Book review: Reclaim your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed
Reclaim your Heart is a book that is personally meaningful to me because of the wondrous ways it has appeared in my life in the moments where I most need it. In essence, it is a self-help book about breaking free from life’s shackles; freeing the heart from the slavery of heartache and disappointment in this life. Although I do enjoy picking up a self-help book once in a while, I understand why some tend to steer clear of this particular book genre – it can be a bore to read through pages of non-stop preaching and goals that seem unattainable in your reality at the moment.
And I now realise the reason behind why I have such a personal affinity with this book – it’s the complete opposite of everything that could go wrong in a self-help book. Instead of feeling pressured or nagged at to do something, Mogahed’s writing makes me feel as though she is holding my hand and guiding me through a maze, taking me through every turn with a sense of comfort, safety and understanding of my shortcomings.
She divides her book into seven sections: Attachments, Love, Hardships, Relationship With the Creator, Women’s Status, Ummah, and Poetry. In these sections, she extensively guides her readers through how to navigate the difficult but common calamities people encounter in their daily lives. A significant aspect of what makes this book such an inspiring read is the way she injects her own personal stories in the chapters, in addition to stories of our prophets and anecdotes from the Qur’an. I found myself floored by almost every chapter – this book took me on a journey. It made me reflect on my life, taught me about how to approach difficult situations in a more Islamic manner and gave me the spark of hope I was yearning for.
One of my favourite chapters from the book is titled “Seeing Your Home in Jennah: On Seeking Divine Help”. Mogahed tells the story of Asiyah, the wife of the Pharaoh – a tyrant – from which she endured brutal torture from. Despite being severely tortured in her final moments, Asiyah smiled.
“Our physical eyes will not see Jennah in this life. But, if Allah wills, the vision of our heart can be shown the home with Him, so that every difficulty is made easy. And maybe we too can smile, even in those times”.
I first read this chapter a few years ago when I was in a particularly low place in life. I remember how reading this gave me a sense of hope and strength that Allah SWT will love me enough to show me a vision of my home in Jennah too, so that every hardship is made easy for me, InshaAllah.
Mogahed’s poetic finesse and candour is another thing that makes this book a must-read. If you’re a Muslim who feels lost, hopeless or even a bit jaded by life, I strongly recommend you give this book a read. I hope it gives you a better understanding of yourself and the trials of this life, and I pray that it gives you as much comfort as it gave me.