Where the hell is my chivalry?

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Eds. Note: Please welcome comedian, playwright and Love InshAllah anthology contributor Zahra Noorbakhsh! You can find her column, My Infidel Husband, here every fourth Thursday of the month.On my 26th birthday, I shot awake with the realization that I was in my mother’s relationship.My then boyfriend (now husband), Duncan, and I had just moved in together, shortly after celebrating our two-year anniversary. In all this time, he had never bought me a present. I looked over at him snoring … [Read more...]

Speaking My Language

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“Turn me into droplets of rain so I sprinkle upon your pretty face,
Then coat me with dreariness as I wander alone…” - Qarar  On the two-hour drive to my parents’ home, I crooned along to one of my favorite Pashto songs, Qarar. I felt the sweetness of the words fill me: the longing and the love of a man for his lover.Turning to my husband as he drove, I swung my hands dramatically towards him, continuing to sing along. He smiled and switched lanes. After the song ended, I sighed … [Read more...]

Engagement Party Vanilla Cupcakes + Big News + My Love Life

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Eds. Note: Please welcome our newest columnist, London-based Nazia, who will be sharing her food column Your Sunny Side Up the third Thursday of every month!It was just a few short months ago we were dancing at her engagement party, stuffing our faces with these cupcakes, and later indulging in a midnight feast of pizza and cookie dough (what wedding diet?). Fast forward a few weeks and we’re walking her down the aisle dressed in white to start the next chapter of her life. And now my beaut … [Read more...]

Mourning

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They ask me why I always wear black.And I answer “I am in mourning”.They ask me who am I mourning.I’m mourning my grandfather, I say.They found his bones 10 years after his head was cut off, Quran in hand.I’m mourning my uncle too; his remains still not found. I wonder how much he suffered.I’m mourning my grandmother, killed by the grenades that left her son handicapped.I’m mourning the thousands of Ahmeds, Aishas and Fatimas massacred for being Bosniaks, for being Mus … [Read more...]

The Upstairs Wife – Virtual Book Club February 26th!

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Please join us on Twitter for our first virtual book club featuring a Q&A with author Rafia Zakaria about her new memoir, "The Upstairs Wife", on Thursday, February 26th at 11 am PDT/2 pm EDT.Get your copy today!Christian Science Monitor book review of "The Upstairs Wife"  … [Read more...]

The Day I (Almost) Became a Woman

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I was ten-years-old. The air was sticky and heavy, the kind of heat that makes everything move in slow motion. My cousin, who is two years older than me, was lounging on the living room sofa watching Saturday morning cartoons, and wearing boxer briefs – the image of Spider-Man splayed purposefully across the crotch.Granny brought him a cup of Ovaltine tea, which was always a bit too sweet. He glanced away from the television only long enough to take the cup from her hands with a mumbled t … [Read more...]

Chasing Joy

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I came across an essay called, “Joy,” from writer Zadie Smith. This was a timely find as I woke up to 2015 with this motto: chase joy! Smith starts the essay highlighting the differences between pleasure and joy, which I agree requires necessary distinction. She suggests that pleasure is comprised of small things. I’ve spent the past two years chasing various sorts of pleasures, some as banal as a good cup of coffee. Other pleasures I’ve sought are better suited for a different sort of essay. … [Read more...]

Choosing Polygyny

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“If I had another wife, she’d have the house clean and a fancy dinner ready every time I came home,” he said, only half-joking and not for the first time. “Maybe I should just marry another woman. A proper Arab wife.”I looked up at him. “Maybe you should.”That night, I sent a message to several women I knew, asking them to find a second wife for my husband. And then I lay in bed and imagined what this woman would be like, the woman who would make my husband happy, who would be everything … [Read more...]

A Mosque of One’s Own

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It wasn’t the first time I had heard a woman give the azaan. In our Ramadan prayers in small activist circles with radical and queer Muslims, my friend Naaz would call us to prayer, her soft voice resonating through our small apartments. Her words were confident but her voice unpracticed and raw. Where else could a woman be allowed to practice the call to prayer? It felt rebellious.But this time it was different. We were in the big hall of a vaulted multifaith center, wooden pews moved to the … [Read more...]

Rebels by Accident

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Deonna Kelli Sayed interviews writer Patricia Dunn, author of the YA novel, Rebels by Accident,  in this episode of Love, Inshallah's author interview podcast.(Track listing: "Ala Warag il Ful" and "Drum Solo" by Zikrayat. Music in this podcast is found at Free Music Archive: Middle East.)Sixteen year old Egyptian-American Mariam just wants the normal teenage American high school experiences. After she is busted at a party with her best friend, Deanna -- a party the police break up … [Read more...]


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