Review of The Warrior Prophet

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Nzube Chizoba Okeke
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Review of The Warrior Prophet

Post by Nzube Chizoba Okeke »

[Following is an official review of "The Warrior Prophet" by Joel Hayward.]
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5 out of 5 stars
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In The Warrior Prophet: Muhammad and War, Joel Hayward examined the character of Prophet Muḥammad concerning his use of war as a tool for societal and religious dominance. In 622 CE, the Hijra and Prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina. Upon his arrival in Medina, he set about establishing himself as a renowned tribe leader over his polity by becoming a major landowner. His acquisition of societal power allowed him to set the grounds for the distribution of the religious order God had given him. During the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad, he engaged in many raids with his followers, who had sworn "bay'a" to him. These followers were not skilled warriors but mainly shepherds and craftsmen whose remuneration came from Prophet Muhammad's gratitude. Many scholars had probed into the rationale behind the prophet's raids. However, Hayward examined the proposed rationales in the historical context of seventh-century Arabia.

The book's entirety was a philosophical analysis of the subject, Muḥammad — not as a religious prophet but as a warrior. The author's arguments were logically presented, and readers could see the processes he undertook to come to his conclusions. The author's conclusions were not independent but based on extensive knowledge extraction and comparative analysis of scholarly works. As already alluded to, the author had taken on in-depth and balanced research, as seen from this book's contents.

I loved that the author provided a robust introduction at the beginning. This introduction was essential because it set the pace for the book significantly to help readers form some background for the discourse that followed. The introduction clearly stated what the book was for and what it was not. This would help guide readers' reading.

The Warrior Prophet: Muhammad and War had the makings of a good research tool for researchers, students, and seekers of knowledge. The resources the author used, which he cited appropriately, could be a guide for personal reading for readers who would wish to form their own opinions. This book was highly insightful and informative.

The author's honesty was the aspect of this book that worked well to establish my trust in the arguments and conclusions. First, as a Muslim, it would have been understandable for the author to project single positive narratives about Prophet Muhammad. On the contrary, his analyses appeared objective, and the author was conscious of his possible bias as a Muslim. His consciousness about this suggested that he was desirous and worked to present the truth and nothing else. This was further seen in the author's examination of the controversial belief that Islam endorsed religious coercion.

The author established in this book that Islam had a lot of history attached to it. A more holistic understanding could be achieved when people look at Islam from a historical perspective instead of solely as a religious system. The book provided a lot of in-depth knowledge and enlightenment. It was quite a heavy read, but the robust information made up for it.

I found nothing to dislike in The Warrior Prophet: Muhammad and War. Religious researchers and Muslim readers would most appreciate it. The book seemed to be professionally edited. For a book with over 400 pages, the handful of errors I found didn't take away from the book's message. Therefore, I'd rate The Warrior Prophet: Muhammad and War five out of five stars.

The Warrior Prophet
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