A pivotal work worthy to be included in any research on Islam
By Robert Salaam
When reviewing a book one often looks for the one word or phrase that sums up their emotions about that book. I have had great difficulty searching for that word one or phrase that will best communicate how I felt upon the conclusion of author Kamran Pasha’s work Mother of the Believers: A Novel of the birth of Islam. The closest word that I came up with to give my emotions justice is “pivotal”. This book is a must read for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. While Mr. Pasha may have the “purist” police after him who will criticize his every rendering of Islamic history and Hadith, that commentary aside, I believe that what Kamran Pasha has done with this book is present a view of Islam and Islamic history that must be included in the great literature that is considered required reading for those seeking to understand Islam.
Having been a convert for almost 9 years I often wondered where are our great stories. Growing up a Christian and recently coming off the Easter weekend, I often reflect on how great a story the Christians have. Whether one believes or not, the story of God incarnate sacrificing himself as well as all the epic themes and imagery is a great story that encourages and reinforces the faith of billions of believers everyday. The Christian narrative has been told and retold throughout a myriad of medium and is so well known, that few ever rely on the scriptural or historical accounts of the story.
Muslims have great tales in our own rights, but many are relegated to historical accounts largely based on Hadith and one has to either have the benefit of a spiritual leader who can “dumb it down” for you, know one who has the ability to regurgitate this history in a flowing narritive, or have the patience to tie it all together within their own imaginations to get the core of the story. Fortunately, Kamran Pasha has found a way to weave it all together and give us a tale that not only gives us a glimpse and an imagining of our great Muslim narrative, but also gives us a greater insight into who Aisha may God be pleased with her, was as one of the greatest figures in Islamic history and wife of Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of God be upon him. This tale recounts how she may have felt, thought, and remembered as she experienced and witnessed the events that shaped Islamic history.
As I read this book, I felt for the first time in my Muslim experience a closeness to the historical events of the early Muslim community, just as I had as a child upon hearing the stories of Jesus may peace and blessings be upon him, walking on the water or Moses may peace and blessings be upon him, parting the red sea. I read and re-read this book at the same time as I would read the book in my private time and re-read it from the beginning to my children. At times I was 20 pages ahead reading it myself, than in the evening reading the tale aloud to my children starting a page one, so I got the benefit of reading this book twice at the same time. I know even I was a little confused!
While some may question the need for the retelling of these events in such a way using the creativety that makes this book a work of fiction, I believe that in recounting these events in this manner helps us remember them and in our weakest moments we rely on these easily translated versions and accounts of events to strengthen and reinforce our beliefs. I truly doubt the majority of Muslims walk around and remember exactly who between Buhkari, Muslim, etc. narrated what and when, nor should we expect Muslims to. When communicating our faith and history for others, if we recounted events exactly like Islamic scholars, we can’t expect non-Muslims to follow along. That is why I call this book pivotal, because it presents the message and history of Islam in an easy to digest format while at the same time making these historic events and people as real to the average believer and non-believer as Moses (pbuh) or Jesus (pbuh) is to most people as we have all seen the movies and read the countless books. I seriously doubt I could find a majority that can tell me where in Exodus or Luke these events took place, but I believe many can recall and retell the events with great recollecting and reverence. So it should be and it is now thanks to Kamran Pasha’s work for Islam. Now he just has to write the script for the film! God-willing.
My personal experience with this book has been amazing and I would recommend it to all those interested in Islam and those already intimately familiar with Islam. To get just a little more insight into the Mother of the Believers and that early community is priceless and I will ensure that I tell all my friends and family to buy this book.
This work Mother of the Believers, is pivotal in our communications about Islam. This books serves a great purpose in communicating effectively the great narratives that define and explain who we are, why we are, and what we are.
May God reward Mr. Pasha’s efforts and grant him great success in this and future endeavors.