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.

Book Recommendations, Muslim Shelf Space, Non Fiction Books

Books To Read Before You Get Married

I know quite a few people that are getting married this year and as I have been asked by a few different people about book recommendations to read before getting married I decided to write this post to put all of the books I have read and benefitted from in one place.

These are a mixture of Islamic marriage books which deal with the rights and responsibilities that Allah has given us and books that while may not always align with Islamic teachings are still very beneficial and hold a lot of insight to managing different issues in your marriage.

I also decided to include some books which are more for your own benefit as while we are looking to improve our marriage it is just as important to continue to learn and grow ourselves. Especially when it comes to Islam and how to manage our own weaknesses and strengths.

These are books that anyone can find beneficial regardless of whether they are married or not:

Secrets to a Successful Marriage by Afshan Khan

The Muslim Marriage Handbook by Huda Khattab

Traversing the Highs and Lows of Marriage by Sadaf Farooqi

The Muslim Marriage Guide by Ruqaiyah Maqsood

The Quest for Love and Mercy – Regulations of Marriage and Wedding by Muhammad Jibaly

The Fragile Vessels – Rights and Obligations between Spouses by Muhammad Jibaly

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Getting the Love you Want by Harville Hendrix

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray

I feel that these books will be more of benefit to those already in a marriage:

Toxic In Laws by Susan Forward

Our Precious Sprouts – Islamic regulations for New-borns by Muhammad Jibaly

These are books that deal specifically with intimacy in marriage and also sexual health which is an area that is severely lacking in resources:

Like a Garment by Yasir Qadhi

The Hormone Diaries by Hannah Witton

The Muslimah Sex Manual: The Halal Guide to Mind Blowing Sex by Umm Muladhat

Closer than a Garment – Marital Intimacy by Muhammad Jibaly

Period Power by Nadya Okomoto

This is the books I recommend for your own self development:

Love and Happiness by Yasmin Mogahed

Allah Loves by Omar Suleiman

Diseases of the Hearts and their Cures by Ibn Taymiyyah

Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed

Weakness of Iman by Muhammad al-Munajjid

Muhammad: How he can make you Extraordinary by Hesham al-Awadi

Patience and Gratitude by Ibn Qayyim

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

The Self Care Project by Jayne Hardy

I hope you find some of these of benefits and if you have any recommendations do let me know in the comments!

Non Fiction Books

The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work Book Review

Hey booknerds! So I wanted to share some thoughts on this book, The seven principles for making marriage work by John Gottman. This book was actually recommend by Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed at her event that I attended last year about marriage.

My rating: 4/5

7 principles for making marriage work

This book teaches us methods that the author has tried and tested on many couples over the years to create a happy marriage. It has easy to follow exercises that you can do as a couple to help resolve conflicts, improve communication, nurture love, fondness and respect for each other.

I found the book very useful and insightful in helping to improve my own marriage. Although there are some things I disagree with the majority of the book is very relatable and easy to understand.

What can make a marriage work is surprisingly simple. Happily married couples aren’t smarter, richer, or more psychologically astute than others. But in their day to day lives, they have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other (which all couples have) from overwhelming their positive ones. They have what I call an emotionally intelligent marriage.

He first discusses signs of a unhappy marriage and one of the first things discussed in his book, are things that are so toxic to a marriage that he’s named it the four horsemen of the apocalypse. They are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. He discusses how these can create long term problems and eventually lead to the couple becoming emotionally distant and can even cause divorce if they aren’t dealt with.

Then each chapter discusses a principle that will help to achieve a happy marriage.

The first principle is Enhancing your love maps. He explains that couples with detailed love maps of each other are better able to cope with stressful events or conflicts. Having a detailed love map means that they are intimately familiar with each other’s worlds.

The second principle is nurturing your fondness and admiration for each other. This is where you build on the belief that your spouse is worthy of being respected and liked. Reminding yourself of your spouses positive qualities even if you struggle with a negative one.

The third principle is turning toward each other instead of away. So the little things you do on a day to day basis has a greater impact on your marriage than going away for a holiday for example. The way you respond to your spouse can have a big impact on your emotional connection.

The fourth principle is letting your partner influence you. It’s important that you and your spouse make decisions together and you honour and respect each other’s feelings and opinions.

The next principle that was discussed was the two types of conflict, one that you are able to solve and the other that is perpetual. He discussed ways in which we can solve the solvable conflicts through several techniques in how we discuss them.

The sixth principle was overcoming gridlock, where a couple is stuck on a conflict for so long they feel they can no longer move past it. They are conflicts that keep coming up again and again, issues with in laws, when to have children, how to raise your children etc. These issues may never be resolved completely but the goal was to move out of the gridlock and to be able to reach a compromise.

The last principle was creating a shared meaning, so you are not just roommates that have seperate lives but you have goals and you create a life together that has deeper purpose than just sharing chores and looking after kids.

I found this book hugely beneficial even though I read it feeling unsure as to what I would gain from it. His writing can be a bit annoying at times but it well worth reading. Everyone has issues in their marriage, especially at the beginning when we’re learning how to communicate and understand each other but this book actually has really helpful advice in making it more effective.

There was a few things I disagreed with, for example he said the husband should always side with the wife in a disagreement between his wife and his mother. I don’t think it’s fair to do that. Instead the husband should do what is right and just for both his wife and mother. I don’t think it’s about taking sides.

I think this is beneficial for anyone who is looking to find ways to strengthen their marriage and help to build better communication and understanding and to resolve conflicts.


Books by Muslim Authors, Fiction Books, Muslim Shelf Space, YA Books

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed Book Review

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed was one of the most emotional books I ever read. This book is about forced marriages that unfortunately still happen all over the world. The family and main character in this book are Pakistani but living in America. The story starts in America, where the family live, but the rest of the story is set in Pakistan

written in the stars

Rating: 4.5/5

The story begins where her parents find out that she has secretly been going out with a boy called Saif and decide to take her and her brother to Pakistan to see their family in Pakistan. Naila thinks it’s just a holiday but really it’s so they can get her married.

We follow Naila through her story and how her family force her to get married and the life she is forced to live. Her story ends when she is safely back in America but in reality this may not happen to everyone and some may spend the rest of their lives suffering.

She is drugged and locked in a room, unable to see anyone and then after she is married she lives in a little village with her in laws where she is unable to study or speak to anyone outside and her mother and sister in law try to control and dictate what she can and cannot do.

This story was so heart wrenching, but it’s a  story that helps to raise awareness of the situation that these young girls and boys face. The reason which was repeatedly told to Naila as to why they were doing this to her was that it’s because they know what’s best for her and that she should have thought about the family honour.

Thankfully it is not as common as it was but it still exists, there are still people who believe they have the right to force their children to marry who they choose, by whatever means necessary and that women do not need to receive an education as their purpose in life is to look after the home and children.

This story showed how it not only tore apart Nailas life but also affected her whole family and Saif and his family too. It did not bring back Nailas “family honour” instead it permanently damaged Nailas relationship with her parents.

It’s a story that is real for many girls from all different backgrounds and ethnicities and it’s something that people should be aware of how horrible it is for them so that it can be stopped.

I would definitely recommend everyone to read this book as it has some much needed insight into what it is like for someone who has been forced to get married and raise awareness for this issue.

I do also want to point out that although this does happen it is not the norm for every Pakistani girl. The majority are not forced into marriage and are able to pursue education and build careers, to be independent. I am Pakistani and in my house education is far more important than getting married and I know this is the same for my friends and family too.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Do let me know!

Books by Muslim Authors, Fiction Books, Muslim Shelf Space, YA Books

She Wore Red Trainers by Naima B Robert Book Review

I had read She Wore Red Trainers by Na’ima B Robert a few years ago but I decided to reread it as I absolutely love this story. I loved this book the second time round as I did the first time I read it! If you want a halal love story then this is the book for you!

she wore red trainers

Rating: 4.5/5

This book centres around 18 year old Ali and Amirah. They are both coping with their life and family situations and it leads to them bumping into each other. The story then continues to show how they both develop feelings for each other but constantly try to keep everything halal.

This story gave me so many feels! I related to Amirah so much and the struggles she was going through in trying to battle out her feelings for Ali and wanting to pursue her goals in life. I loved how it showed that you can keep it halal but still choose who you want to marry.

It dealt with issues that many young Muslims face in today’s society. From learning to balance your faith and living in the west, to lowering your gaze to not being judgemental of other Muslims and so much more. A lot of misconceptions regarding women were also so wonderfully woven into the story. None of it feels like a lecture and only what’s relevant to the story is mentioned.

I also loved the friendships in this book! How both Ali and Amirah had great friends and the community supported each other. It was so nice to see that part of their everyday lives from the girls hanging out drinking milkshakes at the café to the boys riding their bikes together. And the girls helping to organise a girls only party including a fashion show and dinner and getting all dressed up. It was so nice that Na’ima included these things, parts of muslim youths lives that don’t normally get shown in any sort of media.

Another thing I loved was that both Ali and Amirah were unsure what they wanted to do in life after college, it was a journey of them discovering themselves and showed how life doesn’t always work out how we plan but that it can be great nonetheless.

The only thing I wish we got more of was the ending. It felt a bit rushed and everything happened suddenly. I wish we got to see more of how everything worked out for them.

For anyone wondering how Muslims can get married to someone without dating then this book explains it so well. It reminded me of when I got married and one the one side, my colleagues were shocked that I hadn’t dated my (now) husband before deciding to get married but people in the Muslim community made remarks about how “I wear a hijab” but I chose my own husband so how “practicing” could I be. That because we knew each other (we were in the same class at university) we must have dated. So reading this book was so great as it deals with all these assumptions within the Muslim community and helps non Muslims understand how we can marry someone without dating.

It was funny and adorable and it gave me butterflies while also dealing with a lot of very real issues. I would definitely recommend everyone to read this book.