Book stack buntyounus

​Assalaam alaykum,

Bismillah,

book shelf bintyounusIt has been months since we published anything, hasn’t it? Why is that? Well, we are officially closing the magazine alhamdulillah.

When I stopped publishing articles mid way through the ‘Difficult Discussions’ issue in the spring, I didn’t realise it was the end. So I didn’t say anything about it to you. But it was.

Alhamdulillah, since we started Young Muslimah Magazine (YMM) in 2014, other teams of people have done a fantastic job of making online, accessible reading and writing opportunities available to teens and twenties Muslimahs.

My goal with this magazine was to do what I can to help young Muslimahs have your identity represented, a safe space to reflect and ‘mature’ (which none of us need outgrow doing!), and a means to take ownership of some media.

Alhamdulillah, in partnership with Nadia Leona Yunis, our Islamic Editor, I have been able to facilitate a few writers to reach young readers in this way, and we have published some new writers. It has been an honour, alhamdulillah.

But my resources and expertise in this field are limited. Others are doing a bigger job of meeting your needs now. My energy is better spent supporting their work than struggling to continue with this project.

Alhamdulillah, I have asked a few editors to write to you. Below, Brooke Benoit of SISTERS Magazine (now freely online, not in print) reflects on our closure and speaks my feelings better than I can, and both Rahma K of Muslimaat Magazine and Saadia Faruqi of Blue Minaret invite you to read and submit work to their publications. I hope you will check out their websites and find benefit insha’Allah.

Book stack buntyounusAnd, of course, I hope you keep reading books too. Here’s a beautiful stack photographed by writer Zainab Bint Younus to get you started :) Also, above is one of her shelfies.

A huge thank you to all of the contributors to this magazine – writers, poets, interviewees, and reviewers. You have been a pleasure to work with. Please forgive me for my
shortcomings.

Thanks so much to you, our readers, for all of your support of this magazine, masha’Allah.

JazakAllahkhayr.

Insha’Allah the website will remain as an archive for a few months. The Twitter account has closed. But the Facebook page will merge with the page ‘Nadia Leona Yunis‘ so you can stay connected with her positivity insha’Allah :)

Alhamdulillah for all of the barakah in this project and for all the barakah in its closing.

Ma salaama,
Elizabeth Lymer, former Editor of Young Muslimah Magazine

So, where online shall you read now?..

SISTERS Magazine

Asalam alaikum,

Dear Editors (and Readers) of Young Muslimah Magazine,

I am truly sorry to hear about your venture discontinuing. While we see magazines and websites by and for Muslims frequently pop up and then disappear, I really thought you guys were in it for the long haul. We all –readers and writers – know that you are wanted and needed. Very wanted and needed. There are tons of well educated, young and media-loving Muslims eager for quality content made just for them. And since women statistically read a little more than men, well that makes a site like YMM all the more needed. Because you knew all of this before you started, and obviously care about your readers and the quality of your content, I really thought YMM was going to make it. Your site is great, masha Allah! So I just want you to know that this closure is not your fault. Really it isn’t.

Muslim-made media is at an interesting, though still unstable, point in history. Many of the older generations still do not value ‘casual’ reading. They also don’t understand the need for making connections and community online. They certainly don’t appreciate The Arts, unless we are talking about designing a minaret at its utmost height while meeting zoning limits. And unfortunately the elders are the ones with the most advertising dollars, which they don’t want to spend in general and especially not on frivolous media or websites (even though this is a proven viable business practice!). The younger generations know this about the elders and so they continue to subvert the problem, creating their own media and communities via Tumblr, YouTube, Snapshot and so on.

YMM Editors, thank you so much for brief but commendable contribution. Masha Allah it is really appreciated. I’m sorry that we failed you.

YMM Readers, keep writing your blogs, opening your own websites and doing your own thing! Every little bit you do is appreciated and even if you aren’t into it for the long haul, every little bit you create is another brick in that lush library made by and for us.

With much love and respect,

Brooke Benoit,
Web Editor, SISTERS Magazine

Muslimaat Magazine

Asalaam o alaikum Sisters, We, at Muslimaat Magazine would like to invite you to write for us. Muslimaat Magazine is a quarterly international publication, i.e print and online, dedicated to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of Muslimaat across the globe. We are always on a lookout for writers who can tackle topics that are relevant to our readers (Muslim women) in ways that are interesting, unique and thought provoking. Please visit us at www.muslimaat.net to know more about us.
Maria Karim,

Managing Editor, Muslimaat Magazine

Blue Minaret

Assalamo alaikum,
At Blue Minaret we aim to promote a sense of identity among Muslims writers and artists by providing a space for showcasing their talent and networking with each other. We also try to do our part in challenging the typical Islamophobic/colonial/minority narrative around Muslims by offering an alternative portrait through fiction, poetry and art. We would like the rest of the world to see Muslims as normal, ordinary, flawed individuals with the same successes and struggles, the same disappointments and joys, as everybody else.

Please visit our website at http://www.blueminaret.com/ or send us your submissions at submissions@blueminaret.com.

Regards,
Saadia Faruqi,
Editor-in-Chief, Blue Minaret

​You may also want to know about these Muslimah online publications…

Muslim Girl

Muslimah Writers Alliance blog

​Moments of Perfect Clarity

Again, from Nadia Leona Yunis and I, thank you for all your support. May Allah SWT put barakah into your reading and writing for His pleasure, ameen.

​{Recite in the name of your Lord who created}​
The Qur’an, Surah Al-’Alaq, Chapter of the clot, 96:1


Young Muslimah Magazine http://www.youngmuslimahmagazine.com

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 235 user reviews.

Fire pic for Bad Dreams chapt ex Hafsa Waseela

Fire pic for Bad Dreams chapt ex Hafsa Waseela

Goodnight Mama!” I sang.

Goodnight Wardah. Please don’t forget to read Ayat-ul Kursi before going to sleep, ” Mum replied while still walking. She sounded uptight, like she was on alert.

Okay Mum, ” I said. But she had walked past. I called after her. “Jazakallah khair for reminding me!”

I’d had a tiring day at school. I prayed my Salah and went to bed early. Closing my eyes, I fell instantly into a deep sleep.

Strangely, I found myself waking up to the scent of barbecued meat. I looked outside my window and saw the sky filled with grey and black smoke. Below, blazing fire was everywhere. Buildings collapsing. Women screaming. Children crying. Families running barefoot. A flood of blood. A stench. I withdrew.

Where am I? Am I dreaming or in reality? What is going on? Questions swam in my mind like fish in the sea.

From behind, I felt a pair of hands rest on my shoulders. Hot. Large. My heart beat fast. I squeezed my eyes tight and, aloud, repeated my shahadah.

Laa illaha il Allah, Muhammadur rasool Allah.

A saddened voice that I recognised whispered, “Don’t worry Wardah, it’s only me. Baba.”

My heart sank. I felt as though a gust of wind blew me away, somehow giving my myocardium an energy supply to function my heart.

I turned round, slowly so his hands could remain, and I gazed into his eyes. They were red like cherries – a connotation of anger, pain, and sadness. Tears rolled down his cheeks and into his beard at the slow speed of a millipede running from poison. His lysosymes were working hard. His nose was running. He weighed heavier on my shoulders.

My trembling fingers reached for my hijab and wiped his tears and nose. His face was so hot that a pancake would have been cooked already.

He gave me a weak smile. He said, “Jazakallah khair, my dearest daughter. I thought I would have lost you. We have been bombed yet again.” He then gave me a tight, warm hug – so hard that I nearly choked. I squeezed my eyes shut again and forgot where I was.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” I screamed. Drops of sweat fell down my face and neck.

What’s wrong, Wardah?” Mum ran rushing into my room, her eyes wide open.

It was a dream.

To be continued….

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Apostle said, “While I was sleeping, I saw that a cup full of milk was brought to me and I drank my fill til I noticed (the milk) its wetness coming out of my nails. Then I gave the remaining milk to ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab.” The companions of the Prophet asked, “What have you interpreted (about this dream)? O Allah’s Apostle?” He replied, “(It is religious) knowledge.”

Bukhari Book 3, Hadith 82

The above excerpt is from the ‘Bad Dreams’ chapter in Hafsa Waseela‘s debut novel A Reflection of The Past, out Autumn 2015 insha’Allah.

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 153 user reviews.

Elizabeth

Elizabeth

I discovered the truth on honeymoon,

Of the extent to which I’d been misled,

How I’d absorbed vast torrents of their lies,

Via photos and the phrases they’d said.

 

 

At night I was scared to see my lover

Close-up with all his colouring faded,

I felt frightened, and then I got angry.

How extremely I had been persuaded!

 

Zeroed in on my bridal adornments,

Oblivious to their dense, dark attack,

Distracted by a mist of wifely white,

My mind had slowly saturated black.

 

He’d altered, I saw, but didn’t worry,

I was grateful to see he had matured;

I thought we’d have a simple espousal,

Unaware my perception was obscured.

 

I know why I doubted my own husband,

Severed trust has allowed my mind to clear,

My heart’s helped me recognise my judgement,

I’d let papers imprint his beard with fear.

{So rely upon Allah; indeed, you are upon the clear truth.}

The Qur’an, Surah An-Naml (the ant) 27:79

Elizabeth Lymer is the Editor for Young Muslimah Magazine and the Co-Editor of The Muslimah Speaks, Her Voice, Her Spirit, Volume One, the poetry anthology in which this poem was published. Alhamdulillah Elizabeth hopes this poem will inspire Muslimahs to embrace the challenges they encounter during their first year of marriage to clarify and work through their personal issues and to support their spouse to develop also insha’Allah. She also hopes to inspire compassion for each other regarding the negative subconscious effect we can experience from reading newspapers and other media.

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 209 user reviews.

diamonds-385958_640

diamonds-385958_640

In the dark,
on the rough trails
stones paring through,
prying my flesh …
life gave me
these gifts
with no bandages
or ribbons.

Tired at some point,
as I rested,
on a huge rock
and looked down
the path I’d traversed;
there lay painted
tips bright red,
glistening stones
reflecting the sun;
the very diamonds
I had been seeking …
the ones that
in the dark,
pared my skin.

{If a wound should touch you  there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it. And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people so that Allah may make evident those who believe and [may] take to Himself from among you martyrs – and Allah does not like the wrongdoers – And that Allah may purify the believers [through trials] and destroy the disbelievers.}

The Qur’an, Surah ‘Ali-’Imran (family of Imran) 3:140–141

Taheseen Khan first published this poem on her blog Penspills.

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 160 user reviews.

curtain-13823_640

curtain-13823_640

Once the veil of

your eyes has

been removed

that shielded

curtain no

longer looms

 

just remember

one thing

know for sure

Allah bestowed

upon this sinner

For me to adore

 

The eyes will

begin to witness

the beauty with

blessings from

Allah and

His decree

 

these sinning

eyes will start

to see the immense

beauty of our

Beloved Nabi,

visions will be

 

present to thee

 

once the veil of

your eyes has

been removed

that shielded

curtain no

longer looms

 

with blessings

from Allah

and His decree

these sinning

eyes will

start to see.

{And when you recite the Qur’an, We put between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a concealed partition. And We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears deafness. And when you mention your Lord alone in the Qur’an, they turn back in aversion.}

The Qur’an, Surah Al-’Israa’ (the night journey) 17:45–46

Fardos T. Shahid is a twenty years young student studying Joint Honors English and Education BA. She is an aspiring English teacher insha’Allah. By combining her love for Islam and English she began to write poems, free verse, and stories. Her inspirations vary from personal experiences to Sufism and the likes of Rumi, Shams Tabrizi, and Hafiz. She volunteers for Muslim Youth League Birmingham Sisters UK and blogs at http://inthethoughtsofink.blogspot.co.uk/.

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 257 user reviews.

heart-526683_640

heart-526683_640

There was a place when you had everything

but still emptiness hounded you somehow.

There was a time when you loved everything

but it wasn’t the same anymore.

 

You got up every morning

looking forward to the day

but when you went to bed at night

only disappointment there lay.

 

You thought you had some plague

but nay did you know

it was a disease

of the heart.

 

Gruesome, encompassing, and sinister as black magic.

Its chains rugged, iron-like held on vehemently.

Your heart was bound, bleeding, it knew not such excruciating pain.

Helplessly it cried out but all in vain!

 

How could you let your heart die?

How could you let it be?

You couldn’t let your heart suffer,

a suffering of eternity.

 

So you prolonged your sujoods and prayed all your tahajjuds.

And I know how you cried because it happened with me too.

Not long had passed and your worship bore fruit.

It was as if He had waited for you.

 

Now a noor emanated from your heart, resonating inside.

Making molten the brute shackles

until they disappeared

not one but all.

 

Your heart breathed again as it was set free

in a manner state of the art.

So go on sweetheart

reclaim your heart

 

and submit it

to the rightful owner.

Your Lord.

Your Creator.

{O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.}

The Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah (the cow) 2:208

Afreen Khan is a 21 year old Muslimah who is really trying hard to strike a balance between the deen and dunya. She is a student of Psychology and Islam. She is also passionate about poetry, literature, and cooking. Alhamdulillah. she finds beauty in the little things of life like a cup of freshly brewed tea, crimson sunsets, and children’s laughter.

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 208 user reviews.

Sisterhood

Sisterhood

Sisterhood to me

is a bond that we can’t always see.

 

It’s like

when we love our sisters for Allah’s sake

making sure, we are holding up our faith,

knowing our salvation, is at stake.

 

It’s reaching out to our sisters when in-need

connecting and doing a gracious deed.

But sometimes, it’s just planting a positive seed.

 

We have to go deep within our hearts,

to bring out the goodness right from the start,

not letting negativity tear us apart.

 

Sisterhood is learning,

laughing and praying together, too.

Always desiring and giving our best

in whatever we do.

 

Sisterhood is a connection

given to us by Allah above.

 

Let’s hold it sacred

and practice-that special

Sisterly Love!

 

Are you practising sisterhood?

Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, “Whoever possesses the following three qualities will taste the sweetness of faith: 1. The one to whom Allah and His Apostle become dearer than anything else. 2. Who loves a person and he loves him only for Allah’s sake. 3. Who hates to revert to disbelief (Atheism) after Allah has brought (saved) him out from it, as he hates to be thrown in fire.”

Bukhari Book 2, Hadith 20

Latifah A. Hameen is founder of the agency Healthy Positive Choices which educates young adults and teens about preventing abuse in relationships. She is author of a number of books including a workbook that Young Muslimah Magazine has reviewed and a poetry collection. She is also a member of the Muslimah Writers Alliance.

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 256 user reviews.

blue-259458_640

blue-259458_640

I remember when I believed in dreams

When the milky waves meant a lot to me

When I learnt to make wishes like a fairy; eyes closed

And open my eyes to see my dreams come true

I remember when life was of cream and peaches

 

I remember all my dreams of running far away

Of not looking back to care how little I was

Of not minding the light weight of my fat pocket

And not making a huge mountain out of no shelter

Of waking up to see the true face of love

 

I remember when I vowed the vow with him

And walked the long walk with Him

And danced the cultural dance in the rain

And sang the melodious song in the dark storm

I remember with tears all the good times with him

 

I remember when twenty seemed so far away

Looking back, time tells me it was yesterday

I have lost a lot with the passing of time

If I were to be blessed with a second chance

I’d go back to five and start where it all began

 

I remember when my light shone so bright

Basking in excitement amidst the crème de la crème

I remember when my light went so dim

Wallowing in depression and creeping in holes

I remember I was told that such is life

 

I remember when I sought to fill up the void

Against all the false hopes that life gave me

When I blindly walked through a new door

Hoping to put together the scattered puzzles

I remember when I had no bearing on life’s map

 

And I finally remember when I truly found Him

When my life’s true love revealed Himself to me

And walked towards me when I only took a step

I remember when I left behind me, the empty past

When at last I became the ‘me’ I am today

© WARDAH ABBAS 2014

{And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak.}

The Qur’an, Surah An-Nisaa’ (the women) 4:28

Wardah Abbas is a twenty-something year old self-proclaimed eco–Muslimah based in Nigeria. She is a state attorney and a passionate writer who particularly loves to share lessons from her personal experiences. When Wardah is not writing, volunteering at an event, or hanging out with friends, she can be found at the kitchen table whipping up edible ingredients into skin beauty regimens. She is the Earth Care staff writer for Young Muslimah Magazine. Catch up with her on therosespen.wordpress.com.

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 283 user reviews.

tulip-123795_640

tulip-123795_640

(Dedicated to my mother Mrs. Mariam Nagaria who we lost on 12 June 2014)

 

Beauty and grace personified

Embodiment of tolerance,

Through my Ummi I saw lovely patience,

I thought she was full of elegance!

 

Diabetes and Breast Cancer,

Angina and Blood Pressure,

Yet bravely she fought,

Against all odds!

 

Arthritis in her back,

Her knees and hands,

My mother withstood all,

Nothing made her fall!

 

Nineteen years she spent

As my father’s widow,

She was my life’s shelter,

My prayers’ last door!

 

To Allah tonight I pray,

Plead He’ll make it easy,

Protect her and help her

In her final journey!

 

Inna llillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon,

May her grave be a place of ‘sukoon’,

May He lift away all her pains, please,

Give her a lit-up grave and eternal peace!

 

May He grant her peace along with my father 

Highest place in Jannah, from Allah SWT and dear!

Expansion of her grave, more than tolerable, may she have ease,

For her to answer when in front of Him, and may He be pleased!

 

Abu Huraira reported that a person came to Allah, ‘s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Who among the people is most deserving of a fine treatment from my hand? He said: Your mother. He again said: Then who (is the next one)? He said: Again it is your mother (who deserves the best treatment from you). He said: Then who (is the next one)? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Again, it is your mother. He (again) said: Then who? Thereupon he said: Then it is your father. In the hadith transmitted on the authority of Qutalba, there is no mention of the word” the people”.

Sahih Muslim, Book 32, Hadith 6180

A teacher by profession, an MBA by degree and a student of religion,  Khudaija A. Nagaria found refuge and happiness writing, using her passion for serving Islam. Being a freelancer she writes for different magazines and forums. So far her articles and poems have been published in prestigious magazines such as Dawn,  Hiba,  Aailaa and Young Muslimah Magazine, and websites such as Moments of Perfect Clarity, and Muslim Moms. Khudaija is a writer for Muslimaat Magazine and has served as their Marketing Manager and a Contributing Editor. She is an active member of Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA). She prays her writing be a means of Sadaqa Jaariyah for her deceased parents.

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 215 user reviews.

Sandcastles and Snowmen COVER

I find it interesting when I hear people refer negatively to interested Auntie figures in the Muslim community because I wanted and craved a religiously concerned Aunt when I was a teenager. Someone who would take the time to care about how I was managing with the various issues related to practising faith in the face of all the complexities of my contemporary climate … including all of the unkind rhetorical questions people threw at me to knock me, a believer, down.

But I suppose not every Auntie is as ideal as the figment in my imagination because day to day we humans are all susceptible to swaying somewhat from ideal intentions when we reach out to try and guide others. And I remember from my teenage experience being very susceptible to emotional wounds from contentious topics that I felt were in any way entangled with my pulled, pushed, and confused emerging identity.

Sandcastles and Snowmen COVERSometimes a written guide is much more fitting, reliable, and helpful to begin processing issues from the macro level of society that impact us personally. Since we know a book has a beginning, middle, and end, its invitation to self-improve along a journey is more attractive than an invitation to talk to a community elder whose constancy in faith emits an illusion of inaccessible status quo. As a general rule community members do not uncover their sins and pitfalls, which is good practice, but it can mean we look at ourselves – in knowledge of our own shortcomings – and feel inadequate to approach someone or unable to open up.

In Sandcastles and Snowmen Sahar El-Nadi is open about her journey to rediscovering Islam. She discusses a long list of topics related to being Muslim and getting on with being so today.

For example, her topics include: The Culture of Instant Gratification; What Makes a Person a Practising Muslim?; Pigs, Dogs, Fashion and Sex; Diversity Vs. Conformity; Why Some Muslims Don’t Shake Hands; Define Gender Equality?; First Islamic Universities; Cultural Dilemma of New Muslims and Immigrants; and Art: A Tool for Conflict Resolution.

Saha El-Nadi is a public speaker and her easy-to-read spoken flow comes through in her writing – I felt I sensed her smiling to me in some passages.

With so many topics covered,  Sandcastles and Snowmen is the kind of book I like to dip into every now and again – much in the way I like to approach peers and elders every so often to learn and to process various issues. I still haven’t finished the whole book, but I think it will take me years insha’Allah, and you may have missed out on finding it this year if I waited until then to write my review. And I wouldn’t like to deny you anything that can help you stand up as a Muslimah and yourself.

Find-ability is my concern about the book. Although the title is fitting for the book, as it is explained in its introductory pages, the name of the book may be an obstacle to discovery by potential readers. Also the gendered snowmen irritates me a little.

So, based upon my experience of the book, and directly using text from page seventeen, I like to refer to the book as Let’s Shift Illusions and Talk Islam: Saha El-Nadi Shares Joys, Pains, and Discoveries Like the Auntie You Always Wanted. What fond title will you give to Sandcastles and Snowmen when you start reading it?

{Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children  like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.}

The Qur’an, Surah Al-Hadeed (the iron) 57:20

Elizabeth Lymer is the Editor for Young Muslimah Magazine. Alhamdulillah she is in the habit of frequently making time for the processes of reading and writing, even if her visible achievements are few. You can find all of her writing sites via http://www.elizabethlymer.co.uk. She is on Twitter @elizabethlymer.

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 154 user reviews.

She Wore Red Trainers COVER

Prior to reading Naima B Robert’s latest young adult fiction She Wore Red Trainers I hadn’t really read much Islamic fiction. But the mere fact that it was a Muslim romance story – the preview of which I had earlier read – increased my thirst to savour the sweetness of its magical lines till the last full stop.

Reading it was like being in a different world. It was a complete page turner and, masha’Allah, from the time the curtain was raised to when it was drawn, I was filled with pleasure and inner joy for reading a story as beautiful as this authored by a Muslimah.

She Wore Red Trainers COVERShe Wore Red Trainers tells the story of two teenagers who fall in love, Ali and Ameerah; the both of them from two entirely different, far-from-perfect backgrounds. Ameerah, who had vowed never to get married as a result of her mother’s experience with the wrong choices of husbands, suddenly meets Ali. And Ali is battling with a lot of things such as his maintenance of recently recommenced religious practices, the reality of the loss of his mum, and the difficulties of adapting to a new environment he had just moved into with his family.

Neither protagonist can stop thinking about the other. Things become a little confusing for the young love birds as they both face their difficulties and obstacles in making the right decisions, in terms of Islam, family, and community. A lot of complications set in. Such as the over-protectiveness of Ameerah’s brother Zayd, who had also gone through a lot in shaping his sister to becoming the woman she was. And, for Ali, the high expectations from his father who wanted his son to pursue a degree in law.

The two love birds continue with their individual struggles enveloped by secret feelings of strong love for each other.

As my eyes travelled down the beautiful destination led by the powerful assembly of words into a breathtaking storyline, I became more curious to know how everything unfolds in the end.

Would there be any spine-freezing dates, awkward romantic conversations, enchanting eye contacts, and would they get to hold hands in the end, have their first kiss, first romance and what not? I kept imagining as I personally got butterflies all over me. It was full of suspense.

The central characters were strong and portrayed the beauty of Islam. The character Zayd portrayed both both good and not-so-good sides, playing both protagonist and antagonist in his own unique way.

I absolutely loved the fact that Ameerah’s mother – the weakest character – was able to grow enough nerves to get her irresponsible husband kicked out of their lives while standing up for her daughter. It had me smiling, giggling and of course, it had my heart in my throat.

I must confess that I totally enjoyed reading the book and I absolutely recommend it for all those who love to read. It is indeed a must read for every teenager and parent, especially considering the fact that, as Muslims, love can be very delicate as it is surrounded by so many boundaries which we are expected not to cross.

{And [yet], among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love Allah . But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah . And if only they who have wronged would consider [that] when they see the punishment, [they will be certain] that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is severe in punishment.}

The Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah (the cow) 2:165

Wardah Abbas is a twenty-something year old self-proclaimed eco–Muslimah based in Nigeria. She is a state attorney and a passionate writer who particularly loves to share lessons from her personal experiences. When Wardah is not writing, volunteering at an event or hanging out with friends, she can be found at the kitchen table whipping up edible ingredients into skin beauty regimens. She is the Earth Care staff writer for Young Muslimah Magazine. Catch up with her on therosespen.wordpress.com.

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 197 user reviews.

writers and artists yearbook 2015 COVER

Learn how to navigate your pathway as a writer with the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook.

Allah gifts each of us with talents and skills, creative flow, and inspiration. However, it is our responsibility to ground these potentials and cut paths with our beginnings in the physical world. Is it enough to hold a gift, or creative talent, if our writing never finds a way out into the world?

It is wise to seek help, wisdom, and guidance as early on as possible and to avoid proceeding ahead blindly. I have found that attending a writing course encouraged my gift and shaped my editing before I launched my writing out into the world.

writers and artists yearbook 2015 COVERI also highly recommend The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook as the best definitive collation of contacts that lights the way to sharing your work.

The large tome contains advice from many highly respected and successful authors, including William Boyd, Terry Pratchett, and J.K.Rowling. Every author that we may aspire to emulate had to start somewhere, following their initial inspiration and reams of writing.

How does Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook help you launch your writing from the desk out into the wide world? Let’s take a look.…

Firstly, the guide is divided up into the various areas of writing, commencing with newspapers, magazines, books, and poetry through to television, film, radio, theatre, art, and illustration. Secondly, you can find out about literary agents, societies, prizes, festivals, digital, and self-publishing resources for writers, copyright and libel, and finish with finance for writers and artists. With so much to learn, whichever area you focus on, the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook can save you many hours of research. You can use the guide to ensure you are clearly focussed and enabled to follow your dreams in an orderly manner.

Its advice is shared concisely and openly, and is full of wisdom from writers with years of experience. I have read much advice for potential authors in the past, but found Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook arrives at the points quickly and succinctly. You almost feel that you were there, too, gaining the experience directly! As the name implies, the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook is updated yearly with any new and amended contact details and new gems. For 2015,  you can discover articles on creative writing courses, writing your first novel, woman’s fiction, changing voices, comic writing, submitting your TV, film, or radio script, and getting hooked out of the slush pile.

There is more guidance for writers in the 2015 edition than previously, making this a great year to purchase if you are beginning your career as a writer.

The information on literary agents and the writers’ resources are particularly useful. In the latter, you can find everything from proof reading symbols to writers’ retreats and courses. From ISBN numbers to copyrights, all essential information for writers is covered.

Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook is published by Bloomsbury and priced at £19.99. Also available is Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. The yearbook is available in paperback or kindle formats. The kindle version is great for following links on the internet, whilst the paperback is great to read quietly whilst absorbing the immense wealth of information.

{And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.}

The Qur’an, Surah An-’An’aam (the cattle) 6:59

Sarah Rehmatullah writes for health publications, including Get Fresh Magazine, Yoga Magazine and SISTERS Magazine. Sarah reverted to Islam in 2013 and lives with her husband, a born Muslim, in England. Sarah and her husband are writing a cookery book, sharing their passion for delicious Asian Cuisine.

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 213 user reviews.

South Asian Culture and Islam cover

Uzma Hussain tackles the difficulties of truly practising Islam in contemporary South Asian culture by guiding her readers on a joyful discovery of Allah-given rights from a woman’s perspective.

Through looking at the figure of the South Asian Muslim woman and her relationships, namely as a daughter-in-law, as a wife and as a mother, author Uzma Hussain examples scenarios and trends that are prevalent in South Asian culture today which deny Muslim women their Islamic rights. She contrasts these un-Islamic cultural trends with numerous references from the Qur’an and examples from the Sunnah to guide the reader to various options [means] to overcome oppressive traditions and replace them with correct Islamic conduct. For all Muslim readers, the book is packed with useful reminders of Islamic teachings, and warnings, against condoning or perpetrating oppression due to acting out of ignorance, neglect, or in deliberate conflict with the rights and responsibilities due to one another in Islam.

South Asian Culture and Islam coverRegarding how she hopes the book will be useful, Hussain said that, “Ideally I think it is better to read this book when first thinking about marriage. However, it can be read at any time during a person’s life as it covers many different issues including those where there is blurring between the lines such as the South Asian joint family culture, inheritance, mahr, and others. I think this book helps to clear up some of these confused areas.” Other important issues discussed in the book include our Islamic responsibilities to our parents and our spouse’s parents, the sunnah etiquettes of respecting and protecting each other’s privacy, and a woman’s rights to education and maintaining her own identity.

Since it discusses South Asian cultural problems and explores Islamic solutions, the book is, of course, particularly valuable to South Asian Muslim families. Unstopped, oppressive practices may continue to hurt and frustrate South Asian Muslim women, and women married into South Asian families, and therefore entire families, communities and societies. Reading Hussain’s book, I learned a lot about oppressive practices in South Asian culture.

I couldn’t put the book down. As I read, I was frustrated by the current realities Hussain lays bear, but I was also encouraged by the tactical solutions she offers. Thanks to Hussain’s references to the reliable sources of the Qur’an and sunnah, and her clear, contextual judgements of how we can choose to behave in relationships in accordance with Islam, I was overwhelmingly inspired to hope that Muslims who are currently allowing these oppressions to occur may be stimulated, equipped and guided to change their actions and attitudes.

Hussain identifies three main messages of the book:

• To understand your rights

• Speak up against oppression, if possible, as this will help to eliminate it, insha’Allah

• To love Islam

Unstopped, oppressive practices may continue to hurt and frustrate South Asian Muslim women, and women married into South Asian families, and therefore entire families, communities and societies.

The whole book is written in a matter-of-fact and easy-to-read manner, and its chapters can be read in any order. Those with little or no connection to South Asian culture may like to begin their reading with a chapter towards the end of the book, “The Value of Time.” Here, Hussain references many Qur’anic ayat and ahadith that encourage and remind us, as Muslims, to focus on journeying to the Day of Judgement with a sound heart. Masha’Allah, Hussain’s compassion and Muslim fellowship for women and all Muslims on this journey seems clear. Her earnestness, for me, is a trusty invitation to use her book to derive insights for effecting positive change in any and all cultures and circumstances.

As I read, I was frustrated by the current realities Hussain lays bare, but I was also encouraged by the tactical solutions she offers.

I often benefit from companionship on my problem-solving journeys, and through her book Hussain has become a good companion. Her solution-finding method is like the supportive problem-sharing conversations I like to engage in with friends, in which I feel I am party to counselling, learning and guidance, helping me to deal with my emotions, and in which I guard against backbiting and corruptions of the heart. Hussain focuses her attention on examples of oppression without judgement or condemnation of anyone. With compassion, she uses these examples of oppression to encourage readers to understand cultural problems. She finds contextual Islamic knowledge through research of the Qur’an and Hadith, and through guidance from scholars, in particular the editor, Sheikh Ismail Mahgoub. Finally, she reflects upon this knowledge to build informed insights as to how to facilitate and effect positive change for the sake of Allah.

The book is a much needed source of knowledge and inspiration for overcoming the oppression of South Asian women and a valuable guide to the sunnah of maintaining good relations for all Muslim women and men. Alhamdulillah, I have already benefited from engaging with Hussain’s quotations from Qur’anic ayah and hadith and her insightful suggestions of putting them into practice.

The book is available to buy at greenbirdbooks.com and amazon.co.uk.

South Asian Culture & Islam in Urdu translation is also available from Amazon UK.

{O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion. And do not make difficulties for them in order to take [back] part of what you gave them unless they commit a clear immorality. And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.}

The Qur’an, Surah An-Nisa’ (the women) 4:19

Elizabeth Lymer is the children’s author of Islamic Nursery Rhymes by Greenbird Books, and Religious Rhyme Time by Mindworks Publishing. She is Editor for Young Muslimah Magazine and is on Twitter @elizabethlymer. This review was first published in SISTERS MagazineMasha’Allah Uzma Hussain has donated copies of her book to writers for Young Muslimah Magazine. An interview with Uzma Hussain will be published by Young Muslimah Magazine soon insha’Allah.

South Asian Culture and Islam cover

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 279 user reviews.

Normal Calm cover

I stared at the title for a few minutes. Normal Calm. The title stirred all sorts of different questions in my mind.

What could the story be about? What surprise is in there for me?

I didn’t have a paperback copy to read the outline, so I shrugged my shoulders and cuddled myself in my bed. With an abnormally cold temperature outside, in the winter chill of Canada, I would benefit from a warm story to provide me with the right blend of emotions to keep me ‘normal’.

Normal Calm coverNormal Calm is author Hend Hegazi’s first novel. It is a story that actually hit me quite deeply. The speech is simple and the tone is effective. The novel moves at a fair pace and doesn’t let the reader bore. The characters are portrayed well, and each plays his or her role beautifully in the novel.

The main character, Amina, is shown to have been sent to university by her hesitant parents, who have otherwise never allowed her to stay away from home. Letting go is not easy for them. She visits family quite often, as the university into which she’s been accepted – a top one in the US – is only at a distance of about four hours drive. She moves ahead with caution and befriends Sahar and Layal, Rami and Tariq.

Hend Hegazi handles cultural morals very well in the book and quite interestingly so. One of my favourite parts of the story was the hospitality and love shown by Amina to her friends, who were studying with her, yet were very far away from their respective families. They are welcomed by Amina’s family every Eid. Hegazi portrays the celebration of Eid as a ‘family time’ in the mosque and park, and Amina’s parents get the opportunity of knowing who Amina is spending most time with at college.

My favourite character in the novel is Amina’s non-Muslim best friend Kayla, who stays with her through thick and thin. She seems to understand Amina more than anyone and is almost always the first person that she confides in.

After the rape, at the start of the novel, the first person that Amina speaks to, is Kayla, who drives to her immediately. Even though getting raped was not Amina’s own initiative, nor was it Amina’s fault, throughout the novel she’s seen to be dubious as a potential spouse and therefore for any decent prospective proposal. Such is the stigma associated with rape victims in our societies, no matter how liberal and broad minded one is.

At the end of the story, Normal Calm came across to me as the pursuit of normality and calmness in Amina’s life, after her rape. A sensitive, taboo topic, especially in the Muslim community, is handled bravely and confidently by the author.

Whether or not Amina finds the ‘normal calmness’ in life is up to the reader to find out. A female protagonist struck by tragedy, dealing with it in quite a pragmatic way and without much support from her parents, a prejudiced community and the potential suitors who see Amina’s plight in a different lens due to different cultural norms, is what Normal Calm entails.

I recommend this impactful read to everyone. It is not very often that we see such story lines being handled by Muslim authors. This book provides an insight on the struggles that abused raped victims face and may prove to work as a therapy for such victims. I would have loved to see religion play a more vital role in coping with some of the psychological after affects of this calamity; nevertheless, Normal Calm is an excellent read. And when I needed a warm story to provide me with the right blend of emotions to keep me ‘normal’, Normal Calm did just that!

Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour further away, the companion at your side, the traveller, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.

The Qur’an, Surah An-Nisa’ (the women), 4:36

A teacher by profession, an MBA by degree and a student of religion, Khudaija A. Nagaria found refuge and happiness writing, using her passion for serving Islam. Being a freelancer she writes for different magazines and forums. So far her articles and poems have been published in prestigious magazines such as Dawn, Hiba, Aailaa and Young Muslimah Magazine, and websites such as Moments of Perfect Clarity, and Muslim Moms. Khudaija is a writer for Muslimaat Magazine and has served as their Marketing Manager and a Contributing Editor. She is an active member of Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA). She prays her writing be a means of Sadaqa e Jaariyah for her deceased parents.

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 285 user reviews.

Latifa Hameen cover

I often read books and articles for teenagers, and about supporting or raising teenagers, even though those years are long past for me and my children’s teenage periods are several years away.

I found my teenage and early twenties years to be intense periods of self-reflection and learning, and, while I rarely need to be as self-absorbed as I was during that time, I still benefit from admitting I want to develop maturity in several areas insha’Allah.

Latifa Hameen coverOften times, when I newly discover that I have allowed a negative behaviour cycle to undermine my character, I look into my teenage years and find a struggle to overcome the same behaviour was present there too. Sometimes this behaviour is a small habit like biting away dry skin on my lip, other times it is more serious, like emotionally self-abusing through condescending self-talk. Some of the skills I used as a teenager can be useful skills to conquer my detrimental behaviour – I just need a little time out to focus and remind myself that I can do it insha’Allah.

For me this book has facilitated a welcome period of reflection. Although I especially recommend it to teenage and twenty-something Muslimahs, I also recommend it to anyone older who is experiencing relationship troubles because its relationships analysis has life long relevance. This book isn’t just for teenagers or people in marital relationships.

Hameen takes the reader through important material about treating ourselves and others with responsible humanity. By answering her simple comprehension exercises at the end of each short chapter – even in your head – the reader can access awareness of how much of this information she has already learned, what is new knowledge, and any points she feels uncomfortable to admit. So the workbook process helps you know your strengths and weaknesses. And the content teaches you, plainly, that yes you do need to maintain self-awareness as well as awareness of what humanity looks, sounds, and acts like, in order to maintain good relationships.

Latifah Hameen is very clear about how to recognise abuse and its dangers and that a victim must strengthen herself with inner resolve to rise above helplessness and choose to end abusive cycles. This stopped me for a while. A shaky pause of temptation to regress from thriver to survivor to victim. I kept momentum, however, and read on and on, letting Hameen guide me to where I want to stand firm – a place of accepting full responsibility for my relationships alhamdulillah.

I asked my husband to join me using two tables from the book to review our relationship in terms of ‘equality’ and ‘abuse’. We discussed each point, voiced concerns, celebrated achievements, and made some solo and duo goals. We then brought the session to a close by agreeing to meet again for relationship discussions and by simply reading out the lists of dating rights and responsibilities to help us consolidate our good intentions.

I had thought I’d read this book, note it for later use with my teenage children insha’Allah, and then pass it on to someone else. I don’t like to hog things that others could use. And I have a weakness for keeping books. However, insha’Allah I plan to get a lot of use out of this book while my children are too young for it. So I’m just passing on a recommendation.

Masha’Allah, something great about the book is that its advice never judges the decision to have a relationship, since it is not targeted at Muslims. It is not only about ‘love’ relationships. So I think it would equally be an excellent gift for someone considering marriage as it would be a non-judgemental, ‘concerned’ gift to a young Muslimah in any stage of her iman journey. It would also make good learning material for someone who has experienced bullying, as the victim or the oppressor…. We all have the capacity to make abusive mistakes, and to overcome them insha’Allah.

If you are looking to avoid abuse, and to develop numerous life-long positive relationship skills insha’Allah, I can’t recommend Latifah Hameen’s Teens/Young Adults How To – Not  Relationship Abuse Workbook highly enough masha’Allah.

And [recall] when Moses prayed for water for his people, so We said, “Strike with your staff the stone.” And there gushed forth from it twelve springs, and every people knew its watering place. “Eat and drink from the provision of Allah , and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.”

The Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah (the cow), 2:60

Maria Limehouse is an aspiring novelist, sometimes frequent-sometimes quiet blogger, and slow reader … probably in reverse order.

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 181 user reviews.

Dr Dogan Five pillars FRONT COVER

A ‘MUST HAVE’ book for every Muslim family library!

Dr Recep Dogan has done an excellent job in taking the fundamental pillars of Islam and breaking them down into one concise and easy to read book.

Dr Dogan Five pillars FRONT COVERI thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would highly recommend it to ALL Muslims and especially new Muslims because when they first become Muslim they search for information and usually the first place we go to research is Google.

Although there is a wealth of knowledge on the internet it can also be very confusing and sometimes misleading.

Dr Recep delves deeply into the five pillars of Islam and provides references from the Qur’an, Sunnah and from the four scholars of the major schools of Islamic thought.

This book will help Muslims who follow different madhabs – schools of thought – as evidence is provided from all the scholars and the most authentic ahaadith and rulings are provided.

It is an excellent practical book to read and study as a family and teach our children as well as to use within study circles.

The book is also an excellent read for researchers on Islam and Jurisprudence.

I personally read this book to help me with my PhD thesis however as a fiqh student and teacher it has also helped me a lot and I know my students will benefit from it immensely.

I’m really looking forward to reading Dr Recep Dogan’s further publications.

I give this book a 5* plus rating!

Narrated Abu Huraira: One day while the Prophet was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel came and asked, “What is faith?” Allah’s Apostle replied, ‘Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection.” Then he further asked, “What is islam?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “To worship Allah Alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat) and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan.” Then he further asked, “What is Ihsan (perfection)?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “To worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion then you must consider that He is looking at you.” Then he further asked, “When will the Hour be established?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “The answerer has no better knowledge than the questioner. But I will inform you about its portents. 1. When a slave (lady) gives birth to her master. 2. When the shepherds of black camels start boasting and competing with others in the construction of higher buildings. And the Hour is one of five things which nobody knows except Allah. The Prophet then recited: “Verily, with Allah (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour–.” (31. 34) Then that man (Gabriel) left and the Prophet asked his companions to call him back, but they could not see him. Then the Prophet said, “That was Gabriel who came to teach the people their religion.” Abu ‘Abdullah said: He (the Prophet) considered all that as a part of faith.

Bukhari Book 2, Hadith 47

Nadia Leona Yunis is a mentor and coach of Islamic personal and spiritual development for her organisation We Be Inspired. She is also the Islamic Editor for Young Muslimah Magazine.

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 183 user reviews.

20141206_104531

Masha’Allah you are an Etsy shopkeeper. Please tell us about your shop.

My shop name is inspireDeen.  It’s a play on words, similar to ‘inspiring’, but inspireDeen – to inspire ‘faith’. My name is Brooke Alam. I made inspireDeen as a place for me to display and sell my works of art. At this time I do not have a set styling or product that I make or sell. Anything and everything I make I put on Etsy to see what responses I get. This has helped me learn what products people are looking for and are interested in. I do tend to work mostly with acrylics. My favorite projects so far are custom requests from buyers. I don’t want to limit myself with a set style.

20140829_095115Why did you start painting and what or who inspired you to open your Etsy shop?

I was actually encouraged to start painting again by my husband. I had initially been an Art Major in college, but had changed my career direction to Nursing. Since my schooling years I had not given time to my painting or my creative side. I have practised as a nurse since 2006 and truly love it, but have always kept the knack for painting and sketching in the back of my mind – never making the time to practice. In January of 2012 my husband and I were blessed with our first child, alhamdulillah.  Since his birth I returned to my job (after leave) on a part time/as needed status, once a week.

I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to spend all my other time caring for my son, masha’Allah. When he was between the age of one and two years, after testing and such, we were made aware of some issues involving his sensory system. He was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) which is a form of autism. I think it is normal for many parents to feel quite responsible or guilty when a problem arises with their child. But we also know that, alhamduliliah, Allah has reasons everything.

Still, the diagnosis was devastating at first for our family, but we quickly found that with therapy he can and has shown so much improvement, alhamdulillah! How fortunate we are to have the opportunity to get him the therapy he needs. This point in my life resulted in my having so much stress. I found though, if I took the times he napped to draw or sketch or paint, it was very therapeutic for me. After eight years I picked up a paint brush and it felt so good, alhamdulillah! With my husband’s encouragement I made the step to open an Etsy shop. Why not see what my craft could blossom into!!?! Alhamdulillah I have had a fair amount of interest and I am so very thankful, masha’Allah.

20141227_103535What is your favourite activity to nourish your creativity and why?

I love to go to flea markets if time and my son allow. Even looking at other artists’ work can spark ideas in my mind. I find ideas just come from the most random moments in life. Maybe when I’m just starting to fall asleep an idea will come and I have to put a note in my phone to remind me of this idea. My sketch book is full of random little sayings or colour schemes and things to help jog my memory later.

Does anything hinder your creativity? What is your top tip for recovery from such hindrances?

I would say being tired is my largest hindrance to creativity. I actually find I have so many ideas running through my head alhamdulillah, but never enough time to get them all put down on paper or canvas.

Who’s work has inspired your style?

I think I have a problem in that I LOVE so many different art mediums and styles! If you take a look at my shop you will see that I have many different styles going on. What I like is what I do and try. I hope that in the future I can settle into a style that I am best at insha’Allah. I adore work by Amira Rahim, a contemporary artist out of Dubai. Masha’Allah, she has a beautiful style and eye for colours and light. I so greatly admire her work. As far as Etsy shops go, Hafsa Taher is tops!!!!!! Her shop is a beautiful one with such a variety and scope of products. I have no idea where she finds the time!  Another artist I love to follow is Hafsa Khizer.  She has awesome Islamic Calligraphy that is very contemporary. And I have to mention Farrah Azam as being one of the first artists I found on instagram. MashaAllah her ‘Bespokehenna‘ henna designs and style are so unique and beautiful. All of these sisters can be found on Facebook and Instagram. I wouldn’t say my style is like any other theirs. I’m running in my own lane, but I find that their colours and movement, and love for what they do, does resonate through their work to me.

20141206_104531What advice would you give to aspiring Etsy shopkeepers?

Top thing is to listen to advice you are given from other fellow shopkeepers! I have found that the Etsy community itself is such a helpful group of people alhamdulillah!   Countless times I have been messaged with advice from random shopkeepers just wanting to add a bit of advice and encouragement. Listen to them and take heed of what they say; some are expert at this business. I found advice has always been helpful. I too am willing to help anyone needing a bit of advice! insha’Allah I too have much to still learn, as everyone is always growing and improving at their craft.

Young Muslimah Magazine loves to highlight good reads. What book have you read that you would you recommend to our readers and why?

It’s embarrassing to say, but since my son has been born my reading time has greatly reduced unfortunately. I find a bit of time before sleep to read Qur’an and that has been my routine for a while. I will say though that my husband and I have found another way to engage in Islamic lessons as a family including our son. We really enjoy watching Islamic lectures on YouTube. Omar Suleiman and Nouman Ali Khan are our favourites at this moment. Masha’Allah such well rounded speakers that really reach out to the younger population with words that engage present day problems and issues. So I would recommend giving them a listen. Their lectures always leave us with much to discuss and think about, as well as actions to apply in our lives. May Allah reward them in their efforts to aid our Ummah to find balance in our lives.

20141226_115431What new projects can readers look forward to from you and where is the best place for readers to find out about it?

I have many ideas literally running through my head and not nearly enough time or energy to put them into action. Insha’Allah I will accomplish some of them like more mixed media pieces including melted wax, crayon, and acrylics. I have really been inspired by the look it produces and I have not seen it in the art world in great numbers.  I also want to add more pieces of large watercolour pieces. For a while now I have been wanting to add an idea including cork board material with special custom messages put on it, Islamic in nature.

I think overall I want my shop to exude positivity and appeal to the Muslim and non-Muslim populations. I find that many non-Muslim people are drawn to sayings the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, and the actions he made his sunnah. Masha’Allah there is a bridge that can be made and used to teach our non-Muslim brothers and sisters and I want to help make that happen, insha’Allah.

I believe art, all arts, can convey these messages and build relationships and understanding between different peoples. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to make connections with all people, bonding our common humanity.

My Etsy shop is found at inspireDeen.etsy.com. My instagram is called inspireDeen and my email is inspireDeen@gmail.com. And I can be found on Facebook at InspireDeen Art and Islamic Art by inspireDeen.

Thank you for your time and support to our readers; jazakillahkhayr.

Thank you, jazakAllah khayr.

 Reclaim Your Heart Poster

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 191 user reviews.

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5Masha’Allah you are an Etsy shopkeeper. Please tell us about your shop.

It’s called The Reminder Series. I paint contemporary styled large calligraphy art with ‘reminders’ on them, and small canvases on easels that are perfect as gifts. Among hand designed carefully crafted candles, boxes, vases, and other items, I also make witty greeting cards for awkward situations that only Muslims would understand.

4Why did you start making Islamic art and what or who inspired you to open your Etsy shop?

‘Reminders Benefit the Believers’ and I’m also really greedy for a portion of other people’s reward. One of my friends has a good word for this: ‘ajr gremlin’. I need all that I can get!

I was looking for healing when I enrolled for Qur’anic tafseer at Alhuda Institute, a two year program that I intended to walk away from as a changed person. I felt things would inspire me for a while, and then slowly fade away, but I wanted them to stay! So I started writing down any reflection that healed me on a little coloured note and sticking it on my wall. When I finished the course, I wanted to share everything I learned from those notes – I started painting a lot and the reminder series was born.

14Do you consider your work as a form of ibaadah (worship)?

That Is the hope, insha’Allah it is!

What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Whatever you do, just don’t stop. Make du’a.

What advice would you give to aspiring Etsy shopkeepers?

I’m not really good at giving Etsy advice, I drove a couple people nuts when I first started!

 

Screen shot 2014-11-08 at 12.39.33 PMWhat new projects can readers look forward to from you and where is the best place for readers to find out about it?

I run a photography project ‘Traumatic Stains’ where I’ve combined my love for Islam, Self Development, and Conceptual Photography. I document the different stages of loss, grief, sadness, hope, and healing. I make photos of realisations that have healed my soul with the hope that they might heal you too. And insha’Allah this year I am publishing my first book with my complete photography works titled ‘When tears Don’t Dry – little lights on your journey to inner healing’ with similar healing messages from my study. You can find me at www.hafsakhizer.com

Thank you for your time and support to our readers; jazakillahkhayr.

Jazak Allahu khayran for giving me the opportunity to share my work.

Reclaim Your Heart Poster

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 251 user reviews.

HafsaCreates Card

Masha’Allah you are an Etsy shopkeeper. Please tell us about your shop.

HafsaCreates is an online store where you can find my handmade cards and gifts. Etsy is a global marketplace, so I’m blessed to work with buyers from Australia to Canada.

 

HafsaCreates CardWhy did you start your crafting with card and what or who inspired you to open your Etsy shop?

My main inspiration to make handmade crafts was my niece, Zarah. When she was three, we worked together creating a Hajj lapbook, Ramadan cards, and painting. Alhamdulillah it grew from there. Now my niece is seven and we still craft together. Her latest project is making bookmarks to raise money for a food bank.

 

You fit your Etsy work in around your full time work. As with work vacations, are there times of the year when you need to close shop?

For the most part, I’m able to manage both Etsy and my full time work, and haven’t had to close my shop yet. But there were times when I was overwhelmed with orders, I had use my vacation hours at work to complete my orders on time.

 

Do you plan to grow your Etsy business?

Over the next year or so, I plan to self host my shop. This means my website – HafsaCreates.com – will host all my products and have a shopping cart functionality for buyers to check out.

I’m also looking into teaching paper crafts locally.

 

What are you favourite and least liked elements of running an Etsy shop?

HafsaCreates Paper ClipsMy favourite would be getting to know buyers from around the world! There was from one Ireland, and another from Singapore and we became friends and now we follow each other on Instagram.

My not-so-favourite elements of running a business would be the self-promotion. I struggle with this because personally self promotion doesn’t sit well with me. I tend to downplay my creation, and yes, I am my worst critic! :)

 

What advice would you give to aspiring Etsy shopkeepers?

They say getting started is half the battle. Though that is true in some ways, staying consistent is the bigger battle. Creating an Etsy shop will take you 30-45 minutes – literally! The challenging part is learning how to take better photos, so the buyers know what they are getting. Writing clear and concise product descriptions that answer buyers questions about the products. Also, there’s a learning curve involved – especially with SEO – so don’t give up. Once you learn it, you’ll be ahead of the game in no time!

 

Young Muslimah Magazine loves to highlight good reads. What book have you read recently that you would you recommend to our readers and why?

My all time favourite book is Companions Of The Prophet (2 Volume Set By Abdul Wahid Hamid). Because it shows you how the sahabas – all blessed – were yet different personalities and each had unique strengths. It reminds me that there is no one particular task or profession that leads you closer to Allah, but in fact, it’s an array of things anyone can do  – whatever your situation may be, we must always strive to be productive and beneficial to the people around us.

 

HafsaCreates MugWhat new projects can readers look forward to from you and where is the best place for readers to find out about them?

I’m working on a number of new projects, but I don’t want to give away too much yet! :)

You can find me at

Facebook: http://facebook.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/

Pinterest: http://Pinterest.com/

Also, you can sign up for my mailing list and receive updates straight to your inbox: http://hafsacreates.

 

Thank you for your time and support to our readers; jazakillahkhayr.

JazakAllah khayr.

Reclaim Your Heart Poster

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 275 user reviews.

YMM Dec 2014 rose
Assalaam ‘alaykum/Peace be with you,
We have scheduled our mini issue for Christmas especially for all you young Muslimahs who are spending a quiet day with family and with your own personal reflections masha’Allah.
Perhaps you will pick up a pen and explore your thoughts through writing. Perhaps you will read the writing of others and then pause to connect insights to your personal life circumstances. Perhaps you will make extra time for reciting the words of Allah SWT.
Insha’Allah I am poised ready for the January sales insha’Allah to get an mp3 player for listening to the Qur’an. How about you?
Of course, we’ll be aware that many of our neighbours will be spending the day differently to us, and will be enjoying a sense of belonging between themselves that we can’t join. Alhamdulillah I am keen to find opportunities to please Allah SWT within Christmas traditions since I used to be Christian.
For example, non-Muslims are accustomed to – and often welcome – sending cards and gifts at this time of year so I like to fulfil the Sunnah of reaching out to my neighbours by delivering ‘Peace Greetings’ cards. Also, I like to endeavour to increase love between family, friends, and acquaintances by giving presents. This year I wrote a Muslim version of the song ‘Away in a Manger’.
I am careful to check that my intentions are to practise Islam and that I am not absently joining in with popular activities, alhamdulillah. Insha’Allah my long term intention is to make foundations for sending iftar invitations and Eid gifts that are welcomed.
This ‘holiday’, have you taken up opportunities for building and strengthening social ties? Have you made space within quiet times for personal reflection? Bismillah, insha’Allah it’s never too late to make istikhara and find opportunities to take action.
However, it’s important not to pressure ourselves. We all celebrate Eid differently. Naturally, our personal experiences of other times, and all times, will be different too.
In this mini issue we have a couple of new poems to inspire you, some republications, and some quotes from forthcoming interviews in our next main issue, mid February insha’Allah.
Subhanallah life is often not easy and we grow enormously because of the opportunities we discover within struggles. Insha’Allah we’ll go into the concept of hardship in our mid February issue ‘Difficult Discussions’.
… Speaking of which, submissions close Dec 31st so if you pick up a pen today your submission could be ready in time insha’Allah.
May Allah grant you ease, ameen.
Ma salaama,
Elizabeth Lymer (Editor)

{O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.}

The Qur’an, Surah Hujuraat (chapter of the rooms) 49:13

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YMM Dec 2014 rose

Today’s post is a reflection post. I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to it. It comes after, well, a lot of reflection…. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, it’s like we all have to go through this in our life. Once, twice, thrice … until we get the message, learn the lesson, and move on.

It’s like, you set out to do good and spread good, but there is always someone who will shake a pointy finger at you and say, “Well, that’s just not good enough!” or, “You’re wrong!”

You know, it could have even started very young. At school, maybe. Your teacher didn’t like your drawing when you were in reception class age four/five. You thought you were creating a masterpiece with your house and four windows, a door in the middle, a pathway leading to the front gates, a tree and a cat – but she clearly thought otherwise! (And no, that didn’t happen to me and yes I did draw that drawing, and, admit it, so did you!)

It could have happened in later life. Your parents/siblings/friends pointed that pointy finger, rolled their eyes, and chorused, “You just can’t ever get it right, can you?!”

Ever had that happen to you? Like, over and over and …

*Ouch.*

It’s like a punch in the face and instant knock out. You’re trying to get up and recover and there goes the bell for round two!

*Double ouch!*

Why do we allow ourselves to get hurt this way? In fact, why do we do things to always please others or get approval?

Why???

It’s a proven psychological fact (you can google it) that humans have six basic needs. This theory was proposed by Maslow in 1943 in his paper ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’. In later years, Tony Robbins (a Guru of Personal Development by whom yours truly is heavily inspired, motivated, and influenced) came up with his own six basic needs. Both Maslow and Robbins state that one of these needs is love/connection/belonging and another is significance (Robbins).

We want to be and feel loved. We want to be and feel connected. We want to belong, either to immediate loved ones or in larger social groups (social acceptance). We want to be, and feel, significant.

These are almost like our survival tools and, to an extent, a healthy dose of each is required for the healthy and holistic development of a human being.

However, what can happen is that we get to a stage in life where we are always looking for approval and doing things to get attention so we feel significant – important – worthy.

This may even lead us sometimes to do or act in unhealthy or immoral ways. Just so we get that approval.

If you’ve ever been through any of that then know that it’s OK because what you were doing was being human (by the way, I don’t condone immorality).

All humans do this! The correct way to embrace this humanity would be if parents/teachers/guardians gave children the correct form of encouragement and support at an early age – then, even through our failures, we wouldn’t be so messed up today.

*Eureka Moment!*

That’s why I said at the beginning we’ve ALL been through it.

Because it started young and was embedded in us (usually around age six) and we started to look for acceptance and feel low and sad if discouraged, it stayed with us. It’s in our subconscious. It might even be eating you up right now!

*Is it?*

So, even if your friends or family do this to you, then realise that even they have been through it.

It’s like a sad, vicious, psychological cycle!

*Yuck!*

But it’s time to break FREE. When? NOW!

Allah (SWT) has sent down a book of guidance. In it are treasures.

This book – the Qur’an – is a guidance for mankind and therein lie all the answers.

Do YOU want to stop this ‘pleasing everyone’ and looking for acceptance and feeling significant (beyond what is required as a basic need)? Then for YOU the Qur’an has a message.…

Ready? Bismillah….

[Say: “Verily, my Salah (Prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of ALL that exists.”}

The Qur’an, Surah Al-’An’aam (chapter of the cattle) 6:162

That’s it! That’s the one!

Nadia Leona Yunis is a mentor and coach of Islamic personal and spiritual development for her organisation We Be Inspired and this article was first published on her We be Inspired blog. She is also the Islamic Editor for Young Muslimah Magazine.

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YMM Dec 2014 rose

Every day dawns with Your Name, as the sun rises up with Your praise on my lips.

Every night finds my knees and head on the ground, as You are the First and Last on my mind.

In the stillness of my heart. I speak to You.

And I know You hear me. You answer simply, perfectly. A beautiful touch. A warm smile.
And I feel renewed.

{So exalt [ Allah ] with praise of your Lord and be of those who prostrate [to Him].}

The Qur’an, Surah Al-Hijr (chapter of the rocky tract) 15:98

Saira Anwar shares poetry via her Inspired Poetry Facebook page, she is author of The Death of a Beautiful Dream, and she is a member of the Muslimah Writers Alliance.

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 295 user reviews.

YMM Dec 2014 rose

You were the one that protected me no matter what,

You would never even think of leaving me to rot.

Whereas all these people don’t think twice,

They all pretence about being nice!!!!

Everyone is here, not like you were though,

It’s on and off, more like a show.

I wish you were here with me too,

This is why Daddy, I can’t wait to see you.

I thank you for all the knowledge and wisdom we got,

I know this will keep me off the streets, selling that pot.

Wish you could see me grow and progress,

Just remember I’m still your baby girl, nothing less.

We had our fair share of arguments, disagreements, fights,

But thanks to you, we always knew our wrongs from rights.

You were a father and loved us too,

This is why Daddy, I can’t wait to see you.

You were ill; a few things came out of the blue,

That damn hospital is crap, we should sue.

They took you from me, your kids, your wife,

When you were with us, you actually had a life.

But then I think, what would that achieve,

No matter what, you were destined to leave.

You had a special place upstairs, and Allah called you,

This is why Daddy, I can’t wait to see you.

You had pneumonia, cancer, a collapsed lung, 2 strokes and infections,

It was confusing as you kept changing wards and sections.

We saw you good and bad-you fell and rose again,

I lost count of the times you rose, definitely more than ten.

I have to admit I was proud of you, till now I say mashallah,

Just wish I could have done more, like prayed a lot more salah.

We all prayed, some more than others, for you,

This is why Daddy, I can’t wait to see you.

You left with a bit of a struggle and so much more,

They should have investigated it to the core.

I hated you because on the second of May, you stole from me,

You took a big part, I will never be able to see.

That day felt like the end of the world,

I laughed but secretly I could have hurled.

I was smiling for show, crying in the loo,

This is why Daddy, I can’t wait to see you.

The days went by like years,

Everyone cried, and I was there to wipe tears.

I wanted to cry as much as they did,

Instead I laughed and joked like an innocent kid.

I was looked at funny and told to cry,

I said I was fine, and started to believe this lie.

I should have cried but wanted to be strong like you too,

This is why Daddy, I can’t wait to see you.

Days went by, people came and went,

Yet, I always wondered around, in need of your scent.

I couldn’t sleep on your bed or in your room,

I was stuck in darkness, a circle of gloom.

When I finally came around to realising you’re not on holiday,

It was way gone over the month of May.

Till this day, I’m scared to think of you too,

This is why Daddy, I can’t wait to see you.

I get lost in my own world for quite some time,

This is how I got started on this rhyme.

I will always miss your presence,

This is probably why my life is so tense.

I always believe you will come back,

But this is something my mind tends to lack.

So just remember you are always in my heart too,

This is why Daddy, I can’t wait to see you….

{Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], ‘Believe in your Lord, ’ and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous.}

The Qur’an, Surah Ali-Imraan (chapter of the family of Imran) 3:193

This is the second of a series insha’Allah of three poems by Humera Amir.

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 293 user reviews.

YMM Dec 2014 rose

I Can’t Breathe
Do you see me?
. . . I ask because I’m dying
Can you hear me?
. . . Right before your eyes
Who am I to you?
. . . Often times by your hand
What am I to you?
. . . And you don’t appear to care
I am here
Shouting in silence
Bleeding in misery
Picking up the pieces of my broken family
Does my dark skin scare you?
Is my hijab, to you, a threat?
Look – hands up – don’t shoot!
I surrender
I am human too
See my humanity
Hear my humanity
Know me . . .
We were made of these diversities so that we may know one another
Not so that we may despise one another
I can’t breathe
You’re suffocating me
Where is my brother’s keeper? . . . .

{Then He proportioned him and breathed into him from His [created] soul and made for you hearing and vision and hearts; little are you grateful.}

The Qur’an, Surah As-Sajdah (chapter of the prostration) 32:9

Janette Grant is author of Redemption Song and Co-editor and contributor of The Muslimah Speaks: Her Voice, Her Spirit. She is also a published novelist, the owner of Mindworks Publishing, and a member of the Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) and this poem was first published on the MWA blog.

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 177 user reviews.

YMM Dec 2014 rose

A Muslim song about Jesus/’Eesa AS to the tune of Away in a Manger:

The birth of a baby is special and dear;

Some celebrate birthdays with joy every year,

But one favoured boy had a miracle birth –

A mercy and sign to all people on earth.

He is the Messiah, upon him be peace,

A messenger prophet, by Allah’s decree:

He spoke in the cradle, breathed life in clay birds;

He healed many people and spread Allah’s words.

Although there’s no Eid for him or special day,

We’re mindful of ‘Eesa each time that we pray,

For peace on one prophet means peace on them all

And prayer with belief is the message they called.

{And there is none from the People of the Scripture but that he will surely believe in Jesus before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be against them a witness.}

The Qur’an, Surah An-Nisaa’ (chapter of the women) 4:159

Elizabeth Lymer is author of Islamic Nursery Rhymes and Religious Rhyme Time. She frequently shares nursery rhymes via her YouTube channel, Rhymes and Stories website,  and Islamic Nursery Rhymes Facebook page, and has recently started blogging on Goodreads, where these song lyrics were published. She is also Editor of Young Muslimah Magazine and a member of the Muslimah Writers Alliance.

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 281 user reviews.