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 Alan Howard!
An excerpt from Alan’s story, “The Promise”:
A year later, I asked her father’s permission to marry her. Three months later, she moved cross-country and we married at my local mosque—nothing fancy, just a few dozen friends and my parents. I had converted to Islam during my first year of college after spending a long time battling personal demons and studying several religions. Joan converted in her own time three years later. We had little in terms of material wealth as I was still finishing up at the university, but we took trips together, talked about everything in our lives, and explored the South. We were unbelievably happy, going on long walks and holding hands, oblivious to anyone else. Exploring new foods or destinations together instead of individually was wonderful, like discovering a secret garden only we knew about.
When we met, Joan’s cancer was in remission. We didn’t want to think that it would resurface, interrupting our dreams as individuals and as a family.
To read more, order Salaam, Love today!
Q&A with Alan
Tell us about yourself
I was born and raised in South Carolina, so I’m a Carolina boy. I love to hike and kayak, but my first love is international travel. I am also involved in interfaith dialogue through the Islamic Speakers Bureau (www.isbatlanta.org). I write poetry, and I am currently working on two books kind of simultaneously I suspect they will take a while to come to fruition.
Why were you drawn to this project?
A good friend is a contributor to the original Love Inshallah book. I was deeply interested and have read and reread that wonderful book. So when an opportunity came for a men’s book, I jumped at the chance.
What was the most challenging part of sharing your story?
The most challenging part of the story was getting past the extreme emotions that played through me as I wrote it, edited and then rewrote it. Each time I read back through it I was reliving a very painful part of my life, one that is still raw. And yet the act of writing my story was cathartic too. I realize that this seems in conflict, and yet that is how it flowed – painful, yet healing.
If there’s one thing you hope that readers will take away from your story, what is it?
For many the story is very sad. And for many who have never lost someone so intimately close to them they may not fully grasp the pain behind the words. But the main thing I believe anyone who reads my story comes away with is hope…life is not fair and horrible things happen in it – yet there is a positive ending in that we as humans strive to continue moving on with our lives growing and succeeding as best we can.