I USED to visit Catholic bookstores in my life, but I have never visited an Islamic bookshop. It was my first the other day, and I was awed at the array of Islamic books and the quiet of the bookshop ambiance.
Columnist and historical writer Antonio V. Figueroa, an esteemed colleague in the media led me there. He asked me to visit the place and I was just glad Tony led me there, I entered the Darussalam Bookshop along Roxas Avenue, looked around for the array of books, and met the owners of the place.
Ricky and Cheema Espanol own the place, and they told me it really was there dream to put up a bookshop for their Muslim brothers and sisters. The whole dream came into a reality after they visited the Darussalam Bookshop in Saudi Arabai where they worked.
After saving for a capital of this project (or business ), they sought the help of the Darussalam publishing which has branches all over the world and finally put up this Darussalam Bookshop here in Davao. The only one in Mindanao, and in the country, they said.
The Darussalam bookshop in Roxas Avenue is filled with Islamic books from the Muslim theology and Islamic inspiration. Dunno if I got some terms right, but this bookshop is really a kind of oasis in the middle of a busy street in Davao.
It really looks more of a library where Ricky and Cheem are the faithful librarians. Inside, you have small tables with chairs enough for you to sit back, read on while taking your brewed coffee you can buy at P45 only. The quiet of the place, plus the ambiance of a learning and spiritual experience is really enough to make your day.
I promised to bring my Muslim friends here so they can see and enjoy bookshop replete with Islamic books. I thought of bringing my good friend CQ Francisco, our managing editor of this newspaper. CQ is a Muslim belonging to the Kagan tribe of Davao Oriental. Mura’g pariente nimo sila Q. Taga didto pud ata sila. Didto ta mangape Q. Malipay ka didto.
I also though of bringing Ms Pong Abas, this articulate Atenean who belongs to the Maguindanao tribe. Pong would be very glad to see Darussalam bookshop for her further and deeper study of her faith especially now that she just married.
I gave Ricky and Cheema my book “Every Word Counts,” a community journalism book which has been used by school paper advisers and campus editors and the journalism students of the Ateneo de Davao University.
Ricky also gave me the Holy Q’uran, the popular version. I received with all the respect I could give.
While taking the brewed coffee Ricky offered. I looked around for titles of the books around. And I asked if most of our Muslim brothers and sisters have read some of these, like nuns of St. Paul, they also said no.
This Darussalam bookshop is really the best place for Muslims to deepen their faith and for non-Muslims to widen their understanding of the Muslim faith.
I was there because Cheema wanted me to meet her group of writers for a writeshop. She wanted to produce a newsletter to propagate the great stories of people in their faith experiences.
So I will be back there on a schedule she would determine. Ricky led me to the door of the bookshop, and I realized I was not allowed to bring my shoes inside the bookshop. Leave your shoes here. Poor me.