Ramadan Readathon

During this Ramadan @muslimreadathon over on Twitter and Instagram has set up a photo challenge to help people become more aware of and read books written by Muslim authors. There is one prompt a week and there will be a giveaway too!

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So I wanted to share a list of authors with you all to help you get started as I’m sure many of us don’t know many books written by Muslim authors. Some have written fiction, some non-fiction and some have written both.

These authors have written fiction books:

1) Na’ima B Robert – she has several books my favourite is She Wore Red Trainers.

2) G. Willow Wilson – also has several fiction books, among them one is called Alif the Unseen

3) Jamilah Kolocotronis – wrote the Echoes series, a 5 book series which is a favourite of mine.

4) Shelina Zafra Janmohammed – Love in a headscarf

5) Tahereh Mafi – Shatter me series, it’s also being made into a tv series and there will be 3 more books coming out

6) Sabaa Tahir – An Ember in the Ashes series, the first two are out at the moment

7) Khalid Hosseini – The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns and And the Mountains Echoed

8) Hend Hegazi – Normal Calm

9) Aisha Saeed – Written in the Stars

10) Ayisha Malik – Sofia Khan is not Obliged

11) Karuna Riazi – The Gauntlet

12) S.K. Ali – Saints and Misfits

These are authors who have written non-fiction books

1) Yasmin Mogahed – Reclaim Your Heart

2) Mohammad Faris – The Productive Muslim

3) Hesham Al-Awadi – Muhammad: How he can make you Extraordinary

4) Saifur Rahman Mubarakpuri – When the Moon Split

5) Mohammad Akram Ghadanfar – Great Women of Islam

6) Mohammad Akram Nadwi – Al-Muhaddithaat: The Women Scholars in Islam

7) Nouman Ali Khan – Revive your Heart

8) Na’ima B Robert – From my sisters lips

Hope you find this helpful. Some of these are among my favourite books! Hope you enjoy reading them.

If you have any questions please message me or find me on Instagram @thetsundokuchronicles

Happy Reading!

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The Seven Principles for making Marriage work book review

So I wanted to share some thoughts on this book, The seven principles for making marriage work by John Gottman. This book was actually recommend by Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed at her event that I attended last year about marriage.

My rating: 4/5
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This book teaches us methods that the author has tried and tested on many couples over the years to create a happy marriage. It has easy to follow exercises that you can do as a couple to help resolve conflicts, improve communication, nurture love, fondness and respect for each other.

I found the book very useful and insightful in helping to improve my own marriage. Although there are small things I disagree with the majority of the book is very relatable and easy to understand.

What can make a marriage work is surprisingly simple. Happily married couples aren’t smarter, richer, or more psychologically astute than others. But in their day to day lives, they have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other (which all couples have) from overwhelming their positive ones. They have what I call an emotionally intelligent marriage.

He first discusses signs of a unhappy marriage and one of the first things discussed in his book, are things that are so toxic to a marriage that he’s named it the four horsemen of the apocalypse. They are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. He discusses how these can create long term problems and eventually lead to the couple becoming emotionally distant and can even cause divorce if they aren’t dealt with.

Then each chapter discusses a principle that will help to achieve a happy marriage.

The first principle is Enhancing your love maps. He explains that couples with detailed love maps of each other are better able to cope with stressful events or conflicts. Having a detailed love map means that they are intimately familiar with each other’s worlds.

The second principle is nurturing your fondness and admiration for each other. This is where you build on the belief that your spouse is worthy of being respected and liked. Reminding yourself of your spouses positive qualities even if you struggle with a negative one.

The third principle is turning toward each other instead of away. So the little things you do on a day to day basis has a greater impact on your marriage than going away for a holiday for example. The way you respond to your spouse can have a big impact on your emotional connection.

The fourth principle is letting your partner influence you. It’s important that you and your spouse make decisions together and you honour and respect each other’s feelings and opinions.

The next principle that was discussed was the two types of conflict, one that you are able to solve and the other that is perpetual. He discussed ways in which we can solve the solvable conflicts through several techniques in how we discuss them.

The sixth principle was overcoming gridlock, where a couple is stuck on a conflict for so long they feel they can no longer move past it. They are conflicts that keep coming up again and again, issues with in laws, when to have children, how to raise your children etc. These issues may never be resolved completely but the goal was to move out of the gridlock and to be able to reach a compromise.

The last principle was creating a shared meaning, so you are not just roommates that have seperate lives but you have goals and you create a life together that has deeper purpose than just sharing chores and looking after kids.

I found this book hugely beneficial even though I read it feeling unsure as to what I would gain from it. His writing can be a bit annoying at times but it well worth reading. Everyone has issues in their marriage, especially at the beginning when we’re learning how to communicate and understand each other but this book actually has really helpful advice in making it more effective.

There was a few things I disagreed with, for example he said the husband should always side with the wife in a disagreement between his wife and his mother. I don’t think it’s just to do that. Instead the husband needs to always remain just in all situations.

I think this is beneficial for anyone who is looking to find ways to strengthen their marriage and help to build better communication and understanding and to resolve conflicts.

Also if you’re interested in books check out my Instagram account @thetsundokuchronicles

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Would Islam Affect My Cultures?

Would Islam Affect My Cultures?
Isa, originally from Colombia, was impressed by the knowledge of God that young Muslims had. And he liked how Islam encouraged questions, whilst his previous faith discouraged them.

But could he make the changes Islam asked of him? And would Islam be compatible with his British / Colombian culture?

Be inspired by Isa’s short interview and share it to inspire others.

Diseases of the Heart part 3

So in this post I’m going to share what we learnt about the next disease of the heart: kibr.

Kibr is the Arabic word for pride or arrogance, when someone considers themselves superior to others.

The prophet (saw) defined kibr in this narration: “No one will enter paradise who has an atoms of pride in his heart.” A man said: “What if a man likes his clothes to look good and his shoes to look good?” He said, “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means denying the truth and looking down on people.” [Muslim]

Allah describes in many places in the Quran how much Allah detests pride and the consequences of having pride in your heart.

“I will turn away from my signs those who are arrogant upon the earth…” Quran (7:146)

“…Thus does God seal over every heart (belonging to) an arrogant tyrant. Quran” (40:35)

“Indeed He, does not love the arrogant.” Quran (16:25)

These are just some of the places that Allah speaks about how displeased he is with those who have pride in their hearts. These ayahs show that Allah will not allow someone with pride to have understanding of the Quran and He will seal their hearts from the light of emaan.

The types of Pride

There are 2 types of pride:

1) Having pride and arrogance in accepting the truth in the oneness of Allah and Islam. So this person rejects Allah, the one who created him.

2) This is the pride people have towards other people. They think they are better than others and look down on them, whether it’s in regards to deen or dunya.

The causes of Pride

There are many reasons why someone may have pride some of which are:

1) Knowledge: People of knowledge can fall into this sin as they may be admired for their knowledge and start looking down on those who don’t have as much knowledge as them.

2) Practice and Worship: When people look down on those who may not be practicing their faith. They also look down on those who sin and feel like they are better than them.

3) Lineage: People who come from a noble lineage/tribe look at those who come from a lower tribe with scorn and behave as if these people are here to serve them.

4)Wealth: Allah describes wealth as a fitna in the Quran. So it can be used for good or it can cause harm. Someone who is wealthy may start to look down at those who have less.

Qualities of a person who has Pride

1) Likes people to stand up for him

2) Wants others to walk behind him

3) Believes that he doesn’t need to visit people only that people should visit him

4) Doesn’t want others to be on his level

5) Does not help in chores

The opposite of pride is humility. The prophet (saw) was always humble.

Cures of Pride

1) Realising the greatness of Allah and realising the weakness of man.

2) Contemplate and reflect over the ayah and Hadith which speak about pride.

3) Think of others as better than you, it doesn’t matter who they are.

4) Increase in ibadah and seek refuge in Allah from this disease.

5) Surround yourself with people who remind you of Allah and of your place.

6) Engaging in chores

When you see someone who is older than you; think they’re better than you because they’ve had more time to do good.

When you see someone who is younger than you; think they’re better than you because they’ve had less time to commit sins.

Hope this has been of benefit, my next post will cover backbiting.

What advice do you give someone concerned about the five daily prayers?

What advice do you give someone concerned about the five daily prayers?
Ahmad grew up thinking that Islam was only for Arabs and Asians. But seeing others practice it showed him it was a universal religion. But whilst his interest in Islam grew, could he pray five times a day? 

Watch the video to see how God guided him and helped him overcome. And share it when you’re done. 

Diseases of the heart Part2

In my last post I discussed why it’s important to study the diseases of the heart. So this post will be about the first disease, hasad (envy).

First we need to know what hasad is, according to Ibn al-Qayyim, hasad is defined as: “disliking a blessing that another had received and wishing that the other person would lose that blessing.”

There are several degrees of hasad:

1) When a person wants a blessing to be taken away from someone else. They don’t want the blessing for themselves just that it’s taken away from the other person.

2) When a person wants the blessing to be taken away from someone else because he wants it for himself.

3) When a person wants a blessing that someone else has without wanting it to be taken from the other person. This is permissible and known as ghibtah. The prophet (saw) said: “There is no permissible envy except in two cases; (towards) a person to whom Allah has granted wealth and property from which he gives charity by night and day, and a person to whom Allah has given the Quran and who recites it night and day.” (Agreed upon)

There are many examples of hasad in the Quran from the story of Habil and Qabil to Yusuf (as)  and his brothers to even Iblees and Adam (as). They all showed how hasad caused them to commit evil acts and corrupted them.

So what causes hasad?

1) Hatred

This often leads to envy, when you feel happy when the person you envy goes through some difficulty. You also feel unhappy when the person you envy is given a blessing from Allah.

2) Arrogance

Pride and arrogance can make a person feel envious towards someone who has a blessing that they don’t have. They can’t understand why someone who they perceive as below them has been given a blessing that they don’t have.

3) Desire for fame

When the desire to be the best in something leads the person to become obsessed with getting praise and recognition and thinks they are more special than others. If someone else receives praise they feel envious towards them.

The consequences of hasad

1) It makes a person unhappy and discontent with what they have. This can be a punishment from Allah if the person doesn’t want to cure hasad from their heart, that they will never be happy with what Allah has given them.

2) It wipes out good deeds. The prophet (saw) said: “Beware of envy, because it consumes good deeds just like a fire consumes wood.” [Abu Dawud]

3) It causes disunity in the community and between family and friends. The prophet (saw) said: “Do not envy one another; do not hate one another; do not turn your back on one another (in discontent); but be slaves of Allah as brothers.” [Bukhari]

4) Being envious of someone will lead to other sins such as backbiting, slander, spreading lies etc.

So how do we cure ourselves of hasad?

1) Force yourself to behave in the opposite way that the envy makes you feel. So if you feel like putting the person down out of your own pride then you should praise the person instead.

2) We often assume that something good that someone else has is a blessing for that person but Allah tests us with blessings as well as hardship. This blessing you desperately want, that the other person has, may not be a blessing for you. It could lead you away from Allah.

3) Look to those who have less than you and be grateful for what Allah has already blessed you with. A good way of doing this is to have a gratitude journal where you write a few things in there daily that you are thankful for having.

4) As Muslims we should understand that nothing happens without the decree of Allah. So when Allah blesses someone we will know that it is due to His divine decree and we cannot do anything to change that.

It is important to constantly reflect on the state of our heart as it is easy to fall into any of these diseases of the heart. In my next post I will discuss kibr (pride).

When eating introduces someone to Islam

When eating introduces someone to Islam…
Abraham’s interest in Islam took off when he saw the special way that his Muslim friend ate. But he worried what his family, teachers and friends would think if he embraced Islam. Maybe they’d think that he was crazy?

Watch on to see how God guided him and helped him overcome…