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An Open Letter From My Heart to Yours: Widow at 32, 3 Deaths, and Ties to My Royal Heritage in Africa

by in Identity on 29th November, 2018

Every story starts with an introduction, a name, a place, and a country.

Royal roots

Mine is not about a country, not about coming to America, or even about coming to Europe.  It is about my life as a Muslimah, born and raised in Europe. My origins are Mauritanian, Senegalese, Malian and Egyptian.  I am from the Soninke culture. This story begins with my life as a princess, it is not a fairytale, even though at times,  in excruciating circumstances I would catch myself dreaming of living the life of a fairytale princess. I am not Cinderella, I am not snow white, not Ariel the Mermaid but Lalla, Lalla Magou Hadda Cissé.  Daughter of Prince Cissé Zakaria Ibn Kaine.

My father, Prince Cissé Zakaria Ibn Kaine, President of the Islamic Federation in Belgium, was born in 1933 in Ziguinchor, where my grandfather fought against the French colonial authorities in 1907.

On my father’s side, my father is a direct descendant of Dighna Diabé Cissé, founder of the royal dynasty of Ouagadougou and the direct 18th descendant of Khaya Makhan Cissé, last Emperor of Ghana. Not the current Ghana (but the Empire of Ghana ). Khaya Makhan Cissé was the last Emperor to convert to Islam in the time of the Almoradives.

On my mother’s side (Fatoumata Keita) my father is directly connected to the great emperor Sundiata Keita, founder of the empire of Mali.

This double imperial origin largely explains the princely, traditional title that is not incompatible with the Islamic or republican structures of different countries in the region. My father was always proud of our royal origin.  As a descendant of the empire of Ghana and Empire Keita, he dedicated his life to several causes, for the rights of Muslims in the West, in Africa and other parts of the world.  At home, he thought of us as always to put Allah (swt) first and to trust Him. As I grew older I started to understand what he meant.

He always used to say that the child of Adam as will always encounter difficulties in Dunya, the key is how you deal with it.

I always traced my life in a linear manner, I had this idea of how my life would be in my head,  by this age I would be married, with a beautiful husband, raising kids into our deen, who would be examples for our community like our prophet Mohammad (saw), leaving a legacy.  A legacy that would be a ticket to Jenna…

Allah (swt) answered the visions I had in mind, how my creator wanted it. Today I am an empowerment coach, a teacher (children between 12-18 years old), a health coach and a mum of two amazing kids alhamdullilah.  Before I reached this level I faced difficult trials like the loss of my father, the loss of my husband, and the loss of my brother.

Never would I have been thinking to be a widow at 32 and left with 2 kids two raise.Honestly, there were moments when I felt I could and would not be able to carry on. How could I dream again, when the person who was in those dreams was taken away?  I overcame the trials. I became spiritually empowered, this was where I found my healing.  I studied different healing techniques (social-emotional) and started my own coaching business to help women overcome their trials and find their truth.

A question I get asked all time is: “how did you it, how do you find the strength to continue’? My answer is: ‘Live your life the best as you can and seek the positivity in EVERY trial”.  Allah swt has a mysterious way to make us endure trials so we can be more whole. What I have learned in the past 5 years, is that life isn’t wrapped up in a bow, it is much, much more challenging. It has to be, otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth having.

Losing a husband

The story that I am living now started 5 years ago when I lost my  incredible husband. At first, I was anxious, and worried about my kids, scared to be alone, how would I live without my husband? How would I continue without him? I had so many questions, I felt lost. I directed myself to Allah swt and made dua to trust my destiny.  I accepted and I decided to SURVIVE and regain stabilization and peace in my heart, in my life, and my family. So I went to different recovery phases that helped heal me completely.

The biggest trigger was the transition I had to experience internally, going from being a married woman to a widow with kids. I ignored my anxiety, depression, panic, and stress for a year. Deep down I knew there was something wrong…I spent months ignoring the deepest wounds inside of me. The reality I once knew, was no longer real, I created my ‘own’ world. I didn’t make time to grieve. I felt I didn’t know who I was anymore.  Another part of me had died when I lost the second most important person in my life: my husband.


It wasn’t something very profound that helped me to seal the wound. I decided to heal with different therapists, anti-depressive medications were prescribed to me (I never took it). It was a time of transformations and internal transformations of grandeur that would elicit an identity shift. I had to find myself back and be the mother my kids deserved. In the throws of my darkness, I made dua to Allah swt asking Him to heal us, me and my kids. I asked Him to put the right people on my path that would contribute to my healing. I spoke to therapists, shaykhs, healers, life coaches, imams…they gave me precious advice and tools, to help restore my mind. I took steps even if they weren’t visible. I felt every single one.

I enhanced my spiritual connection with Allah swt. I allowed myself to feel the most deepest of feelings and the deep wounds I didn’t know I had.

Today I can’t describe what it is like to heal from things that were so deeply imprinted in my soul. When enduring the pain of this magnitude, you don’t always understand Allah’s plan or journey. He knows what is best for you. It is ok to be angry, disappointed, stressed, anxious …you are meant to do something with these feelings that are pent up deep inside of you created by Him. Keep in mind, that Allah (swt) is always here for us. Allowing yourself to be broken and letting Allah swt heal you, is when the healing begins, after full submission to the pain, and helplessness in acknowledging we can do nothing without Allah. Allah swt heals you while you work on yourself so that He can make you more whole. Real peace resides with the connection you have with Allah azawajal.

From my heart to yours.

Lalla Cisse

Lalla Cisse

Lalla Magou Hadda Cissé is an Afro-European from Mauritanian, Malian, Senegalese, Egyptian origin. Daughter of Prince Cissé Zakaria Ibn Kaine (1933-2003), President of the Islamic Federation in Belgium, was born in 1933 in Ziguinchor, where the French colonial authorities enrolled her grandfather in 1907. Her father is a direct descendant of Dighna Diabé Cissé, founder of the royal dynasty of Ouagadougou and the direct 18th descendant of Khaya Makhan Cissé, last Emperor of Ghana. On mother's side (Fatoumata Keita) her father is directly connected to Sundiata Keita. Founder of the empire of Mali. She is an empowering coach for women at Soul Empowered Women. She is also a teacher and writer. Born in Belgium, she received her degree in international communication (Birm University), translating and teaching. She is a mum of 2, a widow and also a schoolteacher. Lalla is working on launching an online academy to help women get their strength and discover their true purpose of life. Lalla’s goals are to help women live a full spiritual and intentional life beyond life's hardest moments.