Pious & Professional by Sohair Omar

I frequently browse the Publishing category on LaunchGood to see what exciting bookish projects people are working on.  I happened upon Pious & Professional about a month ago, and I was intrigued.

It’s a book full of advice for Muslim women on how to maintain their Islam in a professional environment. Organized into eleven chapters that cover topics like “The Ultimate Goal: To Please Allah” and “Prayer Breaks and Holidays,” the text reads like a list of bullet points about each topic with lots of Quran and hadeeth included. View Post

A Place for Us

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An exquisitely written story about the members of an Indian-American Muslim family struggling to find a place to belong both at home and in the world

Rafiq and Layla want their children to honor the traditions of their own upbringings in India. That means arranged marriages, traditional gender roles, and preserving their image in the community. Rafiq is proud, harsh, and detached, and Layla, strong but silent, chooses to keep the peace rather than challenge him. Their three children are American born and raised and have their own expectations for life, but neither Rafiq nor Layla is willing to recognize the difference between themselves and their children. Hadia is the perfect, dependable older sister. Huda is the middle sister—religious and independent. Amar is their younger brother—bright and sensitive but always in trouble. While the family is tight-knit, the house is often a quiet, tense place, and the relationships and interactions are often toxic.

The novel opens at Hadia’s wedding, where she is (surprisingly) marrying a partner of her own choice. Amar’s presence at the wedding is the source of serious tension; he has been estranged from the family, and the wedding is the first time they have seen him in years. View Post

Born with Wings by Daisy Khan

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While’s Daisy Khan’s life is fascinating and her work is admirable, her memoir is alienating and reads more like a résumé than a biography.

Born in Kashmir, Daisy Khan moved to the US in high school to study design. She went on to found WISE, the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality, an organization that works for women’s rights. Born with Wings is her memoir and first book.

The book tells Khan’s life story chronologically, with each chapter focusing on one event in her life: a specific problem she overcame or an issue she explored. Interspersed between the chapters are snippets that highlight specific initiatives of her own or of other women. For example, one snippet tells the story of Misbah, a Pakistani beautician who helps the survivors of acid attacks receive medical and cosmetic treatment and regain their confidence. View Post

Women in the Qur’an by Asma Lamrabet and translated by Myriam Francois-Cerrah

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In her effort to deconstruct a patriarchal reading of the Qur’an, Asma Lamrabet offers up a new reading, but one that is neither evidence-based nor convincing.  

This book was frustrating for me. I really wanted to like it; I was hoping it would be able to offer newer, more progressive views on gender to replace older, problematic ones. While Lamrabet does offer many new interpretations, they are unsubstantiated, and for a Muslim, an interpretation is only as valuable as its evidence. 

Women in the Qur’an is made up of two parts:

  1. ”When the Qur’an Speaks of Women,” which retells the stories of specific women in the Qur’an (like Balkis, Umm Musa, and Maryam) and
  2. “When the Qur’an Speaks to Women,” which examines Allah’s interactions with women in the time of the Prophet (s) through the text of the Qur’an.

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The New Muslim’s Field Guide by Theresa Corbin and Kaighla Um Dayo

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Theresa Corbin and Kaighla Um Dayo have written the book they wish they had when they converted to Islam. Drawing on decades of experience and focusing on practical advice rather than information-dumping, The New Muslim’s Field Guide discusses the major issues a new convert to Islam will have to contend with in a fun and friendly way. View Post