Sofia is a thirty year old publicist in London set with the task of writing a book on dating in the twenty first century. Sound ordinary? She is also single, Muslim and wears a hijab. And therein lies the difference.
Unlike most chit-lit protagonists, Sofia Khan is strong, opinionated and wildly romantic without being ditzy. She prays five times a day and wears a veil over her head as a symbol of modesty. And like other girls…
“Yes, we are devout, but don’t we have the same struggles as most other girls? (With the additional pressure of keeping God on side for the afterlife.) We smoke behind closed doors, don’t always tell our families who we’re seeing that evening, but never forget to set the alarm clock to wake up for morning prayers. We fast during Ramadan whilst working full time, we pray on our lunch breaks, go out on dates with men who we meet on the Internet and marry married men. We love our God and our city. We’re confused, assertive and romantic, and most of the time don’t know how we feel about skinny jeans or beardies. Faithful, flawed, trying to learn the true meaning of jihad as we teach it, we’re also girls who wouldn’t have it any other way.”
What Ayisha Malik has managed to do in this book, is walk the very thin lines of what divides people- race and religion, and somehow stripped the subjects of their complexity to reveal the bare soul of human relationships, delivering a light, life affirming read that warms the heart with its sincerity.