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Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman's Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,034 ratings  ·  192 reviews
A 2019 United Methodist Women Reading Program Selection

This enthralling story of the making of an American is a tim
Paperback, 360 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by Arcade (first published July 5th 2016)
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Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a moving and wonderful story of one woman's journey through worlds both physical and spiritual.

In 1971 19 year old Sabeeha "Bia" Rehman marries her husband Khalid though an arranged marriage and moves from her native Pakistan to Queens, NY where Khalid is finishing his residency. Though they believe they'll only be in America for two years circumstances soon determine that the USA is now going to be the land she calls home.

A stranger in a strange land indeed. Separated from her huge an
I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with Bia along these pages.
Khalid Rehman
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is timely as we try to understand who are American Muslims? This is the story of a woman who grew up Muslim in Pakistan. Then she came to America and had to re-invent herself and re-learn Islam. She had to carve her way through lack of knowledge and misinformation about Islam, to raising children as wholly Muslim and wholly American, the bombing of the twin towers and then 9/11. Her unique conversational style of writing takes one with her on her 30 plus years of fascinating journey. A ...more
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone Who Wants to Learn about Islam or Pakistani Culture from a Woman's POV
Recommended to Julianna by: Foothills Book Club
Reviewed for THC Reviews
I was just reading an article last week about how one of the most effective tools for fostering peace, understanding, and empathy for those different than ourselves is through the medium of storytelling. As someone who has been a life-long voracious reader, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve learned so much about other people, their cultures, and traditions through reading. Especially when it comes to non-fiction, I often have a tendency to gravitate toward books that are about
A beautiful introduction to the Islam religion and its practice through the experiences of a Pakistani immigrant trying to build a religious and cultural life for her children in America. Although I knew a little about the religion and its practice before, I was surprised at how much I did not know as I read this book. It was nice to learn alongside the author as she transitions from being fairly secular to much more devout.
Popsugar 2017 Reading challenge: A book about an immigrant or refugee
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read a lot of books surrounding the religion of Islam. Books by those who have left the religion and are aggressive towards it, ones by those who have been converted to and those who have converted from, histories of the Middle East, I've watched documentaries about Muhammad and documentaries about ISIS and all manner of middle eastern issues. But I have never read something like this; a look from someone who is Muslim and loves her religion and at the same time abhors those who have used ...more
I wish I could give this book 6 stars! Really, really well written and absorbing.
Sajith Kumar
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
America is the greatest melting pot of the world’s cultures, races, religions and societal mores. People leave their homeland owing to oppression or for better prospects and get washed up on America’s shores. The life and career they develop out of the opportunities that await them in their new home make the later life of refugees one of affluence and plenty. The price they have to pay in return for this is the assimilation of the all-inclusive American spirit filled with tolerance and mutual re ...more
Daughters Of Abraham
For the April book club, The Merrimack Valley chapter read "Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman's journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim" by Sabeeha Rehman.

The book is about Sabeeha's story of having an arranged marriage and then emigrating from Pakistan to America. In the book, she talks about her transition from being a Pakistani Muslim to becoming an American Muslim and the trials and tribulations of raising her two sons as Muslims and retaining her Pakistani culture, whilst living
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book to follow my last one - Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, a memoir about growing up Appalachian in America.
I know so little about Muslims that I thought I would not understand or like Rehman's book. The more I got into her story, the more I could not put it down. Rehman's voice is refreshing and honest. She recounts her journey as a new bride and a new immigrant in the 70's and on through her role as new mother, college student, career woman - all the while with her husband Khali
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sadly I've finished....knowing & understanding much more. A book everyone should read in these times where people are urged 2 look for differences that divide, instead of shared values where we can unite. Rehman writes bravely, revealing her own inner conflicts as she faces questions most people have asked themselves...allowing the reader to figure things out alongside the author. I think this will be a book I recommend again and it is something I will come back to in order to push ...more
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book. The whole book. But after about halfway through I speed read it and really skimmed toward the end. It was very good and I'm glad to have her understanding on being an American Muslim. Also after reading this book written by Sabeeha (Bia) she is a go-getter and it makes sense to me that she wrote this to try and bridge the gap and help us understand that the acts of few are hurting us all. She is trying to dispel Islamophobia. She, " lived with in a space where she had to answer ...more
Sep 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A worthwhile read (would give it 3.5 if we had halves). I enjoy looking at family photos, and this felt like the literary equivalent. I enjoyed spending time with Sabeeha and hearing about her life from her birth and arranged marriage in Pakistan, to her move to NYC, raising her family, and maturing in her Islam faith in America.
UmAzzan Al Riyamia
An amazingly well written book on a journey we all go through (although not always with the same challenges). Sabeeha took us on her journey of fluctuating observance of Islam’s rituals, be it the physical ones or the spiritual ones. It is amazing how the love of her children brought her back to Islam.
What is amazing, she presented her thoughts kindly that even when you disagree with her you are annoyed.
In general it’s a book that makes you feel good once you are done reading it.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This engaging memoir chronicles a Pakistani Muslim's adjustments to American life. Sabeeha Rehman knows her own faith well and also believes fervently in the value of interfaith connection. On a personal level, I would love to meet the author. She feels like a friend already. ...more
She was born in Pakistan. She married a stranger, in an arranged marriage, and lived happily ever after in New York. How does happily ever after happen, for a Muslim Pakistani immigrant? Read on! Arriving in the early 70s, raising young Muslim men in 9-11 New York. I am struck by how easy the hard parts are. Then, she carefully walked her way through the everyday problems of raising American children.
Lovely book. She is more positive than anyone has a right to be. I loved spending a handful of n
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful way to learn, quite painlessly & often with such good humor, about Islam and how it is lived, practiced, loved.

I heartily recommend this book to everyone.
A.S. Amin
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"This book is the story of my life"

The above quote is from my mother, who also came from the Indian subcontinent in the early 1970s to start her new life with her husband in America.

This book will have an immense appeal for that pioneering generation, as it engagingly relates their experiences of getting married, moving to a new country, and assimilating into a new culture while attempting to maintain one's prior religious and cultural identity, along with imparting the best portions of it to o
Cliffside Park Public Library (NJ)
Interesting book about being an immigrant and finding a way to create a life that blends old and new.
The author's arranging of the story around events and then how she dealt with them over time made a much more interesting read. The author writes clearly, with humor and pain but it's an interesting life.
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beautiful book. This book made me laugh, cry, and perhaps most of all, feel a surge of hope. Rehman is a talented and engaging writer who conveys a lovely message of unity and dialogue. This book should be required reading!
Stephanie Curran
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
What a fantastic and important book!! Sabeeha Rehman speaks honestly and movingly about being an American Muslim, wife, mother, executive, and champion of the interfaith movement. I wish everyone would read this book.
Karl Wong
The narrative is jumping and it's not cohesive through out the book. But it opens my eyes to Islamic world, especially American Muslim. ...more
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This memoir was on the list for a book club I'd been invited to join. I never did end up joining, so I never read it, but it remained on my shelf. During social distancing I've been short on things to read due to closed libraries, so when I rediscovered this, I got excited and started reading right away. I can see now why this was on the book club list.

While Rehman isn't the best author in the world, she has done extensive self-analysis, cultural and religious study, and has spent a lot of time
When we first began to "shelter in place" things were so new and different that I was finding it hard to read or concentrate on much of anything. In wake of the civil unrest due to the murder of George Floyd, I am finding it necessary to read but nothing too intense, but enough for me to escape for a little while. This looked like an interesting enough memoir to fulfill all my needs, and I'm happy to say that I was right and yet it still gave me things to think about that are not unrelated to wh ...more
Marilynn Spiegel
I truly believe this should be read by all those who fear Muslims, all those who are curious about the Islamic culture, and those who want to discern between religious fanatics and terrorists and those who are simply following a cultural belief. Sabeena Rehman writes with ease about the morality of her home life, the contrast and culture shock she experienced moving here in the early seventies, and the necessity she felt in writing this book after 9/11.
Rehman has worked diligently in the field
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am so glad I read this book. Having been in Turkey many years ago, I found the people warm & friendly. The recent terrorist attacks were making me think they were not speaking up because maybe the ones in USA were of somewhat like feelings, just not as strong. This book answered many of my wrong feelings! I was amazed at all the interfaith things the author pursued. Her views on Pakistan surprised me, as I didn't think they were so advanced.
She definitely became an intelligent and true Americ
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
As I shut the book, I found myself saying "What a charming book."

This book was the answer to my many questions about what to expect when settling in the West, as an Indian Muslim who grew up in the Gulf. The writer of this book is real, determined and a shape-shifter. So relatable, enlightening and a brilliant attempt to redefine what it means being a Muslim in our world. She took me through all the phases of her life, all the countries she travelled to, the decisions she made. I close this book
Liz McMillan
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sabeeha Rehman has such an easy quality to her writing. It made this a light read which is a huge coup considering the weight of most books about religion. Sabeeha shares very honestly of her childhood in Pakistan, moving to America and navigating a new environment in which to practice Islam, and how in the end she took a stand to make her religion and culture her own for herself and her family. This is not a book I would have chosen on my own, but I really enjoyed it and learned a ton!
This book reminded me so much of my own personal struggles, failures and concerns while finding my own identity as a Muslim American, a mother raising her kids in America, struggling between keeping my culture alive in my home as well my religious values.
Sabeeha is an incredible woman and has paved the road for our generation and many next ones to come and benefit from the seeds of faith, interfaith and community relationships that her generation planted.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved learning about the Muslim religion and cultures. I also felt very passionate about creating interfaith in our communities once I finished reading. Parts of the book were written very fluidly and well, while other parts could have used some better editing, I thought.
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Sabeeha Rehman, an author, blogger and speaker on the American Muslim experience, is the author of Threading My Prayer Rug, an account of growing up in Pakistan, her rushed arranged marriage to a Pakistani doctor and their lives together raising a Muslim family in New York City.

Short-listed for the 2018 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, Threading My Prayer Rug also won Booklist and

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