If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Qur’an

Carla Power. Holt, $18 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9819-8
In this engaging memoir, Power, who was a foreign correspondent for Newsweek, recounts the year she devoted to studying the Qur’an with Sheikh Akram, a friend and former colleague from Oxford. Recently, the Sheikh’s scholarship, which “challenges bigots of all types,” has found a much wider audience. His work of 10 years, compiled in a 40-volume treatise, details the historical contributions of thousands of women scholars to Islamic literature, back to the time of the Prophet. Power attended both public lessons and one-on-one discussions with the Sheikh. She spent time with his family in Britain and traveled to the village in India where he grew up, in an effort to understand how his family implemented the Qur’an’s teachings into their daily lives. Power and the Sheikh touch on historical and contemporary topics, especially in respect to women’s rights. Together they explore homosexuality, Muhammad’s wife who operated a caravan business in Mecca, the significance of veiling and unveiling, the struggle against unjust rulers and jihad, and contemporary wars. Power’s narrative offers an accessible and enlightening route into a topic fraught with misunderstanding. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/26/2015
Release date: 04/07/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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