So, I think the book I want to review today may not exactly be everybody’s cup of tea, but I myself did enjoy it for the most part and I think there are a lot of good things that can be taken out of it.
The Ideal Muslimah, by Dr. Muhammad Ali al-Hashimi is a relatively well known book. You can find it in pretty much any Islamic bookstore and on popular sites like Amazon. It is published by International Islamic Publishing House, and for some reason, I really, really like reading their hard cover books, because I just like how they feel in my hands.
But I digress…
The book is basically a description of how the ideal Muslim woman lives her life on a day to day basis. Before anyone gets offended—there is also The Ideal Muslim available for men, and The Ideal Muslim Society available for the community at large.
This book certainly should not be approached as a standard that you have to attain (or else you are a useless, horrible Muslim), but rather I prefer to look at it as a guide to help me along the journey of trying to live my life as close as possible to the Qur’an and traditions of the Prophet (pbuh).
It has also helped me to pick out certain flaws in myself and begin working to change them.
As for the book itself, it is separated into ten chapters: The Muslim Woman and Her Lord, The Muslim Woman and Her Own Self, The Muslim Woman and Her Parents, The Muslim Woman and Her Husband, The Muslim Woman and Her Children, The Muslim Woman and Her Sons and Daughters In Law, The Muslim Woman and Her Relatives, The Muslim Woman and Her Neighbors, The Muslim Woman and Her Friends and Sisters in Islam, The Muslim Woman and Her Community or Society.
Firstly, you know how I love a good chapter breakdown. But before I go on about that, I would like to point out that the chapter on a Muslimah’s duty towards herself is directly after the chapter on a Muslimah’s duties to God. Which means take care of your relationship with God above all, and that entails taking care of yourself so that you can sustain all of the other relationships mentioned in the subsequent chapters.
Like the saying goes: You can’t give anything if you are already empty.
Anyhow, like I was saying, I love how the book breaks it down into very specific chapters on how the Muslim woman should ideally function in each of the different relationships she has in her life.
Some of my favourite parts of the book are the chapters about relationships with family, and especially now that I am staying in Algeria with my husband’s family, I plan to go back and re-read the chapters on marriage and other relatives! But I have found that after reading this book, I have been much more proactive about maintaining good family relationships, and especially I have become more patient with my mom.
I also love the chapter on one’s sisters in Islam; this one really makes me want to keep on smiling and spreading peace, even though other sisters may not been so keen on doing the same for me.
The book is particularly easy for a convert to pick up at any stage in their journey, as it has a glossary of all Arabic terms that are used, as well as a list of references in the back. Bonus: it has a few pages for note-taking in the back! Which would be great, if I could bring myself to write in nice , hard cover books….
As I was saying though, there may be some things in the book that some will disagree with, and it may not be everyone’s favourite. I myself found some various condemnations of “Western” culture slightly irritating, but I think there are good things that can be taken from it no matter who the reader.
Has anyone else read this one? And if there are any brothers reading, have you read the Ideal Muslim? I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the book, as usual!