The soul of the desert is a magical and ethereal book which introduces both muslims and non muslims to the life of The Prophet in riveting verse.It is enlightening and refreshing.
The Soul of the Desert is a romantic and inviting title for a biography of the Prophet which is designed to lead all who care to read it into another world.It is the world where the life of the Messenger is revealed to the reader in all its facets.
As one reads it is not hard to envisage the scenes that are depicted as the beauty of the verse draws one into the moment and in no time at all .
Despite the excellent introduction which is deep in analysis there is in my view a serious flaw in this book that cannot be overlooked.The deeply disturbing political times that we live in with regard to the middle east focuses our minds on the relationship between the world’s oldest first cousins—Jews and Muslims.On page 45, there is mention of Omer lifting the Christian ban forbidding the entrance of jews into the holy city.Jerusalem is a city of prime importance to jews all over the world as it is the location of the second temple and the city of David.The recalling of Jews to Jerusalem may be magnanimous but in itself it is hopelessly inadequate.
We now turn to page 187 ,The Khyber Campaign.The description of the Jews living in this area sadly reeks of the old anti Semitism.It is full of clichés and accusations that are unfounded.The author passes these disgraceful comments off by saying that the jews were about to make a battle plan and hence the remarks.
All of the remarks are based on comments that have long been attributed to my people and which I am sorry to say makes the author look like an ignorant anti semite flailing around trying to
make such nonsense fit his Khyber battles.But they do not fit and no excuses can be made for these disgraceful comments.He talks of Arabia being”cleansed of this menace”.
At the end of the battle, the jews who emerged from their fort inQamus, wer so condescendingly spared their lives by Al-Mustafa, but only on the condition that they disclosed their hidden wealth. Here it is again, the vile in bred anti Semitism that is rife in Islam and many muslim communities today.
Although I was involved in editing this book, I had many misgivings at the time and wish in hindsight that I had shown the courage and wisdom to tear these dangerous passages apart.