Imagine what it would be like to live in the desert-like conditions of sixth century Arabia among traveling merchants stopping in Mecca, the nomads venturing into the city for brief periods each year, and the annual pilgrimage to the Kaabah–“home” of a multitude of revered deities.
Christians rarely venture south into Arabia; they’re mostly concentrated around Constantinople, north Africa, around the Mediterranean and Europe. The Americas have yet to be “discovered” and Asia is humming along mostly with Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The Israelites have long been scattered and Jewish communities can be found in many places. The voice of monotheists is rarely heard among the hubbub of Quraysh-controlled Mecca.
Recognized as descendants of Abraham through Ishmael, the inhabitants of the region were nevertheless deprived of access to biblical accounts of their ancestry. Even copies of “New Testament” scriptures were nearly impossible to acquire. It were as if this corner of the world had been left in the shadows despite the vast dissemination from Palestine of the teachings of Jesus the Christ [i.e., Anointed One] over the past five centuries.
- In the year 610 CE, Muhammad, a forty-year-old businessman known as Al-Amin, “the trustworthy,” marched down from the mountains…looking shattered and frightened….An angel had visited him….ordered him to “recite.”[p. ix]
Reminiscent of a stuttering Moses being told through a burning bush to return to Egypt and “speak” to Pharaoh and persuade him to release the descendants of Jacob, Muhammad is commissioned to return Arabs from polytheism back to monotheism–the one God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus.
Cleverly written in the voices of key characters in the life of Muhammad, Deepak Chopra captures the nuances of the era and provides an opportunity to become acquainted much like an introduction at a party–no long biographical sketches are offered, just the heart-connecting nod of glimpsing into the eyes of another. Such a likable spark compels further conversation and opens the doors to further exploration.
Below are a few of the morsels I gathered in my first read of the book; I look forward to dining with it again. In the meantime, I’ll keep putting hors d’oeuvres on the plate below.
Muhammad: A Story of the Last Prophet
New York Times Bestseller! In this riveting novel, beloved international bestselling author Deepak Chopra captures the spellbinding life story of the great and often misunderstood Prophet. Islam was born in a cradle of tribal turmoil, and the arrival of one God who vanquished hundreds of ancient Arabian gods changed the world forever. God reached down into the life of Muhammad, a settled husband and father, and spoke through him. Muhammad’s divine and dangerous task was to convince his people to renounce their ancestral idols and superstitious veneration of multiple gods. [Read More]
Morsels from Muhammad
Chp 1: Restoring the ancestral fountain, Zamzam, “the water that accumulates”
Every family has some remnant of collective wisdom from the past–some a larger stock than most, others perhaps have just a saying or two. If “charity begins at home”, perhaps we reclaiming what we already possess is a wise move.
Think of Dorothy’s trip to Oz only to return cherishing her home. Recall, if you can, the fervor of the followers of Jesus after his death; the Jews who had converted to “the Way” held a greater appreciation and understanding of their heritage in Judaism–the prophesies began to make sense, the holy days were more meaningful, the spirit of the Mosaical law became practicable. Next holiday or family gathering, look past the “skeletons in the closet” and rediscover the gemstones garnered long ago.