Have any of you read the books of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes? It is one of the best-selling novels in the world! It is also considered as one of the greatest books in the genre of thriller-mystery. Little did we know that there is also a book series like Sherlock Holmes that was written by a Muslim author and the main character was also a Muslim detective.

The book that we are talking about is The Esa Khattak Series written by

Ausma Zehanat Khan, a Muslim American-Canadian author of crime and fantasy novel. The six crime novels in the series are all about the main character, Esa Khattak, a Muslim detective who is dedicated to help his community by solving crimes and helping those who are vulnerable. He also helps to prevent terrorism plot against the community and handles minority-sensitive cases, probably Muslim-related one. Detective Khattak sees himself as “defender” of the “Ummah,” or the entire Muslim community.

If Sherlock Holmes has his famous assistant, Doctor John H. Watson, Khattak also has Sergeant Rachel Getty, a non-Muslim and a dedicated police officer who Khattak can count on when things get worse. Getty and Khattak symbolizes the strong bond and unity established between Muslims and non-Muslims’ capabilities to help the community and bring positive changes. It is also a manifestation that no matter what religion we are in, if peace is compromised, we can separate our differences to work for the common good.

The author, Ausma Zehenat Khan is the advocate of equality among Muslims and non-Muslims. She created the protagonist, Esa Khattak, to widen our awareness on certain issues faced by Muslims such as widespread Islamophobia, xenophobia, and anti-Muslim bias. Her work was a breakthrough in terms of topics and character, given that the series was in a western setting, it is uncommon to have a protagonist who is a Muslim. Another thing, she used her knowledge in contemporary history and controversial topics in Islam to create a scenario and a plot for the story. Example of these are the Bosnian War, Srebrenica Massacre, and the Golden Era of Andalusia, which are perfect stages for the main character given that he is a Muslim.

The author’s extensive knowledge in issues faced by Muslims and her book are helpful for us to really understand our Muslim friends and their culture, beliefs, and capabilities as human beings to solve problems and help our society.