Spotlight: Aisha Saeed, attorney, teacher, and Love InshAllah contributor!Posted: January 30, 2012
Aisha Saeed is an attorney, teacher, and currently a stay-at-home-mom with her beautiful twenty-month-old son Waleed. She is represented by Taylor Martindale at Full Circle Literary Agency and has written two young adult multicultural novels which she is currently revising and planning to shop to publishers this year. In addition to writing fiction, she has also been blogging for the past seven years at www.aishaiqbal.blogspot.com.
An excerpt from Aisha’s story, “A Leap of Faith”:
“Reading Pride and Prejudice and discussing it with my fellow students in high school English class, I was struck by their reflections on what they clearly perceived to be a bygone era. For me, whispers of available suitors, and lavish wedding parties where girls of marriageable age with carefully applied makeup and gold jewelry hoped to catch the eye of a potential suitor or his mother, were not a thing of the past, but the present I lived and breathed. It was how my parents expected I would find my future husband; it’s simply how it was done, though my own thoughts about the process were not quite as simple.
I disliked the whole arranged-marriage business. I minded the twenty questions about my education and cooking abilities. I was not interviewing for a corporate job; I was looking for a loving partner in an intimate relationship. An arranged marriage seemed an unlikely avenue to get me there.
My mother listened to my expressed disdain for the process, nodded as I told her I did not know if I wanted any part of it, and then promptly told all her closest friends to keep an eye out for a suitable husband for me.”
To read the rest of Aisha’s story, order Love, InshAllah today!
Why were you drawn to this project?
I believe it’s important to demystify what it means to be a Muslim woman in America. I wanted to share my story about my semi-arranged marriage to take away the mystery and show that its root is love. No matter how we find it, if we are lucky enough to find someone to love, it’s the most important thing regardless of today’s norms.
What was the most challenging part of sharing your story?
The first few years I got married I found myself tongue-tied when people asked me how I met my husband. I was nervous they would believe that I was forced into my marriage, that I was naive and unworldly and too much under my parent’s control to have agreed to meet someone they suggested for me. Most of all I was nervous that people would judge my love for my husband and his for me as less because we did not meet in a coffee shop or somewhere else “cool” and “authentic”. Sharing my story helped me liberate my story from the preconceptions of others and share what it is, a love story between two people who made a choice to take a leap of faith – one that I am so thankful to have made. I am so honored that our story can be forever memorialized in this wonderful anthology.
If there’s one thing you hope that readers will take away from your story, what is it?
That there are many paths to love but love is love regardless of how we meet or who we choose to love. Though I met my husband through a process that is not common in today’s culture, it does not mean that my love is any less than someone who had a decade long courtship or lived with their partner before marriage. I would be madly in love with Kashif if I had met him at a rock concert, a movie theater, or skiing in the Alps or in the living room of my parent’s home. How we found each other is less important than the fact that we did find each other. Love is love is love.