this is the Indonesion version book cover; can't find my own version

this is the Indonesion version book cover; can't find my own version

I bought this book when I was in second year.

I still haven’t finished it.

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Alhamdulillah, so far my life is happy. I have been sad before…but I have never been depressed and that is one of the greatest ‘nikmat’ from God to his creation…the ability to lead your life in contentment if not happiness.

I guess, that’s why I could not relate very much to this book. I mean…I don’t think it’s such a great book though I have heard lots of great reviews about this book from my Muslim friends.

I mean, I am not a big fan of motivational books all that much. With the help of God, I always try to keep my motivation at all-time high everyday. I think daily prayers help in that sense. So, I really don’t need motivational books like this.

BUT!

My review may not be accurate due to several factors:

1)My La Tahzan was bought in Malaysia. So I could only get my hands on the Malay version of the book. Some of the powerful phrases may be lost in translation. Just look at the Al-Quran. The words used are all very specific and accurate in arabic….that an attempt to translate it would make the incredibility of the Quran pales out.  (So I am campaigning for every Muslim to start learning Arabic…as I have just started joining an Arabic class myself)

2) It depends on the personality of the reviewer. Some people love motivational books and they have read lots of them and therefore they are at a much better position to compare which ones are good and which ones are not. My review is limited by my lack of exposure to these kind of books, due to the fact that I have never really enjoyed motivational books very much.

3)And also, my review may not be correct due to the fact that I was not able to finish it. I am, at the moment, halfway through….and I have been halfway through for 2 years already. I may not be able to finish it, ever.  (PATHETIC, I KNOW)

What do I really think of this book?

I do think that it’s a good book but it’s something one cannot enjoy reading from cover to cover in 24 hrs. So, it’s not like reading fiction books or novels. It’s like something that you read to motivate you every now and then. When you actually need some inspiration, then you might want to open this book and hopefully you will benefit from it.

It’s a bit like Chicken Soup with an Islamic flavour. (I for one, never really enjoyed chicken soup but I know others absolutely love it).  So, every chapter has its own theme or topic…and for every chapter the author gave you some Quranic verses or hadeeth related to the topic of that chapter. Sometimes, the author even included some Arabic poetries (but it doesn;t make much sense in Malay…like I didn’t find the poem enjoyable all that much).

I guess, my mistake was in thinking that I could read La Tahzan the way I read all my novels.

No, never ever do that!

Just read 1-3 chapters at a time. In fact, you don’t even need to read the chapters in any specific sequence at all. Like, you can read chapter 1 first which is talking about ‘reflection and thankfulness’ and later when you think you are feeling lonely, you may want to skip all the other chapters and go straight to chapter 8 which is discussing on ‘Banish your emptiness with Staying Active’.

(Note: I am translating the title of the Chapters from my Malay version of La Tahzan  to English. So Chapter 1 and Chapter 8 may not exactly be translated that way in the English Version of La Tahzan. Ugh….translation, translation!)

There are about 281 chapters…with each chapter roughly consisting of 2-4 pages.

My only complaint about this book is:

It gets repetitive.

I mean, some of the points in certain chapters have been discussed in other chapters. And because there are like 281 chapters (that’s a lot! You are bound to be redundant) talking about various emotional things, so the strategy to combat all those emotional things would be quite overlapping.

I guess, I can summarize the solution for ANY type of emotional disease with one sentence; Go back to Allah and seek guidance from the Al-Quran.

For every emotional problem that arises in your life, the treatment is so simple. But we find psychiatrists and psychologists all over the world elaborating them in a complicated manner. (Money might play a factor, here….that’s my cynicism talking).

I guess, that’s the main reason I am not a big fan of motivational books. Because I feel like, when I am down, I just need to find a solution to my current problem, which is usually unique to that particular situation (and therefore could not be found in any books). And once the problem is solved, I will be happy again. I mean, I am not unhappy without any reason…so all I need to do is to tackle that reason with the help of Allah, insya-Allah.

I guess, this book is much more suitable for depressive people!

You know, depression is very complicated to understand and I only truly understood this disease after I had done two months of clinical placement at the Mater Hospital. I mean, one semester of learning depression did not give me any benefit in understanding depression.

But depression is more than just sadness. Whereas sadness will have a reason, and once the reason is solved, the sadness is gone….depression is different. The depressed people do not have reasons for being depressed…that’s why you find rich famous people getting depressed. They have everything yet they are depressed. So, because they don’t have any particular reason for being sad, there is nothing to tackle, there is nothing to solve….but their sadness lingers like a transparent ghost.

I think, this book may give some benefit to depressive patients, insya Allah.

But to everyday happy people with problems to be solved practically and only need an occasional rest and cheering up….we don’t really need this book. Maybe just to be read as an intellectual pursuit in order to understand human  emotion a bit better.

But you do get the most beautiful quotes from the Quran and Hadeeth in this book and it is specific for a particular problem discused in the book. And for that alone, I am keeping this book in my bookshelf.

Hope this review helps.