Tuesday 5 February 2008

Why I Love Books

I absolutely loved this article (http://afrocentric-muslimah.blogspot.com/2007/12/what-books-have-taught-me.html ) on Sister Saaleha’s blog AfroCentric Muslimah and it totally inspired me (I agree with her comment about Dan Brown).

Books have always been my window on the world. I come from a conservative South Asian background and grew up with restrictions on most places I could go alone as my parents were very protective of their girls (though funnily enough not of their son). That left school, library and family, and a happy but potentially somewhat stunted childhood and teenage. My saving grace was books. Apartheid in South Africa? Holocaust in WW2 Austria? Disappearances in South America? Cowboys with learning difficulties? Murderous Scottish thanes? Cheerful traditionally-built aunties in Botswana? For someone who is not well-travelled I have had the chance to gain insight into a host of different worlds, cultures and lives.

I also believe that reading so much has made me more understanding of people who are different to me and more receptive to diverse people I have met as I journey through life. My community can often be prejudiced against others and I have found these prejudices inherited by some of my generation despite growing and mixing with other communities. Narratives and stories from different places have helped me to see and distance myself from this thinking, and in doing so opened my heart and outlook to friendships and relationships with people whom otherwise I might have misunderstood and even disliked.

It has also meant that I can sit with people and talk about things and places and people with confidence. It has raised my expectations about what I want from life and also about what a human being can achieve.

I hope I can do the same thing for my children, teach them empathy and valour through the lives of the Sahabah (RA) and the Prophets (AS). Widen their cultural outlook through the stories of Aesop, Ananse, Sheherezade and Erik the Viking and open the door to pleasure through the kind efforts of Mr Dahl, Mr Pullman, Dr Sues and their friends.


  1. Books do open up the world for shy and protected youngsters. I was an avid reader too :) What worlds we enter, and how much we grow!!

    Ya Haqq!

  2. I AGREE
    Books educate us more than we think, as an english student i have seen how valuable books can be more than we know.
    keep reading :)

  3. Iqra.. Read..!
    Keep reading sisi :)

  4. The only book that I have read out of Afrocentric Muslimah's list is Harry Potter.
    And I found it at times an epic advertisement of wine, promotion of Christmas, and a festival I had rarely heard of before: Halloween. I also learnt that you can be a habitual liar, self-centered arrogant, and yet be the epitome of good just because the writer says so.

    Perhaps, the only commendable thing there is Reeta Skeeter: a portrayal of modern-day journalist. I can relate to that portrayal because I remember the occasion in 2006/07 when mainstream journalists had behaved even fouler. A person asked the Chief Mufti of Darul Uloom Deoband regarding insurance: Is it halaal or haraam? The journalist had stealthily and illegally taken with him a hidden camera.

    Most of the scholars of Darul Uloom Deoband are writers and/or publishers. They supply books to book shops all over India. Having monetary transactions because of the business is just normal. So, as a matter of routine, a client came to him and paid him some large amount of money for books. Mufti Sahib counted the notes as anyone in the situation would have done. (The illegal camera filmed him counting. The conversation about that money was conveniently edited out.)

    These two absolutely unrelated events united just by the coincidence of place and time were woven into a nice story on the lines of:
    'Disgraced Ex-Head of Magical Games and Sports, Ludo Bagman…' Snappy start to a sentence, Bozo—we just need to find a story to fit it…" (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

    The televisions and newspapers soon had a field day showing the people that Mufti Sahib is giving fatwaa for money, and interviewing the people what punishment should be meted out for such wickedness. All this, when the fatwa he gave was the same old, tried and tested one: insurance is unlawful and illegal just as gambling is.