Spotlight: J. Samia Mair, attorney, writer and Love, InshAllah contributor!

An excerpt from J. Samia Mair’s story, “A Journey of Two Hearts”:“Mike and I were about to become engaged, and I vaguely remembered reading that a Muslim woman could not marry a non-Muslim man. Mike had no intention of converting. He was a lapsed Catholic to whom Catholic school had not been kind. We held similar spiritual beliefs, but whereas I felt organized religion was unnecessary, it scared him. I did not want to face the possibility of having to choose between love and religion. I had found my Prince Charming and was far happier than I had ever imagined I could be. And I had finally found the spiritual home that had eluded me my entire life. That these elements of my life could be at odds was devastating.Before I finished the translation [of the Quran], I decided to speak to an imam about my concerns. I searched through the telephone book and made an appointment with an imam at the largest masjid  in the city. The meeting was scheduled for Thursday, January 11, 2001. I will never forget that date.”

To read the rest of her story, order Love, InshAllah today!

Tell us about yourself 

Right now my focus is on homeschooling my daughters, which is much harder than I had imagined. I used to think appearing before a hostile judge was challenging, and then I went into academia and realized that the legal field was nothing compared to finding oneself in the path of a researcher on the quest for funding. But kids take it to a whole new level. They immediately size up your weaknesses and exploit them with expert precision–absolutely fascinating and terrifying at the same time.

Most of my other time is spent writing and studying. Among other projects, I am currently working on a chapter book, writing regularly for a magazine, and developing an American history curriculum that includes Muslim history in the United States and American history that has been ignored or lied about. I take Islamic courses and am making du’aa that I can overcome my fear of learning Arabic. I could use about 6 more hours in each day.

Why were you drawn to this project?

I thought I had a story to tell and that it might be helpful to others.

What was the most challenging part of sharing your story?

Telling personal information about past bad deeds. In Islam, there is an obligation to conceal one’s sins, both past and present, unless there is a valid reason. The Prophet Muhammad (saas) stated,

“All my Community will be excused except those who are blatant. And it is from blatancy for one to perform an act at night and to wake up and tell something that they did such-and-such, while Allah had concealed it for them. They slept under the cover of Allah, and they rended Allah’s covering from themselves in the morning.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

I had heard that if you talk about your sins, it could makes others believe that it is okay to sin as well. After asked this question, I then did some research to learn more about discussing past sins and found the following from a well-known scholar. He states, in part:

The reason why it is so important not to talk about sin is because of what sin is:
it is that which Allah hates, and may punish its doer for in the Hereafter. Sins go
against the very purpose of the creation of humanity, which is to know and worship
Allah. If you examine sins, all of them either entail or lead to social harms. Mentioning
a sin is therefore a sin in itself…It is a serious issue that people are not careful about…
Further, talking about sin allows it to lose its gravity and people start thinking (even if
only subconsciously) that it is not all that bad to sin. When a person talks about sin
normally, then it becomes for him “just the way things are”.

(http://seekersguidance.org/ans-blog/2009/08/23/1369).

If there’s one thing you hope that readers will take away from your story, what is it?

I want the readers to decide that for themselves.