The First Muslim
We know Muhammad the prophet. Here’s Muhammad the man.
Writing about Islam and its founder is often the equivalent of walking on eggshells in today’s fraught world. In this context, what Lesley Hazleton – a journalist and writer who reported regularly from West Asia – has achieved with her biography is a remarkable work of finesse. The First Muslim dives into the rich – but surprisingly under-written – material around the actual life and times of Muhammad to emerge with a complex portrait of an individual and his arc of existence.
A mix of history – using sources contemporary to Muhammad – psychology, politics and, of course, religion, the book details not only Muhammed’s life but also provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of his wife Khadija, a key figure both in his own journey and in that period. The picture that emerges of the position of women is one of the richest discoveries that a reader will make from this book. And, above all, the drama of a complex life is captured and communicated with flair.
Published in 2013.