Wednesday 1/16, 7 p.m.
He ranks among the most venerated historical figures in the world, as well as among the most contested. Muhammad: Forty Introductions offers a distinct and nuanced take on the life and teachings of the prophet Muhammad, using a traditional genre of Islamic literature called the “forty hadiths” collection.
Hadiths are the reported sayings and actions of Muhammad that have been collected by the tens of thousands throughout Islamic history. There is a tradition in which Muslim scholars take from this vast textual ocean to compile their own smaller collections of forty hadiths, an act of curation that allows them to present their particular understanding of Muhammad’s legacy and the essential points of Islam. Here, Michael Muhammad Knight offers forty narrations that provide windows into the diverse ways in which Muslims envision Muhammad. He also examines his own relationship to Muslim traditions while exploring such topics as law, mysticism, sectarianism, gender, and sexuality. By revealing the Prophet to be an ongoing construction, he carefully unravels notions about Islam’s center and margins.
Michael Muhammad Knight is a novelist, essayist, journalist, and scholar. He converted to Islam at sixteen and traveled to Islamabad at seventeen to study at a madrasa. His books include The Taqwacores, Blue-Eyed Devil, Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing, and Why I Am a Salafi. He is an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
Praise for Michael Muhammad Knight
“A provocateur in a kufi.”
—The New York Times
“The Hunter S. Thompson of Islamic literature.”
“Islam’s gonzo experimentalist.”
“He’s a writer only America could have produced, one whom contemporary American readers should be primed to appreciate—and maybe even learn from.”