- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Hay House (7 October 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9380480415
- ISBN-13: 978-9380480411
- Package Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,61,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Master of the Jinn Paperback – 7 Oct 2010
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Other readers have compared Master of the Jinn to the DaVinci Code for its loose relationship to religioustenets(Sufism,in this case). Epigraphs and other quotations from Sufi mystics and philosophers are used throughout and may offer a deeper layer of meaning. Even so, fiction gives the author poetic license to deviate from strict interpretation of religious screed and creatively embroider, for that is the point of writing imaginatively. Otherwise the tale might be portrayed as an ethonographic folk tale. The same is true of Alexandra David-Neel’s account of the Bon monks. In other books, she writes of her travels in Tibet but in that tome she takes readers on an imaginative journey, as Karchmar does here.
I found the beginning of Master of the Jinn slow. Back-stories are lures to the main tale. Even once embarked on the main journey,there are side-alleys, like the maze of streets in a Casbah, each full of its own secrets. Soon I eagerly followed the soulful Sufi group on their mission to the land the jinn and their deliverance from it.
The story is more plot-driven than character-driven. When I closed the book, I was glad for the resolution of the quest; I did not feel I was reluctantly leaving a group of friends as I turned the last page.
Descriptions of the region and customs seem realistic. Initially, I was disconcerted because I could not tell in what era the storyoccurring. Use of Jeep later indicates the main action is contemporary. But the language of Ishaq the scribe uses anachronistic constructions as “verily.”
The novel works on a number of levels -- as a sociological description of a Sufi group, a region, and culture; as a partial depiction of religious lore that spans a few faiths; an adventure tale; the polished entertaining presentation of a scholar and creative writer, and as a set of teachings. I myself had an unexpected epiphany after reading one section of the story.
Disclosure: Irving Karchmar has been a Facebook friend for some time. Initially, I returned a free copy because I was stalled in the early part of the book. One evening I wanted to read something representative of his calmness, so that was when I started this book. I was not disappoined.
The story starts off sort of in the middle before going into the beginning. Ishaq is wandering the Sahara desert after being separated from his travel companions.. Hot and weary he wanders the desert in search of water, he becomes aware that even the animals pray to god.
Interestingly enough the story begins in somewhat modern Jerusalem, more precisely in the old city. A khaniqa or Sufi school is established in Jerusalem, and Ishaq goes searching for his teacher. In the market the Master Hayd is searching for a special coffee for some very special guests that will be attending the khaniqa that evening. On the way back from shopping Ishaq learns some spiritual lessons from a beggar in Jerusalem's streets.
That evening the Khaniqa holds a feast and three distinguished guests appear, three Israeli Jews. Dr. Shlomo Freeman is a professor at Hebrew University and is a former student of Master Hayd. Freeman's daughter Rebecca comes and so does a mossad officer who is involved with something archaeological. THe Mossd agent was in the Sahara on some mission when he stumbled onto a cave with a corpse holding a cylinder . The cylinder is written in ancient Hebrew or more appropriately called the Canaanite scripts. First he goes to Dr. Freeman and then Dr. Freeman goes to the Sufi master.
This of course leads to an adventure in the desert for Ishaq, two other students and the Israelis. Guided by the beggar from Jerusalem they take a ship to Algiers and embark with the aid of the Tuareg and Berbers to a place buried in the sands of the Sahara. The city of the Jinn. What follows is not much of an adventure but rather a tale of redemption for all of mankind and the Jinn if they want to take it.
The strong points of this story is that it shows Jews and Muslims working together and learning from each other. Combining the lore from both religions they are able to solve mysteries and problems. It shows venerated rabbis giing prophecy pertinent to Islamic issues. Both paths are holy. Yet I would debate a few facts mentioned in the book. Number one the Shamir was not a stone, according to Jewish lore , but rather it was a worm that ate stones in order to build the Jewish temple as steel and Iron could not be used. Tadmor is in Syria not North Africa. I am not sure King Solomon built the city for Queen Sheba and if he did would it not bee located in Arabia.
I have long known or suspected that people beside Muslims can join Sufi orders and be intiated with a symbolic conveserion. Why all the Israeli Jews involved end up converting instead of keeping their religion smacks of some propaganda , like promoting sufism. Too bad a Rabbi could not have accompanied these guys and in addition to converting Jews to Sufism there could have been some Muslims converting to Judaism
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