Title: Big Little Steps: A Woman’s Guide to Finding a Balanced Lifestyle and a Glowing Heart in Islam
Author: Mathilde Loujayne
Publisher: The Dreamwork Collective
Source: I received a hard copy from the author in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.
What are Muslim women’s rights? What do modesty, humbleness and fashion have in common? What is halal food?This book is designed to empower women with Islamic values. You are given the tools to become the best version of yourself, as you enter a universal family beyond borders, called the Ummah. Welcome, sister!
“Finding peace will bring solace to your heart. Every person comes with their own nature – change your bad habits but keep the good ones! You will stay ‘you’; you will simply benefit from the process as you make positive changes to your way of thinking. Think of it like adding more sprinkles to the top of the cupcake!”
– Big Little Steps, Mathilde Loujayne
I. Love. This. Book.
This should say it all, but no, I am not going to leave it at that 😛 I am so glad I took my time to read and review this book, because I believe in order to soak in the goodness of Big Little Steps, you need to read it slowly and let it sink in.
Big Little Steps is a little handbook for Muslimahs (or those interested in Islam) on taking the big steps in their life. Big Little Steps is all about love for Islam from Muslimahs in all walks of life, and the feeling of belonging to the ummah, regardless of the level of faith one has. The author has sectioned the book into five parts – Faith, A Way of Life, Womankind, Prayer, and Togetherness.
- Faith talks about Allah, Qur’an, and the religion of Islam.
- A Way of Life depicts how simple acts such as eating, fasting, praying, self-care, and animal welfare is not only mundane living, but also a way of life according to Islam which can be turned into acts of worship.
- Womankind takes the reader from the creation of woman, to the stories of impactful women of Islam, to woman’s rights, and to the role of women in Muslim society. This chapter also has stories of modern-day Muslim women from across the globe – all having Islam as the binding factor.
- Prayer has a separate chapter of its own, covering topics such as ablution, menstruation, istikharah, women visiting masjid, the call to prayer, and prayers on special occasions.
- Togetherness is connecting with the ummah, where the author portrays the fact that we are all connected with each other, and thus must be there for one another, be it in times of festivities, or in times of death.
What I love about the book:
- The author shows the reader the beauty of Islam, its origin, its practicality in our lives, and its impact in a Muslim’s life.
- The writing style is friendly, warm, informal, and humorous at times.
- It has a nice flow to it, and though the author writes like she is speaking to the reader, it doesn’t disrupt the flow.
- The author has included motivating, inspiring, and encouraging quotes from people, mostly women, from all walks of life.
- The book has a personal touch with bits-and-pieces of the author’s life experiences and thoughts.
- The inclusion of watercolour works done by the author’s mother shows the level of respect and closeness the author has with her mother.
- The wide margin on all the pages gives the reader enough space to note down her thoughts, insights, and any other points that needs to be written.
Issues of concern that I had with the book:
- Certain practices, contexts, and concepts were not authentic. The references traced to either the Shia sect, the Fatimid sect, or the Sufi sect. Islam is not based only on ‘There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah’ – Islam is much more than this first part of the Testament.
- A specific point I want to mention is that female circumcision is mentioned as haram in the book. In reality, female circumcision is halal, what is haram is to go over the limit such that it becomes genital mutilation. Read this for more information on female circumcision.
I hope these issues have been tackled in the second edition published by Kube Publishing.
Ultimately, we are all in our own journey of learning, growing, and practicing the deen as per the Sunnah in order to Please Allah. Only Allah alone sees our true intention and our actions. And He alone is The Judge. Whatever judgement people have over us, is of no value. And whatever judgement we have of others, is only a waste of time and our energy.
Overall, I would recommend this book to those who are interested about Islam or want to practice Islam. This would, insha Allah, bring up their spirituality, and with Allah’s Guidance they would be guided aright.
May Allah guide us all to the Right Path and keep us steadfast in it. Aameen.
Have you read Big Little Steps? I would love to know your thoughts on it.
This post is in collaboration with a few other bloggers:
1. Visit Muslim Mummy’s blog for her book review on Imagine by Shoohada Khanom.
2. Visit Let’s Learn Mama’s blog for her book review on Calmer, Easier, Happier books by Noel Janis Norton.