Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women
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Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women

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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  758 ratings  ·  122 reviews
In this groundbreaking collection, American Muslim women writers sweep aside stereotypes to share their real-life tales of flirting, dating, longing, and sex. Their stories show just how varied the search for love can be—from singles' events and college flirtations to arranged marriages, all with a uniquely Muslim twist.

These heartfelt tales are filled with passion and hop...more
Paperback, 290 pages
Published February 17th 2012 by Soft Skull Press (first published January 24th 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Arabian Rihanna
Poignantly disappointing.

I was expecting a few inspirational stories with the main focal point being Islam, but instead I read about breakups, new relationships, other relationships, more relationships, lust and maybe a story or two about love; I'm still not sure though.

I shouldn't have ignored the big red flag of "The *Secret* Love Lives of *American* Muslim Women". What was I thinking?

People always find stories of conversion to Islam to be "impressive". I personally call that the "Farangi Com...more
Fay
Well, I just finished this book a few moments ago and I've got to say that I loved it. This is NOT a book to teach you about Islam though you may come away from it with an understanding of some of it's tenets. With this book we are allowed to enter the world that these women, all of whom identify themselves as both Muslim and American, some practicing a little, some a lot, others not much if at all so openly shared with us. This wasn't a foreign world for me because I too am both Muslim (convert...more
Sarah
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...more
Khadijah Qamar
I was excited about this book when it came out and special ordered it through my library. As my rating indicates, I was very disappointed. The negligee on the front cover should have warned me. This book simply falls into a long line of oriental literature that sexualizes Muslim women. What's the biggest shame is that it's written by two Muslim women. This was their opportunity to delve into a subject rarely spoken about and explore the nature of romantic relationships among Muslims. However the...more
Huma Rashid
Some of the stories in this book are better than others, but the book itself is a must-read simply because of the picture it presents. Everyone has an image of Muslim women. Especially those who don't know one personally.

In reading this book, you'll see a whole world of feeling and passion and angst that's never part of the discussion of Muslim women, and for that reason, this book goes a long way in fighting misconceptions about women like us.

I want to do a full, meaningful, carefully written...more
Manaar
This book was a surprisingly good read; I finished it within a couple days. It was on my to-read list for a long time before I finally decided to give it a try, since I'd heard a few negative reviews about it. I'm glad I picked it up, though. What kept me reading despite a few stories that made me feel uncomfortable (e.g., they were unnecessarily crude) were the brutal honesty, faith, and vulnerability-driven courage that each woman (Muslim-born or revert) wrote with. For example, one was experi...more
Asma Alsalameh
I was excited when I heard about this book-finally someone was going to tell our stories! However, overall this book wasn't what I expected it to be. As a practicing single Muslim Arab girl in my 20s, 80% of the stories were unrelatable. In addition, maybe half of these stories were told by self-proclaimed non-practicing girls. I understand wanting to be diverse but come on!!! That was my main issue with the book-that it does not represent. Also, this book could have a lot of potential to be gre...more
Viola
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 t...more
Motasem
As a Muslim, I feel this collection of short stories succeeds in portraying a diversity of relationships experienced by Muslim Americans but at the same time it may improperly normalize some of the more extreme examples that certainly exist but are arguably very rare. With some of these stories, I don't believe the editors sought shock value but rather to open an honest dialogue which is certainly an admirable goal. But the introduction identifies a parallel goal of breaking stereotypes and I th...more
Victoria
This is a fabulous insight into a variety of WOMEN's lives, who may be defined by their faith but are ultimately sympathetic to any woman. It is a shared experience, and it is so worthwhile.
Irving Karchmar
Deeply touching and intimate, the 25 stories in Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women, reveal the elegance and universality of love and faith. Written by American Muslim women of all ages, races and nationalities, many of them first generation Americans struggling to bridge the cultural gap, they tell of love found and love lost, of arranged marriages that work and those that do not, of coming out and staying in the closet; the full range of human experience for women o...more
Khairul H.
(The following review is an excerpt from my blog: The Malaysian Reader

There are stories of arranged marriages like Aisha Saeed’s “Leap of Faith” who was so adamant against the idea that when the boy’s family asked for a photo, she did her best to pose with an annoyed look. Far from driving him away with the look, it intrigued him. “Love In The Time Of Biohazards” is an endearing and humorous story about a spouse taking care of his wife, Melody Meozzi, who is suffering from pancreatic cancer and...more
Jennifer Donahue
I slowly made my way through these stories and I am very impressed with the diversity and depth of each contributor's experience. Different backgrounds and cultures are represented throughout, there are those who are born into Islam and others who converted to the faith, but every woman's struggle is unique and insightful. I say "struggle" because even though these stories are about love and relationships, they are also about the search for self and forging an identity.

I always love "how we met"...more
Madiha
I have mixed feelings about this book. My initial assumption of what the book would be about, or rather it's content were very inflated. That balloon burst almost as soon as I began to read the book.

This book shouldn't be taken to represent Islam. Rather it should be seen as an anthology in which women, who have a common belief system, which vary in intensity, share their love stories. Many of which were very dry.

I do not see the point of the book. I see it as a source of "fitnah" and a medium...more
Asiah
There were some stories I didn't care for but a few good ones really made this book a pleasurable experience. It was a fun and quick read. I've read a lot of reviews of people saying that this books is needed and a "revelation." didn't get that. I kept thinking this book could be written by any group of women, there's nothing innately Islamic or Muslim about it for the most part. But I guess that's the point? "Muslim women are just like women everywhere." But for me that was a weakness in the b...more
Melissa
There are many negative stereotypes about Muslim-American women, and this collection works to present various types of love and dating and sex within the Muslim-American community. Some of the writing isn't really fantastic, and some of the stories border on the cliche, but it was definitely an interesting read. I have to admit that I did roll my eyes a few times at how silly women seem when talking about love - it seems that no matter the race or religion, fairy tales infect women's brains.

Punk...more
Shakera
I really enjoyed reading this anthology! I really appreciate these brave, talented, and beautiful sisters opening up to me and sharing with me their personal stories. It was so nice to hear about my sisters’ stories regarding their love lives something I’ve sooo much about, but rarely from a Muslimah’s voice. Regardless of the mixed reviews, I knew this book deserved a shot and I really could not put it down. There were times I would kinda frown….and get confused at some experiences, but serious...more
Kathy Tran
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.

Therefore, this creates a conflict American Muslim Women have to struggle with. These intersectionalities are...more
Amina
There are countless untold stories in this world, but few are so self-censored as tales of the Muslim woman’s quest for love. A new anthology of first person essays called “Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women” seeks to break that silence by giving a variety of American Muslim women a rooftop from which to shout their stories.

Read the full review and enter to win a free copy by clicking here.
Ayesha U
I thought Love, InshAllah would be an awful book given the crude sub-title. But the book turned out to be not so bad. The idea behind the book was to give voice to the Muslim-American women, who ventured out to seek love and relationship in their lives. Again, the idea wasn’t something to have much appeal for me yet the stories are diverse and some of them were an interesting read. If I’ve to break it down broadly: some stories were bizarre in terms of writing style. Some were outright terrible...more
Cristina Ana
Meh… disappointing. My assumption was that the book would tackle complex identity issues and it probably had this initial ambition, as it is tailored as an anthology of Muslim women’s love stories attempting for Islam’s reconciliation with American culture. Just that most of the stories are dull and dry, poorly written, and only succeeding to present an exposé of something like tales from women' magazines.
Halima
Due to the many stereotypes regarding Muslim women and 'love'/'marriage'...It really was neat. Me being a muslim woman was probably one of the reasons why I picked this book up.
However I will give this 4 stars. There were some stories I didn't even enjoy.
I did enjoy how some of the women in this novel took their love lives in their own hands-some did things that i myself would never imagine doing. But in the end of the day they were all muslim women expressing their experiences. So no this isn't...more
Humaira
I LOVED this! Initially read because Hijabman's wife had written a chapter in it, but after reading a few excerpts on the website for the book, I was in awe. Totally worth the wait and it is a phenomennal collection of stories showing the diversity of muslim women in love. Some stories will shock you, some will make you cry but all will make you believe in the power of love, inshallah!
Yasmeen
It was a quick, enjoyable read on my flight back from Chicago on Memorial Day. I mostly laughed; it was nice to be able to relate to the many anecdotes that the writer's described i.e. American friends who don't really understand the nuances of our culture that is intrinsically tied to our religion. It brought me back to my awkward teenage years and oddly enough, I didn't mind. It also brought me back to my college years where I discovered and lost love. And no, he wasn't a Muslim.

I'm quite con...more
Miss
this was really encouraging to read. many of these women make choices i would never go for but it was nice to get such a diversity of experiences. makes me feel hopeful to read about marriages that don't necessarily run on strict gender roles while still maintaining faith. 3.5 stars
Merrikay

These two editors have pulled together essays by Muslim American women about their love lives, although it is about much more than that. Don't be put off by the subtitle, The Secret Love Lives of Muslim American Women. It is about much more than that, and the contributors are serious authors. A broad range of attitudes and ways of practicing Islam are found here, from conservative to progressive and everything in between. That is what makes this book so heartening. (This is my perspective as a n...more
Mariam Sultana
Very diverse depiction of Muslim women, which I appreciated. Brings up some "taboo" topics like homosexuality and premarital sex -- things that need to be discussed more within the Muslim community instead of ignored.
Ambreen
I thought many of the stories were not written well, and after a while it started feeling like I was reading the personal diary entries of women who had experienced some pretty typical relationships.
Aischa
I just have to say, it's nice to read real stories, of all types. Nice to feel a little romantic "zing" from reading stories I can relate to as well.
Diane
4.5 stars
This collection of stories focuses on the search for love. It just so happens that the narratives are written by twenty-five women who self-identify as American Muslims. While reading these stories about the role of faith in relationships, I was repeatedly struck by how universal the experiences were. That is not to say that the stories were all similar; the contributors varied in terms of their backgrounds, their families' expectations, the ways in which Islam influenced their lives, a...more
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Muslim Love 1 5 Feb 06, 2014 04:07AM  
Gamma Phi Beta - ...: November 8, 2012 Book Club 3 8 Oct 16, 2012 08:42AM  
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  • Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders
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