Book Review: But…Who is Allah? |

Book Review: But…Who is Allah?

Parents of preschoolers who wish to introduce their children to some basic Islamic concepts and common Arabic phrases will likely enjoy the picture book But . . . Who is Allah? written by Bachar Karroum and illustrated by Tanja Varcelija.

The story centers around Adam, a young boy who hears the phrases “Subhan-Allah,” “Allahu-Akbar,” “Bismillah,” “Al-hamdullilah,” and “Insha-Allah” throughout the day. This leads Adam to wonder who Allah is, and what those phrases mean.

Patiently, Adam’s father answers all his questions. “Allah is God,” he tells his son. “Everything around you was created by Him. Allah is love. Allah is peace. When we’re happy we should thank Him! When we’re upset we must always pray and ask Him for help. Allah will always be here for us.”

In the park, Adam sees some children flying a kite and asks his parents if he can have one. His father tells him, “Insha-Allah, we’ll get you a kite.”

Adam doesn’t understand what that means. After explaining that “If Allah wants something to happen, then it will happen,” his father encourages him to ask Allah for a kite. When Adam receives it, he feels joyful, knowing Allah answered his prayer. He now has the chance to use one of his new phrases: “Al-hamdullilah!”

This book covers some simple yet fundamental topics and is just right for preschoolers who are learning the basics of their faith. Sometimes adults use Arabic phrases without explaining their meaning. Young children might not know what “Al-hamdullilah” or “Insha-Allah” really mean, for instance, and this book will give them the clarification they need. It also demonstrates to kids that it is okay – beneficial, even – to ask questions, even basic ones like, “Who is Allah?”

The book’s illustrations are colorful and charming, and the family life depicted in the book is wholesome and comforting. This is a calming and positive bedtime story to read to preschoolers. It gives parents and kids an opportunity to discuss a variety of topics, such as:

  • The concept of God
  • Commonly-used Arabic phrases
  • The importance of dua (supplication)
  • Some of Allah’s attributes
  • Islamic etiquette  
  • Gratitude to Allah
  • Kindness among family members
  • Cleanliness and healthy habits
  • The beauty of Allah’s creation
  • The fact that Allah is the provider of everything

My own children enjoyed this book in their preschool years. My youngest daughter said, “The pictures are beautiful, and I learned a word I didn’t know before. I really like the picture of the mom praying in the morning.”

Here is a video reading of the book in case you have a hard time finding it to purchase:

Laura El Alam is a freelance writer and editor and the author of the book Made From the Same Dough, as well as over 100 published articles. A wife and mother of five, Laura lives with her family in Massachusetts. You can visit her online at

Add new comment