Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Life of Muhammad

Preach My Gospel, the Guide to Missionary Service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,  contains a chapter entitled "What Do I Study and Teach?"  This chapter outlines "the essential doctrines, principles, and commandments" that missionaries (and all members) are to "study, believe, love, live and teach."  It includes lessons on "The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ," "The Plan of Salvation," "The Gospel of Jesus Christ," "The Commandments," and "Laws and Ordinances."  Preach My Gospel is an excellent tool for helping missionaries and other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be better prepared and more persuasive teachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As missionaries are sent into many different regions of the earth, the chapter on "The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" also contains brief summaries of lives of "Reformers and World Religious Leaders" whose examples and teachings have greatly influenced the world. These "Reformers and Religious Leaders" include John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Calvin, Buddha (Gotama), Confucius and Mohammed. Missionaries are instructed to use this background information only when needed.

The brief description of the life of Mohammed as contained in Preach My Gospel is as follows:

"Born in 570 A.D. in Mecca. Orphaned in childhood. Lived a life of poverty. Gained reputation as a trusted peacemaker. Married at age 25. In 610 prayed and meditated on Mount Hira. Said the angel Gabriel appeared to him and delivered a message from Allah (God). Claimed to receive communication from God through Gabriel from 620 to 632. These communications, which he recited to his disciples, were later written in the Koran, the sacred book of Islam."

This is a concise and accurate summary of the life of Mohammed that will be helpful for missionaries or for those who are unfamiliar with the religion of Islam.  For those whose curiosity concerning Mohammed runs deeper, PBS has produced an excellent primer on the prophet of Islam entitled "The Life of Muhammad."  This enjoyable television series contains three segments: "The Seeker," "Holy Wars," and "Holy Peace," each of which is skillfully crafted and highly informative.  

For those whose interest in Islam runs deeper than a television production, there are plentiful biographies about Muhammad.  Professor Daniel C. Peterson has written an excellent biography of this very influential leader entitled "Muhammad, Prophet of God."  

For those whose desire to understand Islam and the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) runs even deeper, please learn Arabic and read the Holy Qur'an.  If you approach the task with a sense of wonder and of "Holy Envy," you won't be disappointed.


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