The Muslim Experience

All of them suffer the characteristic identity crisis resulting from the clash of cultures and the pressures of adapting to a new culture. however, in Najwa’s case, the strangeness of the alien experience results in a reaffirmation of her Muslim identity, with an uplifting and positive outcome. In the book “Maps for Lost lovers”, the migrant experience is symbolized by the adoption of foreign values in a manner that brings the destructive aspects of their native religion upon them.

Minaret commences in Khartoum in North Sudan where the protagonist Najwa is the daughter of a senior Government official and a student at a prestigious university. She lives a comfortable life as the daughter of a prominent Muslim man but prefers the Western lifestyle, including Western music and clothing. She follows the devout, traditional Muslim practices including making donations to the poor, but it’s only on the surface rather than being motivated from within – the hijab is merely a dress form she is obliged to wear rather than being donned as an outward expression of her religion. While in college, she falls in love with a radical Muslim student named Anwar, who openly expresses his contempt for traditional Islamic practices and even goes so far as to deride Najwa’s father in print.

When a coup occurs in the country, Najwa’s father is arrested and the rest of the family fled to London. Her brother becomes a drug addict, stabs a policeman and received a long prison sentence. Her mother becomes ill and suffers for a long time before she dies. Najwa meanwhile, finds that another coup had displaced Anwar to London and the couple begin a sexual relationship. In an attempt to cope with her new found poverty and exile in a strange land, Najwa adopts the hijab and re-discovers it from an entirely new perspective. Rather than being a derided and rather an unfashionable piece of clothing, it begins to spell security, peace, and anonymity to her. She soon realizes however that Anwar has no intention of marrying her and finds the strength to give him up, while also taking on work as a maid in the homes of rich people. She begins to gain a completely different perspective of the hijab as well as her religion and becomes a devout Muslim towards the end of the book.