Jump, Pray, Write

Two and a half years ago, I left my financially comfortable global marriage for an expired passport and economic uncertainty. It was the saddest and bravest decision I’ve ever made. The US economy teetered in the worst recession since the Great Depression. There was no alimony, and I had not worked in twelve years.The fear of “what ifs” loomed in monstrous proportions. I had no soft spots to land and no deep-pocketed family members to help me start over. Leaving meant leaping into a terrifying … [Read more...]

The Last Stop

The things you learn when writing your first novel:Novel-writing is a lonely process.Your first novel relies heavily on a blend of things you’ve actually experienced, people you’ve actually known, and your wild imagination.God help you, you have no idea what a second novel looks like once you’ve run out of experiences to mine.Having imaginary conversations with yourself and with people you know helps with plot breakthroughs.Having imaginary conversations with yourself and with pe … [Read more...]


The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Souls are like crowds, which gather together. The ones who met before get along well. The ones who did not meet before, cannot get along very well and separate.” (Bukhari, Anbiya, 2; Muslim, Birr, 159; Abu Dawud, Adab, 19).I believe soulmates exist. Believing in soulmates is equivalent to believing in the existence of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy- people scoff and laugh at me. Some even sit me down and try to reason with me. They explain how there is no way that hu … [Read more...]

Story and Chai

Writer Jennifer Zobair, the author of Painted Hands, found herself feeling uncomfortable when people thanked her for making Muslim women seem "normal" in her novel.She wrote, "The repeated use of [the word normal] haunts me. The repeated use of that word inspires me. I believe that stories matter, that who gets to tell a story has real, tangible consequences for people’s lives, that knowing means at least a shot at not hating. It is my hope that if we tell our stories often enough and well en … [Read more...]

My Father and My Religion

I was on a conference call one evening last week when my call waiting beeped at me. It took me a few seconds to recognize the number since I only see that area code a couple times a year. It was my dad. I let it go to voicemail.I waited until the next day to check the message. His voice came amicably through the receiver and he chided me jokingly about turning 40 a few weeks earlier. My dad doesn’t celebrate birthdays, so I thought it was odd that he was calling me about it until I realized t … [Read more...]

Crying and Reclamation

I am not always strong.There are times that I experience steep slopes of sadness. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, the sorrow arrives as crude, impolite explosions.I don’t have everything together, no matter what type of confidence seeps out of my writing. I spend most of my time struggling from paycheck-to-paycheck, too poor to actually date should anyone ever ask me out.  I’m always in a suspended state of fear that this is all my life is going to be: a lonely existence w … [Read more...]

Good News Friday: Book Deals and Radical Writing Opportunities!

We are thrilled that Love, Inshallah anthology contributor and Literary Momma columnist, Aisha Saeed, has announced her new book deal for the Young Adult novel, Written in the Stars. Read her celebratory thoughts on the matter here (and follow her on Twitter).  Go, Aisha! This is the beginning of many wonderful things for you and we couldn't be prouder!   … [Read more...]

The Ides of March

The Ides of March--(or how girl can write her way to a new life)Last week, snow and ice kept me housebound for the third, and hopefully final time, this winter. This snowfall felt different than the previous ones. It arrived glutinous and sticky and carried a surreal sheen of pristine clean. It seemed that nature had saved the most beautiful display for the last seasonal flurry. I felt that it was sent just for me.The ice weighed down trees until many limbs plummeted to the earth, as … [Read more...]

Return of the Friend

Return of the FriendI had not expected love but it surprised,like the slip of arm around my waistI had expected chiding, but your eyesspoke only kindness, like your faceTulips by the road, the burst of red—I drew my breath as your bus rounded the bendPink rose in lime green tissue, then your tread,and the slip of arm around my waistYears dissolve between us in this place,and I exhale. I had expected questions,quizzing, an exchange, a taxing gaze,not acceptance f … [Read more...]

The Muslim Protagonist

Columbia University hosted the second annual symposium, The Muslim Protagonist: "A Synthesis of Journeys" this past weekend, sponsored by Columbia University's Muslim Student Association. The event featured Muslim writers, artists,  and other emerging creative voices.An event like this is evidence that Muslim cultural creatives are moving into the space of cultural producers rather than just cultural consumers, inshAllah.You know the cool part? Our influence is global. And as we ce … [Read more...]