Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Reclaiming the Radical Feminism of the Qur'an

Several months ago, I came across a call for submissions by Trista Hendren to contribute to her upcoming anthology Whatever Works, an exploration of the relationships between feminism and faith in different traditions, including women's voices from Pagan, atheist, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions. The following excerpt comes from my piece, an essay which explores areas where Muslim Feminism and Christian Feminism converge, the problem of complacency within the Muslim community, and why I consider the Qur'an to be a radically Feminist text. For the full text hop over to Trista's brilliant blog The Girl God.

“As a feminist, how could you willingly subject yourself to such a misogynistic religion?”

It's disheartening to think how many times I've been asked this question since I converted to Islam. However, given my own misgivings towards the status of women in Islam before I became one myself, I'm not completely surprised that some people think calling myself a Muslim Feminist is akin to being a meat-eating vegan. When the majority of Media representation shoehorns Muslim women into either victim or terrorist categories, persuading people that my feminist convictions are given wings by my Islamic faith, as opposed to being clipped by it, is going to be tough.

Feminism and faith have always been closely linked to one another in my mind. I was raised in a household where both of my parents were Protestant ministers and considered equals in their spiritual leadership roles as Salvation Army officers. I was surrounded and greatly influenced by women leading prayers, congregations, and even heading up the church on a national and global scale. Women leading the way in faith has always been my norm. So when I converted to Islam, I found myself at the receiving end of the question: why would you give all that up? 

For the full article, head on over to The Girl God blog.

Update: Later reposted at AltMuslimah. 

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