RF loop is anyone interested in this? I think I'm going to start it up again tomorrow Inshallah. Please think about it, it's a good way to learn about the Prophet Muhammad for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This is a attempt to learn about the messenger and the message so don't feel shy (or feel like I am proselytizing!)
     
  11. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,210
    Ratings:
    +366
    Religion:
    Islam
    As salaam alaikum wa rahmataullhi wa barakatuh (May peace, blessings, and mercy of Allah be upon)

    I want to restart this project, especially because it is Ramadan. Inshallah Muslims and non-Muslims can take a break in their busy lives as well as put aside debating and arguing for a short time to learn about the Prophet Muhammad sal allahu alay wa salaam and the spread of Islam.

    Please see the first post to get an idea of the schedule and background of this seerah (biography) of the Prophet.

    I am going to go ahead and start from where we left off, chapter four. I will wait an extra day so that other posters on RF have a chance to see this discussion and then go ahead with the schedule. Today is July 23 so the next discussion will be on July 26.

    The chapters for the next discussion will be from pages 10-18

    • Chapter Four: The Recovery of a Loss
    • Chapter Five: The Vow to Sacrifice a Son
    • Chapter Six: The Need for a Prophet
     
  12. Shia Islam

    Shia Islam Quran and Ahlul-Bayt a.s.
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Messages:
    2,589
    Ratings:
    +556
    Religion:
    Shia Islam
    Yes. Let us read together :yes:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,210
    Ratings:
    +366
    Religion:
    Islam
    Salaam alaikum,

    My thoughts on these three chapters

    Chapter four deals with the significant recovery of the well of Zamzam by Abd Al Muttallib (Grandfather of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa salam). The treasure of the Jurham goes to the Hashemites and to the Kaabah. I think this is interesting because the treasures were dedicated to the Kaabah. This wealth is not distributed among the Arabs of Mecca, but rather goes back to the House of Allah and to the tribe which was charged with the duty and honor of caring for the pilgrims. And of course it was from the Hashemites that the Prophet Muhammad came from and it was from the Prophet who banished the idolatry from the house of Allah and made the pilgrimage a duty not just for the Arabs but for mankind.

    Something else I thought was that the Pagans of Mecca were shown the gift of Zamzam without which there would be no Mecca, they would have no wealth, nor the prestige as the custiodians of the house of Allah. They have been reminded of their gifts now the grandson of Abd Al Muttallib will remind the pagans of their duty to Allah.

    The next chapter we again see the preference that is shown to the line of the Prophet Muhammad. Abdallah is known for his beauty, he is called the Joseph of his time, he is worth ten times the blood price of any man, and most importantly his face had a noor or light for a time which is a characteristic of the Prophet Muhammad (whose face was always shining brighter than the moon).

    The most interesting part of the sixth chapter, to me, was how the Christians and Jews of the area were expecting a Prophet. Whats more is that the Jews were firmly convinced that any Prophet's coming would be from among their people, but it is the Arabs of the area who are in greater need of hidayat or guidance. The paganism of the Arabs is tied heavily with wealth I think. Each tribe has their idols and the Quraysh accept them and more because it encourages pilgrims and flow of wealth into Mecca. It is in the self-interest of the Quraysh to not challenge the innovations and corruption of the Kaabah, as the book says
     
  14. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,210
    Ratings:
    +366
    Religion:
    Islam
    Salaam alaikum the discussion for July 27 is from pages 19-28

    • Chapter Seven: The Year of the Elephant
    • Chapter Eight: The Desert
    • Chapter Nine: Two Bereavements
    The next reading and discussion will be on July 29
     
  15. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,210
    Ratings:
    +366
    Religion:
    Islam
    Salaam alaikum,

    I am reviving the thread because we never read or discussed the previous reading, it will remain the same.

    The assigned reading and discussion is from pages 19-28

    • Chapter Seven: The Year of the Elephant
    • Chapter Eight: The Desert
    • Chapter Nine: Two Bereavements
    The next reading and discussion will be on the 25
     
    #15 Bismillah, Sep 23, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  16. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,210
    Ratings:
    +366
    Religion:
    Islam
    In Chapter Seven I think it is very interesting that the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, coincides with the Year of the Elephant. As the book states
    It marks the prestige of both the Prophet's tribal lineage (which we have seen are the inheritors and maintainers of the house of God as well as a descendant from Abraham alay as salaam) as well as the divine nature of our Prophet's life. This excerpt also furthers the latter thought
    I thought that the poverty of the Prophet described in Chapter Eight was very moving.
    The chapter details the vulnerable and impoverished background of the Prophet as an orphan and I think it is insightful for why the Prophet always commanded the Muslims to care for the weak. Also I think this is a reoccurring happening in that even though the Prophet comes from a modest background his life is filled with Allah's barakah or blessing (in the milk of his fostermother and the udder of the camel). Those who live with the Prophet also marvel at this barakah.

    I also thought this description was very interesting
    As the black clot they took away was the sin present in every fallible man and the men themselves were angels.

    The final chapter is short but this part stands out in its beauty and love that Abd Al Muttalib had for his grandson the Prophet
     
Loading...