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In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons From the Life of Muhammad

In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons From the Life of Muhammad
By Tariq Ramadan
242 pp, Oxford University Press, 2007
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Most Westerners have a pretty clear idea of what comes to the mind of a Danish cartoonist when he imagines the Prophet Muhammad. They also have a good idea of what comes to the mind of a cave-dwelling Taliban fighter or an al Qaeda operative. Tariq Ramadan, however, is mortified by the caricatures that have shaped public perceptions of the man to whom Allah revealed the Koran in 610. Accordingly, the prolific Swiss-born theologian, who has become both a media star and a lightning rod for controversy, has made it his mission to change the way both Muslims and non-Muslims view Islam.

In the Footsteps of the Prophet is Ramadan's loving portrait of Muhammad, but it is also a biography written with the instincts of a savvy publicist. Beneath the book's somewhat dull exterior -- essentially a highlight reel of the Prophet's sayings and doings over 23 years of revelation -- lies

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  • Jonathan Laurence is Assistant Professor of Political
    Science at Boston College and an Affiliated Scholar at the Brookings Institution's
    Center on the United States and Europe. He is a co-author, with Justin Vaisse, of
    Integrating Islam: Political and Religious Challenges in Contemporary France.
  • More By Jonathan Laurence