Pre-Ramadan Detox

By Princess R. Lakshman

Pre-Ramadan Detox

Habits form when we repeatedly carry out a behaviour.

Recently, upon introspection and self-reflective journaling, I pointed out some habits that haven’t been serving me well. I’ve made a commitment to change these negative habits and replace them with positive ones.

Today, I’m confessing to these negative habits, taking accountability of these behaviours, and committing to a Pre-Ramadan Detox to re-wire my brain so that I can start behaving better and be completely ready in mind, body, and spirit for the holy month of Ramadan that is fast approaching.

Past few months I have been sleeping late due to my addiction to a certain Netflix show. It’s a fast paced, courtroom/crime thriller. As a result, my sleep quality is poor, my stress levels have increased, my body has signalled pain again and I’ve missed my Fajr (pre-dawn prayer) alarm on numerous occasions. Do I feel terrible about this? OF COURSE!!! Which is precisely why I am publicly admitting to my recent negative pattern.

So, yesterday, I was really bothered about my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. I cancelled all my appointments and took a mental health day to rest, recuperate, and re-set. I had a little cry in the shower. Prayed. Journaled. Drank tea. Prayed some more. And drank more tea…but of course.

I have come up with a schedule to help me get back on track and repeatedly perform actions that will hopefully detox me and prepare me for Ramadan. These repeated actions will also become new habits that will serve my holistic health rather than deplete it.

If you’ve been struggling with similar issues and would like support to detox your mind, body and spirit and prepare for Ramadan, please know that you are not alone. Please know that no one is perfect. Please acknowledge your negative patterns and be kind with yourself. You can always make better choices, starting right now.

My Pre-Ramadan Detox Schedule

5AM                    Tahajjud salah

Fajr Athan          Fajr salah

6AM                    Breathing and stretching exercises (following a 30-day FREE program on YouTube so that I can commit to a daily morning routine)

7AM                    Shower and Get Ready

8AM                    Enjoy morning herbal tea while prepping for clients

9AM                    Start work

2PM                     Dhuhr salah, followed by

                             First meal (I practise intermittent fasting 18/6 i.e. 18-hour fast, 6-hour eating window)

5PM                     Asr salah

7PM                     Conclude work

Maghrib salah

8PM                     Put all gadgets away – ZERO SCREEN TIME until next morning

                             Last meal of the day

                             Spend time with family



                             Reflective journaling

Isha salah

10PM                  Lights out – SLEEP


How I Conquered My Emotional Eating Triggers with Heart, Not Will Power

IMG_20200824_115337_784Since the age of 5, I have struggled with emotional eating. Now, 40 years later, I’ve truly understood that overcoming the emotional eating triggers in my life was a slow, steady process that involved heart and immense love for self and others.

The picture on the left (then 93 kgs) was taken 9 months ago, at a conference in Toowoomba last year. The picture on the right was taken this morning (77 kgs).

Nine months ago, my body was suffering from elevated inflammation levels, insulin resistance, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, pain, breathlessness, fatigue, fatty liver, to name a few symptoms. And emotionally, I battled with stress.

Some may say that weight loss requires Will Power. I disagree.

When it comes to managing and overcoming Emotional Eating, I had to work through all the emotions that I was feeding with unhealthy food and lifestyle habits.

I had to have a heart to heart chat with myself. I had to break down and cry my heart out. I had to heal my heart. I had to love my heart and listen to it and follow it. Really, truly follow it. And flow with my heart’s knowing of why I was created.

My heart to heart with self helped me love my body, be grateful for my body and its functions, love my food, my beverage, my physical activities, my soul-nourishing self-care activities…

The result of that heart to heart chat with myself is that today I am 16 kilos lighter. Healing my heart meant healing all those emotions that I was incorrectly feeding and inflaming.

Those who know me personally and professionally know that I use my lived experiences when I am of service to others through counselling and life coaching.

In 2 weeks I will be a graduate Clinical Nutritionist. In shaa Allah.
I hope to be of service and help anyone struggling with emotional eating. Weight loss may happen with Will Power, however, sustained weight release, both emotional and physical, only comes from the healing of one’s heart.

Princess R. Lakshman

#mindbodyhealinghub #muslimahmindmatters #selfcare #selfawareness #selflove #heartspeaks #thesoulspeaks #clinicalnutrition #emotionaleating #halalhealth #halalplate #muslimmentalhealth

Maintain Positive Relationships

written by Princess R. Lakshman

From the moment we wake up in the morning to the time we retire to bed, our lives revolve around other human beings. They all impact our lives in ways that propel us to respond or react. These responses and reactions shape the life we lead. How we choose to react and respond to people is completely up to us. 

When someone says, “I didn’t have a choice”, it simply means they are choosing to remain in the situation instead of choosing an alternative. The truth is, there are always alternatives. 

Our daily relations and dealings with family members, friends, colleagues, strangers and virtual entities (those who are communicating with us online) form a vital part of our existence. These dealings and relations give rise to experiences. Experiences become memories and memories subsequently become a significant component of reasoning. Most of these memories are as a result of inherited memories. For example, how we respond to an angry outburst of another person is often the same way our parents and guardians respond to such outbursts. We grew up watching their reactions and responses and adopted them accordingly. 

Relationships are formed and maintained with some basic ingredients in life, such as love, trust, respect, compassion and duty.  The following communication exercise will help you nourish your relationships to be more meaningful, joyful and engaging. 

The vital thing to remember for this exercise is that one has to be able to hear the tone of the voice of the other person. Text messaging will not work as you are unable to hear the actual tone of the voice. Telephone or face to face is always the best way to have an engaging, effective communication. 

Married couples

Spend a few minutes daily with each other alone in conversation regarding the following specific topics and ensure that when one person is talking, the other is listening with full attention without any interruption whatsoever. When you engage in a meaningful conversation such as the one below, your mind opens up to embrace the joys of life.

“What was most joyful about your day today and why?”

“What are you most grateful for today and why?”

“What did you do today that has made you a better person than yesterday?”

“How can I be of help to you to realise your purpose in life?”


Spend time daily with your child and have the following conversation. If you have more than one child, spend time individually to have this conversation. Remember, every child is different and experiences the world differently.  Ask your child the following questions and give full attention to her/his responses.

“What was most joyful about your day today and why?”

“What do you feel most thankful to ALLAH for today?”

“What was uncomfortable for you today and why?”

“What would you really like to tell me but feel scared to share? You can tell me anything. You can trust me.”

“What would you like to do to improve yourself?”

“How can I help you to be better?”

Siblings and Friends

Often the people who manage to irritate us most are our siblings and close friends. The following exercise may help open the mind to enjoy a meaningful, loving relationship among siblings and friends. Again, the tone of the voice is a vital part of this exercise.

Spend a few minutes at least once a week to touch base with your sibling(s)/ friends. Ask them the following questions and pay attention to the answers without interrupting or formulating a counter-argument.

“What was the most joyful part of your week so far?”

“What challenges did you face last week?”

“What can I do to be of help to overcome those challenges?”

Always remember, you are not your experiences. You are the FORCE that overcomes them.

Join the Muslimah Mind Matters email list to receive your FREE YouTube access for the first module from the Joyful Muslimah Online Program

For more inspiration, check out the YouTube Channel for Muslimah Mind Matters



Assumption versus Clarification

written by Princess R. Lakshman

It is a mercy from ALLAH that we humans are gifted with a mind that is able to think. Thoughts may be factual or hypothetical – based on actual facts or merely imagined, and based on feelings.

Assumption is the act of accepting something as true, or as certain to happen, without proof.

Clarification is the act of seeking facts or proof to support a thought or hypothesis.

One of the main reasons why relationships break down in today’s society is that we don’t communicate with clarity. Instead, assumptions have become the norm of our dysfunctional family units.

A classic example of assumption in this age of smartphones would be where the blue ticks on Whatsapp may be assumed as “message read”, when in fact, this may not always be the case. Furthermore, if there is no response to the message, the sender would, most often, assume that the recipient is “ignoring the message”. It is no wonder we are living on edge with our emotions and are quick to judge others.

How to seek clarification

Reflect on the last few days of your life and make a list of things you have assumed about people or situations, without having any real proof. Now, reflect on how each of these assumptions has panned out for you.

For example, in my own life, a couple of years ago I felt extreme pain in my left abdominal area. Immediately, I assumed the worst diagnosis. There was no proof, yet, there was a toxic, addictive yearning from me to gravitate towards a negative outcome.

I now know that it was based on my fears of a past medical condition. I had assumed that it was recurring. The only way to douse those fears was to seek clarification from my GP. Blood tests and scans later indicated that my fears and assumptions were baseless. 

The important thing to remember is that when we assume, what we are actually doing is creating a “false story” and choosing to believe in it as though it were true. The repercussions of believing in this false story may cost us our peace of mind, damage relationships and even cause ailments in the body and mind.

The only solution is to seek clarification. Not only that, but seek clarification tactfully to ensure you don’t impose your fears and insecurities on another.

Notice the scenario below:

Husband forgets to take his phone with him. He has been gone all day. Wife tries to reach him. His phone vibrates silently by the bedside table. Wife doesn’t notice the phone there. She assumes he is ignoring her calls. She lets this thought catapult to numerous unpleasant assumptions about her husband. Eventually, husband returns in the evening. He walks in with a smile, however, the wife begins showering accusations at him. He finds it difficult to comprehend her words. Finally, he realises he left his phone at home. He tells her about it. She chooses to ignore him because she is too worked up to see things rationally. She chooses to remain grumpy the whole evening.

The above scenario could easily have been handled differently had the wife tactfully sought clarification from her husband. All it required was for her to let him know that she had tried calling him all day and became concerned when there was no answer. Was everything alright? 

Simple. The act of seeking clarification not only opens and deepens our communication channels but also opens the mind to exercise patience – one of the most important virtues that ALLAH commands us to practise. In the above scenario, the amount of time spent on negative assumptions and later accusations could have instead been spent on exercising patience and making duaa for the safe return of her husband.

“When you assume, you make an ass of you (u) and me” – What may seem like a cliched adage tends to hold immense truth.

Resist assumptions, instead seek clarifications.

Always remember, you are not your experiences. You are the FORCE that overcomes them.

Join the Muslimah Mind Matters email list to receive your FREE YouTube access for the first module from the Joyful Muslimah Online Program

For more inspiration, check out the YouTube Channel for Muslimah Mind Matters

Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

Your Child Is NOT You…Parent Your Inner Child Before You Parent Your Child

written by Princess R. Lakshman

If you are a parent reading this, let me just say it out loud: THIS PARENTING THING AIN’T EASY!
A couple of years ago when my daughter went on her school camp, I few days ago when she was packing for her weekend trip, I was incessantly bombarding her with questions…Have you labelled this? Have you packed this? Have you packed that? Why do you need headphones, can’t you just look at the stars and not listen to music…It’s camp, not a concert!
Do you have to swim in the lake? What about crocodiles? And the bushwalk…what about the reptiles and spiders?”
She literally had to march me out of her room and say to me: “Mum, I will talk to you when you calm down and behave yourself.” I thought, hang on a minute, this is what I used to say to her when she was little…”Young lady, I will talk to you when you calm down and behave yourself.” Oh, how the tables have turned, I realised.

Pause for a moment and reflect on your own relationship with your child/ children. Do you ever feel that your worries are governed by your own fears and that at times you project those fears on your child?

Your child is NOT you. Your child has his/her own QADR…preordained path, bestowed upon him/her by ALLAH. No matter how much you try to impose your own fears on your child, understand one thing…your child will either absorb your fears and live life with inherited fear OR your child will completely reject your fears, plus all the other good advice you may give, because he/she will find it easier to rebel than to conform to your fears.

So why do we impose our fears on our children? Our fears too have been inherited from other people around us. Somewhere cocooned inside us lives a child yearning to blossom into a fearless butterfly. When you are able to address your own fears and parent your inner child to overcome those fears, you will fearlessly fly out of that cocoon, a butterfly who surrenders to the preordained path that ALLAH has put you on. Until you parent your inner child, you will struggle with parenting your child. It’s a daily practice, trust me.

How To Parent Your Inner Child
The above link is a video by Dr Shefali Tsabary who has revolutionised the way we view parenting. Please watch it.

Below are some steps you can implement if you feel the constant need to control your child:
1. Catch yourself when you are asking your child too many questions. STOP.
2. Reflect on the questions that you are asking your child and try to understand what is
prompting you to ask these questions.
3. If your questions are concerns, what are you concerned about?
4. If your questions are fear-based, what are you fearful about?
5. Identify your fears and concerns and make a list of them.
6. Sit with your child and express YOUR fears and concerns using the phrases “I am fearful that…” or “I am concerned that…” Doing so will show your child that these are your fears and concerns and not your child’s.
7. Hug your child and tell him/her that you trust ALLAH to keep him/her safe and well.
8. Make wudu and pray salah to thank ALLAH for making you aware of your fears and
concerns instead of imposing them on your child.

Always remember, you are not your experiences. You are the FORCE that overcomes them.

FREE GIFT  Receive your FREE first module from the Joyful Muslimah Online Program

For more inspiration, check out the YouTube Channel for Muslimah Mind Matters

Photo by Bess Hamiti from Pexels

Preaching versus Practice

written by Princess R. Lakshman

We have become a society of ‘advisers and judges’. Everyone has a piece of advice or ‘WhatsApp Fatwa’ for another and most times the advice or judgment does not come from lived experience. We have become a society of preachers without practice.

Recently I was asked by a potential client if I had a psychology degree. I told him that I was a life coach not a clinical psychologist. He asked me how I could help him and his wife with their marital challenges when I did not have a psychology degree. I told him I had extensive life experience and in-depth knowledge, and experience since 2006 to know that I could help him and his wife to at least process any feelings of hurt, pain, trauma or self-loathing that are usually the key feelings that need processing when trying to rebuild a dysfunctional marriage.

He then asked me matter-of-factly, “What else?” 

I answered, “Compassionate connection.” 

It is fairly easy for people to observe and give advice however advice is only useful if these people can compassionately connect with the one they are advising and display to the person that they are actually walking the walk and talking the talk. 

How to Connect Compassionately

No matter how optimistic you may be, your optimism may not necessarily affect another person who is feeling down and dark, unless you are able to connect with him/her with compassion

Cultivating compassion requires you to connect with your own true self first, your authentic or essential self. It’s a daily practice. Being compassionate with your own self will result in being compassionate with others.

Daily Affirmations to Cultivate Compassion

Compassion for Daily Affirmation
Self I am aware that I have made some choices in life that have not worked in my favour. 
I embrace my flaws and I move forward with ultimate faith in ALLAH (swt) that HE may guide me to make better choices.
My Spouse I am aware that my husband/wife has had a different upbringing than mine. She/He deserves to be treated with respect.
I respect and understand my husband/wife. 
My Child I am aware that my child is growing up in a different kind of world than the one I grew up in. My child has a different perception of the world than mine.
I respect my child and seek to understand his/her perceptions.
My Parents I am aware that my parents have a traditional approach to life. Their battles and challenges have been different from mine. 
I respect my parents and seek to understand them, learn from them and enrich my life through an open mind.

It is easy to sit in the sunshine 

And talk to the man in the shade; 

It is easy to float in a well-trimmed boat, 

And point out the places to wade. 

But once we pass into the shadows, 

We murmur and fret and frown, 

And, our length from the bank, we shout for a plank, 

Or throw up our hands and go down. 

It is easy to sit in your carriage, 

And counsel the man on foot, 

But get down and walk, and you’ll change your talk, 

As you feel the peg in your boot. 

It is easy to tell the toiler 

How best he can carry his pack, 

But no one can rate a burden’s weight 

Until it has been on his back. 

The up-curled mouth of pleasure, 

Can prate of sorrow’s worth, 

But give it a sip, and a wryer lip, 

Was never made on earth.

(a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox)

Always remember, you are not your experiences. You are the FORCE that overcomes them.

Join the Muslimah Mind Matters email list to receive your FREE YouTube access for the first module from the Joyful Muslimah Online Program

For more inspiration, check out the YouTube Channel for Muslimah Mind Matters

Photo by mentatdgt from Canva

What You Feed Your Mind Determines What You Feed Your Body

written by Princess R. Lakshman

For years I used food for comfort. Any emotional occurrence such as happiness, sadness, anger, guilt, frustration, and more would be my cue to hit the pantry and finish a whole packet of crisps or an entire family-size chocolate bar (the giant Toblerone from Airport Duty-Free?… Oh boy…Don’t even get me started on that story!).

Every Monday morning I would decide to eat healthily and every Monday lunchtime I would decide to postpone the healthy-eating commitment to next Monday. That was my pattern. Apart from the weight gain, I was also feeling lousy about my sugar addiction.

Yes, processed sugar is poison and yes, sugar addiction is very real and detrimental to mental and physical wellness. I was tired of feeling lousy about myself, my weight, my lack of energy and my irritability. This had to stop.

I was aware of my pattern. As Oprah says, when you know better, you do better. I had to find out why I had this pattern and address the elephant that incessantly roamed the jungle of my mind. I sat myself down with my journal and fiercely wrote memories on a timeline, gently tracing back to that crucial memory of the incident that was responsible for creating my emotional eating paradigm.

It took three hours for me to trace my pattern back to an incident that happened when I was around five years old. It took another few hours to link my eating pattern with my life’s major incidents where I had to make choices that affected my wellbeing. Most of those choices were harmful to my wellbeing and when I connected the dots between my dietary pattern and those lifestyle choices and how my mental state was back then, everything became crystal clear.

A paradigm shift, which I now call my Gut-Shift, revealed to me that for me to make better choices in life, stay strong in my imaan and nourish my soul with love, light, peace and joy, I must first and foremost, nourish my mind with the right mental foods so that I could then choose better foods and beverages to nourish my physical self. If my essential self, my soul and my mind, was starving, how was I ever going to choose the right foods for my body?

How To Feed Your Mind And Body

Good thoughts, good words, good deeds. I had to heal from my emotional eating pattern one thought at a time. The following are strategies to feed your mind, process your emotions and then choose the right foods to manage your emotions:

Junk Thought  versus Healthy Thought

1. I hate myself  – I am a beautiful creation of ALLAH

2. I’m a failure – I have survived through my tests and learnt my lessons

3. I need food to feel better – ALLAH is my comforter. Only ALLAH can make me feel better. I submit to ALLAH.

4. I’m stuck – My life is unfolding according to ALLAH’s plans for me. Alhumdolillah.

5. I hate feeling like I’m always struggling – I am grateful for everything I’m learning through this experience. ALLAH has put me to it and HE is putting me through it. I am wiser and stronger now that I am going through this experience.

6. No one loves me and I will end up alone – I am a beautiful creation of ALLAH. I deserve love, light, peace and joy. I am love, I radiate love.

Always remember, you are not your experiences. You are the FORCE that overcomes them.

FREE GIFT  Receive your FREE first module from the Joyful Muslimah Online Program

For more inspiration, check out the YouTube Channel for Muslimah Mind Matters

Photo credit –


Happiness and Joy…What’s the Difference?

written by Princess R. Lakshman

You may be familiar with this common adage “Pursuit of Happiness”. I’ve always wondered why it is that we must pursue happiness. I used to be one of those people who worked really hard at pursuing happiness. One wonderful day I realised that as ALLAH’s highest form of creation I was blessed with an inherent, pure thing known as JOY. 

Once I realised this, I embraced joy and began to live from it. I stopped pursuing happiness. It sounds bizarre. 

Difference Between Joy and Happiness

The English dictionary may display both these terms as synonyms, however, society has designed a paradigm for human beings which defines happiness as something that results from the fulfilment of material and physical desires. In other words, happiness, in today’s world, is circumstantial.

Joy, on the other hand, is something that we feel as our “fitra” and is not defined by physical and material desires. Joy is the elation we feel when we operate from our inherent spiritual virtues of kindness and compassion.

Once you operate from joy, the pressures that society places on you vanishes – the must-have-perfect-marriage, the six-figure salary, the mansion, the perfect body shape – none of these material and physical desires will matter anymore.

Living from joy makes you a joyful being and spreads joy to the rest of the world. Instead of striving for a “perfect marriage”, ask yourself if you and your spouse share a soulful companionship wherein you can be in each other’s company without having the need to distract yourself with gadgets and awkward silences. Instead of the six-figure salary, ask yourself if you love what you do for work. Instead of the mansion, ask yourself if your home is a space that is spiritually fulfilling. Instead of obsessing over a perfect body shape, ask yourself if you are using your body and its energy to spread goodness and perform righteous deeds.

How to Cultivate Joy in Your Life

Living authentically and being true to yourself helps you to be true to others. “Fake it till you make it” may not be the most authentic approach to living joyfully. Rather, a daily practice of experiencing joy in small things can make every moment of your life be a joyful experience.

  • Smile more
  • Laugh out loud
  • Write a heartfelt note to someone special to thank them for being in your life (handwrite it, it’s more personal)
  • Breathe deep full in-breaths and exhale slowly
  • Do a fun activity that moves your body and makes you sweat
  • Spend a few minutes daily to connect with nature
  • Say out loud to yourself –  five things about yourself that you are grateful for
  • Do something nice for someone without their knowledge
  • Cook a wholesome meal for yourself and your family
  • Hug your loved ones often and tell them you love them
  • Perform an act of kindness for a stranger
  • Visualise yourself in Jannah 

If you feel confused about whether you are pursuing material and physical happiness or whether you are living joyfully, the one question you need to ask yourself is “Is what I’m pursuing pleasing ALLAH or pleasing people?” 

Choose to please ALLAH and ONLY ALLAH. Do what feels right. Listen to your heart…it knows. When you please people, you fall in the trap of material and physical desires…temporary happiness. But when you choose to please ALLAH you experience joy.

Always remember, you are not your experiences. You are the FORCE that overcomes them.

Join the Muslimah Mind Matters email list to receive your FREE YouTube access for the first module from the Joyful Muslimah Online Program

For more inspiration, check out the YouTube Channel for Muslimah Mind Matters

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The Dangers of Personalising Everything

written by Princess R. Lakshman

Are you easily affected by people’s words? Do you retaliate and give a nasty comeback? Do you find that sometimes people’s comments are able to ruin your mood and frustrate you? Do their words play in your mind over and over, affecting you for the rest of the day or week?
When you operate on a reactionary mode, your default setting is to react. Anything that is said to you and done to you, no matter how small, will trigger you in some way so that you produce a reaction. Most times, these reactions are in the form of damaging thoughts. These thoughts can play over and over in your mind and slowly you begin to accept them as your reality. Assumptions about yourself and others are formed in your mind as a result of these recurring damaging thoughts.

These reactions from you perpetuate your habit of personalising everything that happens to you and around you. You become sensitive to even a harmless comment. I struggled with this for years. Even a simple comment like, “You look tired” was enough to make me feel useless and a failure. I was taking everything as a personal attack and felt that I had to constantly defend myself. My reactions ranged from aggressive outbursts to passive-aggressive gestures. I lost faith in the goodness in people, thinking that everyone was critical about everything I did and no one was ever acknowledging my hard work.
I failed to understand that the only one attacking me was me. The only person critical of me was me. The only one doubting my abilities was me. All because I had chosen to personalise external factors and allow them to shape my reality. I was completely disconnected from my internal compass, my intuition.

ALLAH has blessed you with a mind with immense potential. You have the ability to use your mind and become aware of these damaging thoughts the moment they begin to occur. Once you do, you will shift from the default setting of reactions and begin operating from the mode of response. This mode requires you to understand that what is said to you by people and what is done to you by people are only one aspect of your life.  HOW YOU RESPOND TO THESE WORDS AND ACTIONS governs how your life unfolds.

How To Respond To Triggers
ALLAH has blessed you with a mind to articulate your response in any situation where you are being triggered, by doing the following:
1. Pause
2. Breathe
3. Listen
4. Observe your body while someone is speaking to you. Is it getting hot, sweaty, muscles are tightening, heart palpitations, shallow breathing, heavy breathing, forehead frowning, nose squinting, eyes narrowing? By observing these body sensations, you will raise your awareness that these sensory manifestations are your physical signs to guide you on choosing the appropriate response.

5. Make the choice to remove yourself from the triggering situation.

6. Understand that other people’s words and actions have nothing to do with your purpose in life.

7. Find a quiet space and breathe deeply. Drink water to hydrate yourself during these few moments of silence.

8. Close your eyes and spend some quiet moments thanking ALLAH for giving you the strength to choose calm over aggression.

9. Write your feelings down in your journal. Acknowledge them. Process them through journaling.

Always remember, you are not your experiences. You are the FORCE that overcomes them.

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For more inspiration, check out the YouTube Channel for Muslimah Mind Matters

Picture credit – pexel