*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***
Important information: We are currently experiencing technical issues with the webiste and it is currently running with reduced functionality, some category pages may not contain a full list of articles and the search is not currently working. We apologise for the inconvenience and should have everything back to normal as soon as possible.

Fatherly counsels

by
17 February 2017

Simon Ross Valentine reads a progressive Muslim’s manifesto

Letters to a Young Muslim
Omar Saif Ghobash
Picador £16.99
(978-1-5098-4259-9)
Church Times Bookshop £15.30

 

OMAR GHOBASH, the ambassador of the UAE to Russia, presents a series of letters to his two young sons “and to all young Muslim men and women, with the intention of opening their eyes to some of the questions they are likely to face and the range of possible answers that exist for them”.

He warns his children against “a closed worldview”. In contrast to extremist groups within Islam, he tells them to respect differences and diversity within Islam, and also diversity in the world generally.

Drawing from his own life experiences — his father, a diplomat, was killed in a terrorist attack when the author was six years old; and the challenges he faced as a Muslim student at university in the UK — Ghobash argues: “Every generation of Muslims should re-examine their faith and understanding” and “re-express Islam in the words and the needs” relevant to this generation.

As such, Ghobash presents a tolerant, progressive Islam that can accept democracy, the mixing of the sexes in public, women’s rights, freedom of speech, and even “genetically predetermined” homosexuality.

Ghobash discusses militant Islam, “a twisted and perverted ideology that”, as he states, “we have to confront with everything that we have”.

Particular attention is given to the medieval scholar Ibn Taymiyya and his frightful doctrine of aggressive Jihad, and Sayyid Qutb, the radical writer executed in Egypt in 1966, and his questionable claim that the West is godless.

He reminds his sons that “the only way you can make the world a better place is by doing the opposite of hating. It is by loving,” and in particular, by helping the poor, orphans, and “those who are on the borders of society”.

Endearing, and poignant, challenging and inspiring, this book is a “must-read” not only for every Muslim, but for Christians, or people of any religion who are trying to make sense of their faith in the 21st century.

 

Dr Simon Ross Valentine is a specialist in Islamic Studies who has been working in Iraq.

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

Forthcoming Events

29 September 2020
Festival of Preaching
A one-day online version of our popular preaching festival. With Mark Oakley, Sam Wells and Anna Carter Florence.   Book tickets

 

19 October 2020
Creativity out of crisis: Hymns and worship webinar
In association with RSCM, this online event will explore creative uses music and liturgy in the context online and socially distanced worship.    Book tickets

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)