Holy Men, Holy Women: A Journey into the Faiths of Malaysians and Other Essays
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Author: Dina Zaman
Subject: Faith, Religion, Essay
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Needing a break from her first book, 'I Am Muslim', Dina Zaman embarked on a two-year journey around Malaysia – the length of the peninsula as well as Sabah and Sarawak. She met people of many faiths. And from these encounters she has woven together a tapestry of vital stories: of nuns and shamans, of silat practitioners who she inadvertently offended, of pilgrims and ustaz, of hijabis who pole dance, and she ended up in Memali to discover that tragic tale. This collection of essays – animated, engaging and provocative – opens a window on the sometimes troubled terrain of religious beliefs and practices. The accounts are personal and intimate, and at the same time throw light on some of the most pressing issues that confront society today: mindfulness and worldliness, interfaith relations and lifestyle choices, class and conviction, identity and religiosity. This is Malaysia, peopled by holy men and holy women of all stripes, and Dina Zaman is your compelling guide.
'Holy Men, Holy Women' gives a valuable and rare insight into the people of faith that we revere and are too afraid or respectful to know more. They appear holier than thou. But Dina Zaman goes behind the superficial to show the human side of those who seem closer to the Almighty than the rest of us in this mortal coil.
– Jahabar Sadiq
About the Author
Dina Zaman is a journalist, writer and co-founder of IMAN Research, whose aim is to examine the connections between society, religion and perception in order to strengthen community resilience. For many years she worked in the media, as an editor and columnist at Malaysiakini, the Malaysian Insider and the Malay Mail Online. Her book 'I Am Muslim' (2007) brought together some of these essays in a study of Islamic religious life as it is lived by Muslims themselves. Her short-story collection 'King of the Sea' (2012) explores themes of love, loss and longing.