online, dating, tips, tips

Being 30 & Twinkies

Thirty seems to be the magical number for a lot of people.

It’s when they say you’re supposed to have a majority of your shit together. Additionally, you should be in a solid career, have a pristine family and be on the road to financial stability. In my early to mid-twenties this was my goal. To be honest, at that time, ten years seemed like more than enough time to get my affairs in line.

Once 30 began to creep up I began to internally “freak the f&%$” out.


Let me give myself some credit here though. I’ve done things I wanted to do. I’ve accomplished a lot in my career and personal ambitions but societal expectations can weigh heavy on you. That’s why its important to fight against them and remind each other.
Now that I have been 30 for almost six months I can have some say-so in this matter.

Dish out my own piece of sistaqueen advice for things that may happen once you reach 30:

  1. Picky Princess: If you are single people will start to inquire what your standards are and determine if they are too high. Standards should never change based on your age they should change based on what you want. Men are allowed to have standards, actually they are encouraged all throughout their lives to reach for what they think they deserve. Somewhere along the way women are told to re-evaluate what they want in life. Unless you’re being crazy unrealistic don’t do that. You wouldn’t do it for anything else, right?
  2. Matters of the heart: Your approach to religion or spiritually may change. As we get older the assumption is that we become more solid within ourselves. You won’t be so quick to jump on the bandwagon when your favorite sheikh is coming to town or when there is an Islamic conference happening. Depending on our experiences some of us may even align ourselves more with our spiritual side. As an individual you are changing all the time. So it’s naive to think your relationship with Islam will remain the same all throughout your years.
  3. Baby Fever: You will view having children differently. In your teens and early twenties the sight of a baby excited you and it still does. It made your ovaries jump with joy to see a baby swaddled up or bouncing on someones knee. Once you reach your 30’s you will approach childbearing with a different attitude. I’m not saying you will not desire children but you’ll modify your expectations. At one point I remember wanting a huge family. As I’ve gotten older and realized what that exactly entails. Getting older brings about a sense of realism.
  4. Just say “NO!”: You will begin to master the art of saying no to folks. This can apply to many things in your life but I am going to focus specifically on time. As a married woman or as a mother your time will be respected by people. Folks wont ask you for very much because the assumption is that you are busy with your family. If you are single people genuinely think you have no life. You will have to check folks, you will have to say no *sometimes* and at first it will be hard! When you complain about being tired your friends who have kids will laugh in your face. I didn’t know we were competing on some “lets see who sleeps less hours” gameshow.
  5. “She get it from her momma”: The other day I was arranging pink roses in my flower vases. I had trimmed them all, picked off the extra leaves and placed them throughout my condo. It hit me that I was doing exactly what my mother did every two weeks when I was a child. The sweet scent of flowers was something I grew up with. After the flowers would die she would dry the petals and place them in a bowls as decoration. We all become our parents whether we realize it. Some of us fight so hard against it. It’s inevitable.
  6. You may be jealous of your friends: Yep, I see you scrolling through your Facebook timeline. You can’t believe she got engaged before you. Well, hey sistaqueen it happens.
    1. Your friends may be jealous of you: This one too. As cliche as it sounds, grass is always greener on the other side. Your married friends will envy the fact that you don’t have to cook every night or that your time truly belongs to you. At the end of the day life is all about perspective.

If you’re a woman in your late twenties to early 30’s I already know I’m preaching to the choir. If you’re a woman who could careless about turning 30 I bow to you because you have successfully bypassed all the expectations that society and people throw on us.

As a woman most of the expectations will get pretty personal. They rotate around two things. These two things will become a platform for public conversation:

  1. The inner workings of your vagina a.k.a “your uterus”.
  2. Your current relationship or lack thereof.

People will think its their “right” to advise, discuss and even sometimes embarrass you. Like these will become regular dinner conversations and sometimes they will carry on even if you’re not saying so much as a word. It is forever disrespectful to talk about these topics without consent from the person you’re actually talking about. Yes, y’all I just used the word “consent” because I could name the countless of times I have heard or been involved in conversations that revolve around the body or choices of a grown ass Muslim woman. If its a conversation about you and you prefer not to have it than your consent has not been respected. These conversations can be very humiliating for some folks if they aren’t able to stop people in their tracks.

Your body is not open discussion for people.

Because by the time you reach 30 you’re grown as hell.

So stop moping around and be like a Twinkie!

Staying forever sweet and never expiring.


personal, stories

Room #8

The only reason I remembered him was because of his name. The extra syllables indicated he was of African descent. North African to be exact. Algerian, if I wanted to be precise. I grabbed his leather wallet that had the word “Chicago” imprinted on the front and pulled out his ID. The leather smelled fresh and was still snug. It took me a couple pulls to get the card fully out.

With his ID in my hand I looked at him with curiosity in my eyes. “Algerian?” I said. He smiled bright showing his straight white teeth and said a resounding “Yes!”. I knew he was in pain because the smile quickly turned into a grimace as his eyes closed and face contorted. He was holding onto his left arm and squeezing his shoulder. I handed his ID to the registrar, her hair short and red just like her attitude. She snatched it from me. I always thought she took her job far too seriously.

Earlier, Chicago Fire Department paramedics called the ER saying they were bringing in a man who had just called 911 complaining of chest pains for the past hour. Three minutes later the ER doors busted open as two muscular medics wheeled in a man on a gurney. One of them looked like he was about to bust out of his t-shirt. I looked at his toned arms longer than warranted and pointed them both down the hall to room number 8.

I followed them in with an EKG machine and closed the door as the man shifted from the gurney to the hospital stretcher. I noticed he was taking in deep breaths between each move that he made. The paramedic with the ridiculous arms began rambling information to me. I was trying my best to look at his face and not at his arms that seemed to be pulsating with each word he said. My mind zoned in on the important words as I turned the EKG machine on. “Stents placed last year…” The man looked like he had just come home from work. His pinstripe button up shirt was creased on the sleeves. “49 years old…” I gently smiled at him attempting to ease his fears and unbuttoned his shirt in order to stick the cardiac monitor on his chest. “No significant cardiac history in his family…”

As the paramedics left the room the attending doctor and student drifted in. I handed the EKG over to her. She took a glance at it and told the patient his heart looked fine and lab work would be more definitive of any serious cardiac complications. She instructed me what to do with a look and nod and I proceeded to do what I have done so many times before.

I’ve been a nurse for six years. I’ve been a caretaker for many more. My spirit has always been drawn to people, especially when they are sick. I recognized early on that caring for people was part of my make up. It is one of the things that are at the core of my being. I’ve worked in the heart of Brooklyn to the coast of San Fransisco and there is one thing everyone has in common; we desire company when ill. Very few people want to be alone when they are sick. Illness breeds a sense of vulnerability and makes most of us yearn for human connections. The essence of living and what makes life are those around us. Realizing your own demise can be a smack in the face.

He was lying in the bed, topless with his bare chest out. His chest hair curly like the full head of dark hair that sat on top of his head. His jeans and shoes were still on. I unlaced each shoe and gently slid them off of his feet, readjusted him in bed and asked him to put his left arm out. I tied a tourniquet around his upper arm and watched veins begin to surface underneath his tan skin. I noticed a faded tattoo on his arm and in my broken Sudanese Arabic I could make out the name of a woman. It read “Nasrin”.

I told him to count to three and warned him that I was about to pierce his skin. He asked me if it would hurt. I said yes. As I stuck the needle into him I imagined him being in far away sandy places deeply in love with a girl who had deep brown eyes and long eyelashes. Nasrin. She would wear a black headscarf and readjust it when strands of her black hair slipped through. It was always her eyes that drew him in. It was the first thing that drew him in. She would walk past his classroom everyday. He’d wait for her even if it meant just one glance. He would wait. Their relationship would be awkward stares and lingering looks until the day she got close enough for him to say something. This time she was so close he could smell her. He froze. She would wait. There was a sense of patience to her. He begged for the words to come up. He cursed his brain for not giving his body permission and demanded his mouth make words but it did not comply. She didn’t look at him with eyes of stupidity instead she quietly looked downwards and gently commanded out his throat a simple “hello”. They would begin to meet in secret while their love began to grow.

His naivety and love for American movies taught him that if you really loved a woman you would get her name imprinted on your body. Eventually, he would get her name tattooed in secret places because Islam forbade any alteration of the body. When he showed her the tattoo she covered her mouth in disbelief. She grabbed his arm and her eyes shifted up to his face. This was when he realized no woman had ever looked at him with such intensity and desire. He tried his best not to grimace as she sensually traced her index finger around her name. He looked at her supple lips contrasted against deep caramel skin. A ray of sun snuck into the dim room and hit her eyes as she looked up at him again. Her eyes dripping with lust and pure passion. This time she didn’t hide. She wanted him to see it all. The room smelled of their sweat and ravaging hormones. With all the humidity her scarf began to slip off. His body was feeling things that he didn’t know or even cared to describe. At that moment no one else existed in the world. It was only him and Nasrin. His hand was slowly making its way to her face. He imagined what her skin would feel like under his finger tips. He stopped. He couldn’t. All the waiting he had done for this one moment. It was the worlds turn to wait for him. He wanted the world to turn seconds into minutes, minutes into hours and hours into days that would never end and if the world couldn’t do that than by Allah the world needed to freeze time all together for him. He demanded the world wait and his conviction so deep and devoted that he lost himself in her and she in him.

Later he would find out that time did not wait and a nosy neighbor standing on a nearby roof would tell Nasrin’s father that he ought to have a better rein on his daughters. This would abruptly end their early blossoming of a relationship and this was when he learned the life lesson that time was a taker and never a giver. She waited for no one, not even the begging mother would get a seconds worth of extra time with her dying newborn. It was simple.

A university scholarship would send him to Chicago and Nasrin would marry a man in the nearby city of Constantine. Her face aging but the deep brown and youthfulness of her eyes remaining. Sometimes on his summer visits home he would walk past the school. Children would poke their heads out looking at the people and donkeys carrying water down the bustling street. These were the times he would think of her. Their love would be a faded memory but like the tattoo Nasrin was forever imprinted on his being.

I began to fill the tubes with thick red blood. He looked down at his arm alarmingly and jokingly warned me not to drain his body. I reassured him he was a big man and this was virtually impossible. He laughed as I snapped the tourniquet off his arm.

I walked to the front of the ER to send his blood up to the lab. I could hear a lady crying in one of the rooms and a mother cooing her baby to sleep in another. Hospitals remind us that death and life are one in the same. I sat at my computer charting as one of the medical students hovered over the attending doctor. The secretary turned to me and said, “Room number 8 is calling you.” I walked to his room and he pointed to his chest as his face twisted in pain. I glanced at the cardiac monitor to make sure his heart rhythm was normal. Fifteen minutes later combined with a dose of morphine he rested comfortably in his bed. He turned to me and asked if his blood results had come back. I told him they hadn’t but he’d was more than likely going to stay the night at the hospital. He let out a deep sigh as I left his room.

As the night went by the ER began to bustle with the sounds of patients vomiting, call bells ringing and people crying. I whirled from room to room administering medications, drawing blood and talking to concerned family members. Nearly every time I walked near room number 8 he would wave me down. My annoyance began to reach new heights because of the volume of sick people I was tending to. Right now he was fine and I was too busy to casually talk.

Eventually, my shift was over. I put my jacket on and grabbed by bag. I was heading out and walked past his room. We exchanged smiles and he asked where I was going. He was lying in the stretcher with the heart monitor on. Different colored wires were sticking from under his hospital gown. I told him my shift was over and I was headed home. With concern in his voice he asked if someone else would be in to take care of him. I thought that was a silly question. I told him yes and that I had given her a full report on his condition.

I left.

My co-worker would call me the next morning as I walked into a dental appointment. She told me that the patient in room number 8 went up to his room and began complaining of worsening pain. One of the residents decided to order a second set of lab work. As he was Face Timing his family he went into cardiac arrest. They were unable to revive him. Once his lab work came back his cardiac enzymes had tripled. He was having a full blown heart attack.

The doctor said she had never seen this in her twenty plus year career. His blood work coming back nearly perfect. She said that ,“Timing did not work in his favor.”

Again, time waited for no one.

I sat in the chair and cried feeling like I had abandoned him. It made me feel even worse when I closed my eyes and remembered how his face looked as I left my shift the previous night. I was drained and in a rush to get home after working 12-hours. Surely, I could have given him a couple more moments. I blamed myself for being selfish with my time. I began to recount my interactions with him the previous night. Even with the gloves on I could feel the warmth of his body underneath my fingertips. I watched his heart pump out his blood into tubes. It was deep red. He was so alive.

The dentist walked in. I quickly wiped my face and smiled. He asked me what was wrong and I told him my allergies were acting up. He paused and looked at me as though he knew I was lying. Formalities would cause the conversation to stop right there and I was perfectly fine with that. He put his gloves on and I heard a snapping noise as the latex hit his wrist. “OK, open up.” he said. Normally, I hated the taste of fluoride. Normally, I hated visiting the dentist. Normally, I would have been fidgeting in that seat.

My mind was in another place.

love, personal, tips, womanhood


Titled: Words

As he talks,

I listen to his every word.





I marinate in his words.

Lips moist.

I tell him,

Brotha, lift that tongue up.

Search between the tight spaces of white teeth.

Dig for words deep in your throat.

And I remind,

if Allah revealed the Quran slowly.

Chapter by chapter,

Sentence by sentence,

Word by word,

then I will reveal myself slowly to you.

The key to my body lies lost in your mouth.



Sometimes I will check the statistics page of my blog. Often, it just gives me insight into my most popular posts. Hot Hijabis and Secret wife= Glorified “side piece” (over 1.5K shares!) have been two of my most popular pieces so far.

Paying attention to the blog statistics allows me to see what my readers click on most. I can also see what Google searches lead people to my page. Recently, someone searched “sweet things to say to a Muslim woman” and was guided to MuslimnLove.

I am as cheesy and they come and I let out a huge “awwwww” when I saw that.

Ya’ll both my face and heart smiled. At that moment I was filled with love.

The essence of this blog is to enhance my writing and allow a space for the Black Muslim woman to express her thoughts on love, life and Islam. I am very big on us controlling our own narrative. No one needs to speak for the Black Muslim woman but herself. Even within this I speak for my own unique experiences. I speak as a Black woman, I speak as an East Afrikan woman, I speak as a Muslim. I also speak as a woman who has lived abroad within different cultural settings. I have many platforms that influence how I view the world. I am open and unfiltered. Writing is an art and I use it to express my deepest thoughts and emotions. Art can not be censored and any artist would agree in the therapeutic importance of expression.

Words help to connect people and today not only do I celebrate MuslimnLove’s 3 year anniversary but I celebrate the sweetness of words.


5 sweet things to say/do to a Muslim woman

1. Love wins. Let your heart talk. No matter where you are from, what color your skin is or how old you are EVERY woman enjoys being told that she is beautiful by the man she loves. Allow your heart to speak for you. This feels best when it’s unexpected. For instance, she is adjusting her hijab in the mirror and halal bae walks by and says “You’re pretty baby girl.” This is honey to our eardrums. When a woman feels loved she opens up in so many unimaginable ways. Open her up. Plus, everyone wants to be attractive to their partner.

2. Don’t only walk it out but talk it out. Explore her mind. Show her that there is an interest in her thoughts. Now, if you are on the brinks of a new relationship with a sister I suggest you utilize this one to the fullest. When you show an interest in what she likes then she will show even a bigger interest in you. Like I mentioned above, the mind of a woman must be opened first. To fully engage a woman you have to intellectually stimulate her before anything else.

3. Count on me. A woman wants to feel like she can count on you. Make her feel like you are dependable. When she needs to count on someone you need to be the person she relies on. A sense of stability is the sweetest thing for a woman. We love men who handle their business and then assist us in handling ours. Whether its subconscious we equate dependability with being good husbands, fathers and leaders.

4. Listen. We will talk. Talk. Talk some more. You are encouraged to listen and we will know if you aren’t listening. Interject once in a while. This proves you are actually listening. Women thrive off of emotional intimacy. Be her source of emotional intimacy. Let her know you care. Look her in the eyes when she is talking rather than at your phone. Don’t only listen with your ears, listen with your body. Take all of her in.

5. Time. I can not stress this aspect enough. Since I was a teenager I have had a saying in my life, “People ALWAYS make time for what they want to do.” Now, if you want to watch a TV show, go shopping or hang with a friend you will block out a certain time during your day to do that. Many women equate time with love. So if you aren’t making time we may think you don’t love us. This is just the truth.

love, personal, stories, Uncategorized, womanhood

Lessons on love

I saw them walk around the edge of the water holding hands. Her chubby fingers laced into his. They both appeared to be in their mid to late 30’s. I could tell their love was new based on how his hands traced her body. Whether or not he realized it he was reading and studying her. His fingers did the work and his mind soaked it all in.

I could tell he was enjoying it. I thought how I missed having my body studied by a man.

As I watched them slowly walk by I imagined him being a very passionate and attentive lover. Words didn’t have to be spoken because he would read her body like a book of poetry. Her body was his poetry, in all of its sacredness. He would write haikus about the curve of her wide hips. He would write soliloquies about the softness of her heavy breasts. Every pause, every comma and every period would be considered. He would never rush. Every time his fingers grazed her body she would allow him to turn yet another page revealing more of herself to him. Sometimes he would even go back a page, only to slowly read it again fearing that perhaps he may have missed something. Her deep sighs would mean she was ready. He would want to take all of her in. He savored the ending but he wouldn’t finish until she gave him permission to close her book. Everyone knew you had to take your time reading poetry.

Once they reached a hill the woman stopped and looked out at the water. Her curly hair was moving in sync with the wind. Some ducks were splashing nearby and the sun sat perfectly in the clear blue sky. He walked up behind her and gently placed his arms around her waist. I could see he was whispering in her ear. I imagined what he might be saying. Her face eased into a smile. She closed her eyes as he brushed his lips against her cheek. She leaned back and shifted her weight onto him fully assured that he was able to handle it. They walked in slow motion while taking gentle steps. Both of them were oblivious to the runners, bikers and strollers that zoomed around them. There was an air of impatience to the people who passed them up. I just watched them both and thought to myself what it truly means to be in love and oblivious to the rest of the world.

I came up with one answer, absolutely wonderful.


I have been in love twice. I’m speaking about being madly, deeply, i-cant-think-about-nothin’-else type of love. The feeling of being warm and fuzzy inside when you see the person. Oh, and I can’t forget the “butterflies”. You haven’t truly been in love until you’ve experienced that. For real.

But, I digress.

I am a Black, Afrikan, Muslim woman.

I am a strong woman.

I am also…

A woman who loves to love. I am a woman who loves to be loved. There is nothing weak about admitting that. I actually view it as a strength. Love is one of the only things that can make you both vulnerable and powerful at the same damn time. This is the effect that love can have on a person.

I am close to turning thirty, God willing. For some women, thirty is a stepping stone and almost a dreaded right of passage. Many feel that there are certain things that a woman should have by the time she hits thirty. One of those things is a stable relationship. The powerful women who raised me made it clear that my identity and self worth was wrapped up in so much more that a societal dictation regarding female aging.

Lately, I have been reflecting and thinking about my experiences with love so far.

For me, both times were wonderful and I learned lessons about myself in each of those relationships. One thing I have definitely come to understand is that inexperience brings a sweetness to love. I was nineteen the first time I fell in love. I gave him a very sweet and innocent type of love and with the right person it could have been a beautiful thing. At that age it was so easy to follow the inclinations of my heart without hesitation. Part of being young is thinking that you can overcome anything. Life has a way of working itself out though. Allah knows what we do not.

As you get older you become realistic and begin to fully understand life. The second time happened ten years later and I was at a very different phase in my life. I still fell hard and enjoyed every minute of it. I was in deep, but unlike most, I was not in denial. I savored every minute of daydreaming, random texts and lingering conversations on the phone. I knew that being that much in love with a person carried its risks. I was ready to accept all of that. Our love was pleasantly unexpected and intense. I appreciated it for the experience and the lessons I learnt.

Remember, many people have never loved, been loved or fallen in love. Consider your experiences a blessing even if they end before you would like. There is a place for everything in your life, including love. What is meant for you now may not be meant for you tomorrow.

Give thanks for life.

Give thanks for love.

Give thanks to Allah.


Tinder’ing while Muslim

It’s getting dark outside.

I lay on my sofa nestled under a throw blanket. I am lost in my thoughts and old episodes of Scrubs. My apartment is warm and cozy. I am comfortable while munching on a bag of chips.

My phone rings.

I look at the phone and contemplate picking up. It vibrates and dances across the table. I pick it up before it falls off.

“Asaalamu alaikummmmm girl, what’s up?” I say while smiling down the phone.

Its my friend and she starts rambling about random things and then talks about this app called Tinder. She suggests I download it. For those of you who don’t know recently there has been an explosion in dating apps for cell phones. Essentially, they use your GPS location and link you up with folks within the vicinity. “There are a ton of Muslim men on it. Check it out!” She squeals down the line. I can hear the excitement in her voice.

A sistaqueen is always open for something new. So I download it.

Once it downloads there are a series of prompts. As you open the app a picture of a person will pop up on your phone. You can do one of three things:

Swipe left– means you’re not interested.
Swipe right– means you’re interested and if they swipe right on your profile as well then you’ll match up.
Click on their picture– Allows you to view more pictures of them or read their profile (If they wrote additional information).

Now, let me just say Tinder has to be one of the most superficial things out there to date (pun intended). Essentially, I am basing everything off of what a person looks like. I have nothing else to judge them off of. I like to think of myself as a person with substance. So naturally, I seek out substance. There is so much more to a person than their looks.

But that isn’t even the half of it.

Keep in mind I am minding my own business. Watching Netflix, eating chips and shit. I didn’t want to have anything to do with all of this.

I begin mindlessly scrolling through the app. I see a Mohammed. I also see an Omar too. Looks like Omar is holding a beer though. What a pity, he was a cutie too. :swipe left:

Surprisingly, I see a ton of Muslims on this app!

I see a dude posing with his dog. Dog is all up in his face. Gross. :swipe left:

I see a guy on a surf board. Looks like a risk taker. His smile wide and deceiving. :swipe left:

I see a guy with rimmed glasses on. Tech dude and very geeky. Something endearing about his shy eyes though. :swipe left:

I see a guy sitting in a chair. He has a checkered shirt on. His white teeth and perfectly placed. Something eerily familiar about him.

I begin sit up on my sofa.

I click on his profile to reveal more pictures. As I scroll through his profile I instantly recognize him. The lightbulb goes off as I put two and two together. It’s the husband of my VERY married friend.

I grab another potato chip and scroll through the pictures two more times thinking that maybe I was mistaken. My eyes narrow as I slowly examine his pictures. One of him posing in a restaurant. Another one he’s at the beach looking out at the orange sunset. Looks like he’s trying to be reflective.

I begin to wonder who took these photos. His wife, maybe?

So this leads me to the ethical dilemma. What do you do when you are scrolling through Tinder (or any dating/matrimonial site) and the picture of your very married friends husband pops up?

Do you swipe left and ignore?

I mean you could simply mind your own business and not say anything?

Tell your friend about her lying husband?

Or, do you swipe right and confront him?

sex, stories


*Trigger warning: This post contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors. Please read with caution.*

She sat there, in the corner, alone.

She had purposely picked the dark corner in the room. No one would force her to talk if she pretended like she was in prayer.

Her eyes stayed focused on the floor until the green zig zags in the carpet made her dizzy. People around her were trickling out of the room. She wouldn’t get up until the sound of shuffling shoes stopped.

She thought about the tackiness of the mosque. Between the green carpet and pink walls it didn’t stand a chance.

In her peripheral she saw a sister making her way towards her. She closed her eyes and felt the light footsteps shift and head in a different direction.

Life had been hard on her.

She never forgot that the room was yellow. She would grow up to hate that color and anything remotely related to it. Just the sight of a solid yellow shirt would evoke a feeling of utter disgust in her core. She recalled a time when she was doing good. The memories of him were beginning to lessen. That recurring nightmare had stopped. Soon after she came to that calm, a coworker pulled out a yellow notepad at a staff meeting. That was what set her off. A damn notebook. She fidgeted in her chair and eventually had to get up and step out. She would stay in her office and pop a Xanax. I just need 30 minutes to let the pill kick in. Later, when talking to her boss she would jokingly laugh and say, “You know Muslims pray all the time.” Using a religious excuse always worked in her favor because its motives could not be questioned. He would give her a half smile and know she was full of shit.

She had just turned nine the first time her uncle crept into her bedroom. Her body felt things it was not supposed to feel at that age. He lifted her underwear and stuck his fat fingers in places that she didn’t know existed. Lying frozen on her back all she would see was the yellow ceiling. This was the celling that watched her childhood unfold as she created makeshift hijabs for her dolls. Ironically, the same ceiling was about to witness the vandalization of her innocence and youth.


Screams would not follow direct commands. They would not come out of her mouth. Her mind and body would remain disconnected for a while after that. She would blossom into womanhood and sometimes feel betrayed by her own body. Orgasms felt good but the exhilaration was quickly followed by shame. So she would avoid accidentally brushing her nipples in the shower or watching a makeout scene in a movie too long. She didn’t want to evoke feelings that would lead to memories of yellow.

She didn’t know what to do or how to feel. Sometimes her prayers would involve asking Allah for numbness. She would bow with her forehead on the floor feeling every prickle of the wool carpet. She knew it was haram to ask for death, but by Allah, if she could have she would. It wasn’t fair. Allah was not being fair by giving her this burden. All those years. All those fuckin’ years he touched her. Allah must have been mistaken. He was mistaken for thinking that somehow she was supposed to duaa her way out of this. This test was meant for Aisha, Sumaiya or Maryam. Not her. Allah, in all His Majesty and Glory, was never wrong but in this instance He was. Just this one time He had made a mistake. She was sure of it.

A tear fell off her face. She didn’t feel it roll down her check. The carpet turned a dark green as it soaked up her hearts grief.

“Alllllaah, forrrgiv—…” She stuttered through deep, huffing breaths. Her heart needed a moment to rest.

“Allah, forgive me for doubting you and your trials.” She whispered.

Sometimes she felt stuck. Islam was her backbone but she doubted it at times. That feeling of doubt often led to feelings of guilt and remorse. Everyone said doubting meant you weren’t a “good” Muslim. Religious guilt often ate her from the inside out.

Throughout the years the thought of confiding in friends and family crossed her mind. One semester she had come home for break, which coincided with Ramadan. After attending tahajjud one night with her family she had a moment of clarity. A moment free of the anxiety associated with being judged and blamed for something the nine year old version of herself couldn’t prevent. She would tell her mother. She had decided.

Later she would back down.

That was the closest she came to exposing it all. She wanted people to see yellow for what it really was. She often questioned why lemonade, school buses and even smiley faces had to be yellow. The absurdity of it all. The sheer ridiculousness. People had been deceived. It was not a color of happiness and life. Yellow was an offensive, overpowering and a demanding of attention type of color.

So in a corner she stayed. Had her moment and afterwards went to the bathroom to wash her face. She opened the door and walked out the mosque while pulling her cardigan closer as her black hijab blew in the wind. It was starting to lightly drizzle outside. Rain was a blessing and in her quiet voice she whispered a small prayer.

She walked towards the white sedan and opened the passenger side door.

“Honey, what took you so long?” Her husband said smiling.

“I just saw Laila and you know how much she talks.” She said. He chuckled and shook his head.

She looked out the window. Days would pass. Everything would appear normal. In spaces, she would hide but remain physically present. People would think she was fine.

And she would never let them think otherwise.



I will start this off with saying you never know what a person is going through. One can never understand and comprehend the internal struggles and grievances of an unfamiliar heart. All of us are handed a different deck of cards in life. Some may consider their hand fair, others may not.

Never assume anything about anyone. Never assume the type of life or upbringing a person has had. In most cases those same assumptions will be shattered.

Muslims have a difficult time discussing healthy, consensual sex within the confines of a marriage. These discussions are extremely difficult to have in many cultural and ultra-orthodox circles. It leaves many Muslims feeling dirty. So naturally, it would make sense that molestation and rape wouldn’t easily make their way into our conversations.

Molestation, rape and incest happen everywhere. No one community is immune to this. The only difference is that religious circles (Christians, Catholics and Muslims) have somehow been duped to think that sweeping the issue under the rug will remedy the situation.

Facing and admitting the fact that there are ills, addictions and deep issues within religious circles is not easy. While we try to reach spiritual perfection some may get blindsided refusing to admit the stark reality. Certain things require professional help and simply praying your way out of it is not enough. That should be ok. We need to face our problems and work on healing victims of abuse. People shouldn’t be spiritually abused because they admit to trauma in their lives. I’ve heard of people going to Muslim leaders for help and being told that praying more is the ultimate solution.

Prayer is a part of the solution, yes, but not the end all be all.

Be open when it comes to discussing sex, especially with your children. Once sex is normalized in our communities then we can comfortably bring up the abnormalities associated with it.

tips, womanhood

Womanhood and the Muslimah

As soon as she opened the door I was met with the smell of simmering spices and warm food. I carefully took my boots off trying not to get snow on the plush creme carpet. I was greeted with kind and familiar smiles as I walked into the house. It was a typical December evening in Chicago. The kind of weather where your face went numb if you stayed out in the cold too long. I was relieved to be behind closed doors. Both my body and spirit were marinating in the warmth that surrounded me.

These type of gatherings were rare when the temperature reached subzero digits, so naturally I looked forward to the comradery of sisterhood, laughs and good spirits. We talked about various topics which included work, school, politics and of course marriage (for those of us that were married) and dating ventures (for those of us who were on the prowl).

The conversation shifted to womanhood and it left me with several thoughts.

What does it truly mean to be a carefree, spiritual and emancipated woman?

I’m talking about a woman not burdened with societal and cultural baggage. Many would say this is not possible in Islam, but I disagree. Throughout the last several years of my late twenties I have found solace not only in myself but, simply put, being myself.

There is a huge difference between the two and I believe many women use other people or standards to define who they are. Respecting your individuality is a huge component in becoming the woman you are destined to be.

I can not say this without paying attention to the reality that there are consequences to being a woman without inhibition.

Most people will misunderstand you.


Every time I hear Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” I often imagine her supplicating this song. If you closely listen to the words it is a prayer. She lays her problems in front of Allah and pleads for Him to aid her. She reminds Him that “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good”. As most know Nina was a woman who, herself, was often misunderstood by the world.

So, I thought as a woman these are the main points of judgement many of us face (irregardless of your ethnicity or religious affiliation) at some point in our lives:

*How you dress.
* Your relationship status.
*What you say.

These three things will be the judging ground for society. If you allow they will ultimately rule your life. You, as a woman, must endure it.

Men will use this as a means to see if you’re suitable for marriage and other women will use this as leverage for comparison. Being a woman, particularly a Muslim woman, means that you must adhere to certain expectations without fault. Men on the other hand are given the leeway to have fault. This is a privilege of manhood.

This is just the way the world works. Again, a reality you must accept.

You will often be misunderstood. If you are single (by choice or circumstance) folks will not get it. They will question if something is wrong with you or perhaps why no one wants you. Additionally, you may wear hijab, may not or perhaps you only cover some of the time. You will not only be judged on the frequency of when you wear it but how you wear it.

Or perhaps you are the type of woman who is strong willed, vocal and firm in your opinions. You are often, again, misunderstood. People will tell you to tone it down. You may even be reminded that men don’t like women who “talk” too much. Reality is that most of these men are insecure and use your strong personality as their excuse. Perhaps this will lead to you changing fundamental parts of your character to fit into what society wants of you.

Keep in mind that there are ways you can combat these stigmas. Walk at your own pace not following the steps of someone else. Our identity should not be solely wrapped in how society or Islam views us. As women we should all be the sole definer of our lives.

I am all woman. I am all Muslim. I am all Black. I am so much more.

Be true to your womanly ways and never apologize for being you.