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 …

Forgiveness As Fear and Survival: The Racism Hole

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 took me some time to realize that my emotional triggers in environments of forced forgiveness were at least partially due to having lived daily in a culture that taught me that only white people mattered. …

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 …

He Apologized? We Have No Idea What an Apology Means

“An apology, if it is truly an apology, is no more than a hope and a prayer—that the damage you’ve done can be repaired, and that you will be forgiven by both your Lord and the ones you’ve wronged. An apology should never be shared for the purpose of silencing or dismissing those hurt by the original transgression. If it …

He Wants To Marry His Wife’s Best Friend?

This blog was originally published via MuslimMatters.org When I first began writing what would eventually become the novel His Other Wife, it wasn’t about marriage or polygamy, or even romantic relationships. It was about emotional and spiritual abuse, and it started off as a single narrative blog inspired by a toxic friendship that I’d recently broken off after having endured …

Self-Hate, Racism ‘In Style’

“Pakistanis are the worst!” a young Desi woman exclaimed wrinkling her nose, “I would never advise marrying any of them.” The other Pakistani women present nodded in emphatic agreement while others shook their heads knowingly. “Arabs are so extreme,” an Arab woman interjected, “Everything is harām to them.” “Americans are much better,” another woman agreed, “They’re the only men worth marrying.” At the last …

Prejudice Bones in My Body

“Good,” she said so matter-of-factly that I was momentarily confused.  Blinking, I held the phone’s receiver as I processed this simple response that held little connection to what I had just said. It was months after the 9-11 attacks, and I had just shared with my friend my distress over Muslims being unjustly detained and imprisoned on charges of “terrorism,” …

Beyond Black Victim Status: Slaves Are Superior

“We were of the most disgraced of people, and Allāh granted us honor with this Islam.  Now, whenever we seek honor in other than that which Allāh honored us with, Allāh shall disgrace us (once again).” —’Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb “Black people in America can never be Muslim,” he said to me as I stood next to his desk.  I stared …

Are You a Glorified Victim?

“Are you ashamed of who you are? Is that it?” His eyes were fierce as he regarded her. Carla dropped her head, unable to look directly at her father. “Our people have given blood and sweat, and even sacrificed their lives so that black people will have the dignity they do today,” he spat. “And what do you do with …