Atiya Hasan

I am the only daughter amongst three sons to Indian-American immigrants, a final year medical student in Central Asia, the Editor in Chief at Brown Girl Magazine and a self proclaimed chocoholic.

DSC_1322 Enhanced

Who are you?

Always a difficult task to describe myself in a short paragraph. Especially, when I’m still figuring out so much about myself every single day. I am the only daughter amongst three sons to Indian-American immigrants, a final year medical student in Central Asia, the Editor in Chief at Brown Girl Magazine and a self proclaimed chocoholic.

I have seen my parents struggle and work hard so their children can achieve the American dream that I see reflected in their eyes when they look at us. My older brother has made them proud and is currently completing his final year of medical residency. My younger brother graduates this month with a bachelors in Software Engineering and has already joined a Masters program. My youngest brother graduates from high school this June as well. May Allah bless them all and give them success in this world and the hereafter.

And what about me? I’m headstrong about finding my own path in life. I’ve found my two great loves: medicine and writing. Yet, the bane of my existence is staying true to them both without betraying the other. So until I can figure out what path Allah and my future hold for me, I work hard to satisfy my  need to have both in my life.

Other than that, I love good company, a stimulating conversation and friends that keep you grounded.


Give us your favorite quote and tell us why it means so much to you:

“What you seek is seeking you” – Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

This quote is very close to my heart because it’s a reminder to me that the only thing we can control is our own actions and reactions to situations. Everything else is under Allah’s control and to stress and burden yourself over things that are happening to you, when you can do nothing about it, is meaningless.


Islamic Perspective:

What Ayah of the Quran do you hold close to your heart? Why?
“After Hardship Comes Ease” (94:5)
I don’t just love the meaning of this verse but the imagery it evokes: after night comes day, calm after storm, etc.

What Hadith do you wish more non-Muslims knew?
All of the hadith having to do with the mothers of the believers! They played such an integral part in the spread of Islam and, not just non-muslims, even many Muslims don’t know about their accomplishments and the inspiring lives they lived! Also, the hadiths that have to do with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) showing his affection towards his wives. They show such a gentle and soft side of such an extraordinary man.

The “Ten”:

1. What is your favorite book?
Currently, “Painted Hands” by Jennifer Zobair. I love the diversity in the characters and how relevant they are to the different Muslim micro-cultures in America

2. Who inspires/inspired you?
Something I’ve been focusing on lately is finding inspiration in all kinds of people and the lives they have lived no matter how different it may be from my own. Taking these new lessons and blending it into my own being.

3. What is the best lesson your mother/mother figure taught you?
Always keep trying. Never give up. If you give it your best, Allah will give you the best.

4. What advice would you give your 13 year old self?
Please stop being annoying. Just kidding! Accept yourself as who you are and be happy with it.

5. What are your hopes for your daughter and son?
That whatever they choose for themselves, they excel at it and benefit those around them. That their success is not only for this world but equally for the hereafter.

6. What is the biggest trial you went through in your life and how has that changed you?
There have been quite a few trials in my life and most have to do with the speed bumps I faced while trying to complete my medical education. The biggest impact, however, was when I was diagnosed with Tuberculosis at the age of 20 while living in Central Asia and being told day after day that I was going to die if I didn’t return to my parents soon and get some treatment. All this even though, I felt completely fine and had no physical symptoms. That was when I looked my mortality dead in the face and realized the fragility of life. It was definitely a defining moment in my life.

7. Any regrets? What’s something that you wish you’d thought about more before you did it?
I have a strong rule against having regrets. Everything happens for the best, the fact that you made it through is what matters. So I try to never regret anything, only look back and remind myself of the lessons that I learned.

8. How do you stay grounded in your work and/or spiritually grounded?
It’s not easy to stay spiritually grounded living so far away from home (Houston, TX) and family but I’m blessed to be currently living in a post-soviet, newly Muslim country that is known for it’s beautiful snow covered mountains in the winter and the scenic flowering greenery in the Summer. It’s a constant reminder of the verse, “And which of the favors of your Lord do you deny” (55:13)

9. How do you bring about real change?
As the Editor in Chief of a magazine for South Asian women, I hope to make women feel more comfortable with who they are and create dialogue to help eradicate the intra-racism. An issue that affects not just South Asian cultures but also many Muslim cultures. Also, I hope to create a very positive environment where women feel safe sharing their personal stories of struggle and triumphs, a place where women can be each other’s greatest champions.

10. What do you hope to be remembered for?
It is not important to me that I be remembered but I do hope that the space I am helping create that gives women a voice and a platform is remembered as a step forward into a better and more inclusive world

Video Message from Atiya:




More About Atiya: