this is a must-read for me, and i'm sure a must-burn for more conservative muslims who are against alternative narratives. when i read the preface, a poem/song called 'muhd was a punk rocker' to my hubby, he got pretty shocked (read: angry) saying that the lyrics defiled...
i on the other hand found the book refreshing. it's about a young south-asian muslim university student named Yunus in Buffalo, New York who lives in a muslim punk house. His housemates include a mohawked Sunni named Jehangir, a burqa wearing 'riot girl', a strict Islamic punk with tatooos covering his entire body and a gay Muslim. Their house hosts Friday prayers and in the evenings an all out party with booze, alcohol, weed, f***. but they pray five times a day, philosophise about religion, faith and islam- sometimes in a drunken stupor, other times high on weed.
Yunus, who ended up living in this house instead of the dorms because his parents believe its better for him to live amongst muslims (irony, irony) finds himself torn between his fascination for the logic and simplicity behind the islam that his punk friends profess, and the conservative traditional islam which he was brought up with. he struggled so hard between what he knew was acceptable about islam- and what was muslim, which was everything his friends were not, but at the same time he couldn't discount the depths of their faith in the religion and its core. it's core, it's principles. so he finds himself drifting along with them, following in step but not totally buying into their beliefs either.
what i enjoyed about the book- is the alternate narrative it offers. it questions the very fundamentals of our beliefs. although some parts shocked even Me (and i'm as liberal as they come) i respected that Yunus, although in his struggle he occasionally finds himself judging his friends and condemning them, he also realises- who is he to judge?
after a series of events, he eventually leaves the home, and his friends. but he does not condemn their memory or their actions. he finds the islam that he is comfortable with. to each his own.
"The jumaat was an almost silly mish-mash of people: Rude Dawud's pork pie hat poking up here, a jalab-and-turban type there, Jehangir's big mohawk rising from a sea of kufis. Amazing Ayyub still with no shirt, girls scattered throughout- some in hejab, some not and Rabeya in a punk-patched burqa doing her thing. But in its randomness it was gorgeous, reflecting an Islam I felt could not happen anywhere else despite Jehangir's travller tales of California taqwacore."
Labels: eveel reads