Arabian Rihanna's Reviews > Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women

Love, InshAllah by Nura Maznavi
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Feb 17, 2012

did not like it
Read from February 04 to 17, 2012

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 Complex".
Wow, a French Jew embraced Islam? See? Islam is cool!
A British Christian raised Catholic converted to Islam? I told you. Islam is great!
A hot celebrity joined our cult? Woot, woot! We be rockin' our deen or whattt?

Let's get it straight right now, right here: Islam doesn't need anyone's validation. Islam will never be tarnished by any Muslim's bad reputation.

That being said, I don't really see the "Muslim" part in this book. It could as well have been just about women, or American women, or American women of born foreign parents. There is very little emphasis on Islam per se in some stories that it's hard to relate to them.

I was really hoping to read real stories about the challenges of modern Muslim women who take their religion seriously. As I see it, most of these stories were about women who choose to be identified as Muslims, but who push Islam down their priority list. Freedom of choice, no question about that; but I'm still disappointed overall.
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02/13 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Asiah "Let's get it straight right now, right here: Islam doesn't need anyone's validation. Islam will never be tarnished by any Muslim's bad reputation."

Well put.


message 2: by Fay (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fay "As I see it, most of these stories were about women who choose to be identified as Muslims" I believe that very fact is mentioned in the forward itself. This book was not mean to teach Islam by any means, nor did it promote itself that way.


message 3: by Fay (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fay "People always find stories of conversion to Islam to be "impressive". I personally call that the "Farangi Complex".
Wow, a French Jew embraced Islam? See? Islam is cool!" This is very much a foreign (from my American pov) Muslim perspective. As an American convert to Islam I don't see it that way at all. I didn't even view it as a book about converts, I'm fascinated that you did. So interesting how different perspectives come to see this book.


Anqa Agreed with Fay.


message 5: by Ms4 (new)

Ms4 Dear Arabian Rihanna,

First, Rihanna is amaze-sauce. For many reasons. I don't know why you picked that name. But I like it.

Second, I dig thoughtful one-star reviews. Occasionally, they bother me. So, they open my mind to new perspectives. Thank you.

Third, do you think it's fair to rate a book based on what you were expecting from a book?

For example, you clearly articulate that you were "really hoping to read real stories about the challenges of modern Muslim women who take their religion seriously."

But, was there any guarantee (besides the title) from the authors, publisher, etc. that this book would be heavier/solely from the perspective of more devout Muslim women?

Again you clearly point out what the book misses: "I don't really see the "Muslim" part in this book. It could as well have been just about women, or American women, or American women of born foreign parents. There is very little emphasis on Islam per se in some stories that it's hard to relate to them."

But maybe that's the point? There are Muslim women who identify as Muslims, but emphasize it little - in their decision making, in their writing. There's a plurality of experiences of what it means to be Muslim. You know that.

However, you raise a super valuable point, where is the anthology of love for Muslim women who prioritize Islam? If that's the book you want to read, maybe that's the anthology you should help publish. I'd buy it! : )


Arabian Rihanna I dig me a criticism sandwich, I really do. Thank you for your nice words and for the helpful comments.

In my defense, I wrote this review 4 years ago. I have since realized that book reviews are a lot more intricate, hence the silent starring for a while now.

If it helps, take the expectation part as a way to simply say I found the title to be non-representative of the content.

As you noted, my complaint was that, in the plurality of experiences of what it means to be Muslim, 'devout' women were left out in the book. So that's one color missing from the spectrum, for me.
But would I want to paint an entire book with that one color only? I'm thinking about it now that there's a buyer. =)


message 7: by thelastword (new)

thelastword Arabian Rihanna, I miss your reviews. Even if it's a line or two, I'd really like to know your thoughts on the books you've read...


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