Friday Favourites

Friday Favourites – Non-Fiction Book Recommendations

This week’s Friday Favourites is about non-fiction books! I love reading non-fiction books from history to feminism to mental health topics and so much more. I find them fascinating to read though they do take longer than my fiction books especially as I annotate and highlight away.

So here are some of my faves:

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold – The most read of mine and one that had me burning with rage at the way people and history has treated these women while glamourising jack the ripper.

Amazing Muslims Who Changed the World by Burhana Islam – A book that go back to again and again and full of incredible people throughout Islamic history

Allah Loves by Omar Suleiman – A spiritually uplifting book which I benefit from reading again and again

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig – I really love his books and this is no different.

Period Power by Nadya Okomoto – I loved the discussions around periods and especially how it affects women differently in different parts of the world.

Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed – This book is my absolute favourite and one that I go to again and got me through some really difficult times.

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez – Another book that left me screaming in rage because this world is truly made only for men.

Boys Will be Boys by Clementine Ford – A follow up book of Fight Like A Girl which I had to read in small chunks because it was just so rage inducing but also discussing difficult topics that were often very difficult to read too but conversations need to happen about them.

Also I am currently reading The Muslim Problem by Tawseef Khan which is interesting so far and will be out in March.

Inspirational People

Inspiring Women Throughout History – Razia Sultan

If you have been following me for a while you know that I have a monthly feature where I post about Muslim women throughout Islamic history because they do not get the recognition they deserve. There are so many incredible women and we don’t ever hear about them and they are never included in books about female empowerment either so I decided to share them myself. You can find all the previous posts on my blog under the Inspirational People section.

This month I will be talking about an incredible woman called Razia who became a queen in India and the only woman to ever lead the Delhi sultanate.

She was the daughter of the then Sultan’s slave and eventually her father, who the Sultan adored found himself in line for the throne. When her father became Sultan he ensured she received the same education as her brothers. He taught her to be a warrior and a leader and before he died, he named her successor. However, people did not want her to rule and so her half brother became sultan even though he was unfit to rule. He was selfish and didn’t care about his people and it wasn’t long before he was assassinated. Razia then became Sultan.

When she became Sultan she devoted herself to running her empire. She led her armies into battles and strengthened her kingdom in many ways. She was a major patron of learning and set up schools, libraries and more. She supported the works of scholars and those who studied and taught Quran. She loved her people and they loved her. She proved herself to be was fierce, competent leader and Sultan.

However the nobles were jealous of her and bitter that a woman was ruling the empire and secretly plotted to overthrow her. They spead lies and discord among the people, saying she is unfit to rule and when Razia found out she raised an army and led them into battle against the nobles who had conspired against her. She was outnumbered however and lost to them, they took her throne and some say they killed her and other sources say they imprisoned her.

Even though her throne was taken from her, she remains an incredible woman who achieved so much in helping her empire and her people and will always be known as the fierce warrior queen.

Inspirational People

Inspirational Women throughout History – Lubna of Cordoba

There are so many amazing women that we never hear about unless we go looking and it is honestly so heart breaking that these women are not known to the majority of people. I hope that these posts inspire you to go look up more about them and find even more women who achieved amazing things.

Today I am going to share a little bit about Lubna of Cordoba who lived in Andalus in the 10th Century. She was born a slave but rose to become the personal secretary to the Sultan Abdur Rahman and also his son Al-Hakim. As she was not nobility it showed how much faith and trust they had in her ability and knowledge. Not only was she the personal secretary to the Sultan but also a mathematician, a poet and library master and she excelled in all these areas. Her role was even more extradordinary because not only was she a woman who excelled in a male dominated court but she also rose to such great heights while being born a slave.

She oversaw the royal library which had over 500,000 books and she was also one of the first female solo travellers. She travelled all over the middle east to acquire books for her library and also went to places like Baghdad and Cairo. Her library was one of the most famous and important libraries of her time. Not only did she acquire books for her library but she also also transcribed and annotated many books that she had acquired and also translated many books including important historic Greek texts.

She was also known as one of the greatest mathematicians and even taught children maths and it was well known that she loved maths. She was a scholar and known for her knowledge and skill not only in math but also sciences and became one of the most influential people in the palace.  

She was a strong, independent woman whose intellect and determination allowed her to rise to achieve amazing things and left a lasting legacy. We don’t know much about her but what we do know shows that she was incredible woman who excelled in many fields.

A famous Andalusian scholar, Ibn Bashkuwal said, “She excelled in writing, grammar, and poetry. Her knowledge of mathematics was also immense and she was proficient in other sciences as well. There were none in the Umayyad palace as noble as her.” 

I also have blog posts on several other Muslim women in this series which you can find here

Booksish Discussions

An Afternoon With Jenni Murray – Manchester Literary Festival

On Monday I went to my very first Manchester literary festival event. It was a really fun and interesting event and I’m really glad I got to go!


Jenni discussed her latest book, A History of the World in 21 Women. I haven’t had the chance to read this one yet but after listening to her talk I’m really looking forward to reading it.

I had initially wanted to go to her event as I had read A History of Britain in 21 Women and I really loved it! The women she chose were really interesting and some that I hadn’t heard about or knew much about and others were some of my favourite women. I wish we had been taught more about the amazing women when I was in school.

During her talk she spoke about some of the women she wrote about in her book going back to ancient Egypt to women still alive today. She spoke about how they each had to deal with circumstances that made it difficult for them to succeed but persevered and made an impact in history.

From the pharaoh Hatshepsut who had to pretend to be a man to be able to be a ruler to Dowager Empress Cixi who had to be ruthless in her rule. Women who stood up for justice and despite the odds being against them were resilient and brave. They range from rulers to scientists to artists to politicians.

It was a fun and engaging event and even my husband, who only comes because I drag him along, really enjoyed the event.

After the event we were also able to meet Jenni and get our books signed and she was really lovely to chat to. I am really looking forward to reading her new book and I definitely recommend reading A history of Britain in 21 Women.