Review: Western Muslims and the Future of Islam

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Do they forge a new identity for themselves and their children or do they adhere almost to the pint of obstinacy to their ‘home’ culture?

 “…taking into account the social, cultural and political realities Muslims are facing, three questions are fundamental and urgently demand precise answers if we are to build a future for ourselves in the West: Where are we? Who are we? And in what way do we want to belong ?”

This book speaks not only to the future generation of Muslims who find themselves caught between the proverbial rock and hard place, their parents’ culture and western culture, but is a beacon of reformist thought that will appeal to Muslims in every situation.

Let’s face it, there is no longer a Dar ul Islam, so Muslims must refashion and rethink their stand on several issues. Ramadan offers new understanding and interpretation of what it means to be a Muslim, in a non-Islamic environment. He offers the principle of justice as the beacon that should guide our development as an Ummah, not our cultural bias which only leads us to withdraw into our shells.

“If for example Muslims in the West are called upon to participate in a war that is unjust and based solely on the desire for power of control (of territory, interests, other people), they should not…take part…they should under the ‘conscience clause’ plead ‘conscientious objection’…many people have pleaded this conscientious objection throughout history…”

Later in the book, Ramadan talks about how Muslims must and should integrate into mainstream society, obviously keeping in mind not to violate Islamic tenets. In this new context, interpreted keeping in mind that practising Muslims are a minority in most countries, they must participate fully in the civic life of the societies they call home. Western Muslims and the Future of Islam moulds a fresh Muslim Identity, one that refutes the idea that there is a Clash of Civilizations according to Huntington.

This book intelligently argues that Muslims in the 21st century must focus on ‘an Independent western Islam’ that is not held down by traditions rooted in culture, but should be lightened by Islam’s own traditions and the reality of living in the West (or other countries that are not traditionally Muslim).

Western Muslims and the Future of Islam is divided into two parts, the first part has an introduction with four chapters, and the second part includes six chapters and a conclusion. The introduction is a must read to understand the book and the methodology Ramadan used in deriving his conclusions. He has used traditional sources such as Quran and Ahadith, and interpreted them in the light of Western culture. The best part of the book is the way traditional problems that Muslims perceive are thought of as benefits in establishing a new identity at par with Islamic traditions. Isolation as a method to keep ‘our children safe’ is not acceptable any longer.

A book worth reading, even if I do not agree with all of its premises, I do like that it opened my mind to a new way of approaching and raising my kids, and living as a Muslim in Canada. No longer is the ostrich approach viable, it is time to venture where no Muslim has ventured before. May Allah give us Imaan.

Review: Islam and the Arab Awakening

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The Arab Spring began with a fruit vendor, a highly educated university graduate forced to sell fruit out of a cart on Tunisia’s streets, who burned himself in protest of unemployment and poverty in December 2010. This was the spark and soon the entire MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region was on fire.

This revolt masquerading as a revolution began in Tunisia,overthrew Mubarak in Egypt and now Morsi, led to a Libyan civil war that saw Gaddhafi killed, massacre in Syria of innocents by Bashar al Asad, demonstrations in Bahrain, and elsewhere. Tariq Ramadan expertly takes the reader on a journey from how this internet revolution was actually masterminded by the West, how they cannot completely control the direction it has taken and what could result – explore the Arab Spring, its beginning, significance and consequence in a well written, impeccably referenced and insightful manner.

Islam and the Arab Awakening consists of four chapters, an introduction and a conclusion. Ramadan tells us that as early as 2003, the West offered training to young protesters already on social media about how to start peaceful movements using this platform.

“The uprisings that swept the Arab world did not come from nowhere. As early as 2003…there had been talk of democratization in the MENA zone. It had…become…Bush’s key argument for intervention in Iraq. One year later MENA cyber-dissidents were signing up for training courses in non-violent protest. Institutions funded by American administration…organized lectures…and set up networks that would provide training…in the use of the Internet and social networks.”

We read further on that in Egypt’s case Google provided satellite codes for internet access after the government shut down the internet, however in Syria Google was not so cooperative, why? Mubarak was on his way out, the US needed a new ally, Bashar al Asad is still useful? The first chapter “Made to order uprisings?” raises many such questions. Chapter two, “Cautious optimism” analyzes how the future cannot be controlled or predicted, and how the West didn’t account for young Muslims to try and provide a self-made solution, true to Islam and their culture. They do not want an imported democracy – one a media informs us will bring the ‘Arab world’ into the 21st century. ‘Islam, Islamism, Secularization’, debates the very premise of what this new wave means. Ramadan talks about the Arabs being absorbed into a Western alter ego. Arabs reject secularism, but the Islamist parties have offered nothing viable either. Finally chapter four talks about “The Islamic reference”. Ramadan calls for Arab Muslims to draw upon “cultural capital” to produce “something new, something original”. He denounces the dictatorships that have starved progress in all fields.

“A genuine, tangible process of reform, democratization and liberation cannot take place without a broad based social movement that mobilizes civil society as well as public and private institutions. It is precisely here that the reference to Islam assumes…an immediate, imperative and constructive meaning.”

Islam has the answer, we need to overlook our differences and work together. “The Arab world had shaken itself out of its lethargy.” This line begins the conclusion; let’s see what the future holds. The promise is there, the system (Islam) is in place, all that is needed is someone to follow it.

Book Reviews (Women Power)

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Title: Traversing the Highs and Lows of Muslim Marriage

Author: Sadaf Farooqi

Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House (IIPH)

Pages: 195

Availability: Da’wah Books, Khadda Market, DHA Phase 5, Karachi / IIPH Online Store (www.iiph.com.sa)

Are you getting married or know anybody who is about to ‘tie the knot’? Do consider investing in this informative book by Hiba’s seasoned writer, Sadaf Farooqi, who has done extensive Quran and Sunnah based research into the topic of marriage and Muslim family life.

The book consists of nineteen chapters, leading the readers through the full range of family-related topics: lessons for single Muslims, guidelines on marital intimacy and tips for the expecting Muslims, advice for Muslim parents, insights into living in a joint family system and many more. The writer tackles such debated topics as the Hoor al-Een of Paradise and discusses the contemporary causative factors and issues of divorce. The book concludes on a refreshingly optimistic note – you live only once so start living your life.

In this book, you will find an up-to-date comprehensive guide for overcoming the trials of marital life and building a long-lasting, loving relationship between a husband and a wife.

Title: Great Women of Islam (who were given the good news of Paradise)

Author: Mahmood Ahmad Ghadanfar

Publisher: Darussalam

Availability: Darussalam showroom and online shop

Online: http://d1.islamhouse.com/data/en/ih_books/single/en_Great_Women_of_Islam.pdf

In this book, Mahmood Ahmad Ghandafar showcases a treasured collection to the readers – the stories of the Mothers of Believers and sixteen other women companions of the Prophet (sa) who, during their lifetime only, were given the glad tidings of being admitted to Paradise.

The book starts with a general chapter on the achievements of women companions, enumerating their successes in the fields of religion, politics, education, fine arts, trade and commerce. The subsequent chapters bring detailed life stories of the Prophet’s (sa) wives and other Sahabiyat.  The author underlines the very active and courageous nature of the women of the time, who nursed the wounded soldiers at the battlefield and worked extensively on the spreading Islam to disbelievers.

The book is an excellent resource for studying the characters of these great women and the qualities which have granted them the elevated status of being admitted to Paradise. Muslim women of any age will find in it role models they can follow and emulate, Insha’Allah.

The “Fundamentals” of Entertainment – Book Reviews

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Title: The Islamic Ruling on Music and Singing

Author: Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi

Publisher: Dar Abul-Qasim

Pages: 80

Availability: Da’wah Books, DHA, Karachi

Full book online: http://abdurrahman.org/character/essexmusicandsinging.html

Without doubt, music is one of the most controversial issues in Islam. The numerous Fatwahs on this matter only add to the confusion, as their rulings vary from allowing certain types of music to saying it is completely Haram. Abu Bilal Mustafa Al-Kanadi’s thorough research into the topic of music in Islam offers clear and well-grounded answers, based on authentic sources.

In examining the topic of music, the author analyzes the Quranic texts and commentaries, the Hadeeth literature and the consensus of the companions, Tabi’een, Imams and other Fuqaha. He then discusses the wisdom behind the prohibition of music by the Shariah and the exceptions to the rule of the prohibition, as indicated by authentic Sunnah. Lastly, he offers a synopsis of the discussed Shariah texts with conclusions drawn from them.

Although many present day Fatwahs exist on the topic of music, the book presents the rulings of the early scholars, which must certainly be taken into account by anyone concerned with this issue. If you are struggling to find the answers, this book is a definite must read.

Title: Having Fun the Halal Way

Author: Ismail Kamdar

Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House (IIPH)

Pages: 109

Availability: Da’wah Books, Khadda Market, DHA Phase 5, Karachi / IIPH Online Store (www.iiph.com.sa)

The ever-increasing globalization and technological advancements have brought to us a multitude of entertainment, which were unavailable before. Many Muslims find themselves balancing on the border of Halal and Haram, lacking appropriate knowledge about the permissibility of certain forms of entertainment. In this book, author Ismail Kamdar provides well-researched Quran and Sunnah based information on the Islamic teachings regarding entertainment.

The seven chapters of the book discuss the following topics: basic principles of Fiqh, the Western and Islamic concepts of entertainment, prohibited and recommended forms of entertainment as well as technology related issues and some misunderstood concepts. In the appendix of the book, the author offers a list of certain avenues of Halal entertainment.

Whether you are a parent, uncertain of what to allow your children and what not to, or are at a loss yourself regarding the permissibility of certain entertainments, this book will offer you the answers you are looking for. Ismail Kamdar not only presents a detailed and balanced analysis of the topic and explains the detriments of the current entertainment industry, but also provides the reader with alternatives for enjoying the time with friends and family.

– By Laila Brence

Hope after 9/11 – Book Reviews

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Title: The Prophet’s Methods of Correcting People’s Mistakes

Author: Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid

Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House (IIPH)

Pages: 150

Availability: Da’wah Books, Khadda Market, DHA Phase 5, Karachi / www.iiph.com.sa (Online Store)

Correcting others’ mistakes is the duty of every Muslim, as this is closely linked with the basic Islamic concept of enjoining good and forbidding evil. In his book, “The Prophet’s Methods of Correcting People’s Mistakes”, Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid offers much needed advice for carrying out this quite daunting task. In the age, when advices on behavioural issues are rampantly streaming from the Western authors, this book is a much needed addition to the bookshelf of every Muslim home.

Sheikh’s Al-Munajjid’s name needs no introduction, as his work always contains only most authentic Islamic information. In this book, the Sheikh has collected many methods of the Prophet (sa) for teaching people and correcting their mistakes. In the first part of the book, Sheikh discusses the various types of mistakes people make, while in the second part, he offers thirty-eight advices, based on the Ahadeeth, on correcting various types of mistakes. Indeed, in the example of the Prophet (sa), we have the best guidance for our daily dealings.

Title: The Freedom of Opinion in Islam

Author: Abdus-Salam Al-Basuni

Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House (IIPH)

Pages: 100

Availability: Da’wah Books / www.iiph.com.sa (Online Store)

This book is based upon Sheikh’s Abdus-Salam Al-Basuni’s major work “Hal bi Al-Islam Hurriyah li ar-Ra’y”, which was originally published in Arabic in 1994 to address the Western media assault on Islam, accusing it for being the cause of ‘backwardness’.

In his work, Sheikh addresses the ongoing debate about freedom of expression. He discusses a range of issues related to freedom of opinion in Islam, draws comparisons between secular and Islamic systems, and arrives at the conclusion that man-made constitutions are often nothing more than ‘ink on paper’. He exposes the reality behind the claims of Western democracies about the freedom of opinion, and the actual consequences of unrestricted freedom of expression.

When discussing freedom of opinion in Islam, the Sheikh emphasizes that it is every Muslim’s basic right, which is protected by the Islamic law. He discusses the limitations Islam places on freedom of opinion and shows how these limitations help to protect the rights of individuals, their privacy and honour, as well as the security of society.

Book Reviews (Leadership)

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Title: Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq

Author: Dr. Ali Muhammad as-Sallabi

Translator: Faisal Shafeeq

Publisher: Darussalam

No. of pages: 784

Available at: All Darussalam outlets

The life of Abu Bakr (rta) is indeed a role model for all the leaders as well as leaders to-be. Abu Bakr was the first Caliph of the Muslims. He had to take extremely critical decisions during his caliphate. This book sheds light on his life and times, along with the leadership qualities that he manifested time and again.

Title: Umar Ibn Al-Khattab: His Life and Times

Author: Dr. Ali Muhammad as-Sallabi

Translator: Nasiruddin Al-Khattab

Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House

No. of pages: 1024

Available at: Dawah Books, Khadda Market, DHA, Karachi

This extensive two-volume, well-researched book on Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (rta) is a must-read for all those, who aspire to be leaders in their respective fields. These books shed deep insight into the life and times of the second rightly-guided caliph. Starting from his opposition and reversion to Islam, going on to the education he received from the Prophet (sa) and finally culminating into the different aspects of his leadership, these books contain many interesting incidents. All incidents have been well-referenced. This is also a must-have for every family library.

Title: Uthman Ibn Affan – Dhun-Noorayn

Author: Dr. Ali Muhammad as-Sallabi

Translator: Nasiruddin Al-Khattab

Publisher: Darussalam

No. of pages: 623

Available at: All Darussalam outlets

The third book in the series of the rightly-guided caliphate takes a look at the life and times of Uthman Ibn Affan (rta). Uthman (rta) became the Caliph after the martyrdom of Umar (rta), as a result of the extremely rigorous selection procedure implemented by the latter. The period of Uthman was one of turmoil, with a lot of friction between the Muslims themselves. The book clears many misconceptions regarding that turbulent period, and is a must-read for all those who wish to acquire deeper insight into the Islamic history.

Book Reviews (Youth Issue)

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Title: “Gems and Jewels”
Author: Abdul 

Malik Mujahid

Publisher: Darussalam Publishers and Distributors
Available at: Darussalam outlets

Do you want to peruse an interesting book that is dotted with captivating incidents in the form of short stories? Are you tired of books written in heavy language? If that is the case, “Gems and Jewels” is the book for you. It contains loads of stories that are short, to the point and extremely light to read. Reflecting the life of the Prophet (sa), his companions and their noble predecessors, these incidents will hold your interest from the first to the last page. This is an ideal book to read while travelling or before bedtime. An audio DVD is available for the younger readers as well. If you want to opt for the Urdu version, the title is “Sunehray Awraaq”.

Title: “Women Around the Messenger”
Author: Muhammad Ali Qutb
Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House
Available at: Dawah Books, DHA, Karachi

This book details the life and times of the various female family members of the Prophet (sa) as well as the female companions around him. The different sections in this book include the mothers, the wives and the daughters. It is significant to note that the author has beautifully presented all the personality traits as well as the incidents. This book is a delight to read, because it not only provides knowledge about our history, but also presents some inspiring female role models for us to emulate.

Title: “The Youth in Islam”
Author: Dr. Wahba Zahaili
Publisher: Darul-Ishaat
Available at: Darul-Ishaat, Urdu Bazaar, Karachi

It is quite unfortunate that very few books are written to address the youth. This book is one of the very few, which sheds light on the importance and role of the youth in the betterment of society. The first section deals with how parents need to set the right stage for youth through proper upbringing from childhood. The second section deals with the youth itself. The second segment deals with the importance of youth and specific Islamic commands for the youth. This is a brief, yet very enlightening read.

By Hafsa Ahsan

 

Book Reviews (Dajjal Issue)

Apr 11 - reviews

“Let us be Muslims”

Author: Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi

Publisher: The Islamic Foundation (UK)

Availability: Marif-e-Islami Bookstore, F. B. Area, Karachi

Pages: 311

How often do we read through the information on the five pillars of Islam? We study it as part of our curriculum during various stages of our education. Sometimes, we take up a certain aspect of one of the pillars that interests us and delve deep into it. However, this particular piece of work stands out from the rest of the books on this theme by its unique approach to all the pillars of Islam: Shahadah (testimony of Iman), Salah, Saum, Zakah and Hajj. In addition, Islam and Jihad have also been discussed in detail.

Each chapter deals with the particular set of instructions specific to that pillar. It also goes beyond that and divulges how that pillar should bring about a change in one’s life – and collectively, a change in the society comprising practicing Muslims. So, for instance, one can learn the reasons behind the uniqueness of the Kalimah, blessings of congregational prayer, etiquette of giving Zakah, and the ways of how Hajj can renew one’s self and society.

Originally written in Urdu by Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi and titled “Khutbaat”, the text has been rendered into English and edited by Khurram Murad.

“Enjoy Your Life”

Author: Dr. Muhammad Abd Al-Rahman Al-Arifi

Publisher: Darussalam

Availability: Darussalam bookshops 

Pages: 592

Today, the shelves of bookshops offer overabundance of books by famous authors on self-improvement and building of excellent interpersonal skills. However, the mostly western authors of such books focus only on attaining the worldly happiness. “Enjoy Your Life” will give you much more than that – besides instructions for establishing successful worldly relationships, Dr. Muhammad Abd Al-Rahman Al-Arifi offers advice which will benefit you in the hereafter also. This book, a result of twenty years of serious study, is packed with excellent examples from the Prophet’s (sa) life, stories from Islamic history and thought provoking anecdotes from the author’s life.  

Book Reviews (Family)

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Nurturing Eeman in Children

Author: Dr. Aisha Hamdan

Pages: 223

Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House

Availability: Dawah Books, Phase 5, DHA, Karachi

One of the greatest gifts Allah (swt) has bestowed on us is our children. Along with the joys of parenthood, Allah (swt) has also placed on us the responsibility of raising our offspring as righteous Muslims and good human beings. In today’s world, where the family structure is falling apart, technology is stealing the time spent on human interaction, and morals and values are declining, the task of parenting is more challenging than ever before.

“Nurturing Eeman in Children” stands apart from the mainstream literature of parenting with its unique approach to parenting – above all the other aspects of religion, it emphasizes the importance of instilling in children a strong connection to their Creator (swt) and a love for the religion that He (swt) has chosen for them.

The book consists of three main parts: 1) The Foundation of Nurturing Eeman in Children, 2) Connecting Children to the Pillars of Eeman, 3) Developing an Islamic Personality and 4) Environmental Factors. Every part is subdivided into several chapters, which investigate each topic in greater detail, covering all the major aspects of Islam. So for instance, in part one we learn about Aqeedah, Eeman and Ihsan, the responsibility and basics of parenting, knowledge and education in Islam, and Fitrah (the innate nature of children). Part four focuses on the different factors of home, peer and community environments.

Dr. Hamdan describes the purpose of her book in the following way: “This is a call to teach our children how to be genuine believers rather than simply Muslims by name.” – By Laila Brence

 

“Aazad Bachay Aazad Waldain”

(Independent Children Independent Parents)

Author: Zahoor-uddin Khan

Pages: 304

Publisher: Islamic Research Academy, Karachi

Availability: Maarif-e-Islami, Federal B. Area, Karachi

Parenting is one subject on which most of the books, which are available, are highly theoretical in nature, with no practical advice as to how these theories can actually be implemented. This particular book has the distinction of going beyond impractical sermons to illustrate the art of conversing with children, so as to enable them to become independent and responsible.

The book begins with the dilemma of a mother of three, who cannot figure out why she is getting into daily fights with her eldest son, why her daughter is getting more insecure by the day, and why her youngest son seems to be clinging to her all the time.

Then, she receives an invitation to a lecture by a child psychologist. Impressed with the initial lectures, the attending parents invite the psychologist and her husband to start a regular workshop for parents. At these workshops, the parents realize the common errors they were making while conversing with their children, and how they can improve.

The book is divided into two main segments: “Children are only humans” and “Parents are human, too.” Some of the problems which are explained include: labeling children, judging children too easily, the right way to praise them and a foolproof way of correcting their mistakes. The format of the book (i.e., fiction) makes it a very interesting and lively read.

– By Hafsa Ahsan

Worthy Reads

QURAT1001By S. Hamza Asad and Ofaira Ateeq Hussain

From the many books published on the Quran, the following two, no doubt, are some of the leading ones.

“Atlas of the Quran”

Compiled by: Dr. Shawqi Abu Khalil

Publisher: Darussalam

Number of pages: 392

Available at: Darussalam outlets (Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad)

Muslims, young and old, have always loved to read the stories of all the prophets mentioned in the Quran – Islamic stories always leave their impact on our imagination. But to capture the pictures in our mind, for the first time an untouched subject has emerged in the form of “Atlas of the Quran”.

“Atlas of the Quran” is an authentic compilation of the Quranic stories and information regarding the prophecies and the places where different prophets lived, ruled and died. The book contains tables, pictures, regions, routes and maps of all those places which are discussed in the Quran. It also embellishes the beauty of some of the major divine events with reference to their scientific facts and innovative historical and modern sources such as the flood during the times of Prophet Noah (as). Apart from this, almost all the stories and incidents of the twenty five prophets, mentioned in the Quran by name, are discussed in this book.

Compiled by Dr. Shawqi Abu Khalil, “Atlas of the Quran” is one of the greatest attempts ever to adumbrate the Islamic facts and the author of this book surely seems to have burnt the midnight oil to undertake such extensive research.

“Quran par Amal”

Written by: Summaiyah Ramadan

Translated by: Zaheer-ud-Deen Bhatti

Publisher: Manshurat

Number of pages: 157

Available at:

The book “Quran par Amal” is a translation of workshops conducted in Arabic by sister Summaiyah Ramadan in Kuwait. It has been translated into Urdu by Zaheer-ud-Deen Bhatti and the foreword is by Muslim Sajjad. Both the brothers have appreciated the fact that women are playing a very active role in the revival of our Deen.

The book is divided into four sections. The first section explores and explains how the Quran is a book of guidance, and how it should be applied to our daily lives. The second section deals with the prerequisites for bringing about personal change through the Quran. Eight prerequisites have been defined and explained.

The third section is the most interesting one. It contains the experiences of the ladies attending sister Summaiyah’s workshops. These workshops were not just a series of lectures. In each class, an Ayah of the Quran was selected, and ways of applying that particular Ayah in the daily lives of the women attending were discussed. The ladies would read and re-read the Ayah, memorize it and try to practice it in their homes for at least one week. Then they would come back and share their experiences. If they felt that, Alhumdulillah, they were able to bring about a change in themselves or their environment, they would select another Ayah for the next week. Otherwise, the same Ayah would continue for another week, until some results became visible.

The experiences related under fourteen topics are amazing and inspiring. They are classic examples of the Barakah and benefits of practicing the Quran. The problems are as simple as waking up for Fajr prayers to as complicated as distribution of inheritance.

All in all, this book is a very inspiring read for those who want to practice the teachings of the Quran in their daily lives.

Book Reviews

Don't be sadDon’t be Sad

(476 pages)

You can be the Happiest Woman in the World: A Treasure Chest of Reminders

(270 pages)

Aiadh Ibn Abdullah Al-Qarni

International Islamic Publishing House

Availability: “Don’t be Sad” Rs.800/- Darussalam, Tariq Road

“Be happy, at peace and joyful; and don’t be sad.”

A heavy load of responsibilities and increasingly less time for ourselves often leave us worn out and spiritually exhausted. Allah (swt) did not promise us a smooth and easy travel through life, for the life of this world is but a test through which we can prove ourselves worthy of the eternal abode with our Lord. However, Allah (swt) has given us excellent scholars, who can help us make our travel through life most pleasant and beneficent with their wisdom and great insights into the Quran and the Prophetic traditions. Al-Qarni is one such scholar, having the beautiful gift of being able to inspire people and fill their souls with the special radiance that comes from keeping eyes focused on the guidance of Allah (swt).

Aiadh Ibn Abdullah Al-Qarni was born in 1397 AH. In 1422 AH, he obtained his Doctor’s degree from Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University. Al-Qarni has written on Hadeeth, Tafsir, Fiqh, Arabic literature, Sirah and biography as well as recorded more than 800 audiocassettes of Khutbahs, lessons, lectures and soirees. Originally written in Arabic, “Don’t be Sad” and “You can be the Happiest Woman in the World” are two of his books, which are now available also for the English readers.

In his introduction to “Don’t be Sad”, Al-Qarni says: “I wrote this book for anyone who is living through pain and grief or who has been afflicted with a hardship, a hardship that results in sadness and restless nights. For the cure, I have filled the pages of this book with dosages taken from various sources – the Quran, the Sunnah, poetry, poignant anecdotes, parables and true stories.” Although based on the true religion of Allah (swt), Al-Qarni’s “Don’t be Sad” speaks to both Muslims and non-Muslims, since the nature of sorrow and despair crosses the boundaries of faiths. It might be objectionable to some that along with the Quran and the Sunnah the author quotes also Eastern and Western thinkers, but he does so claiming that “wisdom is the goal of every believer, wherever he finds it.”

As the title suggests, “You can be the Happiest Woman in the World” is written for women – Muslim women in particular. “My sister,” Al-Qarni addresses his Muslim reader, “read this book to help you cleanse your mind of the clutter of illusions and devilish whispers and show you the way to a sense of tranquility, faith, joy and happiness. (…) I have presented this book as a treasure chest filled with beautiful ideas, with which you may adorn your life.” Happiness is a treasure every woman strives to find and hold onto when it is achieved. Al-Qarni’s recommendations in this book are designed to encourage the Muslim woman to rejoice in her religion and in the graces that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon her. Words of wisdom and practical advice from real life situations guide the readers of the book to the path of becoming the happiest women on earth.

Both Al-Qarni’s books are presented in an easy-to-grasp arrangement of chapters, each not longer than a page or two, which make a pleasant read. If at any time of the day you are looking for a dosage of inspiration or some soothing words of wisdom for your soul, take a cup of tea and relax for some minutes as you are reading through a chapter of “Don’t be Sad” or “You can be the Happiest Woman in the World.”