I requested this book on a whim from NetGalley, I’m not sure what drew me to it, I think it was the cover, but I genuinely didn’t know what to expect.
What I got was a heart-rending story of true bravery. A woman who left her devoutly Muslim family after Jesus appeared to her in a dream to tell her he was ‘the way, the truth, and the life’.
At this point in the author’s life, she was just about to go off to commit Jihad, to die for the Muslim faith in order to guarantee her entry into heaven, and that of her parents too.
I have to say this book was eye opening in many ways, but I learnt a lot about the Quran and what it teaches about women. After the previous book I read, it was a stark contrast.
Growing up, the author knew that as a daughter, and especially as the third daughter, she was not wanted by her father. A culture that values men has no need for another daughter.
“I grew to understand that in my father’s eyes, I was never going to be enough. Even when I volunteered to give my life in Jihad – guaranteeing him instant access to heaven in the process – he did not talk to me.”
But as we hear other stories of girls that Ahmad knew, we realise that to be shunned by her father as a young girl was potentially a good thing, as others have suffered more at the hands of the men who were supposed to protect them.
I’ve never read the Quran or much about what it teaches, so I found the authors deep knowledge so helpful. She talks about how much she studied as a young girl, and that clearly shows. And being able to contrast the teachings of the Quran to the Bible makes this an extremely intriguing book.
For example when she talks about prayer:
I learnt that in Islam, “each prayer you pray earns you a certain number of points, and some earn more than others. There is no limit to the number of points you need, so you just have to keep on earning as many points as you can every day.”
But “today as a follower of Jesus, prayer is different. I feel joyful whenever I come into his presence to pray. As a Christian, I understand that I do not have to feel fear; instead I can feel peace. God is not wrathful if I do not offer morning prayer. I can pray any time.”
I read this book in one sitting, the style of writing was informative yet easy, almost as if I was being told the story over a coffee with a friend. But that easy style was backed up with quotes from both the Bible and Quran which clearly showed that the author knew what she was talking about.
I see that the author has another book, which I will definitely be trying to pick up. This was not an easy read, but one that I’m definitely thankful that I chose.
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