01/06/2008

Into the Light (by Steven Masood)

I hadn't heard of Steven Masood before - apparently he is now a professor of comparative religion in Columbia. I picked this book up second-hand and inexpensively, and it's sat on our shelves for some months. But finally I decided to read it, and have completed it in just two days.

'Into the Light' is subtitled 'A young Muslim's search for truth', and is published by a Christian organisation, so it was fairly obvious that the book was going to chart the course of someone from an Islamic background deciding to follow Jesus.

That was indeed the overall plot of this autobiographical book. The author, whose original name was Masood rather than Steven, was born into an family who belonged to the Ahmadi sect of Islam in Pakistan, considered heretics by the mainstream Muslims. Masood was a thinker and questioner from a young age, and often spotted inconsistencies in what he was taught at school and in the mosque. He was a very devout Muslim from a young age, but wanted to know answers to his questions - and could not understood why his relatives and teachers simply got angry with him rather than trying to address his concerns.

As he grew up Masood continued studying and questioning, often suffering violence as a result. When he was 18, and still insistent on finding answers, he had to leave his family home since so many people wanted to kill him. He describes fairly vividly the ways he felt God led him to places and people who could help him, and the intellectual steps he took before, in his twenties, committing his life to Jesus as a Christian believer.

There's a lot of action in the book; I found it quite a page-turner, and interesting as I read about his background. On the other hand, the writing is quite terse, and there's little characterisation. I wanted to know what would happen, but could not feel any real empathy with the author.

Perhaps that doesn't matter - he writes from an intellectual and factual rather than emotional viewpoint, after all. But I felt it could have been a lot more moving and thought-provoking if it was also more emotive.

I was also a bit disappointed that the book ended where it did. It doesn't go on to describe what happens after the author makes his Christian commitment, and then has to leave the place where he's been staying. Evidently he succeeded in life, since he had the book published, and then went on to do his degree and become a professor, and that would probably also make an interesting story.

Still, overall I thought it worth reading. It's long out of print in both the UK and USA, but can sometimes be found second-hand.

Review © Sue's Book Reviews, 1st June 2008

3 comments:

pam said...

You can read the sequel "More Than Conquerors" to get the rest of the story! :-)

sm said...

This book and other publications by Steven Masood are available from Amazon.com via ITL-USA or directly from www.JesusToMuslims.org

Nana Mary : ) said...

I just read INTO THE LIGHT and could not stop until finishing it at 2 a.m. ! :)

Very interesting how God led and guided throughout Steven's life.

I want very much to get MORE THAN CONQUERORS and finish the story! So will you!