Class Notes

Lesley Hazleton wrote in her second book The First Muslim, “Conservative Islamic tradition thus maintains that Muhammad was destined from the start to be the messenger of God.  But if that is so, then there is no story of his life.  That is, it becomes a matter of the inevitable unfolding of divine will, and thus devoid of all conflict or tension.  To some pious believers, this will more than suffice; the prophet’s innate exceptionalism is a given, and any biography is irrelevant.  But to many others, what is compelling is not the miraculous but the humanly possible.  Muhammad’s is one of those rare lives that is more dramatic in reality than in legend.  In fact the less one invokes the miraculous, the more extraordinary his life becomes.  What emerges is something grander precisely because it is human, to the extent that his actual life reveals itself worthy of the word legendary”

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