As we come to the end of yet another year, I hope you were able to fulfil your goals and have set new ones for the coming year. I’m hoping to make next year bigger and better when it comes to my books, but of course only with the will of Allah. I’ve learnt with the Pandemic and life experiences, no matter how much you plan, Allah’s plan overrides all. He knows what’s best for you and why it’s best for you and we submit to His decisions.
Despite all the draw backs and the changes of plans, I was able to have a pretty amazing year with my book writing journey. I hope it sparks hope in your desire to write more and fulfil your dreams.
As you all know, I’m primarily a non-fiction book writer and I enjoy writing about real life events, often it’s my outlet of expressing what I want to say and a way to educate others, mainly in what Islam says about specific topics. However, in the last few years, I’ve made the effort to explore fiction writing, I’ve carried out a number of fiction writing courses online as well as practiced on my own to write novels with real characters.
It’s been a whole new world for me as its allowed me to enter a different creative side, which I never thought I had. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing stories, which I have lost myself in, brought about emotions which I’ve never experienced and made my editors, proofreaders and readers cry and want more. My novels are still primarily focused on God and where my first novel educates its readers about Islam, my second novel continuously allows its reader to remain God conscious.
My very first novel ‘There’s no compromise’ was ready to be launched just before lock-down, all the details of the launch were ready, from printing the books, venue, food, guest, entertainment and the speeches. But the week of my book launch, we went into a national lock-down and although I was devastated and my guests left disappointed, I accepted that Allah had better plans for me.
The lock-down opened up so many doors for me, which I never imagined were available, let alone possible and so I made the best out of what was to come.
I started the very first day of the year 2021 with my very first virtual book tour, where I was able to showcase my new novel ‘There’s no compromise’ alongside some amazing books by new time authors and much experienced ones too. The virtual book tour is available on YouTube to view.
There’s no compromise was nominated for the TCK publishing reader’s choice award for the young adult and middle grade category and was voted in 3rd place. This took me by surprise, because I never expected such a response. Alongside my book, there was some amazing stories, by some well known authors.
During the Pandemic, I continued to write, and in collaboration with the Muslimah Sports Association Positive Minds group, we created a self-heal book. ‘The Shining Rays of Sisterhood’ is a compilation of short pieces of writing by women in the group to promote sisterhood. The book was launched virtually and the book launch is available to watch on YouTube.
Alongside this book, I was documenting the lessons learnt and the experience of the Pandemic and during lock-down I experienced the most beautiful Ramadan of my life where I was able to fulfill my spiritual desires beyond my imagination. In 2021 my book ‘A Ramadan in Lockdown 2020 was ready to be launched, just in time for another Ramadan.
‘A Ramadan in Lockdown 2020’ was introduced to the public in March 2021 through a World Book Day launch. Since then, the book has been granted Public Lending Rights by the British Library and is available to loan out by the public.
I started working on my second fiction book and I’m hoping the editing and proofreading will be completed by the end of this year, ready to be published and launched. I’m so excited to launch this book as I’m really looking forward to hosting another book launch. I already have a rough speech in mind and I am already imagining the table displays of my books.
What makes this book different is the style of my writing and I’m hoping it will exceed my readers expectations. It’s based on real life narratives of those we try to help and assist through the Al-Hajj Abdul Matin Welfare Trust, to which I am a co-founder. It’s a charity organisation which helps the poor and needy of Bangladesh.
The Al-Hajj Abdul Matin Welfare Trust was established in 2008 and has helped the poor and needy with shelter, food, clean water, livelihood, clothes and marriage. We hope to expand our charity and work towards building and running an orphanage, along side the work which is already carried out. With the will of Allah, we hope that we are able to fulfil our vision.
Whilst waiting for my second novel to be edited and proofread, I finally had the chance to write a short fiction story on my father. I had been thinking about it for a while now and so I decided since it will be the fifth year of his death anniversary, I felt I ought to honor his life. My father’s life was full of sacrifice, struggles and compromise, but he lived a full life and achieved beyond his dreams. The story is short and is available on my blog, but one day, if I feel I can do justice to his life, I may write a long novel. The short story had an amazing response, making my siblings become teary and my readers keen to know more about my father. I was overwhelmed with the responses of this short story.
Please find the link below for the short story on my father.
‘My Hajj Journal 2019’ was nominated for the MSA bookclub this year too, it won the votes to be read at the online club and I felt extremely privileged that the bookclub which I am part of, studied, discussed and gave feedback on my book. I was able to discuss my book and answer any questions my readers had. The response was heart-warming and as I intended with my books, it benefited my readers and sparked the light for them wanting to visit or revisit the House of Allah.
The picture below shows ‘My Hajj Journal 2019’ amongst the other books we read in the MSA bookclub.
Having written 8 books now and carried out a number of book writing courses, I felt I had a treasure box full of knowledge, which I wanted to share with others. I had learnt through trial and error as well as the advice of experts how to develop a book and use the best utilities available to get the book out in public. I decided to pre-record some courses on book writing and share it with the public. The courses were so popular and even attracted children. Hundreds of people enrolled on the courses within just a few months and the feedback I got from them made me think how I could develop these courses further to help others.
The Muslimah Sports Association Positive Mind group carried out well-being courses and asked me to carry out live zoom classes on book writing. Through this six week course I was able to help women develop ideas and use techniques to create the story they had always dreamt of.
From this six week course, I developed a book writing course for children, many children enrolled in the 4 week course and beautiful stories were created, certificates were issued and prizes for the best book were handed out. The live zoom lessons gave me the confidence to teach people about something I am passionate about.
Through these courses, I was able to edit and proofread some amazing stories, which I have been encouraging the writers to pursue and develop books. My motto for this project is; ‘I want to see libraries and book shops full of more books by Muslim writers with Islamic teachings.’
My cook book is slowly developing as I continue to add recipes, tips and pictures, its a book, initially for my children as I want to capture all their favourite dishes and all my homemade recipes for them to use when they want. The cook book is going to be full of mainly Bangladeshi dishes and a few fusion ones too. This cook book will probably take a few more years to develop as I want to also add tips , nutritional information and some real life pictures, but don’t be surprised, if it comes out earlier.
And finally, I want to tell you about another idea I have for a book, which I have started doing research on. It’s a topic, I have been contemplating on writing about for a few years now, but it wasn’t until recently, with great thought that I felt the need to write it now. Although I am not an expert in the field, or have perfected it myself in anyway, with such a high rise in broken marriages, I felt it was time to compliment other writers on the topic of marriage, from an Islamic perspective. It’s firstly a reminder to myself and then to others, so I hope and pray like my other books, it is of benefit to my readers and I can do justice to a highly sensitive, but honoured topic.
Do continue to follow me on my social media accounts of any upcoming events which I may take part in and any opportunities for you to start or continue your writing journey.
Check out my facebook page, Author Rahima Islam
Follow my Instagram page author_rahima_islam
And subscribe to my YouTube channel Author: Rahima Islam
I wish you a peaceful end of year and an exciting start to the new.