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10 Books By Muslim Authors To Read ASAP

In case you missed it, we recently celebrated Muslim Women’s Day, which was originally established by Muslim Girl in 2017 in response to widespread Islamophobia, judgment, and injustice toward the Muslim community. According to Muslim Girl, the 2022 theme is “Securing Our Space” to symbolize the idea that Muslim women have a right to exist and deserve to take up space in the world. Muslim Women’s Day, celebrated on March 27, comes just before Ramadan — the holy month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community — which will begin on April 2.

While it’s always a good idea to honor Muslim women, now is an especially meaningful time to celebrate and uplift their voices and learn about their stories, identities, and faith. One way to do this is by reading “own voices” novels — AKA books that are written about characters of specific cultures that the author is a part of, too. Own-voices novels are important because it ensures that the representation is authentic since the authors writing those stories. By reading books that feature amazing Muslim women whose stories are written by equally inspiring Muslim women, you’re sure to find inspiration — and even some new role models — in these meaningful works of literature.

Whether you’re hoping to see yourself represented in literature or you simply want to venture into stories with characters and cultures you’re curious about, this list of books by Muslim women is perfect for you. Whether you’re a fan of YA contemporaries, fantasy novels, or romance, there’s bound to be a book that will intrigue you. 

1. All American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney 

In All American Muslim Girl, Allie Abraham has a life that looks perfect on paper. She has great grades, good friends, a good home life, and the icing on the cake: her popular and sweet boyfriend, Wells Anderson. Things become complicated, though, when Wells’ father — a conservative Republican — has no idea that Allie is Muslim. After spending many years being quiet about her faith, she begins to take it more seriously when Islamophobia emerges in her town and all over the world. In the story, Allie begins to evaluate what it means to be a “good Muslim” and if she will ever fit into American culture. As someone who hid her religion as a child, Nadine wrote All American Muslim Girl to help readers like her embrace their identity. 

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2. Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Does My Head Look Big in This? is a humorous novel that follows the character Amal, who decides to wear hijab full-time and navigates reactions from those around her. However, she never backs down from her decision. Now, Amal must navigate the prejudice she’s receiving while also trying to date the cutest boy in school. I’ve found that it’s very rare to find books with teens that are passionate about their faith, but Does My Head Look Big in This? is one that captures the feeling perfectly. 

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3. An Ember in the Ashes by SabAa Tahir 

Lia is used to her simple life with her grandparents and her mother, but everything changes when her mother is arrested for treason. With the hope of her brother getting rescued, she partners with the rebels and helps them rebel against the Empire. What she doesn’t expect, though (spoiler alert!) is to meet Elias along the way. Together, the two realize that they have more in common than they expected and work together to achieve their goals. Unlike other books on the list, An Ember in the Ashes is a YA fantasy novel, and one that I absolutely loved and devoured in a couple of sittings! This is a wonderful book to read if you’re looking for a fantasy novel with great representation. 

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4. Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed 

Not only is protagonist Maya Aziz dealing with the struggles of being a high school senior, but she is also navigating challenges and expectations related to being a “good Indian, Muslim daughter.” While her family wants her to attend college close to come and marry a “suitable” Muslim boy, she wants to pursue film school in New York and possibly date the boy she’s been crushing on her for years. Maya and her family’s life is turned upside down, though, when an act of terrorism is committed and everyone blames it on them. With her classmates and neighbors being fueled by bigotry and hatred, Maya begins to question everything. Despite this tragedy, Maya uses the experience to find out who she really is. Samira Ahmed’s debut novel is extremely hard-hitting and allows readers to thoughtfully evaluate the world around them.

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5. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal 

Similar to An Ember in the Ashes, We Hunt the Flame is a fantasy novel featuring strong female characters. In the story, Zafira disguises herself as a man and takes on a dangerous mission in the cursed forest of the Arz to get food for her people. However, Zafira isn’t the only character that has a risk to take; the sultan’s son, Nasir, has challenges of his own as he’s been tasked with assassinating those who defy his father. If Zafira’s real identity is exposed, all her hard work will have been for nothing. If Nasir shows any mercy, he will be punished by his father. The plot thickens when their paths cross. We Hunt the Flame is Hafsah’s debut novel and the first book in the Sands of Arawiya duology.

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6. Once Upon an Eid by S.K Ali 

Unlike the rest of the books on the list, Once Upon an Eid is an anthology of short stories written by some of the biggest Muslim names in literature! Every story takes place during the joyous time of the year: Eid. Although the book features many authors, it is edited by S.K. Ali, who has won many awards and is known for her stories including Muslim protagonists.

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7. The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar 

The Henna Wars follows Nishat, a character who is struggling with her family and her sexuality — harboring the belief that “Muslim girls aren’t lesbians.” While Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, it seems like she has no other option. Her predicament only becomes worse when Nishat’s childhood best friend, Flavia, comes back into her life and she falls in love with her. However, things become more complicated for the pair when they both want to do henna as their own school business. The issue? Flavia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Despite this, though, the two get to know each other on a deeper level, Nishat still can’t shake the feelings that Flavia has for her. Nishat is a breath of fresh air in YA literature, and the novel showcases an authentic portrayal of the long-standing conflict between religion and sexuality. 

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8. An Emotion of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi 

An Emotion of Great Delight is a historical fiction novel set in 2003, months after the United States has declared war on Iraq, and the Muslim community in the U.S. is faced with more bigotry and hate than ever. However, protagonist Shadi is equally focused on her own struggles; her brother has died, her father is dying, her mother is falling apart, and her best friend has cut her off without any explanation. Shadi conceals her emotions plasters on a fake smile, until one day, everything changes. Although author Tahereh Mafi is best known for her dystopian fantasy series, Shatter Me, An Emotion of Great Delight makes a solid work of contemporary historical fiction with a contemporary, modern feel.

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9. Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan

Zara Hossain is Here tells the story of seventeen-year-old Zara Hossain, who is a resident of Corpus Christi, Texas after immigrating from Pakistan. Though she faces Islamophobia at school, she never wants to start any drama that could risk her family getting their visa after nine years with a green card. Things take a turn when Tyler Benson, star of the football team, leaves a threatening note in her locker — which results in him getting suspended. To get back at her, Tyler vandalizes her locker with racist graffiti, and the consequences of her reaction put her entire future at risk. Now, Zara is stuck between fighting to stay in the only place she’s ever called “home” and losing the life she loves — and everyone in it. Author Sabina Khan specializes in writing about Muslim teens who are straddling cultures and helping them find their place in the world. 

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10. Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali 

At its core, Love from A to Z is a story about finding yourself. After getting suspended for confronting her teacher, Zayneb takes off to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar to get a head start on spring break. Wracked with guilt over getting her friends in trouble, Zayneb uses this as an opportunity to reinvent herself. However, everything changes when she meets Adam, who was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and stopped going to classes. Zayneb and Adam spend time alone with nothing but their thoughts and journals — until their paths cross.

Love From A to Z has made an impact on the world as a novel about finding love in the time of Islamophobia, and has received widespread recognition, including being a Goodreads Choice Book Awards finalist, the Entertainment Weekly Top Ten Young Adult Book of 2019, and selected for The Today Show’s “Read With Jenna’s” book club. 

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Kayleigh is a Fine Arts major with an emphasis in English and Cinema Studies. Along with writing for Her Campus, she is a Campus Trendsetter. When she is not writing, you can find her watching Netflix and crying over fictional characters.
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