Review: Shades of Oblivion


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Anoshia Riaz

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oblivion“Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said: ‘When (will come) the Help of Allah?’ Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” (Al-Baqarah 2:214)

This world is a transitory existence for man and vitally marked by recurring moments of gratification and tribulations. All of this is irrefutably predestined by Allah (swt). It is the choice and decision made by an individual, which eventually concludes their fate in the next world.

Ibn Adam in his character-driven contemporary fiction, “Shades of Oblivion”, narrates the story of three teenagers dwelling in the interiors of London: Masud Khan, Rizwan Kareem and David Eubanks , each associated with substantially diverse backgrounds; yet they end up making similar choices. Their ratification leads them all into “Oblivion”, an informal title assigned to post 9/11 detention centre.

The book “Shades of Oblivion” consists of three parts:

  • The first part informs the reader about three protagonists; their mindset and conduct.
  • The second deals with the juncture in their lives where each of them is compelled to contemplate.
  • The last part reveals the approach they take and what it eventually inculcates into.

However, there is another novel which is expected to come out as the second part of this book.

Ibn Adam arranges the novel in a dexterous manner, captivating the reader from the opening. And as the story flows, the reader finds himself entangled in the happening of events, personifying the characters and getting emotionally attached with them. The author smoothly convinces his audience that the devil will create hurdles for them by adorning the path that leads to misery. He makes it evident that the inner demons will become relentless by saying: “doubts and whispers would flutter into him.”

It is the strength of character which needs to be built in order to conquer the fight against these forces “to purge and break free from the shackles of his old life was not to take small steps but rather strides. In retrospect, this proved to be more difficult than he first anticipated.”

The occurrence of undesirable events following various consequences, lead the characters to a gradual and moral progress which brings about a change in their lifestyles as well as outlook. Masud, Rizwan and David; each faces severe reactions from family, friends and the society. The narrative compels the readers to contrast themselves with the characters and instigates them to conduct self-analysis.

Exploring the themes of juvenile delinquency and the lack of contentment brought about by the unacceptable social behavior, Ibn Adam provokes his audience to compare the condition of the youth of today to the Islamic perspective of social conduct.

Exploring the themes of juvenile delinquency and the lack of contentment brought about by the unacceptable social behavior, Ibn Adam provokes his audience to compare the condition of the youth of today to the Islamic perspective of social conduct. Moreover, using powerful imagery such as describing scenes of prison and fight club, he illustrates the story, forcing the reader to speculate and reflect. Alongside, divine texts are quoted in the second and third part of the book to further elaborate the situations.

Doubts and vague assumptions about Muslims are removed. A veil is swiftly lifted and a whole new perspective is born. You are not the fancy dresses you wear, the type of friends you hang out with or the wealth you accumulate; so who are you?

The question is answered once you enter the light and there the condition is totally reversed. After a vigourously fought war, there comes a point when the things that used to trigger suffering, temptation and distress, create nothing more than ripples in the steady calm within.

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