Shawwal 1441 Book Club Recap
Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Bismillahi ar-rahmani ar-rahim
Eid Mubarak! Taqabbalallahu minna wa minkum. Aameen!
Assalamu aleikum waramatulahi wabarakatuhu everyone!
Welcome to this month's book club edition. We have eight books on the roster today. Please grab your drink and enjoy reading our thoughts—brief or detailed—on the books selected insha'Allah. You can read the previous recap here.
The Hour of the Oryx
Book Summary: It all began with a mysterious book. One day it was found and by night it was gone. Who stole it and why? A trail of blood is the only clue left behind. Adam Horani, his sister Layla and their friends Zaid and Zahra, are frequent visitors at the Dar-as-Sakinah Orphanage. When they set out to investigate a shocking murder, the teenagers soon realize there’s more to the mystery than meets the eye. From the disturbing sketch of a mute boy to the chilling discovery in the underground vaults, they’re stunned at the villainy coming to light. Determined to see that justice is served, the teenagers leave no stone unturned in their search for the truth. As the forces of evil cooks up a macabre plot, a deadly clash looms on the horizon. Will the young sleuths emerge victorious? Or are they on a collision course with disaster? The Hour of the Oryx is the exciting third book in The Moon of Masarrah Series. Read the review here.
If you’re different enough, the night is not your enemy, the darkness is not intimidating, the shadows are not terrifying. You fear nothing.
Christopher Snow is different from all the other residents of Moonlight Bay, different from anyone you’ve ever met. For Christopher Snow has made his peace with a very rare genetic disorder that leaves him dangerously vulnerable to light. His life is filled with the fascinating rituals of one who must embrace the dark. He knows the night as no one else can - its mystery, its beauty, its terrors, and the eerie silken rhythms that seduce one into believing anything - even freedom - is possible.
Until the night Christopher Snow witnesses a series of disturbing incidents that sweep him into a violent mystery only he can solve, a mystery that will force him to rise above all fears and confront the many-layered secrets of Moonlight Bay and its strange inhabitants. A place, like all places, that looks a lot different after dark.
- "Biological warfare. The leaders of every country on Earth denied making preparations for such a hateful conflict. Evoking the name of God, warning of the judgement of history, they solemnly signed fat treaties guaranteeing never to engage in this monstrous research and development. Meanwhile, each nation was busily brewing anthrax cocktails, packaging bubonic-plague aerosols, and engineering such a splendiferous collections of exotic new viruses and bacteria that no line at any unemployment office anywhere on the planet would ever contain a single out-of-work mad scientist."— Dean Koontz in "Fear Nothing" (1990)
- "If I were a betting man, I'd bet that some species will arise from the chaos to replace us, to be masters of the earth as we were. Indeed, if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on the dogs."— Dean Koontz in "Fear Nothing"
Unravelling the Lie
This platonic love story revolves around two young adults; Sakinah and Adam. They are of different races but the author doesn't clearly state it. She gives clues that make the reader infer that. The writing is good. My main qualm about it was the Shakespeare inclusion with the Romeo and Juliette theme. For that reason, I didn't find the book to be Islamic Fiction but Muslim Fiction. "Muslim" people don't always abide to "Islamic law." That's my argument. Anyway, it might look like the same thing but there is a difference between the two. Some parts of the story were also left to the reader's imagination with no real closure given to the reader. They were too many unanswered questions.
YES SO MAYBE SO
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speakingat allto almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems ispolitical canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybeit’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.(less)
Review: It correctly portrays the people of desires and reformers especially in our ummah.
Right Against Might: The Trio Versus the Sefids
The subject of the book (the real masterminds behind 9/11) is very important. The book is dark, too...depicting evil rituals that should not be taken lightly. Things the Quran warns us of at length. But things people think are legends. We all know know Shaytan is behind the destruction of mankind, and he will make himself appealing in many business organizations without the members ever realizing it. Most people who perform witchcraft in this age, are people who come off so professional...Anyway...we won't get into it.
We had two issues with the book.
1) We are a little iffy with any sort of picture hanged in one's home; especially coming from Muslims... These things give more eyes to Shaytan in your home and cause less angels visits as faces scare off angels. Moreover, we felt like it's giving so much power to a religious leader when Allah is supposed to be al-Wali... Why? Because if you aren't careful with that type of veneration, you border on shirk where a leader becomes an illah to you... The Sheikh of Sheikhs, our Nabi ﷺ, didn't even leave a visual of himself.
It's a matter of analyzing things a little deeper in order to not fall in the traps we think we're trying to avoid.
2)The book alludes to the fact that Imam Ali (aleihi salam) moved the throne of Queen Sheba. Suhbhan'Allah! This is technically incorrect. These were two DIFFERENT Eras! Before Issa (aleihi salam) and after Issa (aleihi salam.) We felt like falsehood was being propagated here. In addition, reading the verse of the Quran that mentions this instance, it was a being of knowledge (man or jinn) who moved the throne of Bilqis (may Allah be pleased with her, aameen.) The main consensus among the scholars is that it is was a Jinn. Allahu alim.
No True Believers
Part of the summary: Salma Bakkioui has always loved living in her suburban ... with her best friend Mariam next door, and her boyfriend Amir nearby. Then things start to change. Friends start to distance themselves. Mariam's family moves when her father's patients no longer want a Muslim chiropractor. Even trusted teachers look the other way when hostile students threaten Salma at school.
Review: Again, it correctly portrays the people of desires and reformers especially in our ummah. However, it also does a good job in writing and by shining the light on the scrutiny many Muslims (practicing or not) face. It also talks about the hardships of immigration and the beautiful friendships we can loose due to being an alien; an immigrant.
Of Curses and Kisses
You know, people of color love to call out non-PoC on cultural appropriations but they have no problems with retelling stories to fit their own cultural backgrounds. This should be a subject of reflection. While the story might be representative and depicts the sins of colonialists who robbed their colonies blind of their relics and whatnot, it's not an original tale.
A Queen in Hiding
Summary: Orphaned, exiled and hunted, Cérulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be.
But to do it she must win the favor of the spirits who play in mortal affairs, assemble an unlikely group of rebels, and wrest the throne from a corrupt aristocracy whose rot has spread throughout her kingdom.
Review: The title of the book was the hook but it was a disappointing read that kept making us think of the Companions of the Fire. Yes, the false gods are clearly stated. So, as a matter of principle we can't rate the book highly. Our loyalty is with the Lord of the worlds. It would have been 1 star if the author hadn't spent so much time writing the book.
Thank you for tuning in and reading. Dear Readers & Members, see you in Dhul-Qadah 1441 AH insha'Allah.
Our Usual Book Club Questions Are:
1. What did you like most?
2. What gave you pause?
3. What didn't you like?
4. What are your other thoughts?
5. What question (s) do you have for the author(s)?
6. What questions about the book(s) do you have for the moderator or other members of the discussion(s)?
We look forward to hearing from you.
G E T I N T O U C H !
Books, Teas & Coffees
Until next time, subhanaka Allahumma wa-bihamdika ash-hadu anla ilaha illa anta as-taghfiruka wa atoobu ilayka. (O Allah, You are free from every imperfection; praise be to You. I testify that there is no true god except You; I ask Your Pardon and turn to You in repentance.) Aameen.
The Fofky's Book Club