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Maryam Jameelah
Writer
--: Biography of Maryam Jameelah :--

 Maryam Jameelah 

 

-Maryam Jameelah (May 23, 1934 - October 31, 2012) 
 
Jameelah was born Margaret Marcus in New Rochelle, New York, to parents of German Jewish descent, and spent her early years in Westchester. As a child, Marcus was psychologically and socially ill at ease with her surroundings, and her mother described her as bright, exceptionally bright, but also "very nervous, sensitive, high-strung, and demanding". Even while in school she was attracted to Asian and particularly Arab culture and history, and counter to the support for Israel among people around her, she generally sympathised with the plight of Arabs and Palestinians. Another source describes her interests as moving from Holocaust photographs, to "Palestinian suffering, then a Zionist youth group and, ultimately, fundamentalist Islam."
She entered the University of Rochester after high-school, but had to withdraw before classes began because of psychiatric problemsIn Spring, 1953, she entered New York University. There she explored Reform Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Ethical Culture and theBahá'í Faith, but found them unsatisfactory, especially in their support for Zionism. In the summer of 1953, she suffered another nervous breakdown and fell into despair and exhaustion. It was during this period that she returned to her study of Islam and read the Quran. She was also inspired by Muhammad Asad's "The Road to Makkah" which recounted his journey and eventual conversion from Judaism to Islam. At NYU she took a course on Judaism's influence on Islam which was taught by Rabbi and scholar Abraham katch, which ironically strengthened her attraction to Islam. However Marcus's health grew worse and she dropped out of the university in 1956 before graduation; from 1957-59 she was hospitalized for schizophrenia.
Returning home to White Plains in 1959, Marcus involved herself with various Islamic organizations, and began corresponding with Muslim leaders outside America, particularly Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, a leader of Jamaat-e-Islami  in Pakistan. Finally, on May 24, 1961, she converted to Islam  and adopted the name Maryam Jameelah. After accepting Maulana Maududi's invitation she emigrated to Pakistan in 1962, where she initially resided with him and his family. In 1963, she  got married  to Muhammad Yusuf Khan on Maulana's instructions, a member of the Jamaat-e-Islami, becoming his second wife. She had five children: two boys and three girls (the first of whom died in infancy). Jameelah regards these years (1962-64) to be the formative period of her life during which she matured and began her life's work as a Muslim defender of conservative Islam. She never returned to USA and lived a pure Muslimah life in Pakistan. Two of her sons now live in US and on her last night she talked to them about hurricane Sandy. On the morning of 31st October she had a severe heart attack was  taken to hospital but could not survive.
Her marriage to Muhammad yousaf khan was quite unique. Later on he quoted that he was standing with other two companions outside Maulana's house when he came out and showed his anxiety about Maryam's wedding . The two other told him that Maulana wanted him to marry the lady. He went home and talked to his wife Shafiqa. Shafiqa was quite concerned about her and she gladly accepted it. She came and proposed her as a second wife for her husband. After consulting Maulana Maudoodi she accepted this proposal and nikah was done. The family lived a happy life. Both the wives were quite coordinated with each other. Shafiqa was called Ammi by their kids while Maryam was called Aapa.  She wanted to be buried close to Maulana but in her final days she decided to be buried near Shafiqa's grave.
The other day I read in Newspaper Jasarat that Amir Jamaat Islami Pakistan Syed Munawar Hassan went for condolence to her her husband Yusaf Khan Sahib. It seems that he is alive.Her biography is  called "The Convert"  written by Deborah Baker is worth reading. Author of some 25 books and still a resident of Lahore, Maryam Jameelah wrote extremely powerful diatribes against the West & her home country America and how she had experienced in her life in there.Here is a  brief review of the book in Dec, 2011"The Convert- A Tale of Exile and Extremism" written by Deborah Baker ( wife of Amitav ghosh ) is an expertly written book that chronicles the life of Margaret (Peggy) Marcus born to a liberal Jewish couple - Herbert & Myra of New York. She was an unusual child-- a loner, socially maladjusted and initially shy but later a voluble inquisitive and annoyingly talkative girl. At school she was ceaselessly teased by bullying classmates in the 1940s and was reportedly molested. She was a college dropout and became an autodidact-- reading all the time at the fabled New York Public Library. After several trips to the Psychiatrist's couch and two mental institutions (where she was committed by her parents), she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. She read voraciously about Islam, became enamored with Pakistani Islamic Thinker and author Abul Ala Mawdudi's whose books and philosophy she adored and ended up corresponding with him. She uprooted herself in the early 1960s from America to permanently move to Lahore under the initial guardianship of Maulana Maududi, living at his house in Icchra, Lahore. She stayed  a worker of the Jamaat Islami and till her last breath,  lived in Sant Nagar in Lahore. She wrote over 25 books---- essentially very forceful diatribes against the West in general and her home country America in particular pitting Islam against the Western civilization. She has not swerved from the path of pure unadulterated disdain for the West in the past 50 years although her literary output went into decline in the 1980s. Deborah Baker has written a riveting account of her life and has travelled to Lahore staying at Najam Sethi's house, received moral support and help from Asma Jahangir and interviewed Haider Farooq Maududi and eventually interviewed Maryam Jameela herself .
 
Jameelah 's books:
Jameelah started writing her first novel, Ahmad Khalil: The Story of a Palestinian Refugee and His Family at the age of twelve; she illustrated her book with pencil sketches and color drawings. She also studied drawing in Fall 1952 at Art Students League of New York, and exhibited her work at Baha'i Center's Caravan of East and West art gallery. On her emigration to Pakistan she was told that drawing pictures was un-Islamic by Maulana Maududi, and abandoned it in favor of writing. Her writings are supplemented by a number of audio and video tapes
Jameelah was a prolific author, believing in basic , fundamental, traditional Islamic values and culture. She was deeply critical of secularism, materialism and modernization, both in Western society, as well as in Islam. She regards traditions such as veiling,polygamy, and gender segregation (purdah) to be ordained by the Quran and by the words of Prophet Muhammad, and considers movements to change these customs to be a betrayal of Islamic teachings.Jameelah's books and articles have been translated into several languages including Urdu, Persian, Turkish, Bengali and Bahasa Indonesia. Her correspondence, manuscripts, bibliographies, chronologies, speeches, questionnaires, published articles, photographs, videocassettes, and artwork are included in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library collection of the New York Public Library.
 
Articles and Books Of Maryam Jameelah
 
1. ISLAM VERSUS THE WEST
2. ISLAM AND MODERNISM
3. ISLAM IN THEORY AND PRACTICE
4. ISLAM VERSUS AHL AL KITAB PAST AND PRESENT
5. AHMAD KHALIL
6. ISLAM AND ORIENTALISM
7. WESTERN CIVILIZATION CONDEMNED BY ITSELF
8. CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN MAULANA MAUDOODI AND MARYUM JAMEELAH
9. ISLAM AND WESTERN SOCIETY
10. A MANIFESTO OF THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT
11. IS WESTERN CIVILIZATION UNIVERSAL
12 WHO IS MAUDOODI ?
13 WHY I EMBRACED ISLAM
14 ISLAM AND THE MUSLIM WOMAN TODAY
15 ISLAM AND SOCIAL HABITS
16 ISLAMIC CULTURE IN THEORY AND PRACTICE
17 THREE GREAT ISLAMIC MOVEMENTS IN THE ARAB WORLD OF THE RECENT PAST
18 SHAIKH HASAN AL BANNA AND IKHWAN AL MUSLIMUN
19 A GREAT ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN TURKEY
20 TWO MUJAHIDIN OF THE RECENT PAST AND THEIR STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM AGAINST FOREIGN RULE
21 THE GENERATION GAP ITS CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES
22 WESTERNIZATION VERSUS MUSLIMS
23 WESTERNIZATION AND HUMAN WELFARE
24 MODERN TECHNOLOGY AND THE DEHUMANIZATION OF MAN
25 ISLAM AND MODERN MAN
 
 
Some facts from Wikiepedia:
 
 
Abida Rahmani
 

 

 
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