Archive for Muslim Women

The Hijabi 15

Hey people,

I need to write this post. I put on hijab about 2 years ago now, alHamdulilah. All’s good except I totally regret the pounds I put on because of it. I feel like such a bad Muslim because I’m mad about this even though it’s my own fault. Before I wore hijab my clothes were pretty form-fitting not skin tight but form fitting enough. I had a figure In was proud of and most importantly I was healthy and physically active. The switch of clothing made put my guard down and I gained some pounds. Actually I gained lots of unnecessary weigh (well not ALOT but more than I would like to have put on) and I’m also less physically active because I feel more self concious. So for any girls that are thinking of wearing hijab-go for it! But stay active and healthy. Once you hide in those loose clothes it’s sooo easy to let yourself go and I am so unbelievably upset that I did. Everyone says that you have to beware of the freshman 15 but I say beware of the hijabi 15 new hijabis!! Go for the hijab but not the extra pounds!! And I do NOT think it’s wrong or vain to want to keep a nice figure even if you’re not showing it. It’s for your health and personal satisfaction.

I’m also curious: did anyone else suffer from this?

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Women and The Nationality Problem in the Arab World

Even though many Arab countries are pretty much secular, in the area of women they go back to being Fred Flinstone.

In Lebanon, women who are income earners cannot go to the \to the bank to open a bank account for her kids. There are 18 family codes.

In this Aljazeera English interview, this Lebanese women talks about how she married an Egyptian man and he left her and her kids are teenagers and they can’t get Lebanese citizenship. Isn’t this outrageous? They have NO health care and no social security and they won’t be able to go to college if they don’t get citizenship.

I am very proud of Morocco, because the nationality law was changed. A woman can now pass on her nationality to her children even if she marries a foreigner yay!. When this law was not in place, women whose husbands abandoned them with kids had many problems and I even know of one that had to forge a Moroccan passport for her son in order ti survive. And we know that Morocco is a country where the women and men alike marry foreigners frequently.

Worse, these women’s groups are subject to harassment by radical political Islamists. In Morocco, they had one of their offices bombed. In Jordan, their websites get hacked and now the website leads people to a website about Saudi Arabia. I don’t know what kind of Islamic law prevents children from basic citizenship rights if their father wasn’t the best of men.

Great Maya Angelou Quote

“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.” – Maya Angelou

Amin!!

Let’s all strive to be women whose hearts are hidden in God inshaAllah!

Amina Wadud and Sparking Conversation and Dialogue

I know this is old news when there was the “historic” jumuah that a woman led. I know it’s way overkill to talk about this. No I don’t support what happened…
But I have to say one of the things that upset me about the Muslim community was the personal attacks that were being made against this woman. People got angry and made many personal attacks against her as a person. That’s not cool. While I don’t support women leading prayers, that’s still not cool.

But my post isn’t about this topic in general. It’s about using what happened as an example of sparking some type of conversation. All too often the most controversial posts on the blogosphere get the most commentary. Then the writer of the blog writes another well written, well thought out better post and it hardly gets any traffic. Why? (This is just general by the way.)

People tend to listen and leave their comments on very controversial posts with radical statements in them. But some excellent well-written posts get ignored because they might be more moderate.

So do we always need to see something extreme to spark discussion? Did Amina Wadud’s jumuah cause just that? If she would have just resorted to some mosque activism about letting women in mosques etc, would that have had the same effect as her radical move? I don’t know what her goal was at all but maybe it was to spark discussion about women in mosques and not have them be imams, but it took something like that to get people talking? Who knows?

A part of me thinks that she might have just added more wood to the fire (echó mas leña al fuego) because this got many Muslims very angry so it was kind of a shooting in the foot.

Do extreme acts make the most difference and spark the most discussion, or do they just aggravate the wound more and make things worse?

hmm. Just thinking and rambling.

By the way check out this great article at by UmmZaid and women and the mosque.

I am a Muslim Woman

Read this piece of Spoken word poetry performed last yeat by a Muslim woman. Very moving when heard performed:

Here’s the link to the original blog post.

My Spoken Word 

I’m passive, weak, uneducated
Veiled from head to toe
One of his four wives
Work in the kitchen all day
And spread my legs wide at night
That’s what you think, right?
Funny how the devil spreads ignorance amongst a “civilized people”
The Orientalist whispers in so many ears
To him, I’m the mistress of the harem
Black-hair, olive skin, eyes that glow, hips that don’t lie
Hold up
Sexual exploitation- There’s nothing exotic about that
Or
I’m poor, cracked feet that never touched soft designer shoes
Dirty, hungry, cold, alone
I’m calling out for help, America save me from my fathers, my brothers, my backward culture, America–  save me from myself,
Let me tell you something
You don’t have to be a woman to hear my stories
But you have to be a woman to understand them
The blood that boils in my veins is the same as yours
My story is a testament of my struggle
My struggle is a testament of my faith
I am a Muslim woman
Muslim woman.
I made Prophets weak in the knees,
Fought alongside my man in war
Then went home to nurture my baby
Does that surprise you?
You say I need liberation
What do you call it?
Oh yeah…Furthering women’s rights in the Middle East
I have one thing to say to you
My liberation won’t come from the one who has oppressed me
Bringing me democracy
You think you’re really gonna send Condi
to tell me how to be free
But wait, I’m not here to play the blame game
Let’s make this more real
Not only do I take this hate from you
But I take it internally from the close-minded bigots of my own society
So my Muslim father tells me how to dress, but so does BCBG
So my Muslim brothers tell me how to act, but so does MTV
Yea… so it’s this double bind I face
When I realize that if I do what I want,
I won’t make anyone happy
Too good to be bad, too bad to be good
But wait, why this dichotomy
Since when did my identity become a zero sum game
Why do you insist on labeling me?
Putting me in boxes simple and easy only for you to understand
Countless books and movies dedicated to uncovering me instead of just letting me be
What’s in free will when my spiritual will isn’t allowed to be free
Just look at France and Turkey
“Unveiling the Muslim Woman”
Why don’t I unveil your sexist patriarchal ideology
Remember The golden rule—treat others how you’d like to be treated, if you’re so keen to educate then please be educated,
Enslaving not our bodies now but our minds,
Eating disorders and depression, no love and not that much attention
This equality talk is cheap and the price expensive
Using my body to sell everything from cigarettes to automotives,
Confusing my flesh for my spirit
Confusing my humanity as weakness 
When I say something in protest
Standing against trafficking, hunger, poverty, violence, you know “women’s” issues,
they brush it aside to…oh, she’s just a Femi-NAZI
So Don’t confuse my silence as submission
nor my covering for oppression
Don’t confuse my peaceful battle as lack of conviction
When you ask what sustains me
I say: not man, not America, But God, our God
Am I American, Kashmiri, or an ABCD,
On applications, I check none of the above, all of the above, some of the above, but ultimately

I am a Muslim woman.

 

 

 Go to the original post.

Breast Cancer Untreated in Saudi Arabia

I was reading this article. It was talking about how things like breast cancer often go untreated in Saudi Arabia, because of the stigma it has in society.

The article says that many women want to avoid being seen by a male doctor,

“One Saudi woman ignored the cancer growing in her breast because she didn’t want to risk a referral to a male doctor. Another was divorced by her husband on the mere suspicion she had the disease, while a third was dragged away from a mammogram machine because the technicians were men.”

Goodness gracious, what is this? I know the press tends to play these things up but still, if they don’t want to go to a male technician that’s fine but are they going to try and find female technicians? I hope so. Besides, I’m no fiqh scholar but I do know that the order of healthcare goes from Muslim female, non-Muslim female, Muslim male, non-Muslim male. (Let me know if that order is wrong.) It doesn’t say if there’s no Muslim female no health care!

However, I think this artcle was trying it’s best to be balanced wa Allahu alim. It told two outstanding stories at the end of it about very supportive Saudi husbands.

Fawzia al-Zewid, a 45-year-old mother of six, said her husband’s support was overwhelming after she was diagnosed with the disease two years ago. When she began losing her hair, he shaved her hair before shaving his. Her two young sons chose to do the same.

“They didn’t want me to have the only bald head in the house. What more support could you ask for?” said al-Zewid.

Last year her husband died of a heart attack.

“When he was alive, I wasn’t afraid of breast cancer,” she said. “Today, without his support, I am.””

Al-Amoudi has urged the kingdom’s clergymen to “enlighten the people and take up the issue of women’s health in their sermons.”

Ialso think that we do need to appeal to the male religious leaders to talk and be outspoken about women’s health and how important it is. These are the people that have an influence on the masses.

Here’s a picture of Laura Bush with 2 Saudi doctors.

saudilaurabush

Things about Hijab that we apparently can’t repeat often enough

I read this great article today about how after so much argument, people STILL see the veil as representing oppression etc. I thought that the tagline, “I’m not oppressed, because I choose to dress this way” was repeated way too much, but the author of this article concludes that it’s not repeated enough.

The article is called Unveiling the Veil. Read it. I know articles about hijab get tiring because the subject is soo overdone, but this one is actually well-written. I got to the page and was rolling my eyes before I even started, but it’s actually not too bad. 🙂
Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

“In your typical introduction to women’s studies class, you might spend a few weeks (near the end of the semester) on “women of color.” If you’re lucky, one class period will be devoted to Islam and feminism. You’ll study a typical “liberal” feminist who criticizes the institution of purdah and asserts that it doesn’t allow women freedom. Then you’ll read the Muslim feminist who waxes lyrically about how she doesn’t have to worry about having abs of steel in time for bikini season. She then goes on to conclude that purdah is just fine, as long as it’s the choice of the woman herself.

At this point, everybody in the class is in solemn agreement: It’s not the fabric that’s the issue. It’s the coercion. No one should have to wear either a hijab or a bikini if she doesn’t want to. Class dismissed.”

“Listening to the Piliafas’ story reminded me that maybe Women’s Studies 101 isn’t that cliched after all. Many people still assume that by placing a piece of fabric on my head, I’ve pitched my brains into the dumpster, given my rights away to any male in a 50-mile radius and buried my voice in the backyard.”

Female Teacher of Ibn Battuta and Ibn Hajar al Asqalani

Bismillah

This post is about a notable female scholar of hadith during the Mamluk period in Egypt and Damascus.

One thing to note- these women were not anomalies in their time. The fact that women were scholars of hadith (and other things but this period there were a lot of hadith scholars) was a normal thing.

The ijaza system in the studies of hadith allowed children to receive ijazas before they came of age with the understanding that they would study and understand the texts later on in life. Hadith studies was open to everyone because many people could memorize, short and popular collections of hadith. Women excelled so much in this field that men eagerly sought them out as teachers to get ijazas from them. Another reason why the men sought them out was because these women had famous people in their chains of transmission and these men wanted to obtain these famous names in their own chains as well.

Zaynab Bint al Kamal is one example. She was a Hanbali of Damascus.  She transmitted popular and major works such as Sahih al Bukhari, Muslim and the Muwatta and many other little works as well.  Ibn Hajar al Asqalani learned from her. She appears in 139 of Ibn Hajar al Asqalani’s isnads. SubhanAllah.

Ibn Battuta also received ijaza from her In his book, Rihlat Ibn Battuta, he calls her a “traveler of the world” and she is listed a a person that granted him ijaza when he visited Damascus, Syria.

Roster of some more notable students Zaynab bint al Kamal :

  • Muhammad b. Ahmad ad-Dhahabi (d. 748 H/137)
  • Khalil al Safadi (d. 764 H /1362)
  • Taj-ad-Din as-Subki (d. 771 H/1369)

In Sunni Islamic scholarship, hadith has to be one of the most important branches. It is one of the major sources of law and women were at the forefront of its study and women never fabricated ahadith while men did.

This is during a time period when the Western women wouldn’t even imagine being schooled and Muslim women were at the forefront of the science of hadith. Look at the reputation that Muslim women have now. Many Muslim women in Muslim countries are illiterate. It’s sad that we are going backwards instead of forward. Everyone make dua that  Allah makes women come to the forefront of Islamic scholarship again side by side with men. Ameen.

And may He bless all of our wonderful scholars that have transmitted all of this knowledge to us.