Book review: Reclaim Your Heart

Muslim Matters

Book review: Reclaim Your Heart

By Atiya Hasan
TMO contributing writer

It’s no secret that the ritualistic aspects of Islam hold the highest of importance, like the daily prayers and performing hajj. The salah is something every Muslim struggles with, at some time or another, to commit to on a daily basis and, for a lot of us, it is more often a losing battle. This is why Yasmin Mogahed’s “Reclaim Your Heart” is an invaluable work of literature in this day and age. Despite the title stating that the book is about divulging into the secrets of one’s heart, I felt it go much deeper, into the soul. This is book is the reminder that a bridge needs to be built between just doing the actions that make one a Muslim to building the desire to do them.

The book is divided into seven parts: attachments, love, hardships, relationship with the Creator, women’s status, ummah and poetry. The initial chapters begin with dissecting our need and desire for the material attachments we place so much value in. Slowly, as the book progresses so does the intensity of the self-reflection it requires. From our need to love things to considering the reasons behind the people we love.

All of the chapters are beautiful and engaging, without being intrusive, a very difficult task to accomplish considering the very personal nature of the content. Mogahed masterfully gets the message across in each chapter, which are short but intricately detailed. She touches on difficulties in her own life but in a very subtle manner by focusing on the aspects of the issue that are relevant to all. After all, though the circumstances may be different, all difficulties in our lives fall under similar themes.

The most difficult chapter for me was the one on hardships. More than the people and things we love, we keep our hardships and times of difficulty under the highest level of protection and the most well-guarded. These are the things we try to put out of our mind and hope to never reconsider. Mogahed’s words teach us to break down these walls to learn why these times troubled us so much, something that is a truly challenging undertaking in and of itself. There were times that I had to put the book down and take a few days away from it so that I could reflect and incorporate the new way of thinking into my life.

This book is the reminder we all need, that holding a mirror to our inward selves is an integral part of magnifying our faith. More importantly, it’s an even more significant aspect of enhancing the relationship with God, without which, the ritualistic physical actions of faith are truly meaningless. It is awe-inspiring to imagine that this is only the initial steps in gaining the level of spiritual-awareness that the prominent personalities of Islam, the sahaba and the Islamic scholars, most likely maintain.

The language of the book itself is quite basic with all the Arabic terminology that is referred to being defined in simpler terms. That makes this the perfect book for anyone, even those who are not Muslim, since the message of spiritual intelligence is important regardless of which religion one follows. The book is a message of strength for those from all walks of life, spoken in the voice of humanity, to those in any phase of their life.

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