Musings of a Muslimah

Sex Matters

This is something I have been thinking about for a while now as I have had several discussions with some of my friends and especially those looking to get married. Sex and intimacy in marriage is something that isn’t really discussed in Muslim communities. It’s treated like a taboo and we’re told it’s dirty or disgusting so we go into marriage with this mentality and it causes so much stress for so many people.

Girls are told it’s a bad thing and boys are told they can have sex all they want when they’re married so we give them no guidance and then leave them alone in a room. This isn’t okay. We can’t drill this into the youth and then wonder why they have marriage issues or issues in intimacy.

We need to be teaching intimacy properly, in Islam it’s an act of worship and we are rewarded for it. So then how can we be treating it like it is something dirty? Just to stop girls from being sexually active outside of marriage we scar them. If it’s an act of worship why aren’t boys taught they also need to satisfy their wives and women have desires too. Why do we tell them that their wife is there to please them but not that they are also there to please her?

We have created a society where we simultaneously say sex is bad but the moment a couple is married everyone is telling them they need to have children. How do you think this is going to happen? They think, baby, and they magically get one? NO! So then why create this environment and turn something beautiful and a way to express love into something that girls will think is disgusting and boys think it is just for their pleasure?

When we do teach about intimacy it is more a list of rules and regulations and while that is absolutely important. Intimacy is more than that and should solely be reduced down to that. It’s a way of expressing love and satisfying each others desires. It should be mutual and both should feel satisfied. Women are especially shamed for thinking about their sexual desires even though it is natural. Every single person has a sex drive and for women to feel shamed by it isn’t healthy. Both men and women need to learn to control their desires but they shouldn’t be shamed for having feelings. So when they go into a marriage that feeling of shame lingers and then the women don’t feel like they can express their desires because it’s a shameful thing to do they often are left unsatisfied and unable to say anything.

We need to learn how to have these conversations with our youth, we need to create an environment where they can ask questions and not be shamed for it. We need to teach them and guide them so they can grow up and create a safe and open environment with their spouses where both are happy and satisfied with the intimacy. I’m tired of hearing how many single women are scared of being intimate or that married women are feeling unsatisfied in their intimate life with their husband and we need to change and do better.

Inspirational People

Inspiring Women Throughout History – Queen Zubaydah

This post is dedicated to one of two women who is known as one of the Two Queens of Baghdad.

Her name was Zubaydah bin Ja’far and was an Abbasid queen and wife to Harun ar-Rashid. We often hear about him and what an incredible man and Caliph he was but we don’t hear about his wife who was just as incredible. It is often thought that Zubaydah and Harun are one of the main inspirations behind 1001 Arabian Nights though some do say that his mother, Al-Khayzarun, is the inspiration behind Shahrzad.

She was known for her courage, beauty and wisdom and was a patron of the arts and even wrote poetry herself. She was also eloquent in her speech and charming. Not only was she passionate about the arts but she also gave substantial money towards it to try to bring more poets and literary figures and scientists to Baghdad. She also sponsored teachers to teach Islamic studied to students. She had memorised the Quran and was a student of hadith and Arabic literature.

She had a lot of influence during her rule and was able to make some incredible achievements. Her husband regularly spoke to her and asked her for advice regarding all matters regarding running the court and kingdom and he always believed her decisions were wise and correct.

While her husband was away with his army, she had the authority to run the kingdom. She also accompanied her husband on his military excursions and also went to perform Hajj with him. While they were at Hajj she noticed that pilgrims had difficulty accessing clean water so she had engineers build tunnels along the road to Makkah to provide clean water, this is still known as Zubaydah’s river. Because of this, more and more people started using the road as there was access to water and this road became known as Zubaydah’s road.

This wasn’t merely just tunnels though, she had shelters with deep wells and water pools built along with guest houses, masjids and more to provide safety and security for travellers and their caravans and animals. There was also minarets built along the road which lit fires at night to guide travellers. This was all built travelling in the direction of Makkah. These were so well built that they survived for centuries. This road became an area where people from different places could meet and trade and also exchange stories and histories which allowed the area to flourish and become more a built up. She spent billions building this so that people could benefit for centuries to come.

Adult Books, Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space

The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan – Book Review

This book is absolutely incredible and has fast become one of my favourite reads!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A dark power called the Talisman has risen in the land, born of ignorance and persecution. Led by a man known only known as the One-eyed Preacher, it is a cruel and terrifying movement bent on world domination—a superstitious patriarchy that suppresses knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing.

But there are those who fight the Talisman’s spread, including the Companions of Hira, a diverse group of influential women whose power derives from the Claim—the magic inherent in the words of a sacred scripture. Foremost among them is Arian and her apprentice, Sinnia, skilled warriors who are knowledgeable in the Claim. This daring pair have long stalked Talisman slave-chains, searching for clues and weapons to help them battle their enemy’s oppressive ways. Now, they may have discovered a miraculous symbol of hope that can destroy the One-eyed Preacher and his fervid followers: The Bloodprint, a dangerous text the Talisman has tried to erase from the world.

Finding a copy of The Bloodprint promises to be their most dangerous undertaking yet, an arduous journey that will lead them deep into Talisman territory. Though they will be helped by allies—a loyal ex-slave and Arian’s former confidante and sword master—both Arian and Sinnia know that this mission may well be their last. 

I had been putting this book off because I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy it but I wish I had read it earlier because I absolutely loved it! This is such a wonderful book that is steeped in history and Islamic beliefs has been woven seamlessly into the story. Ausma actually used verse from the Quran in the story which had me crying happy tears when I read it.

The world building in this book is incredible, it is complex and intricate and I know some people may find it a little confusing but don’t stop, keep reading, it’s totally worth it! The world is Persian inspired and you can see it in everything from the landscape to the clothing and more I loved reading it so much. I loved learning about the history of the world and how the oppressive regime, the talisman, have destroyed institutions of education and oppressed women and that the main character is part of a group of women who are trying to bring back peace and justice to their homes.

These women are called the Companions of Hira and the nod to Mount Hira had me squealing in delight! Where the Prophet (pbuh) was first given revelation and told to read. These women are called oralists and prize education and justice named themselves after a place where the first revelation was revealed. *chefs kisses*

I love all the characters and how we slowly learn about them over the course of the story yet they still remain a mystery to some extent which will have you dying for the next book. I really can’t wait to learn more about Sinnia and Daniyar especially. I completely fell in love with Daniyar and his mysterious ways and yet how he is with Arian and supports her decisions not trying to decide things for her and actually expresses his feelings. I want more soft boys in books please!

The main character, Arian, was so wonderful to read about, her faith in finding justice and searching for the Bloodprint, which is actually the Quran! The moment I realised she was talking about searching for the Quran I screamed because wow I absolutely love how respectfully and wonderfully Ausma wove Islam and Islamic beliefs into the story. Arian also uses the verse of the Bloodprint which are known to them as a form of power and it was so interesting to read.

One of the most fascinating things about the book is how the talisman are essentially the Taliban regime and how they prevented people from having access to the quran and centres of education and oppressed the women. The companions of hira represent the people who stood up against their oppression and fought for a better world. It’s especially interesting as both sides fighting for very different worlds are using the same text, the Bloodprint to justify their views. It shows how the same information can be used so differently and interpreted so differently.

The story had me completely hooked from the beginning and reading about the courage of women who are in so many different situations and how they try to make the best of their lives within what they can do but also try to fight for a better more just world. The ending where we finally start to see some of the pieces fall together had me reeling with the revelations and the sacrifices they all had to make. I am still not over one particular scene and after that ending I am so excited to dive into The Black Khan.

I highly recommend picking up this wonderful especially now as the last book will be out soon so you can binge all four books. You will not regret it. My heart is so full and happy after reading this wonderful book.

Inspirational People

Inspiring Women Throughout History – Sumayyah (ra)

Before I begin, I want to share that this discusses torture and murder so please only continue if you are okay to read about these topics.

This is a woman who suffered so much because she became Muslim and was eventually murdered by Abu Jahal. Sumayyah is the Aasiyah of our Ummah and she was murdered by the firawn of our ummah. She was about 60 years old when she died. We don’t know much about her life except after she became Muslim.

She was an Abyssinian woman, from modern day Ethiopia, and was a slave woman to one of the most powerful tribes of Makkah. Her master gave her in marriage to Yasir, who was under the protection of the tribe. She had a son, Amar, who was around the same age as the Prophet (pbuh).

The tribe that her family were in service to were the people who were most resistant to Islam and the Prophet (pbuh). When she became Muslim she was 60 and one of the first seven people to accept Islam publicly. Because she was a slave she had no protection or status to protect her and her master tortured her to try to get her to stop being Muslim.

TW: discussions of torture

She was forced to wear mailcoats under the blazing sun and was beaten publicly to deter others from becoming Muslim. She was tortured in many ways from physical torture of beatings, whips and more but also emptionally tortured by being forced to watch her husband and son (who also became Muslim) being tortured. They all had to watch each other being tortured and because of they were slaves there was no one to stand up for them.

They couldn’t even be bought by anyone to free them from this torture as their tribe refused to sell them. They experimented with different torture techniques on her but she refused to say that she would stop being Muslim or insult the Prophet (pbuh). When they tortured her she would respond with remembrance of Allah.

When she became Muslim she said to the Prophet (pbuh): I bear witness that you are the messenger of Allah and that your promise is true.

This is what she held onto as she was being tortured. Because she refused to do what they wanted when they tortured her, they became more and more angry with her. Eventually Abu Jahal became so mad with her that he speared her, killing her in front of her family. She was the first person to die for Islam. She may have spent her whole life as a slave and spent her last days being tortured but she was the first of this ummah to enter paradise.

This is a woman who had such strength in her faith that no matter what she went through she refused to say what her master wanted her to say about Islam. She died so early on in the call to Islam that she knew very little about it, she only saw the persecutions of the Muslims yet her faith remained true.

Inspirational People

Inspiring Women Throughout History – Hafsah bint Umar (ra)

Hafsah was a wife of the Prophet (pbuh), before marrying him (pbuh) she was married to Hisn ibn Hudhafah he passed away after the Battle of Badr and then she married the Prophet (pbuh).  

She was an incredible woman who had a fiery personality. Her name derives from the Arabic word for lion and it is said that she lived up to her name! She had a strong personality and wasn’t afraid to speak up and give her opinions.

She was one of the few people who could read and write as at that time most people couldn’t as they had an oral tradition. She had memorised the Quran and was given the responsibility of being the  guardian of the Quran as all the verses which had been revealed were written down and it was her who was given the responsibility of looking after it. This was so important as this was how later the companions were able to piece all of it together for us to have the Quran that we read today. Without her it may not have been possible. She and all that she had kept safe were the primary sources when Uthmaan (ra) made the Quran into a single book.

She was also known for her wisdom and being able to give great advice. Her father was the second Caliph and when she found out that he hadn’t said who would succeed him as the next Caliph she went and advised him to choose to avoid fighting and division amongst the people.

Her and Aisha (ra) were known to be really close despite when she first married the Prophet (pbuh), Aisha felt jealous but eventually they became really close as they tended to always agree on the same matters and it was as if they were sisters. Hafsah supported Aisha when the hypocrites tried to attack the Prophet (pbuh) by spreading slander and lies about Aisha being unfaithful.

She was someone who loved to learn and spent a lot of time studying and had an inquisitive nature who often spent time discussing the finer points in Islam with the Prophet (pbuh). Sometimes she would even question him or argue her point, not to be rude, but because she was the type of person who just needed to know the answer. Her father once told her off for arguing with the Prophet (pbuh) but another wife came to her defence asking him why he is interfering in matters between a husband and wife.

She was an incredible woman who was entrusted with the most important thing at the time, the papers which had all the verses of the Quran and was integral in ensuring that the verses and chapters were all correctly bound together. She was fiery and passionate and did not shy away from asking difficult questions. She was opinionated and stood her ground.