Muhammad’s Doubt

After keeping company with Muhammad as a writer for the past five years, what still strikes me is the soul-shattering doubt he experienced after the first revelation of the Quran. And as I argue in this talk earlier this month at TEDGlobal, it makes sense that he doubted, because doubt is essential to faith.

When we refuse to question what we think we know, and avoid wrestling with issues and ideas, all that’s left is absolute, heartless conviction—the arrogant certainty of militant fundamentalism, which he’d be the first to call out as an obscene travesty of everything he believed in and struggled for.

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Lesley Hazleton reported on the Middle East from Jerusalem for more than a dozen years, and has written for Time, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and Harper’s, among other publications. Her latest book is The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad