Dear Reader, We asked readers to vote and you have responded.
The Wardah Books Readers' Choice 2022 is Healing the Emptiness: A Guide to Emotional and Spiritual Well-being by Yasmin Mogahed. The choice is well-deserved and is quite apt for our time as we take our tentative steps in a post-Covid world.
Yasmin Mogahed's last major work was Reclaim Your Heart, published in 2012. A decade on, Healing the Emptiness takes on similar themes but with an added sure-footedness in the author's writing. Her ideas are crisp and practical, and are clearly formulated, drawing from a wealth of Islamic learning and experience not only in deep personal growth but in her work helping countless others face their own issues and brokenness.
The book emphasises the importance of identifying and understanding pain and suffering with the vocabulary that our religion provides so that we may more readily access the solutions found in our tradition. That said, her formulations of these solutions are framed for the contemporary reader with references to psychological and spiritual 'first aid kits' and 'soul food'.
The book rounds off with a call to return to God, to turn away from what distracts us from the path, to shift focus away from our selves, to cling to repentance, to prayer, dzikr, and to the Quran. For this is the purpose of our brokenness: to mobilise all our faculties in order to return to God. This is how we heal, and this is the way home. May Allah grant us all tawfiq.
This book (Healing the Emptiness) was a companion to me. I work in a mental health organisation and I have lived experience with healing from a mental health condition, so the vocabulary of mental wellness, recovery, healing is familiar to me.
However, this book filled a gap for me because it connected these concepts to our Islamic faith, the journeys the Prophets took and made it real and relatable. I felt affirmed and heard. I received encouragement and advice. I loved the book and I bought a copy for a loved one too.
I voted for this book because: This book reveals something in me that needed to be addressed, rectify & change to better the self. It also teaches me how to put my trials in life into perspectives. This book teaches the hows. Masya Allah.
I’d thought this paragraph is very reassuring…The purpose of trials. “Tribulations reveals what’s inside. Observe yourself when you are tested. What you see is what’s hidden inside. Why does Allah bring it out? It is out of mercy that Allah reveals what is hidden, first to ourselves. He reveals it so that it can be cured.
What can our trial tell us about ourselves and those around us? The Quran teaches us that we are given tests “so that Allah would reveal what is in your chests and purify that which is deep in your heart” (Quran 3:154)
We must ask: what has this trial revealed about me? How strong was my spiritual immune system? That’s exactly what Allah does through balaa’ (hardships/tests). He reveals us. To ourselves, first. But He also reveals us to others.”“And that Allah may purify the believers (through trials) and destroy the believers.” (Quran 3:141)
Click here to see all of Yasmin Mogahed's books.