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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To touch is to heal, to hurt is to steal If you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel
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...
Published on 15 May 2012 by Oliveman

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice read with a possible Shiite bias to the course of Islamic History
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...
Published 20 months ago by C. K. Jaidev


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice read with a possible Shiite bias to the course of Islamic History, 27 Feb 2013
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C. K. Jaidev (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) - See all my reviews
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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Intro to the Conflict., 4 Jun 2013
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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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To touch is to heal, to hurt is to steal If you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel, 15 May 2012
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Oliveman (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam (Hardcover)
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. She neglects or is unaware that the real root for the continuing hostility between the two groups isn't so much the political split but rather the theological diversion which resulted in some Shia sects ritually cursing the first three Caliphs as well as denigrating Lady Aisha and other leading companions of the Prophet (PBUH) with some extreme sects going so far as putting Imam Ali on the same station as the Prophet (PBUH) himself. It is arguably this that raises the Sunni red mist rather than the claims and counter claims of succession. Of course this sensitivity has been ruthlessly exploited by many, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. However she does rather splendidly point out in the end that the similarities between Sunnis and Shias are, ultimately, more than their differences. How long before more Muslims can see this.

Overall I would recommend this book as worth reading, maybe along with a book on the topic from an orthodox Muslim perspective. This has whetted my appetite for her forthcoming biography of the Prophet (PBUH).
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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
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Impartial review from a non muslim, very good and informative reading for people of all faiths interested in Islamic history, 1 Mar 2014
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent account of complex and important historical period, 26 Jan 2014
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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
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Excellent piece of research. I loved it. Would recommend to other readers for know the whole affair in depth. thanks
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to the subject, 12 Sep 2014
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This is the first book I have read on this subject so I am therefore not qualified to assess its accuracy or completeness. However, I was looking for a book which gave me an overview, to provide a general understanding of the origins of the Shia-Sunni split and this book has certainly delivered. In addition, it is very well written and actually an enjoyable read. I would certainly recommend as an introduction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 July 2014
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Amazing insight and beautifully told.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written, 11 Jun 2014
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An excellent book! Written well and describes the events following the Prophet Muhammad's death and the politics that engulfed the newly built empire. I would definitely recommend to anyone who is interested in how Islam came about and how it divided into Shia and Sunny sides.
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After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam
After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam by Lesley Hazleton (Hardcover - 15 Sep 2009)
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