Q: Tuscany, why did you decide to write this book?
A: Well, there was a woman in my mosque who came up to my friend and I after Friday prayers to shyly ask if she could inquire about something private. We agreed to take her aside and she asked, “I am getting my period soon. I’m feeling very spiritual and I don’t want Allah to be mad at me if I pray to him. What do I do?” I remember being really taken aback by this question. Women get their periods one week out of every month and this woman essentially thought Allah hated her for a 1/4 of every month? He made us as women! While it’s true that we are not called to the ritual five daily prayers and fasting during this time, it doesn’t mean we’re cut off from Allah!
So I started researching about this issue so I could answer better the next time I was asked and I ended up just writing an entire book on this issue. The more I studied it, the more misconceptions I was greeted with. Most of these issues being cultural baggage instead of what the faith actually teaches. My aim was to make a book in English that was easy-to-read, factual, concise and comprehensive. Insha’Allah, I achieved something close to that. *laughs*
Q: Why should we care about women’s rights in Islam?
A: In the news, when Islam is mentioned we are greeted with photos of women in black or women wearing burqas, staring at us with eyes screaming “Please save me from this hell on earth.” We pity her and we write articles and novels on how to save her from her obvious plight. We discuss how Islam must be this huge, ugly issue because duh, look at all those terrorists. We see groups like FEMEN coming out, breasts blazing with painted phrases, to save these poor women. We sit behind our keyboards soaking in these stories of raped, beaten women in the Islamic world and think, “Wow, why would any woman want to be Muslim? Islam is so ugly.”
Then I converted to Islam and realized how incredibly wrong this all is. Nobody needs to save the Muslim woman except herself. We are more than burqas and black scarves. We are doctors, lawyers, neighbors, family, and friends. (We also wear color!) We are intelligent and more than capable of being the change we wish to see. We just have to do it. So I wrote a book on a taboo but extremely important issue to help women at the core of their worship. I believe that Muslim women helping other Muslim women can be extremely empowering.
Q: When are you writing your next book?
A: I’m hoping to put one out by 2018 but I honestly haven’t even started writing it yet so I’m not making any promises yet. *winks* I’ll keep you updated!