بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Mushaf is the most extra-ordinary, intellectual and creatively written fictional story by Nimra Ahmed, who is one of the best, inspirational and thought-provoking writers of Pakistan. The name of the novel “MUSHAF” (Arabic name of the Holy Quran) gives us a hint that it is a story related to religious content or it might contain some verses with beautiful meaning and deep tafseer. Yes it is connected with all these aspects with such beauty and intellect that one might have never thought of Quran that way.
A reader of this novel journeys through suspense, excitement, love, trust, betrayal, crisis and harsh realities of a brutal life. Despite having all this, this novel leaves a permanent place in the reader’s heart. It starts with a glimpse of the magnificent beauty of morning. A girl reaches a bus stand and she has a strange bag on which her name is written “Mehmal Ibraheem”. She was really curious about the black skinned girl who was always there at the bus stand, sitting upright, wearing a scarf, with a strange shine in her eyes and had a strange book with black cover. Nimra Ahmed nailed the conversation between the black girl and Mehmal. It just makes you stick to the novel and it actually showed that the book had some kind of “magic” and that if you follow it you would have the whole world and if you would leave it you would be devastated.
The whole novel revolves around the life of the girl, Mehmal Ibraheem, who is displeased and irritated from the world. She is a beautiful girl with crystal-like shiny eyes and brown hair often tied up in a high pony tail. Her father passed away and she with her mother (Musarat) lives with her father’s family. Mehmal gets angry easily as she can’t withstand the atrocious behavior of the family members. The house was her father’s property and they had no right over it.
The novel takes a very strange turn when Mehmal decides to return the Mushaf to that black skinned girl and tries to make her realize that it was not the kind of a book that she portrays it to be and she knows about the Quran.
The next big twist happens when Fuwaad, her cousin, fools Mehmal and sells her to Hamayun and at that time I was shocked. Nimra Ahmed just beautifully showed that you have to trust no one especially a na-mehram. She is locked in a room and at that time I felt like there was no way Mehmal could ever get out of it. But there was something really impressive waiting for Mehmal, she somehow manages to run away and reach the roof of a madrassa. Humayun is later revealed to be a police officer who wanted to gather proof against Fuwaad.
اللهم اجعل في قلبي نورا
وفي بصري نورا وفي سمعي نورا
وعن يميني نورا وعن يساري نورا
And then the noor spreads in the life of Mehmal and guides her in a way one can never imagine. The way Nimra Ahmed has achieved it with her creative skills is amazing. The introduction of perfect verses related to the the appropriate situation is worth pondering over; for example the time of the death of her mother and how for every situation Quran had all the answers.
After this unusual event the life of Mehmal Ibraheem changes, she starts to cover her head, reads Mushaf and tries to understand the meaning of the holy verses of the Holy Quran. Quran starts to talk with her as it is called Kalaam Paak and Kalaam in Arabic is talk. Whatever she thinks, is answered in the Quran.
Farishtay a hidden and masked character she met in madrassa is the cousin of Hamayun. She is later revealed to be Mehmal’s sister and actually helps Mehmal a lot in understanding her life. Mehmal thinks highly of Farishtay and everyone would have thought that. It was a beautiful, mature and sensible character but by the end of the novel I started hating that character.
Nimra Ahmed beautifully conveyed the ups and downs of life and magnificently connected verses of Quran with the happenings in Mehmal’s life. This actually showed that how Quran is a miracle. It’s not just as most people say اساطير الاولين i.e. stories of old times. It is a reminder for the people of the present age and this novel changed the perspective of life in my opinion.
Another important lesson it gave was that we should trust Allah and no one else. Indeed guidance is for those who seek for it. Another important thing I realized was that people who are good from the very beginning they also get mislead by shaitan. Practicing Islam is a life long journey you are tested every single time even if you are very Achi.
I recommend you this novel and I am sure even if it didn’t change your life it would definitely leave you in great awe. In every incident of this novel is a hidden message. May Allah grant us the noor and insight to actually understand the treasure of each verse revealed by Allah.
We might not be Mehmal but we can actually learn a lot from her.
Life is all about choices :)
ps: I introduced the first part of the story but for the second part I want you to read it and let me know what do you think about this novel.