Book Review by Guest Writer




Review written by : Zurina Ismail

This is my good deed for the day.

Safiah’s coffee table book is a book of poems that is embellished with lots of pictures. It is a book for which all proceeds from its sale will go to orphans and to children living in extreme poverty wherever or whoever they may be.

I have been taking a particularly long time to come up with a review for this book simply because poems aren’t my thing and I really had no idea where or how to begin. However when it was presented to me by the writer along with a request to review I just had to find a way around it.

Although this book is very much spiritually inclined, particularly by the insertion of verses from the Quran, it deals, however, with the very earthly matters of life. It is a book written with an appreciation of the natural wonders that surround us every day; the wonders of God’s creation. Safiah reminds us of the trees, the mountains, the rivers, the plants and animals that are, like us, fighting to survive in an ever challenging environment. She writes about the threat of global warming, habitat destruction and reminds us on each page and through each poetic line that the beauty of nature and the maintaining of it are in our hands; that the choice is ours to, or not to, preserve the gifts that Allah has given us. She describes us as the inheritors of the Planet Earth.

It goes without saying that the writer is very much a great lover of nature and fears that the environment that we live in today is being threatened by manmade creations that cause disharmony and destruction to the natural order of life that Allah has created for us.

Safiah has taken great pains to bring to life in words and lyrics the natural wonders of our world. She takes our hands and brings us for a walk through the many existing natural phenomena of trees, of mountains, of rivers, of the rainbow, of squirrels, of butterflies, of bees, of rainforests and even of vegetables, nuts, and grains et cetera and attempts to demystify Allah’s creations, by applying to them moral and spiritual values. Safiah conveys that it is these spiritual and moral messages which are inherent in nature that we should listen to because it provides valuable insights to the way that a true believer should conduct his or her life. Safiah uses verses from the Quran to amplify this message throughout her book and her devotion, belief and sincerity is evident.

In each of her poems Safiah describes vividly the physical features of what she sees around her and her thoughts and reflections return constantly to the greatness of Allah, His power and the preciousness of the wonders that He has generously blessed us with. Safiah’s writing are chock-full of imagery and one can’t but help ‘see’ things as animatedly as she sees them.

Safiah has likened the planting of a seed to that of doing a good and charitable deed. She addresses the gravity of honesty, faith, knowledge and clarity of vision in all that we do. Safiah has managed to weave the significance of such desirable traits as these and relate it to nature and the bewildering ways of God so that if only we looked carefully and reflected deeply would we realize the essence and meanings behind all His marvels and creations.

Safiah’s poems are not difficult to interpret as they are no hidden shades and nuances to deal with. They appear quite direct and her message comes across clearly and unambiguously. Hers is a constant expression of her love for nature and thus for the almighty Allah, His generosity particularly to our planet and to us its people. This is the main recurring theme and the consistent thread that runs throughout the book.

Safiah has provided beautiful pictures of all things natural, of rainforests, of coral reefs, of various animals, of mountains and so on to vivify her message and in an attempt to connect the reader to her thoughts visually. The pictures of fruits and vegetables certainly reminded me that we should all go organic, at the least. Although the book may be considered a book of poems there are, however, parts in which poems have given way to prose. Poetry and a lyrical writing style have been used to make her message more memorable, more refreshing, more readable and more acceptable.

It is not hard to realize that Safiah wishes us all to live in constant wonder and amazement and to respect nature because that would in turn mean a respect for the Creator and His greatness. Hers is a book that seeks to remind, to make you ponder, to reflect and to appreciate and respect the world that we live in, its beauty as well as its mysteries. Hers is a book that strives to remind us that we are merely a small part of a greater existence, but with consideration and a little thought in what we do every minute of the day we can do much not just for our world and ourselves but for all other living creatures in turn that inhabit this earth. Hers is a book for reflection.

This book is available at MPH bookstores.

About the author

Dr. Safiah Osman is a graduate of the University of Malaya in education and left for the United States on a Fulbright scholarship. She obtained an M.Sc (Education) from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. She returned as a lecturer in University Malaya and then left to pursue her doctoral programme at State University of New York at Albany. She obtained a M.Sc (Reading) and also a Doctorate in Education (Ed. D) from the same university.

Dr .Safiah was the founder member and first president of the Malaysian Reading Association that is affiliated to the International Reading Association. She was the recipient of the National Union of Graduate Teachers Book Prize and the Mary Ellen Galluci Award given by the American Association of University Women, Washington D.C., USA

Dr. Safiah was a Professor of language Education at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur and later joined University Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Tanjung Malim, Perak, Malaysia as Professor of Language Education and also held the post of Director for International Relations before her retirement in 2004.


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