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Shawwal Book Club Recap

Bismillahi ar-rahmani ar-rahim...

Assalamu aleikum waramatulahi wabarakatuhu Dear Readers. We have a lot of books on the roster! Alhamdullilah!

  • With the Heart in Mind

Summary: With the Heart in Mind is an inquiry into the nature of the intellect and how classical Islamic theologians understood the nature and function of the intellect. With the Heart in Mind asks readers to consider an alternative understanding of intelligence in which the primary function of the intellect is to know God and lead others to Him as well.

The author suggests that by studying the Emotional Intelligence of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), we improve the quality of our relationships with the people around us and we, like the Prophet (s.a.w.), can become catalysts for change around us. Emotional Intelligence within the author's model of intelligence is a tool by which the message of God is transferred to humanity. With the Heart in Mind reminds us that "To be loved by people is half of intelligence."

Thoughts: The author gives compelling after compelling facts that Rasool ﷺ was the most intelligent being that ever existed. After all, he ﷺ was sent for all of mankind as a mercy. Shaykh Smith also points out that as a community, we are becoming less and less emotionally intelligent. That being said, we also have to keep a balance with not wanting validation from people. People's opinions of us should not us drive us to sorrow. If it does, we should do our best to rid ourselves of that attachment to their opinions. Only Allah's opinion of us should be at the forefront. In all, we should not violate the rights of others and when we can, we should be an ear for a person in need of wanting to open up to us. We liked many quotes in this book. Masha'Allah.

Rating: 4.5/5

  • Beyond Bilal

Summary: After a widely successful tour across the globe Beyond Bilal: Black History in Islam finds its way to your bookshelf. Beyond Bilal: Black History in Islam is the breakthrough and pioneering lecture by writer, lecturer, and educator Mustafa Briggs. Beyond Bilal explores and uncovers the deep-rooted relationship between Islam and Black History, from Black Prophets and prominent figures in the Qur’an, to the unknown black Sahaba and scholars of the early generations, the history of Islam in Africa, and the legacy of contemporary African Islamic scholarship and its role in the International Relations of the Muslim World. This book also contains Mustafa Briggs other two lectures, Before Malcolm X: History of Islam in the Americas, and Daughters of Fatima: Female Scholarship in the Islamic Tradition. From Oxford to Cambridge, Harvard to Yale, and now to you in book format for the very first time.

Thoughts: Well-researched like the previous book, Beyond Bilal رضي الله عنه gives us many Sahabas' names who were Black. A shocker was Abu Darr having taken some seerah classes where these racial things are not always said clearly. Many other names mentioned in the book were new names we came across alhamdullilah even after reading Centering Black Narrative and Stars in the Prophet's Orbit. We also appreciated the tidbit of history about the Madinka Empire or the Wassoulou Empire. Beyond Bilal is related to the next book --Remarkable Muslim Women--because it also talks about Fatimah al-Fihri. May Allah be pleased with her, aameen.

Beyond Bilal the book makes an ancestral connection between Kunta Kinte and Fatimah al-Fihri as having the same ancestor, a sahaba of the name of Uqba ibn Nafi. Oh Allah, please continue to give us beneficial knowledge, aameen!

The book ends with groundbreaking beautiful Islamic Female Scholarship including West African Women who taught and teach Quran. Hafizas and Qaris just to name a few.

Rating: 4.5/5

  • Remarkable Muslim Women

Thoughts: The book shares the unprecedented achievements of twenty Muslimahs across the ages and the globe. Masha'Allah tabarak'Allah. Fatimah al-Fihri also mentioned in the previous review is also recognized in Remarkable Muslim Women. These brave and inspirational women hail from all the places of the earth we can imagine, Asia, North Africa, East Africa, The West, The East, The Subcontinent, Europe, etc.

Each chapter is punctuated/ends by "book club questions" to engage the reader to reflect more on the lives of these brilliant and selfless women.

Rating: 4.5/5

  • The Last Chance

Summary: Will their secrets last longer than the marriage?

Saafir and Sameerah have a secret. They're married! But they haven't told anyone.

Sameerah's a widow who never thought she would find love again. Especially not with a man eight years her junior. But Saafir is no one's dirty little secret. And their love is nothing to be embarrassed about. If she wants to stay married she needs to get over it.

He needs to know... did she marry him for love or lust? Their marriage means more than that, right? Find out in this short, sweet and swoony Muslim romance novel.

Thoughts: Saafir and Sameerah are very thirsty for one another... Saafir is thirsty and knows he is in love. Sameerah, an accountant, on the other hand, is a widow and a bit older than him so she is not sure if her thirst is mainly guided by lust even though she responds to the authoritative way he flirts with her. The bedroom door is partly open in this story. It's a sweet and good halal romance.

Rating: 4/5

  • The Widower's New Love

Summary: Dr. Raheem Muhammad lost his wife last Ramadan in a car accident. He is left to grieve his wife and raise their only daughter. He misses his wife dearly, and struggles with depression and trying to adjust to being a single parent. Hodan Abdulmalik is a divorcee and raising a daughter alone. She reaches out to assist and be a part of Raheem's support system.

When Raheem's mother-in-law finds Hodan at his home babysitting, she gets furious and with the help of her friend spread rumors around town. Not wanting to be viewed as a bad person in the community, Hodan pulls her support, and stops communicating with Raheem. But he finds that he wants to marry again and has fallen for Hodan. Will the community leave him alone to move on with his life or will they try to prevent him?

Thoughts: Hodan is realistic even when hurt. She has no claim to Dr. Raheem Muhammad. However, the tidbit of emotion she can't manage to hide tips the balance in her favor. What a lovely surprise at the masjid at the end. To end, the bedroom door is completely shut in this story. That said, in the book we learn a bit of culture and halal courtship many adherents of our faith abide to. Kuddos to them all. The secrecy and respecting the limits of Allah is still exciting and swoony.

Rating: 4/5

  • The Ex-Wife

Summary: Zaynab flees a dysfunctional marriage, saving herself from an emotional breakdown. After two years of therapy overseas, she returns to reconnect with the son she left behind. She is not interested in remarrying, but then a sexy firefighter pulls her from a car wreck and catches her interest.

Xander moved to town for his new job at the fire department. He thrives at his new job but struggles for acceptance in the local Muslim community. When he pulls Zaynab from a wreck, he’s just doing his job. Soon, sparks fly between them.

As soon as sparks ignite between Zaynab and Xander, family and community threaten to snuff out their kindling desire.

The Ex-Wife is a heart-warming novella with light steam between two characters with the hots for each other!

Thoughts: The Ex-Wife is part 2 of The Groom by the same author--L.Williams. It's the story that happens two years after Zaynab leaves Mansoor; the protagonist of Ramadan Nights Season One's book The Groom. The latter won a reader's choice award. Check it out insha'Allah!

To continue, both stories--Book 1 & 2-- are very sultry and fulfilling. The bedroom doors are wide opened, and it's done tastefully.

Rating: 4.5

  • The Serendipity

♥What is meant to be, will find a way♥

Khalid Ghaniem believes that there is only one way to do things, and that’s his way. He didn’t become a multi-millionaire property developer by chance. Khalid’s whole life runs like a well oiled machine, except he has one problem, his rebellious parents who refuse to do things his way.

Step in Bisma Chaudry, the care-taker his parents have hired to replace the strict no nonsense one Khalid had previously hired for them. Bisma also happens to be the purple haired, rebellious girl who annoyed Khalid in college. He thinks she is bad news for his parents but Bisma is no pushover. And Khalid might've just met his match.

Can Khalid and Bisma put aside their differences and keep the peace for his parent’s sake? Or could this second chance meeting turn into love for the sworn enemies?

★Only time will tell...★

◆In this second installment of the Ramadan night series, BF Queen, returns with a sweet romance about how second encounters could change your destiny.◆

Thoughts: Bisma and Khalid are the epitome of enemies to lovers type of deal. Both are constantly fighting a jihad of the nafs along failing miserably at lowering their gazes. Red is not only the color of love. Purple also is. In round 2 of the Ramadan Nights, Author BF Queen closed the bedroom door in our faces perhaps due to Ramadan... But all hope is not lost. Her other book "Mediocre" busts it up wide open again. Hey, it's still halal... no outside marriage hookups allowed here *laughs*. Overall, the writing is also done with a lot of thought, care, and taste.

Rating: 4/5

  • Friends Forever

Summary: Love is in the air!

—along with anxiety, obstruction, and uncertainty.

Irwin Abernathy is a walking, breathing, emotional wreck, and his chosen family isn’t faring much better. Harper and Christopher’s wedding is only days away, and the wedding gift Irwin tried to finagle falls through. His late friend’s house next door now has new mystery owners, and even Bones, Irwin’s insufferable cat, is acting like a lovesick jerk. It’s a mess.

... Forever Friends, by Sahar Abdulaziz, is the heartwarming finale in The Abernathy & Crane Series. It is a story about the unending pursuit of love, the power of friendship, and the amount of trust and selflessness needed when giving everything might mean having nothing left.

Thoughts: Bookish and a social commentary tome, Book 4 in the Abernathy & Crane Series, is a good read which ends typical of Irwin's luck with dung of all types...*sighs* He should have no issues with children's dung if there was a fifth book in the series. *laughs* We also have new characters added to the odd-bunch and colorful cast. Overall, a cozy book with Cornelia still blindsiding Irwin with her curveballs surprises from the grave.

Rating: 4.5/5

  • Mediocre

Summary: ★She’s never had the big O, and he has no clue. ★

Owaib mistakenly comes across a sex quiz his wife Aleena has filled out in a magazine. He is shocked to discover that his sex game falls way short of her expectations, and that he hasn’t managed to satisfy his wife in five years.

With a busted ego and a shredded heart...

Could this be the breaking point for the couple with the perfect couple persona? Or can Owaib up his game and learn to rock Aleena’s world?

Thoughts: Owaib is emotionally intelligent and goes above and beyond the big shoes he was supposed to fill in his marriage. And he succeeds beautifully. Aleena's patience pays off. They work together and invite us in their bedroom to help others who are also struggling catch a glimpse and correct their problems.

Rating: 4.5

  • The Chronicles of Deosai

Summary: Egyptian Prince Saif-ul-Malook dreams of a fairy on a mirroring lake and his longing to marry her leads him on an exhausting journey. His heart sinks as he learns about Badr Jamal's master...Usama's life flips upside down after losing his father... Tayyaba Amir, with a master of Mathematics, has used her Pakistan roots to write an exciting, breathtaking and inspirational story of adventure in Deosai in Pakistan. A unique twist on the well-known folktale turns the fantasy into reality for book lovers...

Thoughts: Filled with mystical creatures, brave humans, Walnut the giant, etc. The Chronicles of Deosai is a smart and intriguing speculative fiction and nonfiction read. It's the ultimate battle of good against evil. We have the strong attestation of faith for the believers in the story while the opposite for Jax and Fairy Queen Zamarrud who is very reminiscent of Medusa despite her beauty. Magic is no match against the will of the people when they decide to claim their rights and stand for themselves.

Rating: 4/5.

Our Usual Book Club Questions Are: 1. What did you like most? 2. What gave you pause? 3. What didn't you like? 4. What are your other thoughts? 5. What question (s) do you have for the author(s)? 6. What questions about the book(s) do you have for the moderator or other members of the discussion(s)? Thank you for tuning in and reading. Dear Readers & Members, see you in Dhul Qadah 1443 AH insha'Allah. We look forward to hearing from you. G E T I N T O U C H ! FOFKY'S Books, Teas & Coffees Until next time, subhanaka Allahumma wa-bihamdika ash-hadu anla ilaha illa anta as-taghfiruka wa atoobu ilayka. (O Allah, You are free from every imperfection; praise be to You. I testify that there is no true god except You; I ask Your Pardon and turn to You in repentance.) Aameen. Masalam, The Fofky's Book Club

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