1. Masha Allah wa Alhamdulillah, I am in love with your memoir. Could you please tell us a little about your journey as an author?
Well, it was a learning experience (in) that I was going to relate my personal experiences and views to an unknown audience, (was) a bit unnerving but I thought I had a powerful story to share. On and off I got bogged down in trying to couch some intimate details of my story with some artistry. As every author would feel, I am quite not happy with my work (as) it could have been better towards the end and could have brought a more sublime conclusions.
2. What inspired you to write your memoir?
Right from the school days I had the ability to summarize and have periodically written articles for newsletters, but the actual inspiration came from a thought to render my gratitude to the One who created me and The One who taught me what little I know. This is a humble ode to Him.
3. I loved how you took everything back to Islam and Allah. May Allah preserve you in your deeds. Were you always a spiritual person, or did something or someone inspire you to be one?
My grandparents from my father’s side were scholarly. It was in their arms I got the first taste of knowledge of the Quran, Sunnah and the teachings of Imam Ghazzali, Abdul Qadir Jilani and Rumi. Their names were household names.
On the other hand, my mother came from a totally different background, whose father was a merchant, a man who was richly endowed with worldly possessions.
The contrast was striking, yet people those days co-existed and meshed easily.
And my own life was to take a completely different path.
Moreover, the world itself was undergoing political and and social upheavals.
My married life which began at the end of the 60’s was influenced by many factors.
4. Another aspect I loved about your book was how you sprinkled bits of information on random Arabic words and your insight that came along with them. How did you look up those Arabic words? Did you learn Arabic as a language?
Language, primarily, is the vehicle that is at the root of human intelligence. When Allah speaks about teaching Adam alayhissalaam some words, He is actually referring to language. Arabic is rich as well as ancient. There are ten different words for Love in Arabic, each conveying different platitudes. I have yet to do more work on that score.
5. Are you planning to write more books?
Insha Allah, I would add more to this one at some point; not contemplating writing another one.
6. What do you want your readers to take away from this book?
If someone’s pain is assuaged by reading my book, or a seed of hope (is) planted, the book has fulfilled its purpose. In this world of “speed”, if someone takes a pause, and re-thinks, and re-aligns himself or herself, that would make me happy. The human mind is as diverse as the earth and as vast as the skies. There can be no compulsion. Right and wrong clearly spelt out and underlined. There can be no coercion. Only persuasion. The readers are free to hold any opinion they want. And take away what they want. I do not want to have a say in it. The reader of today is intelligent and sharp. I cannot in any way add to their skill to judge.
Thank you dear Sr. Nisha Sulthana for giving us your time and sharing your thoughts with us. We would love to hear more from you some time, insha Allah. Jazakillahu khayran.
Nisha Sulthana is a mother of three sons and grandmother of seven. She was born in South India and has lived in America for the past 20 years. For her, her home is her universe. She also has a passion for travelling, and has travelled extensively.
A student of history and political science from the University of Calcutta, Nisha boasts of nothing but a keen interest in the world around her. Free-spirited and bubbling with enthusiasm in spite of the knocks handed out, Nisha believes in herself and The Universal Spirit whom she calls God.
Nisha Sulthana can be reached at http://www.nishasulthana.com/
Nisha Sulthana is the author of A Part of Me Refused to Die. Read the book review here.