What to do at Christmas

During the Christmas holidays I began the work of saving one of my best books by transforming it into a PDF and ebook. It is a rather mammoth task. The book in question, MOHAMMED by Maxim Robinson, is a biography of the prophet of Islam. The task involves ripping the pages from this old and faded paperback, scanning them, putting the output into character recognition software, pasting it into Word, making the many, very many corrections to the imperfect output then putting it into InDesign to compose it so that my finished pages begin and end just as the paperback does, this to ensure that the end notes coincide in both pdf and print copy.

You might well ask why I am bothering. The book may be out of print (a mammoth marketing failure following 9/11 I think) but it is still available, at high cost, as ex library copies on ebay. The reason is that the story of Mohammed is so remarkable that it deserves to be made accessible. Reading it and one can begin to understand both why and how Islam gained such a prominent position in the lives of its followers.

Perhaps one of the most striking things to come out of it is the profound similarities between Christianity and Islam, particularly in regard to the position of the poor, both emphasise charity. Striking also is the relationship between Jews and Arabs at the time the prophet was living.

I can’t say that it is an easy read, it is after all the work of a philosopher, but is is well worth the effort and a great aid to understanding the present and persistent conflict which the faith suffers from.

If you are interested in this project and would like so view part of the finished work, go here and see where I am up to with it. The first chapter, which is entitled ‘Introducing a World’ is available now.


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