Customer Review

17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A few gems, but otherwise disappointing, February 29, 2012
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This review is from: Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women (Kindle Edition)
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. And, instead of being about love, by and far, most of the stories are actually coming of age stories -- young women trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be -- young women caught between the world of their parents and their own world -- young women wanting to remain faithful to their religion and also wanting to find a compatible husband.

The diversity in this book shows up as diversity in the level of each woman's Muslim practice from very conservative to very liberal. At the extreme ends, there are a couple of gay Muslim stories and one of polygamy. But, like I said, all the stories seemed to feel the same after awhile. Maybe that is what the editors intended -- that is, to show how similar our experiences are despite our differences. But, unfortunately, that doesn't make for a very interesting anthology.

I'd say in total, there are four, maybe five, stories that are worth reading. My top four are "Leap of Faith," "Love in the Time of Biohazards," "Rerouting", and "It Will Be Beautiful." The fifth on my list is "The Birds, The Bees, and My Hole," if only for the scene in which the girl's mother describes the birds and the bees to her daughter.

In sum, although there are a few gems in the book, as a whole it was rather disappointing.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 6, 2012 11:51:49 AM PDT
syed saboor says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2012 4:02:38 PM PDT
Viola Chen says:
You are entitled to your own opinion, and you are free to write your own review of the book, which I see you have, but your comment is of no relevance to my review.

Neither lesbians nor feminists are "sicko". Please keep your hate to yourself.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 7:04:45 AM PDT
syed saboor says:
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Posted on Jul 26, 2012 10:27:23 PM PDT
N.A. says:
So silly to have your feathers soooo ruffled by a book that talks about people's experiences. I don't think you have the right to say who is a "real" Muslim and who is not a "real" one. That is so arrogant. You are not God to judge.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2012 5:12:18 AM PDT
syed saboor says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 9:13:35 PM PDT
justin case says:
I actually never read this book, but I liked your comment on this whole "you are not God to judge" I am actually a very pious Muslim and believe that a person can find a lot of feminists in our religion, starting from my own wife, unfortunately even though she wears a hijab (veil) there have been a couple of narrow minded Muslims who thought that she was just wearing it for fashion not because she prayed five times a day, performed pilgrimage, fasts, gives zakkat (alms to poor), she is very outspoken and headstrong which in no way clashes with our Islamic teachings, for we did have a lot of feminist women in our history like the prophet Muhammad's wife Khadija (that's a beautiful and sad love story). I do have to say this though, since I am from Europe; arranged marriages are VERY foreign to us Muslims, and I still don't understand the practice completely especially in this day and age. That said, my wife and I do love listening to stories of successful arranged marriages, and have so far only found one that ended in disappointment and the couple got a divorce after 15 years of marriage and four kids. My own love story is a miracle in itself. I lived in Bosnia for all my life and had a best friend for a girl, who was American-Bosnian she ended up asking me out on a date (Muslim date where you go to a cafe, walk down crowded streets, flirt (but no touching), go out with friends...that kind of thing) I accepted and after 2 years of blissful love and happiness and planning out every single detail of our lives, I couldn't wait to propose...I was 23 and she was 26 when we got married. I do believe that Muslims can get to know each other and court each other before getting married, but should never go by themselves in a room or test themselves with temptation. But it is important to get to know each other. I believe in the sayings of the Qur'an completely, that, by the way, also teaches us not to judge.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 3:43:33 AM PDT
syed saboor says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 3:54:54 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 22, 2013 2:59:10 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 9:42:06 PM PDT
justin case says:
I am very saddened by your reply, I believe Khadija was a feminist in her day, but that feminism in some ways has taken a back turn these days.
As I already mentioned I never read the book, I was replying to Viola to let her know about me as a Muslim and that not all of us Muslims are the same. She said she liked a love story so I told her mine. Islam does not accept homosexuality, but that is a subject I did not address in my reply. Again without any proof, as I'm sure you are aware of we cannot judge.

I would never tell you that you are not a Muslim even after you said that you support a people who committed genocide and ethnic cleansing on Muslims. For example a 5 year old girl was raped by 8 Serb men, so I cannot support their actions, but that is your thing and we will insha Allah all be judged by our words and our actions.

The Prophet saw said: "No one with the slightest particle of arrogance in his heart will enter paradise."

(After all Iblis was punished so severely because of his arrogance.)

A man remarked, "But a man likes his clothes to be nice and his sandals good." The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "Verily, Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Arrogance is refusing to acknowledge what is right and considering others beneath one." (Mishkat al-Masabih)

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace and salutations be upon him) said, " Should you become eager to mention another's faults, recall your own. " (Ar-Rafi)

He also says: "O you who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of any people make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do. " [Sûrah al-Mâ'idah: 8]

"Verily it is thy Lord that knoweth best, which (among men) hath strayed from His Path: and He knoweth best those who receive (true) Guidance." (Al-Qalam: 7)

It is narrated on the authority of Usama b. Zaid that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent us in a raiding party. We raided Huraqat of Juhaina in the morning. I caught hold of a man and he said: There is no god but Allah, I attacked him with a spear. It once occurred to me and I talked about it to the Apostle (may peace be upon him). The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Did he profess" There is no god but Allah," and even then you killed him? I said: Messenger of Allah, he made a profession of it out of the fear of the weapon. He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Did you tear his heart in order to find out whether it had professed or not? And he went on repeating it to me till I wished I had embraced Islam that day. (Muslim)

It is wrong for a person to accuse anyone else of something wrong except with full knowledge and tangible proof. It is forbidden to base a judgment against someone on hearsay, conjecture or suspicion.

All my life I have tried to be a good pious Muslim and nothing but good to others as prophet Muhammad SAW was, Currently I am learning Arabic. My mother is a Medresa Teacher and my dad an arabic translator, and yet I fear if I judge. We in Bosnia have been persecuted for our religion for many years and still we persevered and behind closed doors practiced Islam even if it meant death. So it is sad to hear another Muslim brother utter the words you did. Peace be unto you and Viola was correct in not replying you further. But again my comment was for her and not for you.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2012 3:49:51 AM PDT
syed saboor says:
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