In an earlier memoir, Defying Jihad, author Esther Ahmad related the story of her life as a Muslim growing up in a radicalized household in Pakistan and her willingness to die on a suicide mission, a desperate attempt to win her father’s love. But everything changed when she had a dream in which Jesus visited her and she started to follow him.
In Unveiled, Ahmad explores the ways the Qur’an views women and girls, shaping how they are treated, and how that affected her personally. She writes, “I grew to understand that in my father’s eyes, I was never going to be enough. Even when I volunteered to give my life in jihad—guaranteeing him instant access to heaven in the process—he did not talk to me. ... His happiness was not in me. Instead, he was jubilant because a long-term investment he had made in a risky, frustrating, and seemingly worthless stock had finally paid off. ... He may have been my father, but he never saw me as his daughter. I was property. That was all.”
When Jesus made himself known to Ahmad, she slowly began to change, questioning what she had been taught and the violence she had witnessed perpetrated by men against females; it was like a veil had been taken from her eyes.
Ahmad spells out what she learned—how the Qur’an and the Bible hold diametrically opposed teachings that shape views of the role of women and girls. Sharing personal anecdotes, she reveals how her perceptions changed: from seeing herself as property to knowing she is God’s cherished daughter; from experiencing the shame of being unclean because of menstruation to knowing the purity of God’s grace; from following silent rituals to experiencing meaningful prayer; from terror of Allah’s wrath to feeling the love of God; from despair to hope; and more.
Ahmad’s life story isn’t an easy read—she and the women and girls she has known experienced terrible hardships—but her narrative leaves one with a sense of gratitude that God, in his mercy, offered up Jesus for the redemption of the world, a free gift that has liberating implications for how women and girls are treated at home and in society. (Harvest House Publishers)