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Letters to a Young Muslim

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  2,066 ratings  ·  382 reviews
"In a series of personal letters to his sons, Omar Saif Ghobash offers a short and highly readable manifesto that tackles our current global crisis with the training of an experienced diplomat and the personal responsibility of a father. Today's young Muslims will be tomorrow's leaders, and yet too many are vulnerable to extremist propaganda that seems omnipresent in our t ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Picador
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  2,066 ratings  ·  382 reviews

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Jenny Kim
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I first heard about this book I instantly thought of Ta-Nehisi Coates', "Between the World and Me". Where Coates' book was dark, somber and hopeless, this book is the opposite. It is hopeful, inspiring, and intend to motivate for a change.

It's a timely book and one where I learned a bit about Islam and what is like to be a Muslim who is living through the current time when fanatic terrorists in name of Islam commits acts of horrible violence. Mr. Ghobash writes these letters to his son,
Hina Zephyr
As a practicing Muslim I have been plagued with many questions which Omar Gobash boldly asks in this book. Questions which are urgent and relevant in toady's charged political climate. Questions which we need to ask ourselves (how much responsibility does each one of us carry as a Muslim), ask our political leaders(when will they stop dividing, conquering and plundering), ask our clerics (who are living in a time capsule of the former glory days of Islam), ask the so-called, self appointed flag ...more
♛ may
May 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Book 13 completed for #RamadanReadathon

i always have such a hard time rating non-fiction.

in some ways i really enjoyed listening to this book. for starters, the fact that the author himself narrated the audiobook makes it feel so much more personal and authentic, especially due to the fact that he's addressing these letters to his son. 🥺🥺

these letters are like the author's musing, trying to make sense of the world and giving his son some direction through it. what the author does continuously i
biblio_mom (Aiza)
Mainly of his own personal thoughts and idea on how to become and live life as a muslim to his son and of course the reader. he talks about following the teaching of Quran and Hadith but cited non in the book which i think is fundamental in writing this kind of book.

I came from a family of different races and some of once different religion before reverting to Islam. I live in a multi-racial country, which is Malaysia, to be particular, I am from the East part, where you can easily found a fami
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read to all Muslims and anyone of faith. That it was published in English is perplexing as those who need it won't find it. Hopefully it will be translated into Arabic, but it expresses what my modern Muslim friends think though there is much here that would be controversial in many places in the Muslim world. What is controversial? First he places high importance on personal responsibility for faith and for changing things that are not unfair. To not accept the excuse that "we ar ...more
Sleepless Dreamer
The new peace deal between the UAE and Israel is perhaps the weirdest political thing that's happened this year in Israel (Our foreign minister and generally our parliament had no idea that it's happening, it was done entirely between our Prime Minister, Trump and the UAE's prince, the UAE has never even been an enemy country, and it's unclear how this peace is actually going to look).

Although, let's be real, I'm super excited about the potential of traveling to the UAE (with my Israeli passpor
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I had been thinking about reading this book for a while and am glad I finally did. Ghobash handles the subject of what it means to be a Muslim in this world with care and reason. He weaves his own story into these letters to his sons and his style of writing was a mixture of tender and informative. A worthwhile read!

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Satkar Ulama
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Habeebie Saif,

Send my love to your father for writing a bestselling piece of work that has been critically acclaimed by many reviewers. Your father talks a lot about being a Muslim in today’s world, how we should exhibit ourselves as a ‘true’ Muslim who reflects the Prophet’s attitude, and more importantly, how to live in a diverse world where religion can be a sensitive issue. I really wanted to like your father’s book, but I couldn’t. I read about 80% of it but I had to put it down because I f
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I'm regretting my casual rating system now. I am far too quick to award five star reviews to books I enjoy, and now I have no way of distinguishing this book.

This book was fantastic. I appreciated learning more about Islam, but the lessons and the topics in the book are of value to anyone. They're excellently and compellingly written. I will be recommending it to everyone.

Like some other reviewers, I'm curious to see how the book will be received by traditionalists because it does dare to
Louai Al Roumani
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is brilliant because it is such a breeze of fresh air, in an otherwise increasingly gloomy and lost Islamic World. The author is the UAE Ambassador to Moscow, and this first book of his is a compilation of a series of letters intended to his young son, advising him on how to navigate the world as a Muslim.

The ingenuity of this book is the emphasis of individualism, and of the need for one to be unafraid of questioning everything around him. The author does not make extremely confrontat
Jun 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
Dear Omar Saif Ghobash

It's summer of 2017 and you have thrice given international interviews condemning my homeland. In the first you denounced my country, following an official ban in the UAE forbidding any Emirati citizen from expressing SYMPATHY for anyone in Qatar. Isn't this ironic when ur book starts off by saying that as soon as someone chooses who you hate they are taking away your freedom? I believe forcing an entire nation to hate another falls squarely within this. I agree with what y
Yelda Basar Moers
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"When you consider my mother's determined nature, and my sister's sparkling intelligence, and it is suggested that girls should be deprived of an education, I laugh. Every single one of us has the right to an education. And I believe every single one of us has the right to seek out the best education possible. Why would we deprive our children of great mothers and brilliant sisters? They are people in their own right, able to think and do and be. In fact, when given the chance, Muslim women far ...more
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
(This review was originally written for

(I received a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes)

This is a poignant and heartfelt collection of advice. Not just from a father to his son, but also to any young Muslim, or anyone interested in discussions of faith, struggling to reconcile his/her faith and/or heritage with the problems facing the world and Islam today. Omar Saif Ghobash bravely addresses problems within the larger Muslim community and Islamic cultures, and rather
Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)
I'll be making a video on this soon, but for now I'll say that this is a clear, dry read that gave me a lot of food for thought about the questions that Muslims face (and have always faced) concerning the relationship between Islam and the rest of the world. It's hard for me to get a sense of how groundbreaking Ghobash's theories might appear in the Islam-majority world (Ghobash is from the UAE) - he leaves you with the impression that his ideas aren't as mainstream or straightforward as they mi ...more
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Letters to a Young Muslim is a compilation of letters from a father to his son. It is full of wisdom and thoughtful reflections on faith, culture and society. This book encourages the readers to celebrate individuality whilst recognizing it is our shared humanity that can bring us together.

In his letters, the author manages to address the Arab cultures in the past, present and future. The letters are divided into chapters with different topics so that the readers
11th July 2018
One of the best books I have read in 2018. I loved it so much that I am going to buy my own copy so I can make notes and highlight important passages!

13th February 2019

I read this book again for my Book Club (it was my selection). This book is truly an inspiration not just to Muslims but also to non-Muslims.

Letters to a Young Muslim is a series of personal and insightful letters written by Omar Saif Ghobash to his sons. It offers a vital manifesto that tackles the dilemmas fac
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book did not go in the direction that I expected. When I first got the book I expected it to be a little guide for muslims on the kind of behavior expected from them.
While the book did cover some aspects of my expectations, it also had a political view probably because as mentioned in the book Ghobash's father was killed in a political setting when he was the age of 6 in the UAE by a young Palestinian boy.
It is undeniable that violence does exist in our lives (the political wars all over t
Atiqah Ghazali
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
“There was no reason to hate anyone. There is no reason to react to the world around you with hatred. You have to understand that someone has made the choice for you when they say you have to hate. The choice is yours and the only way you can make the world a better place is by doing the opposite of hating. It is by loving.”

This book is a MUST read for young Muslims, old Muslims, hipster Muslim, traditional Muslim, Islamophobia people and everyone! It is inspiring, it made me cry and it makes m
Mahnoor Asif
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Letters to a Young Muslim is a great book but staying on my TBR shelf for 1.5 years. Finally, I've completed this book and I'm glad I did it.
Omar Saif Ghobash is a UAE ambassador to Russia. He is such a great thinker. The book is written in simple language and it consists of multiple letters by the author to his older son, Saif, and all young Muslims. The writer brilliantly addressed bold topics regarding Islam. The society we live in demands us to be silent and follow what we are asked for but
Darius Murretti
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-loan
Actual 4.5 stars . Yes I will read again in a few years .

Its is typical that God takes human form and teaches ignorant humans how to focus their attention at the third eye , contact the holy spirit ( aka Kalma, Tao, shabd etc ) He explains that we have to completely vacate our body ( die daily) and use the shabd as a vehicle to ascend the seven skys back to the God head where we merge back into God and also become God in human form . Those fortunate few who are picked by the incarnation of God a
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't know enough about Islam. I knew that going in. In light of current events, I wanted to know more than just what I was seeing or hearing in sound bites, click bait, or Facebook memes. Reading this book was a profound gift. It gave me a basic understanding of key beliefs. It gave me historical and cultural context for current world events. It gave me some perspective on the conflict today between radical Islam and the vast majority of Muslims. We focus so often on our differences, but the ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: islam
I really love the concept of the book and advice to young Muslims is always needed as many of us need guidance in navigating life as Muslims growing up in a secular world. However, I found his framing of young Muslims with the question of religious extremism a bit problematic because I don't believe this to be a core issue that we grapple with. It also plays into the stereotypical tropes that young Muslims are prone to extremism due to their faith or religious community around them which is simp ...more
Joshua Powell
May 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was really struggling with what to think of this book. Lately, I've been devouring as much material from as many moderate voices in Islam as I can, at as rabid a pace as I can - and this one is definitely unique.

The message is clear and I personally found little to contend with in what he had to say - but I struggled with the voice. It's written under this conceit that these are letters from a father to his son, but are they really? The book is in English and includes in-line definitions of wo
Wahyu Novian
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O, how I wish a lot more people here read this book—well, I wish people read more books. Nowadays, if you asked too many questions, you’ll be labelled immediately. It seems you are either too radical or too liberal—especially if you read some debates on twitter or facebook.

Written as a letter from a father to his son, this book tackles a lot of things. From take responsibility for Islam as religion of peace to choose role model not only from the warriors but also from scientists of medicine and
Aiman Azha
Mar 27, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: islam
If you are looking for answers and guidance to Islam in this book you won't get it. The author only asks questions without giving an answer in the book. Somehow I think the author himself is still confused with Islam and should not even write a book that could mislead people about it. This book only consists of his opinions and thinking. He does not even back his statements with the Quran and hadiths which makes them weak.

Reading this book makes me feel uneasy and somehow I think the author is
yasmine skalli
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
as someone who constantly questions my faith, identity as a muslim in america, and what islam means to me, this was a good read. I don't just recommend it to muslims, but anyone of faith who faces an identity crisis in terms of religion. definitely learned more about my religion as well as myself in the past hour of reading than I have in the past year. omar ghobash addresses questions and topics I'm curious about, but no one around me is able to answer. he acknowledges problems with the exagger ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book presents several controversial arguments about Islam such as whether Muslims should actually rely on 'Ulama' (scholars) or use their own judgement for religious interpretations. It is very critical of the way Muslims are brought up and how 'strict' interpretations is leading to a violent and intolerant Islam. The author, who's a prominent UAE official, touches on homosexuality and the need for Islam to reconsider its stance on the issue. This is in a long shot by the author and the firs ...more
Hamda Belrumaitha
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Letters To A Young Muslim is the type of book that resonates with you long after you are done with it. In it Omar Saif Ghobash wills young muslims to seek knowledge, be curious and avoid being mislead. He also touches upon the importance of individuality and moving beyond the past in order for communities to thrive.

I loved the letters and the messages portrayed in them. As a young muslim it filled my head with thoughts and questions. Every letter was thought provoking. At times I even had to put
Rafeek Umbachy
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ghobash is not an apologist for Islam because there is no need. He argues that reason and religion can coexist because we are meant to use our intelligence to reject manipulative and myopic interpretations of the scriptures. In essence, he is suggesting a compromise between blind faith and nibbling on the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. There are certain heavenly ordained teachings, but followers must be ever-vigilant that these not be perverted by people with personal or politi ...more
Shereen Rafea
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read for all ages! I especially recommend it for new parents , who want to reflect on how to answer the tough questions facing Muslims today. I loved the advice he gave to his son on reading literature from different cultures , reflecting on his individual identity first as well as thinking about how to respond to societal norms and pressures. I came into this book, with scepticism, but it turned out to be a terrific read.
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