Advice: Navigating Young (Forbidden) Love

Dear Love, InshAllah,

We are parents of a Muslim college student who met a Muslim boy at school and wish to get to know each other with parental supervision for marriage. The boy told his Pakistani parents he wished us to meet and get to know each other. They first agreed and next day refused and hit him and threatened to have him transfer to another school. We are not Pakistani, however they say that is not the reason, that it is because he is too young. We also wish they were older however we do not want them to commit any sins and are willing to work with them in order for them to have supervision and not lie to us. The boy’s mother caught him on the phone with my daughter, who is out of country doing research for school and taken away his phone and computer and again state will take him out of school. We have suggested our daughter not have any contact with him until parents agree, but this has not happened and if seems the parents forbidding them has made them closer. Our question is should we contact the father and state we were not pleased with this relationship but it is better to work together with our children than to have them lie to us. Any advice on dealing with Pakistani parents who do not want the son to talk to a girl until he is out of college and working and to become a doctor even though the son does not wish to be a doctor.

Sincerely,
Not Pakistani

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When Fairy Tales Fail Us

Fatima M. Jaffer

When a daughter is born into a loving family, she is cherished and treated like a princess and dressed up like pretty little doll with colorful plastic bangles and trinkets.

The beautiful princess is told fairy tales before being tucked into bed. Her mother speaks about the knights that saved Cinderella, Rapunzel and Snow White. Then, this little girl begins to dream of her very own Prince Charming and she starts looking for him as soon as she turns sixteen years old. Some girls get lucky and bump into him without trying. Others have to face mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts and cousins who love them as single women —  until they hit a certain age. Then, some princesses find themselves unmarried or maybe divorced and still without children.

At that point, the fairy tales are over — unless you consider the types of mothers/aunties/cousins who are metaphors for trickster witches; it is often women who make girls feel miserable about the state of their lives. No matter how educated, talented and beautiful a single woman may be, she is always sidelined and frequently humiliated because she is unmarried. It seems that some women can’t imagine alternative realities for themselves or for their daughters.

I’m tired of fairy tales. We need new stories about our future that go beyond marriage saving us from a life of ruin and despair.

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Summer Reading: Salaam, Love!

MATTU-SalaamLove

Summer is here! It’s time to dive head first into your summer reading list, and what better place to start than Salaam Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex & Intimacy. the follow up to the groundbreaking book, Love InshAllah.

Salaam, Love features 22 American Muslim men, from a broad spectrum of ethnic, racial, and religious perspectives—including orthodox, cultural, and secular Muslims— speaking openly about their romantic lives, offering frank, funny, and insightful glimpses into their hearts.

Choose Salaam, Love for your book club, and we’ll be happy to Skype into your meeting! For more info, contact: info [at] loveinshallah.com

“Simultaneously lighthearted entertainment and an important addition to public discourse around the place of Islam in America…Indeed, the entire collection seeks to offer as much variety as possible, with stories reflecting a broad range of sexuality, ethnicity, religiosity, and romantic success. In this way, it pushes back against common cultural stereotypes of both Muslims and men, showing Muslims with a full range of ordinary American life experiences and showing men with tender and heartfelt emotions that they articulate beautifully. For insiders to the community, this work will prompt joyful recognition as well as thoughtful exploration of different experiences; for outsiders, it will counter one-dimensional negative images about American Muslims. For everyone it will be an insightful, thoroughly charming read.” —Publishers Weekly


Girls Like It, Too

Visit Yuiqila for more images like this at http://yuiqila.deviantart.com/

Visit Yuiqila for more images like this at http://yuiqila.deviantart.com/

 

Call me crazy, but girls love sex too. (Yes I know, a shocker right?)

Want to hear the crazy truth? Muslim girls love sex as much as their males counterparts. In fact, they are as hormonal as men. They desire sex, passion, hot love-making, PDA and fetishes as well. The most shocking aspect of this is that some Muslim women have slept with men before marriage.

You heard me right. Men. Not a man, but men.

It is a perplexing and a bitter pill for a Muslim man to swallow.

As a young Muslim conservative kid, I never talked to girls. Since some interpretations of Islam hold a strict basis of segregation, I never had the guts even in my college days to approach a Muslim girl and say a mere salaam. I respected the fact she covered her head and observed her chastity.

To be honest, I could not stand the fact that a Muslima had a boyfriend, let alone a one-night stand.

I’ve always had an insecurity that loomed like a dark cloud. I wanted to believe that I have huge heart, yet I felt that I always lacked in looks, personality, and my ‘”swag” factor because I never interacted with females. I was always too conscious about my flaws to notice anything good about myself because I never knew what girls looked for in a guy. Additionally, I always felt that I was a giver, and it devastated me to see Muslim women being used to satiate physical desires. At some level, it seemed to suggest that that guy, Muslim or not, was a better person that me, though he wan not honorable.

For the longest time, this notion haunted me.

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Crying and Reclamation

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“Love Wins”

I am not always strong.

There are times that I experience steep slopes of sadness. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, the sorrow arrives as crude, impolite explosions.

I don’t have everything together, no matter what type of confidence seeps out of my writing. I spend most of my time struggling from paycheck-to-paycheck, too poor to actually date should anyone ever ask me out.  I’m always in a suspended state of fear that this is all my life is going to be: a lonely existence with a salary that is barely livable. I feel like I’m stuck, and inertia is a type of sin in my world.

Sometimes, I feel like I should just give up and claim my rural White heritage. I will move to some small Southern town and live in a trailer park. Forget my complicated identity. Screw my vast life experience. I am nothing special.

There are days I feel like low hanging fruit.

I write this not because I want sympathy, but because I know everyone else feels powerless and hopeless at times. I need you to know that you are not alone.

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Half Agony, Half Hope

languidtones

“Do you have any children?” a nice woman making small talk asks me.

I reply pleasantly, “No, I don’t,” but my inner monologue is racing.

Children? I don’t have children because  I don’t have a husband.  I don’t have a husband because I never had a romantic relationship with a guy. I never had a boyfriend, I’ve never even been kissed and I’m way older than Drew Barrymore was when she was in that movie with Michael Vartan! I’m older than Jesus ( AS) when he was on this earth! Oh God, what if it’s too late for me to have children?

My inner monologue hysterically wonders about how hot hot flashes actually are, as I smile at the nice lady who’d innocently assumed that a Muslim woman my age is almost certainly married and almost certainly a mother.

I am an unmarried Muslim woman of a certain age. To be honest with you, I’m not surprised that I’m in this demographic.

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Thank you, San Francisco!

A huge thank you to our San Francisco readers who ventured out in the rain last night to our SOLD OUT launch party for Salaam, Love! We’re incredibly grateful for your love, support, and wonderful discussion. A special thank you to our MC for the evening, Zahra Noorbaksh, and to the California Institute of Integral Studies for hosting the event.

Salaam, Love editors & writers (L to R): Nura Maznavi, Sam Pierstorff, Stephen Leeper, Mohammed Shamma, Ramy Eletreby, and Ayesha Mattu

Salaam, Love editors & writers (L to R): Nura Maznavi, Sam Pierstorff, Stephen Leeper, Mohammed Shamma, Ramy Eletreby, and Ayesha Mattu

Check out more pictures from our event on our Facebook page, here.

Next up – Los Angeles! View our full book tour schedule, here.


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