cover image Muhammad: Forty Introductions

Muhammad: Forty Introductions

Michael Muhammad Knight. Soft Skull, $16.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-593-76147-9

In the vein of 40-hadith collections—well-known retellings of stories about the prophet Muhammad—Knight (Magic in Islam) delivers both a personal practitioner’s and a scholar’s view of the many ways Muhammad is imagined today. More than a survey of the prophet’s life and times, this book is an introduction to the stunning diversity of Islam and the ways in which Muslims think, dream, and make Muhammad into their very own prophet. Knight addresses topics such as gender, sexuality, law, environmentalism, and mysticism in chapters each pegged to a saying of or story about Muhammad. For instance, a story about the prophet allowing a Bedouin to urinate within a mosque is used as precedent for not immediately censuring profane behavior. He also uses the often-cited “Hadith of Intention” (a selection of Muhammad’s sayings that question the intention behind behaviors) as, Knight says, a way to “assess personal choices beyond simple questions of permissible or prohibited.” Anyone who picks up this sparkling book will be introduced to the many Muhammads who exist in the world and the ways in which they are in conversation with each other in the lives of Muslims across the globe. (Jan.)