Jamal Parekh (Ibn Daud)
Being a British-born Muslim, I have been a seeker of faith from my adolescent years. The son of Pakistani immigrants, my upbringing came from steadfast parents who led by example. We had no access to an Islamic school growing up in the seventies and eighties in Britain. We were blessed that we learnt the practice of faith through their actions. Their generosity of heart, compassion for those less fortunate, and raising us to be confident in our Muslim identity served as the backdrop to our upbringing.
Once I left home to attend university, the negotiation of my identity as a person of faith with the distractions of youth in the new surroundings was sometimes challenging, but I got through the four-year minefield with the help of a book called, “Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart” by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson. It was this text that was the inspiration, in my mind, to one day create a ‘guidebook’ of sorts that would focus on self-purification. I thought to myself that it would be practical to have a pocket book that addressed the maladies of the human spiritual condition and offered up the remedies too. This idea lay dormant for a decade or more as life rolled surely along, and I adapted to professional life as an IT consultant, deciding to marry and settle down.
In my forties and a family man, there came a more ardent desire to create a handbook that would help people overcome the boundaries to living their best. But it had to be something accessible, easy to pick up during our busy lives in this modern, high-tech era. I needed to address the struggles and insecurities we all face and offer the antidotes to those ailments, using evidence from the Qurān and authentic ahādīth (Prophetic sayings). The result was a spiritual guide to the self, a handbook of tazkiyah, or self- purification that will, I hope, prove accessible to people of all ages and denominations. Not being a scholar or a professional writer, the journey of self-publishing was an enlightening one and I’m indebted to the kind people who guided me along the way. Who knows, I may even continue the journey with a sequel one day, Lord willing.