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Create a Fabulous Bookshelf

Style your bookshelf to reflect your personality following this handy guide by Nadia Ali.

Be the owner of a personal Islamic bookshelf, comprising of literature, periodicals, multimedia and, of course, your collection of SISTERS magazines! There’s nothing more rewarding than shelves of books that offer different areas of Islamic learning readily available at your fingertips. So, gather all of your reading material and create a bookshelf to be proud of. A bookshelf is an ideal place to maintain order and function without having to lift a pile of books from place to place. As Muslims, we are taught the value and importance of books and instructed to read – so, iqra!


For Your Choosing
Before you start to pick out a bookcase, think about the available space in the room that it is going into. What is the present décor like? Pay attention to the area it will occupy and bear in mind that you want your bookshelf to be simple and modest.

Ensure it suits the your existing furniture. Think about the height, size and shelving, as well as the type of books and bits and pieces you want to display on it, before going out to buy something.


Then decide upon the style, material and colour of the bookcase. The shelving style can be fixed or adjustable, with or without doors with glass so you can read the spine of the books without opening the doors. Would you like it to be made of elegant wood, sturdy plastic or a shiny metal frame? Earlier bookcases were made of oak which were then embellished with carvings to hold the handwritten parchment-paper bound books. Some of the oldest bookcases that are representative of this can be found at the celebrated Bodleian Library at Oxford University, England.


Be Creative
Now that you have your bookcase, focus on three key words – simplicity, modesty and symmetry. A simple way to add flair to your bookcase is by positioning your books to lean in a certain direction, either right or left. It can add emphasis to a well placed Islamic item, like a decorative plate. By using a variety of objects such as artistic pieces, bookends and vases, you can easily add creative flair. Colour can be used to create an interesting visual appeal by either grouping books of the same colour together, or even contrasting colours.


For your collection of SISTERS magazines and other periodicals, use stark white cardboard boxes to add contemporary flair. And for those who want to bring some greenery to their bookcase, you can use small potted plants. Choose plants that do double duty –  plants such as the Miniature Date Palm, Peace Lily and ferns not only look pretty but also purify the air. Alternatively, you can use some small plastic plants.


All Important
Of all the books that will take their places on your bookshelf, none will be more important than the Qur’an. Ensure there is a special, clean place where it can be respectfully kept with its pages closed (so no dust gets on the chapters or verses) and with nothing placed on top of it.


Once you have accessorised your bookcase, stand back from a distance and look at it. Does it appeal to you? Don’t forget that if you have children, you can put picture books on the lower shelf so that they can easily reach their reading material. It really doesn’t take much effort to make a visually stunning bookcase that houses your personal collection of books.


So, instead of lugging around piles of books or, worse yet, not being able to find the book you are looking for, invest in a bookcase to store and display your books stylishly.


As Muslims we are taught the value and importance of books and instructed to read.


“Read. Read in the name of thy Lord who created; [He] created the human being from blood clot. Read in the name of thy Lord who taught by the pen: [He] taught the human being what he did not know.” (Al-Alaq: 1-5)


Nowadays, with so much material to read it is much easier to gain knowledge, learn and educate ourselves. So, go ahead and be the owner of a fabulous bookshelf that will encourage your household to develop the habit of reading.


Nadia Ali is a freelance writer born in London, UK and now living in the Caribbean. Her work has been published both online and in print. She is the author of “Alhamdulillah! For My Mommy,” a picture book for kids of all ages which is available from Creative Education and Publishing Company. You can contact her at nadiafreelancewriter@yahoo.com.