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When Life Begins
Book Review
Samiya Illias

Book Title: When Life Begins

Book Author: Abu Yahya

Translated By: Bashir Nazir et al.

Publisher: Inzaar Publications

Year: 2012

Pages: eBook 129 pages; Paper back: 256


Review by: Samiya Illias


When Life Begins is an astonishing journey into the future, a time-travel, which transports us into another world. A world where there is great misery and desolation for many, but also a world where a select few enjoy extreme bliss and complete peace. Yet, it is nothing like our world: there is no injustice in this world. Those who are suffering are suffering because of themselves, and they know that they have brought it on upon themselves. Those in bliss are continually being amazed by the wonderful life that is unfolding for them, beyond their deepest desires and wildest imagination.

It is the story of a family. The main character is Abdullah, the father, and his close companion Saleh, who explains and clarifies each situation, as the story develops. Abdullah, his wife Naimah, and some children are in bliss, while a son and a daughter are in a state of misery and desolation. The novel traces the reasons why which character is in which state. There are a few other additional characters who lend an explanation to the story. It also traces the larger story of nations, of humans and humanity, of trial and suffering in our present world, attempting to answer the bigger question: why!

The novel is an incredible, marvelous, harrowing, scary, romantic, sci-fi fantasy. What is unique about the book is that it is based upon the description of the Day of Reckoning and Hereafter, as related in the Quran and Sunnah. It builds upon the information in these two sources and presents a preview of what might be when we are raised from our graves and the sequel of events that will unfold. It is a very bold attempt and it can be argued that one should not take such liberties with religion. Indeed, but if one does not treat it as a religious text, if one is to read it only as a novel, it is a great introduction to what might be, and a starting point for the inquisitive mind to begin their own study of the Quran in search of the greater purpose of life!    

 The original novel is in Urdu with the title: ‘Jab Zindagi Shuru Hogi’. Part 2 of the book has also been published, but is currently available in Urdu only, titled: ‘Qasam Us Waqt Ki’. This sequel is a journey into the past, taking the main character, Naimah, in her search for truth, back into the times of the prophets of God, so that she can witness with her own eyes how God has continually guided humans. This novel also attempts to handle contemporary questions raised by the curious, educated young minds, questions which need to be dealt with on an intelligent and objective basis, without prejudice and without requiring the questioning mind to take things on faith. This novel is another wonderful attempt to answer many pertinent questions, and help bring people towards the Quran.





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