Mother of the Believers: A Novel of the Birth of Islam

Kamran Pasha

Washington Square Press,  April 2009

Deep in the desert of seventh century Arabia, a new prophet named Muhammad has arisen. After he beholds a beautiful woman in a vision and resolves to marry her, the girl's father quickly arranges the wedding. Aisha becomes the youngest of Muhammad's twelve wives and her feisty nature and fierce intelligence establishes her as his favorite. But when Aisha is accused of adultery by her rivals, she loses the Prophet's favor—and must fight to prove her innocence.

Pardoned by her husband after a divine revelation clears her name, Aisha earns the reluctant respect of Muslim men when their settlement in Medina is attacked and she becomes a pivotal player on the battlefield. Muhammad's religious movement sweeps through Arabia and unifies the warring tribes, transforming him from prophet to statesman. But soon after the height of her husband's triumph—the conquest of the holy city of Mecca—Muhammad falls ill and dies in Aisha's arms.

A widow at age nineteen, Aisha fights to create a role for herself in the new Muslim empire—becoming an advisor to the Caliph of Islam, a legislator advocating for the rights of women and minorities, a teacher, and ultimately a warrior and military commander. She soon becomes one of the most powerful women in the Middle East, but her passionate nature leads to tragedy when her opposition to the Caliph plunges the Islamic world into civil war. The women of Islam view her as a hero, but Aisha is filled with uncertainty and regret whenever she considers her legacy.

Written in beautiful prose and meticulously researched, Mother of the Believers is a compelling work of historical fiction that portrays an empowered Muslim woman who helped usher Islam into the world.

paperback | ISBN: 9781416579915 | Publication Date: April 2009

"With insight and sensitivity, and in a beautiful balance of research and imagination, Kamran Pasha sheds light not only on the seminal figure of Aisha but on the origins of Islam. Mother of the Believers is both timely and timeless."
--Karen Essex, author of Leonardo's Swans

"With incredible scholarship and sensitivity, Kamran Pasha has crafted a remarkable tale and one that is long overdue. From the early days of persecution and enmity to the triumph of what will be one of the world's great religions, Aisha describes the struggle of a small band of believers to survive and ultimately to flourish in an environment that is by turns unforgiving and breathtakingly beautiful. This is a book of inspired and heartfelt imagination to be savored and enjoyed and an achievement of the first order."        
--Frederick J. Chiaventone, author of Moon of Bitter Cold

"Both epic and intimate, a glorious story"
--Amy Tan

"Kamran Pasha's Mother of the Believers taught me more about the soul of Islam in a few hundred pages than seven years' worth of contemporary news coverage, punditry, and the shelf full of books I've got at home. Superbly written, brilliantly realized, and absolutely authoritative, Pasha's tale of the Prophet, told by Muhammad's favored wife Aisha (who was no slouch as a warrior herself), brings depth and humanity to a people, a faith and a world that many of us in the West, myself included, have seen heretofore only as alien and enemy. Mother of the Believers is much needed in this hour-and it's a helluva ripping yarn too!"
--Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of Gates of Fire

"A brilliant, beautiful historical novel unlike anything I've read in years. Pasha's book brings the early history of Islam alive and sheds light on one of the most fascinating women in history. You will love this book."
--Reza Aslan, author of No god but God and How to Win a Cosmic War