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 …

People Will Abandon You When You’re Hurting

The following are excerpts from Umm Zakiyyah’s latest books I Almost Left Islam and The Abuse of Forgiveness: In my fear of tying my heart and life to something that would harm my soul in some irrevocable way, I began to more and more distance myself from religious groups and communities. However, this was an extremely lonely experience, and I …

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 …

Abuse Is a Blessing, Muslim Cults Taught Me

Who’s going to listen to you? When I was asked this question for the first time, it wasn’t really a question. It was a taunt. And I didn’t really have an answer. The man taunting me was a community leader, a respected imam, who was bragging about how he was going to drag my name through the dirt. He listed …

Guilting Victims Is Disobeying God: The Abuse of Forgiveness

The following is an excerpt from Umm Zakiyyah’s newly released book, The Abuse of Forgiveness: Manipulation and Harm in the Name of Emotional Healing. It is undeniable that God loves forgiveness. It is also undeniable that God views forgiveness as exponentially more superior than blame, punishment, and retaliation. Personally, I highly doubt that there is in existence a single survivor, …

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 …

The Truth Is Scary, But I Had To Tell It

I suppose some will see it as courageous to share with the world why I almost left Islam. And maybe some will see it as the unnecessary uncovering of my faults. But for me, it wasn’t a choice. Yes, it’s humiliating and embarrassing, but due to all the stress I was under, the decision was effectively made for me. It …

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. …