The Male-Only Panel Fallacy

The issue of male-only panels is a new one. Outrage often seems manufactured: Muslim women are not “represented” in conferences, scholarly circles, panels, public events, speaking engagements, etc. This is considered a big problem, as it clearly serves as evidence of systematic misogyny, and Muslims will never progress unless it is resolved via a quota system of integrated avenues — or so goes traditional wisdom. Continue reading The Male-Only Panel Fallacy

Reflections and Advice From a Female Scholar

In 2011, I graduated as a female scholar (Alimah) alongside my 12 classmates. After completing the six year program at a traditional Dar-ul-Uloom (school for higher Islamic sciences), we returned to our hometowns, each pursuing our own unique path: some of us began to teach in the communities right away, some furthered their academic studies while others got married and started families, etc.  Continue reading Reflections and Advice From a Female Scholar

Muslim Women vs. the Hindutva Project

eveloped in light of various Dharm Sansads (religious conferences) organized in several Indian cities by Hindu religious leaders, who called upon Hindus to arm themselves for the wholesale massacre of Muslims. This is no recent development: the agenda for genocide has been gaining traction for a long time now. Most people mistakenly believe Hindu nationalism is the sole proprietorship of India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and its ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). In reality, however, Islamophobia is embedded within India’s dominant political lingua franca, including the nation’s opposition parties. Hence, it is not surprising that in the latest attack against Muslims (regarding hijab and niqab in colleges and educational institutions) not a single united front of support has emerged from the majority community.  Continue reading Muslim Women vs. the Hindutva Project

In the Spirit of Fatima Al-Fihri

In recent years, Fatima al-Fihri, may Allah be pleased with her, has acquired a mythological, folklore-like status as the “founder of the world’s oldest university.” The magazine Girlboss credits her with  “establishing the university as we know it today.” Oxford Reference and UNESCO recognize University of al-Qarawiyyin as “the oldest operating university in the world.” Blog posts and news sources alike continue to embellish parts of her story, crediting her institution as the first to grant “academic degrees.” Continue reading In the Spirit of Fatima Al-Fihri

Menstruation and Worship

In recent years, this has been another rung of debate in Muslim women’s related issues – and events to talk about women’s spirituality whilst menstruating are plentiful especially in Ramadan. I was a panelist among other wonderful women this Ramadan for an event tackling the topic from multiple angles: fiqh (jurisprudence), a lack of proper understanding of ritual impurity away from negative cultural baggage, jahil (ignorant, foolish) behavior towards menstruating women, imposing secular notions of gender equality onto worship, separating the form of rituals from the spiritual, and the metaphysical from the physical. I want to offer my brief reflections on them one by one prior to circling back to the question posed above. Continue reading Menstruation and Worship

The Sanitized Legacy of Nawal El-Saadawi

Egyptian feminist Nawal el-Saadawi has been the focus of hundreds of commemoration posts highlighting her combat for women’s rights after her passing on March 21. Her sanitized legacy overshadows the less celebratory aspects of her activism. An Islamophobe and supporter of the Rabaa Massacre, Saadawi is not being put under enough scrutiny.  Continue reading The Sanitized Legacy of Nawal El-Saadawi