Ramadan Mubarak! Books that celebrate our Muslim sisters and brothers

By Yolanda T. Marshall

Let’s take a moment to reflect on those who are less fortunate. Let’s uplift and support each other. May our benevolence and charity be rewarded immensely. To my Muslim family, friends and readers, may Allah bestow lots of joy and happiness in this blessed month of Ramadan and beyond. Here are a few of my favourite books by traditionally published Canadian authors.


Ramadan: The Holy Month of Fasting

Written by Ausma Zehanat Khan, an award-winning Canadian American novelist with a PhD in International Human Rights Law. Khan practised immigration law in Toronto, and she was an international human rights law professor at Northwestern University and a human rights law professor at York University.

Ramadan offers the opportunity to improve one’s personal and spiritual behaviour. By focusing on positive thoughts and actions, Muslims build a closer connection with God and leave the month feeling spiritually renewed. Ramadan: The Holy Month of Fasting explores the richness and diversity of the Islamic tradition by focusing on an event of great spiritual significance and beauty in the lives of Muslims. Rich with personal stories and stunning photographs, Ramadan demystifies the traditions and emphasizes the importance of diversity in a world where Islamophobia is on the rise.” – Orca Book Publishers, 2018.



I Remember

I Remember: A recognition of Muslim loyalty and sacrifice in WWI.

Written by Ahmad Maidah, a Canadian author based in Barrie, Ontario. This book was softly illustrated by Kristina Swarner.

A letter between a Muslim grandchild to their war hero great-grandpa to reassure him that his story, bravery, and memory have not been forgotten. The World Wars are commonly remembered as two of the most catastrophic disasters in recent history. What is less often recalled is that true to their name, their devastation and loss were felt by families worldwide. Through the eyes of his great-grandchild, I Remember teaches us about the experiences of an Indian Muslim soldier during the First World War, paying homage to his story, bravery and memory. With simple, unidirectional dialogue and captivating illustrations, this book is a poignant reminder of a shared history. A reminder that this “great grandpa” is only one of the millions of fallen, forgotten or even ignored heroes of the World Wars and that soldiers come in many different shades.” – Kube Publishing Ltd, 2023.


Praying to the West

Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped the Americas

Written by Omar Mouallem, an award-winning author, educator, and filmmaker. Mouallem currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta.

In Praying to the West, Mouallem explores the unknown history of Islam across the Americas, travelling to thirteen unique mosques in search of an answer to how this religion has survived and thrived so far from the place of its origin. From California to Quebec and Brazil to Canada’s icy north, he meets the members of fascinating communities, all providing different perspectives on being Muslim. Along this journey, he understands that Islam has played a fascinating role in shaping the Americas—from industrialisation to the changing winds of politics. And he also discovers that there may be a place for Islam in his life, particularly as a father, even if he will never be a true believer. Original, insightful, and beautifully told, Praying to the West reveals a secret history of the home and the struggle for belonging in towns and cities across the Americas and points to a better, more inclusive future for everyone.” – Simon & Schuster, 2021.



Social Palliation

Social Palliation: Canadian Muslims’ Storied Lives on Living and Dying

Written by Dr Parin Dossa, a brilliant Professor of Anthropology and an Associate Member of the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.

Social Palliation is a pioneering study on living and dying as articulated by first-generation Iranian and Ismaili Muslim communities in Canada. Using ethnographic narratives, Parin Dossa makes a case for a paradigm shift from palliative care to social palliation. Experiences of displacement and resettlement reveal that life and death must be understood as an integrated unit to appreciate what it is like to be awakened to our human existence. In the wake of structural exclusion and systemic suffering, social palliation brings to light displaced persons’ endeavours to restore the integrity of life and death. Dossa highlights that death, conjoined with life, is embedded within the socio-cultural and spiritual experience. Here, a caring society is not perceived in fragments, as with traditional institutional care or care offered during end-of-life. Rather, Dossa draws attention to an organic form of caring, illustrated through the trajectories of storied lives.” – University of Toronto Press, 2020.



Please support your local bookstores, such as A Different Booklist, Notability Mobile bookstore, Nile Valley Books, Knowledge Bookstore and Manifest Bookstore.