Apr 1, 2013

Book Review: Reclaim your Heart (Personal insights on breaking free from life's shackles)

by Amina Edota


written by
Yasmin Mogahed
FB Publishing. San Clemente. CA (2012)

I found this small sized book among a pile on my cousin's bedside table while holidaying in Dubai. The colours of nature captured on the front and back cover invited me to carry the book along with my natural inclination for picking up books to browse through, note down names to add to wish list or borrow to read.

In recent years, as we both journeyed on different paths to increasing our faith across continents, we continuously exchanged articles and book titles online; and now share some favourite authors, speakers & book titles. Yasmin Mogahed has been one of such writers whose articles we have often reflected upon and analysed. So it was a pleasant surprise to discover she has authored a book.

My goal was to complete reading the book during my stay in Dubai, which was already jam-packed with an itinerary of sightseeing, exploration, visits and hope of getting good rest before proceeding to my next stop. What a challenge it turned out to be. I read the last few pages around midnight just before leaving home for the airport, a couple of weeks later. I intend to purchase a copy for my personal library in the near future by the grace of the Almighty.

As stated by the author it is not just a self help book but rather a manual for this ocean of life and all matters related. An inspirational book filled with gems from front to cover, drawing you into its contents. Gems from the Noble Qur'an, sayings of the beloved prophet - sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, notable leaders and people of wisdom. Names such as Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Al-Qayyim and Al-Rumi dotted the pages, each with unique words of wisdom. Page 47 captured one of such sayings of Ibn Taymiyyah radi Allahu 'anhu (may Allah be pleased with him) who spoke of captivity saying:

''The one who is (truly) imprisoned is the one whose heart is imprisoned from Allah and the captured one is the one who whose desires have enslaved him.'' 

The book is divided into different sections with each section comprising of short articles relating to section titles. The titles include 'Attachments', 'Hardships', 'Relationship with the Creator' & 'Love' among others. Filled with reflections from her life, the author gave simple yet deep similitude of concepts such as the worldly vs. spiritual prison; lesser model (dunya) vs. real model (hereafter); the nonexistent mirage of worldly perfection vs. stability and consistency (found in the) One and only God; love vs. attachment.

She consistently related her experiences and reflections to finding peace and true love with God; and also learning to escape from the prison of this life whether in form of a job, one's desires or egos, wealth and seeking God. Her reflections were thought provoking, asking questions such as 'What kind of Muslim are you?' (p.135) and prompting the reader to accept the reality; 'see the mansion to stop playing in the dollhouse' (p.61). She reiterated the importance of acknowledging Allah as the only End and not the means to an end.

Although standing alone as individual articles, the same theme can be found resonating throughout; that of reconnecting with God and finding peace within. An easy to read book with bite sized sections. The writing style and vocabulary can appeal to a wide English reading audience with the use of words such as God instead of Allah, and meaning of Qur'anic verses in English transliteration. In a very easy-to-understand approach. It feels like a good friend sharing thoughts and insights. My favourite quotes are:

''We are always looking for signs. We are always asking for God to 'speak' to us. But those signs are all around us. They are in everything. God is always 'speaking'. The question is whether we are listening.'' (p.26)


''This world cannot break you...unless you give it permission. And it cannot own you unless you hand it the keys....unless you give it your heart. And so, if you have handed those keys to dunya for a while...take them back. This isn't the End. You don't have to die here. Reclaim your heart and place it with its rightful owner: God '' (p.43).

This book ends on a creative note with the author's poems. I recommend this book to anyone who is in need of polishing their hearts or in self denial about the state of their hearts or simply seeking to improve their relationship with their Creator. It prompts self reflection and generates interest in seeking further answers from the authentic sources - Qur'an and Hadith. In summary, it is a small manual yet dripping with a healthy dose and deep infusion of advice for all hearts - whatever their stage on the journey to faith.

If you've read this book, I'd love to hear your views on it. Please tell me in the comments section below.


Jazakilahukhairan,pls where can I get this book? Can I download it on the net. I realy need it. My faith is crumbling.

You can order a copy of this book through Amazon book. Com
Sorry do not know where to get download. Hope this info helps.

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