The Lines We Cross Book Review


*Contains mild spoilers*

The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah is set in Australia and follows the story of Mina and Michael. Mina is an Afghani-Australian who had arrived in Australia as a refugee as a young child. Michael comes from a family whose parents are opposed to allowing Muslim refugees into the country.

It is told from both their points of view so we get to see the story unforld from both their perspectives. Mina is given a scholarship to attend a private school and this is where their paths cross. It causes them to think and reflect on what they have grown up being told as the truth.

I really loved this book! Not only was it a great story but the message is incredibly important. As this topic is relevant no matter where you live in the world. We all hear about how refugees are trying to escape their war torn country and are trying to get their family to safety.we hear how some want to help and others are opposed to allowing them to enter. It shows all these differing opinions through Mina and Michael and their friends and family.

Although this story has a romance that develops between Mina and Michael after they initially dislike each other. Their developing feelings for each other is what furthers the story but the political issues that are interwoven into the story which also creates obstacles for them, makes it a much deeper and compelling story.

The character development for Michael was so great, he starts off as a teenager who just goes along with whatever his parents say, blindly believing them but by the end he has learnt to reflect and think deeply for himself. My main issue was with Mina’s character development where I feel there wasn’t as much development for her. I feel her main purpose was to show Michael that his beliefs may not be correct.

I also loved the friendships in this especially between Mina and Paula. It balances the serious issues with more lighthearted topics. There’s a scene where they have a LoTR marathon including cosplaying as the characters. It was such a fun scene and I loved that they were slightly nerdy.

I would definitely recommend everyone reading this book. Not only is the message so important it’s such a great book to read. I read it in two evenings. I couldn’t put the book down!

Rating: 4.5/5

If you do read it let me know what you think!

When adopting the faith of one parent seems like you’re betraying the other

When adopting the faith of one parent seems like you’re betraying the other

Whilst Leanna was searching for the truth, she was reunited with her biological father who turned out to be Muslim. But embracing his faith would mean that she’d betrayed the woman who raised her. Watch on to see how God guided her and helped her overcome…

“She might as well take off her hijab”

I often hear people say “she might as well take off her hijab” she made a mistake and so now people think shes no longer worthy of wearing a hijab. Because she isn’t perfect. But Allah does not expect perfection from us. He wants us to strive for excellence. But excellence isn’t perfection. No human being is perfect and we weren’t designed to be perfect.

And we fail to see that one of the most emphasized attributes of Allah is that he is the most forgiving. Why would we seek His forgiveness, His mercy, why would we turn to Him if we were perfect?

By telling her that she should take it off you’re saying that she wasn’t perfect, she wasn’t an angel so she might as well stop trying. Allah is not all or none.

By having this expectation we are actually aiding the shaytan. We say that she should stop trying because she isn’t perfect and thats exactly what the shaytan wants us to do.

Expecting perfection from someone who cannot be perfect can lead to despair and hopelessness. Then people will stop striving. This is the danger that expecting perfection can have.

So lets stop telling girls who wear hijab that they should take it off after every mistake they make because we are not perfect ourselves. And remember that the prophet (saw) told us that every human being will sin but that the best of us will be those who repent. So we know that we will all make mistakes but that it doesn’t stop us from being a good Muslim as long as turn to Him and repent.

So whether she wears a hijab or not she will make mistakes, she will fall but don’t tell her to give up instead help her to stand up after her fall.

Solidarity with my Sisters

The hijab, first and foremost is an act of worship. It has been obligated in the Quran and sunnah clearly. There is the outer hijab, which most people think is the only aspect of hijab, and the inner hijab. The outer hijab is two parts, the khimaar (headscarf) and the jilbaab (outer garment). We are commanded by Allah to cover our hair, neck and bosoms with our khimaar and to wear an outer garment over our clothes when we go out or will be in an environment with non-mahrems.
“And let them draw their head coverings (khimar) over their neck and bosoms (chest).” Quran [24:31]
“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw a part of their outer garments around them. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused.” Quran [33:59]
The inner hijab is the way in which we conduct ourselves when we are alone and in public. It is the way we speak, the way we act, the way in which we present ourselves in front of others and in front of Allah. It is the way we think.
It is having good manners, not speaking in a vulgar way or using foul language. It is the way in which we walk and talk especially in front of the opposite sex. We should not be purposely behaving in a way so that we attract the attention of the opposite sex. We should be confident but still modest in our day to day lives.
This doesn’t mean we cannot speak or go out of the home. We can and should be part of our community and be working in different sectors as females are needed in all types of jobs. We should be seeking knowledge and volunteering. But it is the way we conduct ourselves while doing these things that is important.
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent” Quran [24:31]
In the same ayah, Allah speaks about both the inner and out hijab. This shows us that both are equally important. That both are needed to fulfill the act of worship of hijab.
Now we know that this is a command from Allah and an act of worship. In the Quran the word khimaar (headscarf) is used however in today’s society the word hijab is used to mean headscarf. Yes we are using different words to mean the same thing but it does not however negate the fact that wearing a khimaar is an obligation.
The word hijab means barrier or partition and if you actually look at what the khimaar and jilbaab do, they create a physical barrier. By covering ourselves people can no longer judge us based on how we look they must look at who we are. Our manners and thinking also create a barrier. If we are not using foul or vulgar language them others are less likely to use it around us. If we are behaving in a certain way then others see this and behave in a similar manner.
With everything happening recently, all the attacks on Muslim women, this is the time for all Muslim women whether they wear a headscarf or not to stand together. By making claims that we should not be wearing it you are dividing the sisterhood not empowering it. It makes it harder for those who wear it, you are making them more of a target. Where is the solidarity in that?
It has long been established we should be covering our heads by many scholars and even by the prophet (saw) so are you now claiming that all these people are wrong? We cannot force someone to wear a scarf or a jilbaab but no-one should be trying to force us to take it off either. We do not wear it because we are a sexual distraction for men or because we are weak or because we are forced to by men. We wear it because by fulfilling this act of worship we will please our creator and get closer to Him.

My hijab My choice

This was something I wrote a while back and I thought I would share it here.

Having grown up in England I knew that there will always be people who would not know what hijab meant and many view it as oppression to women. I was however, lucky enough to grow up in a multi-cultural environment where a girl wearing the hijab was normal to see. So I didn’t know that people may react negatively to my hijab until I started university.

My hijab is so much a part of me that I feel naked without it, but it does come with its own challenges. I faced my biggest challenge when I started university, studying Physiotherapy.

In a class full of non-Muslim students who didn’t really know what the concept of hijab was or why I wouldn’t wear shorts or pairing up with boys to practice the treatment techniques we learnt in the class I often felt left out and somewhat uncomfortable. People were awkward around me and I didn’t feel like I belonged in this class. But I was determined to become a physiotherapist whilst still maintaining my hijab.
As the course progressed, my classmates became used to seeing me and the way I dressed so I wasn’t so much of a strange sight anymore and they became more comfortable around me. I was so glad, Alhamdulillah, that I hadn’t been tempted to compromise my hijab to ‘fit in.’ I had been able to maintain my hijab, gain more confidence and still complete my degree. Especially coming from a Pakistani background where many people think physiotherapy is an inappropriate career for a Muslim girl due to the university environment and professional requirements.
There are a few things that I had to remind myself time and again, and helped me get along in a totally challenging environment.
• Be confident in wearing and maintaining your hijab, it is a gift from Allah.
• Discuss with the tutors your hijab at the beginning of your degree to get rid of any concerns you or they may have.
• Be strong and try not to compromise your hijab out of fear that you may be seen as strange and not fit in. Remember the hadith of the Prophet (saw)
“Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers.” (Muslim).
• If you respect your hijab, so will the tutors and your classmates.
• Discuss the hijab with your classmates to help them understand and remove any misconceptions they have. Provide them with leaflets or booklets..
• Study and learn about the hijab, why you wear it, how you should wear it. It will help to maintain your hijab and even teach others about it. Remember it is not just a piece of cloth that covers your hair.
• Join the Islamic society at your university, they can help and support you throughout your university life.
• Constantly renew your intention of wearing hijab. Remind yourself what you’re wearing is for the sake of Allah and it will insha Allah become easier for you to maintain your hijab.

It’s a Hijab not a Halo 

For a muslim woman, wearing the hijab is a manifestation of her faith and an obligation to the wills and commands of her Creator. When the ayah about hijab was revealed: “And let them draw their head coverings (khimar) over their neck and bossoms (juyub).” [An-Nur: 31] it showed the world that women wern’t mere objects of desires or for mens pleasure. They were to be treated with honour, respect and dignity.

Hijab is not a superhero cape; it does not confer on to us the magical ability to become perfect muslims nor does it render us incapable of making mistakes.

We have developed this attitude that if we see a sister make a mistake and shes wearing hijab we instantly condemn her as a bad person. But its not because she may have committed a sin, we come to this conclusion due to the fact that shes wearing a hijab! This needs to stop! Just because she wears hijab does not make her immune from making mistakes. It is a hijab not a halo. It also doesnt make it any less sinful for a sister without hijab to do the same thing. Yet it is not seen as something as serious if she isnt wearing a hijab. What is wrong is wrong, regardless of whether she wears a hijab or not. People then slander, backbite and spread rumours about how “awful” this sister is. But is this not a sin too? It may be that she repents from that sin so is forgiven but what about us who slandered her? If you are sincerly concerned for the sister than go and advise her directly and in private. And some advice for all my sisters, remember that we all commit sins and we should focus on correcting our own and repenting rather than looking for the sins others commit. May Allah forgive all our sins and guide us to the straight path. Ameen.