Mus’haf: shades of divine

Book: Mushaf (Urdu)
Author: Nimra Ahmad
Publisher: Manshurat, Lahore

Zahid Fayaz

Some novels don’t just narrate a story,  they guide us to the right path. They make us understand the real meaning of life in a simple and lucid manner.

And one that I feel stands out here is Mus’haf, an Urdu novel. Written by a young Pakistani novelist, Nimra Ahmad, it has been published by Manshuraat. A superficial reading would tell us that it is simply a story of a young girl namely Mehmil. But if read seriously, it turns out to be the story of almost everyone among us. It is the story of the Qur’an, the ultimate divine light, and how it guides us at every single step, provided we seek guidance.

It is a story of a young girl whose father passes away when she is still a kid. And then how her greedy uncles snatch almost everything from this orphan and her mother. And make them dependent for every single penny. It is a story of a girl who falls in love with her cousin ( or rather drags herself into it, only to get rid of her poverty and get her rights back) and how that guy tries to sell her beauty only to promote his business. It is a story of a girl who gets stabbed in the back by her own friend....Farishtey (who used to be her friend, guide and philosopher and who by destiny was her step sister as well!). It is a  story of a girl who is deceived by her husband, whom she loved so much (even though it happens due to some misunderstandings, the fact being misunderstandings should never be allowed to affect our relationships. We can overcome them, subject to our sincerity towards our relationships).

It is a story of a girl who after enduring a frustrating phase, finds comfort in the shade of Allah’s message, the Qur’an. It is a story of a girl who falls into a coma, only to wake up to find her future life having gone into coma forever.

Finally, it’s the story of the Qur’an and a common girl ( who wasn’t religious, rather used to be what we call “modern”). It actually is the story of Qur’an. How it influenced her life. How it began to answer her queries. How it used to guide her, provide strength to her and how it used to comfort her.

It is the story of a friendship between the Qur’an and Mehmil. It is a story of strength and light provided by that ultimate divine message to Mehmil when she felt deceived by those whom she considered her own. It is a story of the Qur’an’s centrality vis-a-vis our lives, provided we give due space to it.

One thing which becomes clear while reading this novel is that the Qur’an is a guide for us all, those who sport a beard and those who don’t, those who use hijab or those who don’t. It doesn’t distance itself from anyone. It always calls us towards itself, towards the message of our Lord. And once we move towards it with sincerity, once we develop our relationship with it, it for sure guides us towards the right path and heals all our wounds and frees us from all worries and pain, and in the meanwhile colours us into its own colour.

Nimra has beautifully summed up the importance of the Qur’an in our lives in the introduction. She writes, “We don’t face tests or trials only when we walk on the path of deen. Rather, those problems or trials which are written in our destiny, we have to face them in any case.

Distance from the Qur’an (at the time of those problems) will only make us mad and will solve none of them. While as submitting oneself to the Qur’an at those testing times will comfort us and guide us to face those problems and come out of those successfully”.

Mus’haf is a must read for those who wish to understand the real meaning of our relationship with the Qur’an. It is a must read for those who wish to know how the Qur’an can change our lives.

More so, it is a must read for those who at times feel deceived by their loved ones and feel as if their is no way to move out of it. The Qur’an will teach them, guide them and, finally, show them the right path and direction.

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This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 October 2015 on page no. 21

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