Thursday, March 4, 2010

"Islamic Feminism"

The idea of "Islamic Feminism" seems to give a headache to many Muslims, and event I wasn't okay with it for a long, long time. I've been empowered, however, to start using the word feminism more proudly. (Hopefully, I don't need to explain why, but if I do, I'll define a feminist and explain why feminism lies in every single human (note: I said human. Human only.))

Anyway, so I was just introduced to this link by a friend. It's an old, old interview, but I thought I'd share it here. Seeing feminism used in the same sentence with Islam is always a pleasure, anyway.

k, so, it's an interview with three great ladies, one of whom I've never heard of before, and they discuss how "Islamic feminism" differs from "Western feminism," along with the issue of the veil (which is said to be symbolic; Leila Ahmed in the interview explains why) and other concerns that Muslim women face largely due to a highly patriarchal interpretation of Islam. These women are: the great Dr. Sardar Shaheen Ali (Professor of Law at University of Peshawar, Pakistan; visiting scholar at the University of Warwick Law School, United Kingdom; Author of Human Rights and International Law: Equal Before Allah, Unequal Before Man? Note: She's Pukhtun, AND I get to see her in a few months, ka khairee :D:D:D), the great Dr. Leila Ahmed (Professor of divinity at Harvard, Author of Women and Gender in Islam: The Historical Roots of a Modern Debate), and the great Dr. Nayereh Tohidi (Associate Professor of Women's Studies at California State University, Northridge; director of USCN's new Islamic Community Studies program; editor of Women in Muslim Societies: Diversity Within Unity).

I was told that Islamic feminism has been on the rise during the last couple of decades, but I believe it only now. We have hope as long as women like these continue speaking up. And if another woman disagrees with them, she needs to speak up as well (whether for herself or for other women).


  1. Dear Author,
    whats this preoccupation with Islam not to mention the extreme fear of insulting the devine. Chill and relax. After all you are human , the creator of the Creator.
    I just have one question. Why do you need to search for yourself in the ruins of ancient beduoin folklore. Have you given up on yourself or your pukhtoo.
    Your friend,

  2. haha, Mulhid Baygham.

    Human, the creator of the Creator, that was funny though, but only that. By the way, human is also the creator of the democratic values. Any reason one is true, and the other is not, Ms Mulhid?

  3. Baygham, any reason why I should care about the ancient folklore or culture of Pakhtoons too if you have the audacity to disregard Bedouin folklore too? Bedouins have given much to the world, I wonder what pakhtoons have given, except maybe homosexuality? lol

  4. And by the way, its spelled as "divine." Not as "devine." But I should have known that a pakhtoon cannot be an erudite speller.

  5. ooh before someone says that I am being racist, it should be clear that I am responding to Baygham in the same tone she/he addressed Bedouins.
    I apologize for so many comments, it just got me overly excited to address Baygham's ludicrous assertions.

  6. Oh, and I feel the desperate need to remind you ... some Pashtuns at least have the gut to challenge what the typical Muslim believes; how many non-Pashtuns can think for themselves?

    Sure, such Pashtuns aren't the norm, but those who are are the ONLY ones you can sincerely consider "erudite"; if not, then I assume your definition of "erudite" is a typical Muslim who has no gut or power to ask any questions out loud or express any major concerns that eat up his head.

    Sorry to disappoint you, but that's not erudition.

    Also, if you're gonna pick up someone's GRAMMATICAL/SPELLING errors and highlight those instead of their argument, then don't get me started on your spelling and grammar. I don't usually do this, but I will the moment I come across folks like you -- who themselves lack in thinking, knowledge, AND good grammar/English understanding while finding faults in others' *SPELLING* :| Like, seriously? Could you DO anything else to make someone lose all respect for you?

    See, only when you run out of a logical thought to refute what someone else has to say would you pick on simple spelling mistakes she/he makes. That's just utterly dumb and ignorant, really.

    P.S. I'm assuming, of course, that you're the same person as "The Infinite Road," as you commented on other posts of mine under that name and the link to your blog was the same link as that of "The Infinite Road's" blog on Wordpress.

  7. Sardar ji

    Before uttering words of disrespect from the loose parts of your body about Pashtuns, you should know that Pashtuns have ruled the united Indian stock for 250 years.Ranjit Singh was the governor installed by great Ahmed Shah baba who defeated your cousins in Panipat. I do not want to use a harsh language to tell you that Punjabis are known globally to be the unregistered by-products of incest. This is what they have given to the world

    Coming to your reaction about Baygham's ideas and your emotional response, assuming you are mature to discuss all these issues let me tell you that the version of Islam which is followed by the sub continental folks is no better than a modified version of Bedouin culture. There is insult in being bedoin.The people of the deserts are called bedoins.Man has evolved from primitive forms and there is no shame in it. Arabs were and are Bedouins. They own it and there is nothing wrong in it.Iqbal has praised the “banda-e-sahraee” [man of desert] in his poetry.

    As far as religion is concerned you should know that there have always been additions to religions. I can quote a hundred instances how local culture, myths and innovations have been added to religion. However in essence religion is a set of abstract principles; the rest is all the innovation of clergy in the form of organized religion to exploit people.

    Coming, however to the metaphysical and conceptual framework of Islam, so Iqbal himself have refuted all the existing proofs for the existence of God in his compiled lectures named as “Reconstruction of religion thought in Islam”. He has then tried to give his own proof based on what you guys are taught as "falsafa-e-khudi", which itself is either ambiguous or not accepted by the learned community.

    It would have been better that you had discussed the ideological basis of Baygham's critique of Semitic religion instead of using foul language for Pashtuns ,who are much more near to Islam, as you know it yourself ,than any of other nations in Pakistan (and may be that is why they are suffering).

  8. Ref. my response "There is insult in being bedoin" should be read as:
    There is NO insult in being bedoin.

  9. And let me take the opportunity to opine that , these grammatical mistakes ,less accurate use of parts of speech and wrong pronunciation of vowels ,dipthongs and triphones,according to the linguists of any language is not much important.It is the colonial legacy in the subcontinent which makes the babu-type mentality indians and Pakis proud of talking in accented language after loosing their own rich cultural and linguistic legacy.The Arabs emphasized the"Qira't" just to sanctify their language and justify their religeous imperialism.

  10. You pity the race I belong to? Lol. Look whose insecurity is being unveiled. My race is human and I am an Earthling. I do not associate to petty things such as you have done by associating yourself to some vague notion of "Pakthoon" race. What would a child of a Punjabi man and a Pakthoon woman be? Or an Arab man and a Pakhtoon woman? Only a human.

  11. Ooh yea, I am theinfiniteroad guy, there are just some problems with your blog.

    Run out of arguments? Well, pointing out a spelling mistake is anything but ignorant or dumb.

  12. In conclusion, your blind attachment to the notion of "pakhtoon-ness" is damaging your ability to rationally think things out. Tribalism, patriotism, nationalism, ethnic-centrism, and feminism - all are representations of one thing - ignorance.

  13. Pir_Rokhan: What rich language you are talking about? Punjabi? or Urdu? Arabic supersedes Urdu in vocabulary richness and many other aspects. Just have a troll down liberty street only to find "Milk Powder" written in Urdu script in supermarkets made for people like qrratgai to shop at.

  14. Oh my, it seems to me like you're trying to claim Arabism! (Assuming you're not, of course.)

    Oh and about my real face being exposed and all -- I have a million faces, and ALL of them are shown on my blog. I don't shy away from expressing any of those faces, whether it delights someone's heart or makes one crazy. So, don't feel as if you've to compete with me by saying the exact same things I say about you, lol. They don't work, bro! :)


Dare to opine :)

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