A Celebration of Muslim Authors via the 2020 Ramadan Readathon

Ramadan is my favourite month in the year. Ever since I was a child, it has been a source of immense comfort and hope. Throughout the month as I join my family and fellow Muslims in fasting, I am able to reflect on a myriad of things that help me find significant gratitude within my life, even if things feel quite hopeless and bleak. Through reflection, selflessness, and compassion, I am able to keep my mental and emotional health grounded, along with my faith in the belief that life shall not always be this dark and frightful.

A few years ago, a brilliant Muslim book blogger named Nadia, created an absolutely lovely readathon event to accompany this marvellous holiday season. It quickly became my favourite readathon and it is one that I always anticipate with great glee! Because the world is in a state of intense uncertainty, astonishing political strife, and massive fear, Ramadan and the Ramadan Readathon could not have arrived at a more pressing time; during a period where we all could use some hope and kindness, as well as a reminder that we are far stronger within ourselves than we may feel in the moment.

For people who might not be familiar with this Islamic holiday, Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. During this holy month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and focus on self-reflection and self-control, selflessness, charity, compassion, and togetherness. along with participating in our daily salat, or daily prayers. Ramadan is then superseded by the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which is a celebration marking the end of this month. It is typically celebrated for three days in most Muslim countries, however, growing up in the United States only allowed us to celebrate for one day. So, the celebratory aspect is something that usually varies from country-to-country.

The Ramadan Readathon, originally created in 2017 by Nadia from Headscarves and Hardbacks, is a month-long celebration of Muslim authors during this holiest time of year that is held in conjunction with Ramadan. If you would like to show your support of fellow Muslims, please join us in the readathon, or spread the word so others can learn more about this event and the brilliant Muslim authors that we want to uplift and commemorate. Visit the links down below for more information and recommendations on books by Muslim writers.

Every year, I tend to gather a decent stack of books authored by fellow Muslims and Muslimas and read from that pile. However, this year when I collected all of my Muslim books together, I discovered that I finally had enough for a whole bookshelf. In fact, I had to order a second bookshelf a few days ago due to the sheer size of this collection. My heart felt incredibly warm and comforted by this. When I was a child, I never dreamt that this kind of representation of my faith and cultures would exist. To see it not only exist, but to thrive so beautifully is like a dream come true.

A colourful shelf of #OwnVoices Muslim stories!

Now, since there is such a vast array of titles to choose from, I had the most difficult time picking out a mere handful. So, this year for the Ramadan Readathon, I created a TBR goblet (courtesy of Darth Vader). I tossed in tiny strips of yellow paper with titles of all the Muslim literature that I own. Whenever I finish a book, I shall randomly pluck out my next read from this goblet, and thus conduct my reading theatrics as such. I think this is a fun, creative way to do Ramadan Readathon this year. What say you? If this works out well, I may incorporate it for most, if not all, of my future bibliophilic high jinks.

Once again, if you are interested in learning more about the Ramadan Readathon, please visit the links above, or check out Nadia’s blog here. This year it shall run from April 23rd to May 23rd. Throughout these four weeks, I shall be sharing plenty of content on Islamic books, including a tour of my own collection, so keep an eye out for those as well!