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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Muhammad: Uncovering the True Story

by Anita Rai


There are 1548 books available on Muhammad and his life. "Muhammad. Uncovering the True Story" is distinct from these books in ways you will realize when you will turn the final page. For now, all I can say is, I am not at all keen to dwell on and linger on and go on endlessly about the typical perception gained and the typical impression given about Muhammad in most of these titles literally built on the 'authentic' reports from Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Hisham, al-Bukhari, al-Muslim. "Muhammad. Uncovering the True Story", is a personal attempt to gain some refreshing insights into the life of Muhammad. There is more than abundant amount of traditional scholarship available, but sadly it has delineated and scattered the integral holistic nature of the life, struggle and achievement of Muhammad and has just managed to retain the data complexities of events and chronology. My efforts are focused at pulling off false covers from the image of Muhammad and hit hard every opposition that stands in the way of my job… I have not studied Muhammad from the general perspective of the Muslims. I have studied Muhammad from the perspective of Faith, emboldened with love. My Muhammad is the Muhammad of faith corroborated every step of the way by the Muhammad of history. I am more concerned with what Muhammad really was, rather than what the traditionalists and the later compilers would have us believe. The Muhammad the ummah chooses to remember is what these early historians chose to remember and record, and not the real Muhammad. And now Muhammad is a typecast for the Muslims. It is true that Muhammad was born in the full light of history.

It is equally true that obscurities have been cast into critical areas and aspects of his life. My job is to explain the obscure in a way as to rescue them from doubts, dogmas, distortions, dilutions, dissolutions and deviations. My job is to remove the web of deception carefully arranged to obfuscate the reflection of the Muhammadan Reality. My Muhammad is neither that of skepticism nor that of speculation or wild imagination. My Muhammad is incontestably the historical Muhammad but one that is unmarred by the hostility of history. How we remember Muhammad makes all the difference. What my reader must understand is "Muhammad. Uncovering the True Story" is not an apologia. Least of all is my desire to merely make another addition to an ever-increasing list of apologias for Muhammad as my Muhammad hasn’t given me any reason whatsoever to apologize for him. My Muhammad needs no defending… "Muhammad. Uncovering the True Story" is a humble attempt to take a few shots of the dazzling Muhammadan Reality – Muhammadan haqeeqa. My Muhammad is the Muhammad whom the Quran addresses as the uswatun hasana and not the Muhammad whom many believe to be, 'aught but a man'.

For me it is enough that Muhammad is the greatest feminist the world has so far had but has so little come to know of… Personally I am infinitely grateful to Muhammad, who has not only empathised with the crying voice of the despairing and exploited woman but has taken momentous measures blustering all opposition, to alleviate her lot and strengthen her in realistic terms… For ages and ages, a woman had found herself begging and grovelling in front of her male master, with her heart-wrenching pleas for justice remaining unheard and unaddressed. Muhammad had changed this forever. Muhammad had pulled the woman out of her embarrassing position. Muhammad had lifted her from her servitude to man to being her own master. Muhammad had turned her from a beggar to a rightful taker and a strong stakeholder. Muhammad had carefully listened to her sorrows and her woes. Muhammad had heard her out with loving patience, compassion, and his heart overflowing with kindness and understanding. Muhammad had addressed her complaints as per divine ordinance even before she complained. Muhammad had found where she was hurting, and arranged for her to heal. Muhammad had found for her, her lost identity. Muhammad had acquainted her with her real status and significance. Muhammad had presented to woman, her individuality and pride as gifted by God. Muhammad had won over for woman what was seized from her somewhere along the way – her respect and her rights. Muhammad got woman her freedom. Muhammad transformed woman from being a non-entity to a confident individual. Muhammad brought back to woman her glory. Muhammad was and remains the unrivalled champion of a woman.


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