Translated by Peter Sluglett
Reading Guide/Group Discussion Questions
How does the dichotomy between Muhammad’s Christian wife and Hasan’s Muslim mother represent the divide that occurred in Granada?
What reaction do you have to the book’s image of a woman’s place in society? How does that reaction compare to cultural differences and judgments non-Muslims still make toward the Muslim lifestyle?
How was Hasan’s life impacted by his attempts to help/save the women in his life? Do you think the impact was positive or negative and why?
Maalouf gives a description of lions on page 129. Do you think the lions represent anything? If so, what and why?
What is stronger: love or faith? Support your answer using examples from the book.
Hasan’s uncle lies to the Granadans in exile about their hope of return. Do you agree that it is better for them to live with false hope?
How does the Muslim religious persecution and exile depicted in Leo Africanus compare to European exodus to the Americas?
Do you think this fictional story provides a better understanding of the life of Hasan and/or the people he encounters rather than historical accounts? Why?
What role, if any, does fate play in Leo Africanus?
Explain Hasan’s / Leo’s inner conflict while being renamed in baptism? How do those feelings compare with his closing advice to “Beware of bending before the multitudes”?
What wisdom has Hasan gained through all his wanderings and adventures?