A Muslim Boy’s Guide to Life’s Big Changes, by Sami Khan

Boys Guide to Lifes Changes Book Review
Title: A Muslim Boy’s Guide to Life’s Big Changes
Author: Sami Khan
Genre: Middle Grade, Non-fiction
Publisher: Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd
Released: February 2006
Format: Paperback
Pages: 48
Source: I received a copy from The Islamic Kid Store in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.
Rating: 3.5/5
This book gives brotherly advice on life in general from Islam and friends, school and home life through to the physical changes a boy will experience from the age of 11 onwards.

“All these changes are a blessing from Allah and mark your move from childhood into adulthood. Watching your body change can leave you feeling a little unsettled and worried. You may find that you feel a little anxious and self-conscious as you may not be developing at the same rate as your friends. Remember, everyone matures at a different rate. It will happen; it’s just a matter of when.”
– A Muslim Boy’s Guide to Life’s Big Changes
, Sami Khan

This book has been on my list for the longest time, and then alhamdulillah, The Islamic Kid Store was kind enough to send me a copy to review. And then, that was on my ever-growing list of pending books to review. But subhanAllah, I read it at the right time, because I can see some of the signs mentioned in the book on my eldest son – who by the way, has read the book at least 5 times, masha Allah.

Coming to the book, let me give you his review first 😉 He listed out the following:
  1. It’s a good book for boys aged 11-13, on how to be as a Muslim while going through the teenage years, and advising them to be on the straight path.
  2. I would have liked it if there were more illustrations.
  3. One main issue in the book is that it mentioned ‘Allah is everywhere’, which is not the right concept.

Adding to what he said, I have to agree that it is a good book, masha Allah. The author has touched upon topics such as belief, friends, body image, gaining nearness to Allah, changes in the body, and taking care of the body. I liked that the book also has a quiz at the end for the reader to self-reflect.

I have to mention some issues that raised my concern:

  1. There were some ahadeeth that were difficult to find with the said reference. Though the meanings may be same, I feel better authenticated ahadeeth could have been chosen.
  2. While explaining the concept of fasting, it is mentioned that “we learn to think of those that are less fortunate than us”. The main reason for fasting wasn’t mentioned, which is, gaining taqwa: “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” (Qur’an, 2:183)
  3. There was a line in the book, regarding Allah, that I wished could have been worded differently, as I felt squeamish reading it in an Islamic book that is meant for guidance.
  4. It is mentioned that Allah will, insha Allah, accept the du’a when the time is right. I don’t agree with this concept, as Allah is Al-Mujeeb – The One who Answers – which means He always Answers, not if He Wills. Mentioning about the three ways in which Allah answers prayers would have made things clear for the boys and given them hope that Allah always answers prayers. It is mentioned in Malik’s Muwatta, Yahya related to me from Malik that Zayd ibn Aslam used to say, “No-one makes a dua without one of three things happening. Either it is answered, or it is stored up for him, or wrong actions are atoned for by it.” (Muwatta Malik, Book 15, Hadith 36)
  5. Last but not the least, the concept of Allah being everywhere. This is a false belief. Narrated Mu’awiyah b. al-Hakam al-Sulami: I said: Messenger of Allah, I have a slave girl whom I slapped. This grieved the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). I said to him: Should I not emancipate her? He said: Bring her to me. He said: Then I brought her. He asked: Where is Allah ? She replied: In the heaven. He said: Who am I ? She replied: You are the Messenger of Allah. He said: Emancipate her, she is a believer. (Graded Sahih by Sh. Al-Albani in Sunan Abi Dawud 3282)
  6. Bonus: Now I am a reader who reads almost every word in the book, including the Copyright Page 🙈 and in that page, there was a small thank you note sending thanks and du’a to a “wizard friend”. I am sure the word wizard is just a generic term, but it does kinda raise an issue with me 😅

Overall, hopefully this book will give a head-start for preteen boys to get ready for the turbulent years ahead.

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments 🙂

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