Muslim woman silhouette at sunset

Reality of Ramadan: You Might Not Benefit

“Ramadan is the month of mercy, not the month of perfection. You’ll still make mistakes, and you’ll still fall short at times. But Allah’s mercy remains. Seek it, and don’t give up.” —from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah The following is an excerpt from the book And Then I Gave Up: Essays About Faith and Spiritual Crisis in Islam by Umm Zakiyyah: I returned …

black and white photo of Muslim woman looking down sad

Maybe It’s Divorce We’re Taking Lightly

“Marriage is not the end of the rainbow, and divorce is not the end of the world.” —from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah The following is an excerpt from the book Let’s Talk About Sex and Muslim Love by Umm Zakiyyah: “This is really a shame,” the woman said. “The divorce rate of Muslims is so high. Why are Muslims taking marriage …

Muslim woman in red hijab looking pensive

She Couldn’t Have Sex with Her Husband: Modesty Gone Too Far

She was taught that sex was dirty and shameful, so she was never allowed to talk about it. In her family and culture, this thinking was considered the highest form of modesty. But unfortunately, this “modesty” led her to have so much anxiety about sex and nudity that she didn’t even feel relaxed enough to let her own husband touch …

Photo of African-American woman looking down, wearing red burgundy hijab

Nobody Cares About Black Muslims, He Said

alone. it hurts. I cannot lie to be abandoned by those who look like me because I see the other as brethren too and then to be abandoned by the other my brethren in faith. because I look like me —even if. The following is an excerpt from the book Prejudice Bones in My Body by Umm Zakiyyah: The first …

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 …

dark photo of female robot with artificial face partially off

When Religion Is a Weapon: Understanding Spiritual Abuse

emotional abuse. the etiquette of disagreement in cults and sects and in families who love you so much that they hurt you for their own good. —even if. The following is an excerpt from Reverencing the Wombs That BROKE You by Umm Zakiyyah: Spiritual abuse is arguably the least talked about form of abuse. However, in religious families and communities, …

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 …

Muslim girl in hijab looking sad near sunset over water and hot air balloon in sky

Stop ‘Time Wasters’ in Ramadan?

“You criticize me for my faults and choices, saying, “You should stay away from doubtful!” But what you label as “doubtful” in my life just might be my best efforts in holding on to my faith at all. Yes, I know my imperfections can be cringe-worthy at times. Trust me, I cringe more from them than you. But if you …

silhouette of trees by water with night sky and sad Muslim woman looking down with crescent moon above

Ramadan for the Imperfect Muslim

“I know I am not perfect, but no matter how many mistakes I make, I will not give up, bi’idhnillaah. I know my Lord’s Mercy is greater than any of my faults or sins, so I place my trust in Him. I will strive each day to be a better person than I was before. If I should fall short …

Umm Zakiyyah's hand writing in journal

Journaling Helped Me Find My Voice

baggage. everyone is carrying a story. but only a few will allow the pen to break their souls wide open. —even if. I started my first personal journal when I was fifteen years old. The diary was an Eid gift to me from a friend I’d known since childhood. I still have the journal today. It has a pink, cushiony …