The journey began in If I Should Speak with Tamika Douglass’s path of spiritual growth and direction, treaded at the hands of her college roommates, Aminah and Dee, two Muslims on opposite ends of their strength in Islam. Footsteps, the third in a trilogy to follow Umm Zakiyyah’s A Voice, is a story that stands on its own in both impact and inspiration. At the heart of the novel is the story of Ismael, a forty-seven-year-old biracial son of a White mother and Black father, and Sarah, a forty-nine-year-old White daughter of the racist South. Married for twenty-six years and having accepted Islam on a journey they took together, the Ali pair has what every partnership hopes to achieve. Stability, dedication, and a comfortable life.
As the story unfolds, the hairline fractures in their marriage become visible, and the fractures become splintering cracks as Sarah discovers a detrimental secret her husband has kept from her for four months. In the face of his wife’s discovery, Ismael is torn between the love and security of his marriage, and the natural inclinations any man must temper in a world full of choices, and devastating consequences.
Forming the thread that weaves the characters’ lives together is Alika Mitchell, a strikingly beautiful daughter of a mulatto mother and half-Nigerian father, who is conducting a multicultural research for her master’s, and who inspires in the reader questions that one is left to ponder long after the book is closed.