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After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam (2009)

by Lesley Hazleton

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3671054,548 (4.08)11
Balancing past and present, Hazelton shows how 7th-century events are alive in Middle Eastern hearts and minds today as though they had just happened, shaping modern headlines from Iran's Islamic Revolution to the civil war in Iraq.
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» See also 11 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Step inside the history of early Islam. This should be essential reading for young people- given the few billion Muslim population in the world. We all should care, it's all of our business. Also, the added bonus of this book is that it is beautifully written. Hazleton is masterly with the English language, and she even reads the audiobook herself ( )
  Charlie_Miller | Dec 3, 2019 |
From an "outsider's perspective" I found this book very informative, Lesley Hazelton's style is lucid and she has a nice literary flow which gives a "story like" feel ; will be reading her works in future .

Lesley takes one through back in time on probably the most controversial subject ; the dagger that was plunged deep into the heart of Islam more than 1500 years . A series of events that took place approximately 600AD between an ageing warlord (Mohamed) who wanted to unify all the tribes across the Euphrates to the Tigris , his overzealous young wife (Ayesha) and his closest confidant (Ali) reverberations of which are felt around the world even to this day and threaten to spiral out of control .

The book has three pivotal junctions which changed the course of history – the battle of Saffin "First Fitna" between pro Ayesha/Muawiya faction (The Umayad tribe which would form the Sunni) and Ali ( followers of the last direct bloodline to Mohammed) which formed the Shia . The rise of the Khawarij , which metastases into a radical strain of puritanical Salafist sort of movement and assassination of Ali . The battle of Karbala "Second Fitna" where Mohamed's last direct bloodline Hussain(grandson) is massacred at the hands of Yazid (Muawiya's son) ( )
  Vik.Ram | May 5, 2019 |
Journalist Lesley Hazleton describes, in this book, the origins of the Shia/Sunni split in Islam -- a rift that began when the prophet Muhammad died without sons and without naming a successor. The Shia interpreted his desires one way (favouring his cousin/adopted son/ son-in-law Ali); the Sunni saw things differently, settling on Muhammad's father-in law. As the author puts it, the Sunnis today accept the history of succession as it evolved; the Shia accept it as it should have been. But, that is a simplification; and Ms. Hazleton works hard to make this complex history simple and writes in an engaging style. The book taught me a lot about the origins of Islam, and reinforced the inherent problems when Western powers try to establish national boundaries and leaders in the rest of the world. The book is well researched, with many sources listed. It contains, like so many works today, extensive notes, but no indication in the main text that a note supports a specific statement. This made me wonder how much speculation is included in the narrative. Can't we go back to numbered footnotes? Am I just getting old? ( )
1 vote LynnB | Sep 18, 2018 |
So disappointed. I would really have appreciated a more neutral perspective. ( )
  Harris_Niazi | May 24, 2018 |
After the Prophet is a brief yet comprehensive exploration of the Shia-Sunni split. Hazleton's writing is fresh and engaging as she leads us from the Prophet Muhammad's tenuous beginning in the seventh century through the birth and development of the Islamic nation, and finally to modern political and cultural conflicts. As a non-Muslim unfamiliar with this particular religious history, it is difficult to know if aspects of the story suffer from oversimplification. However, it stands regardless as a compelling introduction to the complex history of Islam of particular use to naive readers seeking a not-so-daunting starting point. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Balancing past and present, Hazelton shows how 7th-century events are alive in Middle Eastern hearts and minds today as though they had just happened, shaping modern headlines from Iran's Islamic Revolution to the civil war in Iraq.

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