Book Review: Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition

[Image source].

Content note: This post includes discussions of domestic violence and of scholarly attempts to justify it.For a number of Muslim women I know (myself included), one of the most complicated Qur’anic passages to contend with is verse 4:34, a verse that, at least in many of the most straightforward translations, appears to establish men as superior to women and to authorise (or even encourage) men to hit their wives if they “disobey.”  Muslim feminist scholars have tried to address it in variou … [Read more...]

Book Review: Salaam, Love

Image via Love, Inshallah.

When Love, InshAllah, edited by Ayesha Mattu and Nura Masnavi,  was initially published two years ago, I was thrilled. I may not have necessarily related to all the stories of those women but was happy to read them. And as cliche as it sounds, it was really challenging the notion that Muslimahs are a monolith. But the editors’ second anthology, Salaam, Love,  "an anthology of stories about love written from the perspectives of Muslim men," initially had me less convinced. I really wanted to dis … [Read more...]

Book Review: “Normal Calm” by Hend Hegazi

Cover of Normal Calm. [Source].

According to statistics provided by RAINN, the United States-based Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, “1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.” The organization further notes that women who have experienced sexual assault are at higher risk for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and thoughts of suicide.Such important consequences of rape led American writer Hend Hegazi to tell the story of a rape survivor in her fir … [Read more...]

Book Review: I Am the Beggar of the World

Image via Slate.

Last month, I looked at Eliza Griswold and Seamus Murphy’s work profiling Afghan women poets particular form of poetry, the landay. Their work, as they presented it in an article on Slate, came across as nuanced and reflective (my own words) of Afghan women’s experiences. I was eager to review their book, I Am the Beggar of the World, which is available this month and was kindly provided by the publisher.Griswold worked with Pashtun women translators to find and present poems that would t … [Read more...]

Words and Images of Afghan Women Poets

Image via Slate.

Earlier this month, Slate featured a photography-poetry project, “The Secret Lives of Afghanistan’s Female Poets.” The photography-poetry collaboration stems from the work of journalist Eliza Griswold and photographer Seamus Murphy, who reported “Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry” for the New York Times magazine in 2012. Griswold and Murphy’s work will be published in a book, I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, next month.In the New York Times articl … [Read more...]

Rediscovering Noor Inayat Khan and the Good Muslim

Cover of Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan. [Source].

I will confess that I first became aware of Noor Inayat Khan, also known as Madeline, only quite recently, that is, during the campaign in 2011 to commemorate her, before it was discovered that she had already been commemorated. I remember looking up her story at the time and coming across her biography, Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan by Shrabani Basu. I did plan on reading the book, but reviews at Goodreads, which complained about the amount of detail and the tone of the first half … [Read more...]

How “Do Muslim Women Need Saving?” Saved Me

[Source].

“This book is about what lies behind such deceptively simple responses to problems we think we already understand or believe that we should act on even before we understand.” - Lila Abu-LughodWhen Muslimah Media Watch started out in 2007, one of the goals was to be able to create a platform for self-identified Muslim women to be able to critique portrayals and stories about us and our communities in mainstream media. Comment and speaking for ourselves was a novel concept.  There continue to b … [Read more...]


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