February 25, 2017 by femvestige
I have finished reading If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran by Carla Power. This book was incredibly enlightening and showed me the beauty and complications of a religion and lifestyle in a modern society.
My previous post on this book can be found here: What is Islam?
This book is truly a memoir journey, and is told entirely through the voice of the author, Carla Power. Power requests that her long time friend and colleague Mohammad Akram Nadwi to teach her about the Quran and his way of life. The book is broke into three parts:
- The Origins
- The Home
- The World
The Origins is about the beginnings; the beginning of Carla’s upbringing as the child of educator gypsies, of Akram’s life as a young scholar of Islam, and of Islam’s beginnings with the prophet Muhammad.
The Home is about lifestyles in the home; Carla travels to India to learn about where Akram comes from. There she meets his family and learns more about how women interact with the world in an Islamic society. She develops friendships with Akram’s sisters and students.
The World is about how muslims live their life, how the world perceives Islam, and the finer points of the hajj and politics. The Sheikh’s theology is that of a traditional madrasa, which goes against many of the jihad’s theology. This is where a lot of political tension can occur.
Overall, this book was very enlightening and there is too much density to really reflect upon it without providing a detailed summary of all parts of the book. It gave me a broader perspective on Islam and it’s origins. It provided me a greater appreciation for the beauty and simplicity of logic that the religion of Islam maintains. It saddens me that Islam has been so radicalized and ostracized by so many today. I am grateful for Carla’s voice.
Rating out of 5: ✮✮✮✮
Best Feature: Descriptive stories to represent principles
Worst Feature: Lengthy and a bit wordy at times