Photo Courtesy: Ahmed Elmawi

Have you ever had the experience of reading a book till the end, closing it, watching the world move on while you lay there feeling like you just lost a bosom friend?


All views expressed here are my own and do NOT represent the opinion of any entity. I have also NOT received payment of any kind that I’m aware of.

All you are left with is a wistful collection of the writer’s words of wisdom that you obsessively re-read to feel their presence again. You wish you could turn back time just a little, back to the moment you opened the first page. Well, if that hasn’t happened to you yet, let me introduce you to my lost friend The Striving Soul.

We have been inseparable!

When I first got hold of it, something strange caught my attention. Some of the pages were essentially blank apart from a few paragraphs at the top. “Mmm, that’s not very economical.” I thought to myself as I began reading.

I was barely two pages in when, lo and behold I just had a startling realization! The few words at the top were so powerful, so thought-provoking you needed the space to breathe, to contemplate, to let it resonate with your whole being.

I literally had to tear myself away from the book after every few pages. I just couldn’t rush through it, not with the kind of emotions it aroused. I was left feeling both gratified and saddened when I reached the final page.

The author began writing consistently at the young age of 12, started a successful blog lubnah.me.ke at the age of 25 which was nominated by BAKE(Bloggers Association of Kenya) in 2016 among the top 5 creative writing blogs in Kenya, is a part time lecturer and has written two biographies; Unbroken Wings published in 2017 and Dropped to the world, Adopted by Faith published in 2018. I mean, need I say more? ?

The book touches on the struggles we all face albeit to varying degrees such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, shame, the need for recognition, the need to fit in, sexual harassment but in a way that inspires you to rise above the feeling of complete powerlessness and to embrace your true power.

The writer implores you to wear your emotional scars as the ornaments they are and to use them to fuel your success.

The language is simple and easy to comprehend but each word weighs heavily on your heart. I cried, I smiled and I revelled in it’s beauty.

If you are the kind of person who isn’t given to philosophical contemplation in any significant sense then this book is sadly not for you.

Nothing I have said above could honestly do justice to this book, the excerpt below will speak volumes instead:

Everyone thinks they’ve had it worse. Everyone thinks their story is more devastating, more terrifying, more everything. But everyone carries trauma. We’ve all hit rock bottom, we’ve all been pushed to the edge, we’ve all felt shattered we thought we’d never rise again. True, some people have it worse, but we are all on the same ship in unpredictable weather. We could sink any moment and not everyone can swim against the currents. Not everyone survives. -The Striving Soul

It’s a book I would probably never pass on, never lend out but you can contact this number; 0704 731 560 or order via Instagram @strokes.of.my.pen to get your copy for just 1000Ksh. Thank me later.

I repeat for the sake of emphasis, I do NOT stand to benefit from the book’s purchase in any way.

Have you read a book you absolutely adored? Please let me know below. I would love to check it out.


You can read more of her work at: https://kenyanmuslimah.com/

The books are available at the following location:
IOU centre,
Chetna Restaurant, 2nd floor.
Along Haile Sellasie Road (Ahead of Oil Libya petrol station and just before Royal Court hotel)
Contact: 0770 136 463/0770 630 997

In Nairobi, we have some few copies available with Ahmed: 0718 232 852

By: Swaleh Arif

In the name of Allah, The most beneficent, The most Merciful.

One of my great uncles once remarked to an overweight woman that God didn’t like fat people. Needless to say she was reduced to tears. Then she lamented, “But how can that be? He’s the one that made me this way!”. He defended his comment by pointing out that overweight people were generally lazy in worship.1

As cruel as this statement may be, it does hold some truth in it. Imam Ghazali (may Allah have mercy on him) once quoted, “A full stomach fattens the body, hardens the heart, dulls the intellect, and renders man lazy in worship.”2

However, can someone still be obese and appear physically normal at the same time? As much as this world is physical, it is metaphysical as well. It’s unfortunate how most people have solely focused on the material and ignored the immaterial, thereby creating an imbalance that has caused a negative impact on a global scale.

To answer my question, yes it’s possible. This is achieved through what I’d like to call ‘mental obesity’. It’s similar to physical obesity in the sense that it involves the consumption of filth and junk.Once you notice the similarity, it’s easy to draw parallels between the physical and metaphysical aspects of obesity.

As much as I’d like to explore and elaborate these aspects, I’m inclined at the moment to simply explain how people unwittingly (or deliberately) subject themselves to this illness. As I mentioned above, it pertains to the consumption of filthy and unhealthy material. However, I’ll ignore the physical aspect because it’s quite obvious what it’s causes are i.e. junk food, lack of exercise and so forth.

When it comes to mental obesity, it’s a bit tricky to employ a measurement of scale, unlike physical obesity that can be measured by the use of Body Mass Index (BMI), among others. This is because the full negative impact it creates on the mind and soul is often hidden from the naked eye and it’ll take time and keen analysis to actually make an approximate estimation. Nonetheless, identifying the causes of this metaphysical disease is relatively easy.

When we consider the causes, two things come in play: what we see and what we hear. These two senses form the most immediate routes through which information reaches the brain. Never has there been a time when access to information has been made easy, other than this one. And never has there been a time when access to harmful information has been made easy, other than this one. Majority of the world’s population has been exposed to harmful information in the form of films and music that leave little to the imagination, books and magazines that are explicit, video games that perpetrate violence, world leaders that perpetuate hatred and bigotry, the list is endless.

The effect of the aforementioned causes is this: it puts us to sleep, it robs us the ability to think, to focus on the most important things that will make our lives better if we pay attention to them. Mental obesity is a tool designed with the intention of controlling the masses. As I’m writing this, an attack has occurred in the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul just a few days ago where many lives have been lost and many more have been injured.

Yet most, if not all, of us will simply post a facebook status talking about how our thoughts and prayers are with them, and then nada. Our job is done. Congratulations! We’ve succeeded in making this world a better place yay!

But we actually can make this world a better place. We can turn it into the eutopia that we and our forefathers envisioned it to be, not the dystopian wasteland that it’s going to be. We can only do this, however, if we decide to flex our brains and do those mental push ups while consuming healthy metaphysical food.

So stop watching porn, stop watching pointless Tv shows and films that will not move your soul in the right direction. Stop doggedly obsessing over the lives of celebrities who don’t even know you, who set unrealistic standards in your lives to intentionally make you feel miserable.

Instead, read the Quran or any good book that’ll nourish your mind and spirit, consume good information that’ll open up your mind and see the possibilities of a better future, listen to good music, watch empowering lectures.

You’ll change your life for the better and you’ll be able to change the world for the better.

Stop being a zombie.

Start being human.


1. This paragraph was not meant for people suffering from obesity due to circumstances beyond their control. I pray to Allah he brings them relief in this life and the next.

2. Ihya ulum-u-din, book 1; the book of knowledge.