Yacoub, our main character, suffers an attack by his brother, Suhayb, after Yacoub steals his prayer beads, a gift of their father. As a penalty for the theft, Suhayb, in keeping Islamic Sharia law, attempts to cut off Yacoub’s hand.
Yacoub still pursues the truth in Islam. His search takes him to King’s College, London, and then to the University of Arizona for his PhD in the history of Islamic law. In his thesis, he confronts the Sunni hadiths, the words and deeds of the prophet Mohammed. Frustrated by his discoveries that many hadiths are not authentic, he continues as a Muslim, but one no longer grounded in his beliefs.
His PhD mentor, Dr. Saturnalia Allison, manipulates Yacoub into an affair until she becomes pregnant by him. He kills a child in an auto accident and avoids legal consequences.
Yacoub returns to Kuwait University to teach Islamic History. He presents the façade as champion of Islam even though his PhD thesis undercuts the teachings of Mohammed.
He marries Rabea, who becomes a Christian solely through Bible reading. Rabea is the joy of his life. She is intellectually his equal who teaches herself to read both the Arabic and English Bible. She believes Christ died for her. She wants Yacoub to join her but he flounders in Islam.
Driven by recurrent requests for money from Saturnalia Allison, Yacoub embarks on questionable monetary adventures, which include fraudulent use of family funds, involvement in the Kuwaiti stock market disaster, illegal currency trading, and a scheme to ship poison gas from the Kuwaiti shipping terminal northward to Iraq.
In August 1990 the Iraqis invade Kuwait. Suhayb establishes himself as a hero of the resistance. Yacoub sequesters in his home.
As Yacoub and Rabea take in two fearful Iraqi soldiers, the soldiers are killed in their dinning room by US Special Forces. The US soldiers’ purpose is to interrogate Yacoub about his importation of poison gas. Rabea is horrified at Yacoub’s involvement.
Suhayb informs Yacoub he must flee to escape the Kuwaiti resistance, who have been informed of his actions by the Special Forces. Suhayb arranges Yacoub’s escape leaving Rabea alone with the children.
After the US victory, Yacoub returns to Kuwait. He is a man who deserted his family and country during war. But Rabea welcomes him back. Suhayb is martyred in the war, and Yacoub is forever defeated in the competition with his brother.
In a dream Yacoub is transported northward over Wadi Al-Batin, the remains of Pishon, one of the four rivers of Eden. Yacoub wrestles with a mystical figure, and he experiences three fractured vertebrae.
See how God saves the reluctant Yacoub. See how much God cares for you.