Reclaim Your Heart
Personal Insights on Breaking Free From Life’s Shackles
Published by FB Publishing
645 Camino De Los Mares
San Clemente, CA, 92673
Anybody reading Yasmin’s Book “Reclaim Your Heart” feels it’s their own autobiography. It’s the same situations we all go through in our lives when we lose focus about our purpose of life on this earth. It’s simple if we open our hearts to God, just letting God take care of us, rather than going deeper into the messy muddle of the world.
Reviewed by Nigar Ataulla
Slow as a snail as a reader of any book, for me, a book first of all has to be slim, contents, to be short and sweet and language simple. One can read a book for an academic review purpose for various journals, or just for pleasure, or to acquire wise insights.
Sometimes some books arrive on your table just at the right time as if some genie has flown on a magic carpet from a distant land of fairies and pixies with a special message for you. “Reclaim Your Heart” by Yasmin Mogahed was just the book which landed on my table at the right time”¦. A time when I was in a sort of mental confusion about how to handle people and situations. It happens with all people as humans, we get muddled in our minds about the purpose of life.
Yasmin Mogahed’s book, “Reclaim Your Heart” is one of the few books which I read with immense patience and pleasure. It is not just a self-help book, but a manual about the journey of the heart, in and out of the ocean of this life. It is a book about how to keep your heart from sinking to the depths of that ocean and what to do when it does. It is a book about redemption, about hope, about renewal. Every heart can heal and each moment is created to bring us closer to that transformative return. “Reclaim Your Heart” is about finding that moment when everything stops and suddenly looks different. It is about finding your own awakening. And then returning to the better, truer and freer version of yourself.
The book is written in first person account by Yasmin Mogahed who received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and her Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After completing her graduate work, she taught Islamic Studies and worked as a writing instructor for Cardinal Stritch University, and a staff columnist for the Islam section of Infocus News. Currently, she is an international speaker and a writer for the Huffington Post, as well as an instructor for New Dawn Institute. She also hosts Serenity, her show on One Legacy Radio and maintains her website,yasminmogahed.com.
I liked Yasmin’s style of starting the book on an autobiographical tone narrating her experience as a 17 year old. She quotes: “When I was 17 years old, I had a dream. I dreamt that I was sitting inside a masjid and a little girl walked up to ask me a question”. She asked me, “why do people have to leave each other?” “The question was a personal one, but it seemed clear to me why the question was chosen for me. I was the one to get attached. Ever since, I was a child, this temperament was clear. While other children in preschool could easily recover once their parents left, I could not. People, places, events, photographs, moments-even outcomes became objects of strong attachment,” narrates Yasmin in the very first chapter in the book.
Yasmin’s book talks to everybody because at some point in time, we all go through hurts, anger, fear, confusion, depression, pain and loss. And most often, it happens that at times like these, when we feel life has been unjust to us or we feel down in the dumps, we think we can rely on our own strength to handle these difficult situations. Some of us forget God, in our emotional turmoils, we really go blank and have no idea where to turn to, or whom to confide in, with our issues. So muddled are we that we hardly realize that it takes just our heart and minds to turn to God, Allah, the Almighty, the Merciful, the Helper!
Yasmin has beautifully illustrated it in the touching chapter: ” The Only Shelter in the Storm.” She says: ” Its never easy to stand when the storm hits. As soon as it starts raining, lightening shortly follows. Dark clouds replace the sun and all you can see are the waves of an ocean, once calm, surrounding you. No longer able to find your way, you reach out for help. You begin by calling the coast guard. No reply. You try again to redirect the boat, no use. You look for the lifeboat. It’s gone. You reach for a life jacket. Torn! Finally after you have exhausted every means, you turn your face upwards. And ask God! However, there is something completely unique about this moment. At this instant, you experience something you otherwise could only theorize about: “true tauheed”. Oneness. See, on shore, you may have called on God. But you called on Him along with so many others. You may have depended on God. But you depended on Him along with so many other handholds. But for this singular moment, everything else is closed. Everything. There is nothing left to call on. Nothing left to depend on. But Him. And that’s the point”.
Focusing in later chapters on the relationship with the Creator, women’s status and about moderation in lifestyle and every aspect of life, Yasmin has brought in positive conclusions in the book with her soulful poetry and also throwing light on the very ultimate truth that we all have to face”¦ death and God!
Don’t we all love to look at the early morning sun shining on the trees and feel the stillness? That’s what Yasmin talks about in her very touching conclusion.
” The sun is so beautiful in the early morning. It does something to the trees that you don’t see any other time of the day. I think we all want the same thing. A quiet peace. May be just even a single moment of it, to close our eyes and just be okay. For even a single second, to not feel worried about something, sad about something. To not crave something we don’t or can’t have. Just to be there, okay. Still. Silent. On the inside. Maybe that’s what’s so beautiful about this time of the day. The stillness. And the hope that this day will be different.
Simple, straightforward and talking to the heart, Yasmin’s book “Reclaim Your Heart” sets you thinking about your own lives, the muddles and puddles we are into and how we need to set ourselves free from the shackles of the world and seek refuge in God Almighty and depend only on Him for help and guidance for all our needs, deeds, problems and worries.