empty boat on water at sunset

Your Lord Has Not Forgotten You: To the Non-Arab Learning Qur’an

“O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i.e. the Quran), and a healing for that which is in your breasts, a guidance and a mercy for the believers.” —Qur’an (Yunus, 10:57) In some of my moments of spiritual confusion, I’ve wondered why so many of us are born into cultures and lands with no …

photo of drowning person's hands reaching out of the water

Are You Helping Others, But Harming Yourself?

“Soul work nourishes community work, and it nourishes family work. And all work begins with the heart. So the most effective work you can do for your community or family stems from nourishing your own heart and soul.” —from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah In reflecting on our respective soul tribes in this world, I asked this question of social …

Teaching Your Heart Love for Allah’s Sake

“And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers.” — Qur’an (Adh-Dhaariyaat, 51:55) In seeking to teach our hearts true love for the sake of Allah, it is important to remember that ultimately, this is an emaan issue rooted in the spiritual state of a person’s heart more than anything else. This spiritual reality is conveyed in the prophetic hadith: …

silhouette of female sitting on swing reflecting

Making the Most of Your Bad Days

“You know when I started feeling better? When I stopped feeling bad about feeling bad.” —from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah “Why do you and your husband have only one child? Are you trying to have more? Or is it because you don’t want any more children?” These questions began when my daughter was around five years old, and they …

woman in black niqaab looking up reflectively

Protect Your Muslim Image or Muslim Soul?

“Your Muslim image, or your Muslim soul? At a certain point, you have to decide which is more important to you.” —from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah “How in the world are we supposed to invite Americans to Islam if women are walking around with their faces covered and Muslim men are marrying multiple wives?” This is a question I’ve …

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 …

silhouette of bride and groom by water near trees and image reflection on water

How ‘Good People’ End Up Destroying Lives and Souls

“The tongue, O Allah, the tongue! Protect me from it, even as it moves in broken rhythm with my own troubled heart.” —excerpt of FAITH. From the Journal of Umm Zakiyyah “She obviously thinks it’s perfectly fine to break apart marriages, support friends backstabbing each other, and dismiss the rights of women.” The words were from a sister of mine—a …

newly weds standing on shore near water

You Own No Heart or Life, But Your Own

“And all those worldly comforts and human relationships you thought you couldn’t live without? They were just temporary companions on your life journey.” —from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah You cannot control another human being, and you cannot own another human being. And you have no ultimate responsibility or burden for any life or soul other than your own. Understanding …

silhouette of man wearing cap backwards reflecting sad looking down alone

The Other Side of Hurt: It’s Not About You

No one should have to apologize for taking care of themselves. This is something that took me a long time to realize and embrace in my life, and I’m still striving to do better at avoiding saying “I’m sorry” for taking care of myself during a time that people deem inconvenient for themselves, or when they feel my absence proves …

African American woman with humorous expression

Ignorant People Annoy Me Too…But

“I guarantee a house on the outskirts of Paradise for one who abandons arguments even if he is right, and a house in the middle of Paradise for one who abandons lies even when joking, and a house in the highest part of Paradise for one who makes his character excellent.” —Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him (Sunan Abu Dawud …