The extraordinary life of the man who founded Islam, and the world he inhabited—and remade.
Muhammad’s was a life of almost unparalleled historical importance; yet for all the iconic power of his name, the intensely dramatic story of the prophet of Islam is not well known. In «The First Muslim», Lesley Hazleton brings him vibrantly to life. Drawing on early eyewitness sources and on history, politics, religion, and psychology, she renders him as a man in full, in all his complexity and vitality.
Hazleton’s account follows the arc of Muhammad’s rise from powerlessness to power, from anonymity to renown, from insignificance to lasting significance. How did a child shunted to the margins end up revolutionizing his world? How did a merchant come to challenge the established order with a new vision of social justice? How did the pariah hounded out of Mecca turn exile into a new and victorious beginning? How did the outsider become the ultimate insider?
Impeccably researched and thrillingly readable, Hazleton’s narrative creates vivid insight into a man navigating between idealism and pragmatism, faith and politics, nonviolence and violence, rejection and acclaim. The First Muslim illuminates not only an immensely significant figure but his lastingly relevant legacy.
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Penguin Books, New York 2014
14 x 21 cm
Muhammad ﷺ - Biography
PRAISE «A rich biography… Those who read it will come away well prepared to understand the prophet whose message, 14 centuries later, is the creed of more than a billion and a half people.» –The San Francisco Chronicle
«This book offers a welcome chance to read [Muhammed’s] life story in a more familiar and accessible form than the Islamic sources… The First Muslim succeeds. It makes its subject vivid and immediate.» –Hari Kunzru, The New York Times Book Review
«Richly detailed and beautifully written… [Hazleton] is able to do with words what is almost never attempted in pictures… indispensable.» –The Seattle Times
«Like her subject, Hazleton brilliantly navigates ‘the vast and often terrifying arena in which politics and religion intersect,’ revealing the deep humanity of faith.» –More Magazine
«The book’s focus is an effort to portray the prophet’s unique circumstances and recognizable humanity… Hazleton’s biography covers the broad strokes of his life with fairness—she doesn’t gloss over his more fallible moments—and insight.» –NPR
«Hazleton is both a good storyteller and writer. Here she has brought to life a man about whom much has been written and whom millions revere, yet about whose actual life very little is known… A very readable book.» –The American Spectator