Reading – Poem by a young Muslim poet

image via flickr by Chocolate Geek

Today I am happy to share with you a guest post by Fida Islaih, a young Muslim poet. I stumbled upon her poetry about a year or so ago. Fida has kindly consented to my request and composed a short poem on reading and what it means to her. Read more of her poetry at A Poet Named Fida.


© Fida Islaih


Reading is like traveling

seeing, being in different worlds

all imaginable

if you let your mind go.


Reading is like pictures

but looking the way you want;


Reading is like writing

Letting the world know what’s on your mind.

Muslim teenagers need to see themselves in stories they read

When I was growing up I read books a wide range of books; from fairy tales to adventure and mystery to even a bit of romance. In none of these works of fiction did I ever encounter Muslim children and teens like myself who were living Islam in society. Those who were facing challenges and struggling to resolve issues of living in a non-Muslim majority society. As a teen I would’ve loved to see others like myself in the books I read.   

photo source: Heavenly Photography (Flickr - Creative Commons)


In a recent interview, author, Na’ima A. Robert, clearly outlines why Muslim youth of today need Islamic fiction books that mirrors the situation in which they find themselves.  In talking about why she wrote her two Young Adult (YA) novels she states:   

“I wanted to address some of the issues faced by our youth and suggest an alternative way of dealing with them, a way that is nourished by imaan. The truth is, almost every YA title out there addresses issues that teens face to varying degrees. However, Muslim teens face the usual ‘growing pains’ issues as well as other issues that arise from their religious and cultural identities. It is these issues that I tried to address.”   

If you are a parent, teacher, leader or anyone who works with those who are the future of the Muslim ummah you will want to read this interview. Go on over and read the interview here.   

Just a reminder! Na’ima B. Robert will be here on JULY 23 rd as guest blogger. I am sure that, as in the interview above, she will share some insightful information with us.

Quran, Art and Books – A unique Combination

I loved the symbolism in this piece of art which I found some time ago and with the permission of the designer I share it with you.

Bookshelves designed by Peter Gould and Zain Moloobhoy featuring the Arabic word "Iqra" (Read!)

Do you notice the Arabic word “Iqra” which means read in the English language? Isn’t it wonderful how the letters Qaf and Raa are used as a space for storing books? I loved the symbolism in this piece of art/bookshelf because the Arabic word IQRA means to read. And what do we read most often? Books. The Quran itself is a book and I can see how well it would fit at the topmost part of the Qaf.

A glance gives you the impression that some books may have a bit of a struggle trying to remaining upright. But I think there is adequate support for them. This is not a shelf in the traditional sense, so it may do well to keep down the number of books. Maybe the two Alif letters on both ends could have been made into shelves as well to hold at least 2 or 3 books (but I know very little of art, and they might very well take away from the depth and impact of the piece). But all together I love this piece of practical art.

It’s designed by Peter Gould and Zain Moloobhoy. Peter Gould is an Australian Muslim graphic designer and artist. See more of his artwork and designs here.

Don’t you think it would add an interesting touch to any room in a house but that it would also work in an office, a masjid or library?

This post was last updated: April 25, 2011

Bookshelves that inspire reading

Always in need of more bookshelf space I’m always on the lookout for bookshelves that are not only space-saving but are pleasing to the eye. Over the past few years I have seen some really creative (and sometimes outrageous) bookshelf designs.  Some, it seems, are more works of art than storage and display for books. Some bookcases may work in a library or the office but most are designed for the home. No longer are bookshelves in the home just storage for books. Books shelves are now an integral of home decor.   

So as I continue to dream of what I would like to have in my home one day, I compiled a short list of some of the bookshelves I have found on the Web that I really take a liking too.   

Here is one that is artistic and imaginative while being practical:



The design artist, Shawn Soh, has the following on his website: “a tree becomes a book becomes a tree.” It would be good in a child’s bedroom or for the playroom in the home. But it can also work wonderfully in a kindergarten or in the children’s section of a public or school library.    


The Bookman bookshelf is a work of art as well as a bookshelf:



I could just see boys (who in many cases are less inclined to read) in the library wanting to pick-up a book from this bookshelf to read (and who knows, maybe even borrow one as well!).     

The Cave creates a space within a bookshelf for the reader:


I think this is another bookshelf that might interest children enough to want to curl up with a book!     


And if I ever run out of space for storing books in my home, I could try using a staircase like this:




So what do you think of these bookshelves? Do you think they would inspire your children to want to read a book? Can you see yourself with any of these in your home?