“So, has Abbie already told you about my conversion to Islam?” he asked and drank from his cup.
From the Mindworks Publishing travel guide book, Return To Glory: A Travel Guide for African Americans Returning To Roots by Queen Sheba D. Cisse:
Inshaa’Allah you will experience a spiritual and physical journey like no other in the country of Teranga – Senegal. I am happy to guide your journey to the Motherland and wish for you what I wish for myself – sheer joy! I will share common-sense information to help with the practical aspects of your visit in the hopes that it will ease your arrival and welcome your long-awaited journey to a place where you once called home, and yet, still.
Senegal is a semitropical land, hot in the summer, with cool temperatures in the winter season. The women dress in exquisite fabrics and what I call “big style” on the head in enormous geles, elegantly balancing babies on their backs, and carrying bags of merchandise in two hands. It was a real wow moment – an absolutely eye-catching view – when I initially arrived to Senegal years ago. The men are often seen in long flowing garments called boubous (pronounced boo-boos) and they normally wear skullcaps upon their heads.
The French influence in Senegal is seen in some of the structures of the buildings in Dakar and in several other areas throughout the country . Senegal was part of French West Africa until 1960 when the country gained its independence.
I am also happy to say that the cuisine of the region is strictly Senegalese, meaning that it is a no-pork Teranga country, as the majority practice Islam and eating pork is forbidden. Fish is a major component of
Senegalese cuisine as are sweet potatoes, lentils, and peanuts, the primary crop of Senegal.
Benefits of expiating or visiting the Motherland . . .
Respecting that the cradle of humanity began in Africa, we shall give honor.
We owe it to our ancestors to give back, affirm and acknowledge them; and we must educate our children and generations to come about our history.
To invest in the land and become an example of the change we want to see in the world .
To eat real, whole foods for improved physical health as many of the foods grown here are done so without chemicals, pesticides, hormone injections, etc.
To invest in and influence agricultural trade, education, philanthropic efforts and entrepreneurship among start-up businesses – this is something to investigate before you travel abroad.
Finally, the air is un-polluted and fresh here and the people are easy-going, friendly, and welcoming. The culture is very family oriented, and if you are Muslim like myself, you get to live Islam every day, all day, and are often involved in the traditions , wedding engagements, baby ceremonies, spiritual gatherings and funerals which are a huge deal to me!
Return to Glory: A Travel Guide for African Americans Returning to Roots is a book that has been written with joy because it acknowledges our ancestors that have played an important role in our spiritual growth as a people. We believe that the ancestors are alive in another dimension and that they play an important role for us, whether it be through angelic mentorship or as spiritual advisors. It was important for me to honor the souls who have paved the way for me to return to the African continent.
Much more than a mere travel guide, Return to Glory offers a wide range of information about travelling to the African continent, particularly to Senegal. You can learn about Senegalese culture and cuisine, get advice about what to pack and how to prepare for the journey, and receive a first-hand account of what it is like to return to the Motherland.
Islamic Nursery Rhymes is the top seller of all of our Mindworks Publishing books. Children and parents alike can delight in these beautifully crafted Islamic nursery rhymes with ease as they are designed to follow many of the familiar melodies of nursery rhymes that many of us parents grew up listening to.
The rhymes in the book are traditional nursery rhymes reworded with timeless Islamic meaning. For example, ‘Oranges and Lemons’ is an historical rhyme about ringing the bells of East London churches – and the version here, entitled ‘Assalam Alaykum’, is about mosques in East London spreading salaam (peace) and news of prayer time.
The illustrations by Fatimah De Vaux Davies are attractive and highly detailed to delight children and engage their interest in the actions of practicing Muslims. One illustration depicts Muslims gathering around a large Qur’an that is spilling out light. In another, Muslims are performing ritual prayers upon the earth, while boats sail, and airplanes and rockets fly.
These beautiful Islamic nursery rhymes can be used as remembrance of Allah and as a resource for developing pre-recitation skills before reading the Qur’an. An example of one of the rhymes is provided below and you can listen to author Elizabeth Lymer singing it and others here on her YouTube Channel.
Senegalese cuisine in my personal opinion is the best on the continent (even though I have not visited the whole of Africa at this writing). I have eaten many African dishes in the States from different associates of mine throughout the years, representing many different countries. Senegal cuisine, personally speaking, outdoes all! I am sure my son, Abdullah, will agree. Al Hamdulilah! I have had a personal cook everywhere I traveled to in Senegal over the years and I am inviting you to come take breakfast, lunch and/or dinner with me.
Setting the table is easy: a tablecloth or mat to place on the floor and one large bowl are all you need. No utensils, no chairs and no individual table mats. How simple is that!
Food is served out of a large communal bowl or platter which is the focal point of the meal. This common tradition connects family, elders and ancestors. Senegalese rarely do things by themselves and mealtime is no exception.
The vegetables and meat are placed into the center of the bed of rice. You may eat only what’s in front of you. It is custom to eat with the right hand only, as the left hand is considered unclean for eating purposes. The food is squished into a ball with the hand before eating. And yes, you may request a utensil until you get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect! My first experience with this was at home in the States. Throughout the meal you may be served with broken off bits of chicken, etc., by the person across from you or beside you. Laying your utensil down on the edge of the platter indicates you’ve had enough and often you may be prompted to continue. It’s really how I gained so much weight! This common gesture is the Alabama way of continued eating to please the cook.
Fresh juices made with natural herbs are great and very popular. My favorite is bissap (sorrel) with coconut juice, fresh ginger and mango.
I am also adding a word of caution: Do NOT use the ice in restaurants or elsewhere unless you know where the water came from — period!
fish, rice and vegetables served at lunch time
Cheebu jen is the national dish of Senegal. This boldly flavored combination of fish, rice and vegetables simmered in tomato sauce is a hearty one–pot meal. You can make it with any fish or vegetables you have on hand, including potatoes, cassava, squash or pumpkin, and plantains.
Get your copy of Return to Glory today at the link below!
Elizabeth Lymer was one of the first authors to publish with us at Mindworks but she has since branched out to publish more titles on her own. She writes almost every day, and frequently enjoys reading, singing, and storytelling with her young children.
Her writing centers around young Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and global citizen readership who are interested in fun ways to engage with Abrahamic faiths.
The books that she has published with Mindworks Publishing are:
And her additional titles include:
Robyn Abdusamad is one of the authors that has published with us at Mindworks and she has written a sweetly endearing story about diversity and tolerance. You Are Beautiful explores the cultural challenges that we as a society face when racism and prejudice trickle into the hearts of our children. This story also provides some ideas for eradicating such prejudices through embracing one another and our differences.
Sister Robyn has also written another book, Wahid and His Special Friend, journeying into the imaginative world of a little boy and providing a warm, inviting read for children of all ages.
Both books are available on Amazon.com:
The Muslims Round The World
Oh, the Muslims round the world,
We pray five times a day;
We stand, we bow, prostrate and kneel,
And we turn our heads each way.
And when we stand we are up,
And when we prostrate we’re down,
And when we bow we’re halfway up –
That’s neither up nor down.
(Sing to the tune of The Grand Old Duke of York)
From Islamic Nursery Rhymes by Elizabeth Lymer
What is glory? The full definition for glory according to Merriam Webster Dictionary reads: a state of great gratification or exaltation. Words like glory, honor and dignity are normally reserved for religion or governments in modern English, but such words are important for use in all spheres of society if we truly seek to improve the condition of the human family. We have to set high standards for ourselves and strive towards fulling those standards to the best of our abilities. Return to Glory: A Travel Guide for African Americans Returning to Roots is a book reflecting such glory – reflecting great gratification and exaltation. This book has been written with joy because it acknowledges the important role that the ancestors of African Americans have played in the spiritual growth of society, and it re-introduces African Americans in particular to the African continent.
Much more than a mere travel guide, Return to Glory: A Travel Guide for African Americans Returning to Roots, offers a wide range of information about travelling to the African continent, particularly to the country of Senegal. You can learn about Senegalese culture and cuisine, receive advice about what to pack and how to prepare for the journey, and receive a first-hand account of what it is like to return to the Motherland. This travel guide is also filled with vibrant photographs and beautiful illustrations that transport you to a land that you may not have had the opportunity to see before.
The author, Queen Sheba D. Cisse, reiterates that all of humanity originated in Africa and invites the readers to join her in respectfully glorifying our humble beginnings. During these challenging modern times, many people around the world are struggling through conflicts produced by poor race relations or questions of identity. In addition, large segments of people of African descent are seeking solutions to the particular challenges that they are experiencing on the African continent. In many ways Return to Glory: A Travel Guide for African Americans Returning to Roots is a bridge between cultures.
Queen Sheba D. Cisse is often asked about her travels to Africa and what’s it’s like there. Her response is: plan to visit for yourself, without hesitation or fear. The Motherland beckons, and in addition to visiting a country of much beauty, you may find the trip spiritually fulfilling.
About the Author:
Queen Sheba D. Cisse was raised in a world of strong women, high fashion, and devout spirituality. She is a mother of five and resides simultaneously in Washington DC Metro MD/VA and Senegal. She is the founder of Queen Sheba Village Inc. (QSV), a non-profit organization dedicated to contributing to African society through humanitarian and entrepreneurial efforts. She earned a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing at Strayer University in 2000. QSV and Queen Sheba D. Cisse exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit of the modern Muslim woman navigating the global economy while juggling work, family and community. Queen Sheba also received the Sisters of Spirit (SIS) Humanitarian Award in 2011.
Books and websites:
Return to Glory available at: http://www.mindworksbooks.com
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/queenshebadcisse
Official Website: www.queenshebavillage.org
Also on Amazon.com
A Quranic Odyssey, Towards Juz ‘Amma is officially live and has been republished by Mindworks Publishing. Although this is the second Islamic chapter book published by Mindworks, it is acutally the prequel to Ya Seen: a hifdh journey in America.
This story is the first installment of the Quranic Odyssey Series written by author Umm Muhemmed and reveals how the narrative began. In this volume, Ibrahim and Amna, age five and two, embark on their journey of hifdh (Quranic memorization) with their parents, Khadija and Abdurrahman. As illustrated in the sequel, A Quranic Odyssey, Towards Juz ‘Amma emphasizes love for the Quran in a thoughtful manner and brings the learning and understanding to life in the most unexpected ways. We learn about courage and patience, among other things, as we get to know this young family while experiencing the “living” aspects of the Quran.
I was a fan of this book, and of the author, well before agreeing to re-publish the manuscript and I am thankful to have been a part of keeping this work available following the shuttering of Greebird Books, the original publisher.
Here’s what some have had to say about A Quranic Odyssey, Towards, Juz ‘Amma:
“A wonderful inspiration! Umm Muhemmed reminds one of the ultimate reason for studying Quran: to understand and reflect on the message. Her narrations are reflections of how Islam should be taught, not moments of forcing religious texts, but rather seeing opportunities and taking lessons from the Quran and Sunnah.” – Umm Aasiyah Muhammad, author of A Muslim Princess
“An intimate and eloquent portrait of one mother’s journey to instruct her children in the basis of Islam. This lovely book reminds us of the importance of giving our children a spiritual berth, while nurturing their adventurous, naturally inquisitive spirits. With humor, grace, and insight, Umm Muhemmed shows how our children have as much (if not more) to teach us than we have to teach them.” – Jerusha O. Conner Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Education, Villanova University
We have reached the end of the month and our final four book recommendations of our 30 Books For 30 Days blog posts in commemoration of Black History Month 2016.I hope you’ve enjoyed our posts and that you’ve found some (if not all) of the books to be beneficial. Inshaa’Allah, God-willing, see you again next year for 30 more books!
Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world.
Truth’s landmark slave narrative chronicles her experiences as a slave in upstate New York and her transformation into an extraordinary abolitionist, feminist, orator, and preacher. Based on the complete 1884 edition, this volume includes the “Book of Life,” a collection of letters and sketches about Truth’s life written subsequent to the original 1850 publication of the Narrative, and “A Memorial Chapter,” a sentimental account of her death.
Standing at the crossroads of American literature and the current African American renaissance, Giant Steps presents a vibrant and wonderfully diverse collection of young black writing. Through generous selections of award-winning poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by writers born after 1960, this groundbreaking anthology welcomes readers into the future of African American writing. Taking its spirit and title from the John Coltrane composition released in 1960, Giant Steps offers an extraordinary window into post-civil rights literature.
Candid, poignant, provocative, and informative, the essays and stories in Skin Deep explore a wide spectrum of racial issues between black and white women, from self-identity and competition to child-rearing and friendship.