- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Beacon Press; 64386th edition (August 15, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807083836
- ISBN-13: 978-0807083833
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak 64386th Edition
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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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"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
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This is an important book for those who think all Muslims think the same way to read. Whether you agree with what the women say or not--and I imagine many people will not--at the very least it can show you that there are different views of Islam just like there are of Christianity and Judeism. Just like Christian liberals who think the church must change for its own good, these liberals talk a lot about how their love for Islam makes them want to shape it for the modern age. You don't have to agree with them, but you can feel their devotion to their religion and have to admire their strength.
Living Islam Out Loud is a challenge to pretty much everything--from conservative Islam to the prejudice facing Muslims from mainstream America. Love it or hate it, you can't ignore it, and that is a place to start from.
However, I do think readers should be aware much of the content described in the book probably isn't reflective of the opinions held by most Muslim American women. As another reviewer noted, most of the women in the book are activists working for a change in their communities in the face of what they see as oppressive or patriarchal attitudes. The positions taken by some on women prayer leaders in mixed congregations, segregation in mosques, sexuality and homosexuality, and even women in leadership roles are not issues many religious Muslim American women see as a 'problem' or anti-female and in need of reinterpretation. Many would most likely disagree with these authors' solutions, as I'm sure some of them might probably disagree on certain issues amongst themselves.
Hopefully with more honest and open-minded literature by Muslims like this book, Muslim men and women alike will at least be better aware of the 'reality' of Islam in America which we must deal with, whether one agrees with others' viewpoints or not. Hearing everyone's voice is the most important idea to take from this book.