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Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women Paperback – February 17, 2012
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"[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
"[T]he stories transcend stereotypical conceptions with humor and heartbreak; which is to say, with humanity…the collection does not unveil repressed, obedient girls, but willful women whose search for love is at once complex and joyful." - The Brooklyn Rail: Critical Perspectives on Arts, Politics, and Culture
"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, 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 and Beyond Fundamentalism
"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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women
Though Islam is growing in America, one bumps up constantly against ubiquitous incompatibilities between Islam and Western culture. Nowhere is this incompatibility more prominent than in an American Muslim woman's search for a mate.
The stories in this book reveal the problematic position of American Muslim women who would like to get married. They must either make compromises, or take a hard line with respect to their religion, further limiting their chances for finding a mate in a society that is still composted of mostly non-Muslim residents. Some of these writers have shaved the edges off Islamic teachings , even to the extent of doing haram behavior, knowingly, deliberately. The instinct to find a mate and establish a family often takes precedence over familial and religious dictates regarding how to do so.
Islamic customs, which relied heavily on community relationships, now operate in an anemic facsimile of their original effectiveness. American customs for dating, sex and marriage, are not officially available to these women.To make matters worse, Muslim communities in the United States are composed of people from varying cultural and linguistic traditions. American Muslim women sit between a rock and a hard place; even men tiptoe across a loose tightrope when courting them.
When the Abrahamic religions were being codified, the human life span was much shorter. Young people did not have to navigate a prolonged period (named adolescence) between childhood and adulthood. Mating occurred at physical maturation. These days, physical maturation plays second fiddle to religious mores that were not written for adolescence or homosexuality.Read more ›
Any American or otherwise "Westernized" Muslim girl will be glad to read this and realize... we are not alone.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Muslim women are sexual beings. Finally they opened up and shared themselves. Very honest and candid book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Saeed
Each story is so honest and well written. I have yet to find a bad one and I am practically done.Published 3 months ago by Stef MA
Not very credible.
Surprised to learn that in Islam darker skinned women are less acceptable than lighter skinned ones. Read more
I really enjoyed this book. It is a great read and perfect for bus rides on the way to work.Published 5 months ago by shikina reid
Not sure what I was expecting but what a fun read! The stories are poignant, edgy, tight provoking and often surprising. Read morePublished 6 months ago by S. Tariq
I really liked it. I saw my past self and my fictitious characters in many of the stories. Human nature trumps races. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Papatia Feauxzar
Non-sense! This is a Deceptive book, probably written by a non-muslim hiding under a muslim pen name! Read morePublished 12 months ago by Khadija Miah
My friend is part of a Muslim book club, and this was the recommended reading for the week. She was shocked by the immorality in it, and maybe the book club wouldn't have picked... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Asiyah
Fantastic book, incredible stories. Thank you to the strong, wonderful women who shared.Published 13 months ago by Sarah