By Lesley Hazleton

During this gripping narrative background, Lesley Hazleton tells the tragic tale on the middle of the continuing competition among the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam, a rift that dominates the inside track now greater than ever.
Even as Muhammad lay loss of life, the conflict over who might take regulate of the recent Islamic country had all started, starting a succession drawback marked through strength grabs, assassination, political intrigue, and passionate faith. Soon Islam was once embroiled in civil struggle, pitting its founder's arguable spouse Aisha opposed to his son-in-law Ali, and shattering Muhammad’s perfect of unity.
Combining meticulous study with compelling storytelling, After the Prophet explores the unstable intersection of faith and politics, psychology and tradition, and heritage and present occasions. it truly is an quintessential advisor to the intensity and gear of the Shia–Sunni split.

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Extra resources for After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam

Sample text

The ummaOne ofMuhammad's first tasks in Medina was to create a political order - one which would give him and his followers the protection they needed, and rid Medina of its domestic strife. The arrangements which Muhammad made are embodied in a document which has come to be known as the `Constitution of Medina'. This document declares the existence ofa community or people (umma) made up of Muhammad's followers, both those of Quraysh and those of Yathrib. To this community belong also the Jews, subject to the qualification that they follow their own religion.

My aim here is simply to present the traditional account in outline - not, at this point, to interpret it or assess its reliability. MeccaMuhammad was born into the Arab tribe of Quraysh in the southern Hijaz. Quraysh are defined as the descendants in the male line of a certain Fihr ibn Malik, who lived eleven generations before Muhammad. They were a noble lineage, but not at first a particularly successful one. For several generations they lived scattered among a wider tribal grouping, and did not function as a political unit.

What comment it requires will accordingly depend on whether the reader is himself from a monotheist background. If he is, it will be enough to identify the more significant points of comparison. If he is not, he may legitimately find the entire conception puzzling; and this is perhaps where we should begin. Historically, monotheism is descended from the polytheism of the ancient Near East. Near Eastern gods were often human beings writ large: they had bodies of human shape, quarrelled, behaved irresponsibly when drunk, and so forth.

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