Fictions about lives of the Muslim East people often do capture market by its scandalousness in which Islamophobic position of the author do certainly take place. Such books are often written by Western writers, who claims that they know the situation from within. However, we can rarely find a book which objectively reflects the reality and has high sales at the same time.
"Confessions of an Arab woman" by the Saudi writer Hani Nakshabandi can be called as a rare example of such books. The novel can shock Muslim reader from the first pages and make think about the author attitude to Islam. However, the more you read the book, the more you realize that it is not at all the negative connotations of the religion, but rather it performs against hypocrisy, showing off and cowardice of those people who cover deep internal flaws by their external religiosity.
It's amazing how a man author finely and detailed describes the feelings and experiences of women. A main character of the novel is a woman named Sarah, and she is which confession is written in the pages of the work. By the way, according to Hani Nakshabandi, his book is based on real events and stories of a real women. At one of press conferences dedicated to the release of the novel, the author said that he compiled information about the problems of Saudi women in the "Confession of an arab woman", which he learned at time working as an editor in chief of Arab "women's" magazines. Image of the author is also present in the book in the other main character, his name is Hisham. He is editor for Arab women in London, where desperate Sarah writes letters about her fate and dramatic stories of her friends.
Thanks to Sarah's epistles veil of mystery reopens, which is so tried to be kept in Saudi society. Where a radical understanding of religion destroys its essence, when the sheikh is questioned "if it is allowed to drink soda" replace deep and sincere reflection and most importantly the essence of Islamic relationsis forgotten, first of all in a family and especially to a woman. The author puts into words of an educated father of Sarah the definition of this phenomenon: "Saudi society is sick with religion. This disease has led him to a kind of mental lethargy. People perform religious rites mechanically, without understanding the true values of Islam, which goes far beyond the external forms of worship". Reading these lines will certainly make you think about the importance of preserving traditional Islam, which is so often spoken of in our country. As far as it is relevant to keep religion in the hearts of believers.
As one of the clearest examples of this superficial and formal understanding of religion is Sarah's husband Khalid, from indifference of whom so plagued the heroine. Thus Khalid is not a tyrant, he does not beat and insulted Sarah: her husband is not near her almost all time and when he is home he simply do not notice his wife. Sarah looks for solace in prayer being plagued by numerous haunting her doubts about the husband's behavior: "When the time of prayer comes he mutes the sound of the TV and go to pray in the mosque or prays at home, then continues watching TV until going to sleep." In this useless idleness, which is filled the life of Khalid, Sarah remains in the "loneliness and emptiness." The story of her life in the pages of the novel becomes a tragedy. She dies of cancer about a year after writing the last letter to the editor London magazine. However, she still sees the opinion of the editor at her cries for help. Hisham has decided to publish a response to the situation of Sarah in the magazine, because she has not left the return address. It is thanks to Sarah from the life of the editor contrived them to "censor" disappears forcing hypocritical to publish articles in which, for example, states that "there is no adultery in Muslim community, we talk about it to describe what the vices inherent is in the west". From now on, there is a hope that the editor will actually defend the rights of women and not only publish unsubscribe to his inner censor.
Surprisingly Hisham not only agrees with Sarah in her vision of male hypocrisy in his only letter but he also classifies himself to unworthy husbands, blames women in violence perpetrated on them - whether moral or physical - to which they are exposed. He calls not tolerate violence and action despite the social prejudice. At such bold ideas Hisham was prompted by the conversation with his friend, a Spanish women Isabel, who plays a role provocateur in the novel. She checks Hisham, test him. It was she from whom we hear one of the reasons of Islamophobia in the modern world - closed of Muslims. Isabel says that a Western man is afraid of a Muslim simply because he does not know anything about him or his religion firsthand. In other words, Muslims should stop being ashamed of their religion, and explain it in a clear, open and friendly way!
It is worth noting that, despite the bans on edition of "Confessions of an Arab woman" in some Arab countries, the book has gone through six editions of Arabic editions. It is also translated into many languages, including Russian. The book will be interesting to read for both men and women.