If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran by Carla Power
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If the Oceans Were Ink is about secular author / journalist Carla Power's yearlong journey to study the Quran with renown Islamic scholar Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi. Power grew up living between St. Louis, Missouri and Afghanistan, and eventually landed in Oxford, UK where she met Akram. They struck up a friendship and she decided to learn more about the Quran and Islam, a religion she was often exposed to during her travels abroad. Akram, being a Quran purist scholar, introduced her to the text and its message(s) from a purist standpoint. Touching on many points of the Islamic faith such as traditional dress, fatwas, Islamic women scholars, the home, trips to Mecca, and freedom, the Shiekh offers his view based strictly on the scripture of the Quran.
I think this should be required reading for everyone. As with many religions, followers often quote scriptures from their faith's spiritual text, so is true with Muslims and followers of Islam. What the reader ends up with at the conclusion of the book is a different view of Islam than what is portrayed in the media and from those who either are not part of the faith or from those that use Islam for a political agenda. I think the book is not without its flaws. I don't think that Akram was always consistent with his beliefs and was at times contradictory. However, the book offers a lot to think about and allows for a great discussion. It is a great book for people of all faiths, as well as Agnostics and Atheists, to get a better idea of Islam and the Quran. It may inspire you to full read and understand your own faith based text and to consider reading the Quran for comparison / contrast.
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