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Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women [Kindle Edition]

Nura Maznavi , Ayesha Mattu
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Romance, dating, sex and - Muslim women? In this groundbreaking collection, 25 American Muslim writers sweep aside stereotypes to share their search for love openly for the first time, showing just how varied the search for love can be--from singles' events and online dating, to college flirtations and arranged marriages, all with a uniquely Muslim twist.  

These stories are filled with passion and hope, loss and longing: A quintessential blonde California girl travels abroad to escape suffocating responsibilities at home, only to fall in love with a handsome Brazilian stranger she may never see again. An orthodox African-American woman must face her growing attraction to her female friend. A young girl defies her South Asian parents' cultural expectations with an interracial relationship. And a Southern woman agrees to consider an arranged marriage, with surprising results.  
These compelling stories of love and romance create an irresistible balance of heart-warming and tantalizing, always revealing and deeply relatable. 

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Love, InshAllah

"[P]ortraits of private lives that expose a group in some cases kept literally veiled, yet that also illustrate that American Muslim women grapple with universal issues." - New York Times

""[A] book that erases preconceptions of what it must be like to be a Muslim woman in this country, a book that strips off the traditional trappings of Islamic womanhood to expose the special strengths and vulnerabilities that lie beneath." —Washington Post

Love InshAllah [goes] to a place where few, if any, books have gone before. Lesbians, co-wives, converts to Islam, Shia, Sunni, black, brown and white: Every voice is unique. Collectively, they sing of strength, passion and love. One can't help but to sit back and listen, captivated." --Samina Ali, award-winning author of Madras on Rainy Days
"A beautiful collection that reminds us all not only of the diversity of the American Muslim community, but the universality of the human condition, especially when it comes to something as magical and complicated as love." --Reza Aslan, bestselling author of No god but God 
"Individually, the stories in Love InshAllah will entertain, educate and perhaps shock you. Together, they are a tribute to the collective power of storytelling, inspiring and empowering women of all backgrounds to claim ownership of their bodies, desires and dreams." --Firoozeh Dumas, author of Funny in Farsi and Laughing without an Accent
"Love Inshallah is an important book that America needs to embrace. It debunks many of the myths about Muslim-American women and their sexuality, which has been demonized, fetishized, and grotesquely misunderstood. Deep, funny, sad, revealing, and illuminating, this book will touch your brain, your heart, and perhaps several other organs." --David Henry Sterry, bestselling author of Chicken

About the Author

Ayesha Mattu is a writer and international development consultant. Her first book, Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women was featured globally by media including The New York Times, NPR, BBC, Washington Post, The Guardian, Times of India, Dawn Pakistan and Jakarta Post. Ayesha is an alumna of Voices of Our Nations and a member of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto. She is currently working on a companion anthology to Love, InshAllah and writing a non-fiction book about three generations of Pakistani Sufi women.     
Nura Maznavi is a civil rights attorney, writer, and Fulbright Scholar. She has worked with migrant workers in Sri Lanka, on behalf of prisoners in California, and with a national legal advocacy organization leading a program to end racial and religious profiling. She lives in Chicago.

Product Details

  • File Size: 457 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1593764286
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press; Original edition (February 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006VE7X9U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,678 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
By Sarah
(This review was originally published on my blog A Muslimah Writes)

With the very conscious agenda to dismantle stereotypes and perceptions about Muslim women and love, Love InshAllah gives a glimpse into the richness, plurality, and self-actualization inherent within American Muslim women's love lives. It holds the enormous potential to astonish both Muslim and non-Muslim audiences, albeit for different reasons. This post is one Muslim woman's reaction to reading about her fellow Muslimahs' love lives in this remarkably candid, courageous, and soul-stirring collection.

Love, InshAllah, at first, brought me face-to-face with a glaring prejudice I have unconsciously created about what for me is fair game for love stories.

When Bollywood started to produce movies that involved more explicit love scenes, I remember my best friend, the least prejudiced person I know, saying "Aurgh, I don't want to see that!" I chuckled: "So, what, it's okay if white people do that onscreen?" She tried to explain what she felt: "No, but that's brown people. That's us!" Thanks to the media's disproportionate portrayal of what particular acts should look like or whom they should involve, having intimacy is being acted out by people of "our kind" can be temporarily disorienting for even the least ideologically prudish Indo-Pakistani Muslim ladies like myself.

I confess that, on some level, that's what I was feeling when I read Love, InshAllah. It's one thing to know, abstractly, that those stories are out there. Before reading this collection, I did know about gay Muslimahs, about the niqabis who have multiple sexual partners, about Muslim children having to live dual lives because they could not conform to their parents' standards.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique yet relatable January 21, 2012
By Rima
I must admit that I was expecting some typically similar and sugar-coated
stories with cheesy endings (yawn). To my surprise, each story was
strikingly unique, heart-felt, and honest. Most importantly, the stories
were well-written and captivating. Once I started reading the anthology, I could not stop.
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A few gems, but otherwise disappointing February 29, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a non-Muslim American, who likes to be generally worldly and culturally sensitive, I was drawn to this book because I love love. Love is one of the most universal human experiences; it is powerful enough to breakdown boundaries and unify people of all different backgrounds. With this book, I was ready to be charmed by some love stories and to be enlightened about the Muslim-American experience. Instead, I should've prepared myself to be disappointed.

Before I purchased the book, I downloaded the Kindle sample and was immediately drawn into the first story, "Leap of Faith." It is what I think of as a traditional Muslim love story, one in which the marriage is arranged and love doesn't necessarily come before marriage. An arranged marriage may seem very foreign to non-Muslim and non-Indian Americans, but, as this story depicts, love can prevail. This young woman's heartwarming story makes you believe that love can appear anywhere, even in arranged marriages; you just need to take that leap of faith.

This first story prompted me to purchase the entire book of some two dozen stories. Unfortunately, not all of the stories are as good as the first one. In fact, many are not good at all. Despite the fact that the editors sought diversity, the stories all seemed to meld together for me after awhile. Most of them are very forgettable and not particularly well-written. A few stories aren't about love at all, but rather lust. Other stories end abruptly, leaving you feeling unresolved and shortchanged.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whoda Thunk? January 21, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I never would have thought I'd so appreciate and enjoy the memoirs of all the contributors to this anthology...i'd recommend it all the 'manly men' who normally wouldn't give this book a second glance. Actually, most of the men in these stories make us look pretty darn good! And, of course, the women---they are compassionate, loving and brave to let us peek into their hearts.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
I'm really glad to have read this book. These essays are meaningful, poignant, and powerful. I'm so grateful for these glimpses into the lives of American Muslim women, all of whom feel to me now like cousins I'm glad to finally know.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to read it again and again. August 18, 2013
By A. E.
Format:Kindle Edition
As a 20something year old, Arab-American girl who has grown up as a Muslim in small-town, USA... I love this book. I made my sisters and mom read it, too, and they loved it. Each story is unique. It warmed my heart, startled me, and made me a little uncomfortable (that's a good thing.)

Any American or otherwise "Westernized" Muslim girl will be glad to read this and realize... we are not alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insights. February 5, 2014
American Muslim women have to face much intersectionality in life, which includes race, religion, culture, gender, and sexuality. A crucial intersectionality is religion as Muslim women may face conflict as a result of following the Islamic faith in a Western nation where many Americans do not understand the religion and they therefore construct allegations of Muslim women’s oppression. These allegations stem from many Americans continuing to believe that Muslim women, because of their religion, are forced to “wear hijab, and are not allowed to work outside the home or mix freely with men” (Shehzad).

These allegations of Muslim women’s oppression due to the Islamic faith has led Westerners to convince Muslim women to adopt Western lifestyles, values, and norms in order to escape such oppression. As Laila Alawa stated in response to this in the Huffington Post, “I am a proud Muslim-American woman, and I am tired. I am tired of being told that I am oppressed. That I have no voice. That I need to be liberated” (Alawa).

Thus, this illustrates the conflict American Muslim Women have as they struggle to balance the perceptions that others have placed on them, their own perceptions of themselves, the norms of America, and the values and beliefs of the Islamic faith and that of their home countries. These intersectionalities are especially crucial of American Muslim women in relation to sexuality, romance, dating, and marriage.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing stories that attest to the diversity of American Muslims and...
I can't recommend this enough to anyone who wants to know more about this topic.
Published 20 days ago by Sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book as a non-Muslim seeking to learn more
So many interesting voices talking about real issues for Muslim American women. Loved this book as a non-Muslim seeking to learn more.
Published 1 month ago by Melissa Jo Sites
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
What I like about this book is that it's real and relatable! People seem to think Muslim women aren't like non-Muslim women which can't be further from the truth. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kay
5.0 out of 5 stars I do recommend this book.
For once Muslim women speak out about their lives.
Published 2 months ago by Stephanie E. Horn
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I am a convert and this helped me out very much hearing all of these different, challenging stories. I know I am not alone in my struggles.
Published 4 months ago by daniele
2.0 out of 5 stars I was looking for something a bit deeper and more ...
I was looking for something a bit deeper and more well written. This did not hold my interest; nothing special about the subject matter or the style and skill of the writers.
Published 5 months ago by NIa-Alyese R. Boyd
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insights into experiences that allowed me, as a...
These are heartfelt and honest love stories of negotiating the human experience of finding love within each woman's unique and personal understanding of and devotion to Islam.
Published 7 months ago by Jax
3.0 out of 5 stars This is not easy. I was looking for a serious analysis of ...
This is not easy. I was looking for a serious analysis of challenges in being Muslim in America and it is not that. Read more
Published 8 months ago by ellen fike
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 9 months ago by Kevin
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
Deliciously candid, a glimpse behind the veil of mystery showing that these women are, in fact, individuals with their own desires and aspirations. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Sameena
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