Mecca and Main Street: Muslim life in America after 9/11 by Geneive Abdo

* Picture from Amazon*

Format read: Hardback

Genre: Islamic

Rating: 8 out of 10

Plot: This is a book about the lives of Muslims in America in the post 9/11 years.  The author includes the point of view of second generation Muslims, converts, and activists in explaining the challenges of holding on to a faith in a world that is suspicious of it.

Opinion: I honestly was hesitant to read this book when I found out it was written by a non-Muslim.  Oftentimes when non-Muslims write about Islam, they are not so much trying to explain the faith as they are trying to demonize it.  The author didn’t focus so much on the faith as she did on Muslims in general.  I thought she did a pretty good job of explaining the frustrations and challenges of Muslims; she even explained the difficulties Muslims face when trying to make our voices heard.  I liked how the author resisted the temptation of a lot of non-Muslims to focus on the voices of the so-called progressive Muslims only; the author even explained that while these individuals are popular speakers amongst non-Muslims, they don’t share the views or values of the majority of Muslims.  I wish that the author had gone into detail about Islam, at least given the basics, but even without that, I think it’s probably the best book I’ve read by a non-Muslim about Muslims.

Next book: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

*Even though there’s about a day or two left in Ramadan, I’m probably not going to get much reading done, so I’m going to go ahead and resume my normal reading pattern.

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The Qur’anic Worldview by AbdulHamid AbuSulayman – DNF

*Image from Amazon.com*

I only got about 30 pages into this and couldn’t go any further.  The book was written in the same way that a graduate Sociology book was written and I just couldn’t get any further into it.  It’s rare that I will simply decide to not finish a book; I will usually slog through the book because I hate not finishing a book that I start.  However, I just couldn’t make myself read this.  I’ll put it aside and maybe someday I’ll be in the mood for such an erudite read, but not today!

Next book: Mecca and Main Street by Geneive Abdo

The Night Prayers Qiyam & Tarawih Compiled by Muhammad al-Jibali

* Picture from Amazon*

Format read: Paperback

Genre: Islamic

Rating: 7 out of 10

Plot: This is a book about the Islamic night prayers, called Qiyam throughout most of the year, but known as Tarawih when performed during Ramadan.  This book goes through the benefits of performing these prayers, the length of these prayers, as well as how to actually perform the prayers.

Opinion: I thought this book was very informative and included information that would be useful for all Muslims.  I thought it was written in a manner that even new Muslims could gain some knowledge from it.   The one part that I really struggled to get through was the section that went over the argument about the length of the prayer; I thought that most of the argument was above my level of understanding and I didn’t understand the finer points of the argument.  I think it would’ve been better to just give an overview of this argument and save the details for a book written specifically for those who understand the scholarly debate.  Other than that section, I think it was a pretty easy to understand book.

Next book: The Qur’anic Worldview by AbdulHamid AbuSulayman

The Prophet’s Ramadhaan: How the Prophet observed the Month of Ramadhaan by Mufti Muhammad Khan Qaadri

* Picture from Amazon*

Format read: Paperback

Genre: Islamic

Rating: 8 out of 10

Plot: This is a book that goes through what the Prophet (s.a.w.) would do in Ramadan.  It covers everything from how to spot the month, how to start and stop the fast each day, and how to celebrate the end of the month.  This book is full of hadith, which are sayings of the Prophet (s.a.w.) as evidence to back up what the author was saying.

Opinion: Overall, I thought this was a pretty good book.  The translators did a pretty good job so there wasn’t a lot of grammar errors that are so common to translated Islamic books.  This book contained a lot that I already knew, but there was still a lot that I learned from it.  The language was simple enough for a new Muslim to understand, and there’s so much information that Muslims of different levels of knowledge can benefit from it.  The only problem I had is this author sometimes put multiple hadith in a row that were basically of the same wording but narrated from different people.  I understand the point is to show that multiple people are testifying to this saying/action, but it’s tough to read the same sentence four or five times in a row, and that’s the main reason why it took as long as it did for me to get through this book.

Next book: The Night Prayers Qiyam & Tarawih Compiled by Muhammad al-Jibali

June Wrap-Up

This past month was a pretty good reading month for me.  I read six books this month, which is slightly less than last month, but still above the normal amount I read.  I read such a wide variety of everything from history to contemporary.  My favorite book of the month was Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  I thought that despite having such a cheesy ending, it was a pretty good book and I have already lent out my copy to a friend.  The worst book I read this month was  All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson, which not only did I hate the main character, but I had serious problems with the writing style of it.

Here’s a quick list of the books I read this month with the ratings I gave them:

  1.  Harry Potter and History by Nancy Reagin (5 out of 10 stars)
  2. Mousetrapped by Catherine Ryan Howard (8 out of 10 stars)
  3. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (8 out of 10 stars)
  4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (6 out of 10 stars)
  5. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Sartrapi (7 out of 10 stars)
  6. All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson (3.5 out of 10 stars)

Since the majority of the month of July is Ramadan, I will be reading Islamic books.  Even though a lot of these books really aren’t that long, they are not quick reads, so I probably won’t have a long list.