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When Romanian Diplomat decided to write Biography of Prophet Muhammad

A brilliant scholar of religions, Constantin Gheorghiu became interested in the life of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him)

Wednesday May 26, 2021 8:57 AM, Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi Qureshi

Biography of Prophet Muhammad

Scholars in the West have written on the Prophet of Islam. Some are known whereas many are unknown. One of the lesser known writers, at least from the South Asian perspective, is a Diplomat from Romania, Constantin Virgil Gheorghiu.

A brilliant scholar of religions but best known for his 1949 novel, Constantin Gheorghiu became interested in the life of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him). So impressed was he, that he decided to write a book on the Prophet (peace be upon him).

For Gheorghiu, merely academic research for the book was not adequate. He wanted to experience the difficult environment himself, in which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived and preached his message back in the 7th century.

This in mind, Constantin Gheorghiu travelled to Arabia and lived there in the desert for quite some time. He even learned Arabic and tried to understand Arab mannerism and mind-set. All this effort resulted in the completion of his book titled, “Mohammed, A Prophet Who Must Be Known Again”.

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Constantin Gheorghiu gave the title to his book after serious reflection. The book focuses on the character and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He considers the Prophet (peace be upon him)as one of the most kind and charismatic personalities in human history.

Constantin Gheorghiu wrote this biography in Romanian language. The book was translated into French by Livia Lamoure in 1963. While it has its Persian translation, the book was also translated into Urdu in Hyderabad Deccan.

This publication has not been translated into English. May be, this is the reason that it did not receive much international attention.

Constantin Gheorghiu was born in Valea Alba Razboieni village of the Neamt county of Romania in 1916. He studied philosophy and theology at the University of Bucharest and Heidelberg University.

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Later, Constantin Gheorghiu joined Romania’s diplomatic service. He served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he dealt with Romania’s relations with the outside world, it is said in close liaison with Foreign Ministers Mihai Antonescu and Grigory Niculescu.

Understandably, he participated in negotiations on Romania’s international treaties and obligations. He was also part of high level exchanges with foreign delegations during World War 2. After the World War, he moved to France.

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Constantin Gheorghiu was a prolific writer. His novel "The Twenty Fifth Hour" was published in 1949. A movie was made on it later, starring Virna Lisi and Anthony Quinn. In 1952, his publication "La Seconde Chance" had come out. He has other books to his credit as well.

Constantin Virgil Gheorghiu died in 1992. He is buried in Passy Cemetery in Paris. His book on the Prophet (PBUHM) created a better awareness of Islam in Romania and in Europe. Analysts have recommended this book for those who want to understand Islam in its correct perspective.

[The writer, Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi Qureshi, is former ambassador of Pakistan. He served as Pakistan's High Commissioner to Bangladesh from 2011 to 2014, and as High Commissioner to New Zealand from 2016 to 2017.]


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