Title: Reclaim Your Heart
Author: Yasmin Mogahed
Rating: ⭐️ DNF
This is a hugely unpopular opinion, but I found this book to be such a disappointment. Despite being a short 182 pages in length, I was unable to finish reading this. Whilst I understand that there is clearly an audience for a book like this, I think without all the drawbacks and shortcomings it has that prevented me from finishing it – it would be a much better and beneficial read. I think it gives a taste of something good, but does not follow through, and could have been so much more meaningful and long-lasting in my opinion.
The premise of this book is wonderful – it is so valuable and important for us to continually cleanse and replenish our hearts and restore our imaan and relationship with Allah (swt), and with all the raving reviews this book has, I was very much looking forward to reading and benefiting from it. Unfortunately, unlike the deep and insightful book I was expecting, this book can be summed in a sentence: we, as human beings, are not created for this world, and in contrary to the temporary love of this dunya, we should abandon it solely for the love of Allah (swt) – whose love, as the creator of all beings – is far superior. This very repetitive message takes up the entirety of the book and does not go beyond this.
I thought I would like this book because I think it is important for us to talk about our spiritual state, especially in regards to our heart and relationship with Allah (swt). But this book needed to have had more to it than simply this message, which is unoriginal and has been talked about by many, many scholars in the past.
Mogahed says that we must detach ourselves from the world (with an emphasis on people, as she admits this was a personal struggle for herself), but I would argue that this is not an entirely correct stance to have. I don’t think it’s correct to say that we must detach ourselves from everything in this dunya to love Allah (swt) over everything else. There are so many ways that you can worship Allah (swt) and increase your love for Him (swt) over everything else through engaging with this world – personal ibaadat (such as praying, fasting, giving charity) is only one aspect of Islam – for example, there’s also dawah, conveying the message of Islam, which also has a tremendous amount of reward in it. I do not believe detaching ourselves from the world is the best way to love Allah (swt) over everything else, rather, through our interaction with the world we can also increase our imaan and tawakkul in him.
This book is abstract in sentiment, as whilst continually stating that we must detach from the world, Mogahed does not provide any further explanation or practical steps in order to achieve this. The chapters are written independently and do not seem to link together, which made it feel like a somewhat disjointed read. Despite “personal insights” being in the title, there were not many personal experiences to give the concepts used to life, which made it a dry read. Perhaps it is also the poetic prose that left so many readers enraptured, but I found the endless extended metaphors to be abstract without any personal experiences or examples given. The extended metaphors are used to the point where it is exhaustive, especially in regards to the metaphor of a water and boat.
Have you read this book? Do you agree/disagree with my thoughts?