Narrating the Prophet's life: Mohammed in North African novels

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2 Scopus citations


The importance of the Prophet Mohammed cannot be overestimated for Muslims all over the world, not only as the historical figure who spread the third Abrahamic religion, but also because all aspects of his life were recorded and used to weigh in on exegetical, legislative and theological debates. Since the 1990s, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in various contexts prompted a few Francophone North African writers to revisit Mohammed's life creatively. This article examines three historical novels about Mohammed: Assia Djebar's Loin de Médine (1991), Driss Chraïbi's L'homme du livre (1995) and Salim Bachi's Le silence de Mahomet (2008). When a writer embarks on such well-trodden ground that is the life of the Prophet Mohammed, what stands out are two elements: first, the liberties taken in terms of content from the accepted mainstream accounts of his life; and second, the narrative choices made by the writers to tell the story. This study situates these novels in the various contexts that prompted their writings, examines the convergences and divergences among Djebar's, Chraïbi's and Bachi's novels, paying particular attention to the implications of various content and form choices for their creative renderings of Mohammed's life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-435
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Francophone Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013


  • French sira
  • L'homme du livre
  • Le silence de Mahomet
  • Loin de Médine
  • Mohammed
  • Muhammad

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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