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Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak Paperback – August 15, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0807083833 ISBN-10: 0807083836

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Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak + Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out + Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (August 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807083836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807083833
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Muslim activist Abdul-Ghafur edits this book of essays and poems, all related to the experience of growing up Muslim and female in the United States. Two of the best and most absorbing essays come from African-American women: Khadijah Sharif-Drinkard, who grew up in Harlem and became a successful corporate attorney and public servant, and Precious Rasheeda Muhammad, who describes her childhood in the Nation of Islam as a dynamic, educational experience. But the tone of some of the other contributors can be whiny. Many seem marked by tragedy, varying from things unrelated to Islam (having an autistic child) to tensions arising from ethnic cultures (marrying a non-Muslim, enduring abusive semiarranged marriages). Some of the authors engage in vague spiritual discussions about the omnipresence of God and compare Islam to a forest, with male chauvinism being the weeds in the forest, but their ideas are too abstract to enhance one's understanding of Islamic spirituality. As with many anthologies, there is some repetition of ideas, not only within the book itself but also echoing themes from the authors' previous writings. Although the contributions are uneven, this anthology opens the door for other writers to explore the important and understudied topic of Muslim American women. (Sept.)
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Review

"These are precisely the kinds of women whose voices we need to hear." —Leila Ahmed, Harvard Divinity School

"From the Islamic Bill's of Rights for Women in Mosques and in the Bedroom to the call for the Divine Feminine in Islam, this book reveals the diverse, complex, ambiguous, brilliant voices of women who are at once American and Muslim."—Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues

"This anthology presents the best of the new generation of American Muslim women." —Imam Rauf, author of What's Right with Islam

"A rich mosaic of experiences from passionate women that challenge us to redefine our understanding of Islam in general, and American Muslim women in particular. Grade: A" —Candice Levy, Girlfriends

Customer Reviews

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I was drawn by the honesty with which each contributor told her story.
Rasheedah
The vast majority of Muslim women are not oppressed and are not closet lesbians, but are god-fearing women who want families and want marriage.
syed saboor
As a non-Muslim, I appreciated the perspectives of the contributors to the book.
S. Simmons

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Khabira Abdullah on July 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
Living Islam Out Loud is an extraordinary collection of coming of age stories of American Muslim Women. The stories are intense, inspiring and powerful. This book provides an intimate and honest look how out-dated cultural and religious values have an enormous impact on the self image and life choices of young women. The women in this book illustrate the courage it takes to stand out on their own and find a personal relationship with God outside of the limitations of oppression and sexism. This book is an ideal representation of many American born Muslim Women and the obstacles we must overcome to find our place in Islam. Living Islam Out Loud is a remarkable vehicle for individual and international change in the Islamic world.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By lanoitan on August 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
I wanted to find out how Muslim women in the USA live their religion. For me, therefore, I didn't want to only hear from Muslim feminists rallying for their cause. I wanted to also hear from American Muslim women who were satisfied with the way they lived their religion here in the USA and what they liked about their religion and why Christianity didn't seem fitting for them. I didn't get that. And many of the chapters simply seemed like "rah, rah, let's change this and that!" It was like going to a political rally for one side. I didn't feel like I learned a heck of a lot.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By T. Sciacchetano on July 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a groundbreaking compilation of stories by American women. These beautifully written essays break down stereotypes. I particularly enjoyed Y. Fazili's chapter about falling in love.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Simmons on September 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed Living Islam Outloud: American Muslim Women Speak. As a non-Muslim, I appreciated the perspectives of the contributors to the book. Too often Americans view Muslims in a negative, one-dimensional manner and categorize Islam as a "foreign" faith. It was gratifying to hear the stories of these women. Their perspectives help to debunk myths about Islam and show the multi-dimensional aspects of their lives. Their testimonies prove that Muslims are part of the fabric of American society.
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Format: Paperback
Drawn from the first generation of American Muslim women who have identified as being both American and Muslim comes a guide which gathers their diverse voices under one cover in order to present their views of how they live Islam within in a predominately Christian country. Reflections on God, religion, secularism and friendships both within and outside the faith provide unique first-person reflections on how Islam is lived in daily life. Living Islam Out Loud is simply a 'must' for anyone who would understand how these Muslim women practice their traditional faith within the social and cultural context of the every changing, secular, modern, non-Islamic world of America.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By George Eliot on September 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book isn't very representative of most Muslim women in America or the issues they face and consider important. I've been a Muslim since I was 10 and have lived in two different cities. Of all the Muslim women I have met, none really cared about being an imam, including Muslim women raised in the US all their lives (that's a majority of the Muslim women I know). None have ever wanted to lead a mixed gender salat. We realize that some brothers do have a rather patriarchial understanding of Islam but we try to change from within the framework of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. That's why we're Muslim. We believe that the Qur'an and Sunnah should be our ultimate guide. Too many of the women in the book seemed to have an utter disregard for the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Fornication is wrong according to the Qur'an and Sunnah and there is no way to justify it as a Muslim. Homosexuality is wrong according to the Qur'an and Sunnah and there is no way to justify it as a Muslim. Hijab is mandated in Qur'an and Sunnah and it is mandated for Muslim women to marry Muslim men in the Qur'an and Sunnah. Somehow the essayists of this book missed these points.

In addition, I didn't find any of their suggestions (which weren't many) to be revolutionary. Asra Nomani says their need to be more women on the board of directors of masjids as if there aren't any masjids in America where there are women on the board. My mother has been on the board of her masjid for quite some time. In addition, she chairs two other committees. Most of the women who my mother has befriended also hold leadership positions and are working, professional women.

Many of the essays seemed like whiny tirades about mistreatment and abuse that may or may not have been the result of a warped interpretation of Islam. Frankly, many of their issues can be seen in any culture, Islamic or not.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am not Muslim but I enjoy learning about religions different from my own. I thought I already knew a lot about Islam but this book taught me some new things. It is a book written by various influential muslim women telling their stories. The stories are separated into sections based on what they are discussing. I especially liked the essays on love, marriage and sexuality. I learned reasons why some Muslim women wear hijab and some don't. There are many reasons actually, all of which make sense to me. I don't know which choice I would make if I were Muslim. I learned that Islam does NOT allow their men to beat their wives as many mistakenly believe. I learned that Muslim women can get a divorce. I learned how hard it is to be Muslim and Homosexual. I learned the difference between American Muslims and Muslims in their home countries. I learned alot that I didn't know and this book made me want to interview Muslim women here in Canada to hear about their lives.
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