I am cleaning Shireen’s bookcase. There are some books she has set aside as she has outgrown them and now as a married intern will probably not be reading.
I glance upon one……….Isabella, and I turn to the back and it reads:
“Liar”, he screamed as he slapped her across the face. The sudden stinging cold startled her into silence. A moment later tears of pain mixed with anger of betrayal ran down her face.
“You ‘ve been living too long as a foolish young girl” he said a little less loudly, “ I will not have all my years of dedication and hard work in raising you to be righteous simply vanish in the lusts of the flesh. I ve spoken to my associates and have arranged for you to be taken to the convent tomorrow”
Isabella looked up at him in horror”
I am hooked. I sit down and begin to read Isabella which Yahyah Emerick wrote for children. I am pleasantly surprised as I proceed of the many layers of stories in it for adults, romance and travel lovers.
My romance with Spain, does not allow me to put the book down until I see it to its last page. Set in Cordova seventy years after Tariq bin Ziad landed there.
It explains the origins of the Spanish Inquisition as a small secret “order of Inquisition’ : where “weak” Christians who maybe inclining towards Islam were taken and tortured. Sometimes they were let go to be seen as an example by their relatives as to what happens to people who even think of leaving Christianity. Eventually Christians in Spain became afraid of being seen with a Muslim.
In it are echoes of today where the extreme Right has become the Inquisitioner and the tools of fear are broadcasted on the media. Again and again the fate of muslim men and women are shown as prisoners on TV to put fear in the hearts of “weak Muslims”.
Muslim minorities then fearful of their masters in their adopted country acquiesce to changing the tenets or hiding the tenets of their faith and remaining silent in the face of overt and public oppression.
Woven between the glamorous settings of Cordova is a sweet romance, with all the inspiring aspects of muslim chivalry, truth and courage.
The biggest surprise for me is the debate between the young Muslim hero who is a trader with a penchant for gaining Ilm of Deen and the patriarchs of the Church. This book in all its simplicity tackles one of the most difficult issues in Christianity, which even perplexes thoughtful Christians.
In this debate between Umar the young hero and the patriarchs of the church, the concept of Trinity and Jesus dying for the sins of Man while being a God are addressed with simple logic using the Bible.
This is a must read for every age to understand the contradictions in the Bible regarding good and evil and laws that govern them and the concept of atonement.
For travel buffs like me, it also is a lovely walk through Cordova, with all its beauty and splendor as a backdrop of the unfolding tale.
Last but not least it introduces the fledgling beginnings of the notorious Spanish Inquisition, which were born in secret in Spain when the Muslims had newly arrived and masses of Christians were converting to Islam. It bloomed in later years as an infamous torture center, and many people fled to the Americas to avoid Christianity.
Most of all it is like refreshing yourself with the perfume of Islam in the company of honest, brave and righteous Muslims of those days, in the best and most gracious of places……….SPAIN!
Someone once said, ”History repeats itself and if we don’t learn from it we are foolish” I say “read this book and go to Spain, walk the streets and soak in the history”
Allah knows best!
CHECK IT OUT AT YOUR LOCAL ISLAMIC BOOKSTORE