Basirah the Basketballer Says Insha’Allah

Black lives matter. They have always mattered, and they will always matter. See the link after the review for ways to get involved.


Basirah’s favorite thing to do is to play basketball, and when she finds out that Coach Halima will be choosing a team captain, Basirah decides that that team captain will be her. When Basirah makes this announcement to her dad, he reminds her that she should say insha’Allah. The next day, she tries insha’Allah out and gets a perfect grade, a coveted dessert, and a shot from the free throw line! But when her friend Kafayat is chosen as team captain instead of her, Basirah wonders if maybe she misunderstood how insha’Allah works.

After school, Hafsah curls up on the couch next to her dad (who is still wearing scrubs from work), and he explains. “Insha’Allah isn’t a magic word that makes your wishes automatically come true. . . . But, it is a word that reminds us to work as hard as we can, then trust God to give us whatever is best for us.”

Sometimes, conversations about tawakkul can become divorced from everyday life. But the dad’s explanation of insha’Allah marries a phrase Muslims use all the time with core beliefs about God and faith.

I love the fact that Basirah’s next step is to reflect on herself—she realizes that while Kafayat is always helping her teammates, she herself is usually hogging the ball. She immediately puts her dad’s lesson into action—making a cake to show Kafayat she appreciates her and changing her actions on the court to reflect the kind of person she wants to be.

Basirah begins every morning with a beautiful affirmation and dua: “I will be a better friend and teammate today, Insha’Allah.” And she cheekily adds, “And the team captain next year, Insha’Allah, Insha’Allah, Insha’Allah!”

This book is everything I want to see from the world of Muslim publishing—well-written stories about diverse characters living relatable lives and learning about the world and their faith.

Find it here: Goodreads | Ruqaya’s Bookshelf

Striving to Be an Antiracist

The Prophet ﷺ said that when we see an evil, we should change it with our hands, and if we can’t, we should change it with our tongues. In that spirit, get to work. Go to a protest. Contact your elected officials. Donate. Sign a petition. Speak up in your community. Call out friends and family if they say something racist. Interrogate your bookshelves. Make dua. And, most importantly, if you’re not Black, educate yourself and your children.

“Your Black Muslim Friends Are Not Okay, America’s Knee Is On Their Neck” by Nikia Bilal on MuslimMatters

Ways to help from BLM:

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