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"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. Today's young Muslims will be tomorrow's leaders, and yet too many are vulnerable to extremist propaganda that seems omnipresent in our t "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. Today's young Muslims will be tomorrow's leaders, and yet too many are vulnerable to extremist propaganda that seems omnipresent in our technological age. The burning question, Ghobash argues, is how moderate Muslims can unite to find a voice that is true to Islam while actively and productively engaging in the modern world. What does it mean to be a good Muslim? What is the concept of a good life? And is it acceptable to stand up and openly condemn those who take the Islamic faith and twist it to suit their own misguided political agendas? In taking a hard look at these seemingly simple questions, Ghobash encourages his sons to face issues others insist are not relevant, not applicable, or may even be Islamophobic. These letters serve as a clear-eyed inspiration for the next generation of Muslims to understand how to be faithful to their religion and still navigate through the complexities of today's world. They also reveal an intimate glimpse into a world many are unfamiliar with and offer to provide an understanding of the everyday struggles Muslims face around the globe."


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"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. Today's young Muslims will be tomorrow's leaders, and yet too many are vulnerable to extremist propaganda that seems omnipresent in our t "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. Today's young Muslims will be tomorrow's leaders, and yet too many are vulnerable to extremist propaganda that seems omnipresent in our technological age. The burning question, Ghobash argues, is how moderate Muslims can unite to find a voice that is true to Islam while actively and productively engaging in the modern world. What does it mean to be a good Muslim? What is the concept of a good life? And is it acceptable to stand up and openly condemn those who take the Islamic faith and twist it to suit their own misguided political agendas? In taking a hard look at these seemingly simple questions, Ghobash encourages his sons to face issues others insist are not relevant, not applicable, or may even be Islamophobic. These letters serve as a clear-eyed inspiration for the next generation of Muslims to understand how to be faithful to their religion and still navigate through the complexities of today's world. They also reveal an intimate glimpse into a world many are unfamiliar with and offer to provide an understanding of the everyday struggles Muslims face around the globe."

30 review for Letters to a Young Muslim

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hina Zephyr

    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!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    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

  3. 4 out of 5

    ♛ may

    Book 13 completed for #RamadanReadathon i always have such a hard time rating non-fiction. in some ways i really enjoyed listening to this book. for starters, the fact that the author himself narrated the audiobook makes it feel so much more personal and authentic, especially due to the fact that he's addressing these letters to his son. 🥺🥺 these letters are like the author's musing, trying to make sense of the world and giving his son some direction through it. what the author does continuously i Book 13 completed for #RamadanReadathon i always have such a hard time rating non-fiction. in some ways i really enjoyed listening to this book. for starters, the fact that the author himself narrated the audiobook makes it feel so much more personal and authentic, especially due to the fact that he's addressing these letters to his son. 🥺🥺 these letters are like the author's musing, trying to make sense of the world and giving his son some direction through it. what the author does continuously is, question, and i think that's the main takeaway from the book question everything. and find your own answers. and i think it's done with noble intentions. you should know what you believe in and why you believe in it. each chapter covers a topic that is personal, controversial, and/or very known to young muslims, especially in the modern world. he questions ideologies and really ponders on family, faith, prejudice and discrimination, terrorism, societal relations, western view of muslims, etc. etc. and while ghobash does include some of his own thoughts and conclusions, he mainly leaves the topic for the reader's mind to ponder. however, i found that some aspects were left too vague when they are quite clear in their correct context. some things were wrongly attributed to each other and i found it a little disconcerting how some topics were handled. (i know i'm being very vague but there were a lot of topics covered and i didnt take notes bc im 🤡) another thing was that i just,,,,,,,,kind of got bored. yes, i understand the message of the book is an interesting one, but it became repetitive when we would explore a topic only to end back with the same conclusions of 'ask questions, make your own conclusions' i will say, listening to him talk about his family background, his life growing up in the UAE, and his exploration with his identity and religion were my favourite parts of the book. it was very thoughtful and informative and authentic and personal overall though, i do think the aim of this book was to leave the reader with a sense of responsibility for their own beliefs. for them to have an open-mind and open-heart when dealing with others and the world around them you can see the author's intelligence through the way he writes, addresses, and discusses issues in the book. you can feel the genuine love and care he has for his children and his want for them to succeed and be happy. a really, really interesting read 2.5 stars “There is much room to grow as individuals, and in doing so we can discover truths about our own inclinations. You should know that for every action there is a reaction. Your perseverance, kindness, or humor creates a ripple effect in our culture just as much as your indifference, violence, or negativity”

  4. 4 out of 5

    biblio_mom (Aiza)

    Mainly of his own personal thoughts and idea on how to become and live life as a muslim to his son and of course the reader. he talks about following the teaching of Quran and Hadith but cited non in the book which i think is fundamental in writing this kind of book. I came from a family of different races and some of once different religion before reverting to Islam. I live in a multi-racial country, which is Malaysia, to be particular, I am from the East part, where you can easily found a fami Mainly of his own personal thoughts and idea on how to become and live life as a muslim to his son and of course the reader. he talks about following the teaching of Quran and Hadith but cited non in the book which i think is fundamental in writing this kind of book. I came from a family of different races and some of once different religion before reverting to Islam. I live in a multi-racial country, which is Malaysia, to be particular, I am from the East part, where you can easily found a family of Muslim and Christian living in the same house. I have not seen, heard or experience myself the hardship of this kind of "mix living" because thats what family is about despite the differences. We live together with utmost respect, love and peace. I am thankful that I came from Malaysia (with Brunei decendant) where the citizens are free to enjoy life living in diversity, practice their religions & traditions without being discriminate, judge or anything. This book has a lot of "oppressed" feelings in it which i dont know how to describe. I disagree with a few points especially of the shia community, sexuality and the veil part. Shia has so many categories which does not practice Islamic teaching and thus, cannot be called Muslims. I stand my ground. You can agreed to disagree all you want. About the sexuality, I almost get the idea of him encouraging Muslims to embrace their sexuality preferances if we think we were born with a wrong type of private parts. He also mentioned about there is no correct way of wearing the hijab. Should've said its compulsory to cover your aurah and have haya'. Some might get the wrong idea about it and think it is a matter of choice weather or not we should wear the hijab (or cover up). I know what he is trying to tell his son, Saif is to not follow the teachings blindly and have his own critical thinking, be an open-minded muslim etc, but there should be a clear guidelines because without it, we can easily be astray. I love the quote of "There was no reason to hate anyone" and "living is to live with difference".

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karen.s

    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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sleepless Dreamer

    The new peace deal between the UAE and Israel is perhaps the weirdest political thing that's happened this year in Israel (Our foreign minister and generally our parliament had no idea that it's happening, it was done entirely between our Prime Minister, Trump and the UAE's prince, the UAE has never even been an enemy country, and it's unclear how this peace is actually going to look). Although, let's be real, I'm super excited about the potential of traveling to the UAE (with my Israeli passpor The new peace deal between the UAE and Israel is perhaps the weirdest political thing that's happened this year in Israel (Our foreign minister and generally our parliament had no idea that it's happening, it was done entirely between our Prime Minister, Trump and the UAE's prince, the UAE has never even been an enemy country, and it's unclear how this peace is actually going to look). Although, let's be real, I'm super excited about the potential of traveling to the UAE (with my Israeli passport)! Like, heck yeah, finally another neighboring country we can go to. And think about all the flights to Asia we will be able to take now that we can transfer through Dubai (whenever traveling becomes a thing again). And of course, more peace is always good, even if it is a little strange! However, throughout all of these discussions, I realized that I, like many Israelis, don't actually know much about the UAE. I mean, I know that Dubai and Abu Dhabi exist (and there was a brief period of time when I tried to figure out if I could study at NYU's campus there). That's pretty much it. I have no idea about the history, culture, values and really anything. So I picked up this book as a shortcut to learning a bit more about the Emirates, as people rather than history.  With gentle and warm prose, Ghobash writes letters to his son about the Muslim world. These letters are intelligent, intricate and self-aware. He faces the problems of the Muslim world with so much love and compassion. Ghobash never brushes anything under the table but he's constantly led by his passion to the Islam.  There was much that I loved about this book. Ghobash has so much love for knowledge. Religions can sometimes encourage us to shut ourselves to other voices. Ghobash boldly stands up against that. His faith comes from such a balanced look at the world. In the fact of so much negativity, reading his words is like a breath of fresh air. This is what religion can be like. This book is clearly meant for Western readers, as it was published in English. As such, I loved how Ghobash has a honest conversation about Islamophobia, terrorism, and responsibility. He criticizes both the Western world and the Arab world in his search for balance. You get this feeling that the world would be a better place if more people were like him.   Ghobash's ability to be so hopeful but constantly grounded was wonderful. There are so many emotions involving Middle Eastern history but through his writing, it seems like all can be solved, like if we truly take responsibility and work on change, it's entirely feasible.  Every once in a while, I'll hear people say that all the problems in the Middle East could be solved if no one was religious. It always frustrates me and I never quite manage to find the words to express exactly why this slant is annoying. Reading this book made me realize once more that religion can be beautiful and empowering. The Islam that Ghobash describes is so full of kindness and warmth.  As an Israeli, I've noticed that we often brush aside the intricacies of the Arab world. We shallowly assume that they all hate us so why bother learning about them. That's obviously not a great attitude so I'm really excited to learn more about the dialogues within the Arab world. It was interesting to hear how the oil wealth influenced the religious aspects of the UAE and generally, Arab countries.   To conclude, I promised a friend that when Covid ends, we'll go together to the UAE. This book is fantastic and I really recommend it! If you're looking for a book about Muslims, Middle Eastern issues and just general fatherly advice, this is both wholesome and intelligent.    What I'm Taking With Me -I love how the Arab League doesn't care about Palestinians at all until stuff with Israel happens and oh no, suddenly the Palestinian cause is everything to them.  - This book is the ultimate response to Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel .- Really, thinking about how Islam (and other old religions) can work in modern societies is fascinating.  - The peace is also odd because right now, Netanyahu is facing a lot of pressure from the left so yes, this will satisfy them but also, at this point, I don't think there's anything Netanyahu can do that will salvage him for the left. As this is exactly the type of moves the left wants, I'm definitely going to paying attention to how the right responds. Is giving up land for peace okay when Netanyahu does it? - I hope this review will age well. Like, a lot of the other peace agreements didn't work out very well but at the same time, Israel and the UAE have been cooperating on stuff for years so who knows? I'm trying not to let my immense dislike of Trump and Netanyahu cloud my thoughts but I'm not sure I'm succeeding. -------------------------- How the heck is Omar Saif Ghobash so wise and eloquent? Review to come!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aiman Azha

    If you are looking for answers and guidance to Islam in this book you won't get it. The author only asks questions without giving an answer in the book. Somehow I think the author himself is still confused with Islam and should not even write a book that could mislead people about it. This book only consists of his opinions and thinking. He does not even back his statements with the Quran and hadiths which makes them weak. Reading this book makes me feel uneasy and somehow I think the author is If you are looking for answers and guidance to Islam in this book you won't get it. The author only asks questions without giving an answer in the book. Somehow I think the author himself is still confused with Islam and should not even write a book that could mislead people about it. This book only consists of his opinions and thinking. He does not even back his statements with the Quran and hadiths which makes them weak. Reading this book makes me feel uneasy and somehow I think the author is misleading its readers by advocating for Islamic reform and a new way of thinking on how we can practice our religion. I find it confusing when the author tries to convince the reader to not follow how the people in the ancient Islamic civilization live their life. Up to a certain extent yes, maybe we cannot mirror completely their actions in this 21st Century but discounting them completely just doesn't make sense. I believe that we should hold dear to our basic fundamentals and foundations. If you cut the roots of the tree how can it grow taller? The author also questions the authority of Islamic Scholars (Ulema) by saying that normal people who work as a banker, public officials or maybe a housewife also have the same authority to determine what is right and what is wrong for our religion. How could we, who maybe do not even have the basic fundamentals of Islam correct can stand tall at the same level as the scholars who have been dedicating their entire life to study Islam?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Satkar Ulama

    Habeebie Saif, Send my love to your father for writing a bestselling piece of work that has been critically acclaimed by many reviewers. Your father talks a lot about being a Muslim in today’s world, how we should exhibit ourselves as a ‘true’ Muslim who reflects the Prophet’s attitude, and more importantly, how to live in a diverse world where religion can be a sensitive issue. I really wanted to like your father’s book, but I couldn’t. I read about 80% of it but I had to put it down because I f Habeebie Saif, Send my love to your father for writing a bestselling piece of work that has been critically acclaimed by many reviewers. Your father talks a lot about being a Muslim in today’s world, how we should exhibit ourselves as a ‘true’ Muslim who reflects the Prophet’s attitude, and more importantly, how to live in a diverse world where religion can be a sensitive issue. I really wanted to like your father’s book, but I couldn’t. I read about 80% of it but I had to put it down because I feel something is missing from the very first page. There are 6.666 verses in the Quran, and not even a single verse was cited in this book your father wrote, Saif. He repeats many times in his book that the Islamic teachings are based on the Quran and the Hadith, but how is he teaching you about Islam and the values without telling you what the Quran and the Hadith really say? It seems like your father relies solely on his personal judgments and observation, and the absence of Quran verses (that are, in fact, very fundamental) makes this book less convincing to its readers. Okay, let us all create a harmonious relationship with people around us. No matter what religion, sexual orientation, or race they have, spread peace. Agree. But what do the Quran and the Hadith say about it? In which Chapter does it discuss neighborhood, for example? That’s what your father’s missing. This is a good book. But maybe not for me.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Malia

    I had been thinking about reading this book for a while and am glad I finally did. Ghobash handles the subject of what it means to be a Muslim in this world with care and reason. He weaves his own story into these letters to his sons and his style of writing was a mixture of tender and informative. A worthwhile read! Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com I had been thinking about reading this book for a while and am glad I finally did. Ghobash handles the subject of what it means to be a Muslim in this world with care and reason. He weaves his own story into these letters to his sons and his style of writing was a mixture of tender and informative. A worthwhile read! Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com

  11. 4 out of 5

    Louai Al Roumani

    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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Fatma

    Dear Omar Saif Ghobash It's summer of 2017 and you have thrice given international interviews condemning my homeland. In the first you denounced my country, following an official ban in the UAE forbidding any Emirati citizen from expressing SYMPATHY for anyone in Qatar. Isn't this ironic when ur book starts off by saying that as soon as someone chooses who you hate they are taking away your freedom? I believe forcing an entire nation to hate another falls squarely within this. I agree with what y Dear Omar Saif Ghobash It's summer of 2017 and you have thrice given international interviews condemning my homeland. In the first you denounced my country, following an official ban in the UAE forbidding any Emirati citizen from expressing SYMPATHY for anyone in Qatar. Isn't this ironic when ur book starts off by saying that as soon as someone chooses who you hate they are taking away your freedom? I believe forcing an entire nation to hate another falls squarely within this. I agree with what you wrote, it seems you yourself do not. Second interview followed your country calling for the termination of Al Jazeera, which is ironic since ur book calls for curiosity and communication and yet you publicly said that as an Emirati government official "freedom of speech" is not required nor sought out. And by the third time I've been thoroughly disillusioned with you and your book. Either you don't believe your own spiel or you don't believe in it enough to apply it to your life and stand up for it. I don't know which is worse. I thought that there were some shaky parts in there to begin with and I felt u were pandering to the west a little but I had no idea the extent of your rootlessness - supporting any ideals at your convenience. It's a nice book that has a few useful sentiments in there.. however, the author has lost all credibility in my eyes.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Yelda Basar Moers

    "When you consider my mother's determined nature, and my sister's sparkling intelligence, and it is suggested that girls should be deprived of an education, I laugh. Every single one of us has the right to an education. And I believe every single one of us has the right to seek out the best education possible. Why would we deprive our children of great mothers and brilliant sisters? They are people in their own right, able to think and do and be. In fact, when given the chance, Muslim women far "When you consider my mother's determined nature, and my sister's sparkling intelligence, and it is suggested that girls should be deprived of an education, I laugh. Every single one of us has the right to an education. And I believe every single one of us has the right to seek out the best education possible. Why would we deprive our children of great mothers and brilliant sisters? They are people in their own right, able to think and do and be. In fact, when given the chance, Muslim women far surpass the skills and education levels of Muslim men. We, as Muslim men, have no right to stand in their way." This is a bold, important book and one I’ve been waiting for. It gained much critical and newsworthy attention when it was published last year, and ever since that time I've wanted to read it. And finally did! I have to be honest that I had my own crisis with my Islamic faith after experiencing 9/11 and running from the collapsing towers. I felt as if my mind opened like Pandora's box. I had so many questions of where Islam fit in my life, America and the Western world. And I wondered if I could ever be a believer again. I realize now that every faith has its fanatics as well as its more progressive and liberal sects and Islam is no different. There are writers and thinkers, and I’m sure religious leaders, who espouse a more progressive view of Islam. There are many types of Islam, just as there are many types of Christianity. There is the more open Sufism, the more conservative Wahhabism, there are Sunnis, there are Shiites, each having their own ideas and interpretations of the faith. The author of this book, Omar Saif Ghobash, is the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Russia. At the age of forty-three (when he wrote these letters) he is young. Here he has included a series of personal essays that he had written to his older son Saif (who was seventeen) about how to live as a Muslim in the Western world. He doesn't hold back in his discussion of fundamentalism, the Qur’an, free speech, violence, the roles of men and women, the mosque, Islam as a religion and Islam as a faith. My favorite chapter is "The Muslim Individual," which reminded me so much of Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous essay "Self Reliance." His essay focuses on individual development as a Muslim, which he believes often gets sacrificed for the community. Ghobash brings up all the ideas and topics about Islam that we think about, but that no one outright says for fear of threats and backlash. He talks frankly of realities-- that the Arab world has some 100 million illiterate people and the hypocrisy of the extremists, rejecting the Western culture when they use its technology, for instance, iPhones, smartphones and computers. He highlights that truth cannot be so concrete; it must be pliable and change with the times. Everything cannot be found in one holy book, he says. I loved this book and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in this topic or current events. I'm surprised Ghobash hasn't received any death threats for his ideas, but then again you can feel his love for Islam. It's not like Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which was an unfair and unjust portrayal of the faith. "I believe we are in need of a vision of an improved Muslim individual and an improved Muslim world...Tell me Saif, when have you ever heard of the Muslim individual?"

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ume

    (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.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)

    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.

  16. 4 out of 5

    ftnrsnn

    REVIEW: LETTERS TO A YOUNG MUSLIM Letters to a Young Muslim is a compilation of letters from a father to his son. It is full of wisdom and thoughtful reflections on faith, culture and society. This book encourages the readers to celebrate individuality whilst recognizing it is our shared humanity that can bring us together. In his letters, the author manages to address the Arab cultures in the past, present and future. The letters are divided into chapters with different topics so that the readers REVIEW: LETTERS TO A YOUNG MUSLIM Letters to a Young Muslim is a compilation of letters from a father to his son. It is full of wisdom and thoughtful reflections on faith, culture and society. This book encourages the readers to celebrate individuality whilst recognizing it is our shared humanity that can bring us together. In his letters, the author manages to address the Arab cultures in the past, present and future. The letters are divided into chapters with different topics so that the readers can follow the themes for each letter. A short conclusion at the end of the letter is a plus point as it helps the readers to differentiate between the discussion and the story. This allows us, as readers to keep our focus on the issue highlighted by the author. My favourite letter will be: Men and Women. I love how the author tells his son not to put Muslim women on a rung far below men even though it is accustomed in societies to believe that men are by nature better and more talented than women. “Our women need to be trusted and respected. Once we trust and respect our sisters, our mothers, our daughters, and our aunts, we might begin to see with the power of empathy how we might provide the same respect to other women in our society.” Overall, I’m not going to say that I agree with every point the author states in this book but I think it’s a good read for both Muslim and Non-Muslim to open your mind about Islam.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    11th July 2018 One of the best books I have read in 2018. I loved it so much that I am going to buy my own copy so I can make notes and highlight important passages! 13th February 2019 I read this book again for my Book Club (it was my selection). This book is truly an inspiration not just to Muslims but also to non-Muslims. Letters to a Young Muslim is a series of personal and insightful letters written by Omar Saif Ghobash to his sons. It offers a vital manifesto that tackles the dilemmas fac 11th July 2018 One of the best books I have read in 2018. I loved it so much that I am going to buy my own copy so I can make notes and highlight important passages! 13th February 2019 I read this book again for my Book Club (it was my selection). This book is truly an inspiration not just to Muslims but also to non-Muslims. Letters to a Young Muslim is a series of personal and insightful letters written by Omar Saif Ghobash to his sons. It offers a vital manifesto that tackles the dilemmas facing not only young Muslims but everyone navigating the complexities of today’s world. This book is full of wisdom and thoughtful reflections on faith, culture and society. As a Muslim, I cannot describe how much I love this book. While I know Omar Saif Ghobash wrote this book specifically for his sons; the beauty is that the letters he wrote is the same conversations my siblings and I have with my parents. I really wish we had more politicians within Middle East like Omar Saif Ghobash. This deserves 5 stars

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nusaiba

    This book did not go in the direction that I expected. When I first got the book I expected it to be a little guide for muslims on the kind of behavior expected from them. While the book did cover some aspects of my expectations, it also had a political view probably because as mentioned in the book Ghobash's father was killed in a political setting when he was the age of 6 in the UAE by a young Palestinian boy. It is undeniable that violence does exist in our lives (the political wars all over t This book did not go in the direction that I expected. When I first got the book I expected it to be a little guide for muslims on the kind of behavior expected from them. While the book did cover some aspects of my expectations, it also had a political view probably because as mentioned in the book Ghobash's father was killed in a political setting when he was the age of 6 in the UAE by a young Palestinian boy. It is undeniable that violence does exist in our lives (the political wars all over the world for instance) and even though this book touches some undeniable facts about our world today, this book though somewhat interesting was just not my cup of tea. The book drifted in the end in a more interesting manner, he certainly had good points to give his son about Islam in the modern world, but I feel that if he had elaborated more details from the Quran Passages and History, the book would have been more interesting to read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Atiqah Ghazali

    “There was no reason to hate anyone. There is no reason to react to the world around you with hatred. You have to understand that someone has made the choice for you when they say you have to hate. The choice is yours and the only way you can make the world a better place is by doing the opposite of hating. It is by loving.” This book is a MUST read for young Muslims, old Muslims, hipster Muslim, traditional Muslim, Islamophobia people and everyone! It is inspiring, it made me cry and it makes m “There was no reason to hate anyone. There is no reason to react to the world around you with hatred. You have to understand that someone has made the choice for you when they say you have to hate. The choice is yours and the only way you can make the world a better place is by doing the opposite of hating. It is by loving.” This book is a MUST read for young Muslims, old Muslims, hipster Muslim, traditional Muslim, Islamophobia people and everyone! It is inspiring, it made me cry and it makes me miss my father too. Al-Fatihah untuk Abah! “Life is diverse. Living is to live with difference. Anyone telling you that difference should be stamped out is stamping out life. Those people insisting that there are black and white answers to the difficult questions are stamping out the diversity that is inherent in life.”

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mahnoor Asif

    Letters to a Young Muslim is a great book but staying on my TBR shelf for 1.5 years. Finally, I've completed this book and I'm glad I did it. Omar Saif Ghobash is a UAE ambassador to Russia. He is such a great thinker. The book is written in simple language and it consists of multiple letters by the author to his older son, Saif, and all young Muslims. The writer brilliantly addressed bold topics regarding Islam. The society we live in demands us to be silent and follow what we are asked for but Letters to a Young Muslim is a great book but staying on my TBR shelf for 1.5 years. Finally, I've completed this book and I'm glad I did it. Omar Saif Ghobash is a UAE ambassador to Russia. He is such a great thinker. The book is written in simple language and it consists of multiple letters by the author to his older son, Saif, and all young Muslims. The writer brilliantly addressed bold topics regarding Islam. The society we live in demands us to be silent and follow what we are asked for but the author focuses on the fact to ask questions. He also used the term Muslim individualism and asked Muslims to first bring change to themselves and then try to change the community. He explained how violence in the name of Islam is endangering Muslim's reputation. He also discussed women's rights and hatred toward non-Muslims. “𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘯𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘰𝘯𝘦. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘥. 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘮𝘢𝘥𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘴𝘢𝘺 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘦. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘢 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘺 𝘥𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘐𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘺 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨.” His thoughts on freedom are as follows, 𝘍𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘰𝘮 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘨𝘪𝘧𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘦𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘢 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘤𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧. 𝘞𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘩, 𝘸𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘤𝘳𝘪𝘱𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘥. Overall an easy and fast read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Darius Murretti

    Actual 4.5 stars . Yes I will read again in a few years . Its is typical that God takes human form and teaches ignorant humans how to focus their attention at the third eye , contact the holy spirit ( aka Kalma, Tao, shabd etc ) He explains that we have to completely vacate our body ( die daily) and use the shabd as a vehicle to ascend the seven skys back to the God head where we merge back into God and also become God in human form . Those fortunate few who are picked by the incarnation of God a Actual 4.5 stars . Yes I will read again in a few years . Its is typical that God takes human form and teaches ignorant humans how to focus their attention at the third eye , contact the holy spirit ( aka Kalma, Tao, shabd etc ) He explains that we have to completely vacate our body ( die daily) and use the shabd as a vehicle to ascend the seven skys back to the God head where we merge back into God and also become God in human form . Those fortunate few who are picked by the incarnation of God and who do the spiritual practice as directed can actually see with their own eyes the true path back to God and since they have God himself to instruct them they need not rely on any book . Those who are not so fortunate as to be selected by God in human form as a students must perforce rely on the writings of past incarnations of God . What typically happens is that just before an incarnation of God dies he appoints one of his most advanced disciples ( who by spiritual practice has merged into God) to be the next ) instructor . This creates a lineage of God Men which usually has 2 - 10 God men and spans 50- 300 years. By the time the last God man in that line decides NOT to appoint a successor ( for various reasons ) the line of God men has assumed a cultural identity , land , buildings , books and speakers who give talks on The teachings when the God man is traveling or does not want to speak ( because he has been answering questions etc all day ) So just before he leaves his body he gathers the lead speaker and his administrative assistants by his side and tells them that none of them is advanced enough to be the next God man but there is another God man at such and such a place and they should go to him . However some of his more immature egotistical students claim to be the new God man and begin to interpret the book(s) that contain the words of the god man and this is how a religion starts . Please be advised that since the start of the human race there has never been a time on this earth when a God man ( or many of them ) was not here and there are a few here today . one example is rssb.org , a lineage that started with a God man around 1850 and that line has been going now for 167 years and is on its 6th God man . This is a science NOT a religion and is not based on a book but upon dying before death , entering spiritual realms , observing how souls transmigrate , how the shabd creates and sustains the world and how it takes the few selected souls back to God and finally merges in God along with the soul of the student. Unlike sciences devised by men which are always correcting themselves with each new scientific fact discovered . The science of the soul taught by God in human form and is the design of God himself and is perfect and complete . Only by following this science can we discover the truth about ourselves , the creation and God . We can only follow this science if we are selected by a God man ,DURING HIS LIFETIME, to be one of his students . Moses , Jesus , Mohammed , Guru Nanak are all incarnations of the same one God and all taught the exact same thing ( focus at the third eye , catch the shabd and ride it home before your human life ends) . The rest of us must stay in the cycle of transmigration until we have accumulated enough good deeds to be selected . Im just saying that all this violence and hatred between those who follow Moses , those who follow Jesus , Those who follow Mohammad , Those who follow Guru Nanak etc is all unnecessary . God men never come here to start a new religion or to establish one religion over all others etc they only come to collect the "marked " souls in their designated geographic territory and teach them how to back to the Father and serve as a guide . All the religions of this world have been started by the immature egotistical students who refused to go on to the nearest God man after their own teacher passed and who then egotistically claimed to be the new spiritual head of the old line . These imposters quarreled and fought among themselves as to who was the rightful successor and them fought with other religions and you know the rest . If anyone wants to see the rssb.org live which is still preceded over by God inhuman form and critically study its 167 year completely nonviolent loving history of service to humanity . You are welcomed . An overview of this science is here : http://www.bahaistudies.net/asma/path... Note rssb.org and Bahai have no affiliation . For some reason they have the PDF of our book : THE PATH OF THE MASTERS " on their website : )

  22. 4 out of 5

    Wahyu Novian

    O, how I wish a lot more people here read this book—well, I wish people read more books. Nowadays, if you asked too many questions, you’ll be labelled immediately. It seems you are either too radical or too liberal—especially if you read some debates on twitter or facebook. Written as a letter from a father to his son, this book tackles a lot of things. From take responsibility for Islam as religion of peace to choose role model not only from the warriors but also from scientists of medicine and O, how I wish a lot more people here read this book—well, I wish people read more books. Nowadays, if you asked too many questions, you’ll be labelled immediately. It seems you are either too radical or too liberal—especially if you read some debates on twitter or facebook. Written as a letter from a father to his son, this book tackles a lot of things. From take responsibility for Islam as religion of peace to choose role model not only from the warriors but also from scientists of medicine and mathematics of Islam such as Avicenna and Al Khawarizmi. Also the controversial questions from free speech to feminism to terrorism to sex and homosexuality (not enough though). This book is not an excuse for what’s wrong with things that happened. This book doesn't provide answers. The insightful messages are to prepare his son on facing so many issues that will be asked and questioned and to be ready for any consequences of choices that will be made. This book invites us to learn and ask more questions. And it IS OK to ask questions and seek knowledge about our faith. "You can choose to live as Muslim who insist that only Muslim 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 particular world or you can set forth into a world of human experience." I bought this book last year after reading Sarita’s review (as always, she wrote the best review—do check her page) and just read it Ramadhan this year. But I think it’s the perfect time to read it. Saga was just weeks old in Tania’s belly and somehow it’s like I was preparing myself to be a father. Not the best one yet, but at least a well-read dad. :)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura Hoffman Brauman

    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.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nis

    I really love the concept of the book and advice to young Muslims is always needed as many of us need guidance in navigating life as Muslims growing up in a secular world. However, I found his framing of young Muslims with the question of religious extremism a bit problematic because I don't believe this to be a core issue that we grapple with. It also plays into the stereotypical tropes that young Muslims are prone to extremism due to their faith or religious community around them which is simp I really love the concept of the book and advice to young Muslims is always needed as many of us need guidance in navigating life as Muslims growing up in a secular world. However, I found his framing of young Muslims with the question of religious extremism a bit problematic because I don't believe this to be a core issue that we grapple with. It also plays into the stereotypical tropes that young Muslims are prone to extremism due to their faith or religious community around them which is simply untrue for most. I don't blame the author at all though, as he wrote this out of his own deeply personal and traumatic experience with terrorism when his father was murdered. I deeply respect where he is coming from and totally understand why he wrote the book this way- I just personally didn't find it relevant to my life. What most Muslims especially in the West grapple with is modernity, secularism and liberalism. I'm currently reading a book with a very similar premise called "On Being a Muslim" by Farid Esack which I find to be a lot more relevant to my experiences and I encourage others to look into it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Powell

    I was really struggling with what to think of this book. Lately, I've been devouring as much material from as many moderate voices in Islam as I can, at as rabid a pace as I can - and this one is definitely unique. The message is clear and I personally found little to contend with in what he had to say - but I struggled with the voice. It's written under this conceit that these are letters from a father to his son, but are they really? The book is in English and includes in-line definitions of wo I was really struggling with what to think of this book. Lately, I've been devouring as much material from as many moderate voices in Islam as I can, at as rabid a pace as I can - and this one is definitely unique. The message is clear and I personally found little to contend with in what he had to say - but I struggled with the voice. It's written under this conceit that these are letters from a father to his son, but are they really? The book is in English and includes in-line definitions of words like Imam, explanations of why he says "peace be upon him" when mentioning the prophet, and takes pains to clarify that Allah is the same God that Christians worship, something which I suspect most westerners do not know (as with the importance of saying 'pbuh' and who an Imam is) but most Muslims certainly do. Not to mention - not a single verse of the Qur'an is referenced. What I am saying is... in reading this it seemed very suspiciously like the book was intended really as a reassurance to the liberal west, more than as guidance for any young Muslims trying to find their way in the world, much less the author's son. The format seemed to be an effective excuse to be patronizing to a western audience. And - being a liberal in the West - it's not like the book didn't speak to me. And then I watched a half dozen or so interviews with him. He owns completely that indeed, no, the "letters" were not letters at all at first, that it was his publisher who had the idea. But, I believe he is sincere in wanting to provide young Muslims with a framework with which to question and move beyond "Salafi" and "Wahhabi" rhetoric, without belittling the impulses that can drive young people to that mode of thought, and without making excuses for the popularity it has gained. He contends that he has been getting feedback from young Muslims who were encouraged by the book and I believe him, and he also contends an Arabic translation is pending and he would not soften the message in translation. And even if my initial cynicism was not off base, I still hope voices like his do continue to rise above the fray - perhaps evidence enough would be his surprisingly sober and respectful interview on Fox News, with Tucker Carlson of all people, which was a testament to his skill as a diplomat, and the hope that texts like these can bring. (The interview I found most valuable here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvOB5...)

  26. 4 out of 5

    yasmine skalli

    as someone who constantly questions my faith, identity as a muslim in america, and what islam means to me, this was a good read. I don't just recommend it to muslims, but anyone of faith who faces an identity crisis in terms of religion. definitely learned more about my religion as well as myself in the past hour of reading than I have in the past year. omar ghobash addresses questions and topics I'm curious about, but no one around me is able to answer. he acknowledges problems with the exagger as someone who constantly questions my faith, identity as a muslim in america, and what islam means to me, this was a good read. I don't just recommend it to muslims, but anyone of faith who faces an identity crisis in terms of religion. definitely learned more about my religion as well as myself in the past hour of reading than I have in the past year. omar ghobash addresses questions and topics I'm curious about, but no one around me is able to answer. he acknowledges problems with the exaggeration of islamophobia, how the way some muslims view women isn't how islam views them, as well as problems within the islamic world between sunni, shiaa, and sufis. my favorite part of the whole book is this passage: "When you consider my mother's determined nature, and my sister's sparkling intelligence, and it is suggested that girls should be deprived of an education, I laugh. Every single one of us has the right to an education. And I believe every single one of us has the right to seek out the best education possible. Why would we deprive our children of great mothers and brilliant sisters? They are people in their own right, able to think and do and be. In fact, when given the chance, Muslim women far surpass the skills and education levels of Muslim men. We, as Muslim men, have no right to stand in their way." I honestly feel like this book was written for me, the letters seemed to address my concerns and internal issues. would rate this a 6/5 if I could.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    The book presents several controversial arguments about Islam such as whether Muslims should actually rely on 'Ulama' (scholars) or use their own judgement for religious interpretations. It is very critical of the way Muslims are brought up and how 'strict' interpretations is leading to a violent and intolerant Islam. The author, who's a prominent UAE official, touches on homosexuality and the need for Islam to reconsider its stance on the issue. This is in a long shot by the author and the firs The book presents several controversial arguments about Islam such as whether Muslims should actually rely on 'Ulama' (scholars) or use their own judgement for religious interpretations. It is very critical of the way Muslims are brought up and how 'strict' interpretations is leading to a violent and intolerant Islam. The author, who's a prominent UAE official, touches on homosexuality and the need for Islam to reconsider its stance on the issue. This is in a long shot by the author and the first time an Arab official talks openly about the need to accept homosexuality. The books stresses the importance of individualism as Muslims and rejects the idea of the "Ummah", which he argues is being abused by political Islam. The fact that the book is being launched to a more western audience is a bit perplexing given that the intended target are young Muslims in the Arab world. The book blames contemporary Islamic traditions for not modernizing and calls for a dramatic shift toward a more liberal trajectory that is more spiritual and individualistic. How the book will be received in the Arab world, including in his own country the UAE, will be an interesting thing to watch for.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hamda Belrumaitha

    Letters To A Young Muslim is the type of book that resonates with you long after you are done with it. In it Omar Saif Ghobash wills young muslims to seek knowledge, be curious and avoid being mislead. He also touches upon the importance of individuality and moving beyond the past in order for communities to thrive. I loved the letters and the messages portrayed in them. As a young muslim it filled my head with thoughts and questions. Every letter was thought provoking. At times I even had to put Letters To A Young Muslim is the type of book that resonates with you long after you are done with it. In it Omar Saif Ghobash wills young muslims to seek knowledge, be curious and avoid being mislead. He also touches upon the importance of individuality and moving beyond the past in order for communities to thrive. I loved the letters and the messages portrayed in them. As a young muslim it filled my head with thoughts and questions. Every letter was thought provoking. At times I even had to put the book down to process what I read. Although I had minor issues with the pace of this book, and a repetition of a few ideas I can't mark this book lower than 5 stars. It's an important book for muslims and non-muslims alike. It's the type of book you pass down to friends and siblings and that is exactly what I will do.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rafeek Umbachy

    Ghobash is not an apologist for Islam because there is no need. He argues that reason and religion can coexist because we are meant to use our intelligence to reject manipulative and myopic interpretations of the scriptures. In essence, he is suggesting a compromise between blind faith and nibbling on the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. There are certain heavenly ordained teachings, but followers must be ever-vigilant that these not be perverted by people with personal or politi Ghobash is not an apologist for Islam because there is no need. He argues that reason and religion can coexist because we are meant to use our intelligence to reject manipulative and myopic interpretations of the scriptures. In essence, he is suggesting a compromise between blind faith and nibbling on the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. There are certain heavenly ordained teachings, but followers must be ever-vigilant that these not be perverted by people with personal or political ambitions. He writes: “I want my sons’ generation of Muslims to realize that they have the right to think and decide what is right and what is wrong, what is Islamic and what is peripheral to the faith. It is their burden to bear whatever decision they make.”

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shereen Rafea

    A fantastic read for all ages! I especially recommend it for new parents , who want to reflect on how to answer the tough questions facing Muslims today. I loved the advice he gave to his son on reading literature from different cultures , reflecting on his individual identity first as well as thinking about how to respond to societal norms and pressures. I came into this book, with scepticism, but it turned out to be a terrific read.

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