The First Muslim | Lesley Hazleton

Summary of: The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad
By: Lesley Hazleton

Introduction

Welcome to the enthralling biography of Mohammad in Lesley Hazleton’s ‘The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad’. You’re about to embark on a journey that explores the life of a man who was a fatherless child in Mecca, nurtured by a Bedouin wet nurse, and suddenly became a prophet of God at the age of 40. This summary will explore the different challenges he faced as an introverted person, the split between his people, the significant journey to Medina and the eventual unification of Mecca and Medina. Get ready to delve into the formation of a great religion with a gripping narrative that’s sure to captivate you.

Muhammad’s Unusual Beginnings

The story of Muhammad’s ancestry and birth is a tale of sacrifice, fate, and divine blessings. Muhammad’s grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib, found a sacred spring that sparked envy from his tribe, leading him to make a vow to sacrifice one of his ten sons – Muhammad’s father, Abdullah. However, fate intervened and the son’s life was spared through a kahina’s advice. Muhammad was conceived on the same night Abdullah’s life was spared, but tragedy struck when Abdullah died on a trade expedition the following day.

Muhammad’s Childhood and Early Life in the Desert

Muhammad, the founder of Islam, spent his early years in the desert wilderness under the care of a bedouin wet nurse named Halima. Born in Mecca, Muhammad was considered an orphan as his father had passed away before his birth. Halima took Muhammad as a foster child despite Muhammad’s mother not being able to pay her. While in the desert, Halima’s family’s cattle produced huge quantities of dairy despite a time of drought, which was seen as a blessing. When Muhammad turned five, he had a remarkable experience where two angels opened his chest, removed a black speck, and returned his heart, which he saw as if he was outside of his body. Halima brought Muhammad back to Mecca, fearing that he had been taken by an evil supernatural creature. Muhammad grew up as an outsider in patriarchal society until the age of 40 when his life changed.

A Prophet’s Calling

Muhammad’s encounter with God’s messenger on Mount Hira became a transformative moment that would shape the course of Islam. After hearing God’s message through the angel Gabriel, Muhammad found the courage to recite the holy word, become the messenger of God and compose the first words written in the Qur’an. Although Muhammad initially doubted his sanity, his wife Khadija helped him overcome his fears and become a powerful orator. It was a moment that would change their lives forever and signify the birth of a new religion. In this way, Muhammad’s experience is an example of how sometimes, life-altering moments can also be the most difficult and why having faith is necessary for such moments.

Muhammad’s Dark Night of the Soul

Muhammad’s faith was put to an extreme test after his first revelation, and he waited for two years in doubt and despair. This period of gloom and abandonment is known as the “dark night of the soul.” Muhammad eventually received further revelations that emphasized the importance of preserving the natural world and taught him the value of patience. God was preparing him for the trials ahead.

Muhammad’s Journey to Prophethood

Muhammad, initially an introvert, was tasked by God to spread his message but faced opposition from his own clan. He began by reciting revelations to his wife, Khadija, but was instructed by the angel Gabriel to share them with his friends. To do so, he hosted a dinner and recited but faced a rude refusal from his uncle, which disrupted the gathering. Nonetheless, he hosted another dinner the next day where he recited the revelations without interruption. Despite his efforts, the new faith divided his friends and family, and tribal rules prevented many from accepting his command to obey his representative, Ali, who became Muhammad’s sole supporter at first.

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