People of the Book
Prophet Muhammad’s Encounters with Christians
A considered study of Muslim–Christian coexistence and dialogue in the time of Prophet Muhammad.
The Christians that lived around the Arabian Peninsula during Muhammad’s lifetime are shrouded in mystery. Some of the stories of the Prophet’s interactions with them are based on legends and myths, while others are more authentic and plausible. But who exactly were these Christians? Why did Muhammad interact with them as he reportedly did? And what lessons can today’s Christians and Muslims learn from these encounters?
Scholar Craig Considine, one of the most powerful global voices speaking in admiration of the prophet of Islam, provides answers to these questions. Through a careful study of works by historians and theologians, he highlights an idea central to Muhammad’s vision: an inclusive Ummah, or Muslim nation, rooted in citizenship rights, interfaith dialogue, and freedom of conscience, religion and speech. In this unprecedented sociological analysis of one of history’s most influential human beings, Considine offers groundbreaking insight that could redefine Christian and Muslim relations.
‘A historical meditation on the fascinating complexity of Christian belief systems in Arabia which would have been encountered by Muhammad. This is a valuable text on the ancient coexistence of faiths, which, while honouring each other, weren’t afraid to draw lines in the sand about their differences.’ — Barnaby Rogerson, author of The Prophet Muhammad: A Biography
‘An important exploration of monotheism during Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime in seventh-century multicultural Arabia, citing the many surprising crossovers between Islam, Judaism and Christianity which deserve to be better known.’ — Diana Darke, author of Stealing from the Saracens and The Merchant of Syria
‘At the birth of Islam, there was a spirit of Abrahamic ecumenism—only a vague memory for some Muslims today, and totally unknown to most non-Muslims. Considine skilfully highlights that lost spirit, reminding us that religious freedom and pluralism were not alien to the world-changing mission of Prophet Muhammad.’ — Mustafa Akyol, Opinion Writer, The New York Times, and Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
‘Based on impeccable scholarship, Considine makes the compelling case that the divine message received by Prophet Muhammad came amid real-life encounters. Those interactions between Muslims and Christians bring a message of unconditional regard and gracious hospitality, as relevant now as it was then.’ — Reverend Dirk Ficca, Senior Advisor, A World of Neighbours, Church of Sweden
‘In this highly accessible account of seventh-century Christian–Muslim relations, Considine takes us on a journey to the multi-ethnic, inter-faith Ummah of Prophet Muhammad, where freedom of religion existed for Christians and Jews. These historical lessons resonate today. A unique and timely work.’ — Josef Meri, Historian in Interfaith Relations in the Middle East, Hamad Bin Khalifa University
Craig Considine is a lecturer in sociology at Rice University and a global speaker, who has contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, the BBC, Foreign Policy and more. An American Catholic of Irish and Italian descent, he has written numerous books and articles on Christian–Muslim relations.