Back when, I wrote here that I was going into hermitry for “just a few months, probably,” in order to focus on the final draft of The First Muslim. Hubris strikes again! I now realize it’s been nearly a year.
But I’ve finished the book. All 99,901 words of it. (Actually, a few thousand more if you include the end notes, bibliography, etc, but hey, who’s counting…) And it’ll be published in January, which suddenly seems just round the corner.
“We gotta celebrate!” friends here in Seattle said after I’d pressed the Send button to my publisher. Champagne all round, heels kicked up, nights on the town — all that good stuff. But nights on the town require energy, and I had none left. I was too exhausted. The book was finished, and so, it felt, was I. Instead of celebrating, I did what I’d known I’d do come this moment: I collapsed. The sofa and I became one.
But as days passed with me cradled by that sofa – well-worn dark green leather, thoroughly scratched up by the resident feline – I realized that this wasn’t a painful exhaustion. It was a happy one, the kind you feel after an arduous hike through magnificent landscape. You’ve forded streams and clambered up mountains you never thought you could manage. By the time you get home, everything is aching. You can’t wear shoes because of the blisters. The muscles in your legs are so sore it feels like you’ll never be able to walk properly again. But who cares? You know, at a far deeper level than skin and muscles, that it was absolutely, totally worth it.
That was a few weeks ago, and now my energy’s coming back. I’m up off the sofa, ready to interact with the world again and resume this great improvisation known as life. So here’s a big thank you, fellow accidental theologists, for your understanding, patience, encouragement, and support over this past year. Now that I’m back, on with the conversation!
looking forward to getting myself a copy of this one.
I get so sick of hearing about Muslims blowing each other up in Irqu Afganistan & Syria, they don’t seem like a people I want to immulate or follow.I feel like they have world dominatation in mind.
Where did this come from? No-one’s asking you to “immulate,” emulate, or follow anyone, Paul. No-one’s asking you to generalize either. Every sane person hates people being blown up, no matter who does it and where they are. If you insist nonetheless that a small but violent minority represents all Muslims, you are hereby invited to go follow Fox News.
as Ibn Khaldoun “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Khaldun” who once said : Intellectual infatuations & other elements that drags societies down, that brings discrimination, division, injustice, the belief in man made illusions, confusions, hate & chaos (الفتن) hiding behind the mask of religion is a very common & big business in the eras of intellectual decline of the communities ”
– Ibn Khaldun
Sooo… they are blowing each other up to dominate the world? That’s a horribly inefficient way of dominating things, I’d say :/
Lesley, I’m so glad you’re through–and that you’ve taken time to put those blistered feet up, that wonderful mind of yours to rest. And that now you’re back! I can’t wait to read The First Muslim–and whatever you’ll blog about next!
Thanks Mary — and yes, am totally with you against the Catholic church’s Inquisition of its nuns. All the more disgusted since it’s being led right here in Seattle, by Archbishop Peter Sartain.
Welcome back Lesley. Muslims believe that the the first Muslim was Adam. Nevertheless, I can hardly wait to read your new book.
Thanks, Sohail. I know that’s a tradition, but the fact remains that Muhammad is told three times in the Quran to call himself the first Muslim, so what’ll I tell you: I went with the source.
Bravo. Looking forward to the read. You are, it must be said, more than a theologist, Lesley; you are an inspiration. Thank you. xo
An accidental inspiration! Thanks, Sue.
Heres a big hug and more Lesley,
The anticipation is killing…even before reading, I know it’s going to be a prized Collection for me.
Wish I could be privileged to pick the first copy from the publisher itself.
You are definitely the blessed one to be of those who spread the Truth.
Lots more health and energy for the good work.
Thank you Nuzhat, but you way over-estimate me. Really, I’m not into capitalized Truth. Just the multiple human truths of real life.
Oops! The typing error of capital T….it’s your recounting of realities as truths which I meant. They do provide invaluable insights into my unending research on the subject. Thanks anyway…
Wonderful to see you back in the land of the casual word, Leslie.
Been waiting for you to re-surface…
“The land of the casual word” — love it!
Hurrah for your return to the casual word, Leslie!
It’s time to do Cuban, Darling. We’ll have our girl call your girl. We’ll take a meeting.
Congratulations, Lesley! I, too, am looking forward to reading the fruits of your labors. Wish I were local and could take you to tea to celebrate, and get better acquainted. As for nasty comments, I’m still always shocked by the vitriol people feel free to repeat, not based on their own experience, only on distasteful nuggets of misinformation they’ve ingested from those who are more than happy to garner money, votes, power, etc., from demagoguery, that time-dishonored practice that always manages to attract people who ought to have better things to do with their time and money than replicate smears and stereotypes. My piece, “Where the Anti-Muslim Path Leads” is again reprinted, this time, here: http://theinterfaithobserver.org/journal-articles/2012/6/15/where-the-anti-muslim-path-leads.html
Enjoy your well-earned respite.
Why don’t we hear from the from the vast peaceful Muslim majority ?
Because you can’t be bothered to listen. Try starting with “Moving the Mountain: Beyond Ground Zero to a New Vision of Islam in America” by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
I would like to see some public protests from the Muslim community when a church is blown up or a market is attacked by suicide bombers,not dancing in the streets that we saw when the twin towers
Then you should take the blinders off your eyes and see.
Yeh strength AT, hear from you when?? London Fans
Interesting interpretation, Lesley. I will look up the references but as you know translations are just that. Thanks.
References are Quran 6:14, 6:163, and 39.12
Good to be able to read your writing once again. I enjoy reading everything here and am amused at the ‘quick judgement’ on all sides. While I suffer from the paralysis or fear of words to be able to say something, I admire your patience and understanding ( not to mention your tongue- in- cheek sense of humour) in responding to some of those comments. I wish people would suspend all judgement and take delight in reading your gift of an excellent writer as a ‘wordsmith’.
The much anticipated book will most likely not upset the love/hate paradigm of most people. The small minority who is always open to new ideas will most certainly enjoy it purely for the superb quality of your talent, not to mention hard work in presenting a controversial topic in your unique style. You are doing a great job of teaching how to ‘agree to disagree’ in a mature way and all, including many Muslims, would benefit from it. Thanks.
Many thanks, Z — you seem totally eloquent to me!
Absolutely dying to read your new book. I just love the work you did on the “Shia/Sunni” book. Only an agnostic Jew could have such an incredibly objective insight 🙂 . I’m looking forward to re-learning more about Islam, from your non-dogmatic researched perspective.
Just a question, do you know whether your publisher plans to distribute this digitally (iBooks, Kindle) etc?
I’m personally hoping for a Kindle edition.
Thanks Abid! And yes, it will definitely be in digital form also. — L.
just to say I am full of admiration and anticipation to read the book. I am glad you got such a deep rest of fulfillment, and that you are back out on the town.
Thanks Rachel! Love back — L.
Ms Hazleton, glad to have you back! “After the Prophet” was a great reading—can’t wait to download your newest to my Kindle.
Since you just came out of wrestling with the material, maybe it wouldn’t be too inappropriate to ask you about something: What is your opinion on the emerging claims that Muhammad has never existed at all; or even if he did, he hardly had a solid connection with the Quran and the Islamic tradition as we know them? If it was only questionable polemicists like Robert Spencer and Ibn Warraq, I would dismiss the idea without batting an eye, but there’s also Patricia Crone et al. …
Again, welcome back.
Crone, Holland and company base their critique as I see it on two ideas: First, that Islamic historical sources are intrinisically untrustworthy and that only Byzantine sources can be relied upon. Second, an insistence on written documentation from what was a predominantly oral culture. I find it interesting that they apply these “standards” only to early Islam, and not to early Judaism and Christianity, which are still more deeply steeped in Middle East oral culture, and are far less reliable as history. The task, as I see it, is to distinguish between history — what actually happened — and the mass of reverential legend that accrues over the ensuing centuries. A knowledge of comparative religion and of Middle East culture is essential in order to do this, and that is what I find rather dismayingly lacking in Cronism.
congratulation for this new book
Welcome back Hermet. Eagerly awaiting for the book. Go treat yourself with a foot massage and an ice-cream for all the hard work. And keep the goodies coming.
Ice cream: check. Massage: good idea.
I teach English to Imams in Cairo. We all listened to your TED talk and they were very impressed, as was I. Sadly your books are not available in Cairo, so Amazon is sending me ” The Sunni-Shi’a” book. I hope to meet you on your next visit over. My Imams would love to meet you. Take care and thank you from all my heart.
How great is the idea of using a TED talk as an aid in teaching English?! Brava. And bravo to the imams for finding such a great teacher. Will be sure to yell if/when I make it again to Cairo. — L
As I’m sure you have heard, we now have a Muslim Brotherhood President, talk about mixing politics and religion! The society is about to undergo another massive rift, I believe comparable to the King Henry viii break from Rome or even the Sunni-Shi’a split. We hope to come out safely.
Fingers and toes crossed for Egypt. Heart and mind too. Keep safe. — L.
Welcome back Ms Hazleton! Was alerted to your return to the blogosphere by your facebook posts. I became a fan after stumbling upon “after the Prophet” on kindle. I’ve since seen your TED video (and ensured that almost everyone I know has seen it too) and am currently reading your book on the life of Mary (which I had to buy from the uk since it’s not available on kindle). It has, amongst other things, given me a new perspective on certain verses in Suratul Maryam. I just want to thank you for your books (because they are like gifts) and to let you know you have fans here in Nigeria. I also want to appreciate your patience in responding to Muslims who are convinced that you’re on the verge of conversion to Islam (*smiley face). It’s just that we’re not used to hearing anything positive about Islam from non-Muslims who aren’t considering it in that way. Looking forward to the next book. Take care and rest well.
Much appreciated, M. Thank you! — Lesley.