Inspirational People

Inspirational Women Throughout History – Fatima Al Fihri

This post is about Fatima al Fihri who built the world’s first university.


Fatima Al Fihri was born in Tunisia and then migrated with her family to Morocco. She came from a wealthy family and when her father passed away he left her a big fortune. Not much is known about her early life but her and her sister were well educated and deeply religious. She used the money her father left her to invest in and build a mosque and educational institute for her community.

Initially it was a smaller place of education with a courtyard, prayer hall, libraries and classrooms. At first the courses which were offered were religious studies and Quranic studies. When she thought about making a place for a higher level of learning she expanded on the institute. People would come from all over the world to study and it was expanded and built upon until it was made into a university.

The university was named the University of al-Qarawiyyin, named after Fatima’s birthplace, Qayrawan in Tunisia. It was established in 859 and was the first degree granting institute in the world. There was a wide range of areas of study available to study from, astronomy, maths to sciences, medicine, languages and more. Even Fatima studied there too. Notable scholars from all over the world studied there and it was considered a place of a major intellectual centre in the medieval times.

The university is still running now and there are also other places which are part of the university which you can visit too including the library which is one of the world’s oldest libraries! There are over 4000 manuscripts there and you can even see Fatima’s diploma on display there on a wooden board!

She has such an amazing lasting legacy that a woman was the first to build and establish a university where everyone was welcome to come and study at. As a result of her building this higher education institute it paved way for other places to be built including University of Oxford and helped advance opportunities for higher learning all over Europe.

You can read the previous posts in this series here:

Khadijah al Khuwaylid

Nusaybah bint Ka’ab

Monthly Wrap Up

March 2020 Wrap Up

Wow this month has been…a month. With everything going on in the world, it’s been a lot to deal with. I’ve been staying at home but my husband is a health care worker so he is still going to work.

But as I am at home and not having to work as many hours I had more time to read and relax. I also signed up to the 30 days free on scribd which I am absolutely loving and have gone through so many audiobooks since I started using it!

Aside from reading I have also announced my Welcome to Daevabad box which is available to buy on my etsy page! It will have 11 items and I have done several supplier and artist reveals on my Instagram page. If you love the Daevabad trilogy then do check it out!

So back to the books I read this month!

1 Once Upon an Eid edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed – This book is pure joy! It was such a wonderful book to read and had me sobbing and crying happy tears. Go preorder this book!

Rating: 5/5

2 More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed Masood – I was so beyond disappointed by this book. Youc an read my review here

Rating: 1/5

3 The Wolf of Oren Yaro by K.S. Villoso – I enjoyed this book I especially loved the world and how flawed and complex the main character was

Rating: 3/5

4 There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon – This book was absolutely adorable! I loved the body positivity in it too

Rating: 5/5

5 Split by Muhammad Khan – This short story was a world book day book and it was really great to see a character that had been mentioned but not one we got to see much of

Rating: 4/5

6 More to the Story by Hena Khan – This was such a wonderful retelling of Little Women I absolutely adored it!

Rating: 5/5

7 Misogynation by Laura Bates – This was a really interesting read and made me so mad at times. Highly recommend listening to it

Rating: 5/5

8 We Should all be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche – A reread which I enjoyed just as much the second time

Rating: 5/5

9 The Austen Girls by Lucy Worsley – This was a lovely book where we get to see Jane Austen through the eyes of her niece.

Rating: 3/5

10 Outspoken by Veronica Reuckert – This book challenged me and taught me a lot.

Rating: 3.5/5

11 A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir – Wow! I loved the sequel even more the second time reading it and I cannot wait to dive into Reaper next month!

Rating: 5/5

12 Dear Ijewale by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche – Another reread which I did enjoy reading again

Rating: 4/5

13 Period Power by Nadya Okomato – I loved this book so much! Especially that it was inclusive of people of colour and was not condescending (like I have seen in other period books) towards other people’s faith or beliefs

Rating: 5/5

14 Yes, I’m Hot in This by Huda Fahmy – I needed a good laugh and this book delivered!

Rating 5/5

15 The Fever King by Victoria Lee – I enjoyed this book but I did feel it dragged a lot in the middle

Rating: 3/5

16 Pride by Ibi Zoboi – I was totally hooked on this book right from the beginning! I loved it so much!

Rating: 5/5

17 The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell – A reread so I can read the sequel and I loved it even more!

Rating: 4.5/5

18 The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty – This book was PHENOMENAL. ABSOLUTE PERFECTION. I cannot put into words how much I loved this book and this whole trilogy!

Rating: 5/5

I also started Finale by Stephanie Garber by ended up DNFing about 100 pages in because I realised I didn’t care what happened. I really loved Caraval but I didn’t enjoy Legendary much or Finale enough to finish it.

So that’s everything I read this month!

I also shared reviews for these books:

That Can Be Arranged by Huda Fahmy
Thorn by Intisar Khanani
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

I also wrote these blog posts this month:

What Made Me A Reader for World Book Day
I shared my journey with feminism and What Feminism Means To Me
I shared a reflection on a theme that is throughout the Quran. Talking about how remembering Jannah (paradise) helps me through difficult times. You can read it here

I started a new blog series about Inspirational Muslim Women throughout History. Here are the posts I shared this month

1 Nusaybah bin Ka’ab – A warrior and activist
2 Khadijah bint Khuwaylid – A businesswoman and first person to become Muslim

So that’s everything for this month! What was your favourite read? Share any blog posts you loved reading or writing so I can check them out!

Inspirational People

Inspirational Muslim Women Throughout History – Nusaybah bint Ka’ab

I have wanted to share these stories about the amazing women throughout Islamic history and their achievements and I thought as it was International Women’s Day recently I would share them starting from this month. I’m not sure how many parts there will be yet but I hope you will enjoy reading about these amazing women!

The first woman I want to share with you all is Nusaybah bint Ka’ab who is one of my favourite female companions of the Prophet (pbuh). She was such an amazing woman, strong, confident, courageous and she didn’t let societal and cultural norms from achieving great things. She was a fierce warrior and fought alongside the Prophet (pbuh) and her husband and son. She was known for how fearsome she was both in battle and outside and she was an activist too.


This was a woman who the Prophet (saw) prayed for her and her family that they will be his companions in Jannah.

She was an early convert to Islam, from among the Ansar (people who were from Madina). She was renowned for her courage on the battlefield and was present in many important events. She was at the pledge of Aqaba, battle of Uhud, Khaybar, treaty of Al-Hudaybiyyah and the battle of Yamama.

She was one of two women who pledged their allegiance to the Prophet (saw) at Aqaba, just like the men. The only difference being that the Prophet (saw) didn’t shake her hand. Once she became Muslim she dedicated her time to the education and training of women in Islam.

At the battle of Uhud she was one of the few companions who continued to fight when most started to retreat from the battle when rumours spread that the Prophet (pbuh) had been killed. She protected the Prophet (saw), fighting with a bow and arrow and then with a sword. Alongside her, her sons and husband also protected the Prophet (saw). During this battle she suffered from several wounds. She suffered from more wounds in the battle of Yamama.

Speaking about the battle of Uhud, Umar (ra) said that he heard the prophet (saw) say “I did not turn right or left in the battle of Uhud but that I saw her fighting near me.”

After the death of the Prophet (saw) under the khalifah of Abu Bakr (ra) she fought against Musaylima (a false prophet) and when asking for permission to fight, Abu Bakr (ra) said, “We know your worth in war, so go out in the name of Allah.” At this time she was around 60 years old. It was during this battle that her hand was cut off.

She was such a fierce, strong woman who even the most prominent companions respected and admired. Which considering that these were people who lived in a very patriarchal society was not common.

She also wasn’t afraid to go to the Prophet (saw) and ask questions or speak her mind about what was troubling her to gain clarity. She would even go on behalf of other women who felt too shy to speak out in a public gathering.

She even spoke to the Prophet (pbuh) saying that women should be given exclusive access to him on a regular basis to study from him as the men would often take up all his time when asking questions during the lectures or gatherings. So then there was women’s only classes and they could still attend the general gatherings as well.

She was the one who went to the Prophet (saw) and to ask why the Quran only mentioned men and women were deprived of importance. This resulted in an ayah being revealed because of her. I just love her strength and determination in advocating for women’s rights!

There are so many more amazing women throughout Islamic history and we don’t get to see or learn about them and they are often left out of western history teachings but they are there and they were amazing!

These are the women I grew up hearing stories about, the women that I drew inspiration from and were my role models from a young age. So I thought that I would share some of my favourite Muslim women throughout history with you all. I will be sharing more soon!

Lifestyle, Reflections

What Feminism Means To Me – International Women’s Day

Over the years feminism and I have had a love hate relationship. I have slowly developed a relationship with the term even though I have been a strong advocate for female empowerment since I was teen. It’s just that word, feminism, and everything that comes with that word, that I haven’t always been on good terms with.

Anyone who knows me will know that I am always advocating for female empowerment whether it’s through discussing how important having access to a good education is important for women to talking about stigma’s in society that creates injustices for women. As I am part of the south Asian community, I especially discuss how certain cultural practices harm women and should be stopped. I have had to fight these barriers and stigmas growing up so I fight against them to help my sisters to help my cousins to help those who are younger than me so they don’t have to grow up with the same stigmas.

Yet do I call myself a feminist? I have gone from calling myself a feminist proudly to distancing myself from it to saying yes I am a feminist but not one that the media shows to so much more. Basically, it’s complicated. It’s complicated because I am a brown, Pakistani, Muslim woman who wears a hijab. I don’t “look” like a feminist. What does a feminist look like anyways?

Well mainstream media will have you believe that a feminist is a white middle class woman and I clearly don’t fit that description. I call that white feminism. It’s a type of feminism I hate because there is no space for women who don’t look like or have the same opinions as them. It’s women like these who made me want to distance myself from the term.

I have been told that I NEED to take my hijab off to be “liberated” and how they feel so sorry for me because of how I am “forced” to dress and when I tried explaining I did in fact choose to wear what I wear, I was told I don’t understand, it’s just internalised misogyny. Safe to say that we did not become friends.

After a while as I got older, I realised that actually female empowerment doesn’t only look the way that they say it does. As I studied Islam more I found that the religion is so empowering for women. It made me even more passionate about speaking up about female empowerment. I realised that a lot of the cultural practices go against what Islam teaches. I changed, I grew, I taught others around me and although the elders still cling to their cultural practices I have found that the youth fight for their rights, especially young women. For example, girls are often not allowed to go into higher education yet in Islam it is compulsory for every man, woman and child to be educated so women knowing this means they can fight to be able to study further.

Another reason that I have a complicated relationship with feminism is because of a lack of women we are shown as empowered that look like me. The last few years especially, I have noticed that a lot of feminist books are being published yet there is still no sign of women who look like me. Most of the women are white and if there is a Muslim woman included it is always Malala, no offence to her but in 1400 years of Islamic history is she really the only woman that is worthy of being included? It’s actually made me stop reading these types of books unless I know that more diverse women are included. I ended up doing my own research into Muslim women and the results were astounding, since the beginning of Islam women have been a part of all areas of society, from warriors to doctors to scholars to rulers and so much more. It’s these women who encompassed all parts of my life who became my role models.

So yes, I am a feminist and I think it’s time we broadened our idea of what feminism is, because it means different things to different people and they are all valid. I can wear a hijab and be empowered, I can follow my religion and be empowered. In fact I feel more empowered because of my religion. I will continue to learn and grow but I will always fight for female empowerment.

2019 Round Up, Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday – My Favourite (Fiction) Books I Read in 2019

Hey booknerds! I’m taking part in another week of Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. You can find more information here


I’m going to share my favourite fiction books I read this year! There was so many amazing books this year so it was really difficult to narrow it down but here are my favourites:

The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty – MY FAVOURITE BOOK SERIES EVER. I cannot explain how much I loved this book and this trilogy as a whole. I am completely obsessed and you all need to read these books! My review is here


All American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney – This book is absolutely amazing and everyone needs to read it. I felt so seen. It had me sobbing and I stayed up until 5am to read the whole book in one sitting. My review is here


The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh – I love everything Renee writes and this is no exception! I fell in love with her writing and Celine has become a new favourite character! I cannot wait for the next book! My review is here


The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad – Loved this book so much! Full of badass women in their own way. My review is here


Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali – The halal romance story that I finally saw myself in! I love Adam and Zainab so much! My review is here


All The Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman – I loved the Muslim rep and the mental health rep was done wonderfully too. My review is here


The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco – I fell in love with the wonderfully diverse characters and the amazing story and I cannot wait for the next book! My review is here


We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – I just need more zumra! They’re all amazing and I loved the world that Hafsah created! My review is here


The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi – I cannot believe I took so long to read this because it is amazing and I adore the characters and I just need the next book already!


The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala – I fell in love with the story and the tension between them throughout the book was done so well! My review is here


So these are my top reads of the year! Also an honourable mention goes to Renegades by Marissa Meyer as I have only just read it so I didn’t get to include it but omg I absolutely loved it! I cannot wait to start Archenemies.

What were some of your favourite reads this year?