“To every Muslim woman who is content with Allah as her Lord, Islam as her religion and Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as her Prophet. To every girl who follows the path of truth, who carries the message of sincerity. To every teacher who strives by means of her words to convey knowledge and values, and has purified her soul. To every mother who brings her children up to fear Allah and to follow the Sunnah, and makes virtue dear to them. To every woman who is burdened with worry and sadness. Rejoice and receive the glad tidings of a way out at hand, the care of Allah, a great reward and expiation of sins.”
The first time I read this book was when I was eleven years old in middle school. We had an hour of Religious Counseling with our Quran teacher who would have open discussions with us. Sometimes she would make us sit in a circle and ask us to visualize ourselves many years into the future; trying to find perspective and be focused. She talked to us about our dreams, wishes and thoughts on just about anything; gently guiding us and correcting us according to the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. She is one of the most beautiful people I ever knew; her melodious voice still echoes in my mind. Sickness lead to her frequent absences, and we really missed her when she wasn’t around. I remember feeling excited for our hours with her because of the immense calm and peace she instilled into our growing, curious minds. She was never stingy with beautiful, rewarding smiles that truly made a schoolgirl feel appreciated and understood.
During one of these hour long sessions, she brought in a big bag of books. Her face was serious and she was intent on teaching us a lesson. “Read these very carefully,”she said, and handed each of us a copy of this book. Each book had a short personalized message and her signature on the front page. I felt like I had won a prize that day. Her absences became more and more frequent and we rarely saw her anymore. Our Quran exam was taken by a substitute teacher, and I became increasingly apprehensive. However, it was the end of the year and I got carried away with the excitement and freedom of summer vacation just like any other middle schooler. Mid-July, I logged into my email account and received dreadful news of her death. Her sickness spread and she lost the strength to fight.
She left behind an amazing example of a patient, dutiful Muslim woman, and the lessons she taught me are engraved in my mind.
A few weeks later, I had a dream about her rushing out of the teacher’s room. I saw her smiling and glowing; she looked delighted. I, on the other hand, had tears streaming down my face as she rushed to me and gave me a hug. She beamed at me and exclaimed, “I’m so happy!” I woke up just then and have never forgotten this dream. I hope and pray that she truly is happy, and that Allah rewards her for the immense efforts she made to spread His message.
The book has been with me ever since then. It’s been written on, highlighted, bookmarked, cried over and carried in my handbag wherever I go. As I grew, the stories and reminders in the book became increasingly relevant and comforting to me. I got the Arabic original of the book just recently, and I can confidently say that it’s one of the most beautifully written books I have come across. The author’s message is simple, subtle and true. Hope, love, acceptance, smiles and sweetness. He draws inspiration and motivation from stories of the Sahabiyat like Khawlah bint Tha’labah and Asmaa bint Abi Bakr. He repeatedly reminds readers that materialism does not buy happiness and he responsibly addresses the social evils that infect many Muslim homes. If you’re looking for a light read that will tug at your heartstrings, then this book is for you.
Here’s a sneak peak from the book:
“…أنت بجمالك أبهى من الشمس و بأخلاقك أزكى من المسك”
“…واعلمي أن حليك ليس الذهب و الفضة و لا الألماس بل ركعتان في السحر و ظمأ الهواجر صيامًا لله”
“With your beauty, you are better than the sun; with your morals, your are more sublime than musk…”
“Remember that your adornment is not gold, silver or diamonds, rather, it is two rak’ahs at Fajr, going thirsty when you fast for Allah…”
Title of Book: You Can Be the Happiest Woman In the World
Author: Dr. ‘Aid Al Qarni
Translated by: Huda Al Khattab
Publishers: International Islamic Publishing House
-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)