— Yasmin Mogahed
Before we discuss the variety of approaches that can be taken to advance the religious leadership of Muslim women, we should state why we consider this to be a valid and important goal. In other words, why does women’s religious leadership matter? In our experience, the main reason this is an issue of concern for many Muslim women is that they feel that religious authority has too often been used to suppress them. It is the rare Muslim woman who has not had some experience of being excluded from the mosque, having had to listen to demeaning sermons, or having been subjected to patronizing marriage counseling by religious leaders. This does not mean that this is the dominant experience of all Muslim women. There are, of course, many competent male religious leaders who are sensitive to women’s experiences and listen to their counsel and their concerns. When few or no women in a community have recognized spiritual authority or positions of leadership, however, there is a good chance that the women of that community will experience religious authority negatively. This is a serious matter, because it defeats the very purpose of religious institutions, whose primary purpose is to bring people closer to God.
Wrestling with Hijab
I have such a strange struggle with hijab. Some girls might struggle with it because some new interpretations of the Quran are suggesting that maybe we never needed to wear it in the first place, but just cover our chests and dress modestly, some girls struggle with it because they just don’t feel themselves with it on, and I’m sure there are many other reasons. For me, it’s always been the femininity of hijab. I was a tomboy my whole life until I started trying to get employed and began to wear somewhat decent-looking clothes. And, of course, for women, “decent” clothes are feminine clothes. So I wore the blouses and the nice pants and all that, and never felt comfortable. When I become Muslim, I didn’t wear hijab for a long time. Now that I wear it the majority of the time, whenever I look at myself, I get that old ‘ugh, you look so girly’ feeling and I don’t really like how I look sometimes.
I remember when my husband bought me this really cool big jacket that was sort of masculine, and my sister in law showed me this new hijab style, and I put them together, and it looked okay! It didn’t look SO feminine, and I felt so much better about how I looked in it. That’s when I realized that’s what was getting to me about hijab. I’m so strange.
I realize it’s a bit of a taboo thing to talk about struggles with aspects of our religion, especially hijab for women, but I like to be realistic that all women do struggle in their deen, and that’s a realistic thing and there is no shame in it. There is no need to hide it, I think talking about it together can help each other strengthen ourselves and discover the Islam that’s meaningful for us.
shaming women who aspire to motherhood/domestic work is the patriarchy at work too and if you don’t see that you need to think about your life. To shame them you have to think that work is demeaning or invaluable and that’s exactly what patriarchy has taught us for centuries
— Tariq Ramadan (via tariqramadan)
رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا
“My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” (Surah Taha, 20:114)
Ahh those days where you spend three hours making dinner and then you drop the tray of food on the floor as you were going to put it in the fridge and ruined all the dinner and then had to start dinner again while trying not to cry in front of your mother-in-law because you feel like such a clumsy idiot, and failing. And then all you want is for your husband to come home and cheer you up, and then you remember you need to start learning how to cheer yourself up instead because sometimes he works late, and so you come on Tumblr.