Becoming Iman, by Iman Rappetti
A journey of faith and self-discovery in changing times.
A journey of faith and self-discovery in changing times
If you’re looking for a story about a woman who meekly steps into a new life because of social pressures, you’ll need to move on. Becoming Iman is none of that.
It starts with labour pains and open-plan labour wards and moves into snapshots of a life story about a woman who moved from the Christian way of life in Joburg to a wildly different Muslim life in Iran.
Iman Rappetti is an award-winning journalist with an impressive track record.
The book is a journal of a journey that takes you from one vivid memory to another in an adventure that never stops giving.
No matter what religion you may be, or what your perceptions of different religious approaches may be, you will find this story informative and powerful.
It challenges the ideas people may have about women in Islam, without being domineering or whitewashing reality. In fact, the opposite is true.
The first chapter alone paints a remarkably vivid picture of the contrasts that exist in Iran and the life Iman led there.
You are with a woman who has prepared herself for her morning prayer ritual.
You can feel the warmth of the sun, see the colours of the city and appreciate the intense beauty of the country.
Then, you are in labour in a ward surrounded by other women, with no privacy and a limited understanding of the local language. A harsh contrast that is carried throughout the book.
It takes a lot of courage to change life, religion, focus and belief. It takes more courage to write about it.
This is a raw account that doesn’t hold back on the gritty details.
That said, the book meanders and is sometimes confusing, jumping into themes without fully exploring them.
There are several moments where your interest will be piqued but you won’t get resolution and this can be frustrating.
There is a lot of description which is poetic and beautiful, but it can also become a bit wearing. The book lends itself to bite-sized reading.
You’ll be glad you didn’t finish it in one sitting because you will miss Iman and her stories will carry with you as you go about your day.
You’ll do something that you take for granted and be reminded of a part of Iman’s life where this was not allowed. Like forgetting to cover your hair when you left the house.
You will see a sunrise and think of how perfectly she captured the colours and remember that the sun rises over all religions and cultures without judgement.
These are the descriptions and memories that will stay with you and that are the hallmark of a book worth reading.
If for no other reason than to realise that you can change your future into whatever you dream it to be, because that’s what life is all about – living.