I first picked up this book because I found the premise interesting. A virus that kills pregnant women? Definitely up my alley. What I didn’t understand, though, was that the virus kills them as their pregnancy progresses, and that they can still get pregnant – there’s nothing stopping that from happening to begin with. For some reason, I had been under the impression that this meant that all currently pregnant women were dying, and that that would be the end of reproduction because no one would get pregnant after that, not because they would die from doing so.
Despite the fact that Muhammad is such an important historical person, there’s an awful lot of reluctance to write about him in less serious ways in order to make his life story more accessible to the masses. One of the most important reasons why I picked up Mother of the Believers was because it looked like a rather interesting take on the life of the Prophet and those around him, particularly the intriguing and often misunderstood figure of Aisha, his youngest wife.
To be completely honest, I had never heard of Ahmad (or Junoon) until I saw the synopsis for this book. Not that I’m usually particularly “up” on these kinds of things, but I just thought that I should mention it.
This book was really good as a slightly-more-than-basic primer to Islam for non-Muslims.
What I really enjoyed was the breadth of topics that the author covered, and the no-nonsense, frank and honest way with which she talked about them. I was really taken in by the voice she used throughout the book, which was very similar to the way you’d talk to a neighbour or a friend.
To say that this book chronicles a man’s journey away from extremism is overly simplistic. Rather, Eteraz really gets into the nitty-gritty of his family’s conservative life in Pakistan, the struggles they encountered to maintain their faith after relocating to the US, the encounters that he had with “fundamentalism” (including, but not at all limited to, ultra-conservative sects), and then his ultimate quest to find “real” Islam, and himself in the process.