Letters to a Young Muslim | Book Review

Hi everyone, it’s Farah, and welcome to my channel. Today I’m going to be sharing a book review of a book that I just finished half an hour ago so if my thoughts are all jumbly and I’m jumping
around a lot it’s because of that. I haven’t really had time to absorb what
I’ve read but I’m also excited to talk about this book because I think it’s a
very very important book and a book that I’ve actually mentioned on my channel
before and it is Letters to a Young Muslim by Omar Saif Ghobash. I’ve mentioned this book in my one of two videos four books on Islam. A lot of you have
actually been asking me about recommendations for books on Islam but
at the time those videos were about books on my TBR shelf so books on Islam
that I haven’t read yet and I would never recommend a book on Islam
especially but I have not read yet so now that I’ve read this one, guess what
guys I recommend it it’s a 5 star read although I will have to say that at
times it did make me a little nervous a little ooh because it does ask very brave
questions on Islam that most people would regularly not ask or mention
certain things that are little taboo whether it’s about the society or the
community or about Islam and it had me kind of a little nervous a time but I
did think those questions had to be out. In fact, it is one of the highlight
messages and takeaways from this book is ask difficult questions. So this book is
actually a series of flares from Omar Saif Ghobash back to his oldest son, Saif, just talking about what it means to be a Muslim in this day and age within the
context of modernity, with the Western political strife that’s happening right
now, with the media the way that we’re being portrayed and it’s basically a
father beseeching his son to think for himself but also to be part of the next
generation of changemakers. “Be the change you want to see in the world”, Ghandi said
and this book is basically a reiteration of that be the change you want to see, be
the representation that you want to see in Islam but you don’t let the violent loud
voices be the depiction of Islam that people see. It’s gonna be a little bit of
context Omar Saif Ghobash is the UAE ambassador to Russia and he was born to a Russian mother and an Emirati father so already he was different growing up in
the UAE. In the early days in the UAE, in 1971 I believe, when the UAE was united when it became the United Arab Emirates rather than six-seven different Emirates scattered all around so in 1971 he was born when the Emirates became the United Arab Emirates, which is a great year. We are 47 years young but
also one of my favorite bits in this book is how much it highlighted life in
the UAE before. Just reading about the history of the UAE from someone who
lived it was very interesting for me because unfortunately I haven’t read a
lot or enough about the UAE in the early days or in the early stages and his
father, Omar Saif Ghobash’s father, Saif Ghobash, but also was a changemaker also
in the United Arab Emirates when it first began, he was the Minister of
Foreign Affairs at the time and he had a position in the UAE cabinet of
ministries and he was also someone who traveled abroad for – to get his
education but someone who lived a hard life growing up as a young child, his grand – Omar Saif Ghobash’s father again just to make it clear –
growing up in the UAE in the early days when it was just sun and sand. Not in a
good way like, yes, sun, sand and beach but it was hunger and death from simple
diseases. It’s just, it was a hard life in the UAE but now you get to look at it
and like everyone else I’ve seen the pictures of the before and after I’ll
actually share one right now. Seeing Dubai before and after, for
example, is astounding. Seeing Abu Dhabi before and after, it’s astounding. Seeing Abu Dhabi, the city where I live, the capital, seeing Abu Dhabi just five years
ago is astounding because of the evolution and the development in this
country it’s quick and because we are 47 years young there’s so much potential to
be more and I love that our leaders and our governments and the founding fathers and all of that, they see that and they’re really taking advantage of it. It’s not just about oil and money and opulence. There’s the year of
tolerance, the year of reading, there’s this sense of highlighting all of these
things that we need to be doing and this is why this book comes at a very great
time. It addresses not just his oldest son, or his sons really, it addresses this
generation and the younger generations to come because it has so many great
takeaways and advice on asking hard questions, being a changemaker, being a
muslim in this day and age and what that constitutes. He brings us, this was the
last chapter, this Muslim individualism idea. Right, and he says let me pull it up
actually because I’m rambling and I’m not gonna do this justice. He brings out
this whole idea of being an individual Muslim and to be an individual Muslim we
have to be a true Muslim to yourself first by asking all the questions and
feeling the belief true in your heart and from there we can be a cohesive, strong community but first there has to be that focus on Muslim individualism
and he says here, “responsibility for our actions and choosing which actions to
undertake are central to the idea of being an individual” then he says, “I want
you and your generation to be able to take a step back from all the traditions, customs, rites and rituals you are told are cast in stone, and I want you to
consider what you might think is reasonable”, which I think is a very
reasonable request and it could be the way that this could work out for
Islam’s reputation essentially, more or less, he says “Saif, I really believe that
the idea of the Muslim individual is the simplest and most effective unit for the
regeneration of the Muslim world.” We’ve taken a bit of a hit as a Muslim community, just our history is messy, and we’ve taken a
bit of a hit but I think one of the great things about this book is that
it’s written in a very approachable style it’s very intimate very personal, it really draws you in. You find yourself reading it really quickly and
getting through the ideas quickly. It doesn’t try to be something jargony
or complicated or “look at me I’m such a scholarly academic”. Like I said, it draws
you in and I really love that about that style because it makes sure that anyone
can pick up this book. You can be from anywhere and still get a good sense of
what he’s trying to impart in terms of messages on Islam. So I thought that was
very cleverly done. I mean guys, this book is rife with so many great quotes. So much wonderful wisdom to be imparted, so much to think about. I love that it covers
topics on violence in Islam, on taking responsibility, on education. Here he says,
just to kind of get a sense of the book as a whole, “I am writing this book for
you because I want you to have a piece of paper that will be there long after I
am gone. I want to give you some of the love and guidance that I wish my father
had been able to give me when I was your age and older. I’m writing this set of
letters to you because I want you to have some idea of the questions that you
will face and some of the answers that are out there. I do not want you to hear
it from others. I do not want you to learn the most important lessons in life
from people who do not love you as I love you. In these letters I will tell
you how I saw the world around me when I was younger, when I was your age and when I was a little older, and how I see similar things happening to you.” Pretty
much it really but I really loved it because one of my favorite passages came pretty early on. Ya, page 3, he says to his son, which I think emulates the entire
idea of Islam, “there was no reason to hate anyone, there is no reason to react
to the world around you with hatred. You have to understand that someone has made the choice for you when they say you have to hate. The choice is yours and the
only way you can make the world a better place is by doing the opposite of hating.
It is by loving” but he also goes on to say that it is about educating
yourselves about asking questions about being true to yourself and to your beliefs.
Do not think that you need to cower away from certain thoughts that you’re having, in fact, you need to embrace them. “The only way we can raise
status of the Muslim world is by doing what all others in the world do: educate
ourselves, work hard, and find the answers to life’s difficult questions.” Just to
cut things short because I feel like I’ve been rambling incoherently, this
book is a great book to read if you want to learn more about Islam because it
adds a little bit of historical elements, it adds some stuff on the UAE which I
love and about the author’s background and personal history. If you guys have
questions, I think this book is a great place to start. So all-in-all, this book
was a really great read for me and a really informative read. It really put
towards what I’ve been thinking lately. It inspired me as this generation
to be a changemaker, to do more, to take responsibility and I think this is just
a small way in trying to do that by recommending this book to you. So if you
guys have read this book, please let me know your thoughts down below. Talking
about religion makes me nervous because it’s tricky. Talking about Islam, specifically, is also tricky but one thing this book is teaching me is that I
shouldn’t shy away from that so… I hope you guys enjoyed this book review. I’m sorry if my thoughts were all over the place, a little rambley, but like I said I
just finished reading this book and I’m just trying to remember bits and pieces
of everything that I’ve read and underlined and dog-eared. It’s a
great book. It’s a great starting point, if you want to learn about Islam in
this day and age and it’s a quick read it really draws you in and I enjoyed it a
lot So I hope you guys enjoyed this video, thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you with my next one. Bye!

24 thoughts on “Letters to a Young Muslim | Book Review

  1. I am happy to have this recommendation. If my bedroom were not stacked waist high with TBR books, I'd order it now. I did put it on my Amazon wish list, so I don't forget to grab it once I've gotten through some of what I already own. I know very little about Islam and nothing about the UAE, so I will be exited to get the book and learn something!

  2. Thanks for recommending a book on Islam and the UAE. I hardly know anything about the UAE, so I'm definitely intrigued and can't wait to read it soon.

  3. I'm a Christian and I've had an interest in reading more about Islam, so this book has been on my TBR for some time. I'm glad you liked it because I'm so excited to keep it up 🙂

  4. Thank you for this review! Your thoughts weren't jumbled or anything like that. And thank you for being you. ❤

  5. I have never read a book like this before, but I definitely would like to read this one at some point, based on this video. Also, I really admire how articulate you are in this, considering you said you finished the book half an hour ago. I could never!

  6. Let's hear it for Star Wars! I'm rambly sometimes too.
    Latest booktube stats https://www.reddit.com/r/booktube/comments/8thb9h/booktube_channel_list_june/

  7. I’ve been wanting to read this book for awhile. Your review has helped me with the fact that it is a good book on Islam. I would like to learn more about the faith and its people. I know you mentioned people asking about books to read, and you said you wouldn’t recommend something you hadn’t read which makes complete sense to me. However, did you say anything about recommending more? Thanks! Happy Reading!

  8. Thank you for the recommendation! You weren't rambling at all; I got a very good sense of the book! I also understand completely when it comes to the tension underlying everything connected to Islam in this day and age… Living in Europe with an Arabic/Islamic background is hard and even though I don't consider myself a Muslima I still feel very protective of our beautiful culture. Blessings to you! ♡

  9. I really appreciate your thoughts on this book. I read it in January, and it really resonated with me. From a humanitarian perspective, I think it speaks to all of us.

  10. I read this book last summer and really liked it. But it felt quite customized to a western audience so I'm happy to learn that it is something that also resonates so much with you. The quotes you read are the same I marked myself. I wish you the best of luck in asking the difficult questions:)

  11. I literally subscribed after seeing one video of yours
    It’s rare to see Arab booktubers that discuss english books and literature
    keep up the good work 🙂

  12. First, I really love you so much and I say Alhamdulilah for finding a Muslim Booktuber in the Booktube community.

    Second, you got me hooked into making me buy that book. I really want to get a lot of Islamic books but I was so nervous that if I get an English book about Islam, it would be different from Arabic ones. But I thank you for reviewing this one because it made me change my mind and think about adding at least on good book about Islam.

  13. I apologize but you should be reading #thedaughtersofhustle Heres the link https://iamdoh.weebly.com/

  14. Been dying to buy this book but the thing about me.is that I hate buying online. I prefer going to bookstore which I wish Kinokuniya KL is just a few steps from my home. Found this book at the Dubai airport once but being me I bought something else. 😂

  15. thank you thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. please i need more of these recommandations. i directly order it. i love your videos please try to post more. love youuuu

  16. I am a muslim.However, about the nervousness you felt, how about reviewing The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins? It would be interesting to hear your take on it.

  17. Ohmygosh i really wanted to read more books on islam in modern society and i feel like this will be my first and i can't wait! Thanks for the great recommendation! xD

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