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Maya Angelou's Birds And Words

I was 12 years old when I first read Maya Angelou's 1969 autobiography 'I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings'. Her words reflected the displacement and treachery you undergo as a young adult to understand the nature of life, and people. She was assaulted as a child, she has bitterly honest humour for her experiences, she's a devout Christian and recognised by presidents for her poetry and acting. But I like her for her character. Marguerite Angelou Johnson went from being a n*gger, to negro, to black, to African American, and yet she's still a woman of grace and a bad*ss intellect. Her poem Still I Rise took on huge political power with succinct words.

During an Oprah interview (I think in '08), Maya openly explained her outlook on learning life's lessons. As a Muslim I find great wisdom from Maya's literary history, more so from her personal challenges. If one could take only a cupful of her advice and attitude, one would do a great service to their own faith.

'I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'
— Maya Angelou

Link to this video: {http://youtu.be/JqOqo50LSZ0}



  1. Salam
    thanks for the article - maya angelou is indeed one wise person mashaAllah. btw, I only have discovered your blog some days ago, and wanted to say: mashaAllah :) inspiring, funny, very entertaining! lots of love from a sister in germany - keep up the great work!
    salam ilhaam

  2. Wonderful words from an amazing person - made my day!  Thank you!

  3. Wa `alaykum salam warahmatullah sister Ilhaam. Pleased and honoured to hear from you. For our Euro-Muslim work, check out {http://www.wearehere.eu/}. Feel free to pop back, I'll be making gingerbread cookies soon. Ramadan season is drawing nigh.
    May Allah bless you.


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