Review of Devotion and Defiance: My Journey in Love, Faith and Politics by Humaira Awais Shahid with Kelly Horan

This book challenges my single story of what it means to be a woman in an Islamic country and living faithfully under Islamic law.

Humaira Awais Shahid shatters all concepts of Muslim and Pakistani women that I’ve ever had. Her autobiography details her story from childhood until the end of her time as a parliamentarian in Pakistan, and is astounding. She fights for specific women’s rights alongside broader human rights during her time in Parliament and paints a very different picture of Pakistan than I am accustomed to seeing in American literature and television. She also takes the time to point out the other women and men that she has worked with which further calls to light the many ways that we have been led to believe a single story about Muslim women and their lives, children and marriages. When she discovers those darker parts of her country that are so well publicized in the US, she is just as shocked as we are to find that they are true, but she is the one who looks those victims in the face and can make a change for them. She has done amazing work and her story needs to be shared.
While this book is not directly about Muslim or Islamic life, as a practicing Muslim, Shahid gives some much needed insight into another interpretation of a true Muslim and how to be true to the Q’uran. It is not a focus of this book, but she makes it clear that her faith is inseparable from her self and her story.

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2 thoughts on “Review of Devotion and Defiance: My Journey in Love, Faith and Politics by Humaira Awais Shahid with Kelly Horan

    • Unfortunately, that seems true. Change is slow, especially to the degree that would really make a difference for women’s lives over there. It’s a start, and all movements start somewhere.

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