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Literature & Language
Book Review: Children of the Dust (Book Review Sample)
“Children of the Dust” by is a memoir by Ali Eteraz that highlights the chronicle of events for a young man who undergoes several phases of life in his Islamic faith. The book draws on his experiences in the American and Pakistan environments to highlight the differences in virtues that lead him on a path of self-discovery through the description of Ali’s journey. this book review takes us on the tranformation journey a young Muslim boy, Ali, into a self-actualized adult following influence from the Islamic religion. source..
Name Tutor Course Date Book Review: Children of the Dust “Children of the Dust” by is a memoir by Ali Eteraz that highlights the chronicle of events for a young man who undergoes several phases of life in his Islamic faith. Having faced different situations that change his view of the Islamic religion, Eteraz addresses the need to set the right priorities as a guidance to self-actualization. However, despite the difficult times, he tries his best to remain truthful to his origin and the promise made by the parents to have their son as great leader for Islam. The book draws on his experiences in the American and Pakistan environments to highlight the differences in virtues that lead him on a path of self-discovery through the description of Ali’s journey. Although, the book provides a vivid description of Ali’s adventures and situations he faces in his quest for purpose and fight to find his place in the society as a Muslim, the American and Pakistan environments play the most important roles as shapers of religious identities leading to spiritual maturity and self-actualization. The book is about the transformation of a young Muslim boy, Ali, into a self-actualized adult following influence from the Islamic religion. His part in the Islamic culture is prearranged from the day he was born. Therefore, he takes up the parents’ devotion from a tender age though he lacks the knowledge and understanding of the religion. However, through the different experiences both as a child and an adult in Pakistan and later the United States, Ali matures to become a deeply understanding man of the Islamic religion and culture. As a result, he managed to influence the various environments that he comes across throughout the book. Therefore, the book used his journeys as a common motif to outline the different environments that shaped Ali’s view of Islam leading to spiritual maturity. They capture the several dynamics that describe the transitions that he undergoes from blind faith to a deeply understanding spiritual man. The journey also represents the changes in names that signify a specific personality in Islam which further illustrates the life occurrences. The book has five different parts that provide a specific detail about Ali. The parts cover specific issues that concern the Islamic religion and American culture. They give him a different name which symbolised a specific identity that help him in understanding the Pakistan, the United States, and Islam. The first part of the book titled “The Promised- Abir ul Islam” communicates the parents’ desire to devout their son to the service of God. Before his birth, Ali’s father made a promise to God by stating “Ya Allah! If you should give me a son, I promise that he will become a great leader and servant of Islam” (Eteraz 5). This sets the precedence for a covenant to Islam. In addition to this agreement, Ali’s mother also went on Hajj with him. As an induction to the Islamic religion, she performed a ritual to request Allah to grant him the revelation and resolve. These two covenants guided the life of Ali for the following 30 years. He has a normal upbringing with the strictness and love of a typical Islamic family which is cut short when his father gets a visa to the United States to practice as a medical doctor. The American life is depicted in the second part of the book, “The American-Amir.” The family is constantly on the move in search of the better opportunities. They finally settle in Alabama where upon joining High School, he changed his name to Amir. According to Eteraz this “would allow me to identify myself as a Muslim without having to take on the baggage that my parents and Saleem and the QSC added to it” (146). As a result, he escaped his parents shadow and growing fundamentalism in the midst of his teenage shyness and sexual anguish. This section captures the growing distance between Ali and his parents. The third part going by “The Fundamentalist – Abu Bakr Ramaq” spurs his fundamentalism during his college years in Manhattan changing his identity to Abu Bakr Ramaq which means a light spark. This follows the discovery that he is a descendant of the first Caliph of Islam, Abu Bakr Siddiq, the truthteller, which captures Ali’s passion for his religion. During the exploration of the Islamic language, he confronts extremism and secularism which are some of the supreme opponents. This is evidenced by his dismissal of Osama bin Laden as pretender who takes advantage of the opportunity to deceive Muslims. This leads him to conclude that a real battle exists between Islam and the reason. He later journeys back to Pakistan where he finds a Muslim wife. His view of Christians is evident during the search for a life companion. The sexual desires he encounters conflict with his religiousness leading to an urgent search for a wife. One of the candidates is Kara who is a Lebanese Christian who Ali considers to be immodest. Therefore, the freedom enjoyed by the Christians makes them seem arrogant in the eyes of Ali pushing him to find a wife in Pakistan. Here, he also gets a hold of his lineage only to discover that he is unrelated to Abu Bakar but instead he has a Hindu origin. The contrast between Ali’s experience of Islam and that of his family in Pakistan and America yields a better understanding of the Islamic ethos. In the United States, it is evident that teenagers practice promiscuity unlike in Pakistan where Ali grew in an environment full of strictness. Ali’s discovery of promiscuity in the western environment led him to question his earlier stance of embracing Islam without asking any questions. Therefore, he was afraid of losing his long-held Islamic values as a result of the American culture. This creates a conflict of the Islamic culture and independence. Therefore, the preoccupation with sex takes centre-stage as a means of attaining freedom. However, with time, Ali matures and comes to the realization that this would lead to a loss of culture and destiny as a servant of God. This captures the Islamic view on sexual relations. The religion requires followers not to withhold their sexual desires but instead fulfil them in a responsible way through marriage. As a result, he sought to reinforce his values by reading Islamic materials which cements his faith in the religion. Therefore, he rejects the customs that do not identify with the Islamic religion such as violent extremism and promiscuity which forms the foundation of his Islamic reforms. After being rescued by his uncle’s military unit following threats from the Taliban for being an American, he is given the name Amir ul Islam in the forth section of the book, “The Postmodern.” Here, he reclaims his Islamic nature and tries to change things for the better. He blames himself for the setbacks encountered in Pakistan more so for not appearing as the Muslim he envisioned. This pushes him to seek a transfer into a Christia...
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