The First Muslim

Lesley Hazleton

RRP: £9.99

7 August 2014

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781782392323

RRP: £7.99

4 April 2013

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781782392316

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, non-violence and violence, rejection and acclaim. The First Muslim illuminates not only an immensely significant figure but his lastingly relevant legacy.


Hazleton approaches her subject with scrupulous respect... Vivid and immediateHari Kunzru
New York Times

Hazleton sets her keen eye and her sculpted prose on one of the most fascinating and misunderstood figures in history... This is a wonderful book
Reza Aslan, author of No God but God and How to Win a Cosmic War

The most readable, engaging study of Muhammad I have ever come across
G. Willow Wilson, author of Alif the Unseen and The Butterfly Mosque

A rich biography... Those who read it will come away well prepared to understand the prophet whose message, 14 centuries later, is the creed of more than a billion and a half people.
The San Francisco Chronicle

Richly detailed and beautifully written... [Hazleton] is able to do with words what is almost never attempted in pictures... indispensable.
The Seattle Times