When I was a little girl, I often daydreamed about living in a real fairy tale. I loved writing short stories that involved me doing extraordinary things that I could not do within my capability as a human being. Writing was my escape into a magical world filled with adventure where I could climb the tallest tree, run faster than a cheetah and fly high above the clouds. Me and my stories were inseparable and I would often hide away to write my next adventure.
My experience as a young Muslim child was that I knew more about what would happen to me if I did bad things than if I did good things Islamically. I was aware that there was a reward for being a good Muslim, but it wasn’t something that was spoken about often at Islamic studies class. I remember asking my mother what paradise (Jannah) would be like after a brief mention about Jannah from my Islamic studies tutor. My mother responded that Jannah was a place where I could drink as much Fanta as I liked, my love for Fanta was serious! I could barely contain my excitement at the thought of my own fanta fountain. I didn’t hear or think about Jannah again until I was an adult.
Following my spiritual awakening, I became more aware of the afterlife, but noticed that when Jannah was mentioned at most of the lectures and seminars I attended, the descriptions were very vague. The first time I heard a speaker talk about Jannah in an exciting way, the audience were asked what we wanted in Jannah which blew my mind. I hadn’t thought about what I wanted in Jannah before and the question ignited my curiosity to know more. Hearing fellow attendees talk about diamond palaces, never ending parties, binge eating without putting on weight and meeting their favourite prophets added to my excitement. Thinking about what I wanted in Jannah reminded me of my childhood escapes through my stories into a magical world where anything was possible. The best part was that Jannah was a real place I could live in someday if Allah willed.
I started telling my children about Jannah and they instantly fell in love. Rivers of milk and honey, chocolate mountains, dinosaurs and butterflies who could do extraordinary things were the among the many things they wanted in Jannah.
My excitement turned into my inspiration to write a fun and engaging childrens story about the beauty of Jannah with the aim of creating a love and yearning for the afterlife from a young age. What started as a conversation, then idea evolved into my story on the ‘Treasures of Jannah’.