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

Why you should listen

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."

What others say

“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

Lesley Hazleton’s TED talks

Lesley Hazleton on the TED Blog

Live from TEDGlobal 2013

The doubt essential to faith: Lesley Hazleton at TEDGlobal 2013

June 12, 2013

A few years ago, Lesley Hazleton, self-described “accidental theologist,” found herself waking each morning with the same question: What happened to Muhammad the night he received the revelation of the Koran? An agnostic Jew, Hazleton was writing a biography of the man who stood in the desert outside of Mecca in the year 610 at […]

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Live from TEDGlobal 2013

World on Its Head: The speakers in session 6 at TEDGlobal 2013

June 12, 2013

“It’s about discarding assumptions about the Middle East, Latin America, and the way you think the world works,” Nassim Assefi described in an interview before we all got to Edinburgh for TEDGlobal 2013. This session, which she co-curated with fellow TED Fellow Gabriella Gomez-Mont, features a host of speakers who’ll be prompting us to think […]

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Playlist

7 fascinating talks on better understanding Islam

December 3, 2012

The core mystical moment of Islam took place in the year 610, or “half the world and almost half of history away,” as Lesley Hazleton, biographer of Muhammad, puts it. On a hot desert night, this previously ordinary man received the first revelation of the Koran on a mountain outside Mecca. “What struck me even […]

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