Monday, June 6, 2016


Ramadan is here, a blessed month, the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed.

For us Muslims, this is a month of sustained prayer, fasting, and reading the holy scripture. On this first day of fasting, I wanted to share something I have not shared before about an important event in the development of my novel JIHADI: A LOVE STORY.

Maybe three years ago -- don't ask me for the precise date -- I was working on the book, trying to figure out which verse of the Quran would make the most sense as the "touchstone" scripture for the central character, who begins the story as an Islamophobe and ends up embracing Islam. What verse would he stumble upon? Read and reread? Become curious about? Return to during times of trouble?

I had been casting around for weeks for the right verse, the verse that would capture the essence of the story, and I had a long list of candidate verses. But none of them quite fit.

Then one day, I walked into my study, and as I did, my iPhone, which was on my desk, started playing these verses from the Surah of the Sun:

(In Arabic, not in English.)

I did not know then, and I don't know now, what caused that particular surah to play from my playlist. I know I didn't touch the phone.

Later that day, the same thing happened, again, without me touching the phone.

It could have simply been a software hiccup. It could have been something else. I really have no idea. All I know is that it was perfect for the book. I wrote it in and gave thanks to Allah for it.

This didn't happen during Ramadan, but Ramadan seems an appropriate time for me to share it.

May Allah accept our prayers and fasting, may He magnify the best of our deeds and forgive the worst, and may the Quran He revealed to us in this blessed month guide us to the straight path.