AMERICAN MUSLIM WOMAN FEATURED ON OPRAH
For devout Muslim Mubarakah, a 30-year-old mother of four, life in her 30s is about family and career. Married for 14 years, Mubarakah never had to worry about the dating scene. "Dating in Islam is forbidden," she says. "When you meet someone and you're talking to them, the purpose is for marriage. So you're getting to know someone to know whether or not that's somebody you want to be married to."
In her career as a certified personal trainer, Mubarakah's biggest challenge is finding workout clothes in keeping with her faith. "As Muslim women, we can only show our face and hands," she explains. "Most workout outfits are either short sleeved or too tight." She modifies her clothes by adding length to sleeves and hems, taking care to look cute at the same time. "I try to at least look like I'm matching and I have some kind of style," she says. "So generally my headscarf will match my outfit."
Mubarakah says she encounters many myths about her religion, including her heritage. "People automatically think I'm from another country, but my mother's family is Cherokee and my father's African-American, so I'm as American as it gets," she says. An open attitude helps Mubarakah deal with misconceptions. "If people don't understand, I just try to be very personable with it," she says. "I'm very open as far as questions."
Commitment to her religion requires Mubarakah to pray five times daily, whether she's working with a client, at the movies, or in her living room. Still, she says that American Muslims are just like any other Americans. "We're no longer immigrants or converts to Islam, but rather American-born Muslims that lead regular American lives. [We] incorporate our Islam beliefs and practices into our every day," Mubarakah says. "In the end, all our goals are the same. All of us want to raise our kids to be contributing members of society, to be healthy, to be happy. And no matter where you choose to worship, every woman wants to know, 'How do you get rid of cellulite?'"