All I heard was the word “friends”.
Everything after that was muffled. To be quite honest, I wasn’t really listening. He could have told me the building was on fire and I would have just kept smiling and nodding.
I was in the friends zone.
Maybe intentionally. Maybe not.
Regardless it was a smack in the face. I thought this is how Biz Markie must have felt. I should have just busted out in rhymes in the middle of the restaurant.
I zoned back into the conversation. As arrogant as it might be perceived I had enough friends and I didn’t want anymore. If my lips could have uttered what my mind was thinking than that is what I would have said. I was looking for a husband, not anymore friends.
I couldn’t say that, it would have sounded absolutely ridiculous.
I recently decided to step back from actively searching for someone to marry. I’m serious and interested, but aspects of the Muslim matchmaking process are strange for me.
I lost my beloved wife, Joan, just over a year ago. The prospect of starting over with someone new after sixteen years of marriage is daunting. I am a forty-year-old white American male, but I am also Muslim. Some readers may respond, “So what?” But I’ve discovered that when you are a member of a minority, your identity markers have real impact. And, with 1.7 billion Muslims globally, a lot of cultural practices get mixed into love and (re)marriage.
As a Muslim convert, I have to navigate different cultural spaces to find a Muslim partner. On top of that, I have a biracial and transcultural son. These variables create a mix of opportunity and chaos.
I have a problem with Jerry Maguire. It’s got nothing to do with Tom Cruise’s toothy grin or with the fact that I can’t watch Renee Zellweger without thinking of her character in Empire Records.
I take issue with one of the most famous lines from the film:
“You complete me.”
People, can we just stop for a minute. Not only does he say it, but then apparently there was never any need for him to say it because he had Renee Zellweger at “hello.”
For many people, this is one of the most romantic lines ever uttered on film or television. But to me, the concept of two people completing one another – of two people being only half of themselves until this magical, mythical other piece comes into play – seems flawed. Love is diverse and takes many forms: straight or gay, monogamous or polyamorous, bicultural or biracial, intercultural or heck, maybe in the not-so-distant future, inter-lovotic. But one thing, I feel, holds true: the best kind of love is having one complete person come together with another complete person. Because though they may enhance each other’s lives, true completion comes from within.
Love, Inshallah presents an author interview podcast with The Faith Club author, Ranya Tabari Idliby, as she discusses her memoir, Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie: Being Muslim in America.
Deonna Kelli Sayed (DKS): This is Deonna Kelli Sayed for Loveinshallah.com. Ranya Tabari Idliby is an American-Muslim writer. You’ve probably heard of her first book, the celebrated The Faith Club: A Muslim, a Christian, a Jew: Three Women Search for Understanding, which featured an interfaith group of female friends promoting common ground after the September 11th attacks. Ranya is an American-Muslim and a New Yorker who has raised her children in the city.
Ranya’s second book reveals more of her personal journey. In Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie: Being Muslim in America, she focuses on her story as a Palestinian, a Muslim, and a mother negotiating her family’s Islamic identity in celebration of America. The memoir interweaves the stories of three generations: her father came to America as a Palestinian refugee when he was sixteen years old; the details of her own global childhood as a Palestinian raised in the Gulf states, and the experiences of her two American-born children.
Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie echoes the sentiments of Loveinshallah – that Muslims in America – and anywhere, for that matter — can own and celebrate personal truths.
I spoke with Ranya over Skype, where she revealed that her journey started on September 11, 2001, and why these events became a turning point for Muslims all over the world.
I wanted to show you what I saw
But it was so boring
Like talking to myself
A conversation I had before
Things I already know
And I know you don’t know it
But it was boring nevertheless
Because to explain
I have to say too much
Describe too much
And if I don’t explain
Wheat fields and corn fields carefully cultivated
Spreading as far as the eye can see
And an area where land was fallow
Because there was a dispute between two people
And the jirgah had suspended rights
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Happy Valentine’s Day to our readers – we love you!
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the cream is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
They tell you that to just focus on yourself. The instructions are to become a good Muslim. You pray and you fast. You do not talk to girls or smoke or hit the clubs. You remain virgins while focusing on your careers and education. First you get the bachelors degree because no parent wants a salary of less than $80,000 a year. Every parent you know insist that it is for the best that you save up money and get ahead in your career development.
You listen because you love your family.