Huma Rashid's Reviews > The First Muslims: History and Memory

The First Muslims by Asma Afsaruddin
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Sep 07, 11

Read in September, 2011

If I could give this book 7/5 stars, I would. It's an incredible read, exhaustively researched and just jam-packed with Islamic historical fact. It's illuminating, and I learned so much from it. It definitely reshaped my views on a lot of the things that I had previously been taught, which this book (and other works of scholarship on Islam, some new, and some really old, from the 8th and 9th centuries) revealed were not as authoritative (in some cases, not even as true) as I had been taught. This includes the question of women being imams (Aisha, Umm Salamah, and Umm Waraqa (R), among others, led mixed groups in prayer with the Prophet (S)'s approval); the validity of Abu Hurayrah's narrations; the 'two women testimony' verse in the Quran; and so much more.

I highly recommend this book to all Muslims. As for non-Muslims, it would be a great book for the beginners but for the fact that there are SO many names, and so many of them are so similar. As a Muslim who already knows a lot about Islamic history, it wasn't that difficult at all for me to keep all the Companions and Tabi'un straight. For someone that hasn't read much about Islamic history before finding this book, it might be a little overwhelming and as such, discouraging.

But it's seriously such a good book. I cannot say that enough.
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