LAYLA Journal Volume 5 Submission Guidelines

In the Name of Allah the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful

By the grace of Allah, we are pleased to announce that submissions for Volume 5, Muharram Edition: Youth of Karbala are now open! Still wondering what LAYLA Journal is? Read about our last issues here! Otherwise, continue reading on below to get your entry ready!

Overview | Submission Criteria | Resources | Submit

>>>> SUBMIT HERE! <<<<


Submit, poetry, art, and short stories inspired by Hadhrat Ali Akbar, Hadhrat Qasim, Hadhrat Aun, and Hadhrat Muhammad and the importance of performing your responsibility in your youth. You can write about these personalities or reflect on what Karbala means for the youth of today.

Submission deadline is midnight on July 4th, 2019.

You can reflect on what it meant to be a youth in this time, on taking on the responsibility of standing on the side of truth. The relationships that these youth had with their families, and standing with the Imam of their time was not easy. The respect that Imam Husayn (a) gave to these youth is reflected in his interactions with them, which is where we find the profound answer of Hadhrat Qasim that death “is sweeter than honey.”

You can choose to portray the lives of these personalities, or delve into the challenges of the youth today and how they relate to the tragedy of Karbala in your own way. For example, you could reflect on how interactions between youth and their families should be based on the lessons of Karbala.

We encourage you to write using authentic resources, some of which we have provided below. Since we are dedicated to using accurate resources, we will not be accepting works that mention fabricated events related to Hadhrat Qasim’s marriage.

Submission Criteria

You can submit art, poetry, or a short story. You can submit one piece to each section. For example, you can submit, an art, poetry, and short story submission, but not 3 poetry submissions. All work is judged anonymously.

We give preference to concise works. Download this document in to check how long your entry is on the page size of the journal. Please ensure your submission is PROOFREAD for grammatical errors as much as possible and on theme. Unedited submissions will be automatically rejected and sent back to the writer for possible resubmission.

Poetry Submission Criteria:

  • Poets original work
  • No grammatical errors
  • Two columns max per page
  • Word Count max ~450 words
  • Max page count 2 pages (Download this document for page size)
  • Accepted file formats: pdf, docx, rtf, txt
  • Must adhere to the theme
  • Must be well-researched and Islamically accurate

Short Story Criteria:

  • Writers original work
  • No grammatical errors
  • Max page count 2 pages (Download this document for page size)
  • Accepted file formats: pdf, docx, rtf, txt
  • Must adhere to the theme
  • Must be well-researched and Islamically accurate

Artwork Criteria:

  • Artists original work
  • CMYK
  • 300dpi
  • 1 pg per Art piece
  • Accepted file formats: png, jpg, pdf
  • Refrain from drawing the faces of the Ahlul Bayt and their companions
  • All types of STILL visual media can be submitted (ex: illustration, photography, calligraphy, paper quilling, etc)
  • Must adhere to the theme
  • Must be well-researched and Islamically accurate


We encourage you to write using authentic resources to learn more about the topic you choose to write about. We have provided some below:

Nafasul Mahmum, Relating to the Heart Rending Tragedy of Karbala’  

by Sheikh Abbas Qummi

Tears and Tributes

by Zakir

The Journey of Tears

You can find more sources on:

If you would like to support us more, send us feedback or donate here!

LAYLA Journal – Ramadan Edition – VOL. 2

“O you who have faith! Prescribed for you is fasting as it was prescribed for those who were before you, so that you may be Godwary.” (1:183)

(Want the journal with FULL art pieces, extra content, and printing options? Buy the $1 PDF here!)

Part I: Qu’ran

Ramadan Month-Spring of Qur’an-Preview – By Maham Syeda

The Qur’an Speaks – By Naimal Rizwan

Aqidah-Preview – By Afsinah Abbasi

Alif Laam Laam Ha – By Rabab Jafri

Part II: Self-Struggle

Hamd-Preview – By Taahira Halim

Awakening Soul – By SZ

Beginnings-Preview – By Mariam Sarwari

A Secret Lamentation with God – By K.G. Ali

Untitled-Preview – By Zahra Ammar

At Wit’s End – By Murtuza Ali

Ramadan – By Alaa Abed

Happy Ramadan-Preview – By Panan Hamshow

From Darkness into Light – By Mohamed Bazzi

Ramadan Planner-Preview – By Reham Elghousen

Lost – By Reza Farishta

Ramadan – The Sacred Month – By Ghulame Ahle Bayt

Prayer Hands-Preview – By Sakina Ali

Part III: Religious Figures

Untitled-Preview – By Hassan Jafary

Nasheed for Imam Hasan (as) – By Ali Aboukhodr

The Luminous Qur’an-Preview – By Tahira Abbas

Fusto be Rabbe Ka’bah – By Soghra Fatima

The Mercy of Ali – By Sadiq Jafri

Masjid e Kufa-Preview – By Haider Ali

Ali – the Paradox – By Ghulam Hasnain

The Master – By Professor A.L.I.

Part IV: Al-Quds

Untitled-Preview – By Raazia Hussain

Carbon Footprint – By Maryam Hussain

The Land that Bleeds – By Batool Amin

Ramadan Vibes-Preview – By Mahnoor Ahsan

Gaza – By Taha Baig

Palestine on My Mind – By Imrul Mazid

Chainmail-Preview – By Fatima Ali

Editor’s Note – VOL. 2

In the name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful

By the grace of God, we are blessed with the honor of presenting volume 2 of the LAYLA Journal. This journal is a result of many poets and artists who took their time to submit their work. We want to thank all those helping behind the scenes, the family members and friends that act as sources of encouragement for us every day. We also want to thank all those who supported the making of this book in various ways, however small.

We put together this journal in the hopes of encouraging a culture of creative writing and art that encourages a love of true Islam in the West, one that does not need to be compromised. We hope that this journal encourages people to reflect on the holy month of Ramadan, and we tried to cover as many aspects of the month as possible. For this reason we broke this edition into sections: Qur’an, Self-Struggle, Religious Figures, and Al-Quds.

We hope to encourage a collective effort to focus on these aspects during Ramadan and throughout the year, both individually and collectively. We included Qur’an as it was revealed in this month and self-struggle as it is a part of both fasting and our intentions throughout the month. We included poetry on important religious figures to this month, and Al-Quds as a reminder that in Ramadan we should remember the oppressed around the world. We encourage you to share the poetry and art in these sections, with anyone you believe will benefit from them.

The culture of creating Islamic art and literature has been long established in other languages, but we hope that we can help create this culture in English. We hope this book encourages our readers to seek more knowledge of Islam, from resources that are much more researched and comprehensive, that are written by people that are much more knowledgeable. We hope, above all, that this small step helps create a longing for the Imam of our time and dedicate this book to him (atjfs).

Ramadan Month-Spring of Qur’an

By Maham Syeda

Maham Syeda is an undergraduate student from Toronto. She has an affinity for books. She also likes to write occasionally and keep herself up to date on geopolitics.

The Qur’an Speaks

By Naimal Rizwan

Oh Allah, I come to you to complain about your creation
They don’t give me any value
Even though you made me for their salvation
I wish to be read, understood and applied
But for months on end, my request is denied
My recitation is a way for their hearts to become clean
But when someone dies, they only open up Surah Yasin
Or on the night of qadr they place me on their head
But a life of ignorance they have led

There are so many treasures within me they could discover
But instead I sit on a high shelf, dust settling on my cover
Do they not realize I am a gift from the Divine?
But most people from me only know a few lines
Within my pages the secrets of mankind are kept
And this is why for so long I have wept
You have given this full package with everything enclosed
But to not accept it they have chose

I am one of the two things Rasulallah left behind
To them I should be a friend and guide but they pay me no mind
I want them to talk to me, with me their problems share
But I am left on the back burner without a care
Through me their souls they can elevate
And through me strengthened can be their faith
To their lives I can give serenity and peace
From troubles and tribulations them I can release

My contents are unchanged, in every way pure
For every disease or ailment I am the cure
But they twist my words
And to them wrong meanings they attribute
Not using their intellect, so such corruption they could refute
My wisdom is not only applicable to the past
But for an eternity my legacy will last
I contain knowledge about everything in the universe
If one would just study the exegesis of every verse

From philosophy to science, to social ethics
All of them I discuss in detail
Those who listen will succeed, those who don’t will fail
They were given opportunity after opportunity,
Chance after chance
They would have to eventually leave this world
They knew in advance
But they had no time for me in a 24 hour day, or so they claim
Then they are nothing in my eyes, only Muslim by name
And just as they did with me, from them my face I’ll turn away
I won’t be able to help them on Judgement Day

Naimal Rizwan is a servant of the Ahl al-Bayt and hopes her work can inspire others to embark on this beautiful path as well.


By Afsina Abbasi

Afsina Abbasi is a storyteller. She integrates storytelling throughout her body of work including art, design, audio and video. Her imperfect lines and quirky illustrations have become her visual style which appeals to her audiences and clients. She is a mother, a dreamer, a hustler and a life-long learner.