Do you ever weep over what you read? This summer I read a book I pulled off my husband's bookshelf. I took it along to read in the car on the way to the beach, hoping to learn and understand Islamic women more. But as we drove, I wept. Before the summer is gone and before you pick out new books for your "gets dark early at night" collection, I want to share this title with you.
Voices Behind the Veil was compiled by a man who grew up as a devout Sunni Muslim. It is a collection of writings by Christian women ... journalists, missionaries, former Muslims. I DID learn, but my heart was so moved. In the first part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shared what we know as the "Beatitudes." Did you realize that they really build on each other? We have to be "poor in spirit" to come to know Christ as our Savior, and if we do then we will "mourn" the same things that grieve God's heart. The right response would be meekness, and so on and so on goes the flow of responses. You can read the whole passage here. As I read Voices, I felt compelled to mourn the things that God mourns.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
The writer of Voices has a perspective I can never claim, since he grew up in an Islamic home. Much of the first half of the book is devoted to developing knowledge about the Muslim faith, a faith which I really want to understand. As of October 2009 there were 1.57 billion Muslims in the world today, or 23% of the global population. These people live in 200 countries. Last year my daughter rode a bus home, seated by a very friendly girl who had just moved to our southern city; her parents came 1 mile away ... as Muslim missionaries.
Not only do the women writing help readers understand information and history, (such as the key women in Islamic history, the core texts in Islamic faith, and laws of the faith) but the women share personal accounts of how Islam looks in the lives of women. Chapters of personal testimony are included about daily life in specific countries that are Muslim majority nations, what it's like to be a daughter or wife in Islam, the challenges of reaching out to those of the Islamic faith, and how to pray for Islamic women.
It was no mistake that God drew my attention to read Voices when He did. Only a few weeks after learning and understanding and weeping as I read, Jeff and I were being served a meal while in Europe. The hosts seated guests next to someone in their language group. There were not many English speakers, but there was a family from a Muslim majority country who spoke English from their African country of origin. We were seated for lunch with the husband and wife and their daughter. My heart was overwhelmed, but God had prepared me through my reading to "see" them as a family and know what to talk about and how to reach out. As Jeff and I bowed our heads and prayed quietly over our lunch and then shared an hour of conversation with this precious family, I was so thankful to have heard the Voices Behind the Veil.
If you read earlier this week, you know I am giving away a copy of Vicki Courtney's 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter here. The beginning of school seems like a great time to give books away, (LOVE free books!) and I would love to add this one to your nightstand for the coming fall/winter season. Here's how you enter to win this one ...
Leave a comment or send me an email telling me one of these:
- What has been your experience with a woman of another faith?
- Do you feel like you know how to interact with a woman of another faith? Of Islam?
- What faiths are most represented where you live?
You may know Islam is growing faster than Christianity around the world today. It would be time well spent to listen to the Voices Behind the Veil and to be ready for those divine appointments when God may seat you beside a women who has not yet had the veil lifted from her eyes to know salvation is a free gift offered to her from a Heavenly Father who loves her and gave His own Son for her. The wonderful thing about mourning over what God mourns over is that He promises that one day, comfort is coming!
I will post the winner of the book on Monday in Marriage Mondays.
Looking forward to hearing from you,