How the religion of Islam began. Includes the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the Hegira and Kaaba, the caliphs, the split of the Sunni and Shi’a and the beliefs of both, Sufism, the Muslim calendar, key events that are remembered in Islam today, and the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Makkah.


  • Publisher: Crabtree
  • Series: Life in the Early Islamic World
  • Year Published: 2012
  • Age Level: 10-13
  • Category:


Tells the story of Muhammad’s early life as an orphan and how his later success as a merchant led to his being called by the angel Gabriel to “recite.” The rapid rise of Islam is discussed and the complicated history of the Sunni-Shia split becomes understandable thanks to Whiting’s clear text. Written with respect and appeal; boldfaced introductory paragraphs and plenty of sidebars draw readers in. (Starred review, ALA Book Link)

The writing is generally simple enough for the intended audience but does not sacrifice quality of scholarship. Information is presented in concise chapters and is graphically well organized. The main text is supplemented with blue boxes of information, subsections, and many high-quality reproductions, maps, and paintings. The book provides a strong introduction to the study of life in the early Islamic world. Other similar titles have not been as successful at maintaining scholarly veracity while tailoring the information for young people. (School Library Journal)

Although short, this book is packed with information. I am glad to see that the author did not sugarcoat early Islamic history, as so many children’s books do, but spoke frankly of the struggles for power within early Islam. He even spoke of the origins of Wahhabism, which is still troubling us today. (Frank Kahn, Goodreads)