My body is not an invitation

Key Ballah

He said my name like a ghost. A whisper from behind. A quiet wind hot and hollow. He said it lazily and slack mouthed, not parting his full lips wide enough to let every letter through. He said it without the sigh of relief at the end that it needed to sound familiar, like it was not so sweet it could make his eyes water.I should have known. I should have known what kind of man he was when he held his tongue between his teeth and let his eyes off their leash to roam un … [Read more...]

The Weight of Other People’s Expectations

Laura P

Eds. Note: Please welcome our newest writer Laura P.! Look for her column Integrity of Heart the second Wednesday of every month. “Will you marry me?”I’m usually very good at avoiding situations like this. But I didn’t expect a proposal from a Muslim guy I only saw waiting for the bus in the morning.“Sorry, I’m not interested, but thanks for asking.”“OK, cool.”Fortunately, he seemed to accept that and didn’t bring it up again, because I’d already started thinking … [Read more...]

Integrity of Heart, Peace of Soul: Finding My Path as an Asexual Muslim

Laura P

I’m not able to be a “good Muslim wife”. In fact, I’m not able to be in a conventional marriage at all.I’m asexual, aromantic, and sex-averse. Asexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by experiencing little or no sexual attraction to any person1. Aromanticism means that I do not experience romantic attraction, or falling in love, to any person either. As for the sex aversion, that’s what ultimately makes marriage out of the question for me. While not all asexual individuals are sex-av … [Read more...]

Love has no respect for questionnaires

Nazia

I’ve never been in love but I’m pretty sure finding my perfect match will not be as easy as filling in a compatibility questionnaire.Still, I went ahead and filled in my answers to Don Tillman's questions at the end of  the novel The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. You know, just for fun. It consisted of 24 questions and, according to Don, should have taken me no longer than 7 minutes and 9 seconds. Unless I didn’t understand a question, in which case I should consider myself ‘unsuitable‘ an … [Read more...]

Fairytale Beginnings

Zainab Chaudary

Tiny Love Story"And what do you do?" so many have asked."I tell stories," the girl said.One by one they've walked away, not understanding the language she speaks.Until one day..."I tell stories," said she."Then you are brave," said he, "and you should keep telling them. I want to hear them all."The End.Like a conjurer, I have dozens of stories like this up my sleeve. They come to me at inopportune moments, waking me up at three in the morning or badgering me in … [Read more...]

Chasing Joy

chasejoy

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...]

This is Peace, Too

When my husband, Hadi, and I lived in Guadalajara, Mexico, I volunteered at an internado for girls. It wasn't quite an orphanage. Most of the children had a parent or a grandparent who were unable to care for them due to poverty or addiction. I believed then that my motivations for volunteering were selfless. It had nothing to do with the loneliness of living in a foreign country or being away from family for the first time. I simply had time on my hands, and I wanted to make a difference.I … [Read more...]

Healing in Ramadan

Our Salaam, Love contributor Mohammed Shamma writes a post for Beacon Broadside about his love of soccer, instilled in him by his father, and his first Ramadan after his father's death:The World Cup and Ramadan aren’t always mentioned in the same sentence, but this year was different. The Islamic holy month started during the tournament’s knockout stage. In some ways, this was a fitting moment for the Muslim soccer players who had made it that far. They knew the Muslim world would be watching t … [Read more...]

When Fairy Tales Fail Us

When a daughter is born into a loving family, she is cherished and treated like a princess and dressed up like pretty little doll with colorful plastic bangles and trinkets.The beautiful princess is told fairy tales before being tucked into bed. Her mother speaks about the knights that saved Cinderella, Rapunzel and Snow White. Then, this little girl begins to dream of her very own Prince Charming and she starts looking for him as soon as she turns sixteen years old. Some girls get lucky and … [Read more...]

The Hunger to Be Seen

A titanic and towering swell of love lodged inside my chest after the birth of my first child. Here I was, just an ordinary woman of 25 years of age, but I had been entrusted with the world's very best baby. In my eyes, he was perfection, the realization of my every dream. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why adoring someone so much left me feeling so destroyed. After I'd wrestled my baby to bed, I'd stand around our small high-rise apartment in Queens not knowing which of my needs or … [Read more...]


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