letters to a young muslim

I first heard about this book from Kak Asma’ Nasa’s InstaStory. I believe I saw her recommending this book a few times on her Instagram. She also has a blog, read hers here. So naturally since I adore her personality, I must get the book. However if you read my previous post where I talk about books, I am not supposed to buy anymore books until I finish reading the ones that I needed to finish reading. #firstworldproblem

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…but I still bought it. Hahaha! I can’t even trust myself now. I blame Kak Asma’ for spiking my curiosity about the book. Reading the first few pages of the book, I thought the book would be dark, somber, and hopeless — it is the opposite. It is hopeful, inspiring, and intend to motivate for a change.

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It is a timely book and one where I learned more about Islam. The writer, Omar Saif Ghobash describes beautifully on what it is like to be a Muslim who is living through the current time when fanatic terrorists in name of Islam commits acts of horrible violence. He writes the letters to his sons, yet these letters are to all young man and woman of Islam faith, and even far-reaching to those who are not of that faith. It’s not about solving current issues with more violence but by reaching out to youth who will represent Islam, to be courageous and question, challenge, self-reflect, and be open.

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I couldn’t put the book down once I started reading it. I finish the book in 8 hours (I really need to find a job to fill up my time). There are many inspiring quotes and excerpts in this book, I’ll share two of the most profound quotes that I can relate to here:

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“It may be true that the greatest sacrifice that a person can make is to give his life for a cause. But it is not the most difficult sacrifice a person can make. The most difficult and perhaps more valuable sacrifice a person can make is to face the complexity of modern life and live life to its fullest-morally, spiritually, and socially.”

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“You can choose to live as Muslim who insists that only Muslims are able to have knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Or you can choose to find knowledge, wisdom, and understanding in all cultures, literatures, and philosophies. You can choose to be locked into a particular world or you can set forth into a world of human experience.”

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The writer places high importance on personal responsibility for faith and for changing things that are not unfair. To not accept excuse that “we are under fire; therefore we have the right to fight back.”Β And that only the decisions of learned Islamic scholars hold any weight. Ghobash argues, rightly so, that Islam commands Muslims to seek knowledge. He openly encourages his sons to questions their faith, something that usually gets us branded a heretic. He makes an excellent case for how and why a violent strain of Islam has come to the forefront and what could be done to combat its influence.

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This book is fantastic. I appreciate learning more about Islam, but the lessons and the topics in the book are of value to anyone. They’re excellently written. I regard myself as a practicing Muslim, and even I have been plagued with many questions which Omar Ghobash boldly asks in this book. Questions which are urgent and relevant in today’s charged political climate — questions which we need to ask ourselves. He holds the mirror up, and the reflection is not pretty. Omar does not make excuses for what’s wrong with Islam today. He’s asking us to stop accepting the order of things, to reflect, to study, to pause, to think, and to engage with others.

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At the end of the day, we do have shared humanity and we owe it to Islam toΒ “educate ourselves, work hard, and find the answers to life’s difficult questions..”Β It is time to look beyond the binary world of black and white Islam of the clerics, and to welcome the diverse opinions which are made up of all shades of grey. πŸ˜‰Β  I recommend this book for its honesty and its thought-provoking approach. For a long time we have been told to accept the order of things, not to ask any questions as it is tantamount to blasphemy, but Islam encourages questions and differences in opinion. Islam places high value on moral code and taking responsibility.

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That being said, I understand that this book may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Oh well, let’s celebrate the differences in opinion. ❀️ I’ll put up some pictures of the book here later. Promise!

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