Side profile of African American man with beard wearing a winter hat

Are You Worshipping Your Imam or Sheikh?

I was both shocked and heartbroken when I found myself on the receiving end of my community’s slander and character defamation, and it had all been incited when I chose my soul over blindly following the community imam. As I mentioned in my blog “Be Prepared To Be Alone:” I was in my mid-twenties at the time, and I had …

Muslim woman wearing black hijab

Be Prepared To Be Alone

“If what the imam is teaching is wrong,” a community elder told me, “then why would Allah bless him with all these followers?” I was in my mid-twenties at the time, and I had just begun my own spiritual journey of studying Qur’an and the prophetic teachings and striving my level best to do what I sincerely believed Allah required …

Two African American friends smiling

Be Merciful to Righteous and Sinful Souls. No Need To Choose

Nothing in this world belongs to you. Nothing. Not even your own soul is yours, as it will be returned to its Owner once this earthly journey of yours is complete. And all those worldly comforts and human relationships you thought you couldn’t live without? They were just temporary companions on your journey home. They were divine mercies—and tests—scattered along …

Sad woman wearing black veil and abaya with hands over her face in du'aa or shame

Do You Have a Toxic Relationship with Your Soul?

Some time ago, a friend of mine shared with me a humorous post that was posted on the social media account of the famous artist, Cardi B. I don’t remember the exact words, but it said something to this effect: I asked God to remove all the toxic people from my life—and I almost died. Though this post gave me …

silhouette of Muslim woman by ocean at sunset

Thank God for Pain: Ten Things Suffering Taught Me

Shukr. Looking within. Trusting the pain and loss. These are the things that I’m striving to focus on and implement in my heart and life. In these past few years, I’ve worked through so much emotional wounding and spiritual turmoil that it’s difficult to even recall at times, the memories are so painful. But Allah brought me through so much, …

Muslim woman in niqaab looking forward

‘But I Don’t Want Forgiveness’

The following is an excerpt from the book And Then I Gave Up: Essays About Faith and Spiritual Crisis in Islam by Umm Zakiyyah: Some years ago, I was sitting with a friend of mine and she started telling me about her struggles with hijab after becoming Muslim. She had grown up Christian and accepted Islam while she was in college. “For me, hijab was …

Yesterday, I Cried

The following is an excerpt from the book And Then I Gave Up: Essays About Faith and Spiritual Crisis in Islam by Umm Zakiyyah: Author’s Note: This was written when I lived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and taught English at an international school. It was one of those moments when you feel the tugging at your heart and the moisture behind your …

Rainy dew image with Woman in orange hijab looking toward horizon

Entitlement and Ungratefulness Ruin Lives and Marriages

“Sometimes getting lost is the only way to find your way back home. Because before then, you didn’t even realize what was home.” —from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah So often when we are recovering from a difficult trial, we focus on what we lost. In this, we are like survivors of a severe storm returning to our home to …

photo of Umm Zakiyyah overlooking the Indian Ocean at sunrise

Ramadan Is Coming and I’m Scared

“Jannah (Paradise) is not for perfect people. It is for the sinful who, in the end, didn’t give up on themselves or their Lord.”  —from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah  Ramadan is coming and I’m scared. I know many speak of Ramadan as a month they look forward to and are welcoming with eagerness and excitement. It’s not like that …