What is a Muslim? is a colorfully illustrated, musically rhythmic children’s book. It was written, illustrated and sung by a family of happy-going Muslims living in the United States. By supporting us, we promise to make more books which will make more kids happy with, and proud of, their Muslim identity in-sha-Allah.
What is so special about this book?
This book is skillfully illustrated by our ten year old daughter/artist Sousann and written by her father Ali, a long time student of religion and a nasheed artist. The nasheed is sung by a group of talented lead singers: Sousann (10 year old daughter), Marwan (11 year old great-nephew), Maha (8 year old great-niece) and Ayesha (6 year old daughter). There are no instruments played on the audio track. All the sounds were made vocally by Ali Elsayed.
Animated video and song of "What is a Muslim?"
Other than being a fun, colorful, musical and educational book, What is a Muslim? aims to teach children about the purpose of their Muslim identity. Most books on this subject, which one might find at the local mosque library, do a good job of explaining what the five pillars of Islam are, but they rarely mention the aims of practicing those five pillars. What makes our book different, is that it teaches the reader that being a Muslim is a vehicle for becoming a better human being; and, that practicing the five pillar should make us good, charitable, loving, peaceful and caring people.
Why we wrote this book?
We wanted Muslim children who read this book to feel a sense of happiness and pride that they are followers of this great religion. We also wanted non-Muslim parents or children who read this book to have a better understanding of who Muslims really are.
What’s with the singing?
Reading a book with illustrations is fun for kids; but, singing a book with illustrations is a marvelous experience! Kids learn and understand better with melody, rhyme, and rhythm. Ask any group of native English speakers to recite the alphabet, and a large number of them will recite the alphabet with the same rhythm that shares a melody with “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Studies have also found that singing together helps people form social bonds. Rhythm, rhyme, and melody aid memorization; using melody to teach helps students learn more effectively.
What Are Readers Saying about the Book
This book, written by a father/daughter duo, and is such an inspiration to young children. That's why both of my sons love it. My older son (9 y/o) looks at it and says, "A girl my age drew that?? She made most of this book?! Wow, kids my age really can do something!" My younger son (3 y/o) pulls it off his bookshelves every night -- the first book he wants me to read to him at bedtime. The text spurs him to say things like, "Mama, I'm a Muslim! I love to be a Muslim!" and to ask questions like, "Why do Muslims pray?" and "What is it to fast?" and "Why do hungry people cry?" He asks so many questions while looking at the beautiful illustrations which are perfect for kids, that the books becomes a great springboard to discuss other topics relating to religion, social awareness, and emotional intelligence. All from a very simple and straight-forward review of the 5 pillars of Islam. Wannabe Dervish
This is such a cute and concise book about what a Muslim should be like. I loved the themes of charity and being kind. Beautiful message and beautifully illustrated. My children love reading it and enjoy looking at the pictures. Mazen
What a treasure of a children's (and adults'!) book on Islam and Muslims. It covers the basic 5 pillars of Islam while also sharing the inner true teachings of Islam which are often ignored but are based on love, compassion and good manners. It also has a beautiful rhythm to it and easily captures the reader with colorful illustrations and a smooth flow of language and love. This book is perfect for anyone wanting to learn about Islam and Muslims, or for Muslims who would like to build self-acceptance and self-compassion in their children at a time when many muslim children feel scared and misunderstood. I have donated a copy of this book to my children's school and intend to also give some to the local libraries and schools around us. Get this book! It's worth so much more than the price listed and will one day likely be a collectible. :) Rana Sassi
My kids enjoyed it as you can read it and sing it as a nursery rhyme. Nice pictures and simple to read. I hope to see more in this collection. Yahia Rph
My Islamic School students really enjoyed this book! Michelle Badawiyeh
In-sha-Allah not a one-off book
We are excited to tell you that we at "Itsy Bitsy Muslims" have many other books and songs in the works. What is a Muslim? is the first book of what we hope to become many books published by Itsy Bitsy Muslims. We are currently working on another children's book and song about the importance of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). By supporting this campaign, you would be investing in the future of "Itsy Bitsy Muslims".
This is a father/daughter project made possible through the support of a wonderful mother. Sousann Elsayed was only 10 years old when she drew the illustrations for this book. She was only a year old when her father wrote the unpublished text for the book she had illustrated. She is now 11 years old and her artistic skills have exponentially improved. As a homeschooled kid, she had learned all her skills from her mother Neda who is a great artist herself. As for her beautiful voice, her father Ali claims credit for that. Both Neda and Sousann will be working on future children’s book projects in-sha-Allah.
Ali Elsayed is a long time student/teacher of Islamic spirituality. He is also an accomplished nasheed artist/songwriter who writes and sings in both Arabic and English.