Book : A Temporary Gift
Author : Asmaa Hussein
Welcome to the latest instalment in our series on A-Z inspirational reads for Muslim women! In this post, we’ll be exploring Asmaa Hussein’s “A Temporary Gift,” a powerful novel that explores the themes of grief, loss, and resilience.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Asma Hussein is a Canadian author and blogger who has written extensively on topics related to faith, identity, and community. She is also the founder of the publishing company, Ruqaya’s Bookshelf, which publishes fun and unique Islamic children’s storybook.
BOOK SUMMARY :
On Friday, August 16, 2013, twenty-six-year-old Amr Kassem attended a peaceful protest in Alexandria, Egypt along with thousands of others, rallying against the mass injustices taking place in the aftermath of the coup d’etat by the Egyptian military under the command of Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. As Kassem returned home to his family, an Egyptian army sniper shot and killed him, leaving a woman widowed and a child fatherless.
‘A Temporary Gift’ is a record of journal entries written by Asmaa Hussein, following the death of her husband Amr Kassem.
This book is about re-learning how to live in the face of immense trauma. It is a reminder that beyond the pain and darkness of loss, there is still the potential of light in patience and constancy.
One of the most powerful aspects of “A Temporary Gift” is the way it explores the intersection of faith and grief. Asmaa recounts the days, months and years following her husband’s sudden loss and how the verses from the Quran and the deep refections helped her. Through her struggles, readers gain insight into the complex emotions and experiences that come with loss and tragedy.
We learn about keeping Allah at the centrepiece of our life and looking through a different view point to the aspect of ‘Coming Home’.
PERSONAL REFLECTION & CONCLUSION:
A few years ago, a friend gifted me the ebook “A Temporary Gift,” and I began reading it right away. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish the book at the time because I found myself overwhelmed with emotion and couldn’t stop crying. However, I recently reread the book, and I am in awe of Asmaa Hussein’s writing. Her ability to reflect on the words of Allah while going through such a significant tragedy is truly remarkable. As I read, I felt as though the loss was my own, and her words stayed with me long after I finished the book.
“Your plane ticket was booked to come home with me in just two days. Our suitcases were mostly packed. Your dinner was ready for when you returned that afternoon.Asmaa Hussein
But your ticket to your real home in the hereafter was already booked far before we knew one another. You didn’t need your suitcases because you had packed your good deeds away in a place where they are never lost and with a Keeper who never forgets.
I pray you have arrived at your destination without delays or worries. I pray you are safe in the protection and company of your Lord”.
It is a story of healing. It is a story about moving on when the pain is unbearable. It is a story of acceptance and being thankful. It is a story of finding God.
Asmaa’s story is also a testament to the ability to move forward after tragedy, as evidenced by her successful publishing company, Ruqaya’s Bookshelf.
P.S. “A Temporary Gift” is not a memoir, but rather a deeply reflective book that includes verses from the Quran, Hadiths, and statements from scholars about grief and loss. What I love about Asmaa Hussein’s writing is that she shares her story without intruding on the private space of those involved or her own.
Have you read “A Temporary Gift” or any other books by Asmaa Hussein? Share your thoughts and reflections in the comments below!