A companion anthology to Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women (2012), this time from a male perspective.
By nature, anthologies are a little uneven, and this one is no different. Though every story is worth reading and each piece will be enjoyed for its own unique understanding of love from a Muslim man's perspective, each contributor seems to have been responsible for writing his own history. Some stories are better written than others, but editors Mattu, an international development consultant, and Maznavi, a civil rights attorney, ensure that the focus remains on the importance of the story rather than the telling, and they separate the essays into three loose categories: "Umma: It Takes a Village," "Sirat: The Journey" and "Sabr: In Sickness and in Health." These categories add welcome narrative flow to the collection, which is ideologically cohesive but still varied. The contributors are all American Muslims, but there is remarkable diversity from that point. There are converts from Judaism and Christianity, as well as men who grew up devout and men who grew up praying when they felt like it. The religious rules around relationships feature strongly, as one would expect, and they are abided by and flaunted in equal measure. While many of the tales end in marriage, none ignore the flaws and difficulties presented by romantic relationships. Throughout, there are men who lost love, lost themselves and found things they weren't looking for, as well as those still searching. Whether read all together or in single doses, faith and love abound, and there is no shortage of entertainment.
In the introduction, the editors write, "There's nothing like a good love story to connect us to one another and also help satisfy our curiosity about the lives of others.” This collection proves the honesty in that assertion.