We Are All Being Tested

“Do you believe that your struggle is more severe than the personal trials of every other Muslim? Why then do you say yours is ‘unfair’? Is it unfair because you are facing it, or is it unfair because you believe no other trial is at least as severe?” — from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah During the most difficult and …

Judgment of Others Is Your Mirror

“I don’t care about yours or anyone’s judgment of me,” the woman shot back at me in an e-mail. I sat before the computer screen for some time, troubled by the words of someone I once knew as an intelligent, funny, and energetic person I enjoyed being around.   I didn’t know what to say in reply, or if there was …

Is Writing Fiction Allowed? What’s Your Proof?

“I hope your daughter marries a scholar,” the woman told me jokingly.  “Then you’ll be able to ask him all the questions you want.” She laughed good-naturedly then said to me, “You shouldn’t ask so many questions.  This is not the Sunnah.  In Islam, you must learn what is required or forbidden for you from Allah and His Messenger, sallallaahu’alayhi …

Thank God I’m a Woman

“Fear Allah,” the woman was advised by the local imam upon seeking a khula’ from her husband. “Marriage is serious. Don’t you know that a woman who divorces her husband for no reason will not even smell Paradise?” The words fell upon the woman like a prison sentence. She had been married for almost ten years, but she didn’t know …

He Prayed in a Club!

Somebody Should Slap Him? It was a normal day at the college, and some of the Muslim students lounged in a break room after class. One of them had just shared the story of a Muslim boy who liked to party and often frequented clubs. “But when it’s time for prayer,” the student said, “he goes in the back of …

You Don’t Get It. I Have Feelings Too

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog was originally posted via VirtualMosque.com “The one you are looking to for help and guidance needs patience and good treatment too. No Muslim is perfect, whether revert or born into a Muslim family, student or Islamic teacher, layperson or scholar.” —from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah It took years before I realized how others saw me. …

No Place Like Home: American Teacher in Saudi

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I lived as an expat in Saudi Arabia from 2005 to 2013. This blog was written about my first experience as an English teacher there. Some time after the tears of euphoria dry and reality sets in, anyone who has emigrated from their native land experiences what is commonly referred to as “culture shock.” For some, this simply …

Walking Wounded: Spiritual Crisis After the Zeal

An Honest Discussion with Authors Umm Zakiyyah and Na’ima B. Robert “For some, this period [of religious development] was characterized by increased insularity, intolerance, and estrangement, sometimes from family…At the time, this felt right…But a curious thing happened to many of us as we aged…We began to see ourselves as individuals rather than members of homogenous ‘whole’. And, of course, this …

Marrying at the “Right Time”

Our Dilemma: Placing Our Trust in Allah It’s one of the most difficult questions faced by adult Muslims, especially women: When should I get married? After I finish my studies, or now? When I think of this dilemma, I often remember the advice of my parents: When it comes to marriage, the most important question is not when to get married but to whom? And …

'But I Don’t Want Forgiveness'

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 the hardest thing,” she said. “I just didn’t want to wear it. So I made every excuse I could. ‘It’s …