Good writers provide an invaluable service. They craft essays, books, novels, and poems that bring light to new perspectives, share knowledge, inspire reflection, and lend support to souls who are ailing. Some have innate talents and others need nurturing, needling, nudging, and then some.
Br. Arif Kabir had solid writing skills and was encouraged by his teachers at Al Huda School to polish them. So when he set out as a teen to blog about his family’s journey to Hajj, it felt quite natural and his journaling every step of the way about the blessings and challenges was well received. What he didn’t count on was that it would open a whole new opportunity for him as a writer. And for others, too.
In 2007, Kabir founded Muslim Youth Musings, a literary organization “committed to empowering young Muslims to be forerunners in thoughtful reflection.” He reached out and collaborated with friends across the globe who lent writing and editing skills, website development, and social media marketing. But he credits the initial and consistent success to beginning with reflecting and writing about duaa. He still marvels at the generosity that has helped to grow the project and reflects on a hadith that resonates. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“Allah is Most Shy from His slave if the slave raises his hands towards Him, that He would return them empty-handed.”
Support for Budding Writers
Many companies and organizations assist budding writers. MYM has carved out a niche for Muslim youth by offering options to publish their work and support to build skills and confidence. Writers are encouraged to submit an application and article for consideration. From there they meet live with an editor who reads their piece with them aloud. The exercise brings a new perspective, offers an opportunity to reflect, and makes editing a truly collaborative process. There are monthly meetings with fellow writers, training opportunities with guest speakers, gratitude roundtables, and more. All free-of-charge.
Muslim youth from 13-39 are invited to participate. Kabir emphasized that one doesn’t need to be an English major or a great writer to start. The organization selects 15-20 people in cohorts, consciously supporting quality over quantity. Typical members are from North America and are high school students, college graduates, or young professionals, many young moms and dads. Topics run the gambit from social justice, balancing deen and dunya, personal growth, and marriage and family.
Mariam Siddiqui signed on and more recently contributes as an editor. “I started out with MYM as a writer and fell in love with the collective community of artists who had a story burning in the crevices of their soul. The stories I came across as a writer, and now as an editor, are vulnerable and raw and full of beauty, and this is a platform we so desperately need in the Ummah. A Muslim voice for our artists and writers and truth-tellers to shine, with all their vulnerability and pain and joy and soul. MYM allows me to be a part of a powerful community that values the weight of ink and storytelling in minority communities.”
Kabir reiterates that the community-building experience is essential to both individual and organizational success. “Our goal is to build a generation of reflectors, grounded in Islamic guidance . . . to be a place where Muslims who are grounded can be part of something greater – encouraged to push the boundaries of intersection between Islam and latest “ism” … to offer and glean beauty out of an Islamic perspective.”
Throughout its 16-year history, the organization has collaborated with other youth organizations to support the creative process. These have included judging competitions and facilitaating trainings at regional and national events in the U.S. and Canada with Muslim Interscholastic Tournaments, Regional MSA (Muslim Student Association) Showdowns, Mafiq Foundation, and more.
Muslim Youth Musings recently filed for and received non-profit status and engaged in in-person strategic planning to set the stage for future growth. They held their first online fundraising campaign via Launchgood and are grateful for the outpouring of support. The to-do list includes a published anthology of creative works, more open mics, a writers' retreat, and more ways to give voice to a unique Muslim perspective, celebrating diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
According to Kabir, that voice is “moral but not moralistic, or preachy.” Sounds like just what Muslim youth and we as the larger audience need to hear.
For more details and ways to support Muslim Youth Musings, visit
Zahirah Lynn Eppard is the managing editor of the Muslim Home parenting newsletter project. As Sound Vision’s Director of Religious Education, she has also spearheaded the production of more than 500 online classes serving children ages 3-12 in the Adam’s World and Colors of Islam Clubs. Eppard has also worked in the field of education as a teacher, homeschooler, and Islamic school principal, as a marriage and crisis intervention counselor, and as a lobbyist and social justice activist. She lives with her husband, children, and grandchildren in Maryland.