Tag Archives: Zenubia Arsalan

The Cosmos That Allah Has Designed by Zenubia Arsalan illustrated by Ada Konewki

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The Cosmos That Allah Has Designed by Zenubia Arsalan illustrated by Ada Konewki

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This 22 page beautifully illustrated picture book clarifies that it is not a science book, but rather an invitation to think deeply.  For ages 4 and up the rhyming pages will appeal to children’s sense of wonder and Allah’s perfection and precision.  Older kids will appreciate the journey through the cosmos and how limitless Allah swt is in all things.

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The book starts with Earth and how the spinning of our planet on its axis allows for the alternation of night and day, it then moves to how going around the sun at Allah’s command gives us our seasons.  But because it rhymes and is not a science book, the text is more imagery and tangible in nature, rather than a list of facts.

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It touches on the moon reflecting borrowed light and the power and strength of the sun before moving on to the planets and gravity.

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It then extends out to the Milky Way and has a page on black holes before coming back to Earth for us to recognize how we only are a small part of something so much bigger.

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There are two pages at the end with talking points, an ayat from the Quran, and emphasis that science and Islam are not at odds as Allah is the creator and governor of all things.

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The book is 6×9 and with the beautiful illustrations I truly wish the book was larger.  Not only to dive in to the glossy pages easier, but also so that the book could be used at story time to small groups.  The tone is contemplative and marveling as it challenges the readers to find mistakes or flaws in the perfection of outer space. I love that science-y Islamic kid books are now available that appeal to children’s sense of wonder and understanding.  Really the only other suggestion I would have liked to see, would have been a page defining the word “cosmos” as it is used on every page, and while I think kids will figure it out as the continue through the book, I think it is a bit of a block for the younger readers.

Before Birth, Beyond Life: A Muslim Mother’s Ode by Zenubia Arsalan illustrated by Heshan Gunasekara

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Before Birth, Beyond Life: A Muslim Mother’s Ode by Zenubia Arsalan illustrated by Heshan Gunasekara

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This 24 page book written in rhyme explains with love and Islamic oversight the circle of life.  From before birth and what happens after death, the tone and images of the book really are very beautiful and dream like.  The author suggests the book for ages 6-9, but I think even toddlers will enjoy the poetry and illustrations.

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The book is told from a mother to her child explaining that she is the answer to her  prayers, but that there is the One, the Creator, who knows and loves her even more.

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It details that everything about her is perfect and exact according to the will of Allah swt, even before her birth Allah knows and has decreed everything.

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Once born, your mom loves and prays and watches you grow, but at an appointed time you, like all of us will leave this world for the next.

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And that in the afterlife, inshaAllah once again we will be reunited.

Children are rarely sad when loved ones pass away, often pointing out that they are with Allah Subhanawatala now, and this book stems from that peace and comfort in knowing there is a world beyond this one.  Not just for children, this book would make a perfect gift for expectant mothers or as a reminder for older kids in families suffering from loss.

I have the paperback 9 x 6 size book as I’m here in the US, but a larger hardback version exists elsewhere and I think the illustrations would benefit from the larger size.  Also, the pictures are a shoutout to Dubai and I think kids who have been there or live there will equally enjoy the skyline on a number of the pages.

There is a talking points ebook for the book that you can get for free at https://littlemutaqeen.com/talkingpointsbefore/ that will assist you in presenting the information and concepts explored to older and more curious kids.  It talks about how to broach potentially awkward concepts (pregnancy, birth, death) and a maintain body positive message, clarity of heaven and hell, and so much more. I highly recommend it.