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Reader Spotlight: Ameera Begum

Reader Spotlight: Ameera Begum

Reader Spotlight is a series in which we pose four questions to some of Wardah's top readers. These are their answers:

Could you introduce yourself?

I am Ameera Aslam and have been going to Wardah Books for 14 years and counting! #WardahFanGirl I grew up as a bookworm, then lost my way a little bit, and am now back to reading regularly again alhamdulillah!

I am 33, an "Islam nerd", a content creator for the Muslim crowdfunding website LaunchGood, and published my debut poetry book last year. (Yes, it's available at Wardah!)

What motivates you to read regularly?

I am naturally curious and find the most joy when I learn something new. There's so much about the world and its people that I don't understand, reading non-fiction helps me understand a little bit better.

I feel that reading poetry keeps me soft and encourages me to pay attention to things we don't normally pay attention to. Reading fiction helps me inhabit a character's world and increases my empathy and experiences for lives that are nothing like mine. All these things are motivation enough for me to keep reading.

Ameera's #Bookshelfie

Do you have a specific reading method?

As mentioned before, fiction, non-fiction and poetry are all important to me but if I don't make sure to include them in my reading habits, I end up reading non-fiction the most. This wasn't the case when I was younger and fiction books were my go-to!

So one method is keeping track of my reading and including fiction and poetry as much as I can. Carrying a book (or my Kindle!) everywhere I go really helped me get my reading habit back on track so that I can read during solo meals and especially while commuting. It all adds up!

Social media is a real time drain and most of the time, makes me feel emotionally spent too. For that 5 or 50 minutes I read instead of scroll, I am significantly happier and mentally fresher.

Recently, joining Wardah's Book Club have also helped me to finish books that I was taking too long to finish, or that weren't "easy" books. Knowing there's someone I can ask questions to post-reading helped motivate me to finish them.

Amongst all the books you've read, what are 3 titles you find yourself recommending to others all the time, and why?

Oh man 3 is so hard! I always recommend Katherine Boo's "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" because it is one of the most gorgeous pieces of writing ever. It's not fiction but "immersive journalism" or "narrative non-fiction". It really sticks with you.

Imam al-Tirmidhi’s Al-Shama’il al-Muhammadiya translated by Shaykh Abdul Aziz Suraqah and Shaykh Mohammed Aslam is another one. I think this is a must-have in every Muslim's household! The book itself is so utterly beautifully designed, and the content is about the most beautiful human being to ever walk this Earth. Easy pick!

I always talk about how Imam Al-Ghazali's Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife changed my life forever when I read it as a 17-year-old but I'm not sure I recommend it though! Haha. I mean, it shouldn't be your introduction to Imam Ghazali ideally. If you feel like your life needs a big jolt, then this book will do it. But otherwise, I recommend Beginning of Guidance for a gentler nudge to a better life. Hehe.

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