Her mind, in a familiar state, was braving a hurricane of isolating thoughts. She thought of a talk she had heard online just days ago. The talk was about shame. The speaker had looked out into the audience and asked who would admit to having made a mistake. The majority of the audience raised their hands. She followed up with another question, this time rhetorical, how many of you would admit to being a mistake? She could feel the tension in the auditorium as she watched through her computer screen. Her heart sank and her stomach twisted  and turned. Continue reading



She had an unquenchable curiosity. An unreasonable thirst to know other things, and other minds. These ideas, these experiences, notions, perspectives, facts and opinions were an addiction to say the least. One of Jalalud-Din Rumi’s insightful proverbs came to mind, “Two there are who are never satisfied-the lover of the world and the lover of knowledge.” She thought of what this meant to her. Was it not all the same, wasn’t knowledge merely worldly? Did her love for knowledge imply a love for this fleeting world? She thought of Khutbut al-Hajah, a form of opening address that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) often used in occasions of significance. She remembered, “Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah swt, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (pbuh); while the worst affairs are novelties, for every novelty is a blameworthy innovation. Every innovation [in matters of religion] is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Fire.” What were these novelties? This untruthful speech, did it encompass all these worldly thoughts and ideas? Could they be these superficial understandings of the world, would they lead her to misguidance? Misguidance was undoubtedly the worst calamity that could befall her. Her stomach tied in knots at the thought of her ignorance. Her chest tightened at the thought that she could be led astray in her ignorance. She recited Surah Fatiha to calm her nerves, remembering the insightful words of Imam Zaid Shakir in a talk about the significance and interpretation of this treasured Surah. He shed light on the fact that this prayer asked most avidly for two things. In its recitation, we humbly ask Allah swt to increase us in guidance and to keep us on the straight path. Uttering the beautiful words of Surah Fatiha brought her to ease, He was there for her, she just had to ask. Continue reading


She got in her car and drove. Windows down. Her long hair whipping at her face. The tears blinding her vision. Her hands tightly gripping the steering wheel. Her nails digging into the palm of her hands. She had no idea where she was going. She kept driving. She flipped through the radio and laughed through her tears. Love song after love song after love song. Her smile turned into a grin as the radio turned to a song she possibly couldn’t listen to without singing along. And so she did. She started bellowing at the top of her lungs. Until she realized what she must look like at the moment; tears streaming down her face, hair a mess, barely driving within the lines, screeching along to perhaps the most devastating song on the radio. She laughed, still crying, she started flicking the tears from her face. She liked to be composed, even in moments like these. She looked into the mirror to see if she appeared as defeated as she felt. She smoothed out her hair, her makeup was still perfect, and her nose as red as a cherry. Continue reading