Authority, the Media, and Muslim Women

I have begun to read Khaled Abou El-Fadl’s Speaking in God’s Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women again. My first attempt was about two years ago while I was still finishing my Bachelor’s. The book is not easy to get through and the first time out proved to be a massive failure. This time is proving to be better, since I have more time to read it (although it is still proving to be difficult yet enjoyable to read). As we can tell from the title, a huge part of the book is dedicated to autho … [Read more...]

Girls Just Wanna Get Married: On Hamas, Matchmaking, and Femininity

It seems as of late, the media has taken a very keen interest in the personal details of the lives of Muslim women. My fellow writers here at MMW have discussed this phenomenon. The Associated Press is now adding to this by telling us how Hamas is getting in on the matchmaking business.The title of the original AP article isn’t so bad: “Love Connection: Hamas gets into matchmaking biz”. The original article that I found on Google also has no pictures either. So you’re less likely to come away w … [Read more...]

The Message International says NO! to Domestic Violence

In the past, I have been critical of Muslim organizations for their relative silence on issues affecting women. So I was pleasantly surprised when the entire February/March edition of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)’s magazine, The Message International, was dedicated to domestic violence. The front cover was nice with a picture of street signs that read "NO! TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE" . The release of the issue coincided with the tragic murder of Aasiya Hassan.To have a Muslim p … [Read more...]

Fatwa Frenzy: Skewing the Education Fatwa Issue

The right to an education is one of the most basic rights that any person can have. Yet this right is often denied to women, including many women in various Muslim societies. We have examples of women in the formative era of Islam who benefited from education and who were scholars in their own right. Still, the right to be educated is one that is fought for by Muslim women’s rights activists and a right recently reaffirmed by an Islamic scholar. Fatemeh linked to two stories about the fatwa i … [Read more...]

Always an Unregistered Wife, Never a Bride

When I first read the BBC's article on Tajik women who are left destitute because their Islamic marriages (nikaah) were not recognized by the secular government in Tajikistan, I have to admit that I cringed and felt a bit defensive. Here was another story portraying Muslim women as poor victims of Muslim men but, even more importantly, of Islam itself. The headline reads "Legal limbo for Tajik Islamic brides (emphasis added)". Throughout the article, there is the constant reference to Islamic … [Read more...]

The Sound of a Broken Record: Alibhai-Brown’s Essay for The Independent

Reading Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's commentary in The Independent reminded me a bit of a group of people that Khaled Abou El Fadl mentioned in his introduction to Amina Wadud's Inside the Gender Jihad. The group of people I refer to are "self-hating Muslims" with "tormented soul(s)" who seem all too eager to assuage the bigoted view of hateful Islamophobes when it comes to Muslim women and Muslims in general. Perhaps self-hating is a strong term for Alibhai-Brown, but reading her commentary, but I … [Read more...]

The Guardian’s First Lady Faux Pas

During an election campaign, we often get articles focusing on the wives of male candidates. It is never surprising when there are an abundance of articles on how they dress and how much they support their husbands. The Guardian's recently published piece focusing on Zahra Rahnavard does not differ much from this norm. However, the conclusions reached in article seem to differ wildly from the same conclusions that would be drawn about Rahnavard's counterparts in the U.S. or Britain.What I … [Read more...]