Forgotton Empty box

Forgotton Empty box

When it is past time to sleep and Hend Hegazi’s mind begins rushing with ideas to write about, she consults her memory to decide what to do

Why is it that all of the ideas I get come to me when I’m just about to fall asleep?

I spend hours tossing and turning, then, just as sleep begins to tug at my eyelids, the ideas start racing through my mind. I’m caught between giving myself up to slumber, or taking the one step it would take for me to get to my notebook and pen. Yes, it’s just one step … but it’s one step too many at 2:30 am.

So I say to my brain, “Brain … Can you please remember this for tomorrow?”

And she answers, “Of course.”

“Brain, ” I stress, “you cannot forget. Are you sure you can do that? Are you sure you’ll remember?”

“Yes, yes…of course. You can count on me, ” she replies confidently.

So I give in to sleep. Some time the following day, while I’m performing a mundane task like washing the dishes, it occurs to me that I had an epiphany just before I fell asleep the night before.

“Brain! What were you supposed to remember from last night?” I call.

No answer.

“Brain! Brain! What ideas came to me yesterday?”

She replies through a yawn: “Huh … What? Did you say something?”

Hend Hegazi is the author of the novel ‘Normal Calm’. InshaAllah this article is just the beginning of her column for YMM

[Gabriel said], “And we [angels] descend not except by the order of your Lord. To Him belongs that before us and that behind us and what is in between. And never is your Lord forgetful -

Lord of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them – so worship Him and have patience for His worship. Do you know of any similarity to Him?”} The Qur’an 19:64-65

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YMM TM Small Green Notebook

Assalaam alaykum / May Allah’s Peace be with you.

Welcome to Young Muslimah Magazine.

Our first issue will be out mid June inshaAllah [if Allah wills]. In the mean time, please enjoy sample articles from out staff writers.

If you are interested in contributing to the magazine please refer to our Submissions page and our Writers’ Guidelines.

If you want to contact us with an enquiry or regarding an issue you would like to see discussed in the magazine please send your email to

Alternately, you can connect with us via Facebook and Twitter

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Aisha Davies writes candidly about her own self-doubts in solidarity with yours and shows you how to get past these limits to start achieving

Everyone suffers from writer’s block and nerves at some point in their writing career. Even me. Although I am a writer for a popular Muslimah magazine I haven’t written a single article. Talk about writer’s block.

Why, you may ask?

My own self-limiting belief that I am not as good, as talented or even as worthy as the other established sisters on the roll. Masha Allah their writings are articulate, highly intelligent and just darn good. It’s certainly a lot to live up to!

You may wonder then, why I am writing this. Well several reasons.

One: because my self-limiting belief isn’t necessarily true at all. It’s my own opinion and not necessarily that of others.

Two: How will I know if I am capable of writing read-worthy material unless I actually write?

The gentle reminder often helps. It seems the starting is the hardest part but once you pass the first hurdle the rest of the journey seems easy somehow.”

A sister recently gave me a great piece of advice. She said, “Don’t worry about getting it right, just write.” Wow, so simple and so seemingly obvious. And that is what I am doing. Over time insha Allah, through practice, I will find writing becomes easier and that I have established my style and a certain level of sophistication.

Another sister commented to me that we all have to start somewhere. Again fairly obvious but the gentle reminder often helps. It seems the starting is the hardest part but once you pass the first hurdle the rest of the journey seems easy somehow.

Three: To inspire young talented Muslimahs such as yourself to simply start and do your best. Not try but DO. It’s the doing that is the most important part and will eventually take you somewhere far away from the mere thought of writing to a physical piece published in a magazine, on a blog or in your very own book. Think of the possibilities!

So let’s look at your own limited beliefs.

As a young Muslimah you may feel that:

You’re too young.

No one will take you seriously.

That your writing isn’t good enough.

You may have several more limited beliefs but these tend to be the common ones most people have.

Ok so let’s analyse your limited beliefs. You’re simply too young to forge a writing career and because you’re so young your writing won’t be of a high standard nor will anyone take you seriously.

I’ve been calling these negative thoughts limited beliefs which is what they are, but it may be that my negative self-talk started with waswasa, whispers of Shaytan, our avowed enemy who till the Day of Judgement simply does not want any believing man or woman to succeed in anything positive.

I say kick these thoughts and Shaytan to the curb!

Whenever you get one of these self-limiting thoughts remember that you are a believer whom Shaytan is jealous of. Recite isti’adha (a’uthubillahi minashaytanir rajeem). And believe you can achieve refuge with Allah SWT from Shaytan, the accursed. Believe you can achieve and know that Allah SWT has given you abilities and skills to achieve.

You are not too young, your writing through your passion will be of a high standard and you will get taken seriously if that passion and love for writing shines through in your work. It isn’t always about paragraph structure or an impressive vocabulary. It’s about you, your message and love for what you do.

So go ahead, pick up that pen and paper, say bismillah and write!

Aisha Davies is the Adviser for Young Muslimah Magazine and a staff writer so you can anticipate more articles from her as she actively overcomes hurdles to achieving her writing career insha Allah

{And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.} The Qur’an 65:3

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A Handshake

A Handshake

Shabana Diouri decided she wanted to complete an intensive course to teach English as a foreign language. She got lost on her way to class and ended up being the last student in …

I noticed an awkward silence as I entered. The stares and confused looks. I couldn’t understand why. I sat down and busied myself in anticipation of the teacher.

As soon as the teacher arrived, she told me I was, “In the wrong room.” Apparently people learning English belonged down the corridor. In all honesty her assumption did take me by surprise. Not because I thought RACIST! But because I wasn’t used to this type of mentality.

I grew up in East London, my neighbours to the right were Nigerian Christians, to the left Irish Athiests, and opposite were Jamaican Rasta, English. We had an amazing community, we shared food and looked after each other’s houses and pets. We grew up with everyone so race and religion were not really a big deal to me, instead trust and respect were.

Hence the reason I felt so uncomfortable at people reacting the way they did. I felt singled out and the only obvious thing I could put it down to was the difference in the way I looked. I was the only brown coloured women wearing the hijab amongst a room of white people. But the story does not end there. I decided to conduct an experiment.

I could have taken their reactions to heart, retreated within myself and felt like a ‘victim’. But instead I thought of challenging the situation.

Sometimes, not always, but sometimes,

we are wrong and too quick to conclude

what we perceive to be the way people

think of us.

I had studied the theory of ‘self fulfilling prophecies’ in Economics and decided to apply this to the awkward situation I found myself in. Were people really giving me looks? Were they trying to single me out? Did they really see me as someone too different to them for us to even communicate? Was this an outward expression of racism? Or was this my own perception?

I could confirm I was being reacted to, but what I could not say with complete conviction were the reasons and intentions behind those reactions. If I had allowed myself to believe I was suffering from racism, I could’ve internalised that. Negative perception could then actually have caused me to behave ‘different’. I could have become increasingly quiet, keeping to myself and not engaging in dialogue. But I knew such reactionary behaviour could end up causing more of the ‘racism‘ that I didn’t like!

I didn’t want to initiate a cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies, and so I decided that I would treat the students like family. They hadn’t got to know me and I would make damn sure I changed that.

I spoke to every student. Though initially I wasn’t asked to join anyone for coffee or lunch, this soon changed. I ended up making very good friends.

This experience taught me something very valuable about the difference between racism and perception. Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, we are wrong and too quick to conclude what we perceive to be the way people think of us.

Last year we moved to a new house. My neighbours stood at their front doors staring. No one said hello. No one even smiled. I could have assumed the worst but instead I thought maybe they don’t know how to approach me. After our housewarming party, I sent a plate of food to each neighbour. The hellos and smiles came out instantly.

Not every look or silence is done with venomous racist intent. Sometimes people feel awkward, unsure, confused about how to approach someone that looks different. So why not initiate dialogue? Extend the hand of friendship and see what happens? Be first to initiate the conversation that could potentially turn strangers into friends.

Shabana Diouri is a staff writer for Young Muslimah Magazine so you can look forward to more articles from her inshaAllah. She blogs at


Excerpt from the Prophet Muhammad’s last sermon (Peace and blessings be upon him):

“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action … Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves … Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.”

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