Letters to a Young Muslim

Letters to a Young Muslim

From the Ambassador of the UAE to Russia comes a bold and intimate exploration of what it means to be a Muslim in the twenty-first century.In a series of personal letters to his sons, Omar Saif Ghobash offers a short and highly readable manifesto that tackles our current global crisis with the training of an experienced diplomat and the personal responsibility of a father....

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Title:Letters to a Young Muslim
Author:Omar Saif Ghobash
Rating:
ISBN:1250119847
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:272 pages

Letters to a Young Muslim Reviews

  • Jenny Kim
    Nov 06, 2016

    When I first heard about this book I instantly thought of Ta-Nehisi Coates', "Between the World and Me". Where Coates' book was dark, somber and hopeless, this book is the opposite. It is hopeful, inspiring, and intend to motivate for a change.

    It's a timely book and one where I learned a bit about Islam and what is like to be a Muslim who is living through the current time when fanatic terrorists in name of Islam commits acts of horrible violence. Mr. Ghobash writes these letters to his son,

    When I first heard about this book I instantly thought of Ta-Nehisi Coates', "Between the World and Me". Where Coates' book was dark, somber and hopeless, this book is the opposite. It is hopeful, inspiring, and intend to motivate for a change.

    It's a timely book and one where I learned a bit about Islam and what is like to be a Muslim who is living through the current time when fanatic terrorists in name of Islam commits acts of horrible violence. Mr. Ghobash writes these letters to his son, yet these letters are to all young man and woman of Islam faith, and even far reaching to those who are not of that faith. It's not about solving current issues with more violence but by reaching out to youth who will represent Islam, to be courageous and question, challenge, self-reflect, and be open.

    There are many inspiring quotes and excerpts in this book but I can't share all so here is a little bit of taste.

    "Great knowledge consists of being familiar with the questions, the doubts, the possibility that things might be different."

    "It may be true that the greatest sacrific that a person can make is to give his life for a cause. But it is not the most difficult sacrifice a person can make. The most difficult and perhaps more valuable sacrifice a person can make is to face the complexity of modern life and live life to its fulletst-morally, spiritually, and socially."

    "You can choose to live as Muslim who insists that only Muslims are able to have knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Or you can choose to find knowledge, wisdom, and understanding in all cultures, literatures, and philosophies. You can choose to be locked into a particular world or you can set forth into a world of human experience."

    *Note these are from ARC

  • Becky
    Nov 24, 2016

    Thoughtful, personal and deeply moving. This is a beautiful collection of advice that should be read by everyone. The advice is relevant not just for Muslims, but for all people looking to live a good like in the modern world.

  • Ume
    Dec 10, 2016

    (This review was originally written for Waterstones.com)

    (I received a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes)

    This is a poignant and heartfelt collection of advice. Not just from a father to his son, but also to any young Muslim, or anyone interested in discussions of faith, struggling to reconcile his/her faith and/or heritage with the problems facing the world and Islam today. Omar Saif Ghobash bravely addresses problems within the larger Muslim community and Islamic cultures, and rather

    (This review was originally written for Waterstones.com)

    (I received a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes)

    This is a poignant and heartfelt collection of advice. Not just from a father to his son, but also to any young Muslim, or anyone interested in discussions of faith, struggling to reconcile his/her faith and/or heritage with the problems facing the world and Islam today. Omar Saif Ghobash bravely addresses problems within the larger Muslim community and Islamic cultures, and rather commendably emphasises how necessary these discussions are - especially given the current climate. His language is both affectionate and thoughtful, patient and thought-provoking, discourse-inspiring - how we should learn about faith from our youth. The lessons he puts forth in his letters are essential and universal - the search for knowledge, the importance of freedom and most of all personal responsibility. We cannot avoid difficult discussions and painful truths within our own community and texts nor try to silence anyone else. Doing so only exacerbates all our problems. I believe (and I suspect the author does too) that accusations and outcries of 'Islamophobia' usually does everyone a disservice.

    If anything, this book is valuable just for the reassurance it provides - that it is possible for young muslims to take a stand and bring some positive change within the way their faith is practised or interpreted without having to compromise themselves. Most importantly, that it is possible for an Islam that is compatible with 21st century values. A fitting and necessary book for our time, however unfortunate that may be.

  • Louai Roumani
    Jan 20, 2017

    This book is brilliant because it is such a breeze of fresh air, in an otherwise increasingly gloomy and lost Islamic World. The author is the UAE Ambassador to Moscow, and this first book of his is a compilation of a series of letters intended to his young son, advising him on how to navigate the world as a Muslim.

    The ingenuity of this book is the emphasis of individualism, and of the need for one to be unafraid of questioning everything around him. The author does not make extremely confrontat

    This book is brilliant because it is such a breeze of fresh air, in an otherwise increasingly gloomy and lost Islamic World. The author is the UAE Ambassador to Moscow, and this first book of his is a compilation of a series of letters intended to his young son, advising him on how to navigate the world as a Muslim.

    The ingenuity of this book is the emphasis of individualism, and of the need for one to be unafraid of questioning everything around him. The author does not make extremely confrontational or controversial conclusions, but rather encourages his son to keep an open mind, to develop his individuality and not take anything for granted. The manner in which he speaks to his son is very well-refined, cultivated and respects whatever course of action his son will end up doing. The advice is powerful, but not highly charged. He does not force him to take any certain stance, but rather teases his curiosity and fuels his passion to explore and learn. He mentions Nietzche, Tolstoy, Greek philosophy and the Bible in an intriguing way, without explicitly 'pushing' his son to become exposed to them. He addresses topics like freedom, equality of women, role models and violence. He also tackles more sensitive topics, or using his own words 'self-censored topics', like homosexuality. He gracefully asks his son to consider how homosexuals should be viewed if they were born into this state and could not do anything about it. The book does get a bit repetitive sometimes, and the writing does occasionally become a little muddled, but that is such a trivial observation when analyzing the impact of the book as a whole.

    A very insightful and more importantly much-needed book for today's young Muslims. As radical and extreme views sadly increasingly dominate the Islamic thought landscape today, the need to promote individualism and the insistence on inquiry and reasoning is more important than ever. A Western reader might not find the book astounding in its style; but it definitely is revolutionary according to the prevailing general values in the Islamic world that do not place much importance to the need for continuous empowerment of the individual.

    This book graciously and assertively does that. I just hope that the book has the ripple effect it deserves across the Islamic world.

  • Karen.s
    Jan 13, 2017

    This is a must read to all Muslims and anyone of faith. That it was published in English is perplexing as those who need it won't find it. Hopefully it will be translated into Arabic, but it expresses what my modern Muslim friends think though there is much here that would be controversial in many places in the Muslim world. What is controversial? First he places high importance on personal responsibility for faith and for changing things that are not unfair. To not accept the excuse that "we ar

    This is a must read to all Muslims and anyone of faith. That it was published in English is perplexing as those who need it won't find it. Hopefully it will be translated into Arabic, but it expresses what my modern Muslim friends think though there is much here that would be controversial in many places in the Muslim world. What is controversial? First he places high importance on personal responsibility for faith and for changing things that are not unfair. To not accept the excuse that "we are under fire; therefore we have the right to fight back." And that only the decisions of learned Islamic scholars hold any weight. Ghobash argues, rightly so, that Islam commands Muslims to seek knowledge. He openly encourages his sons to question their faith, something that usually gets you branded a heretic. He tells them to ask questions when things in science don't seem to agree with Islam, such as the case of homosexuality. He makes an excellent case for how and why a violent strain of Islam has come to the forefront and what could be done to combat its influence.

    One of the most interesting things about this book is how it is relevant to anyone of faith. Trade the words "Muslim and Islam" for "Christian and Christianity" or any religion and the advice is equally relevant. I would love to see this book discussed in church settings as well.

    This is a book that I recommend getting in hardcover as you will want to read it more than once and I know I will be sharing it with friends too.

  • Hina
    Feb 11, 2017

    As a practicing Muslim I have been plagued with many questions which Omar Gobash boldly asks in this book. Questions which are urgent and relevant in toady's charged political climate. Questions which we need to ask ourselves (how much responsibility does each one of us carry as a Muslim), ask our political leaders(when will they stop dividing, conquering and plundering), ask our clerics (who are living in a time capsule of the former glory days of Islam), ask the so-called, self appointed flag

    As a practicing Muslim I have been plagued with many questions which Omar Gobash boldly asks in this book. Questions which are urgent and relevant in toady's charged political climate. Questions which we need to ask ourselves (how much responsibility does each one of us carry as a Muslim), ask our political leaders(when will they stop dividing, conquering and plundering), ask our clerics (who are living in a time capsule of the former glory days of Islam), ask the so-called, self appointed flag bearers (why they are exempt from the rules of moral and humane behavior) and challenge our societal order (why women are given lesser place in most patriarchal countries).He holds the mirror up and the reflection is not pretty. Islamic history has been fraught with intrigue and battles for power and glory as with any other civilization. But in the past few decades, it has taken a very ugly turn and unless each one of us acknowledges that there is something very wrong with the fire that is burning around us, it will continue to consume us.

    Omar Gobash is not making excuses for what's wrong with Islam today. He's asking us to stop accepting the order of things, to reflect, to study, to pause, to think and to engage with others. Because at the end of the day we do have a shared humanity and we owe it to Islam to "educate ourselves, work hard, and find the answers to life's difficult questions.."

    It is time to look beyond the binary world of black and white Islam of the clerics, and to welcome the diverse opinions which are made up of all shades of gray.

    I recommend this book for it's honesty and it's thought provoking approach. For a long time we have been told to accept the order of things, not to ask any questions as it is tantamount to blasphemy, but Islam encourages questions and differences of opinion. Islam places a high value on a moral code and on taking responsibility. It is time to walk the talk!

  • Amanda
    Feb 15, 2017

    Wow. I'm regretting my casual rating system now. I am far too quick to award five star reviews to books I enjoy, and now I have no way of distinguishing this book.

    This book was fantastic. I appreciated learning more about Islam, but the lessons and the topics in the book are of value to anyone. They're excellently and compellingly written. I will be recommending it to everyone.

    Like some other reviewers, I'm curious to see how the book will be received by traditionalists because it does dare to

    Wow. I'm regretting my casual rating system now. I am far too quick to award five star reviews to books I enjoy, and now I have no way of distinguishing this book.

    This book was fantastic. I appreciated learning more about Islam, but the lessons and the topics in the book are of value to anyone. They're excellently and compellingly written. I will be recommending it to everyone.

    Like some other reviewers, I'm curious to see how the book will be received by traditionalists because it does dare to question many established practices.

  • somalisketch
    Feb 03, 2017

    well. it kind of disappointed me, i thought this book was more like philosophical, but it's just as like; simple man giving unreasonable advice to his child's, a man think he know better cause he see better(Omar saif), and worst thing he managed to paste all of his opinions by suni menhaj. but that's not how things are really, we can't really tell whom is right or whom is wrong. it just we all follow our own instincts. so this book is overstated and time wasted

  • Laura Hoffman Brauman
    Feb 01, 2017

    I don't know enough about Islam. I knew that going in. In light of current events, I wanted to know more than just what I was seeing or hearing in sound bites, click bait, or Facebook memes. Reading this book was a profound gift. It gave me a basic understanding of key beliefs. It gave me historical and cultural context for current world events. It gave me some perspective on the conflict today between radical Islam and the vast majority of Muslims. We focus so often on our differences, but the

    I don't know enough about Islam. I knew that going in. In light of current events, I wanted to know more than just what I was seeing or hearing in sound bites, click bait, or Facebook memes. Reading this book was a profound gift. It gave me a basic understanding of key beliefs. It gave me historical and cultural context for current world events. It gave me some perspective on the conflict today between radical Islam and the vast majority of Muslims. We focus so often on our differences, but the value placed on faith and family in these essays and the role of this in daily Muslim life was very similar to what I see in conservative Christian families in my hometown. These letters from Ghobash to his son are intimate and heartfelt. The writing is exquisite and profound. I'm not sure if I have ever highlighted or noted as many passages as I did in this book. Regardless of your personal faith, these letters speak to the what it means to grow up, to forge an identity separate from your parents, to question and to embrace the values that define you, and to appreciate the way your community can challenge and shape you. Ghobash writes about responsibility, freedom, identity, education, what it means to be an outsider and more. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

  • Jennifer
    Feb 17, 2017

    I'll be making a video on this soon, but for now I'll say that this is a clear, dry read that gave me a lot of food for thought about the questions that Muslims face (and have always faced) concerning the relationship between Islam and the rest of the world. It's hard for me to get a sense of how groundbreaking Ghobash's theories might appear in the Islam-majority world (Ghobash is from the UAE) - he leaves you with the impression that his ideas aren't as mainstream or straightforward as they mi

    I'll be making a video on this soon, but for now I'll say that this is a clear, dry read that gave me a lot of food for thought about the questions that Muslims face (and have always faced) concerning the relationship between Islam and the rest of the world. It's hard for me to get a sense of how groundbreaking Ghobash's theories might appear in the Islam-majority world (Ghobash is from the UAE) - he leaves you with the impression that his ideas aren't as mainstream or straightforward as they might seem. I wish it had been shorter and a little more colorful, but overall I recommend this, especially if you're like me and know very little about the history or mentality of Islam.