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Book Review: A Temporary Gift by Asmaa Hussein

by in Soul on 27th November, 2018

Would you believe me if I told you I’ve read this book twice, yes twice! You know, some books are hard to review because you fear you won’t do it justice, well this one is of those books!

On Friday 10th of August 2013, 26-year-old Amr Kassem took part in a peaceful protest in Alexandria, Egypt. He was there along with thousands of other people, protesting against the mass injustices taking place in the aftermath of the coup d’état by the Egyptian military under the command of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. On his way home, he was shot by a sniper and killed. Leaving Asmaa Hussein – the author a widow and their daughter fatherless.

In the first few pages of the introduction alone, I had goosebumps and tears. It was heartbreaking. Being married myself it’s something unimaginable for me, losing my husband is one of my biggest fears. Looking at the cover made my insides jump a little, as Amr looked a lot like one of my closest brothers.

Asmaa tells us her story through diary entries, of how she met and lost her husband. These entries were written during the two years following Amr’s departure from this world. They’re personal, heavy, and yet so uplifting. Asmaa has a way with words, majority of it will make your soul- stir and yearn for Allah. Especially her duas, they are so beautiful. I found myself closing the book countless times, stopping to reflect on them. 

‘How strange that a hardship may be a blessing while ease can be the true difficulty! May Allah (swt) make us from those who are constant in both ease and difficulty.’– Asmaa Hussein (Page 236.)

Asmaa took me on a journey of her pain, loss and most importantly how she lived after immense trauma and found love in other things. She uses and calls upon Allah with His most beautiful names and reiterates the importance of never questioning Allah’s decree. We plan and Allah plans, Allah is the best of planners.

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I still miss you, Amr. I often wonder if this longing will go away, if my heart will no longer crave connection to you, or if my life will go back to "normal." It has, in a way. A new, beautiful normal. But my heart hasn't stopped mentioning you to my blood when it pumps, nor has my tongue stopped speaking your name to Allah, nor have my eyes stopped searching the darkness of my dreams for your face. Is this love? To always be torn into two halves, one living in this world, and the other roaming the earth and skies looking for rest, looking for relief, looking for a place to call Home? The second half of me is the traveller, unable to find peace in this world. But I accept her, and I love her. It's only she who understands how temporary these moments on the earth are. May Allah call her back when it is the best for her, and may she reunite with you at the doors of Jannah like this.

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She talks a lot about Amr’s good character and how he was giving of himself to his family, friends, and community. I found myself taking plenty away and feeling inspired to be a better Muslim by his character alone.

I’ve been following Asmaa on social media since reading this book and it’s warming to see, she has found light at the end of her dark tunnel. I find her inspiring with the many hats she wears. An author to multiple books, a registered social worker, a speaker, a publisher and founder of Ruqayahs Bookshelf.

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What are you reading at the moment? Ive challenged myself to read a portion of a book daily. This is my current read. A Temporary Gift by @ruqayas.bookshelf. It's the memoirs of a lady who's husband was shot dead on the way home from a protest one day. At first I couldn't read it. It began on how they met and how they fell in love and I struggled to continue reading for the inevitable loss and heartache was to come. Farzana encouraged me to read on, that the story isn't about the loss. The reminders can be applied to any suffering. So I read on intrigued. I've just finished the Iddah period (Muslim Widow woman's grieving period) What I've learnt so far – Yes it's sad and heartbreaking to lose someone you love so much and losing them doesn't mean you stop loving them. But if there are no reflections and lessons learnt from it, then your just anchored to pain and wont see the beauty that follows. God doesn't test a person more than they can bear. You can and will get through it. Always have good thoughts about Allah and know his wisdom is more than ours. May Allah ease everyone's suffering and pain and allow them to find peace ameen. #reading #reflection #loss #pain #death #grief #heartache #peace #islam #allah #faith #hope #atemporarygift #selftherapy #development

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Shoohada Khanom

Shoohada Khanom

Born and raised in London, writer and children’s author Khanom recently published four pictures books. Today a mother of six, Khanom lives a busy life, splitting her days between home educating her children and her motherly responsibilities. She shares her home in Bolton with her family, and anytime she has a moment to herself, she reads and writes.