Thursday, February 9, 2012


Isa Kamari is a Singaporean whose book "Intercession"  (published in Malay as "Tawassul" and due out in English translation later this year) features a clone of the Prophet Muhammad.
The genesis of his book lay in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Thinking about what could trigger such terror, he decided that the issue was history - that interpretations of the past were hindering the future. He wants his faith to be adaptive, inclusive and progressive, drawing on principles established in the past but made relevant to the present.
"That's why actually I created this character - the clone of the Prophet. In my story I put him in a community. Biologically he has all the traits of the Prophet but the question is, could historical man be repeated? I try to portray this person using experiences from the past and trying to adapt to the current situation," Isa said.
The question of why clones are O.K. but cartoons are not, referred to the controversy sparked by the publication in Denmark in 2005 of cartoons of the Prophet.
"The basic distinction is this," said Sardar. "The cartoons were commissioned, designed and produced both to ridicule, disparage and abuse not just the Prophet but the whole community. That kind of demonization undermines my humanity. The clone idea was a very specific idea to explore certain problems which are very deep problems within Islam using a literary device," he argued.

He said Muslims regard themselves as a historic community, but that this has become a kind of baggage.

"It is very, very important for us to understand and appreciate what aspects of the Prophet's life, who is supposed to be a model for us, are purely historic and should be left in history and what part of his examples are the examples that we should emulate and that will take us forward," said Sardar.

- The New York Times & International Herald Tribune. 
I finished reading Intercession on the plane rides. It is gripping,.provocative stuff -- I loved the bold intellectual challenge implied by the stunning last chapter. It is a novel of powerful questions, not easy answers. - Alvin Pang, Editor, Intercession
There are many delicate layers to unpeel. Makes a Muslim reader feel that his knowledge of Islam is inadequate. Must have been a big achievement as an author, to have your work still talked about after 7 years, and Insyaallah for more than another 7 years. I'd be very happy if I can come out with even one novel of that calibre in 15 years. Well done! :) - Rumaizah Abu Bakar.
A Singapore architect/writer has written this innovative novel which brings Islam into today's context of confusion and violence. Past and present intertwine as challenges to thought and rethinking are presented. - Select Books

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