Independent Press Award announces the 2019 Winners

Proudly, Sahar Aref’s book, Fourth Wife Free, comes Winner in the 2019 INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD in the category of ‘Women’s Issues’


Meditation enhances the quality of our lifestyle. It boosts your decision making skills because it improves how you feel, how you think, and how you interact with others and with the whole universe. Sessions of meditation rid you from stress; they help you clear your mind, relax, focus, and thus connect you to your inner wisdom and to the outer wisdom as well. Very beneficial to our minds and bodies, meditation can take one of us into a different world of peace and abilities while still living on earth. However, all the benefits of meditation, and much more, can be reached through another channel, namely, “Prayer.”

Prayer is more effective and more beneficial. Some people may find prayer more difficult for them and others are not ready to cultivate religious habits, for them, meditation will be more suitable. However, for those whose religious beliefs are at hand, they can always reap more benefits if they develop a consistent practice of prayer.

In every way, prayer beats meditation. Here are some points that explain how:

  • Unlike meditation, Prayer is more understood by people. It means a lot to them because it’s an important worship which fulfills their spiritual needs. Prayer fills the gap and carries you to peaceful areas in the vicinity of GOD.
  • Unlike meditation, Prayer touches faith which is situated in the Subconscious. The Subconscious is the most powerful side in human beings. When the Subconscious believes something, it turns it into reality. Besides, it is the only human side that can receive directly from the higher intelligence that GOD implanted in the universe.
  • Unlike meditation, Prayer is full of positive emotions, such as hope, such as trust in and gratitude to GOD, etc. Positive emotions energize people and put them on the road towards achieving things with skill and speed: Positive emotions work like fire in the straw.
  • Prayer is easier to perform and is more engaging to people than meditation.
  • Unlike meditation, Prayer strengthens the relationship between human beings and their Creator.
  • Prayer makes people feel more obedient to GOD and closer to collecting good deeds. The least this can do is to give people comfort, real happiness and a sense of fulfillment. Energy will definitely follow.
  • Prayer helps people reach their goals through direct asking. People can always ask GOD for what they want and if they couple that with taking the right action, most probably, they will get what they wanted or something better. In that sense, Prayer is a very successful tool for achieving goals.
  • People pray to GOD to ask for something then, what they prayed for realizes: this process of asking then receiving puts you on a higher level of trust, reassurance, confidence, and faith in GOD among many other positive things.

Nothing meditation achieves to people that prayer cannot achieve and in a much better way. Calmness, clarity, focus, better decisions, higher thinking abilities, being connected to your inner wisdom, being connected to the outer wisdom of the universe, etc., all of that and more can be obtained through praying.


November 12, 2018

Sahar Aref receives national recognition through the NEW YORK CITY BIG BOOK AWARD

Cairo — The NEW YORK CITY BIG BOOK AWARD recognized Fourth Wife Free by Sahar Aref in the categories of Religion non Fiction & Women’s Issues as a winner.

The competition is judged by experts from different aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters. Selected award Winners and Distinguished Favorites are based on overall excellence.

Fourth Wife Free, by Sahar Aref, falls in the categories ‘Religion non Fiction’ and ‘Women’s Issues.’ It challenges the assumption of polygamy being the ‘norm’ and the ‘solution’ for all society problems that prejudiced Sheikhs and their advocates disseminate.

“In 2018, we had true worldwide participation in our annual NEW YORK CITY BIG BOOK AWARD website  In our second year, book submissions were impressive as we collected from six continents: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America; cities such as Buenos Aires, Cairo, London, Moscow, New York; and across the United States.  Our NEW YORK CITY BIG BOOK AWARD program just proves great book content can be found anywhere on the globe, whether created from an individual author or a major publishing house irregardless what continent we find it.  With over 600 entries, and we feel this is just the beginning and happy to highlight these authors and books and share their achievements.” said awards sponsor Gabrielle Olczak.

Submissions came from the imprints of large traditional publishers such as HarperCollins and Random House; large independent press publishers such as Galaxy Press, Roman & Littlefield and Wiley; small press and independent authors such as Marti MacGibbon to Sahar Aref. 

Check 2018 Winners of the New York City Big Book Award at

We welcome all publishers and authors to submit books for competition at  

The Story Behind the Book

When I heard that extremist Sheikh giving his opinion about polygamy in Islam, I was still too young to challenge it and too naive to drop it from my mind altogether. I couldn’t accept it neither. I could never accept the idea that my religion would impose polygamy on me despite my refusal? How could the tolerant Islam that I had been brought up on be so oppressive to women? Didn’t Prophet Muhammad treat women with respect, kindness, and care? Something seemed definitely wrong!

For a while, I lived with the fear that that extremist opinion would turn out to be true but at the same time, I was ready to do whatever it takes to prove that it was wrong. It would have been much easier for me to meet words of hatred towards Islam said by some non Muslims than to meet an oppressive opinion said by a Sheikh who was supposed to be a help and an authority in knowledge.

There was no escape from living in tension for years until I managed to search for the whole truth about that topic. I had to find it out the hard way and walk through it all by myself because, thanks to that Sheikh, I suffered a lack of trust in most Sheikhs and those whom I could be trusted were unknown to me. So, I put my trust in GOD alone and started a long journey searching everywhere, in books, in media, in mosques, as well as through people’s experience and life’s wisdom.

It took me years to regain balance, to develop fair knowledge, and to build self confidence. When I reached a point of possessing satisfactory results out of my search, I realized that I owed that success to GOD’s care and generosity. They had never deserted me, actually, they were my real support and my motivator to keep going. The findings of my research were too many and reassuring. For example, there is no such thing as polygamy being “a religious must,” “the norm,” “The Solution” for unmarried women, nor a “destiny” wrought on them as that Sheikh said.

Was polygamy “imposed” on Prophet Muhammad’s wives? Of course not. It was a matter of acceptance and free will – they all agreed to be married to him despite polygamy and frugality and when they were given to choose once more by Quran verses, they chose him again. They were not a subject for coercion nor intimidation: everything was a matter of true choice; of acceptance or refusal; of using one’s own free will; and a matter of win/win situation.

A lack of marriage is not necessarily solved by polygamy for there could be as many solutions as there are cases of lack of marriage. Besides, GOD’s abundance is always present, He loves it when you ask Him for what you want and loves it when He gives you. All you need is to ask and to have faith in GOD’s compassion and generosity.