I’ve gotten used to keeping my little quirks hidden. I’m pretty smart anyway, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize that to be inflicted with djinns ranks right up there as among the worst things that can happen to you when you’re sixteen years old and studying in an all-girls’ school. Girls are vicious creatures… Every day for me is like its own special, specific challenge: find ways to appease the Djinn and his voracious appetite for numbers, without letting anyone realize I’m doing it.
The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf is the newest YA release from Salaam Reads. It’s the story of sixteen-year-old Malaysian Melati who loves music and especially the Beatles. She lives with her mother and has to deal with a djinn, who whispers to her and fills her head with images of horrible things happening to the people she loves. The only way to appease him and to protect those around her is to count in threes. Her “djinn” is in fact OCD, but in 1960s Malaysia, mental health awareness doesn’t exist yet. There is a stigma around mental illness and the accepted explanation is that there is a djinn (a creation of God that Muslims actually do believe in, albeit not in this form) inhabiting her. That is how she interprets the voice in her head. View Post
The Quran and its Study is an exhaustive textbook on the sciences of the Quran, or the discipline known as ulum al-Quran. It was written by Adnan Zarzour and translated by Adil Salahi (the author of the famous biography Muhammad: Man and Prophet). Weighing in at more than 500 pages, this tome is carefully organized and is probably best suited to serve as a textbook or a reference book for students of the Quran and Islamic studies. The contents are divided into chapters, sections, and subsections that are carefully numbered and named. It is easy to locate specific topics and then to peruse the headings and subheadings of each chapter to find an exact point or opinion. View Post
Under My Hijab, by Hena Khan and illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel, follows a young Muslim girl as she introduces readers to the powerhouse women in her life who wear a hijab.
In this picture book for readers 2–7, we see the narrator’s family members and friends at work and school in their hijabs and then at home without them. For example, her grandma is a baker, and “her hijab is carefully folded, like the crusts on my favorite pies.” We then see our narrator and her grandma baking cookies at home, where her grandma wears her hair in a bun. View Post
Big Red Lollipop is a picture book by Rukhsana Khan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall with one of my favorite things—casual Muslim representation.
When Rubina is invited to her first birthday party, her mother (who doesn’t have any experience with American birthday parties) insists that Rubina takes her little sister, Sana, along with her. She is hesitant, but she has no choice. Needless to say, the party doesn’t go well. The rest of the story is about how the experience of that party eventually draws the sisters together. View Post
If we women decide to marry according to standards, then we are gold diggers, but when you weigh us in terms of looks and chasteness, then you’re just being smart. I can’t stand these double standards.
I have frequently thought about the similarities between Jane Austen’s regency era and Muslim life, so I’m always glad to see an Austen reboot with a Muslim spin. Unfortunately, I found the Muslim representation in Soniah Kamal’s Unmarriageable offensive and the writing mediocre. View Post