The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad

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The extraordinary life of the man who founded Islam, and the world he inhabited—and remade.

Lesley Hazleton's new book, Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto, is out now from Riverhead Books.


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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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About the author

Lesley Hazleton reported on the Middle East from Jerusalem for more than a dozen years, and has written for Time, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and Harper’s, among other publications. Her last book, After the Prophet, was a finalist for the PEN-USA book Award. Hazleton lives in Seattle.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Jan 24, 2013
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9781101602003
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Religious
History / Middle East / General
Religion / Islam / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A fascinating, accessible introduction to Islam from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer

FINALIST FOR THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD 

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From an award-winning journalist, a brave and necessary immersion into the everyday struggles of Palestinian life 

Over the past three years, American writer Ben Ehrenreich has been traveling to and living in the West Bank, staying with Palestinian families in its largest cities and its smallest villages. Along the way he has written major stories for American outlets, including a remarkable New York Times Magazine cover story. Now comes the powerful new work that has always been his ultimate goal, The Way to the Spring.

We are familiar with brave journalists who travel to bleak or war-torn places on a mission to listen and understand, to gather the stories of people suffering from extremes of oppression and want: Katherine Boo, Ryszard Kapuściński, Ted Conover, and Philip Gourevitch among them. Palestine is, by any measure, whatever one's politics, one such place. Ruled by the Israeli military, set upon and harassed constantly by Israeli settlers who admit unapologetically to wanting to drive them from the land, forced to negotiate an ever more elaborate and more suffocating series of fences, checkpoints, and barriers that have sundered home from field, home from home, this is a population whose living conditions are unique, and indeed hard to imagine. In a great act of bravery, empathy and understanding, Ben Ehrenreich, by placing us in the footsteps of ordinary Palestinians and telling their story with surpassing literary power and grace, makes it impossible for us to turn away.
“Vital” –The New York Times Book Review

“Provocative…[Hazleton] paddles the river of doubt with energy and exuberance.” –The Seattle Times

A widely admired writer on religion celebrates agnosticism as the most vibrant, engaging—and ultimately the most honest—stance toward the mysteries of existence.

One in four Americans reject any affiliation with organized religion, and nearly half of those under thirty describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” But as the airwaves resound with the haranguing of preachers and pundits, who speaks for the millions who find no joy in whittling the wonder of existence to a simple yes/no choice?

Lesley Hazleton does. In this provocative, brilliant book, she gives voice to the case for agnosticism, breaks it free of its stereotypes as watered-down atheism or amorphous “seeking,” and celebrates it as a reasoned, revealing, and sustaining stance toward life. Stepping over the lines imposed by rigid conviction, she draws on philosophy, theology, psychology, science, and more to explore, with curiosity and passion, the vital role of mystery in a deceptively information-rich world; to ask what we mean by the search for meaning; to invoke the humbling yet elating perspective of infinity; to challenge received ideas about death; and to reconsider what “the soul” might be. Inspired and inspiring, Agnostic recasts the question of belief not as a problem to be solved but as an invitation to an ongoing, open-ended adventure of the mind.
“Vital” –The New York Times Book Review

“Provocative…[Hazleton] paddles the river of doubt with energy and exuberance.” –The Seattle Times

A widely admired writer on religion celebrates agnosticism as the most vibrant, engaging—and ultimately the most honest—stance toward the mysteries of existence.

One in four Americans reject any affiliation with organized religion, and nearly half of those under thirty describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” But as the airwaves resound with the haranguing of preachers and pundits, who speaks for the millions who find no joy in whittling the wonder of existence to a simple yes/no choice?

Lesley Hazleton does. In this provocative, brilliant book, she gives voice to the case for agnosticism, breaks it free of its stereotypes as watered-down atheism or amorphous “seeking,” and celebrates it as a reasoned, revealing, and sustaining stance toward life. Stepping over the lines imposed by rigid conviction, she draws on philosophy, theology, psychology, science, and more to explore, with curiosity and passion, the vital role of mystery in a deceptively information-rich world; to ask what we mean by the search for meaning; to invoke the humbling yet elating perspective of infinity; to challenge received ideas about death; and to reconsider what “the soul” might be. Inspired and inspiring, Agnostic recasts the question of belief not as a problem to be solved but as an invitation to an ongoing, open-ended adventure of the mind.
  ※TED百萬點閱作家─海澤爾頓─歷史書寫的顛峰之作。
  ※Amazon亞馬遜4.5顆星好評,高掛「伊斯蘭」分類暢銷榜7年。
  
  穆罕默德突然逝世,誰能繼承他來領導新興的伊斯蘭世界?
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  為信仰,為生存,也為名利權勢。
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  繼任的哈里發接連遇刺,接班之爭淪為恐怖內戰。
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  連先知的子孫都慘遭毒手……
  
  西元632年,在經歷了將近二十年艱辛的佈道與抗爭之後,穆罕默德終於率領新興的穆斯林信眾返回麥加,為阿拉伯社會帶來繁榮與和平。但誰也想不到,正當伊斯蘭如旭日東升之際,六十三歲的穆罕默德突然倒下。難以置信的是,九位妻子沒有為他留下一名男嗣,他生前亦無指定繼承人。誰將在先知之後領導大家?無人知曉。有血緣之親的堂弟?最忠實可靠的老臣?富貴瀟灑的女婿?即使暫時取得共識,繼任的哈里發――即「穆罕默德的繼承人」――也無法服眾。野心勃勃、老奸巨猾的總督暗地裡伺機而動,圖謀大位……
  
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  作者萊思麗.海澤爾頓著作等身,但《先知之後》可謂其顛峰代表作。她廣泛參考多元的史料,大量引用阿拉伯文學中的詩歌與民謠,細心揣摩關鍵歷史人物的性格、思維與困境,在呈現客觀史實之外,更帶領讀者深入體察人物的內心世界,探索他們的悲喜哀樂、野心與信心、親痛仇快的人性弱點,與知其不可而為之的崇高美德。
  
  在縱覽歷史浮沉與人物哀歌之外,本書讀者亦可以思考:究竟什麼是宗教?屬靈的世界是否永遠不可能獨立於塵世俗務而存在?什麼是政治?好人是否終究不可能在充滿權謀算計的政治中生存?
  
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  精彩萬分!這是一個關於人性弱點、政治鬥爭、以及最深刻的信仰的故事。海澤爾頓一方面展現了學者的嚴謹性,一方面也顯示出她對書中主角――那些與我們並沒有不同且深深左右這個世界的穆斯林――的關愛。――《達拉斯晨報》

  《先知之後》不僅清楚地說明了伊斯蘭大分裂的事實,更善用代代相傳的口述傳說,刻畫出卡爾巴拉事件背後慘痛的犧牲與偉大的情懷――《西雅圖時報》

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