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Love in headscarf…only just discovered your book – my husband got me the book a few day s ago– I am stopping myself from reading it all in one go so not to end the tale.. loving the book, thank you – from someone who had an arranged marriage at the ripe old age of 32!! And 9 years later fall ever deeper in love with my husband – well worth the wait. We have supported each other through our respective careers – and are raising a blessing from Allah – our 7 year old daughter Israa – (we were mindful to give her an Islamically meaningful name – I too was never really impressed with my until I have interpreted rightly or wrongly ‘traveller’ as taking a journey of learning and wonder along with all the heartbreak that comes followed with peace and blessing. Hoping you will write again – will be distributing the book amongst family and friends here and abroad. Ps I don’t wear a headscarf.
I like ur book so much – i found it when my faith to find someone special get loose.. thanks you bcoz you inspiring me to keep on struggle and believe that Allah will ge me the best at the right time and the right place… I think i will read your another article that can make me open mind… after all jazakillah ya ukhti ^_^
Thanks Mahda, it’s lovely to hear from you. Welcome to my blog!
Raheelah, I feel very moved by your story and your positivity. Hope all your good energy and positivity travels with you and your family wherever you go. And glad to hear you will be sending copies of the book to family and friends!
Dear Shelina, thank you very much for your book which I finished reading in two days. As a ´former Catholic´ and having read quite a bit of feministic literature I was especially touched by how you describe the hijab being a modest (hope I translate your word right, I read your book in Dutch) way of dressing, instead of the ´avoiding male arousal´ I was taught to believe. I loved how you describe the way the Islam believes a man and a woman are one – in contrast with the ´leftover ribs´ start in the Bible… (leaving only my confusion how both Christians and Moslims believe homosexuality is not Allah´s or God´s intention? Not so human…) Thank you for writing such a strong and positive book, empowering the reader to stick to their inner truths like the writer. Kind regards, Simone Willems, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
How lovely to hear from you. I’m so pleased to hear that the book has finally arrived in Dutch, and even more delighted that you enjoyed reading the book and it reached out and touched you.
I hope that the book will be a positive contribution to the Dutch public space – and of course that people will enjoy reading it!
Thank you for taking the time to post a comment,
Hi dear Sister Shelina;
My name is Fatma and I am 19 and I am from Turkey. There are still 70 pages I should read to finish the book but I couldnt wait any longer to write to you. Your book “love in headscarf” has changed my life. First, I laughed very much – all traditional-but-not-islamic applications about love and marriage are familiar to me. So far, everytime I talk about “love” it was considered as sexuality so it
was forbidden and inappropirate to talk about. But I did not mean that and noone talked to me that clearly. It was considered as an inappropirate thing for teenagers. Now, after I read your conversation with Mohammed it is all clear. I was never able to match or connect “loving a man” and “lovin Allah”. Now it is all clear. It was never clear that much! and You also made me feel that I am not alone, there are other muslim girls who go to college, try to live according to Qoran, are not accepted by moderns because of being too old-fashioned and not accepted by traditional people because of being too modern…
I couldnt help myself crying while reading your book. You changed my
understanding of world, love, ummah, marriage, friendship, and myself. I really do appreciate you for writing this book. From now, you are my spirutal sister, you are my friend who showed me a new direction. May Allah be with you. May Vadud give you love for all people, if he did already, may he protect it forever.
Thank you sister May this book be the key of yours to the Cannah- paradise!!!!
Salaam. ive just stared to read your book. when i complete it i shall hopefully be back to share my thoughts on it. ive read 8 pages so far including the prologue and i love your use of language (so strong and direct). I so know i am going to relate to this book.
It is wonderful to hear from you and to travel on your journey with you as you describe what it is like to be you in Turkey. I think the frustrations you describe are shared across many countries and many young women, and we have to work hard to change some traditional attitudes which do not necessarily find a place in religion. The best way to do this is to read, and learn about other ideas and then change those around us. If you haven’t finished reading the book yet, I hope you enjoy the rest of it,
[…] Get in touch […]
Dear Shelina, Thank you…’Love in a Headscarf’ was a wonderful read and proivded me an interestiong perspective on headscarf and Islam. I am a humanitarian aid worker working with children and have recently moved to Iraq (from India) for a mission. Here I had to put on a headscarf…and it was very difficult to come to terms with it for the firtst time. Your views and perspective on Islam are also very helpful to me while working in a country with Muslim culture. And it was a pleasant surpirse to find out that your family roots go back to Kutch as that’s my native place in India. Once again, thank you so much…
Nirali, what a wonderful coincidence that we come from the same part of the world! Keep up the good work with the humanitarian aid. I’m pleased to hear that my book was able to help, even if only in some small way,
I loved your book, very inspirational for Muslim women, thank you.
Thanks Freda, glad you enjoyed it.
I’m taking classes at theMuhammadiyah University of Malang, Indonesia
Currently I’m in the stage of preparing my thesis on “Britain and perjuanganya musslim face discrimination in the west”
Can you help me in providing the data or literature to complete my thesis is.
before I say thank you
May god bless you
I’m an American, married to a Syrian, living in Saudi Arabia. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a book club as a platform for my many neices and sisters-in-law to improve/practice their English. I was so impressed with your effort I’ve decided to forge ahead with my plan and make “Love in a Headscarf” our first read. Suffice to say, I found your prose refreshingly inviting and your handling of the narrative line subtly provocative. A job well done.
Wonderful news! I think book clubs are a great idea and I wish you every success with yours,
Congratulations!!! Alhamdulillah I’m happy to hear of your new arrival. May she give both you and your husband the joy and fulfilment that only a baby can. Enjoy!
on love in headscarf
Last day i ws told ds story by robin..
once a saint ws cookng his food. suddenly he lukd upward seeing a flock of birds flew ovr his head.at da very moment he got enlighted by tao.aftwards he contined his cookng as b4. bt he ws not da same as b4…
similar vl b da xperienc of many who read ‘luv in a headscarf’. it s a journey in search of da One,da Luv, da Truth vch xplores thru da ‘silent islands of islam'(thanx 4 p.a.nasimudin). it vl entertain,xcite nd enlight u..
a nyc valentins day readng xprnce..thanx 2 sherlina..
luv in a headscarf or story of hurin,the hiro nd da hero
Fantastic article in The National. Would have been better without the hypocrisy by The National. They publish your article regarding freedom in Europe, but are silent about this poor sod:
I’m all for liberty for all. When can I expect your post about Liberty for All discussing political repression in the UAE, where your most recent article was published?
“Europe must be more principled in its approach to dealing with its Muslim populations. Countries such as the UK and France are taking bold actions in Libya to support the movement towards freedom and democracy. At the same time, domestically they wish to suppress Muslim self-expression.”
As does the government in the UAE, evidenced by the suppression of Muslim self-expression. So, I reiterate, when can I expect that article?
Adrian, you make a valid point, and I don’t disagree.
One thing that is always a challenge for an opinion writer is issue-grandstanding. “if you support this, then why don’t you say something about X, Y or Z”. One thing I would say is that I’m based in the UK, so my writings tend generally to focus on this country/Europe or the wider western world.
Having said that, I did forward your comment onto the editors at The National to publish in their letters section. For unsurprising reasons it didn’t get published.
However, your comment is well made, and I will rise to the challenge, so do watch this space. And if it’s published in the national – so much the better!
Marriage is the basis of the family order, which is, in turn, the basis of society. It is therefore an object of divine concern. In the Qur’an and through the teachings of His Messenger (PBUH), Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, revealed detailed legislation, the purpose of which is to maintain the integrity of the family unit and establish it as a permanent institution and a firm foundation for the ummah, one that will strengthen it and provide security for its members as long as man inhabits the earth.
You mention in one of your blogs that Jack Straw thinks Muslim women should be seen and not heard and he should get tips from David Blunket. Isn’t that rather turning the issue around?
He isn’t blind, and he did want a FACE-to-FACE interview, not a FACE-to-NOFACE interview.
The woman in question obviously wanted a face-to-face interview rather than a blind one, hence her going to his office and not calling him up. Obviously she recognised the value in doing that. But apparently she didn’t think she needed to afford the other person the same courtesy.
It’s not unreasonable to expect people to remove face coverings such as veils and sun glasses when you’re talking to them. After all veils are designed precisely in order to keep people at a distance. If people want to put obstacles in the way of face-to-face communication, then they shouldn’t be surprised if other people take the hint and don’t feel like overcoming them or ask for the other person to meet them on equal terms.
Thank you for undertaking the task of conveying your path to matrimony. I found it to be an open, honest and very personal account of the difficulties British Muslims, especially those who are educated and are engaged in professional careers, encounter when seeking the ‘right’ one.
Growing up accustomed to variations to the norms and ideas held by the cultural tradition of family has lead to the younger generation of British-Muslims holding loftier expectations of marriage than their parents. It is no longer about finding a partner with the ‘correct’ outward (superficial) characteristics, but instead the inner dimensions of that person and how compatible it is with our own personality, ambitions and sense of the world – a person we can (dare I say it) love. The one-page curriculum-vitae of the prospected partner works for some but not for others.
University graduates often seek partners with similar educational attainments. Not owing to any ephemeral notion of ‘status’, but because it’s more likely that career paths and goals will be similar. This narrows the field of potential Muslim partners even further. But what is becoming increasingly common is the search for practising Muslims. Not just those who follow the five daily prayers, who fast during the prescribed month. But those who live and breathe Islam – who ponder over the philosophical underpinning of ritual, who might even engage in the metaphysics of tassawuf. I found your determination to become partners with someone who uplifts you spiritually as well as emotionally, immensely admirable.
Perhaps the central element of what I got out of your book was that Muslim women should be encouraged to seek their own partners. Support from family is a bonus, though when familial expectations conflict with personal ones there definitely needs to be a talk. Unfortunately some Muslim communities in the UK hold their sons to different standards than daughters. University educated women are lauded but then suddenly expected to enter into partnership with a man from the ‘old country’ or something other that is improperly thought out. I write from the perspective of the British-Bengali community. It is only natural that, as Muslim society (if one can classify it as one homogeneous mass) in the UK evolves, so will the machinations of marriage.
Female empowerment comes in many forms. Islam, unveiled to its full splendour, is one of them. Attaining knowledge and engaging in travel is greatly encouraged in Islam for each devotee. I enjoyed your tales of travelling around the Middle-East and hope that more Muslim women will be encouraged to do this.
I hope more men read your book. In fact, I believe it is critically important.
With kind wishes, khaled.
Khaled, thanks for your great message and for taking the time explore some of the issues I’ve raised. Please do spread the word – I would love for more men to read the book, because, of course, an issue like marriage can never change just by one party changing – both need to be involved.
If you’d like to organise something, i’d be happy to be involved. And do get those Muslim men reading the book!
I’ve written for men too (there is a piece entitled “Muslim men, this one’s for you…”)
thanks again for reading the book and sending your comments through.
Well I just finished reading Love in a Headscarf (which I have been reading extremely slowly in an attempt to make it last ) and my first thought was: Aw, I wish I could read more of her thoughts… and then I found this.
You’re truly inspirational and your style of writing is just so – flowy. I honestly felt like I was having a really interesting conversation with someone instead of reading a book, and at a point, I had the urge to interrupt so I could share a few thoughts, a few experiences.
So thank you. Thank you for the wonderful book and thank you for an interesting blog (which I will be spending the next 5 hours reading.)
Have a nice day.
thank you for your kind words, and do enjoy the blog…
Assalam va alaikum va rahmatullah va barakatahu
Read your book- very impressive, instigating. I would request you to insert peace be upon him next to the prophets name and may Allah be pleased with her next to his wife”s name.
Hope you do well in life.
Salaam Aleykum Shelina. Firstly i would like to thank you for being so brave and determined and putting your work out there. Every artist/writer who puts their work out for the world to comment/criticize has put a bit of their soul out there with their work, and i’d like to say that i felt that. I fell in love with this book, I honestly felt i was on the journey with you and Never once did i think that my opinions about Islam, women and arranged marriage would mirror another sisters. Although i come from a different background to yourself, we all have these loving-busy-body-Auntie’s lol. Thank you for giving me a new perspective on my search and giving me some guidance on my spiritual journey. May Allah bless you for your hard work and for wanting to make this world a better place and reward you immensely for all the good you try/have achieved. Ameen Allahumma Ameen.
Love From your sister in Islam xx
When will be the next novel coming?Eagerly waiting… keep up the good work!!
hopefully soon, but these things take time!
sending you much love too. thanks for the supportive words
Very interesting book. If only we had book for men on how to stay faithful to there wife.
It simply takes someone to write one! However, there is plenty of encouragement out there.
Re: your article about ‘Allah/Malaysia’, The National (UAE) – 28/6/14.
The fact that you felt the need to begin your polemical piece with a quote from Shakespeare, speaks volumes!
Your piece contains vague (at best!) diatribes, which proves that you have not understood the Islamic theological position regarding the word ‘Allah’. The Malay language already contains a word to describe one’s deity; ‘Tuhan’. Why the obsession by the Catholic Church in Malaysia to insist on using ‘Allah’? Christians of all persuasions have used ‘Yahweh/Jehovah, Theos, Elohim, Kyrios, Abba, etc. WHERE IN EITHER THE NEW OR OLD TESTAMENTS DOES THE WORD ‘ALLAH’ appear?
Allah SWT has already defined Himself (SWT) in Al Qur’an Kareem, in Surah Al ‘Iklass (S. 112). WHO believes in ‘Allah’ as he has defined HIMSELF? Perhaps you should have a read of the aforementioned! I am aghast at how someone can even attempt to write about something so fundamental to the Islamic belief and, as has transpires, knows next to nothing about the subject matter!
(1) the Islamic spirit is to be inclusive to all, why make Allah exclusive?
(2) what will you say to MILLIONS of Christians in the Arab world who refer to Allah?
If you feel I am not well read enough on the subject, there are plenty of renowned scholars far more learned than I who will take the same approach.
First, quoting from the Qur’an that Christians have used the word Allah
“Muslims have no copyright over the word Allah. In fact, there’s nothing in the Quran that says Allah can only be used by Muslims,” he told The Malaysian Insider in a telephone interview from Doha.
“The Quran even has a phrase that mentioned the name Allah was present in monasteries, churches and synagogues as well.”
He was referring to a verse in the Quran, which reads, “if God had not enabled people to defend themselves against one another, monasteries and churches and synagogues and mosques – in all of which Allah’s name is abundantly extolled – would surely have been destroyed” (22:40).
– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/more-islamic-scholars-criticise-putrajaya-over-allah-ruling#sthash.yhI3YquP.KwZwmGZ4.dpuf
“A well-known American Muslim theologian has joined a long list of critics over the recent Court of Appeal ruling on the use of the word Allah, saying it was a “political decision more than anything else”. – See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/award-winning-american-muslim-scholar-on-the-allah-decision-we-are-laughing#sthash.5BOYaQ44.A3UmS3DW.dpuf
I never thought that I would come across a halal book, I am an avid reader. I read all sorts of books from medical to finding love etc…So this was electrifying, it made me questioning a couple of overall themes and ideas. This is the first book in its kind that leaves you really pondering about how you will change or metamorphose into a better person…All this time I had it wrong, sometimes the best of us are blinded by our surrounding as we live in oblivion…Thank you, hope to see another book soon. All the best.
Lovely to hear that you enjoyed the book, and even better to know that it has prompted some great thinking! Wishing you well on your journey of discovery…
Your book is like a key. I mean my head was cooking all sorts of stuff regarding the ONE and faith and stuff like that when I met LOVE IN A HEADSCARF. I am through 4 chapters only and the book is already moved me. Can’t wait to finish it!
Thank you for connecting with me=)
Just want to say I learn about your book through updates by Goodreads (via a friend’s reading list). I enjoyed so very much. I am a first time author but by writing credentials are not as impressive as you. Thanks for sharing your story. InshaAllah it will be inspirational for others. I am also glad you finally found “the O”. Patience pays off. Anyway, my little story of finding “the o” is in “The Black Mzungu”, https://www.facebook.com/TheBlackMzungu and http://theblackmzungu.com/, An added surprise for me was the Tanzanian connection. Warm Salaams, Dr. Nur
I read your book about three years ago and loved it. Our community needs people like you. You give voice to my thoughts and those of countless other Muslims – so eloquently and so concisely, I applaud you.
May Allah help you keep it up.
Thank you for your kind words. Ameen!
Thanks! Such a lovely message, and everyone’s support is the most important thing to me. Thanks again!
A ‘key’. What a lovely description, thank you! Hope you enjoyed the rest of the book.
Shelina Zahra Janmohamed - Spirit21