In May 1962, a 28-year-old New Yorker called Margaret Marcus set sail for Pakistan to live the life of a Muslim in the household of Maulana Mawdudi – ideologue and leader of the Islamic political party, Jama’at-I-Islami. For the next 30 years, in vivid and chatty letters to her parents back home, Margaret Marcus, or Maryam Jameelah, described her life in Lahore and the reasons for her embrace of Islam.
Jameelah would go on to write a highly influential set of books that attacked Western secular materialism and upheld a life lived by the laws of the Holy Qur’an. She would become the first person to consistently critique Western civilisation from within the paradigm of Islam.
DEBORAH BAKER’S new book, The Convert (from which the following excerpt is taken), tracks the astonishing journey of this radical woman and explores the philosophical basis of the dream of an Islamic nation.