Lesley Hazleton: The doubt essential to faith

When Lesley Hazleton was writing a biography of Muhammad, she was struck by something: The night he received the revelation of the Koran, according to early accounts, his first reaction was doubt, awe, even fear. And yet this experience became the bedrock of his belief. Hazleton calls for a new appreciation of doubt and questioning as the foundation of faith — and an end to fundamentalism of all kinds.

Writer Lesley Hazleton is the author of ‘The First Muslim,’ a new look at the life of Muhammad.


A psychologist by training and Middle East reporter by experience, British-born Lesley Hazleton has spent the last ten years exploring the vast and often terrifying arena in which politics and religion, past and present, intersect. She’s written about the history of the Sunni/Shi’a split, as well as books on two of the Bible’s most compelling female figures: Mary and Jezebel.

Her latest book is The First Muslim, a new look at the life of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. In researching her book, she sat and read the full Koran again — exploring the beauty and subtlety in this often-misquoted holy book. As she says: ” I’m always asking questions — not to find “answers,” but to see where the questions lead. Dead ends sometimes? That’s fine. New directions? Interesting. Great insights? Over-ambitious. A glimpse here and there? Perfect.”

“Very interesting perspective. Her talk has motivated me to read and learn more about the Koran and make up my own mind rather than get second hand information filled with hate.”  Alan Klein, commenting at Informed Comment, juancole.com




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