You’re Not a Scholar, Why Should We Listen To You?

“I’ve read almost all of his books, and I’ve never seen him say anything even close to that,” I said in response to the woman’s claim that a well-known scholar should not be trusted because he was involved in teaching some specific concepts that were contrary to the basic principles of Islam. “That’s because you don’t have the knowledge to …

When Family Hurts: Daughter of Rape Seeks Healing

The following is an excerpt from Reverencing the Wombs That Broke You, wherein we learn the true story of Melanie Davidson, a convert to Islam who is a survivor of abuse: Is it true? Does God say I must honor my father? But how do I honor a man who dishonored my mother, who dishonored me? —the child born of …

What Is Forgiveness Exactly? Why Oprah Can’t Help Us

“You can’t dictate what forgiving and letting go of hurt looks like for someone else.” —excerpt of PAIN. From the Journal of Umm Zakiyyah The following is an excerpt from Umm Zakiyyah’s latest book The Abuse of Forgiveness: As I continuously faced forgiveness peddlers who effectively told me that I was a bitter, spiritually devolved person because I didn’t feel …

Anger Is Part of Healing, and That’s a Good Thing

“Neither forgiveness nor gratefulness can spring from denial of hurts, frustrations, or wrongs.”  —from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah If there’s anything I learned during my own healing journey, it’s that no good comes from denying natural hurt and anger. Some things are just hurtful and emotionally damaging, and they need to be acknowledged as such. Anger is a natural …

Dear Daughter, In Search of a Husband’s Love

sore throat. I’m losing my voice to laryngitis of the heart. —from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah Dear daughter and young sister in faith, I wish I could wrap the words I say to you in the language of love, in the power of experience, and in the calm solemnness of pain, then release them directly into your heart. Because …

UZ Mentorship Program

Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of the If I Should Speak trilogy and has published nearly twenty books, including novels, self-help, and essay collections. Her work is used in schools and universities in the United States and abroad. She holds a bachelor’s in elementary education, a master’s in English language learning, and has over fifteen years of experience …

You Can’t Legislate the Human Heart: This Isn’t About Rules and Adab

You cannot legislate the human heart, I once told someone. Emotional needs are real, as are emotional wounds. When our “naseehah” focuses on religious rules and etiquette more than the needs of the whole human being, then we’re likely causing more harm than good. In fact, in this case, our advice isn’t naseehah at all. If offering sincere advice were …

Super Muslims and Religious OCD in Ramadan

In the beginning, it all seems necessary, and even praiseworthy. The questions, the doubts, the paranoia…and the endless phone calls, emails, and inquiries to the local (or overseas) scholar, imam, or sheikh. Oh my God, am I allowed to wear a colored hijab? Is the ringer on my phone a musical instrument of Shaytaan? I work in a mixed environment. …

How Could You? A Movie!

When I was in high school and still trying to decide how I would use my writing professionally, I imagined I could be a scriptwriter for movies. I felt that the “big screen” was an excellent means to bridge the gaps of misunderstanding between Muslims and those who knew so little about Islam. I also felt it could help dispel …

Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number? Child Marriage and Maturity

Years ago, when television was still a part of my life, I was watching a Seinfeld episode in which the character George saw an attractive, shapely young woman and subsequently made a comment to Jerry urging him to look at her body. Jerry in response told George that the girl was fifteen years old, and he playfully scolded his friend …