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At long last, the day is breaking
on 13 August 2005
'From My Sisters' Lips' may seem like an unusual choice of book for a practising Christian who hopes to become a vicar to read, but the fact that I am firmly rooted in one faith doesn't mean that I fail to appreciate the wisdom of another. Na'ima has shattered every misunderstanding and every uncomfortable stereotype that seem to stick like burrs to the abaayat [gown-like coverings] of Muslim women. In a lively, informal style, she describes how she discovered Islam and made a conscious, educated choice to live as a Muslim. Her own story is interwoven with anecdotes and insights provided by other Muslim women (most of them converts) who hail from a bewildering myriad of cultures and countries.
They candidly talk about all kinds of topics, ranging from arranged marriage to covering their faces to Islamic education. But the sad thing is, will people listen to them? I once read an article by one Saraji Umm Zaid, who wryly commented, "Because people assume that Muslim men long ago robbed us of a voice, they don't trouble themselves by listening for one." I know several Englishwomen who will happily fill their Amazon baskets with Jean Sasson's books (which are speckled liberally with cultural and theological errors) because they are promisingly gory and lurid and shocking - and, ultimately, deeply satisfying. But although they claim to be 'interested' in Islam, they would never read 'From My Sisters' Lips' because it doesn't tell them exactly what they want to hear.
All the same, I wish Na'ima Robert and her friends the best of luck as they delve deeper into their chosen faith. They have chosen a tough path to walk. I pray that anyone who reads their book will appreciate the depths of their courage and devotion.