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Islamic insights

Book by A Helwa unveils the soulful journey into faith

There was a quote I stumbled upon on social media a while back that went along the lines of “even Muslims born into Islam go through their own ‘reversion’ to the religion”, and I felt this true for a lot of us, especially when you were born into a family that wasn’t strictly religious.

Exposure to religious teachings back in the 90s for most growing up was limited to what was learned in religious school – in the case of my family anyway.

My parents and extended family members gradually found their own paths in Islam, educating themselves on their own, sometimes blurting out random Islamic facts they’ve learnt.

Admittedly, through my own human imperfections, my journey with Allah the Almighty was sadly on and off.

There was a tendency of forgetfulness, ungratefulness and such. Just like anybody else. But I’ve always felt the beauty of Islam and the power of prayer and dua.

Sometime late last year, out of pure curiosity and in dire need of guidance, I stumbled upon and began reading a book titled Secrets of Divine Love: A Spiritual Journey into the Heart of Islam by A Helwa.

Yes, it has taken me quite a while to finish it. I felt that the knowledge held within the book needed to be read when you’re within a certain mind frame to really take in the information with ikhlas, but I do see it as a “quick guide to Islam for dummies” aka me.

It was written in a medium that is easily understood for me.

Questions I always had since learning things in religious schooling were answered. That, and the fact that there were many references to better understand any point A Helwa tries to convey in her book.

The book cover for ‘Secrets of Divine Love: A Spiritual Journey into the Heart of Islam’ by A Helwa. PHOTO: NAULIT PUBLISHING HOUSE

About the author

Based in South California, A Helwa is a poet and writer who has triumphed over faith-related struggles to become an inspirational figure, reaching hundreds of thousands through her renowned blog @quranquotesdaily.

Armed with a Masters in Divinity in Islamic spirituality and boasting 15 years of expertise in writing and speaking on Islam, she draws from personal experiences and extensive religious research to guide readers towards discovering “divine love in everyday life”.

Having travelled the globe and delved into Islamic spirituality, Helwa now imparts spiritual insights gleaned from her mentors across diverse regions, including Palestine, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, United Arab Emirates, West Africa, Algeria, America, Canada, Vietnam, Nepal, and beyond.

 

Secrets of Divine Love

The book offers readers a profound exploration of Islamic mysticism and philosophy, aiming to provide insights into the transformative power of love in the context of Islamic spirituality.

Within the book, there are 13 different chapters beginning with Allah: The Origin of Love, followed by Who Are You?, The Mysterious World of the Qur’an, The Spiritual Dimensions of Islam, Tawba: Repent and Return to Unity, Shahadah: The Ecstasy of Oneness, Salat: How to Tune into Divine Love, Zakat: Giving as an Instrument of God, Ramadan: The Holy Month of Fasting, Hajj: A Pilgrimage to God, The Spiritual Secrets of Death, The Mysteries of Heaven and Hell, and You Are Loved.

One of the central themes of the book is the idea that love is the essence of Islam and the key to a meaningful connection with the Divine. The author draws from the rich tradition of Islamic mysticism, citing various Islamic poets and mystics to illustrate the path of the heart in the journey toward Allah the Almighty.

Helwa emphasises the importance of self-discovery, introspection, and cultivating a deep, personal relationship with the Divine. The book guides readers through spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer, and contemplation, to foster a connection with the divine presence.

The author also explores the concept of Divine mercy, compassion, and forgiveness in Islam, encouraging readers to embrace these qualities in their own lives. The book serves as a bridge for individuals seeking a deeper understanding of Islam’s spiritual dimensions, beyond the rituals and legal aspects.

This book doesn’t intend to dive into the deep end of theological stuff like you’d find in those heavy scholarly works on Aqeedah.

PHOTO: ENVATO

Sure, there might be some unintentional metaphorical statements – especially noticeable if you’re deep into Islamic theology – but let’s be real, the average reader might not be obsessing over linguistic nuances.

Still, it’s crucial to be mindful, especially when we’re talking about Allah the Almighty being ‘love’. That’s a bit of a tricky one. Even if most readers aren’t getting into the nitty-gritty of language nuances, it’s still a big deal. When we’re talking about the Creator, choosing our words wisely is like showing some serious respect.

But I got my hopes up that this book can spark some curiosity about Islamic sciences. As time goes on, readers might dig into the more classic, scholarly stuff and maybe we can iron out those language quirks in the next editions.

Setting aside these issues, this book stands as a comprehensive, holistic, and uplifting guide for the ordinary Muslim. It effectively accomplishes its goal of nurturing a deeper connection with Allah the Almighty through love and obedience – at least for me.

While acknowledging its limitations, this book serves as an excellent starting point for individuals with a basic interest in Islamic spirituality.

Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s a fantastic starting point for anyone just dipping their toes into Islamic spirituality. Perfect for those who get a bit intimidated by the scholarly jargon or have no clue where to start.

Not everyone has access to Islamic classes, right? So, think of this book as your first step – a way to get that little connection with Allah the Almighty going and maybe even spark a new love for Him.

I feel it can help folks on their spiritual journey while keeping things rooted in the basics.

In summary, Secrets of Divine Love is a spiritual guide that invites readers to embark on a transformative journey into the heart of Islam, exploring the themes of love, mercy, and connection with the divine.

Through the lens of Islamic mystical philosophy, the book provides practical insights and practices to deepen one’s spiritual experience and cultivate a profound sense of divine love.

It’s definitely important to note that to really learn about our own religion, it’s still better to pick up Al-Quran. – Izah Azahari

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