In the West, Islam is often regarded as a warrior faith, with Muhammad as its conquering leader, armed with the Qur'an in one hand and a scimitar in the other. But what sort of man was he? Was he the spiritual founder of a nation, committed to the will of God, or a military dictator? God's chosen prophet or an autocratic polygamist? This biography offers an in-depth account of Muhammad's life and explores his central role both in the early development of Islam and today. It features: his revelations and early journey; an exploration of Muhammad both as prophet and military leader; the revelation of the Qur'an; Muhammad's role in interfaith realtionship past and present; his significance for topical issues such as the Salman Rushdie affair, jihad, apostasy, and the status of women; and contemporary western and Muslim scholarship on Muhammad. Balanced and readable, this book offers thorough coverage of a wide range of complex issues in a manner which will enable scholars, students, and interested newcomers alike to form their own opinions about the mission and role of Muhammad.