Book 8 – Letters to a Young Muslim

Our first non-fiction read! Letters to a Young Muslim (2017) is written by Omar Saif Ghobash, the UAE ambassador to Russia. The book is a compilation of letters directed at his son Saif with musings on what it means to be a Muslim in the modern world – specifically as a citizen of a Muslim Gulf Arab state in a globalised economy.

It’s an optimistic tone, in spite of all the worries being presented. He writes personally, as a father, but makes a lot of strong points that many of us should learn from and identify with.

It’s a call to action, that will hopefully counteract the call to arms that most people cry for. He urges us all to take personal responsibility and show that the way we practice faith is not uniform, but highly personal. He discusses sexuality, education, terrorism and gender roles.

“Women in the Muslim world are the ones who will raise us all, if given the chance” p.213


He did an interview on the The Daily Show with Trevor Noah that might be worth checking out. It starts at 15:56 in the video.

He also spoke about the book at length at this Talks at Google.

It is worth noting though, that he does have a lot of fluff and it does seem that he is pandering to the West. In fact, the acknowledgements do not feature a single Arab name!

It is also a bit boring at times, but then he springs on you golden nuggets that make it all worth it.

“We have a duty, that we are called upon, to bring our highest and best qualities to Islam as we practice it. If we do not, the deficiency is not with Islam, the deficiency is within us as people who have not thought deeply enough, or tried hard enough, to make sense of the disparate factors pulling on us”

4 thoughts on “Book 8 – Letters to a Young Muslim

    1. I know, it’s crazy how current events have shed a whole new light on how we perceive this book! The small issues I had with it in the beginning have started to seen overwhelming and I’m tending to think of it more negatively now (Mariam will probably end up posting all the original issues we had with the book so there’s no need for me to list them now lol). Anyway, the contradiction between this interview versus his own words in the book makes me doubt him. I mean his book opens with the statement that the second you let someone choose who you hate is the same second that you give up your autonomy and freedom of thought. Wellllll the Emirati govt. is literally limiting the thought of an entire nation right now.

      Also, when I first read it I noticed that Qatar was never mentioned. However, at the time it was just a passing thought and I didn’t pay it much attention. With everything happening now, it makes me want to read into that more. However, I hope you finish the book because I believe the discussion in the meeting on Monday is going to be quite heated.

      Liked by 1 person

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