When you first open the book “The Ideal Muslimah”, there is a note by the publisher. It says, “Faith is not the matter of claims or wishful thinking; rather it is both belief and the practical application of that belief in daily life.”
I had picked up the book at a bookstore during my religious rebirth some years ago. At that time, I had become so besotted with the ideals of Islam and in my zeal (or you could say overzealousness), only saw the world in two lens: good and bad. Even ‘good’ was not enough for me. Had the title of the book been “How to be a good Muslimah”, I would not have picked it up. I needed it to be the highest, most perfect manual that I could religiously devour its contents and instructions.
When I saw that it had different chapters to cater to the many roles that I have, or will soon take up insyaAllah, such as “The Muslim Woman & Her Lord”, “The Muslim Woman & Her Own Self”, “The Muslim Woman and Her Neighbors” and “The Muslim Woman & Her Husband”, I went straight to the cashier to bring home my dream book.
Did the book meet my expectations? It completely blew me off. Not only is the book brimming with verses of the Qur’an, but it contained pages after pages of narrations by the Prophet SAW, sayings of the blessed Companions RA, advice from scholars of old and endless stories that offers a personal and relatable edge. I realized how silly I was to want to be perfect. The only human that ever was perfect is the Prophet SAW. The book made me appreciate him SAW even more when I realized just how far I was from being even a shadow of how he was.
However, a beautiful approach of the book is that even though it describes the Ideal Muslimah, it never made me feel as if this ideal is hard to achieve. Instead of saying, “The Ideal Muslimah is not suspicious”, the writer pens it as “She avoids suspicion”, casting it in a more realistic light and giving me hope that I could try to avoid suspicion, but if I do fall into it, it really isn’t the end of the world.
It’s been a book that I’ve referred to over & over again; always a good companion to remind me of how my journey of self-improvement never ends.
Ameera Begum Aslam