[Book Review] Laughing All The Way to the Mosque

Hi, Assalamualaikum. Ramadhan Mubarak everyone ! It has been a joy to get know this book and read the whole hilarious memoir of Zarqa Nawaz. The book tells about her life experience as a Canadian Asian-Muslim living in the twenty-first century. No, this book isn’t like motivational or educational type. This book more like a witty honest confession of Muslimah. I couldn’t put down this book until I finished.

I picked up this book from my favorite bookshop (Harper Bookstore) for some reasons. I want to know how to live as a Muslimah in Non-Muslim Country based by a real Muslimah’s point of view. I want to know how they are living at different society. I want to know, how Muslimah can get a higher education and freedom to do career or business in the foreign country. Because all I heard is so many Muslimah that live in Non-Muslim Country get ‘a special treatment’  after September 11th attacks. I just can’t close my eyes when the world turn to be Islamopbhobic, and like everybody seems in high alert to Muslim or maybe just because we looks “different”, a stranger which isn’t a white-skin, and covered all over of the body.

Zarqa Nawaz is best known as creator of the TV show Little Mosque on the Prairie. She is also celebrating her first book, Laughing All the Way to the Mosque. Source : http://thestarphoenix.com

Zarqa Nawaz is an honest and sharp-minded. She can write ever detail small her deep thoughts and daily experience with a funny way. She had so many question about religion and she just can’t stop to get the answer. She is a truth-seeker. Maybe for some other conservative Muslims (include me) as woman her act is too far. But I appreciate it. Sometimes you need someone to speak your mind when you are too coward (or shy) to do it. Right ?

My favorite parts in this books are :

  • Medical school rejects. She talks about when she get rejection letter from the University of Toronto’s med school. It destroy her family dreams to see her become a doctor then she takes a chance to be a journalist and ended become a filmmaker.

  • Meeting Sami. In this part, she reveals getting pressure from her family to get married ASAP. She is so struggle to find the right man to be a partner of life. And how she met her husband, Sami. It’s so cute !. I quoted the satire conversation about Zarqa and her mom, because i think her mom got a point about marriage issue.

“Both of my parents firmly believed an arranged marriage was why they were still together. “Dating is the reason relationships fall apart,” she’d tell me. “All this talking and getting to know each other in a love marriage. And what happens ? You’re still dissapointed. If you have an arranged marriage, you don’t call it dissapointment, you call it a husband.”

“How could you marry someone you never saw before ?” I asked her. It just boggled my mind.

“That’s the way things were back then,” she said. “Love come afterwards.”

She had a point. They had been together for twenty-five years.

“Why can’t love come first?” I asked.

“White people fall in love beforehand,” said my mother, “and they still get divorced. So one method isn’t superior to the other. I had a suspicion that she thought her method was superior”(Nawaz 61).”

  • She discloses her wise yet silly experienced during Hajj, the biggest human pilgrimages in the world. In this chapter she makes me really want to go there, I want to see the Ka’bah and visit Makkah- Madinah. She left me think about that spiritual journey. Hajj is definetly not easy, patience is a prequisite. We go there to surrender and worship to the only one God – Allah Subhanahu wata’ala  to repent from our sins, and look back the trail of our Prophet. I see in Islam woman have to be strong like Hajar (mother of Prophet Ismail), a woman who had been left alone in the desert with no resources. She desperated run between two sandy hills Safa and marwah  looking for help. After her seventh run, her son (Ismail) kicked the sand, and water began to gush out, which is known as Zam Zam, one of the oldest wells in history. Hajar is a great woman and Allah perpetuate her name in Qur’an and we as Muslims will be retracing her steps during Hajj. I also quoted this, because it like reminder for me to be hurry for Hajj. If I have enough money, I will do it immediately. No need to procrastinate.

    “In the past, it was difficult for disabled Muslims to perform hajj, but through extensive renovation to facilities, Saudi Arabia has made it possible for almost anyone to do it. Because of the renovations, Muslims have developed a bad habit of waiting until they are old man and decrepit before going to – the last hurrah on the Muslim bucket list“ (Nawaz 85).”

  • Jinn – A muslim thing, is the most hilarious. You have to read this part !

  • Eid Dinner. This chapter talked about how Muslims do celebration at the end of Ramadhan, our month of fasting. She makes me little bit pity yet proud with her. She said with honest that she barely cook for her family, but in the end she succeeded to cook for a community.

Read this book is like reading her personal diary, so raw and honest. Her stories make me laugh out loud in her funny, exaggerate and  embarrassing moment. And, this book had opened my eyes ! Living as Muslimah in overseas isn’t that scary ! Yeah, it’ll be little bit challenging but that’s okay. You’ll gain more knowledge, more experienced, and more maturity to deal with other culture.

I enjoyed this novel  very much !. It’s amusing and informative. Great Job, Zarqa !

Rate : 4/5


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