Britain is full of inspirational Muslim women. They’re more crucial than ever


Source: The Guardian

Type “Muslim women” into Google Images and the most common photographs show a woman wearing a niqab staring out into the distance or straight into the camera. Some may see such images as a reaffirmation of their view that Muslim women are an orientalised “other”; that they are passive, homogeneous, and silent. However, I see a complete erasure of the identity of Muslim women, their work and their roles.

When I think of Muslim women, I think of Khadija, the prophet Muhammad’s wife and first convert to Islam, who was a successful merchant in her own right; of Fatima al-Fihri, who founded the oldest university in the world in Fez, Morocco; of historical women who make clear to me again and again that to be an educated, creative, interesting Muslim woman is nothing new.

This tradition continues in modern Britain, with Muslim women changing the world around them and contradicting the stereotypes that push down upon them, despite the multiple barriers they face for being women, for being Muslim and, for the majority, being BME; what a recent parliamentary report called a “triple penalty”. They are women such as Malia Bouattia, the first Muslim to be elected the national president of the National Union of Students;Fatima Manji, a journalist who has defied Islamophobes and racists who have questioned the integrity of her work because she is a Muslim woman in a headscarf; Baroness Warsi, the first Muslim woman to have a seat in the cabinet.

These women have achieved great things in the public eye in the teeth of stereotyping and disadvantage; stereotyping that led the former prime minister David Cameron to claim that Muslim women needed to learn English, despite the fact that so many are such active members of the societies in which they live, whether their English is a first or third language, broken or fluent. Many Muslim women are the backbones of their communities. They are the ones who encourage their children to reach for greater heights and provide comfort and company in a society that is constantly making it more difficult to be a Muslim. Indeed, many Muslim women are people who have sacrificed much themselves in order to provide a life of better opportunity for their children. They are diverse, intelligent, strong, funny and so much more. I see these women in my own life and they inspire me.

When I think of Muslim women I think of my friends, many of whom are in the first generation of their family to graduate from university. I think of Hareem Ghani, the first Muslim to become the national women’s officer at the NUS. I think of the women who helped raise me – of my own mother, who attended college and returned to work after taking time out to raise her children, and instilled in me and my younger sister and brother the importance of education, and the duty we have to be a force for good in whatever way we can.

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3 replies

  1. The story of Saudi culture and heritage.
    Allah sent Islam or prophet Muhammad(saw) lead Arab people out of the depth of darkness into light by the their Lord’s leave. Q.14;1.

    Arab Nation at the Dark Ages.
    Al Quran has described about the condition of Arab People, when Islam was born in ancient Arab tradition around 1400 years ago, at heat desert of Arab as following;
    You can imagine the ancient Arab tradition was very very primitive tradition, lack of knowledge. There was no paper and pencil to write Allah’s verses, Allah’s verses were written on animal skin and stone. The tent of Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Arab people were made of animal skin as described in Quran (Q)16;82. They moved from one place to another place.

    Arabs were a nation that often occurred conflicts, hostility, kidnapping, raped and civil-wars caused by different ethnicities and religious beliefs. They killed their children foolishly, due to their lack of knowledge QS 6;140. Man was encouraged to have many wives QS.4:3, a male could have many slaves, and can be traded etc. QS.24:33. QS,33;50. Woman can not be a leader or imam 4;34.Treat female inequality with male, female will receive half inheritance than male Q 4;11.
    In order woman can not be harmed with heat sand, and can not be abducted or be kidnapped, or raped by unknown man, women have to cover whole her body with cloth except 2 hole at front of her eyes. Q.33;59, Q.24;31

    Women were forbidden to get good education as male does, –forbidden shake hand with a man—forbidden to sit side by side with man—forbidden to walk with a man- Woman have to stay home daylong to raise her kids. Girls forced to marry with old men at age of 11-13. Woman do not have the same freedom as male does. Those who did not follow the ancient Arab tradition will be accused traitor and the will be punished cruelly. Those who commit crime will be punished and will be executed at front of public such as; beheading, amputation, flogging, hanging, and crucifixion.

    How ever Arab people feel so proud to uphold their ancestor tradition from one generation to the next generation.

    Nowadays, Saudi Arabia still ban women to drive car, women have to have a guardian when she go outside. I unbelievable women still treat inequality with men.

    Our question is how to follow Sunnah or the life of Muhammad( saw) rightly, professionally as a role model for Muslim in this 21st Century ?

    I agree 100 percent that the identity of Muslim women should NOT her Hijab, Niqab, but their work and their roles in community.
    Woman should also make great progress and produce super works of science, culture, art and aesthetics, as well as Islam in the best way, and thus represent to the world.

    Muhammad (saw) and his wife first convert to Islam, who were a successful merchant in their own right.
    but nowadays, most Islamic scholars and their wives do not follow the role model of Prophet anymore, they follow their idols or their imam or false scholars




    5 Divorces Every Hour In Saudi Arabia
    RIYADH: Divorce in the Kingdom happens at the rate of 127 cases per day, or about five cases every hour.
    This has been revealed in a report by the General Authority of Statistics.
    According to the report, more than 157,000 marriages were recorded in the courts over the past year, while over 46,000 divorce cases were recorded during the same period.

    The report stated, however, that last year the number of divorces recorded a decline from the year before, which saw more than 54,000 cases of divorce. The Eastern Province and Tabuk recorded the highest divorce rates last year — 36.7 percent and 36.1 percent respectively. In Riyadh, the divorce rate was recorded at 31 percent, while Jazan witnessed 17.9 percent.

    The chairperson of the Board of Directors of Mawadah Charitable Organization, Princess Sarah bint Musaed, recently revealed that a quarter of marriages in Saudi Arabia end in divorce, noting that 60 percent of divorce cases occur in the first year of marriage.

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