Our new book, Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex & Intimacy, will be released on February 4th. In the lead up to the release, meet our 22 contributors.
Today, meet Anthony Springer!
An excerpt from Anthony’s story, “Finding Mercy”:
At the time of my conversion, in the fall of 2006, I was fresh out of college with my first job as a college recruiter at my alma mater, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I suppose a steady job and a degree made me a suitable candidate for marriage in the eyes of older brothers in the community, as it didn’t take long for the “M” word to come up. I sheepishly brushed off most of the marriage conversations, opting for a smile and an “inshAllah” when asked when I was taking a step, which felt more like walking the plank than fulfilling half my deen.
After all, I was an eligible bachelor who still occasionally partook in the vices of life. And as a twenty-two-year-old, very Western convert, the idea that I was supposed to find the love of my life without “dating” was more foreign than the Arabic that penetrated my ears the first time I heard the Qur’an recited at the masjid. Then there was the pressure—the pressure on brothers to get married is as strong as the pressure put on sisters. Or so it was in my case. Equality and resistance made for strange bedfellows.
To read more, order Salaam, Love today!
Q&A with Anthony
Tell us about yourself
Born and raised in Las Vegas, and recently relocated to South Carolina in search of new opportunities and greener pastures. Outside of my 9-5, I write for KnockoutNation.com, a site covering boxing, MMA and pro wrestling. Self-professed news and political junkie, lover of history and a fan of a good non-fiction book.
Why were you drawn to this project?
I was attracted to this project because it is one of the few outlets Muslim men have to share our stories. The world – and by extension, the ummah – need to see that there are as many ways to be Muslim as there are Muslims.
What was the most challenging part of sharing your story?
Reliving the seven years that made up the bulk of the story. It was a journey with a lot of ups and downs, a lot of self-discovery, pain, and ultimately, triumph. What started out as a wedding story ended up being a coming of age narrative. Allah has plans for all of us and I guess this was mine. I struggled with how to label myself for a long time (and some of that inner dialog finds its way into my story). At the end of the day, I decided that just being Anthony – as opposed to “Anthony, the Muslim” or “Anthony the *insert something here*” – was pretty awesome.
If there’s one thing you hope that readers will take away from your story, what is it?
If nothing else, I hope people enjoy it. I hope a young convert, somewhere, sees a little of him or herself in my story and realizes that everything isn’t going to come overnight or that there’s no perfect way to be Muslim, but there is a perfect way to be you. I hope that someone reads this story and realizes that it’s okay to not have all the answers when it comes to love, sex, relationships and intimacy – and that trial and error (and in my case lots of error) is okay. I hope my story sparks some conversation among brothers in and out of our masjids. Most of all, I hope my story makes a convert realize that it’s okay to not want to get married immediately or shortly after conversion if that’s not where their heart is.
Two things: 1) Being the first you is better than being the second someone else and 2) “Assalaam alaykum” is more than a greeting. Receive it with sincerity, give it with sincerity and truly wish it for all the brothers and sisters you encounter.