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Although I recognize that they were a necessary part of the collection and are as true as the other stories, they’re not the kind of situations most Muslim women are lucky enough to be in.
Ayesha Mattu’s “The Opening” and Angela Collins Telles’ “Love in the Andes” both involved meeting gorgeous non-Muslim men who ended up converting to Islam.
” 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. ” Thanks to the Love, Insh Allah, 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.
These heartfelt tales are filled with passion and hope, loss and longing.
For reading such works constituted an experience I could never have readied myself for. Being a single person who’s been feeling a bit shortchanged in the love department lately, I did at times have to face the demon of loneliness while reading the stories.
And being a Muslimah–which for me means having an inner universe that is shaped and conditioned by the moral tenets of the Islamic faith–means that the moral quandaries raised in some of those stories make reading them a gut-wrenchingly conflicted experience.
Najva Sol’s “The First Time” recounts her coming to an understanding about her sexuality in a way that pulls no punches. The Real Stuff of Married Life Stories: These stories dealt with what married life (as far as I can tell) is really made up of. Dunn provides much-needed lessons about what real love, in the context of marriage, is, and the kind of trials or uncertainty one might have to go through in order to actualize this form of love. Self-Defining Stories: Rather than relegate these stories to some overloaded form of a “miscellaneous” category, I wanted to highlight some gems in this collection, freestanding entities that made impressions I won’t easily forget: Aida Rahim’s “Brain Meets Heart” is a story about how she and her daughter found the right husband and father (who incidentally is none other than Hijabman! I felt that this story brings out the much-needed voice of the smart, independent, admirable Muslim woman who doesn’t become any less of those things just because she happens to be a mother and a divorcee.
Melody Moezzi’s “Love in the Time of Biohazards” is a beautiful portrayal of true spousal devotion in the face of pancreatic complications. Nura Maznavi’s “Last Night on the Island” I found to be a wonderful story not just for its plot and narration, but because it functions as a portal into a grander narrative about being single.