Got a Survival Kit? Help for Muslim Apostates

Originally published via MuslimMatters.org “I’m just calling to let you know I’m not Muslim anymore,” the woman said to me after I picked up the phone, “and I’m cutting off contact with all Muslims except you.” This was one of the most difficult conversations I’ve ever had. My heart ached for this woman; I knew her story all too well. …

You Don’t Matter. Our Image Does

Originally published via MuslimMatters.org ‘And here is the tragedy. Muslims, African-Americans, and other oppressed groups learn that suffering is something they must endure “for the greater good.” So private abuses and traumas are kept quiet so as to not upset or disrupt an already fragile reputation and tenuous image. You don’t cry out when you’re in pain, and you don’t …

Cutting Contact with Abusive Family Is Not a Sin

“…I wondered why children so easily accepted it as their place to absorb the sins of their elders, even if it meant losing themselves in the process.” —the character Sonya in Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani   “Why?” I ask him for the first time in my life. It never occurred to me to ask as a child. …

Are You a Sign of the Last Day?

It was while watching the Oprah Winfrey Show many years ago when I realized that times have really changed… This particular show interviewed a mother who had written and published a children’s book and dedicated it to her daughter. The mother shared with Oprah that she now realized that she had spent many of the daughter’s young years working hard …

What Muslims’ Celebration of Beyoncé Says About Our Souls

 When I was ostracized and slandered by Muslims of my childhood community after I chose to wear a khimaar and stop listening to music, I was deeply confused. Here were people who were in the forefront of interfaith programs, community activism, and establishing movements that formed the foundation of today’s #BlackLivesMatter. They preached showing kindness and compassion to those struggling …

Your Marriage, Family, or Sheikh Could Harm Your Soul

From the Journal of Umm Zakiyyah: Too often we associate “worldly life” with material things and carnal pleasures. So when Allah cautions us to not allow this worldly life to distract us from worshipping and obeying Him, we think of fancy cars, big houses, and sexual temptations. While these things are certainly common distractions from our purpose in life, they …

Is It a Test or a Punishment? How Do I Know?

From the Journal of Umm Zakiyyah: “How do I know if it’s a test or a punishment?” This is a question I wondered about for years, and every chance I got, I asked an Islamic teacher or read whatever I could on the issue. Till today, the answer that stays with me is this: You don’t. Ultimately, only Allah knows …

Things They Said Are Haraam or Doubtful in Islam

I think we take a lot for granted when we caution people to stay away from what *we* view as haraam or doubtful in Islam when there are other permissible views on the issue. In such discussions, the concept of practicing Islam properly often becomes an intellectual exercise in logistics—or even an entertaining topic for debate—as opposed to an intimate, …

Keep Talking. Your Test Is Coming. Allah’s the Best Teacher.

From the Journal of Umm Zakiyyah: You are not me, and I am not you. We are not cookie cutters of each other, so let’s remember that when telling others what they should and should not do, especially regarding matters subject to permissible disagreement. I find it quite telling and profound that the foundational, clear, and undisputed matters in our faith …

Identity Crisis. Can We Differ Safely?

“Men who do music are like homosexuals!” There was a ripple of laughter throughout the crowd. I shifted uncomfortably from where I sat in the women’s section and glanced uncertainly around me. Everyone was either laughing, smirking, or shaking their head in emphatic agreement. Am I the only one who has a problem with this? I thought to myself. But …