This volume deals with the last two and a half years of the Prophet's life. In addition to the three major expeditions to Hunanyn, Ta'if, and Tabuk, it describes in detail the circumstances surrounding the illness from which he died and the subsequent crisis of leadership faced by the nascent Muslim community. The author depicts with admirable fairness all the various opinions and divisions that existed within the community. He also presents a vivid picture of the Prophet's physical appearance, his personal life, and his marriages. Among other topics discussed in this volume are all the deputations that came to Medina; a summary of all the expeditions and raiding parties; and his scribes, freedmen, horses, camels, goats, swords, coats of mail, and so on. It also covers the apostasy of Musaylimah, Aswad, and Tulhahah and the Prophet's attempts to deal with them.
The translation not only preserves the original lively flavor of al-Tabari but also, in its annotations, draws extensively on both parallel Arabic sources and the intensive research of recent years. Readers who seek a deeper understanding of the Prophet's personality and of the reasons for antagonisms engendered among various factions will find this volume most informative.