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.

Monthly Wrap Up

July 2020 Monthly Wrap Up

This month has simultaneously been incredibly long and gone in the blink of an eye. I actually had a pretty good reading month and read some incredible books.

I also announced my next bookish box which is Muslim Shelf Space and you can find all the details on my instagram post over on @thetsundokuchroniclesetsy

Here are the books I read this month:

1 The Trouble With Hating You by Sajni Patel – I listened to the audiobook and it was so great. So relatable in so many ways and I was totally rooting for them

Rating: 4 out of 5.

2 A Dead djinn in Cairo by P. Djeli Clark – I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was an interesting story.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

3 Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran – I was so excited to read this unfortunately I was disappointed by this and I barely managed to finish it

Rating: 1 out of 5.

4 Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron – This was another anticipated read that I was disappointed by it was a really interesting concept but the characters fell flat for me.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

5 No Shame by Anne Cassidy – This is a book that deals with the trauma of trying to get justice for being sexually assaulted. It’s such an important book to read.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

6 Amazing Muslims who Changed the World by Burhana Islam – This is an incredible book full of wonderful Muslims that are so important for everyone to read. You can read my review here

Rating: 5 out of 5.

7 Seven Devils by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May – I enjoyed this book though I had issues with some of the pacing in the book but after that ending I am interested to know what will happen next.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

8 The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang – This book was incredible, it tore my heart to pieces but I cannot wait to read the sequel. You can read my review here

Rating: 5 out of 5.

9 Avatar The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 1 by Gene Luen Yaang – It was interesting to see what happens after the end of the show though I would love another season. It’s safe to say I am obsessed.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

10 Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey – I enjoyed the book as it dealt with a married couple trying to improve their marriage rather than a couple meeting for the first time.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

11 Pride Prejudice and Other Flavours by Sonali Dev – I loved this retelling so much! It was so much fun and the second hand embarrassment killed me. I loved all the themes that were incorporated into the story too.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

12 Agent Zaiba Investigates – The Missing Diamonds by Annabelle Sami – This was such a fun MG story of a young Pakistani girl who wants to be a detective

Rating: 4 out of 5.

13 Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – This book was incredible, the ending with all the plot twists blew me away!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

14 Diana and the Island of no Return by Aisha Saeed – I really loved this MG story about Wonder Woman before she became wonder woman. I also loved that her best friend is a Muslim Princess!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I also shared reviews for:

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

The Damned by Renee Ahdieh

10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandya Menon

I also shared some posts about some incredible women:

Khadijah – A phenomenal woman and my role model

Inspirational Women Throughout History – Lubna of Cordoba

And I also shared a list of recommendations for feel good books.

Blog Tours/Street Teams, Inspirational People, Muslim Shelf Space

Khadijah (ra) – A Phenomenal Woman And My Role Model (Blog Tour)

Khadijah (ra) is the first person to become Muslim and follow Prophet Muhammad (saw). Ever since I first read about her life as a teen, I fell in love with this phenomenal woman who perfected her faith and was promised Paradise. She has been my role model for so many years and she gave me the courage and strength to stand up for and fight for what I wanted to do in life.

Yes, she is the wife of the Prophet (saw), yes she was an amazing mother to their kids but she was also so much more. She was a businesswoman, and not just any businesswoman, the most successful businesswoman in the Quraysh. She was wealthy and lived life on her own terms. She didn’t allow the fact that at that time women were not equals to men stop her from being independent and thriving. Before Marrying the Prophet (saw) she was a widow and she was a single parent. She showed me that I don’t have to give up on my dreams and goals in life just because I got married. She gave me the strength to say to a potential suitor that this is what I want to do in life and I won’t compromise on this. I will not give up my career or further studies for you and I expect you to help equally in the home.  

When I met my (now) husband, I realised that actually he is someone I would want as a spouse though he is very introverted and I honestly had no idea if he would ever actually approach me so I decided to take things into my own hands and ask him, after all, Khadijah (ra) had sent her friend to propose on her behalf to the Prophet (saw). I asked him and I was terrified and shaking but I’m glad I did because why should I have to wait around in uncertainty because “it’s not socially acceptable for a girl to ask a boy” we should be able to take initiative and dictate what happens in our own lives rather than waiting around on the chance that a guy might ask us or that we might get recommended by someone.

Growing up I got mixed messages, I need to get an education but most importantly I need to know how to be a good wife and make the sacrifices for the marriage to work. So I can have ambition but not too much because men don’t like women who achieve more than they do and it’s my job to have kids and look after house so I don’t really need to. I should get an education and work but it’s so that I am able to raise my kids properly. Everything was tied to being a wife and a mother. But she (ra) taught me that having goals and ambitions is a good thing, that even if the society has certain expectations, you can still achieve what you want to achieve. To not let society dictate what you can and cannot do in life. As a woman I can thrive and not be held back because I was born a woman. I can be more than a wife and a mother if I want to. I can have a thriving career and more. My life doesn’t have to just revolve around being a caregiver for others. I can do things for myself.

Her marriage also showed me what I should want and expect from my husband and also taught me what I should do as a wife to make our marriage work. She saw kindness and empathy in the Prophet (saw) she saw a smart man but who was also humble and honest in everything he did. He was not short tempered and a man who accepted her for who she was. And I thought to myself that I will not compromise on qualities and values that are important to me even if people make remarks about me being single. As Allah had written, I actually met that man much earlier in life than I ever thought I would. But I was content and happy to be single. I didn’t need a man to be able to do what I wanted in life. She spent years being single and even raising her children on her own, refusing proposals because they weren’t the type of men she wanted to marry, but when she saw the right man she took initiative and asked him (through her friend). She taught me that I should want my husband in my life not marry a man because I feel I need a man in my life.

Learning about Khadijah (ra) helped me to unlearn all the toxic things that women are taught in our cultures and what’s worse is that they contradict Islamic beliefs, yet we are taught them anyways. Because of her I spent more time learning about women in Islam and I learnt about so many other amazing Muslim women. They were warriors and leaders and scholars and so much more. I cannot even begin to explain how much she means to me. In many ways she saved me. She helped me to realise that I deserve better than just that bare minimum and I can aim as high as I want to achieve my goals.

It’s also amazing to me that when the Prophet (saw) started going to cave hira for weeks at a time she was effectively left alone to manage the business, the household, the kids and she did that. We are told about how amazing and patient she is as a wife in these times for understanding what her husband needed but I never hear anyone say how amazing she is herself for taking all this responsibility and not only managing but continuing to thrive. Her business didn’t stop, her kids have never said that they were neglected by her during these times. We don’t talk about how resilient and persistent she was. We don’t talk about her strength and proactiveness. She had to have known the ins and outs of not only her home and kids but her business too which tells me even after marriage she was just as involved in all aspects as her husband. He didn’t take over, they were equals. In fact he continued to work for her.

Her thriving in her business meant that she was able to use that wealth to help the Prophet (saw) when he started teaching Islam and was able to spread and protect those who were most vulnerable. Because of her, the Prophet (saw) was able to free the slaves who were being tortured for becoming Muslim and so much more. And that just made me love her even more that she used her wealth to help those most vulnerable.

I learnt from her to be humble in my success and to give to those who are less fortunate. She was wealthy and successful yet all homeless and vulnerable people all knew they could turn to her for help and she always reminded me to give generously whenever I could and to help those around me. She taught me to be generous in what I had and to use my money and ability to do good. That having wealth was a responsibility and we shouldn’t squander it. 

Khadijah (ra) was a woman who I cannot think about without bursting into tears out of love for her. I could literally talk about how much I love her and how much she has influenced my life all day and I hope that you will all go read about her so you can see what a truly phenomenal woman she is.

Make sure to check out all the other amazing bloggers taking part in the blog tour

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

Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, Non Fiction Books

Amazing Muslims Who Changed the World by Burhana Islam – Book Review

Thank you to Puffin Books for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book so much! Full of amazing Muslims throughout history and all over the world. It was so wonderful to see so many Muslims who often are forgotten and don’t get included in other history books and I loved it so much.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Do you think you know who first thought of the theory of evolution?
Have you ever wondered who created the oldest university in the world?
Is Joan of Arc is the only rebel girl who led an army that you’ve heard of?

If so, then you need this stunningly illustrated treasure trove of iconic and hidden amazing Muslim heroes!
You’ll find people you might know, like Malala Yousafzai, Sir Mo Farah and Muhammad Ali, as well as some you might not, such as:
Hasan Ibn Al-Haytham: the first scientist to prove theories about how light travels, hundreds of years before Isaac Newton.
Sultan Razia: a fearsome female ruler.
G. Willow Wilson: the comic book artist who created the first ever Muslim Marvel character.
Ibtihaj Muhammad: the Olympic and World Champion fencer and the first American to compete in the games wearing a hijab.
Noor Inayat Khan: the Indian Princess who became a British spy during WWII.

There are so many more amazing Muslim men and women who have changed our world, from pirate queens to athletes, to warriors and mathematicians. Who will your next hero be?

This book is the book that I have spent my whole life wishing for. It is full of such incredible Muslims throughout history and all over the world and I just loved seeing them in the book. When I read books about amazing people throughout history Muslims are often not included in these books. I really wanted to see people who looked like me who had a similar culture to me who were also Muslim and this book finally gave me all that and more. It made my heart so full.

We are introduced to so many amazing people throughout history who achieved such amazing things in all areas from sports to maths and science to being activists to being leaders and rulers. I really loved how so many were included that we don’t usually get to see in books.

I really loved how much information about each person we get and how each one was so fascinating to read and we also get illustrations of each person! I loved the illustrations as much as reading about each person. They are so cute and I really loved being able to see people who looked like me in the book, not just being able to read but also see them. I think especially kids would love being able to see people who looked like them and see that we are capable of achieving amazing things.

Some of my favourites were Sayyida al Hurra, Noor Inayat Khan, Khawlah bint Al-Azwar and Zheng He. There were lots of people I had heard of but there were still several I hadn’t heard of and I loved learning about them. It was so fascinating to read and the history nerd in my was squealing with joy!

I highly recommend this book to absolutely everyone. It’s a book that I think is so important for kids today but also anyone of any age will benefit from it.