When I started this book I thought it would be another of the "how awful Islam is for women" books - it isn't. The book is about hypocracy and what happens when male political and social power is unchecked, even, or perhaps especially, by religion. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is incredibly sad and challenging, but it is also astute, well-written and unsentimental. It challenges us to ask how we would have reacted in similar circumstances, it is a study not only of evil, but of how we react to it, how we survive and what is costs us and those around us. Well worth a read, but keep a box of tissues handy ..
Having read Durrani's autobiography I knew I was in for an amazing read with this book. It totally highlights the abuse of power by religious men of this world especially of the uneducated classes which is so common in the subcontinent. Anyone with an understanding of the Islamic faith will realise that the Pir v devotee relationship is wrong as is what these so called religious men sell as Islam. Durrani very eloquently highlights this issue in this book. There are many layers to the story but really highlights how strong the human spirit can be even when facing the torment that the protagonist in this book faces. Highly recommended read!
Bravo, Tehmina, Well done. High time someone wrote the truth about these so called religious men who enslave the illiterate masses. It makes for very sad reading and I wonder how women survive the cruelty of a male dominated society. Islam does not sanction any of the actions sadly, culture is practised in the name of Islam.
The main issue is that most Mullahs and religious leaders do not want people to read the translation and insist that the Quran be read in Arabic only. The reason is very clear. If people read the truth, who will follow the male dominated version they preach. Modern Pakistanis however practice Islam in the way it was intended, and I know many people who are very well balanced families where men and women treat each other with utmost respect and love. That is how Islam says it should be, not that the man, especially one as corrupt and ruthless as the one depicted here. Sadly there are many many men like that.
The politicians support the Mullahs as they know they will gather support by preaching Islam. No Muslim can stand up to a call for religion, and it is a very easy way to gather support. More so where illiterate people are concerned. More votes for the politicians.
I have some friends in Egypt and was most impressed when I visited them. They all understood Arabic and explained the Quran to me, most interesting and most enlightening. They were all happy families, modern, yet religious. Very different from the Islam preached by the Mullahs I have come across, which is mostly that Tehmina has written about.
It made me respect the religion and appreciate the close knit and caring families. On the other hand I have witnessed some of what Tehmina has written about, Mullahs preaching "Control over women", keeping them in locked in the house, ruling through fear rather than love etc".
Strangely enough at a funeral I heard a Mullah preaching, later I asked the men gathered, all in high positions in the business world, "Do you really believe all that". Without exception they all responded in the negative. I then asked them, "Why do you listen to all this when you do not agree and know it is so wrong? ". They all replied that "when a Mullah preaches, you listen quietly, and despite knowing it is wrong, keep quiet out of respect". This logic baffled me. I then told them that this is so wrong for all the children and young minds assembled there as they will believe it to be true.
Yes, a great change will be in order, and the only way is through education. There is nothing wrong with following a religion and I respect all religions, but culturally a lot of changes are in order to make the world a better place for all of us.