The First Muslim
The Story of Muhammad
By Lesley Hazleton
(Riverhead Books, Hardcover, 9781594487286, 336pp.)
Publication Date: January 24, 2013
List Price: $27.95*
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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.
The Prophet Muhammad is the central figure in Islam, and thousands of stories have been told about him. Writer Lesley Hazleton decided to dig deeper and get a sense of who he was as a real person. She speaks with host Michel Martin about her biography 'The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad. More at NPR.org
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