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After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam [Paperback]

Lesley Hazleton
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Sep 2010

In this gripping narrative history, Lesley Hazleton tells the tragic story at the heart of the ongoing rivalry between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam, a rift that dominates the news now more than ever.
 
Even as Muhammad lay dying, the battle over who would take control of the new Islamic nation had begun, beginning a succession crisis marked by power grabs, assassination, political intrigue, and passionate faith. Soon Islam was embroiled in civil war, pitting its founder's controversial wife Aisha against his son-in-law Ali, and shattering Muhammad s ideal of unity.
   
Combining meticulous research with compelling storytelling, After the Prophet explores the volatile intersection of religion and politics, psychology and culture, and history and current events. It is an indispensable guide to the depth and power of the Shia Sunni split.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Books (7 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385523947
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385523943
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lesley Hazleton has compiled a book filled with very interesting facts about the early history of Islam post the Prophet's death. I am a follower of Arab and Islamic history and this book had some facts that I was not acquainted with earlier. I therefore found the book enlightening. However, I get the feeling that this book is loaded in favour of Shiite thinking rather than being an objective account of the history of Islam. While the book eulogises the Shiite Caliphs/Imams and their ways, it does not counter-balance these views with those of Sunni Muslims or scholars who (I guess) may probably have had a different take on the events that followed the Prophet's death. A very easy and informative read nevertheless.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Hazleton tells this pivotal Islamic story beautifully. Despite her occasional stream of rhetorical questions as a device, which can grate, she writes with sensitivity, sympathy and historical understanding. Her flowing and conversational prose can, when describing emotional events, transcend to the poetic; the highlight being her moving and poignant re-telling of the events and tragic climax at Kerbala. She narrates the factual events in a concise, usually neutral and strictly temporal way, underscoring similarities between 7th century and 21st century figures and events in a shrewd and at times wickedly wry way, while weaving in her own thoughts, insights and ascriptions of motives to key figures. Some of these will not only jar with but also vex many Muslims as hers is not a hagiographical account.

The account she offers seems to be heavily flavoured by Shia versions which might be why she makes the howler that the Lady Fatimah was the Prophet's eldest daughter as opposed to being his fourth and youngest one (a flick through the bibliography shows that the contemporary Muslims books are indeed Shia; this may be more a reflection on Sunnis and their neglect to author good well written books on this subject in English than any bias on Hazelton's part). Lady Aisha emerges as a head strong feisty woman child who is driven by the need for recognition and attention, an unrecognisable person to most Sunnis. On the other hand Imam Ali rightly emerges as a towering otherworldly man full of nobility, integrity, moral courage and ethical conviction.

Hazelton seems to think that officially Sunnis are against Imam Ali whilst Shias were for him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Intro to the Conflict. 4 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book by Leslie Hazelton is no doubt a brilliant read and a good introduction to both Muslim and Non Muslims about the origins of the conflict dating back to the 7th and 8th century. My only criticism of the book is that it is a bit pro Shia, and on certain chapters and pages it stimulates Anti Sunni thoughts. Coming from a Sunni back ground, it is easy to pick on those on suggestions. However the writer being an outsider to Islam must be applauded for the effort gone into the book, she has at the same time tried to be objective and highlight that the divide is political as opposed to spiritual or religious in nature.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well researched impressive book 14 April 2013
By Ghulam
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lesley Hazleton has done a great job keeping herself to historical facts and without taking any sides. I would highly recommend this book especially for those who seek to know history without too many sentiments.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Butt007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved the book, though it had some language and theories that had to be taken with a pinch of salt for a person having certain ideology of Islam. It gave me a different perspective of certain parts of Islamic history and facts were a little differently narrated but it made a brilliant reading.
I highly recommend it for people after finding out different views rather than developing their ideology, so you have to have some knowledge of Islam to benefit from it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Anne
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Clear and enjoyable . Thoroughly recommended for the general reader who warns to understand more about the Sunni Shia schism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing 18 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent piece of research. I loved it. Would recommend to other readers for know the whole affair in depth. thanks
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 15 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Amazing insight and beautifully told.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent informative book written in an attractive style and a ...
Excellent informative book written in an attractive style and a most useful introduction to a non-Muslim trying to understand the Shai-Sunni aspects of Islam. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Douglas Paterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
Very good read in these troubled times
Published 15 days ago by Peter Michael Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Shia bias?
The writing style and selection of sources feels like the author is biased towards Shi'ism. I am not an expert to judge the history or the content. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Writer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I suppose a good unbiased view of a very controversial topic in Muslim history.
Published 1 month ago by Zeeshan
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written
An excellent book! Written well and describes the events following the Prophet Muhammad's death and the politics that engulfed the newly built empire. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kae Faeff
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Very well written...informative and honest. Just telling about the history without taking sides and respectful to the faith even though the author might not be a muslim
Published 5 months ago by Ms. N. Ozbay
5.0 out of 5 stars Well deserved 5 stars
Manages to do a great job on an extremely difficult task. The best of all is her writing style. Hazleton narrates the history as if you're reading game of thrones. Read more
Published 6 months ago by S. F. Jaffery
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
It is written well. One needs it bear in mind that the events took place about 1400 years ago. Mistakes were made and those involved have passed away so let us look forward to... Read more
Published 6 months ago by AL E
4.0 out of 5 stars read on...?
I bought this good-looking and well reviewed book a while back and have been meaning to write a review on it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Safiya
3.0 out of 5 stars Highly readable but factually lacking
This is a very readable account of the Sunni-Shia split. The narrative is gripping and can be read in a matter of days. Read more
Published 6 months ago by yellow241
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