Novelist and screenwriter Kamran Pasha on being a Muslim in Hollywood and having the courage to follow your dreams, whatever your spiritual path.
An excellent conversation with 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar on faith, identity & storytelling at Princeton University.
you taught me to pray, the words
and offering to the Divine: a God
who kept you safe when we couldn’t -
now I speak: a different language;
I take your prayers, fashion them
into riddles: questions on faith,
but I seem faithless to holy men.
I am shot through with doubt,
racked with guilt. I take my last touch,
of fingertips to your cold skin;
your hair catches; I drop your shroud.
I clasp my trembling palms and weep.
Marziya Mohammedali is a writer, photographer, teacher and designer currently based in Perth, Western Australia. More of her work can be found on her website: kikei.net
Author and academic Haroon Moghul – a contributor to our forthcoming book Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy - writes a provocative new column for Al Arabiya English on marriage, modernity, and Muslims:
In the Muslim world, we love to say proscribe. But to actually take the risk of addressing the real world?
‘Someone’s out there,’ I promised Tariq. Technically true. But cruelly. The very uncertainty that made our rapidly changing world a lonelier place—and thus us in need of more intimacy—makes it harder to find someone. By upending our remaining certainties. Denying us our traditional practices: If a religion cannot speak to changed circumstances, it’ll be left by the wayside.
Either we jettison our moral norms or change our social conditions so those norms become practical again. Did you catch that? We must cultivate the confidence to breed (pardon the expression) the minds who dare to ask: What would our economies, our education, our policies, even our architecture and our culture, look like if we took this mission to marry seriously? Because modernity is not going away, and the only way through it is through it.
But what works somewhere doesn’t work everywhere.
Read the rest of the column, here.
It has never been my nature to attract romantic love, or to stumble into it unawares. The men I studied and worked with rarely interested in me, and I don’t believe I interested them either. I was discreet, invisible, unseen, unheard. I was content with being a colleague, a classmate, an acquaintance – nothing more.
It has also never been my nature to share myself with others. I have always written, but have been too shy to share it publically. The thought of someone reading my words was as daunting as the thought of someone walking in on me while I was in the trance of prayer, or reading over my shoulder as I wrote a beseeching supplication to God. Writing—like prayer, like sex—was sacred, meant to be shared only with those who are deeply loved and trusted. Instead of sharing my words with a giant, faceless public, I always dreamed of writing for someone: essays and poems about myself, him, and our inner universes.
Suddenly, one day, I was acknowledged as a woman.
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