“When the white knight knows so little about his damsel in distress, how does he expect to rescue her? When she turns around and tells him to call her “Ms.” and to stop telling her what to do, will he be outraged at her ingratitude? When she says she’s quite happy wearing a traditional outfit, thank you, but could she please get maternity leave, will he snort in disgust at his charge? When she wraps her head in a veil and stands up for her Islamic prayer, will he throw up his hands at her inability to throw off Islamic slavery? When she says why thank you for your help, but I need my husband out of Guantanamo and my son out of /your/ Musharraf’s jail, and then I’d like to open a Qur’an school for girls—what will he say then? When she says she’s got her own ways of effecting the revolution, and it doesn’t involve selling out brown men to America, will he decide against trying to rescue her after all?”—How Not to Rescue Muslim Women by Shabana Mir
“To accept feminism as a Western concept is in the last analysis to concede the most visible discourses around women’s rights and gender justice as the property of the West and to marginalize the indigenous histories of protest and resistance to patriarchy by non-Western women. Therefore I use the term “feminist” as a description of Muslim women’s activities that are aimed at transforming masculinist social structures. Muslim women and men with feminist commitments need to navigate the terrain between being critical of sexist interpretations of Islam and patriarchy in their religious communities while simultaneously criticizing neo-colonial feminist discourses on Islam. The fact that Muslim women resist both narratives while sometimes moving between their critiques is a consequence of the way in which they are situated within this larger mineﬁeld.”—Sa’diyya Shaikh, “Transforming Feminisms: Islam, Women, and Gender Justice“
“It is no coincidence that so many in the West are affronted by Muslim women's veils: they symbolise the last refusal of Islamic cultures to be stripped and consumed by the Western narcissistic gaze.”—
An interesting piece by Rachel Woodlock
especially during these times, I think that the most important thing for Muslim women to be doing is exactly what men do to be considered “a man,” and that’s fostering independence.
whether it’s considered cultural or religious (or perhaps even both, which is what usually happens with Muslims), daughters are especially treated as delicate entities by which many insist that they should never be harmed by the very harsh world. And yet, people fail to realize that women already battle the harsh world physically, emotionally, and sometimes even mentally.
It’s unfortunate because the double standards cut deeper than the very harsh world many assume women cannot overcome. When young boys graduate any form of schooling, attain their own residence, start collecting their very own income, it’s considered a respectable aspect of their growth. But if women insist, especially if Muslim women insist, to graduate with their PhD, attain their own income, move out before they get married, it’s considered blasphemous and shameful.
I wish I can tell you that this isn’t Islamic, but Muslims have made this Islamic (and yet continually forget the life of Khadijah, especially her life before marrying Muhammad). I wish I can tell young girls whom I teach that the intertwining of their ethnic and religious culture does not affect how their decisions for the future will be viewed by others, but it will, and it does.
Tomorrow, if I were to choose to move out, continue with my schooling, put my relationship status on a hold, and work a job that I love, I would be a shame to the family. But if my older cousin were to attain all of these things, he would be considered manly and wise.
So what’s a woman to do? What’s a Muslim woman to do? Follow your heart; follow your head, too; don’t be disappointed at the people who will never come to understand you, and hold tight on to those who care about your ambitions and your dreams. Do what you believe is the best thing for you, and tawakal ‘ala Allah.
“Bigelow, in an interview with Slate, discussed how Osama Bin Laden is captured by Maya, a “liberated Western women,” as though liberation is a phenomenon exclusively available to Western women. Zero Dark Thirty’s brand of faux-feminism espouses the erasure and marginalization of non-Western Muslim women, whom it regards as the oppressed counterparts of terrorists. It, in a none-too-rare action for western feminism of its kind, sacrifices the voices of Muslimahs at the altar of white women doing things.”—Zero Dark Thirty: A Tale of Bias and Burqas at Muslimah Media Watch
“Illiteracy was such a certain fate for women that my grandmother would not believe that women's education was a serious state undertaking. For years she kept waking my sister and me at dawn to get us ready for school. We would explain that school started exactly three hours after her first dawn prayer, and that we needed only five minutes to get there. But she would mumble, while handing us our morning tea: "You better get yourself there and stare at the wonderful gate of that school for hours. Only God knows how long it is going to last." She had an obsessive dream: to see us read the Quran and master mathematics. "I want you to read every word of that Quran and I want you to answer my questions when I demand an explanation of a verse. That is how the qadis [Muslim judges] get all their power. But knowing the Quran is not enough to make a woman happy. She has to learn how to do sums. The winners are the ones who master mathematics." The political dimension of education was evident to our grandmother's generation.”—Fatima Mernissi
“Islamic feminism on the whole is more radical than Muslims’ secular feminisms have been. Islamic feminism insists on full equality of women and men across the public/private spectrum (secular feminists historically accepted the idea of equality in the public sphere and the notion of complementarianism in the private sphere).”—
From “Islamic Feminism: What’s in a Name?” by Margot Badran
Badran’s article was my introduction to the Islamic feminist movement back in 2002 and I have pretty much been obsessed ever since
Feminism in the Qu'ran and Hadith
-“I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors in My way, be it man or woman; each of you is equal to the other (3:195)”
-“Verily for all men and women who have surrendered themselves unto God, and all believing men and believing women, and all truly devout men and truly devout women, and all men and women who are true to their word, and all men and women who are patient in adversity, and all men and women who humble themselves before God, and all men and women who give in charity, and all self-denying men and self-denying women, and all men and women who are mindful of their chastity, and all men and women who remmber God unceasingly: for all of them has God readied forgiveness of sins and a mighty reward.” (33:35)
-The Prophet (saws) said: “Among the Muslims the most perfect, as regards his faith, is the one whose character is excellent, and the best among you are those who treat their wives well.” (Hadith 628)
-“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them , and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” (30:21)
-“I command you to treat women kindly. Woman has been created from a rib (the rib is crooked), and the most crooked part of the rib is the upper region. If you try to make it straight you will break it, and if you leave it as it is, it will remain curved. So treat women kindly.” (Al-Bukhari 7:189)
-“O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the Mahr (dowry, bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) you have given them, unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse. And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.” (An-Nisa 4:19)
-“Woman has been created from a rib and in no way will be straight for you; so if you enjoy her you will do so while crookedness remains in her; but if you try to straighten her you will break her; breaking her being divorcing her.” (Sahih Muslim)
-“The best of you are those who are best to the women.” (Sahih At- Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Al-Jami Al-Saker)
-“Verily among the worst people before Allah on the Day of Judgment is a man who approaches his wife sexually and she responds and then he spreads her secrets.” (Sahih Muslim)
-“Do not beat the female servants of Allah.” (Abu Dawud)
(Sorry for the numbers/names of the various hadiths/Quran verses not matching. I got them from different sources and they were listed differently on each source. If someone would like to fix this up I welcome it! I’m not sure how the numbering system works :P)
It isn't the Sunnah to simply treat women well;
it’s the Sunnah to constantly raise the status of women.
The Sunnah is the foundation of ethics, not the limit.
As a 21st century woman I most certainly require and deserve more than 7th century chivalry.
Brother, if all you have to offer women is the bare minimum stipulated in the Prophet’s teachings, if you believe that the elevation of women ended with the Prophet’s 7th century actions, you have learned little from his noble life.
& sister, if all you demand and require from men is the bare minimum in the Sunnah, you have understood little from his achievements.
when a man, and in this case a muslim man, disregards “feminists” or any woman speaking her mind, it means this: he is not interested in hearing anyone’s opinion or anyone talk but himself…it’s simply false ego and undeserved pride. additionally, he does not understand what that means; when you lack the basic definition of the word, you will disregard it and ignore it. moreover, the ignorant are afraid of what they don’t know. so, whether he’s right or wrong, he feels safe in not listening as to not entertain the notion of learning, growing and maybe even *gasp* being “wrong.” it’s not being wrong, it’s being ignorant, misinformed and subjective against the opposite sex’s view points, which are more important than yours dear fellow man, because women know women and about women better than any man ever will. do you have an opinion? sure, but does it matter? not really, you aren’t a woman. your thoughts are minute and add very little to the discourse because there are women present in the conversation because it is, after all, about them. their views are the focal point, not yours. it is best if you listen, learn and absorb.