Author(s): Carla Power
If the Oceans Were Ink is Carla Power's eye-opening story of how she and her long-time friend Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi found a way to confront ugly stereotypes and persistent misperceptions that were cleaving their communities. Their friendship-between a secular American and a madrasa - trained sheikh - had always seemed unlikely, but now they were frustrated and bewildered by the battles being fought in their names. Both knew that a close look at the Quran would reveal a faith that preached peace and not mass murder; respect for women and not oppression. And so they embarked on a yearlong journey through the controversial text. A journalist who grew up in the Midwest and the Middle East, Power offers her unique vantage point on the Quran's most provocative verses as she debates with Akram at cafes, family gatherings, and packed lecture halls, conversations filled with both good humour and powerful insights. Their story takes them to madrasas in India and pilgrimage sites in Mecca, as they encounter politicians and jihadis, feminist activists and conservative scholars. Armed with a new understanding of each other's worldviews, Power and Akram offer eye-opening perspectives, destroy long-held myths, and reveal startling connections between worlds that have seemed hopelessly divided for far too long.
"Engaging ... Together [Carla Power and the Sheikh] explore ... the significance of veiling and unveiling, the struggle against unjust rulers and jihad, and contemporary wars. Power's narrative offers an accessible and enlightening route into a topic fraught with misunderstanding."--"Publishers Weekly""Lively ... Intelligent and exceptionally informative."--"Kirkus Reviews""A former foreign correspondent for "Newsweek "raised partly in the Middle East and boasting a graduate degree in Middle Eastern studies from Oxford, Power spent a year reading the Quran with a longtime friend, Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi. Their experience led them beyond stereotypes to a constructive understanding for the text's call for peace and equality. Great for book clubs."--"Library Journal""Carla Power's intimate portrait of the Quran, told with nuance and great elegance, captures the extraordinary, living debate over the Muslim holy book's very essence. A spirited, compelling read."--Azadeh Moaveni, author of "Lipstick Jihad""For all those who wonder what Islam says about war and peace, men and women, Jews and gentiles, this is the book to read. It is a conversation among well-meaning friends--intelligent, compassionate, and revealing--the kind that needs to be taking place around the world."--Fareed Zakaria, author of "The Post-American World""Unique, masterful, and deeply engaging. Carla Power takes the reader on an extraordinary journey in interfaith understanding as she debates and discovers the Quran's message, meaning, and values on peace and violence, gender and veiling, religious pluralism and tolerance."--John L. Esposito, University Professor and Professor of Islamic Studies, Georgetown University, and author of "The Future of Islam""A thoughtful, provocative, intelligent book."--Diana Abu-Jaber, author of "Birds Of Paradise" and "The Language of Baklava"""If the Oceans Were Ink" opens a door to the power of the Quran's lyrical and complex prose to inspire, comfort, and ignite hearts everywhere. A must read for anyone wishing to understand a global community's central spiritual source."--Dalia Mogahed, Director of Research, The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, and co-author of "Who Speaks for Islam?""There are many intriguing books that trace the encounter of Westerners with Muslims from traditional backgrounds. Some of these books are love stories, others are clashes. Carla Power's "If the Oceans Were Ink" is something more radical, magical, and much more relevant: a religious encounter mediated through a gentle friendship, one that is committed to a dialogue and a search for truth. In a world characterized by so much tension and polemic, Power offers what might be our best hope for a better tomorrow: an intelligent friendship. Most enthusiastically recommended."--Omid Safi, Director, Duke Islamic Studies Center
Carla Power writes for "TIME" and was a foreign correspondent for "Newsweek." Her writing has appeared in "Vogue, Glamour, The New York Times Magazine," and "Foreign Policy." Her work has been recognized with an Overseas Press Club award, a Women in Media Award, and the National Women's Political Caucus's EMMA Award. She holds a graduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Oxford, as well as degrees from Yale and Columbia.