Saturday, January 4, 2014

After the Prophet / Lesley Hazleton / 211 pages

This fascinating book is non-fiction about the struggle and history that came after the death of Mohammad.  The history of how the sunni and shia groups split go back to the 900's.  There is not going to be a reconciliation.  The book starts with Mohammad's wives. First, Khadija who was Mohammad's only wife until she died, then Aisha, his young second wife set the tone for the history.  Khadija had a daughter, Fatima, while none of his other nine wives ever had any children.  Aisha was the controversial, beautiful, most-loved (next to Khadija) and the most difficult to deal with.  Principally, Aisha did not get along with Ali, Mohammad's cousin and right hand man.  Ali married Fatima and they had two sons: Hasan and Hussein.  Those boys were the only grandchildren for Mohammad and very special to him.  Aisha's father was Abu Bakr, another of Mohammad's oldest supporters.  The other was Omar, who also gave a daughter for Mohammad to marry.
     As you can see, relationships are tangled, but vitally important.  That is the start of the disputes of the centuries.  Each side is sure that their brand of Islam is the correct one.  It all goes back to the beginning.
     This history is so readable it is like reading fiction.  the author used many ancient resources for this book.  Highly recommended for anyone who wants to sort out what the heck happened in the Mid east.

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