Title, Islam Versus the West Issue 81 of Ishaat-e-Islam Trust publications. Author, Maryam Jameelah. Edition, 2. Publisher, Markazi Mataba Islami, Maryam Jameelah (May 23, – October 31, ) was an American- Pakistani author of over thirty books on Islamic culture and history and a prominent female voice for conservative and fundamentalist Islam, known for her disparaging writings about the West. . Islam versus Ahl al-Kitab: past and present; Islam versus the West; Islamic. Get this from a library! Islam versus the West,. [Maryam Jameelah].

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Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience. IN an isolated section of the library, one day Baker found a casebook while looking for something interesting.

Maryam Jameelah Papers, 2. Maryam Jameelah was Margaret Marcus, a Jewish-American woman who embraced Islam and exiled herself to begin a new marya in Lahore in The Convert is the story of her life from being Margaret to becoming Maryam, between Islam and the West — a story that tries to untangle the warm knot of a small pulsating heart.

Margaret converted at the age of 27 in suburban New York. But for her, it was not about forsaking Judaism. Rather, it was about finding a place for herself in a society where she was a verssu. She could finally belong somewhere. Both of them had talked about the moral decadence of the West and its imperial ambitions based on its Capitalist agenda and its general disdain toward Islam.

She used her experience to write scathing condemnations of her society. From being an outcast to becoming a celebrity, Maryam began to find her ground. She even thought she was finally happy.

Islam Versus the West: Maryam Jameelah: : Books

But life in Pakistan brought its own sets of challenges and setbacks. Maryam had imagined living in Lahore would be living in a traditional vetsus orthodox Muslim society.

But to her, it seemed to be far off from the goals and ideals of Maududi and his Jamat. What had begun as a quest for the truth had turned into a place of disillusionment. There are several surprises in the book which come at precise moments when one is just getting comfortable with the predictability of the story.

The tale works more like a detective novel. One of the most fascinating parts is where Maududi distances himself from Maryam and she is ultimately sent to a mental institution — in an ironic replay of her past.


Baker appears as vulnerable to sudden shifts as she discovers the story along with the reader. But working with letters posed marysm problems. Baker edited some of these letters for voice and brevity. This raises an important question: Did she mislead her readers through the book?


I looked at some of the letters published many years ago in jamerlah separate books in Lahore, and found something interesting. There were variations between letters which appeared in Lahore publications and those in The Convert. But these were insignificant variations. Baker took great care in keeping the original voice and message as far as I could find. Interestingly, this exercise led me to another discovery. In a letter dated early AugustBaker quotes Maryam: Clearly, the Jamat could not allow this to go public.

There was one more problem with the letters. Maryam revealed at a later time that she had not been entirely truthful in some ghe her earlier letters to her parents about life in Pakistan. On closer examination Baker found that many of the letters seemed to have been marysm. This raised a serious question: Baker raises pertinent questions to get rid of the simplistic view of the relationship between the so-called Islam and yhe West: While hte wants us to like her she also wants us to be cautious.

It is a hard balance to maintain. And she does it well. Baker treats other characters with similar balance, including Maududi and his opposites, the secular and Westernised elite of Lahore. But she also seems to understand and almost agree with him when she critically observes a section of these elite: No wonder the ranks of civil society were so thin and in need of hired guns.

Islam Versus The West

Such a limited notion of individual freedom verus mean little to those who had difficulty putting food on the table. This is simply brilliant. She forces the reader to consider each side of the argument in its own perspective.

Her empathy with each side makes one re-think the whole secular-religious divide and the role of this dichotomous relationship in the development of Pakistan, its identity and its future.

Baker has been fairly martam and balanced in her treatment of characters and their views. And she has constructed a fascinating story. But I must also share my aest about her treatment or lack thereof of two concepts: She does not explain either of these very loaded terms and ends up using them loosely.

Is Maududi an extremist in her view? What does it mean to be radicalised? Is writing against Western capitalism an act of extremism and radicalism? How, why, and in what context may these writings incite violence? In an almost desperate attempt to find answers to some questions in the end, it seems that she oversimplifies the realities of post-colonial Muslim wesg.


It is indeed true that a certain hateful caricature of the West has made inroads martam the modern Jihadi literature adding fuel to the fire. But for actual violence to take place against the West, the Jihadis have always needed a justification based on Western acts of direct interference, aggression and oppression in Muslim societies.

This bit is quite clear from their literature.

I agree with Baker that ideas of Maududi, Qutb, hhe Maryam have certainly played a role. But these cannot be understood to be the sole influence. There is more to the whole picture of Jihad than she has been able to present in the concluding parts of the book.

From a series of letters, I had conjured an entire being. I imagined I knew Maryam Jameelah. But, unlike a detective novel, not everything comes together in the end. Perhaps they remain a mystery to Maryam as well. And the end was a reflection of this unfinished, yet fascinating quest, which was told wonderfully by Deborah Baker. Perhaps, one day it will all be clear.

Or, perhaps, I will go and see Maryam Jameelah myself. Dear reader, online wesf enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on Dawn. This takes her and the reader to an exciting conclusion of the book. The reviewer is a faculty member at Lums The Convert: Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina set for landslide win as opposition demands new vote. Inauguration ceremony of Mohmand dam postponed.

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