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Love in a Headscarf

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  1,096 ratings  ·  191 reviews
When Shelina Janmohamed, an Oxford-educated Muslim living in the bubbling ethnic mix of North London, opted for the traditional “arranged” route to finding a partner, she never suspected it would be the journey of her life.

Through ten long years of matchmaking buxom aunties, countless mismatches, and outrageous dating disasters, Shelina discovers more about herself and her
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Beacon Press (first published 2009)
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Shelina is a thoroughly modern Muslim - a British Indian Muslim. Her ancestors were from India and converted to Islam and moved to Tanzania. When Tanzania was granted independence from Britain, Shelina's father chose to take the offer as a British citizen to move to England. Moving into that environment has caused her family to closely examine which Muslim practices are/were part of their culture, and which were actually a part of Islam. This was the second book I've ever read about Muslim women ...more
Arabian Rihanna
This is a memoir of a British Indian Muslim woman looking for a husband.

The book started with a very juvenile style. The author's Islamic reasoning was a little too simplistic — like that of a teenager. I actually thought the book was excerpts from Shelina's diary when she was 19.

The book lacks a clear time-frame. All I know is that it started when Shelina was a college student, it mentioned half-way through the book that the internet was still new, and it was published in 2009.
Also, I only know
My motivation to read “Love in a Headscarf” was pure curiosity. I tend to judge people as individuals rather than as part of a group and really had no prior knowledge of Islam before 9/11. Since that terrible day a lot of (mostly negative) statements have been made about Muslim belief and it seemed appropriate to listen to the voice of someone who actually lives that life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author’s sense of humor in finding a husband created a story that entertained while also
Read my full review of Love In A Headscarf at

Reading about Shelina’s life was a very pleasant experience. She began her book by envisaging that she is telling us her story over a cup of coffee and, while reading, I actually felt like I was sitting with her in such a place, listening to her relate her story. I laughed at all the right places, shook my head sadly when things got a little depressing, brooded thoughtfully over her reasoning and rejoiced when she fin
كتاب جيد ربما يفيد الغير مسلمات أكثر
فلقد كانت قرائته نوع من التذكير لما نعاني منه أو يحدث لنا كفتيات عربيات أو مسلمات.

كتاب ذو عنوان لطيف وإن كنت أفضل اعنوان الانجليزي له
love in a headscarf
و غلاف أنيق ذو ألوان رقيقة

في البداية ظننته كتاب فكاهي أو ساخر من نوعية (عايزة أتجوز) ولكن النسخة الانجليزية,
ولكني فوجئت به كتاب يتحدث عن الزواج في الإسلام كما هو مكتوب علي الغلاف مصحوبا ببعض المواقف الشخصية

تحدث الكتاب عن شروط فارس الأحلام التي تضعها معظم الفتيات,
وعلاقتيّ الحب والزواج من منظور إسلامي مخلوطاً بم
Shaimaa Ali
اولا احب ان اسجل اعتراضى الشديد على عنوان الكتاب عند ترجمته الى العربية (اريد عريس) .. هذا الكتاب لا يشابه كتاب غادة عبد العال وان تماثل الموضوع .. ولا ادرى ما المشكلة فى ترجمته بالانجليزية (الحب من خلال الحجاب) .. الا اذا كان لدى الناشر مشكلة مع الحجاب مثلاً !

احببت الكتاب كثيراً ، الشخصية المثقفة واسعة الذكاء والاهتمامات : شيلينا هى مثال للكثير من الفتيات المصريات الان ، وبعكس الجو المصرى الخاص بنا (البكاء على اللبن المسكوب او اضاعة العمر فى الاكتئاب) تواجه شيلينا موقفها بشجاعة وبالكثير من الاي
Jan 14, 2012 K rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: shidduch daters
Recommended to K by: rivka
Shelves: memoirs, mideastwomen
It was fun to read this Muslim woman's memoir and marvel about the similarities between her dating experiences and the courtship system in my culture. The parallels were striking, even in small ways. The involvement of the entire family, the priorities, the traditional values, the power of the "aunties" (middle-aged women who may or may not be relatives and may or may not be nice people) who serve as the gatekeepers between the seeking woman and possible guys and must be humored at all costs, an ...more
مصطفي سليمان
النسخة الانجليزية من كتاب عايزه أتجوز

اينعم هو الاسم تجاري
علشان الناس تربط بينه وبين
عايزة أتجوز
ودا شئ غريب
بس ماشي

انا مش هعرف أقيمه لسبب بسيط
الكتاب بالنسبة ليا
غير موجه للعرب
هو موجه بشكل كبير للغرب
الكتاب عن فتاة انجليزية من اصول آسيويه ومسلمة
بتحكي عن قصصها عن العرسان اللي اتقدموها ليها عن طريق الخاطبة
وجواز الصالونات
ايون ف انجلترا
اه فيه خاطبة
الفرق كبير بالنسبة ليا
بينه وبين عايزه أتجوز يمكن للاختلاف الشخصيات
وطريقة التفكير

هناك مفيش قولبة زي هنا
هناك اه بيعمولها زي علبة التونة
بس مش زي هنا خالص
فيه ضغط ب
(This review is also published on my blog:

So here, in my own words, is the underlying premise of Love in a Headscarf: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single, practicing, devout Muslim woman in possession of intelligence, wit, and beauty must be in want of a husband who has the same qualities. As well as romance. Lots of romance.

The novel is an account of the author's search for "the One" through highly structured and family and community-or
My response to Shelina Zahra Janmohamed's memoir Love in a Headscarf, which chronicles ten years of searching for a spouse through a traditional South Asian arranged marriage process in North London, is one of tough love.

Janmohamed is a self-identified "British East-African Asian Muslim," as well as a graduate of Oxford. In other words, she is part of a generation of cultural "pioneers" who have had to invent a way to maintain their immigrant parents' culture and Muslim faith within the context
Jan 02, 2012 rivka rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to rivka by: Meaghan
A great first book for 2012, although I have no idea why it took me a year from getting my hands on it to finally read it!

Anyone who has any experience with arranged marriages or curiosity about them should read this book. Anyone who is open to hearing a Muslim explain what her religion is about (hint: neither oppression of women nor terrorism) should as well.

It was interesting to me how much of both aspects I could relate to, though the details of course are different. And some parts, of course
Sarah Kholusi
This autobiography narrates the search for the pure love (the Divine love), along with the man-woman love, that is more essential &nurturing for the soul. It shows how God has Wisely prepared her for the moment she always dreamed of, and that this was the most suitable time (Not earlier or later). Her character was amazingly formed during her search for the One. She mainly extracted her principles from her faith (Islam) rather than traditions. She believes that traditions are, most of the ti ...more
Rania Abdullah Gandapur
A beautiful piece of writing by a "first-time author!" Loved the humour, the devotion, the dedication and the positivity. One thing I found really impressive about Shelina is that she knew what she wanted and, therefore, the negative remarks that she'd received had no impact on her life. Normally people get inspired by their surroundings. Whether they know or don't know what they're doing is right or wrong, they continue to do it because people around them are doing it. Maybe because they fear r ...more
Gamal elneel
يقولون ان حين تمتلك الثقة وتشعر بالتكامل وتتوقف عن الطلب سيأتى الشريك

ولكنى لم اتوقف يوما عن الانتظار ولن اتوقف

فالحب دائما هو بداية القصة

ومهما كانت درجة التعقيد فى حياتنا قبل الحب فانه قادر ع تحويلها من الاسود الى الابيض

الى لون أخاذ يحبس الانفاس

هذا لا يعنى ان الحياة دون حب لا معنى لها فالحياة بكل تفاصيلها هى الحب

وعندما نعرف الحب بقلب شجاع متفتح وصادق عندها فقط تبدأ الحكاية

فالحب هو الشرارة التى تشعل الروح وهى ايضا التى تبقى جذوتهاو مشتعلة
Mar 18, 2014 famouslastwords rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Desperate girls who need to know they can never be as desperate as this one.
Shia woman's desperate search for hot mate; uses all the words she learnt at Oxford to describe the journey. Oh, and there's God. But He only appears when she thinks you might catch on to what she actually wants. Which brings us full circle to the 'hot mate' part.

What Shelina Wants in a Husband:

'Good looking
Height 5'8 - 5'10
Fantastic dress sense
The most handsome man in the world; it would simply not be possible for any other man to be better looking
Smells good
Handsome (did I mention Handsome?)
Arranged marriages or match-made marriages are not quite as black and white as they used to be. These days, arranged marriages come with some flexibility that allows for both the boy and the girl looking for a life partner, to spend a little bit of time trying to get to know one another, and with both parties able to choice to decline any further communication with the other.

In this book, Shelina outlines her reasons for wanting an arranged marriages, and gives examples of the men who were intro
I enjoyed, learned from, and empathized with her search for a husband and desire to serve God. An absolutely fascinating and well-told story. I admire her parents immensely.
However, her airbrushing of the Koran left a bad taste in my mouth, so I can't say I LOVED her book. She also makes much of Muslim terrorist groups' ideology being so very different from true Islam, as she understands it. Yet the Koran sanctions killing apostates from Islam (I just looked it up and found it in the Koran onli
SISTERS Magazine
Love in a Headscarf is highly readable. In this personal memoir, Shelina, a British-Asian Muslim woman, shares the secret of how in her teenage fantasy, she had set her standards so as to fall in love with the man she would marry. Considering her Asian background and culture, this seems impossible. Having tried the recommendations of the “Buxom Aunties” and some close family members, but still without a suitor to match the earlier standards she had set, Shelina decides to follow a Muslim-style a ...more
This book was recommended by owners of independent bookstores. I've been searching for it at the library for months, with no luck - finally bought the paperback and am so glad I did!

While a large portion of the book is about what it is like to be involved in seeking a husband for an arranged marriage (which was fascinating and had some very funny stories of her experiences), it also describes very eloquently her commitment to the Muslim faith. Raised by a loving, affirming family, who fully supp
I started out really liking the author and appreciated the explanation of Asian-Muslim dating traditions. I did have a hard time understanding what her point was some of the time, it seemed like a lot of ramblings or diary entries, some that go very in depth with explanation and others that seem to lack any explanation. After 240 pages of what was mostly whining about the lack of quality men out there and how nobody was good enough for her and maybe she should just settle I started to find her i ...more
The author is here both trying to tell the story of her decade-long search for Mr. Right, and explain/defend Muslim practices to the non-Muslim reader. I think she met both of those objectives. I came away from the book with a greater understanding of Islam and a greater appreciation of arranged marriages, and had a couple of chuckles on the way -- particularly the part where, while traveling in Egypt, Shelina and a friend put an arrogant, bigoted tourist in her place.

(I received this book for f
Zaynäb  tyty Quadri
this book took me on a journey, i would never have experienced anywhere else, it spoke out my unspeakable troubles, calmed my frayed nerves and most importantly it led me on a journey to find the one, the great one, Almighty Allah.

i love this book a lot. thanks to my friend bilkis begum for recommending it to me. xx
Shelina, as a writer, has succeeded in portraying how Muslim women think, what kind of rights Islam has given to women, and how Islam is not a religion of oppression as many westerns think but on the contrary it is rather a lifestyle and surprisingly for others, it has so many love stories and concepts that one could learn from.

As for Shelina’s stories with arranged marriage, it shows how different kinds of men she has met yet there was always something missing and many girls could relate to tha
Shelina Zahra is a twenty-something, British, Asian, Muslim. She is an Oxford educated, modern young woman who is devout in her faith. She does not come from a culture that wears a Burka but because of her faith dresses modestly and wears a hijab (or headscarf covering). This book is a delightful romp through her decision to opt for the traditional "arranged" marriage route to find a life partner. Through ten long years, Shelina learns more about her faith, her own self and what she truly wants ...more
From the book synopsis:

"When Shelina Janmohamed, an Oxford-educated Muslim living in the bubbling ethnic mix of North London, opted for the traditional "arranged" route to finding a partner, she never suspected it would be the journey of her life.

Through ten long years of matchmaking buxom aunties, countless mismatches, and outrageous dating disasters, Shelina discovers more about herself and her faith--including that sometimes being true to her religion means challenging tradition."

I was chosen
Amira Jammy
Love in a headscarf an autobiography by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed of her life in search of Mr. Right in the UK, her endless meeting with suitor, and learning about herself on the way. It’s amazing that we all come from different ethnic backgrounds but have similar thoughts on religion, marriage and living the life in the west. Does creating criteria for significant other really important, we know who we want but is it fair to create unrealistic expectation of how the person should or should not l ...more
I was expecting this to be mostly about arranged marriages and the process involved. I read a short article while in college (studying anthropolgy) about arranging a marriage in India and found it a fascinating topic.

However this book also includes a lot about Islam, fairly basic information about Islam and how it applies to the author's faith. None of this a problem, except I also took a 4000 level class on Islam in college (studying Religious Studies) so it was information I already knew and i
Safy magdy
الكتاب رائع بكل المقاييس و من الكتب اللي خلتني أفكر ف حاجات كتير اوي
لما اشتريت الكتاب كنت شارياه عشان عاوزة حاجة تبسطني و جذبني غلافه و اسمه بس كنت متخيلاه كتاب تافه شوية الكتاب بسطني لكنه مش تافه تماما
شيلينا الكاتبة مثال للمسلمة الناجحة و الواثقة في نفسها عملت حاجات كتير اوي في حياتها بدعي ربنا اني اوصلها
كتاب مهم اوي للبنات او حتى للستات المتجوزة لأنه مش بس بيتكلم عن الجواز و لكنه بيتكلم عن ازاي البنت تكون قوية و ناجحة و جريئة و بيبين غباء و سلبية المجتمع و التقاليد اللي احنا للأسف فاكرينها
Giovanna Santoriello
Vivo in una città che reputo discretamente cosmopolita, dunque mi capita spesso di vedere, incrociare per strada donne musulmane.
Non mi sono mai veramente soffermata a pensare a loro. Credevo solo, in maniera alquanto superficiale, che si trattasse di donne sottomesse, obbligate ad indossare il velo e quei lunghi abiti che le coprono tutto il corpo.
Ecco, questo libro mi ha aiutato a guardare queste donne con occhi diversi, a vederle come individui liberi di scegliere di rispettare una usanza d
Gue bangeeeddd! :D
Bener-bener suara hati perempuan lajang ;). Lepas dari kultur dan background Shelina yang agak berbeda dengan saya, tapi suara hatinya adalah suara hati lajang di mana pun. Pengalamannya jatuh bangun mencari "the right one" sangat inspiring. Shelina sangat jujur dengan dirinya. Beberapa pengalamannya mirip dengan saya (jeilee, ngaku-ngaku).

Penuturannya cerdas dan kocak di beberapa bagian. Meski deskripsinya agak terlalu panjang, tapi saya sangat menikmati, karena kalimat-kalim
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Shelina Zahra Janmohamed is the author of "Love in a Headscarf", a humorous and irreverent memoir about growing up as a Muslim woman. She writes regularly for EMEL magazine, a leading glossy Muslim lifestyle magazine. She also writes for the Times Online, the National (based in the UAE) and has written for the Guardian and Comment is Free.

She has her own award-winning blog which is now four years
More about Shelina Zahra Janmohamed...

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“Don’t just hope it happens you have to make it happen” 31 likes
“Islam has rules. Once they are part of your life, you dont notice them anymore.” 23 likes
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