A Mighty Collision of Two Worlds
Reviewed By : Yoginder Sikand
A Mighty Collision of Two Worlds
Saba Islamic Media,
158 Jalan Raja Abdullah, Kg.Baru, 50300
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
email: absaba@ tm.net.my
English novels with an Islamic theme are themselves a fairly novel development in recent times. This novel, by a Muslim woman, makes delightful reading and is a good example of the best sort of Islamic fiction that is now appearing. About the author herself we are told next to nothing. The book does not even tell us where she comes from, and about the only thing that it says about her is that this is her very first published work. And that itself is no mean achievement, for in terms of plot, themes and language, this book makes very enjoyable, and at the same time, inspiring reading.
The story is set in two locales—an island somewhere in the East called Rako, and the United States, and the ‘collision’ that is mentioned in the title is really a clash between the value systems of these two very different worlds. That clash is played out by two central characters in the story, Anisa and Mike.
Anisa’s family is one of the small number of Muslim families who live on Rako island. Their daughter is sent to a Christian school. There she excels in her studies and wins a scholarship to carry on with her education in America.
For a young girl from a practising Muslim family, her first encounter with the West is alarming, but as she begins to settle down in her new environment she begins to change. No longer does she continue to practise her faith, although that is the impression that she gives to her parents in her increasingly infrequent letters to them.
Anisa’s life takes a complicated turn when she falls in love with Mike, a sensitive and warm American man, who is all that she could ask for except that he is not a Muslim. Mike proposes to her, and she agrees to marry him provided he converts to Islam. And so, the two are married, with Mike now being given the new name of Ali.
The first few years of married life are bliss for Anisa, and then she discovers that her husband is not serious in his commitment to Islam and has probably converted just to marry her. This, and the realisation that she herself has gradually abandoned her practical commitment to her faith living in the hedonistic West, drives her to extreme depression. She now finds no other way out for her than to escape with her children back to Rako island to the safe comfort of her Muslim family. And so she does, spending the next two years there, bringing her children up in a proper Muslim fashion and making amends for her earlier loss of commitment by beginning to take her Islam seriously.
Meanwhile, Ali, torn apart from his children, also has a change of heart. He increasingly begins to turn to Islam to understand his predicament and in search for a source of comfort. He decides that his life must now be completely transformed and that he must go back to his wife and children. And so he comes down to Rako.
Anisa and Ali now confront each other, trading accusations and allegations. Anisa charges him for not being true to his profession of the faith, and is shocked when Ali tells her of the change that has overcome him.
It now dawns upon Anisa that it was not her husband’s insincerity but her own effort to force him to believe without being actually convinced that lay behind what she saw as his lukewarm commitment to Islam. But now that Ali has been led to firm belief through the mysterious hand of God, the family is once again united, bringing to an end ‘a mighty collision of two worlds’.
Tell Me About HAJJ
Publisher : Goodword Press
The Islamic Centre, Al-Risala
1, Nizamuddin West Market
New Delhi- 110 013
Price : Rs. 295/-
The Baba Budhan Giri Dargah Controversy
PART-I & II
Published by: Yoginder Sikand
4034, Oakwood Apartments,
IV, 8th Main, Ist Cross,
Koramangala - III,
Year of Publication : 2000
Price : Rs. 10/- EACH