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

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,742 ratings  ·  195 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
Paperback, 290 pages
Published February 17th 2012 by Soft Skull Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Feb 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Khadijah Qamar
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: islam
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
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Asma Alsalameh
May 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 24, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have read a lot of negative reviews for this book. People are expecting something based on the title and the cover of the book (which they shouldn't). This book is not going to teach you a whole lot about the Muslim rules for dating or marriage (some, but not a lot). It will, however, tell you a lot of personal stories and experiences of American women who identify as Muslim. People can identify as something and not accept every practice of the group they identify with. There are practicing Mu ...more
mckenna ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
No pun intended here but, love love love!

This book explores the lives of various Muslim women is various life situations all dealing with one common emotion: love. From dating, to arranged marriages, to falling in love to losing somebody important to you, this book shows that everybody can be different and have different experiences even while all believing in the same faith.

Some stories had me crying laughing and some had me simply crying, reading this book helped me understand more all the dif
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great collection of essays from all kinds of Muslim Women writing about love and relationships. If you are someone looking to get married, or if you are married yourself...whether Muslim or not, it's an insightful read.

As a young Muslim woman, i could relate to a few of the stories but at the same time i haven't found the one for me yet so i'm like THAT IS FAKE THAT NEVER HAPPENS PLEASE WHAT HOW DID THEY REALLY MEET LIKE THAT but it IS real and yeah...God works in mysterious ways. som
Apr 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Cristina Ana
Jul 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Sabeeha Rehman
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An eye opener for the Muslim mom, who is in denial. Touching stories of Muslim women, whose love lives are no different than any other. Its a beautiful read. After reading it, I recommended it to my Book Club, and they loved it.
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays
I read this for my Jewish and Muslim women's book club. The writing was uneven and some of the essays dragged but for the most part I enjoyed the variety of voices. I learned a lot about Muslim dating and marriage customs from different parts of the world. ...more
Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Keisha Camila
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Resonated with almost every story. The struggle is real and hope is unforgiving sometimes.
When I first heard about “Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women”, I became extremely curious about it! Woooo! Muslim women talking about their secret love life! Will there be sex? Will there be forbidden love? Will the stories portray Muslim women as normal women who seek intimacy and respect from their own partners?

Instead, the anthology disappointed me.

The book was meant to lift the veil on Muslim women, so I expected more stories that went against the grain of the
Khairul Hezry
(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
Irving Karchmar
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Sarah Lameche
Sep 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: women-and-islam
I wanted to give it a 2.5 star but as I didn't have the option its nearer a 3 than a 2.
I suppose I found it a little disappointing. There weren't many stories I could relate to I suppose. Many seemed to be jetting around the world or discovering their sexuality.
One of the stories just seemed like erotica and to be honest I couldn't see which part of her life was supposed to be that of a Muslim.
I was expecting more stories of arranged (not forced) marriages and how love really does grow. Or wh
Jennifer Donahue
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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"
Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: islam, marriage
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
May 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: women
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.

Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This collection of essays helps make the love lives of Muslims real. There are many perceptions about Muslim women (suppressed, covered, silenced, etc) that these stories help negate. I was surprised at just how open and honest some of these stories were. I am not by any means a 'traditional conservative' but my discomfort helped me see my own 'expectations' of Muslim women. I could relate to some of the women in these stories and felt compelled to look up the ones that spoke to me. I look forwa ...more
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
In general, I'm finding I like reading anthologies. I went into this one hoping to find some common ground, relatable even as I am an American Muslim woman. However, while enjoyable, this didn't have too much balance. Most stories were very conservative in nature, and there were a ton of stories from converts, which is great, and an important voice in the conversation but not the *only* voice.
Surprisingly, I looked up two authors whose stories were the most interesting to me, and it turns out t
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
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