‘Covered from head to toe, with only her eyes visible, the sight of a Muslim woman on a Western city street rarely fails to provoke a strong reaction. Feelings of shock, horror, repulsion, or even fear, are not uncommon. But have you ever wondered who it is behind the veil, what her life is really like and how her hopes and aspirations differ from yours?’
I said aaaagggeesss ago that I’d do a book review of a book I was reading called ‘From my sisters’ lips’ by Naima B Robert, so here it is, apologies for taking so long.
“In from my sisters’ lips, Na’ima Robert recounts the compelling story of her conversion to Islam and offers first-hand accounts of just some of the extraordinary women she has come to know in recent years- women like herself who have chosen to live as Muslims. What emerges is a vivid and intimate portrait of a sisterhood. As they speak candidly on diverse subjects ranging from marriage to motherhood, stereotypes, submission and self image, we hear the strong, proud voices of those who are seldom heard”- Taken from the blurb (the back cover of the book)
I first heard about this book from my cousin, so I bought a copy and read it for myself. The book is split into 2 parts: ‘Finding Islam’ and ‘Living Islam’. It is a narrative of sister na’ima’s story (sort of like an autobiography) and has a few paragraphs within the story of other revert sisters’ experiences. Personally I loved this book, it was so interesting to read about how people come to Islam. It lets you view the world through the eyes of a new Muslim.
I loved reading about all the different sisters that contributed to the book, all with different personalities and different backgrounds (not these so called depressed middle aged women that felt like they had something missing in their lives, so they got married to a Muslim man and converted because he told them to, as the media would have you believe) but all these women are strong, some very educated, all with a mind of their own.
As I was born and bought up a Muslim I wouldn’t say I was really educated by reading this (it’s not really a book to gain knowledge from if you want to learn something about Islam) however, by reading what the sisters had to say about different topics in Islam, from marriage to politics I must say I did begin to realise how different Islamic rules are integrated into ones life (after all Islam is not just a religion it is a way of life). An example of this would have to be on bringing up children, before reading this book I always believed that children shouldn’t be locked away from the world (i.e. in terms of watching TV and Islamic schools etc) but after reading this it really opened my eyes to why some parents feel it is necessary to not send their children to a secular school and not let them watch TV.
The world we live in now moves so fast, children are not being allowed to be children anymore, for instance when I was younger I used to watch a lot of TV (A LOT) I’d sit for hours on end in front of the screen, however, the difference between then and now is the amount of inappropriate things shown on the TV (even during the watershed hours) examples of this would be music videos on kids channels of people like ‘Lady GaGa’ almost completely naked women prancing around in provocative ways…now that I think of it I’d hate to let my 8 year old brother see something like that. From reading this book I understand why sisters like Na’ima would want to home school their children or send them to an Islamic school. I could go on and on about the pro’s and con’s of Islamic schools over secular schools but I think that would need a completely different post for it’s self, but in short I get why people want more control over what their children are exposed to (as hard as it may be) [I mean you can’t even walk down the road without seeing something totally inappropriate on a billboard]
This book has changed my views on raising children to ‘obeying’ ones husband, to the roles of a Muslim man and woman. I read things about the sisters’ lives that made me think I’d love to do something like that.
I’d love to write out the whole book here to give examples of all of that, but I think I’ll leave that to you to read for yourself.
Here’s a snippet that made me laugh though:
‘All I can say is my husband looks like they just freed him from the Taliban- he looks like an Afghan, through and through! But he is the gentlest, most loving, wonderful person on the face of this earth, mashaAllah. I wish everybody could have a husband like him…just don’t take my one!’- Begum
This book would be particularly good for reverts and non-Muslims as it clears up many misconceptions and helps you to understand Muslim women not by what others have to say, but from what the women them selves have to say. There is a glossary at the back translating some of the Arabic terms commonly used by Muslims to make it easier for people to understand.
This book made me laugh, made me teary, made joyous (yeah, from reading about other people’s happiness) there were times where I’d be smiling on the bus whilst reading this book on the way to Uni (I must have looked like a right weirdo) but mostly it made me proud to be a Muslim, part of a wonderful community of women and men alike all with one thing in common, Islam. Loving each other for the sake of Allah (you know that feeling you get when your in congregation with a group of sisters, either praying or even just talking, it’s the feeling I get when I do something with the ISoc at Uni and used to get at College, or even at the mosque)
So all in all it was a wonderful read, and I’d definitely recommend it for everyone to read.
I bought this book online, from Amazon I think, but seeing as I’ve finished reading mine, I’ll be more than happy to sell my one (in perfect condition…I like to take care of my books).