Listen free for 30 days

  • We Have Always Been Here

  • A Queer Muslim Memoir
  • Written by: Samra Habib
  • Narrated by: Parmida Vand
  • Length: 5 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (272 ratings)

1 credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
The Plus Catalogue—listen all you want to thousands of Audible Originals, podcasts, and audiobooks.
$14.95 a month plus applicable taxes after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy Now for $33.25

Buy Now for $33.25

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Tax where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

How do you find yourself when the world tells you that you don't exist?

Samra Habib has spent most of her life searching for the safety to be herself. As an Ahmadi Muslim growing up in Pakistan, she faced regular threats from Islamic extremists who believed the small, dynamic sect to be blasphemous. From her parents, she internalized the lesson that revealing her identity could put her in grave danger. 

When her family came to Canada as refugees, Samra encountered a whole new host of challenges: Bullies, racism, the threat of poverty, and an arranged marriage. Backed into a corner, her need for a safe space - in which to grow and nurture her creative, feminist spirit - became dire. The men in her life wanted to police her, the women in her life had only shown her the example of pious obedience, and her body was a problem to be solved. 

So begins an exploration of faith, art, love, and queer sexuality, a journey that takes her to the far reaches of the globe to uncover a truth that was within her all along. A triumphant memoir of forgiveness and family, both chosen and not, We Have Always Been Here is a rallying cry for anyone who has ever felt out of place and a testament to the power of fearlessly inhabiting one's truest self. 

“Gutting and redemptive, We Have Always Been Here is the story of one woman’s path to self-determination against every odd. Habib’s voice is sensual and mesmerizing, her talent fierce and necessary. A transformative reading experience.... Habib’s every word lifts off the page, vital and bright as a match being struck.” (Claudia Dey, author of Heartbreaker)

©2019 Samra Habib (P)2019 Viking

What the critics say

National best seller

Winner of Canada Reads 2020

Winner of the 2020 Lambda Literary Award

Longlisted for the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize 

Longlisted for the 2020 Toronto Book Award

We Have Always Been Here challenges so many received wisdoms on gender, faith and sexuality that its very existence in the world is cause for celebration.” (The Globe and Mail

“Habib writes through a lens of compassion, hope, and ever-widening circles of understanding.” (Quill and Quire

“I fell in love with this book. In prose as economical, crisp, clear, and truthful as poetry, Samra Habib offers a map of how we might learn to see and treasure one another and ourselves. In this way it calls to mind the works of James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, and Jane Rule. I predict that this book will never go out of print - it will become required and desired reading for people of all ages, persuasions, and backgrounds. How I wish I had had it to keep close to my heart when I was younger.” (Shani Mootoo, author of Cereus Blooms at Night

Featured Article: Audiobooks Like The Alchemist to Expand Your Horizons

The Alchemist is one of the most beloved releases of the past century, largely thanks to its allegorical lessons about following one’s dreams, living a satisfying life, and taking a journey of discovery about oneself and the world around us. Fortunately, there are many more titles that offer similar life lessons that can help us expand our horizons, learn about life, and see things from completely new perspectives. Take a look at our list of the best audiobooks to expand your horizons.

What listeners say about We Have Always Been Here

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    198
  • 4 Stars
    54
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    174
  • 4 Stars
    46
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    173
  • 4 Stars
    45
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating Listen

I listened to this every chance I got. I had heard about it through Canada Reads. I only knew a little about it so was slightly slow in the beginning but really helped tie the story together by the end. The narrator was easy and enjoyable to listen to. I do not know any of the authors native languages so they just sounded beautiful to me. A very captivating story of someone that inhabits many minorities we hear so rarely about.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a stunning memoir

I love reading memoirs and listening to people's stories of their lived experiences. But Samra's story particularly resonates with me as an immigrant, growing up in an Iranian Muslim family. I couldn't stop crying while listening to the last 2 chapters! well written, vivid descriptions

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Could Have Used a Bit of Fine Tuning

I thought this was interesting and I loved learning about being queer and an immigrant woman of colour. I liked a lot of the essays and stories in here, especially once Samra realized she needed to leave where she felt comfortable in order to find her true self - something I think a lot of queer people experience. However, I thought there were a few areas that could have used fine tuning to focus in on specific aspects since it was stories with a central pull and thread that you didn't have to "figure out" - it was right there for you.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Exactly what I needed

Navigating my own identity as a queer woman and a Muslim revert meant that I felt there was no place for me, mostly anywhere. It wasn’t until I found and completed this book that I felt secure in my existence, and a newfound drive to make myself heard. I don’t want to hide anymore. Thank you, Samra, for showing me that I can be fiercely myself and that my biggest mistake was second-guessing myself and my identity. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I didn’t know I needed it

I loved everything about this book. The author opened her heart to us in a way few are able to do. Highly recommend this book to ANYONE.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

If it could have only been longer

The valuable insights and Derek’s of the authors journey are enthralling and worth every word she wrote plus some. There is so much learning our society needs to do and she shines an important light on that learning while sharing her truth

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful

A beautifully written memoir. Ms Habib has an incredible talent for prose keeping the reader captivated. Highly recommend.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

so many challenges faced

she brought light to so many issues faced in society all through her own complicated lens

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

If you’re curious, you should buy

This was such a moving story, I loved it from start to finish. An amazing story about being a Muslim woman, queerness, artistic practice, being othered, being an immigrant. I couldn’t recommend it enough.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a beautiful listen to a life

I'm an hour in and am enjoying it very much. it's healing to hear the stories of us wonderful humans. it's amazing to me how much it ours my own life into perspective. the description of the author's life in Pakistan is beautifully textured, coloured, related. I feel like I'm there with the family's struggles and achievements and delicious meals. thank you so much to the author. so beautiful... a window of opportunity towards understanding the complex culture we create.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lannah E.
  • 2021-05-19

Wow.

I absolutely will never forget this book. This is absolutely a work of perfection that i believe everyone needs to read in their lifetime. This is such an important story and subject matter that everyone should be hearing and learning about. In almost every major religion we hear about queer people leaving the religion because they feel judged and misunderstood by people in their religion. We don’t hear enough of these stories from queer Muslims who may face the most discrimination for coming out to their Muslim community. I can’t say it enough that this story and others like it need to be heard and read and talked about. This book made me feel like I belong, I am queer and a former Christian so I felt a lot of fear about what would happen if I came out to the people at my church. This story made me feel like it’s ok to be who you are unapologetically, whether you stay in your religion or not. I have it 5 stars because it is a work of art and a very powerful story that would move someone even if they didn’t understand the repercussions of being queer in a predominantly hetero environment.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Linda H.
  • 2021-03-28

Blessed to have read this book

I had to read this book for class but I am so very glad I did. It is a very enlightening and touching book that reaches not only to your heart but your mind.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-11-15

This should be required reading

This is the kind of book that reshapes the way we see ourselves and the world. It carves out space for those of us who live on the periphery of the mainstream in every area of our lives. This is the book I wish I had when I was a teenager, and one I’m so grateful to have now. It was well-written and powerful. I’m so grateful for Samra Habib’s existence and the fact that she was courageous enough to share her life and work with us.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Evan
  • 2021-03-31

Required reading for Queers and Allies

This memoir was absolutely excellent. The story is well written and weaves through the many elements of Samra’s identity. It is also incredibly relevant and important during this time as western civilization faces a fresh wave of Islamophobia.

The narrator did an excellent job as well and the story moves at a crisp yet engaging pace.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Catriona Sofi
  • 2020-12-14

Beautiful story about Queer and Muslim intersectio

I loved this book! As a Queer Muslima, I'm hoping many more books like this are published in the future.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Shrewsie Shrew
  • 2020-12-08

Engaging memoir

I enjoyed listening to this memoir, the author is about my age and has lived a very different life from mine. Firstly this is a focused memoir, it's not about her entire life, it's about her immigration to Canada from Pakistan as a child, finding her queer identity, and rectifying that with her Muslim identity. She wrote the book after her photo portraits of queer Muslims were exhibited and garnered acclaim, as she realized that young queer Muslims might see her as a role model. I think this book is for everyone though. I was interested in her relationship with her mother-- healing that relationship after its many hurdles felt very familiar to me even from far outside of her specific experience. The narrator is excellent, and I enjoyed listening to this book. If you're looking for a similar memoir, All Boys Aren't Blue by George Johnson is about growing up Black and gay in the US.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maria Fernandez
  • 2020-09-24

Eye opening!

I think this should be a required read for everyone, very well written and giving voice to an unknown world for me.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-01-31

A great perspective

Nice to shed light on something that I did not consider much of prior. Nice to hear a voice and point of view from a specific minority.