Biography of Umm Zakiyyah, Internationally Acclaimed Author
Umm Zakiyyah was born in 1975 in Long Island, New York, to parents who had come from devoutly Christian homes. Her parents, Clark and Delores Moore, accepted Islam that year, and thus Umm Zakiyyah became the first child of her parents to be born into Islam. Because of this, when Clark and Delores changed their and their children’s names to Islamic ones years later, they chose the name “Baiyinah” for Umm Zakiyyah, because the name meant “clear evidence”—and for them her birth represented the birth of spiritual clarity, when truth became clear from falsehood.
Umm Zakiyyah spent most of her childhood in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she wrote articles for local newspapers and essays and poetry for college publications nationally. In college, as a student at the prestigious Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, she wrote articles for the school’s newspaper and received various awards for her leadership and academic achievements.
In 1997, she graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education, and went on to make a name for herself as a writer, teacher, and inspirational speaker. She appeared on radio and TV in the United States and Canada, and was a guest lecturer at national conferences and youth events.
The year 2001 marked the release of her first novel, If I Should Speak, which immediately received international attention from the United Kingdom and Australia, and quickly became a bestseller in stores throughout the United States. The novel earned national and international acclaim from professors and writers, as well as from magazines and newspapers, such as the American Muslim Magazine and the Muslim Link newspaper.
One of the most noteworthy reviews of this novel came from Dr. Robert D. Crane, the advisor to former U.S. President Nixon, who said of Umm Zakiyyah’s first book: “I could not put it down…I was fascinated not only by the plot of the novel, but especially by the brilliance of the writing itself. As a life-long, professional writer and editor, I can say that I have never encountered Umm Zakiyyah’s equal in portraying the nuances of encounters between persons at all levels from the most superficial to the most profound. She is a clear example of a person who has natural talent. A person can be trained to write well, but no amount of training can bring a person without superb, natural talent to captivate the reader as she does and exert a permanent intellectual and emotional impact.”
The author’s novel was further elected for university studies in multicultural literature at colleges such as Indiana University, Bloomington; Howard University; and the University of D.C. It was further featured at Georgetown University and in the publication Multicultural Perspectives through Saint Cloud State University and University of Saint Thomas affiliation. Professor K. Bryant of Howard University said of Umm Zakiyyah’s If I Should Speak, “The novel belongs to…a genre worthy of scholarly study.”
In addition to the acclaim and readership the novel received in the United States, readers reached as far as the United Kingdom, Australia, Egypt, Pakistan, Malaysia, Uganda, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and India. Following this groundbreaking first novel, Umm Zakiyyah went on to write A Voice, and Footsteps, which formed the last two novels in the If I Should Speak trilogy.
In 2008, she was awarded the Muslim Girls Unity Conference Distinguished Authors Award.
Umm Zakiyyah has written for many blogs and publications. Some are listed below.