Thoughts | American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar


Why did I purchase this book? 'Dervish'... The word 'Dervish' got me. I'm naturally drawn to anything Tasawwuf related. And why not be? Sufism nourishes me, it is the energy that inspires me towards good. I had expected this to be somewhat similar to Pir-e-Kamil in that it was a novel based around Sufism with certain key points to learn from. There was similarity in how sexual elements were not censored - although to an extent it was in Pir-e-Kamil. The rest was far off.

To summarise it is the journey of Hayat, a young Muslim Pakistani in America, who starts as a hafiz and ends up as a non-Muslim. The first two parts in my opinion are a waste of time, then the last third section becomes interesting and only towards the very end a true element of Sufism comes through in the form of a struggle that one of the main characters, Mina, takes on.

The book disappointed me. There was a lot of unnecessary information. The story dragged as a lot of amazon reviewers would agree. The worrying thing about this book was that it portrayed how hateful the Muslim community is and backs it up with out of context quotations from the Holy Quran. In reality, I can never imagine some of the events it described actually happening. Culture wise, there was some truth in it however it definitely did not portray Sufism as what it really is and it saddened me to know that this book could be the only insight of islam a non muslim might choose to take. If anyone every wishes to know what Sufism is really about, they should read Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak.

So would I recommend this book? NO. Don't bother. There was nothing about this book until the very last chapter that had me wanting to find time to read. The only motivation I had to finish it was that I payed for it.

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