Book Recommendations, Muslim Shelf Space, Ramadan Readathon

#RamadanReadathon 2019 – Non Fiction Books Recommendation

Ramadan is fast approaching and that means it’s also time for the Ramadan Readathon! I love taking part and Nadia does such a wonderful job hosting it every year!

For this years readathon there is also a bingo card and there will be several posts over the course of the week sharing book recommendations for each of the prompts! So keep an eye out on the Ramadan Readathons social media page to read them all and help you choose what books to read this month!

Ramadan Readathon Bingo

I am going to share with you some books that I think are perfect reads for Ramadan!

Some are books that help us with our spirituality and connecting with Allah and others are books that give us insight into the lives of Muslims and their achievements.

1 Reclaim You Heart by Yasmin Mogahed – I cannot explain to you how much I love this book. It’s a book that you can read again and again and still benefit from it. I also highly recommend her other book, Love and Happiness.

2 Revive Your Heart by Nouman Ali Khan – another wonderful book that covers so many issues we deal with in today’s society

3 Prayers of the Pious by Omar Suleiman – this book released recently and it has 30 duas (supplications) to help us and it’s perfect for you to learn one everyday in Ramadan

4 Muhammad: How He Can Make You Extraordinary by Hesham Al-Awadi – this book is really unique in the sense that it is not only a biography of the Prophet (pbuh) but how we can learn from the way he lived and incorporate it into our lives

5 The Productive Muslim by Mohammad Faris – this book navigates all aspects of our lives and helps us to better ourselves and develop good habits and break bad ones.

6 It’s Not About The Burqa edited by Mariam Khan – this book is so needed and I absolutely loved the essays in this book.

7 Lost Islamic History by Firas Al-Khateeb – this book covers a lot of Islamic history and is a really interesting read

8 When the Moon Split by Saifur Rahman Mubarakpuri – a biography of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and one of my favourites

9 Women in the Quran by Asma Lambert – it’s really great reading about these inspirational women that are spoken about in the Quran

10 Al-Muhaddithaat: The Women Scholars in Islam by Akram Nadwi – such a wonderful book filled with some amazing women throughout history

So these are some of my favourite books I highly recommend reading them and if you want any other recommendations for any other type of book please do ask! I have A LOT more books I could recommend!

Monthly Wrap Up

March Monthly Wrap Up

This month has simultaneously been really long and ended so quickly! My health hasn’t been great so I have been struggling this month but I did have a pretty decent reading month and read some really great books! Though nearer to the end I have been in a reading slump which I hate because there are so many books I want to read!

There was some really great events that I attended this month too. At the beginning of the month I met Angie Thomas on her UK tour. Then I went to the NYA Lit Festival which was really fun! And just a couple days ago I met Yasmin Mogahed on her UK tour. Meeting her was probably my highlight of the month because she is one of my biggest role models!

So back to the books I read this month:

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It’s Not About the Burqa edited by Mariam Khan – I really loved this anthology full of inspiring and empowering essays by Muslim women. A book that should be read by everyone! You can read my full review here

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller – I loved this book so much! I read this in two evenings because I couldn’t put it down!

Percy Jackson and the Singer of Apollo by Rick Riordan – One of the world book day books this year. I loved seeing Percy and Grover together again! I miss their adventures so much and hope we get to see more of them together!

The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James – Another amazing book by Lauren! So thought provoking and amazing plot twists! You can read my full review here

Viper by Bex Hogan – I really enjoyed this book, there’s pirates and assassins and it’s dark and brutal and I’m looking forward to reading the next book! You can read my full review here

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I reread this book after reading it for the first time several years ago and I loved it as much as I did the first time! This book is so relatable and so cute! You can read my full review here

Nine from the Nine Worlds by Rick Riordan – Really enjoyed the short stories in this book. Loved seeing Samirah and Alex and Amir. And Amir’s short story was probably my favourite!

The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston – OMG this book is the geeky adorableness I needed in my life! I think I loved this even more than Geekerella. You can read my full review here

Ayesha Dean – The Seville Secret by Melati Lum – A Muslim hijabi teenager being a badass detective and chilling with her friends on holiday and I just loved this book! Keep an eye out for my review in April as I’m part of the blog tour!

I also finally posted my review of King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. I have been thinking about this book for a while, so it took me some time to write my review. You can find it here.

So that’s everything I read this month!

What were your favourite reads? Were you disappointed by any books?

Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, Non Fiction Books

It’s Not About The Burqa Edited By Mariam Khan – Book Review

Today is international women’s day so I thought that it would be the perfect day for me to share my review of this amazing anthology and how much this book is needed.

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Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When was the last time you heard a Muslim woman speak for herself without a filter?
In 2016, Mariam Khan read that David Cameron had linked the radicalization of Muslim men to the ‘traditional submissiveness’ of Muslim women. Mariam felt pretty sure she didn’t know a single Muslim woman who would describe herself that way. Why was she hearing about Muslim women from people who were neither Muslim, nor female?
Years later the state of the national discourse has deteriorated even further, and Muslim women’s voices are still pushed to the fringes – the figures leading the discussion are white and male.
Taking one of the most politicized and misused words associated with Muslim women and Islamophobia, It’s Not About the Burqa is poised to change all that. Here are voices you won’t see represented in the national news headlines: seventeen Muslim women speaking frankly about the hijab and wavering faith, about love and divorce, about feminism, queer identity, sex, and the twin threats of a disapproving community and a racist country. Funny, warm, sometimes sad, and often angry, each of these essays is a passionate declaration, and each essay is calling time on the oppression, the lazy stereotyping, the misogyny and the Islamophobia.
What does it mean, exactly, to be a Muslim woman in the West today? According to the media, it’s all about the burqa.
Here’s what it’s really about.

As soon as I first heard about this anthology being published, I knew I had to buy it as soon as it released. A book that is written by Muslim women about their experiences? Yup I need it! Just reading the introduction had me hooked!

It’s not about the burqa brings together Muslim women’s voices. It does not represent the experiences of every Muslim woman or claim to cover every single issue faced by Muslim women. It’s not possible to create that book. But this book is a start, a movement: we Muslim women are reclaiming and rewriting our identity.

Each essay is so powerful that even though some were more relatable than others I still loved them all because they all dealt with issues that I can relate to. They discuss so many relevant issues that Muslim women deal with, especially living in the west, from misogyny, racism to islamophobia and taboo subjects in the community and how each of them has been affected by it and how they dealt with it.

While reading the essays I would often stop and need to go talk to my husband about the topics that were being discussed. It reignited my passion about speaking out about so many issues that are so common with our communities. I felt heard and that I wasn’t alone in feeling like this.

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Some of my favourite essays were by Sufiya Ahmed, Nafisa Bakkar, Afia Ahmed, Jamilla Hekmoun and Mariam Khan. I resonated with these essays SO MUCH!

Sufiya was talking about Khadijah (ra) and how much Khadijah (ra) inspired her, I felt the same. Khadijah (ra) has been one of my role models since I was a teenager so it was wonderful to see someone else speak about her and how much she loved her. Khadijah’s (ra) life and all that she achieved made a huge impact in my life.

Above all, Khadijah (ra) taught me that I had every right to exist as I chose. Just like she did as the wealthiest merchant in Mecca.

Nafisa’s essay was so thought provoking and written so eloquently, in a way that I would never be able to express myself. She made me rethink the way I see diversity in the media, how Muslim women are shown in the media when it comes to brands wanting to show diversity. I loved reading her essay so much and it sparked many discussions with people I spoke to.

What is the point of being represented if it is only our image that is invited to the table?

Afia’s essay brought me to tears. She wrote about something that I had been feeling for a while yet I had no one to speak to about it. She wrote about how I feel when it comes to how I feel about the hijab and how “Muslim friendly” attire is shown to us and how all of this can affect my relationship with God. I felt so seen.

No, I don’t take kindly to my religion and ideology being co-opted and appropriated as a money-making scheme. I do not take kindly to aspects of my religion suddenly being acceptable, and not only tolerated but celebrating, only when a tall, white model is dressed in my ethno-religious attire.

Jamilla spoke about a subject filled with misconceptions and ignorance in the Muslim community. She spoke about mental health and what it means to be Muslim and have depression and anxiety. How people will tell you to just pray more and you will be fine and how you can’t possibly be Muslim and depressed. A notion that doesn’t actually exist in Islam. As someone who has anxiety, it’s a topic close to my heart and one that I still have difficulty discussing with people and going to a counsellor who doesn’t really understand my faith means it isn’t always helpful.

My mental illness does not define me. It might change my mood at times, but it does not change who I am, and, most importantly, it does not make me a bad person, especially in the eyes of God.

Mariam dealt with an issue that has been the cause of much argument in the Muslim community, feminism. I loved how she spoke about white feminism and how these women, despite claiming to speak for all women are silent or even against how Muslim women choose to dress. It is something that I have seen time and time again. How discussions amongst Muslim women are often co-opted by white feminists and islamophobes and so we can never really speak for ourselves.

If you want to know if you are going the right way, follow women of colour, sisters and brothers. We know where we need to go and e know where justice is, because when we fight for justice we fight it for all people, for all our communities.

This collection of essays is so relevant and so needed in today’s society and I hope that more people will read it and it will spark discussions amongst people they know. Honestly everyone should read this book.

If you’ve read it then let me know what you thought!