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Maryam Jameelah [1934-2012], originally Margaret Marcus [‘Peggy’], was a Jewish-American woman who converted to Islam and migrated to Pakistan at the invitation of Maulana Maududi [d. 1979].1 She never left Pakistan after her arrival and integrated uniquely into the life and culture of her adopted country. [Her books generally give her photograph showing her covered in a black veil from head to toe with the face concealed.] Her fifty-year stay in Pakistan was the most productive in terms of her writing and she pursued a vigorous intellectual career pouring out her numerous studies of Islam, her critiques of Western life and thought, her examination of the application of Islam to contemporary life amid the challenges of modernity and materialism. All her books, essays, reviews and other writings had Islam as the subject of inquiry. In this essay, we will examine some of her major works that led her to be included among the ‘makers of contemporary Islam.’2 Her vast output entitles her, by reason of its range, depth and prolixity, to be regarded as an authentic voice of ‘conservative Islam.’3 Over the years, the exponents of Islamic teachings have been males. In the 20th century, we have the example of two erudite and enthusiastic females speaking on behalf of pure and original Islam viz. Maryam Jameelah of Pakistan and Ruqaiya Waris Maqsood of the UK [b. 1948; also a convert from Protestant Christianity and author of many books on Islam]. No doubt a comparative study of the writings of these two Muslim ladies will not be devoid of interest.

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January 1st, 2014


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