Book Review: A Temporary Gift by Asmaa Hussein

book cover_a temporary gift

A Temporary Gift’ is an intensely personal account of 'love, loss and healing' and one of the closest works one could read in the genre of a rithaa' (elegy) in our times. It is rare to come across a piece of writing that is so sincere, heartfelt and spiritually uplifting from a modern writer. This writing is for posterity as much as it is for the present day.

Asmaa Hussein takes the reader back to Friday, August 16, 2013, when her husband, Amr Kassem, a young pharmacist was shot and killed at a peaceful protest in Egypt. The book is the outcome of her attempt to “document and record every moment in which I was able, against all odds, to hope for the future again.” She hopes that “the book's message of hope and renewal can reach the hands and hearts of other women and men who are saddled with grief or silently suffering through loss.”

A Temporary Gift’ transports the reader to a different plane: where patience and faith overcomes the darkest despair, and the mercy and love that Allah has placed between spouses is a tangible, enveloping reality. This is a unique book that exemplifies the meaning of courage and showing grace under pressure, and lets the reader experience an otherworldly love that most of us only dream of.

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