Usually I either like a book or dislike it. Rare are the books that I had mixed feelings about. Muhammad’s book by Deepak Chopra is a book that falls in that last category. There are some chapters in the book that I found sensitive and delicate but some others I found very blunt and irrelevant. As a practicing Muslim and a spiritual person, I felt uncomfortable reading some passages.
The book is a biography about the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him (pbuh). Chopra isn’t the narrator, instead he choose a different narrator for every chapter. This strategy is very intelligent and creative but can be misleading especially at the beginning of the book where the reader isn’t used to it. Chopra starts with a theory and all along, chapter after chapter, all he does is to reinforce it. This theory is that prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a man among men, someone that behaved like any other human being. This statement is with no doubt true, however it is incomplete and this is where I believe Chopra loses a part of prophet Muhammad’s personality in his book. Consequently, he wrote a lopsided review of the life of prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Muhammad (pbuh) never claimed that he is a special human being, with special attributes. For Muslims, in particular, we don’t put any particular emphasis on the miracles that prophet Muhammad did or happened during his life, instead we put an emphasize on his words, on his actions and reactions that filled his whole life. Until nowadays, we are perpetually trying to find in Muhammad’s words some guidance to the problems we face.
Unlike Jesus (pbuh), Muhammad (pbuh) didn’t convince his followers by walking on top of the sea or by reviving the dead, he had other methods. He worked, got married, had children, had friends, went to war and made peace. He would smile as well as he would be sad and upset. But beyond the normal and harsh life he had, Muhammad (pubh) spoke the words of Allah. He brought to us the Quran which, all Muslims believe as the words of God. This divine revelation is the most important miracle for Muslims and at the time when Muhammad (pbuh) received the revelation it was also considered by the unbelievers of Quraish to be a strong challenge to their powerful skills of the Arabic language.
Chopra showed us the struggle of this man to bring his message to his people in order to enlighten their way. He showed Muhammad as a smart leader, a loving husband and father and a faithful friend. Unfortunately, he failed to focus on Muhammad the deeply spiritual person, the bearer of a divine message, the man who spent all his life caring about his followers. Few seconds before passing away he kept mumbling one word: ” my nation, my nation…”