My name is Asmaa Hussein. I am an author and a registered social worker, having graduated with a Master of Social Work in 2010. I’m the proud mother of a seriously rambunctious 4-year-old, Ruqaya. We live in Toronto.
When my husband was killed in Egypt in August 2013, our daughter was only 9 months old. I was suddenly left with two heavy responsibilities: coping with the devastating loss of my partner, and raising our daughter alone.
I have written many words about my experiences and emotions coping with my loss and this huge trust of single-parenthood that had been thrust upon me. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to raise her as I had once hoped. I had been relying on my husband to teach Ruqaya all the things that I wasn’t very good at. I wanted him to teach her Arabic, to teach her to be courageous, to teach her how to swim and ride a bike…
I was emotionally and physically drained, with the weight of the world seemingly resting on my shoulders.
Over time and as God continuously helped me regain my strength after having gone through this difficult trial, I began searching for resources on how to raise a Muslim child on my own. While I did find a handful of beneficial resources, I had a hard time gathering them all holistically in a way that made sense to my life and my circumstances. I was also unimpressed with many Islamic resources for children. I couldn’t find many books that were interesting, well-written and well-illustrated (there are, of course, some wonderful exceptions to this).
As I struggled to find good quality Islamic books for my daughter (who is obsessed with books of all kinds), and easily-accessible parenting information for my specific parental circumstances, I came to the conclusion that I would have to take matters into my own hands. I would research and learn everything that I could to make me a better mother. I would not accept the narrative crafted by the negative voice in my head telling me my path would be rife with weakness and deficiency.
And so this is Ruqaya’s (digital) Bookshelf. It houses the letters from me that I wish for her to read as she grows older. It is home to everything I’m learning on this rocky and enlightening journey of single-parenthood. It also houses exceptional children’s books on the store page for Ruqaya and other kids to enjoy.
Pull up a chair and thumb through this bookshelf. Take from it what is good, and leave what is deficient to collect dust.