Written by Diana Alghoul
Usually, I’m very skeptical about books that fall under the umbrella of the self-help category. I, along with most avid readers tend to find them counter-productive. Rather than inspiring you to find that trigger that changes you from within, they preach — and at best — give a morale boost in the momentum of reading.
I first heard about Reclaim Your Heart from friends and bloggers who have spoken about how it has quite literally changed their lives. Curiosity got the better of me, so I ordered it. When I first saw it and noticed it was a thin book, I wasn’t expecting much of it. By the time I finished the first chapter, I realized my presumptions before reading it were completely wrong.
In the book, Mogahed does not preach, nor does she write with self-righteousness shadowing her wisdom. She takes you on many journeys. Her personal journey, the journeys of the prophets of Allah, the journey of the Qur’an — and within this, she allows you to manifest all of it in a way that reminds you of your own journey. Your own peaks and dips of faith, your own heartbreaks, your own disappointment and your attachment to the material world.
Throughout the book, though she covers many aspects of life and faith, she consistently reminds us of purpose. Everything has its purpose. At one point, she spoke about the verse “Verily with hardship coms ease” (Surat Insyirah 5-6) and how she misinterpreted it for much of her life. She, along with many others have at one point interpreted this verse to say that Allah has given us a systematic structure that ease will come after hardship, when the verse clearly states that hardship comes with ease. Perspective is key and things may not always be what they seem. Mercy is in everything, and not only must we treat hardships as blessings, but we must also find hardship in periods of perceived ease.
Detachment from pain is another important attribute of the book. “That broken heart and pain are lessons and signs for us. They are warnings that something is wrong,” she writes. We want to remember that Allah’s wisdom is stronger than our desires. We want to remember that pain means he has saved us from something worse, but why are we hurting so much? Mogahed not only shows us the mercy behind pain, but the practical reasons for it. Not only does she simplify the concept of pain, but she takes it to a realm that allows us to look at it through the lens of spiritual gratitude.
The short chapters help you reflect and give you enough space to do so. It’s clear early on that she does not write to help you understand through her perspective, but she writes to give you a tool to connect to your metaphysical self and to understand Allah’s mercy enough for you to look through what is apparent.
On the whole, Reclaim Your Heart is an absolute must read for anyone at any point in their life. Mogahed ingeniously marries simple language with strong meaning. Her words are gentle nudges that remind you of the powerful Lord above us who does not leave us alone and has wisdom that we cannot comprehend. Though we are commonly reminded to not get attached to this dunya (world), we usually cannot grasp it practically. Reclaim Your Heart is a book that shows you that you can detach yourself from the world while still living in it by simply reminding yourself that perspective may only be relative to the moment and may mislead you — but you must always fall back on the fact that Allah’s mercy and wisdom is beyond your imagination to guide you.