Mother of the Believers: A Novel of the Birth of Islam
Washington Square, 2009 (2009)
Reviewed by Barbara Lingens
amran Pasha has written a big book.
Mother of the Believers
encompasses the years 613-678 A.D.. It includes many wars and many characters and is a complex portrait of the early Muslim community. However, it is Aisha whose tale this is - it is written mostly from her point of view, and it is she who is said to have been the Prophet Muhammad's favorite. Betrothed to him at age six, married at nine, she was able to follow the formation of Islam from its beginnings past the death of Muhammad to the time when Islam became an empire.
isha's story is told very realistically. She was very young and made youthful mistakes. She was jealous of every one of the Prophet's other wives, and he had many. It was hard for her to forgive people who spoke against her. It was at her behest that Muslims first fought against other Muslims, and her anguish on this point is quite real. Not well covered in the story is that she is revered even today as the great teacher about the Prophet's sayings.
, Pasha writes '
that not all Muslims would agree with my interpretation of Islam in these pages,
' and that he welcomes other portrayals of Muslim history. I can only agree, for this is a rich area for historical fiction to mine. It is definitely time to learn more about Islam, and Pasha has provided a significant beginning to our education.
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