Children of Dust a Potrait of Muslim Young Man

Children of Dust. Draft Paper on Children of the Dust must be submitted by Friday Week 13 one week before the final draft is due.

The Final Paper on Children of the Dust due Friday of Week 14.

Requirements: 1000-1500 words 4-6 pages, 12 point type on Children of Dust. Specific format of the final paper to be announced. The final research paper must cite at least 3 peer reviewed, highly relevant, journal articles found in ODU Library Database. Module 1 explains how to access the Library Course Guide to assist with this process. Articles found using Google are not acceptable. ODU Library research skills are required. Paper will touch on comparison and contrast of Islamic ethics with one other religion as part of the specific topic to be announced. Information on how to write a Book Review is also in the Library Course Guide.

he final research paper must cite at least three peer-reviewed, highly relevant journal articles found in the ODU Library Database. Articles found using Google are not acceptable. ODU Library research skills are required. The paper will compare and contrast Islamic ethics with one other religion as part of the specific topic to be announced.

Ali Eteraz, Children of the Dust: A Portrait of a Muslim as a Young Man.

Children of Dust

Ali Eteraz’s book Children of the Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan transcends the issue of developing a religious identity by depictingthe portrait of a typical Muslim as a young man. Ali was entangled in a series of life-changing and confusing moments as he struggled to keep his faith as an orthodox Muslim. The book has five sections that alternate between Pakistan and American settings. These sections of the memoir reveal the assortment of Islamic values and search for spiritual awakening.

Section one begins with the introduction of Ali’s life before he was born. Ali tells his mother he was pregnant when his father prayed to Allah asked for a baby boy. In his father’s prayer, he mentioned that if God bestowed him a male youngster, the child would dedicate his life to serving Allah and being a staunch follower of Islam. He received a son whom he named Abir ul Islam; perfume of Islam. This mannat would transcend all through Abir’s life. This promise would alternatingly torment and inspires him through his spiritual search for identity. Abir is raised in a saturated Muslim background. However, his father almost forgets his covenant with Allah. Allah reminds him when his second son dies mysteriously and Abir almost dies from typhoid. Abri’s father recites the Quran and dedicates his son to God, who in turn heals him. From that point on, Abir is introduced to Madrassa (Eteraz, 2009).

   Section two describes the experience of the Muslim, in light of Abir and his family, in the diaspora. At the age of ten, Abir’s family moved to the USA and settled in Alabama. From the time they settle in the Bible Belt, he and his family struggle to maintain an orthodox Muslim lifestyle (Waterman, 2010). He engages in erotic chats on AOL with women and is in a situation of battling temptations. Consequently, he converts his name to Amir and enrolls at Manhattan University. He is entangled in a relationship with a girl called Una for a while. After they part, Book three records periods when Abir moves in with Moosa Farid whom they spend too much time watching movies. A peculiar film, The Siege, confuses after he realizes that Islam embraces terrorism. He pursues to fulfill his father’s covenant and realizes that he might be from a lineage of Abu Bakr Siddiq, a Caliph who accompanied the prophet from Mecca. He now focuses on eliminating his sexual desires by finding a companion. He engages with women such as Kara; an immodest Christian Lebanese. Since he knows that his parents would not approve that marriage, he and his family move to Karachi where he is ironically considered an infidel.

In part four, Abir goes back to a Christian university in the USA and discovers unlimited sexual freedom and postmodernism. He leads the Muslim Student Association; a journey that leads to a thorough exploration of egocentric power. He then shifts from the confrontational view of life as he recalls that life should be attractive rather than power-seeking. In the fifth section of the book, a series of epiphanies occur to Abir as he resides in Kuwait. He tries to pursue a Muslim reformed perspective and now calls himself Ali Eteraz, which signifies a Noble Protest (Waterman, 2010). By now he has no affiliation with family, his career is at a standstill, and he is broke. He meets Ziad who helps him discover a baggage-free life void of intellectual and political distractions. It is at this time that he makes his ultimate discovery that we are all the children of dust (Eteraz, 2009). This makes him view all humanity as equal as he becomes an object of mutual belonging and service to others. He discovers that he has deviated from the original covenant of Allah and acquired a secondary one of embracing the entirety of humanity under Islam.

Comparison and Conclusion

The dominating themes in Eteraz’s memoir revolve around religious interrelationships. The first one is an interreligious marriage. While Christians can marry other religions and respects their partners’ religion, the Muslim has been depicted as a religion that seeks dominance (Tyler, Schulhofer, & Huq, 2010; Alghafli, Hatch, & Marks, 2014). The second most conspicuous theme in Eteraz’s life, which determined the nature of wife he knew his parents would accept, was that of fundamentalism. As evident in the text, the orthodox Muslims purely believed in Allah as their supreme being. As such he could not bear to worship any other form of God or leader. He resolved to adopt reformism ideologies as the divided beliefs of Islam sometimes confused him. This form of fallacy was depicted among Christians. To the Christians, the sole belief in Jesus Christ as their savior is fundamentalism at its core (Al-Yousuf, 2006). 

The third theme depicted in the text is radical Muslim beliefs and tendencies. For instance, Abir had to lead a campaign where he was an online reformist leader fighting against militant Islam. His efforts were rooted in the fact that the Islam community was the responsible group for the 9-11 bombings with the veneration of Osama bin Laden’s jihadist beliefs. According to Bhatia and Ram (2009), the bombing caused a contestation of acculturated identities all over America, which lead to the death of Islam-resembling religious people such as the Sikh. Protesting against the militia was again captured by the Sikh because being in America meant that the minority Islam individual had to be acculturated to reduce the implications that the bombing had on the American citizens.

The final theme is a convergence of all the other themes and it is rooted in Islamism and the journey to enlightenment. Salafism, secularism, mainstream Islamism, and jihadism are the stages of discovery that summarize Abir’s journey. Salafism occurred when Abir decided to pursue and live a religious life under the belief that he was related to the Caphil. Ideally, Salafism inculcates a strong religious orientation due to the belief that one is closely connected to the Prophet himself or a close counterpart of the Prophet. This resulted in the mainstream Islamism alignment of Abir when he decided to lead the Muslim Association in his university. He was willing to harness and utilize every political advantage to implicate his reformist ideas. As was mentioned earlier, this thirst for power interrupted his religious nature. It led to a condition of secularism whereby he was willing to work with available political structures just to attain more power. His prerequisite of power led to a situation where he forgot to utilize religious guidelines.

Although he had the right motives of fighting Jihadist because he felt it reflected the negative characteristics of disregarding other people’s lives, he was at some point swirled up into the pursuit of power. All these led to his greatest worldly loss which made him move to Kuwait. Here he finds enlightenment and the revelation that religion is about caring about others as well as caring for oneself. A typical Christian path to salvation is similar to Abir’s journey. An individual is born and guided through how to follow and trust in God (Alghafli, Hatch, & Marks, 2014). Later in life, as the person’s development occurs, he/she deviates from the taught path due to the luring of worldly baggage including lust, and politics disguised in political and sexual ambitions. However, eventually, such an individual realizes that trusting God and living by the religiously designated guidelines has everything to do with being selfless. It has all to do with living for one and others. It has a sense of the well-being of all humanity rather than individual success.


Alghafli, Z., Hatch, T., & Marks, L. (2014). Religion and Relationships in Muslim Families: A Qualitative Examination of Devout Married Muslim Couples. Religions, 5(3), 814-833. doi: 10.3390/rel5030814

Al-Yousuf, H. (2006). Negotiating faith and identity in Muslim–Christian marriages in Britain. Islam And Christian–Muslim Relations, 17(3), 317-329. doi: 10.1080/09596410600794996

Bhatia, S., & Ram, A. (2009). Theorizing identity in transnational and diaspora cultures: A critical approach to acculturation. International Journal Of Intercultural Relations, 33(2), 140-149. doi: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2008.12.009

Eteraz, A. (2009). Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan (pp. 1-389). New York: HarperCollins e-Books. Waterman, D. (2010). Ali Eteraz’s Children of Dust. Pakistaniaat: A Journal Of Pakistan Studies, 2(2), 48-50.

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