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: