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. …

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 …

Reality of Ramadan: You Might Not Benefit

I returned to my dormitory room after a full day of classes—and fasting. I was exhausted. Outside was dark, and my stomach grumbled. I had eaten only a little at iftaar because I had been so busy with schoolwork and meetings. As I settled at my desk with a bagel and some grapes, I glanced at the clock. It was almost …

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 …

Woman in white hijab sitting reflecting

I’m Muslim and Don’t Pray. What Should I Do?

The following is an excerpt from And Then I Gave Up: Essays About Faith and Spiritual Crisis in Islam by Umm Zakiyyah:  I think most of us know how it feels to struggle in our faith. We know from personal experience the ups and downs in spirituality, so it comes as no surprise that a characteristic of emaan itself is that …

From the Diary of an Extremist

a short story “Go back to your country! We don’t want you here!” The words still echoed in my mind as I crossed through the carpeted lobby of the Student Union building. Students sat in huddles on the floor, others sitting lazily on the arms of couches occasionally laughing at something someone said. When I walked by, the voices quieted …

Suicide Is Not a Cause for Praise

Her brother had attempted suicide three times, my friend told me. “It was really hard on the family,” she said. “We didn’t know what to do.” The first time he tried to kill himself, they found out after getting a call from the hospital. “Of course, we were all really scared and rushed to his bedside. We felt so bad. …

Muslims Celebrate Christmas?

If you didn’t grow up surrounded by glowing Christmas trees, shiny wrapped gifts, soothing carols, and colorful lights, it will be difficult to understand why “the holiday season” means so much to people. Though my parents converted to Islam the year I was born, Christmas was not a strange holiday to me. No, we didn’t celebrate Christmas in our home, …

The Day Jessica Left Islam

a short story “Sit.” Jessica turned from where she was parting the heavily brocaded curtains to peer outside into the darkness. She found a large woman with deep olive skin gesturing toward a crushed velvet cushion on a chair in the dining room. The woman’s gold embroidered traditional dress that was wrapped about her made Jessica wish she could be …

The Stolen Hijab

When I saw her, I averted my gaze and walked toward my locker. I adjusted my backpack on my shoulder and squinted my eyes as if in concentration. I pretended that I had not seen her, that she and I did not know each other outside of school—and that I did not know she was Muslim too. But the image …