Saffron – A Collection of Personal Narratives by Muslim Women



Wait for the right time… Take a time out for yourself. Not just a 5 minute breather, but a solid, cup of tea in hand, curled up under the blanket kind of time. You will need such time to delve into these stories. This book, like the spice it is named for, Saffron, embodies qualities of beauty, flavor and depth. It is the personal stories of 56 diverse Muslim women that are so resonant that many may be recognized as your very own.

Let me say how honored I am to be included among this group of brave, amazing and accomplished women and authors. In the writing space I am still finding my Shangrila, and some of these contributors are professional authors whose quality of work is what I aspire to. That my story has been included is testimony to how relatable this book is for not just Muslim women but for all women. The stories are curated by Dr Zaheera Jina who is also a contributor and the editor. Much thanks goes to her for the efforts in putting this together. All the proceeds for the sale of the book is going to the Caring Womens Forum and other deserving charities.

Saffron is the second in a series, the first of which is Riding the Samoosa Express, which was published in 2015. That Saffron was published a mere 3 years later is testimony to the wealth of stories in our community that need to be told. The stories in Saffron focus on real experiences – shared realities of life. Some of them are heart-wrenching and will have you gasping and needing to take a moment before you continue. Some are practical and loaded with life lessons and advice. But not all these stories are heavy and sad. Some are funny and light. They focus on the beauty of love and even the role of food in our daily doings. In fact, there’s a whole chapter on food and marriage, because lord knows, food is such an integral part of our Muslim lives.

In essence it is about understanding ourselves and our value as women. It is about empowering us to know who we are and the role we play in society at large. The first chapter opens with an essay by Saffiya Surtee titled “Living as Awliya”. Talk about a provocative opening. Her essay outlines the importance of being aware of your rights as a woman in Islam especially in relation to marriage. Too often we are muddled by love and convention to implement the rights afforded us as women. To draw up contacts and articulate our expectations. This alone is a must read for any young muslim woman about to enter into marriage.

There are practical tips and advice by women who have had their own experiences not dissimilar from what hundreds of other women have had, about in laws, self esteem, intimacy, baby making, parenting, cooking and more. I particularly enjoyed some of the stories about food… for obvious reasons I guess, haha.

The essay “Food in our Marriage” by Saaleha Idrees Bhamjee aptly describes the role of food in our lives. How inextricable it is from our daily machinations and how symbolic it is of our characters and relationships. Her essay is simply poetic and beautifully written. I found myself smiling through much of it as it reminded me of similarities in my own life and relationship with my husband. Safeera Kaka pays beautiful homage to the humble toasted cheese sandwich in her piece “Toasted Cheese Sandwiches”.

Other essays include intense accounts of marginalization within marriage. Brave women speak openly about intimacy, infertility and other subjects unjustly considered too taboo to speak about publicly. These accounts serve to make us realize we are so not alone. That hundreds of women walk these same paths and that we can learn from and support each other if we can find our voice.

Saffron is a book for all women. It will resonate with you more at varying times in your life. Such is the nature of the stories. There is something in there for everyone.

P.s. Pure coincidence, but I love how the cover of this book reflects the colours of my brand ?



I’m giving away 3 copies of Saffron to my readers. To stand a chance to win a copy, just comment below why you would want to read this book.

You have until 17 June to enter. You can also enter on Facebook or Twitter.
Only open to South African residents.

Saffron Hungry for Halaal


Can’t wait to win your copy? The book is available at various outlets and is currently retailing at R240. All proceeds go to charity. You can find it at:

Cape Town:
Exclusive Books Century City
Exclusive Books Cape Town Domestic Departures
Exclusive Books Cavendish
The Book Lounge
Clarkes Books

Exclusive Books O.R. Tambo Domestic Departures
Exclusive Books Bedfordview
Exclusive Books Killarney
Exclusive Books Rosebank Mall
Exclusive Books Clearwater Mall
Exclusive Books Brooklyn, Pretoria
Exclusive Books Menlyn Park, Pretoria
African Flavour Books, Braamfontein

Exclusive Books I’langa Mall, Nelspruit

Exclusive Books Riverwalk Shopping Centre, Gaborone




Zarena, you are the lucky winner of a copy of Saffron! Congratulations!
Thanks to everyone who entered.



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  • WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT! Zerena, you are the lucky winner of a copy of Saffron! We will be in touch via email with details of how to claim your prize. Congratulations!
    Thanks to everyone who entered.

  • I believe the book Saffron is an inspiration for both young and old as well as generations to come. It is a true eye opener and offers guidance to many paths one has either crossed or yet to experience. This is why I would be so happy to win a copy. Thank you to all the Women who have shared their insight and know that Saffron will be treasured.

  • I’m interested to gain insights into the worlds of women that are both similar and different to my own. The experiences that are different intrigue me most because they may give me insight into what’s to come 🙂 a set of tips and tricks, if you will. And of course, there is always comfort in knowing how much we all have in common.

  • I love to read personal narratives that I can identify with, and others that I can learn from, and I am certain that this book will fulfill on both these accounts. Besides, I really enjoyed Riding the Samoosa Express and I know that I will enjoy this one too.

  • Living as an expat in a country with many social limitations, you often find yourself marooned in your home for long periods of time and you actually start to become comfortable with being alone. Then when you resurface into society back back in your home country you sometimes forget how to ‘people’. Reading, absolutely everything, always makes me realise that we are all more alike than we tend to recognise and whatever books I’ve read have always been the best conversation starters to get back to ‘peopling’ and Saffron seems to be the right read to reconnect with the women I haven’t seen in a long time.

  • First and foremost, I love reading. Secondly, I love learning. I feel that this book combines the pleasure of reading and learning. I love listening to inspiring stories and stories from which lessons can be taken and implementing them in my own life. Real stories about real people and real emotions has always been something I’ve thrived on. I feel like this book embodies all these characteristics which is why I would love a copy of it.

  • I would love to win this book as firstly I’m am a bookaholic. 2nd, a huge fan of you D so I am keen to read your story. 3rd, I have started reading a lot of South African books of late and I am astounded by the quality of their writing and how well written their tales are. Muslim women definitely need a voice and this book sounds incredible.
    Fingers crossed for this..

  • We often read stories about women we can somewhat relate to however there is always some differences. Id love to be able to use this book as a reference/inspiration as I will most likely be able to relate to these women more then others.

  • I would love to win this book as i havent ever won anything! And because im 8 months pregnant with a 4&6 year old in tow with very little or no time for myself, hence will have an excuse to relax and have a good read…Insha Allah

  • As a revert and a childless second wife of 13 years i am constantly looking for something or someone to relate to and am hoping that the stories shared could possibly help.

  • As salaammu Alaikum
    I am a woman nearing my forties and have only now started coming into my own and realizing that I have a right to be me.
    I would love to read this book to hear other women’s stories of their lives.

  • As Salaamu Alaikum, hope you are well on this Mubarak day of Jummah.

    I would love to add this to my personal collection where by I can cherish these stories of Muslim, take comfort and draw inspiration from their stories.

    Insha Allah you consider my entry.

    Much Love & Dua’as

  • I have been through some tough times in the past and found that the people around me is what got me through. Some I have never met but read their life stories and it inspired me. I believe Allah swt brought them into my life to help me through. So I would love to read this book and gain some more inspiration to carry on.

  • As a 30 Something Muslim woman, I think that this book will put certain things into perspective when seen from a different angle. Sounds like a light hearted read 🙂

  • I have heard this book is a “must read”. A compilation of short stories describing different aspects of Muslim women’s lives definitely appeals to me. I would love to win a copy of this book.

  • Aslm
    This book sounds awesome.I would love to read it as I don’t have any children.Algamdulliah married for 30 years Shukr Allah.I am contented,but as you say the taboo that no one speaks about is so real,and to be able to connect to Muslim ladies the same as me would be awesome In Shaa Allah.

  • I would love to receive a copy of Saffron, largely because I want to gift it to my husband to read. Being the only male in our household, he finds it difficult to engage with us on a level dealing with our womanly woes and struggles. Although he strives to keep us a happy and warm family , he still seems to disengage when it comes to female whims and fancies..I would like for him to understand the female species on a more deeper level. Believe me he will read this book because he is an avid reader that keeps an open mind. He helped my daughter through her English Literature course at Varsity level BECAUSE he read her books together with her. Love this man

  • Your articled has peaked my interest in this book. I have been interested in the stories of women for a very long time and recently have been looking at the personal stories and journeys of Muslim women both locally and abroad. There are so many powerful stories of daily struggles, courage, commitment to faith and family and also just a vibrancy that so many (too often) overlook. There is so much more to us than meets the eye and this book is a wonderful and much needed vehicle of expression and a way to start changing the stereotypical narrative and uncovering the beautiful stories of Muslim women.

  • I would love to win this book, as it is for Muslim women about to enter into marriage. I myself am about to get married and I would love to have this book.

  • I would love to read what ordinary women like myself have to say so that I can relate to it

  • I ‘m curios to find out about the life stories of ordinary women folk in our communities. Women you has earned their right to be where they are today despite the hardships they gave been dealt. And amongst all the trails and tribulations, there is a lighter side to life. I want to know their stories.

  • i have never cooked with Safron and ive heard from my muslim friends its something to have

  • I want to read this book to finally read a narrative based on women that I can recognise and relate too… and gain insight into the mixed heritage I come from.