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 …

Suffering from Religious OCD?

“Sweetie, I miss you so much,” Samantha’s mother said. “Will you come visit during the holidays? I have so much I want to ask you.” Samantha kept the phone pressed to her ear as her heart constricted in anxiety. About six months ago, Samantha finally got up the nerve to tell her mother that she’d converted to Islam. At the …

Walking Guilty, the Weight of Doubt & Sin

Listen to audio here. Or read full blog below: I thought I had it all figured out. I know that sounds cliché, naïve even, but it’s true. I wasn’t going to compromise my soul.  I wasn’t going to open myself up to sin. I wasn’t going to Hell with my eyes open. Yes, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I knew …

Walking Guilty, the Weight of Doubt & Sin

Listen to audio here. Or read full blog below: I thought I had it all figured out. I know that sounds cliché, naïve even, but it’s true. I wasn’t going to compromise my soul.  I wasn’t going to open myself up to sin. I wasn’t going to Hell with my eyes open. Yes, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I knew …

Is Music a Pillar of Islam?

It’s a common saying that you’ll know a tree by its fruits. And in my life, time and time again, I’ve found this to be true. Whenever I’m talking to someone about my own spiritual journey, I often share my stages of spiritual development and how with each step I’ve taken, I’ve seen the magnificent fruit of faith blossom in …

I Never Thought It Would Be Me

Author Umm Zakiyyah discusses how she once doubted she could be Muslim, and how this spiritual struggle inspired UZ Reflections videos, podcasts, and blogs on spiritual crisis and rebirth.