I just finished a two day book marathon, lol. Well I guess you could sorta call it that, I started reading this book and couldn't put it down until I just finished it.
At times funny or sad, at other times a disturbing and even surprising account of daily life for a Muslim Expatriate within Saudi Arabia.
The book title is: "In the Land of Invisible Women" by Qanta Ahmed, MD.
What I found most remarkable about this book, is the unknown fact that even the men and boys suffer from their own "imprisonment" within the system of religious doctrine in the extreme form. We normally only hear about the women, how they cannot drive, or how the Mutawaeen seem to seek the complete removal of all women from the public face of society.
Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that women do not suffer, but I was (obviously mistaken) under the impression, that the men there on a whole just accept the situation for what it is and exploit it to their favor.
I suppose I need to hereby express my ignorance of the fact that even men there are uncomfortable and feel emasculated and powerless by the way the Mutawaeen accost anybody who does not behave/dress in a "proper" way. I was somewhat aware of the fact that this generation of Saudis fall back to Bluetooth and other modern age devices to "date or even hunt" young Saudi females. I just wasn't aware of just how stifling such a societal upbringing can be for young adults.
I am gladdened to read that there are Males there that are patrons and empowerers of Saudi women, and help guide them towards educational and professional success.
And I weep for all the young children and women who suffer abuse and death in their everyday lives. May Allah (swt) grant them peace.
The authors description of her Hajj and Ummrah make me want to hop on the next plane and head to Mecca.
Her journey throughout this book, of a westernized woman who rarely gave her Islamic faith any deep thought, to a woman who recognizes her intricate role within the Islamic Ummah is fascinating.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, even if it is just to learn a bit more about life within Saudi Arabia. It is so much more than just that, and I'm sure that many more books can dissect the enigma that Saudi culture is to us Western bred people, but this is very relatable book that will make you worry and laugh with its author as she moves from one mishap, to another.