Book Review: “Reclaim Your Heart” by Yasmin Mogahed
Yasmin Mogahed is a very special person to me. Through her lectures and articles, Allah swt has helped me through my most difficult times and constantly reminded me that I must be patient because this life is merely a test. Mogahed reminds us in her newly published book Reclaim your Heart, that we should be humble and surrender our souls to Allah swt:[box_light]“The lesson in humility purifies the human soul so much that Allah (swt) comforts the believers in the Qur’an assuring them that any pain they encounter is intended to elevate and honor them […] it is that battle to purify the self which is the essence of the upward path to God. It begins with self-sacrifice, and is paved by the sweat of struggle.”[/box_light]
Even though I have not met Mogahed in person, I have such a strong affinity towards her as a sister in Islam. It is like when Rasulullah s.a.w. said in a hadeeth narrated by Abu Huraira:[box_light]Souls are troops collected together and those who familiarized with each other (in the heaven from where these come) would have affinity, with one another (in the world) and those amongst them who opposed each other (in the Heaven) would also be divergent (in the world). [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth #6376][/box_light]
I am certain that many brothers and sisters all around the globe feel the same way about her if they are familiar with the works of Mogahed. On a lighter note, I sometimes wonder if there are people out there scheming to kidnap her so that they can force her to have halaqas with them every single day.
My journey through this book began when I turned the cover of Yasmin Mogahed’s Reclaim your Heart. I was immediately drawn into the reflections made by readers about the magical works of Mogahed. This was my favourite excerpt: “Tawakkul Karman reminds me of Yasmin Mogahed. The former sparks an outer revolution and the latter sparks an internal revolution.”
Reclaim your Heart is a collection of reflective essays encompassing a myriad of spiritual struggles an individual goes through on their path to Allah swt. Her writing is simple, eloquent and goes straight to the heart of her readers only because she speaks from hers. The back reads, “Many of us live our lives entrapped by the same repeated patterns of heartbreak and disappointment. Often, we have no idea why this happens. Reclaim Your Heart is about freeing the heart from this slavery. It is about the journey in and out of life’s most deceptive traps.” Even though Mogahed claims in her introduction that this is “not a self-help book”, it essentially functions as one.
I have soldiered through many self-help books myself, albeit unsuccessfully because most of them were highly informative, technical, heavy and uninspiring. Reclaim you Heart however, hits the nail on the head because it has inspired more understanding in me about the urgency of curing the spiritual diseases in my heart and returning to Allah swt with a sound heart.
This book empowers its readers to free themselves from the chains and shackles of dunya. “Reclaim you Heart” is a fitting title, because the heart was created by Allah swt and is only meant to be filled by him. The only way to heal our heart of the void and disappointment it often feels it to take it out from that realm of dunya and putting it where it belongs; that is with Allah. There is no perfection in this dunya because only Jannah can be Jannah.
Mogahed is a poet. She selects relatable imagery and metaphors to illustrate her points in a clear and effective manner. She speaks a lot about our false attachments to the dunya and especially our reliance on people and in illustrating that she says:[quote]“We can’t blame the laws of physics when a twig snaps because we leaned on it for support. The twig was never created to carry us. Our weight was only meant to be carried by God.”[/quote]
Most people beat themselves up in anger and disappointment at their failed attempts to get closer to Allah swt. By speaking in the first person and starting her articles with anecdotes from the struggles of her own life and those around her, she reassures the reader that tests and struggles transpires in the lives of every human being and that she, like all of us, is struggling on the path to Allah. How humbling is that!
This book also encourages us to reclaim control of our heart and reminds us that we are stronger than we give ourselves credit for to overcome the desires of our nafs. I strongly believe that anybody who picks up this book will benefit from it, inshaaAllah.
It is no coincidence that a tweet by Yasmin Mogahed appeared on my timeline as I thought about how I would like to end this review. This was what she said (or rather, tweeted):
Indeed that with God, there is always a way out. Reclaim your heart now.[divider]
Ummjameel is an English Literature and Mass Communications graduate. She is a self-declared teh tarik connoisseur and feeds her cat flowers from her table.