Press Releases - Claritas Books

A South African author has taken on the monumental task of capturing the entire life story of the Prophet of Islam in rhyme and succeeded.

Zaahied Sallie, the author of The Beloved Prophet – An Illustrated Biography in Rhyme, says it was his contemplation on the importance of reading that led him to write about "the caller of the first verse." The latter being a reference to the first divine command revealed to the Prophet Muhammad more than 1400 years ago.

"That first verse was IQRA or Read!" explains Sallie, who devoted three years to finish the manuscript. "Read infers to think, contemplate, intellectualise, educate - a fitting way to command man to use his God-endowed faculties of thought. Furthermore, the position of the injunction stresses its greatness, that is, before anything else, Read!"

"There once was a man inspired by Words Arabic of superlative form, struck high chords A message from Heaven to an unlettered man Authored by God, the final revelation began," reads the introductory lines to this 115-page full-colour book comprised of 52 chapters, 624 stanzas and 2,496 verses.

"What sets this publication apart from other biographies on Prophet Muhammad, is that we were able to fuse art and poetry to tell the story doubly creatively, thereby creating a unique reflective and meditative space for the reader," says Sallie.

Islamic tradition does not allow the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad nor his closest companions. However, this did not deter the artist, Saaid Rahbeeni, from Cape Town.

"We tried to give as much detail as possible despite the omissions that we have to maintain," says Rahbeeni.

The Beloved Prophet - An Illustrated Biography in Rhyme is a story overflowing with emotion and sentiment, presented in the most compressed literary style. Rahbeeni's beautiful artwork further animates the spirit of this profound story.

Islam, as is the case with all civilisations, says the author, rests on a book. "Not only does Islam rest on a book, but the life of the Prophet of Islam is the living embodiment of a book. And so, in thinking about the importance of literacy as a Muslim, one cannot be divorced from these facts."

"Poetry is a powerful and vibrant medium capable of penetrating the hearts and minds of many and an excellent way to share the Prophet's much-needed story with the world," adds the author.

UK publisher, Claritas Books, saw the value in this monumental project and saw it through to print.