A few years back I found a complete English translation of “Muhammad ‘Abduh” by Osman Amin originally published by Da’ir al-Ma’arif al-Islamiya, Cairo, 1944. This translation was published by the American Council of Learned Societies, as a part of their Near Eastern Translation Program, Washington, DC 1953. Amazing what you find in the Islam section of used bookstores for $4.00. Unfortunately, I’ve lost it since then— and all the other copies I see for sale are around $50 bucks.
Saudi Arabia mandates that a woman needs a male relative, or a mahram to visit Mecca. This leaves many of our sisters empty handed with no ‘umra or hajj visa in hand. Enter Rent-A-Mahram. We provide temporary husband services to cure this injustice. Thousands of single Muslim women (especially converts) who cannot go will now have a companion!
Rent-A-Mahram.com, for all your mahram needs. We also provide background check services on potential mates by bringing baseball bats to our meetings!
Note: No representation is made that the quality of services performed by this mahram are better than the services performed by actual mahram. Dowry, maintenance, and gratification of sexual desires not included.
If you haven’t already guessed, I find American Muslims fascinating, particularly in the way men and women find partners.
At the age of sixteen or so, I came across my first Muslim matrimonial site. As many women will tell you, these sites are full of intelligent beautiful women and not-so-appealing men.
During that time, sitting at home in the suburbs without any Muslim friends and waiting for college to begin, I spent some time on sites like shaadi.com, islamicmatches.com and muslimwedding.org. I tried them all despite being sixteen and not looking for someone to marry, obviously. (Is that laughter, I hear?).
I spent about four months in Syria, living in a neighborhood called rukn al-din, in the northeast of Damascus.
While there, I lived in a house with several other Muslim men (and one Christian) from around the world. Eventually, everyone in the house except the Syrians and the German did not speak with me, refused to let me eat with them, and branded me a Sign of The Day Of Judgment. Suffice it to say, I make an impression wherever I go. More on that in a follow-up post, though.
The family was hanging out in my parents’ kitchen, when my brother-in-law, Angrez, described some car trouble he had been having:
“Baba, the boot of our car is stuck!”
“Wha?” My father replied, not understanding Angrez’s British terminology.
“Sorry, Baba, The Trunk. The Trunk.” Angrez giggled.
What followed was a family procession through the garage door and onto the driveway. We weren’t expecting much, as American-raised kids doubtful of our parents’ wisdom.
The Arabic word, dawah, as it is used currently in mainstream Muslim circles has come to mean ‘attempting to convert people to Islam.’
Back in Syria, I lived in a house full of Muslims from all over the world. Imagine an all-male, Muslim version of the MTV reality series “The Real World,” where seven languages are spoken, and you’ve got a pretty accurate image of my life in Damascus.
When a German Christian guy who biked from Germany to Syria stepped into the house and we all came to greet him, the first thing out of my housemate Muhammad’s mouth was how much sawab or “reward” we would get if we converted him.
All I could do was laugh, but inside my head I was heaving those heaves right before a good cry. The ones that arrive when you are exhausted by dealing with a community that doesn’t seem to get it… pardon me, for my occasional negativity. I am not interested in converting people to capital I- Islam. I don’t even believe that God wants us to do that!
For my 25th birthday, my parents took me out for seafood, and on the way back to their house, I turned to my mother…
“Mom, you know, the whole reason I’m here, where I am, is you. There is something you consistently drilled into me that has helped me to this day.”
Mom looks self-conscious, but smiling
“I used to subscribe to Nickelodeon magazine when I was 10, and there was some sort of problem with the billing. I asked you to call them for me, but you were adamant that I spoke with them. ‘HijabMan, don’t EVER be afraid to ask,’ you would repeat, as I stood there crying. You eventually gave up and spoke to them for me, but looked at me and repeated again. ‘Beta, how do you expect to live if you can’t talk to people in the real world?’