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 …

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. …

Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number? Child Marriage and Maturity

Years ago, when television was still a part of my life, I was watching a Seinfeld episode in which the character George saw an attractive, shapely young woman and subsequently made a comment to Jerry urging him to look at her body. Jerry in response told George that the girl was fifteen years old, and he playfully scolded his friend …

Reverencing the Wombs That Broke You, a self-help book

NEW! CLICK HERE for eBook Her mother was raped. This is how Melanie was born. For years, the sight of Melanie’s face reminded her mother of the sexual assault, so Melanie herself was verbally and physically abused through childhood. But Melanie’s obligation was to love and honor her mother, she told herself. This is what Melanie believed as a Christian, …

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 …

Why I Wrote Muslim Girl: They Put Me On a Pedestal Then Punished Me For It

“The loneliest place to be is on a pedestal. No mercy lives there. No understanding. No compassion. Only the expectation of perfection. Your humanness is not accepted on a pedestal—let alone celebrated. The most precious people in my life are the ones who see all of me. The sensitive, emotional side, along with the fighter. The teacher, but also the crazy …