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”