Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jihad of the Soul - Review

I finished this book yesterday. Its based on a research paper Zarinah El-Amin Naeem did while doing her Masters. This is a book about Muslim youth (under the age of 40) who are searching for their spouses and the struggles they face in doing so. Although I was aware of many things she wrote about, the thing that stood out for me was how much trouble people were having across the board in finding a spouse. I thought that it would be mostly converts and their families like my situation since we have no networks like the immigrant muslims do (ie Pakistani). For converts there is no way we would ever marry our cousin who of course wouldn't even be muslim to begin with or have our kids do something like that and there is no one in our family to turn to since they are all non-muslim so no chance to find a "hook-up Aunty". But she shows in this book how everyone is finding it hard for many reasons including the separation of men and women in the mosque. I wonder why though she never mentions that kids growing up in the mosque weren't always separated from each other and not at school either so they could have gotten to know each other then but maybe they would have been too immature. I don't know. I didn't grow up muslim. The thing about it that stands out to me is that she says muslims are not talking to Muhammad at the mosque because of the separation but John at school. Same thing for the men. She also mentions solutions ie there needs to be more interaction between the genders for the purpose of finding a spouse like more matrimonial events put on by ISNA etc and social events at the mosque.  There is a lot more to be learned in this book and a lot of discussion points. Here are some of my questions.  What are the ways your mosque or community facilitates introductions? Was it a struggle for you to meet your spouse? How do you feel the community, mosque, organizations, family etc can change to help make things easier?

I would suggest that anyone with teens or older read this book to get an idea of what they are facing in our society and in our own communities.


  1. Knowing you even just reading your articles in this blog, really coloured my life. Through my experience, muslim woman in Malaysia not really face that type of problem. Separation of men and women in the mosque and in any religious event is not the problem. In fact,it bring a good impact. We still can see each other as you say in school etc. The most important thing is doing doa to Allah. Allah will show you the way and there will be always a way.


  2. Asalaamu Alaikum

    This is written by the mom right and not the kid? I'm glad you are enjoying my blog.

    Malaysia has so many Muslims but in North America there aren't that many so sometimes it is so hard to find a spouse. Also there are so many ethnic groups here and they often don't want to intermarry. Malaysia also has a lot of dating couples which is haram so this is another reason they find it easy to find a spouse. Dating in Islam can only exist if there is a chaperon. I wonder how dating ever became acceptable in a Muslim majority country. Not pointing fingers but just want to understand.

    Yes we should always rely on Allah and make dua.