What We Learned Along the Way is about 4 Muslim women, but don’t let that scare you. It’s also about you. Confused? Read on.
When you walk into a bookstore, two things become immediately obvious: 1.) the wide assortment of books, and 2.) the many section signs that help guide book seekers to their destinations. No matter if you’re looking for the latest Twilight installment, a book on origami or something by Tolestoy, there’s a sign to lead you there, and praise the Lord for that! We love these signs. We need these signs. They make our lives better. BUT (I know you knew a “but” was coming) they also have a less desirable effect. When most of us (myself included) walk into bookstores, we use these signs to go straight to the sections we want, the ones we’re most comfortable with, the ones we probably already know tons about. Unless we’re forced to learn about a non-traditional topic (read: school research paper) we rarely–if ever–venture outside of our comfort zones. Therein lies the problem.
Comfort zones are like cages. They keep us locked up (comfortably so) and away all of “that” and “them.” Who wants to be around “that” or “them” when I’m so comfy here in my cage, surrounded by nothing but “this” and “us”? Subconsciously, this is our thinking. The result is what we see everyday: racism, bigotry, narrow-mindedness, intolerance and ignorance. That is why What We Learned Along the Way is for everyone. It isn’t just for Muslims or women, just as books on or by blacks aren’t just for blacks, and books on or by Indians aren’t just for Indians, and books on or by Jewish people aren’t just for Jewish people… I could go on.
When you’ve been exposed to other cultures, you’re less likely to blindly accept the misinformation being circulated. You’re less likely to judge someone based on appearance alone and you’re less likely to pass ugly views on to your children. The status quo remains only because of the static positions we hold. It’s not enough to sit back and complain about what others are doing. We have to examine our own actions (or inaction) and assess the damage we’ve created.
As different as this world would have us believe we are, we share far more similarities than we know. Everyone— regardless of race, class, or religion— needs love and acceptance. We all want to step out into a world that welcomes us with open arms. We all smile when happy, cry when sad and laugh when amused. Expression may vary, but emotion is universal. This is what we’d find if only we took the time to look. The characters in this book may not look like you or act like you, but I can guarantee you’ve felt the same happiness they have. I guarantee you’ve cried similar tears. I guarantee you’ve had similar concerns. The journey toward peace and happiness is one we’re all on. Why not walk together?
Also, check out these other Muslim women writers!
- Aliya Khabir- Just Be Still
- Ameerah Rahman- The Unveiled
- Umm Juwayriyah- Size of a Mustard Seed
- Umm Zakiyyah- If I Should Speak
- Zarinah El-Amin Naeem- Jihad of the Soul: Singlehood and the Search for Love in Muslim America