United Talent Agency

Elise Bellin, Librarian of the Islamic Resource Center, wrote this book review as part of an ongoing series that focuses on a range of books within the IRC collection as a service to the community.

Blaming Islam

Reclaim Your Heart: Personal Insights On Breaking Free From Life’s Shackles by Yasmin Mogahed (2012)

ISBN: 9780985751203

We all know heartbreak and disappointment. If we didn’t we probably wouldn’t be able to understand the other, truly remarkable things in life just waiting for us to discover. At the same time, it usually feels easier to allow those negative emotions to hold us captive and dictate our lives. We don’t always know how to break free from this disastrous cycle and reclaim our lives for ourselves and others. Instead we seek to find the quick fixes and easy answers and blame those false gods when things don’t go our way. That is where this book comes in.

Written in beautiful yet simple prose and filled with a Muslim perspective on getting beyond those hindrances Moghed looks at topics like how Allah (swt) (God, as Muslims refer to the Creator) can fill those empty places in our lives where the darkness creeps in. Worldly possessions are not the answer as they are transient and only gifts of the here and now in life with no hold over the hereafter. The better way is to fill yourself not with the love of things or abilities but of Allah (swt). She explores how this almost Budhist sounding concept of detaching oneself from the worldly and attaching instead to the divine is both Muslim and liberating.

There are some slight issues with improperly edited portions in this first edition (i.e. sections that accidentally repeat themselves verbatim), but in general, this book is a fairly conversational book written by a famous Islamic speaker/psychologist. She understands not only the Ayaat (Qur’anic verses) and Ahadith (reported actions or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (saw)), but uses analogies and anecdotes to enlighten those that might not understand the various passages that she does use throughout the book. We are treated to an education on some of the finer points of Islam without feeling like we are being lectured or that we are incapable of grasping these aspects.

This isn’t a snake-oil quick fix. This is a fundamental shift in mindset. It can be hard to change one’s ways of thinking, but in the end some may find it an easier, more peaceful and freeing way to live. There is only one way to find out. Read this book and try it for yourself.

Founded in 2010, the Islamic Resource Center (IRC) is the first Islamic public lending library in Wisconsin. The IRC aims to provide resources to educators, students, health professionals, interfaith groups, and any members of the Milwaukee community that want an accurate understanding of the Islamic faith, its practices, and its people.