How to be a Muslim An American story

Haroon Moghul

Book - 2017

A young Muslim leader’s memoir of his struggles to forge an American Muslim identity.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 297.0973/Moghul Due May 8, 2024
Boston : Beacon Press [2017]
Main Author
Haroon Moghul (author)
Physical Description
231 pages ; 22 cm
Includes bibliographical references.
  • 1. You Go To Sleep, and You Wake Up Dead
  • 2. How the Hell the Apple Fell
  • 3. Linda Was a Cheerleader
  • 4. Judge None Choose One
  • 5. Catholic Girls
  • 6. Hi, I Am Not a Christian
  • 7. Which of These Two Land Cruisers Will You Deny?
  • 8. And Shams Is the Sun
  • 9. "Are You There, Muhammad? It's Me, God."
  • 10. A Planet Called Medina
  • 11. The Falafel Philosophy
  • 12. You Think You Need to Get Married
  • 13. Between the Dome of the Rock and a Hard Place
  • 14. Wake Me Up When September Ends
  • 15. Make It Look Like You're Working
  • 16. The Gravedigger Said
  • 17. The Late, Great Mosque of Córdoba
  • 18. How to Be an Idiot
  • 19. The Bigamist
  • 20. Emirate State of Mind
  • 21. Jet Engine Oven
  • 22. Matthew and Son
  • 23. Who Shot the Shatri
  • 24. Gazi Husrev Begging the Question
  • 25. Muslim Prefers Virgin
  • Acknowledgments
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In sometimes heartbreaking and staggering prose laced with subtle and sardonic humor, Moghul (The Order of Light) shares what it looks like to hammer out an American Muslim identity. Amid depression and bipolarity, between being Pakistani and American, Moghul discovers that Islam is not a straitjacket but a free-flowing wardrobe of expression and being in which he lives as he moves through the modern world. The narrative, rife with pop-culture references and Qur'anic reflections, follows the author through adolescence and adulthood as he struggles to understand his intellectual heritage and the sometimes debilitating stress of being Muslim in a country where Muslims are always considered suspect. As Moghul loses himself and seeks himself, readers will appreciate his story as a second-generation Muslim immigrant, but also as a representative of the modern man: searching, groping, discovering, losing, loving, hoping, dreaming, and suffering. Highly recommended for its candor and relatability, this book will invite readers to fathom what it means to grasp Islam-and religion and spirituality in general. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

With raw honesty (the memoir opens with suicide ideation), debilitating angst (the unrelenting hold of mental illness), and humor when least expected (the terrors of securing a prom date), Moghul's memoir becomes an illuminating antidote to contemporary Islamophobia. As the U.S.-born son of immigrant Pakistani parents, Moghul was a sickly child and a social misfit in school, who now is working his dream job "sure-footedly navigating a privileged world of pundits, politicos, policymakers." He's also what he refers to as a "professional Muslim" who, despite his recurring discomfort with his own spiritual relationship, has lectured globally about Islam; he doesn't hesitate to expose himself as both atheist and spokesperson for his religion. In his doubt, questioning, and beseeching, Moghul ultimately models a universality in the ultimate relationship between man and maker. Narrator Kamran R. Khan is a fitting cipher, his well-modulated voice always in control despite the swings between the commonplace and harrowing that happen across Moghul's story. -VERDICT Audiences previously enlightened by Omar Saif Ghobash's Letters to a Young Muslim and Amani Al-Khatahtbeh's Muslim Girl should add this Muslim to their shelves. ["While [the author] sometimes wades deeply into weighty subjects, the memoir is infused with an entertaining stream of consciousness, making for a unique and enlightening read": LJ 6/15/17 review of the Beason hc.]-Terry Hong, -Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

The troubled tale of one man's search for faith and happiness.A self-described "professional Muslim," Moghul shares his life story, as a Muslim navigating his faith and a man struggling with mental illness, in painstaking detail. Plagued by health issues during his childhood, the author went on to an adolescence filled with intense angst. Both defined and confined by his religion, Moghul eventually found himself an atheist, of sorts. "I chose not to believe in God," he explains, "because, with Him out of the way, there was at last room for me." Circumstances changed, in a way, once he moved away from home and began his studies at New York University. Islam then became a common bond for community and a cause for which the author could work. He helped create a student Islamic center and was heading it up when the 9/11 attacks occurred, thrusting him into the world of media as a voice for Islam. Nevertheless, he was still detached from Islam as a personal faith and suffering from mental illness. A diagnosis of bipolar disorder, near-suicide attempts, a failed marriage, a failed run at law school, and a troubled career as a spokesman for Islam make up the remainder of the book. Moghul's work is certainly an intriguing case study in psychology. As for his tie to Islam, that is in fact just one piece of the puzzle, and the author's self-loathing permeates his life story, which becomes almost a caricature of faith-related guilt. "I felt existentially nauseated," he writes near the end. Despite some almost inevitable insights into life as an American Muslim, this memoir is, above all, a work of catharsis. Readers play the part of therapist, listening to Moghul's tortured story, which never finds a true resolution. Studded with some useful observation but fails to properly address the title. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.