Standing Alone in Mecca

Gypsi Phillips Bates

Standing Alone in Mecca

Asra Q. Nomani

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

ISBN 0060571446, 320 pages, $24.95

“I returned to my home in Morgantown with a dream to fulfill the highest ideals of Islam for both women and men and for the community. The hajj gave me the courage to act on the ultimate conviction that women can be fully engaged members of the Muslim community.”

from the preface of Standing Alone in Mecca by Asra Nomani

Journalist Asra Nomani is a woman of much complexity-she is a single mom, a career woman and an American Muslim. The birth of her son Shibli, and her desertion by Shibli’s father, marks a turning point in her life and leads her to give more serious thought to her spiritual life, the result of which is her desire to participate in the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

Standing Alone in Mecca is the very personal memoir of Nomani’s experiences during the hajj, of her struggles as a woman in what has become a male dominant religion, of her search for a God of love among all the dogma, and finally of how the journey helped her redefine her spiritual life. She examines her life prior to the hajj, tries to work out the knotty problems of issues like pre-marital sex and divine forgiveness and the horror that some have done in the name of her faith. Nomani bares her heart and her soul to the reader as she seeks her truth.

This books is more than just a spiritual journal, though. It also gives outsiders a closer, clearer few of Islam, it’s practices and it’s history. I found it to be not only enlightening, but very timely for our age.

Ms. Nomani has opened a new world for me by helping me be rid of many stereotypes and prejudices that I had unwittingly harbored. I hope that others will read it and find the same release from ignorance and a renewal of love and respect for others.

Gypsi Phillips Bates

COPYRIGHT 2005 Midwest Book Review

COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group

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