By Hadia Mansoor

In light of Black History Month, I thought I would share some of my favourite books written by black Muslim women. You may have already heard of some of them, but I feel that these women should deserve more recognition! Each one of these pieces are amazing to read, and I highly recommend them!

'Spilt Milk' by Aisha Ali

Written by 25-year-old Somali Poet, Aisha Ali, ‘Spilt Milk’ follows the experiences of a young woman’s life and her desire for freedom. Her journey is presented to us through several short poems, which capture the different hardships that she endures throughout her life, such as having to deal with the loss of her father, as well as facing patriarchal and cultural clashes. We as readers, go through a cycle of emotions as we are shown how this young woman navigates the various difficulties of her life and her journey to finally finding inner peace through self-acceptance. This piece touches ‘on so many important topics’ as told by other book reviews which you can check out here. Many of the topics within this book, such as healing and self-love, are also reflected on Aisha’s Instagram page (@aishamali_), where you can find out more about her as a poet, single mother and black Muslim woman. I look forward to reading her future work (which again you can keep updated with via her Instagram)!

‘The January Children’ by Safia Elhillo (2017)

‘The January Children’ is a politically engaging text consisting of a collection of short poems that has received the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and Arab American Book Award. The Sudanese American poet, Safia Elhillo, sets this piece in Sudan as the poems focus on the experiences of the generation born in Sudan under British occupation and follow both the quest and meaning of identity, migration, and nationalism. These poems also explore the geographical, historical and national elements of Sudan, which is reflected in the style of the poems as they resemble that of traditional African poetics. Safia also touches on ambiguity and displacement with one’s identity, a theme which is presented throughout this piece. Some of her other work which may be of interest includes, Home Is Not A Country and her shared anthology with Fatimah Asghar, Halal if You Hear Me, which explores Muslim identity. You can also find out more about Safia herself on her website as well as her Instagram (@safiamafia) for updates on her latest work!

‘Khadijah Got Her Groove’ by Fatimah Ashaela Ibrahim (2014)

Freelance author and artist, Fatimah Ibrahim, tells the tale of a stay at home mum who seemingly has her life together in ‘Khadijah Got Her Groove’. From an outsider’s perspective, she has the ideal and perfect life: a nice home, a loving husband and children. However, we find that this couldn’t be further from the truth; this novel highlights the various curveballs life throws at Khadijah, as she faces hostile relationships, a potentially unfaithful husband, and a difficult pregnancy. We are shown how Khadijah learns to accept that life is not perfect, and that we can never have everything under our control, as she embarks on a journey of personal reflection, self-growth and self-acceptance - making this a relatable and enjoyable read! For those interested in more of her work related to Muslim female identity, you can check out ‘I Love My Hijab’ which she wrote about her daughter’s first time wearing a hijab to school, as well as ‘The Beauty Of My Hijab’ which explores the beauty of wearing a headscarf. You can learn more about her career and own journey to wearing a hijab in this interview, as well as following her Instagram (author_fa_ibrahim) where she shares her passion for creativity and latest work!

Make sure you check out these novels if you haven’t already and leave a comment on whether you enjoyed them just as much as I did!

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