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Encyclopedia > Islamic feminism
A symbol of Islamic feminism, incorporating the Crescent Moon and Star of Islam into the female symbol
A symbol of Islamic feminism, incorporating the Crescent Moon and Star of Islam into the female symbol

Islamic feminism is a form of feminism that aims for the full equality of all Muslims, regardless of sex or gender, in public and private life. Islamic feminists advocate women's rights, gender equality, and social justice grounded in an Islamic framework. Although rooted in Islam, the movement's pioneers have also utilised secular and western feminist discourses and recognise the role of Islamic feminism as part of an integrated global feminist movement[1]. Advocates of the movement seek to highlight the deeply rooted teachings of equality in the Quran and encourage a questioning of the patriarchal interpretation of Islamic teaching through the Quran, Hadith and Sharia towards the creation of a more equal and just society.[2] Image File history File links Islamic_Feminism_Symbol. ... Image File history File links Islamic_Feminism_Symbol. ... Feminism is a collection of social theories, political movements, and moral philosophies largely motivated by or concerned with the liberation of women. ... A patriarch (from Greek: patria means father; arché means rule, beginning, origin) is a male head of an extended family exercising autocratic authority, or, by extension, a member of the ruling class or government of a society controlled by senior men. ... Islam (Arabic: ; ( â–¶ (help· info)), the submission to God) is a monotheistic faith, one of the Abrahamic religions and the worlds second-largest religion. ... The Quran (Arabic al-qurʾān أَلْقُرآن; also transliterated as Quran, Koran, and less commonly Alcoran) is the holy book of Islam. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Sharia (Arabic: transliteration: ) is the body of Islamic law. ...


History and rise of Islamic feminism

The movement has its roots in the late nineteenth century. Egyptian jurist Qasim Amin, the author of the 1899 pioneering book Women's Liberation (Tahrir al-Mar'a), is often described as the father of the Egyptian feminist movement. In his work, Amin criticized some of the practices prevalent in his society at the time, such as polygamy, the veil, and purdah, i.e. the segregation of the sexes. He condemned them as un-Islamic and contradictory to the true spirit of Islam. His work had an enormous influence on women's political movements throughout the Islamic and Arab world, and is read and cited today. Qasim Amin (1863-1908) was an Egyptian jurist, one of the founders of the Egyptian National Movement and Cairo University. ... The term polygamy (many marriages in late Greek) is used in related ways in social anthropology and sociobiology and sociology. ... Adherents of Islam are concerned with clothing in two contexts: clothing for everyday, inside and outside the house, and clothing required in specifically religious contexts. ... Ladies of Caubul (1848 lithograph, by James Rattray) showing the lifting of purdah in zenana areas. ...

Less known, however, are the women who preceded Amin in their feminist critique of their societies. The women's press in Egypt started voicing such concerns since its very first issues in 1892. Egyptian, Turkish, Iranian, Syrian and Lebanese women and men had been reading European feminist magazines even a decade earlier, and discussed their relevance to the Middle East in the general press.[citation needed]

Islamic feminism is defined by Islamic scholars as being more radical than secular feminism,[3] and as being anchored within the discourse of Islam with the Qur'an as its central text.[4] Discourse is a term used in semantics as in discourse analysis, but it also refers to a social conception of discourse, often linked with the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984) and Jürgen Habermas The Theory of Communicative Action (1985). ... The Qurān [1] (Arabic: ‎, literally the recitation; also called The Noble Qurān; also transliterated as Quran, Koran, and Al-Quran) is the central religious text of Islam. ...

In recent times the concept of Islamic feminism has grown further, with Islamic groups looking to garner support from as many aspects of society as possible, and educated Muslim women striving to articulate their role in society [5]. The history and potential success of such a movement is debatable but looking back through the Qur'an there has always been a degree of respect afforded to women with the Qur'an stressing the superiority of men, but also women's rights to honorable treatment. However, such freedoms as property rights and the respect from men are often sidelined, with little recourse being available for those that wish to protest. It has been, however, mainly upper-middle-class women that have been able to vocalise the Islamic feminist movement, as they have the economic security to violate widely held beliefs.

Another side to modern Islamic feminism is the activism of Muslim women born and brought up within Western societies. Often those born to immigrant families face racism from the host community and sexism within their own communities. Young Muslim women in France fought back against the issues facing them, ranging from endemic sexual violence to the forced wearing of the hijab, by creating Ni Putes Ni Soumises (usually translated "Neither Whores Nor Submissives"). This movement has spread to other countries. Manifestations Slavery · Racial profiling · Lynching Hate speech · Hate crime · Hate groups Genocide · Holocaust · Pogrom Ethnocide · Ethnic cleansing · Race war Religious persecution · Gay bashing Movements Discriminatory Aryanism · Neo-Nazism · Supremacism Fundamentalism · Kahanism Anti-discriminatory Abolitionism · Civil rights · Gay rights Womens/Universal suffrage · Mens rights Childrens rights · Youth rights... For the domesticated crop plant called rape, see rapeseed. ... Hijab or ħijāb () is the Arabic term for cover (noun), based on the root حجب meaning to veil, to cover (verb), to screen, to shelter In some Arabic-speaking countries and Western countries, the word hijab primarily refers to womens head, face, and body covering. ... Ni Putes Ni Soumises (Neither Whores Nor Submissives) is a French feminist movement, founded in 2002, which has already secured the recognition of the French press and parliament. ...

The rise of feminism in Islamic the world has also been linked to the rise of western influence, with a political and economic attempt to align with western powers and markets promoting western ideas such as universal suffrage, equal rights and access to education.

Muslim Personal Law and Islamic feminism

See also: Sharia

Black feminism
Christian Feminism
Cultural feminism
Cyborg feminism
Fat feminism
Individualist feminism
Islamic feminism
Lesbian feminism
Liberal feminism
Marxist feminism
Postmodern feminism
Psychoanalytic feminism
Radical feminism
Religious feminism
Separatist feminism
Socialist feminism
Sharia (Arabic: transliteration: ) is the body of Islamic law. ... Feminism is a collection of social theories, political movements, and moral philosophies largely motivated by or concerned with the liberation of women. ... Anarcha-feminism combines anarchism with feminism. ... The current incarnation of Black Feminism is a political/social movement that grew out of a sense of feelings of discontent with both the Civil Rights Movement and the Feminist Movement of the 1970s. ... Christian feminism, a branch of feminist theology, seeks to interpret and understand Christianity in the scope of the equality of women and men morally, socially, and in leadership. ... Cultural feminism is the ideology of a female nature or female essence reappropriated by feminists themselves in an effort to revalidate undervalued female attributes. ... Cyborg feminism is a sub-movement of feminism that uses the notion of a cyborg, machine-organism hybrid, to explore feminism. ... Ecofeminism is a social and political movement which unites environmentalism and feminism, with some currents linking deep ecology and feminism. ... Fat feminism or fat-positive feminism is a form of feminism that argues overweight women are economically, educationally, and socially disadvantaged due to their size. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Lesbian feminism is a cultural movement and critical perspective, most popular in the 1970s and early 1980s (primarily in North America and Western Europe) that questions the position of women and homosexuals in society. ... Liberal feminism is a form of feminism that argues that equality for women can be achieved through legal means and social reform, and that men as a group need not be challenged. ... Marxist feminism is a sub-type of feminist theory which focuses on the dismantling of capitalism as a way to liberate women. ... Postmodern feminism is one approach to feminist theory that argues that there is no single cause for a womans subordination because sociological gender is itself constructed through language. ... Psychoanalytic feminism is based on Freud and his psychoanalytic theories. ... Radical feminism is a branch of feminism that views womens oppression (which radical feminists refer to as patriarchy) as a basic system of power upon which human relationships in society are arranged. ... Feminist theology is a movement, generally in Christianity and Judaism, to reconsider the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of their religion from a feminist perspective. ... Separatist feminism is a form of feminism that does not support heterosexual relationships due to a belief that sexual disparities between men and women are unresolvable. ... Socialist feminism is a branch of feminism that focuses upon both the public and private spheres of a womans life and argues that liberation can only be achieved by working to end both the economic and cultural sources of womens oppression. ... Defined by feminist author Alice Walker, Womanism is a commonly used term that was coined to mean specifically African American Feminism, but it has developed into a more encompassing version of feminism that crosses lines of race and class. ...

Feminist movement
Sex-positive feminism
Theory / film theory
Feminist sexology
Women's rights
Feminist economics
The feminist movement (also known as the Womens Movement and Womens Liberation) campaigns on issues such as reproductive rights (including abortion), domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. ... Pro-feminism refers to support of the cause of feminism without implying that the supporter is a member of the feminist movement. ... Antifeminism refers to disbelief regarding the economic, political, and or social equality of females as a sex. ... Sex-positive feminism, sometimes known as pro-sex feminism, sex-radical feminism, or sexually liberal feminism, is a movement that was formed in the early 1980s. ... Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical, or philosophical, ground. ... Feminist film theory is theoretical work within film criticism which is derived from feminist politics and feminist theory. ... Feminist sexology is the study of sexuality from a feminist viewpoint, i. ... The term women’s rights typically refers to freedoms inherently possessed by women and girls of all ages, which may be institutionalized or ignored and/or illegitimately suppressed by law or custom in a particular society. ... Feminist economics broadly refers to a developing branch of economics that applies feminist insights and critiques to mainstream economics. ...

Women's history
Feminist history
History of feminism
Womens history is a term that refers to information about the past in regard to the female human being. ... Suffrage parade in New York City on May 6, 1912 The history of feminism reaches far back before the 18th century, but the seeds of modern feminism were planted during the late part of that century. ... The History of Feminism is the history of the Feminist movement, as well as its origins. ...

Women's suffrage
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States
The movement for womens suffrage is a social, economic and political reform movement aimed at extending suffrage—the right to vote—to women. ... Suffragette with banner, Washington DC, 1918 The title of suffragette (also occasionally spelled suffraget) was given to members of the womens suffrage movement in the United Kingdom. ... Womens suffrage has been granted (and been revoked) at various times in various countries throughout the world. ...

Waves of Feminism
First-wave feminism
Second-wave feminism
Third-wave feminism
First-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity during the nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the United Kingdom and the United States. ... Second-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity which began during the early 1960s and lasted through the late 1980s. ... Third-wave feminism is a term identified with several diverse strains of feminist activity and study beginning in the early 1990s. ...

By country
Latin America
United Kingdom
United States
Feminist movements in Latin America started at the grassroots level in each of the distinct nation-states. ...

This is a list of important participants in the development of feminism, listed by feminist ideology. ... . ... This is a list of topics related to the issue of feminism, womens rights and womens liberation: All-women band Christian Feminism Coeducation Eco-feminism Erotophobia Female superiority (or male inferiority) Feminazi Feminist censorship Feminist history Feminist history in the United States Nineteenth Amendment to the United States...

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One of the major areas of scholarship and campaigning for Islamic feminists in various parts of the world is Muslim Personal Law (also known as Muslim Family Law). MPL includes three main areas of law: marriage, divorce, and testation.

Muslim majority countries that have promulgated some form of MPL include Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Sudan, Senegal, Tunisia, Egypt, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. Muslim minority countries that already have operating MPL regimes or are considering passing legislation on aspects of MPL include India and South Africa.

In general, Islamic feminists have objected to the MPL legislation in many of these countries, arguing that these pieces of legislation discriminate against women. Some Islamic feminists have taken the attitude that a reformed MPL which is based on the Qur'an and Sunnah, which includes substantial input from Muslim women and which does not discriminate against women is possible. Such Islamic feminists have been working on developing such women-friendly forms of MPL. Other Islamic feminists, particularly some in Muslim minority contexts which are democratic states, argue that MPL should not be reformed but should be rejected and that Muslim women should seek redress, instead, from the civil laws of those states. The Qurān [1] (Arabic: ‎, literally the recitation; also called The Noble Qurān; also transliterated as Quran, Koran, and Al-Quran) is the central religious text of Islam. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

For most Islamic feminists, some of the thorny issues regarding the way in which MPL has thus far been formulated include: polygyny, divorce, custody of children, maintenance and marital property. In addition, there are also more macro issues regarding the underlying assumptions of such legislation, for example, the assumption of the man as head of the household. The term polygyny (neo-Greek: poly+gune Many + Wives) is used in related ways in social anthropology and sociobiology. ...


See also: Islamic sexual jurisprudence

Despite the taboo status of sex and sexuality in many Muslim societies, some Quranic scholars have argued that the Quran itself discusses these subjects openly and positively [6]. The Quran recognises humans as sexual beings, and Muhammad spoke of 'the sweetness of intercourse' [7]. This is a sub-article of Islamic marital jurisprudence and human sexuality. ... Look up Sex on Wiktionary, the free dictionary A sex is one of two specimen categories of species that recombine their genetic material in order to reproduce, a process called genetic recombination. ...

There is debate over the interpretations of the Quranic verses that have been cited to outlaw homosexuality, principally the verse relating to the story of Lot (see Qur'an verses: 11:69-83, 29:28-35). Quranic verses appear to relate specifically to male homosexuality. Contemporary interpreters and campaigning organisations are working to reinterpret texts to allow for a wider spectrum of sexual relationships, including homosexual, bisexual, and queer, but there is much resistance from the mainstream Muslim community[8]. Homosexuality refers to sexual interaction and / or romantic attraction between individuals of the same sex. ... Lot is: Place Specific - A French département, see Lot (département) A French river, a tributary of the Garonne, see Lot River A Belgian town, see Lot, Belgium A Polish Airline, see LOT Polish Airlines Character Specific - A Biblical figure, the nephew of Abraham, see Lot (Biblical) Lot, a... In human sexuality, bisexuality describes a man or woman having a sexual orientation to persons of either or both sexes (a man or woman who sexually likes both sexes; people who are sexually and/or romantically attracted to both males and females). ... The word queer has traditionally meant strange or unusual, but it is also currently often used in reference to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and asexual communities. ...

Notable personalities in the Islamic feminism movement

Leila Ahmed is an Egyptian American professor of Womens Studies and Religion at the Harvard Divinity School. ... Ayaan Hirsi Ali ( ; Somali: ; born Ayaan Hirsi Magan 13 November 1969[1] in Mogadishu, Somalia) is a Dutch feminist and political writer, daughter of the Somali warlord Hirsi Magan Isse. ... Ibtihaz Hasoun after being killed in an honor killing Honor killing is most often the killing of a female, but in some cases also a male, and sometimes his/her family members, love-interests or other associates,[1][2] for supposed sexual or marital offences, typically by his/her own... Fadéla Amara, also known as Fatiha Amara (b. ... Ni Putes Ni Soumises (Neither Whores Nor Submissives) is a French feminist movement, founded in 2002, which has already secured the recognition of the French press and parliament. ... Qasim Amin (1863-1908) was an Egyptian jurist, one of the founders of the Egyptian National Movement and Cairo University. ... Asma Barlas is an author and a professor of politics at Ithaca College, New York. ... Ithaca College is an internationally-recognized private institution of higher education located on the South Hill of Ithaca, New York. ... Samira Bellil (November 24, 1972 - September 7, 2004) was a French Muslim feminist activists and campaigner for the rights of Muslim girls and women. ... Mukhtaran Bibi Mukhtaran Bibi (مختاران بی‌بی) (c. ... Catherine Zeta Jones congratulating Shirin Ebadi at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo, December 11 2003. ... Lester B. Pearson after accepting the Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is the name of one of five Nobel Prizes bequested by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel. ... Farid Esack is a South African Progressive Muslim writer and scholar. ... Begum Zaib-un-Nissa (Zeb-un-Nissa, Zaibunnissa, Zaibun Nisa, Zaibunisa, Zaib-un-Nisa, Zebunnissa, Zeb-un-Nisa) Hamidullah (December 25, 1921 - September 10, 2000) was a pioneer of Pakistani literature and journalism in English, and also a pioneer of feminism in Pakistan. ... Al-Azhar University in Cairo Egypt Al-Azhar University (Arabic: الأزهر الشريف; al-Azhar al-Shareef, the Noble al-Azhar), is connected to the mosque in Cairo named to honor Fatima Az-Zahraa, the daughter of the prophet Muhammad, from whom the Fatimid Dynasty claimed descent. ... Begum Rokeya Statue of Begum Roquia in Begum Rokeya Memorial Centre,Pairabondh, Rangpur Roquia Sakhawat Hussain,Bengali: (বেগম রোকেয়া), (1880-1932) was a prolific writer, feminist and social worker in the undivided Bangladesh in early 20th century. ... Sultanas Dream is classic work of South Asian Muslim literature, written in 1905 by Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain, a Bengali Muslim novelist and social reformer. ... LeGuins Left Hand Of Darkness Feminist science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction that focuses on the examination of womens roles in society. ... Irshad Manji (born 1968) is an acclaimed Canadian author, journalist, and activist. ... Original cover of The Trouble with Islam The Trouble With Islam, later republished as The Trouble with Islam Today [1] is a 2004 book critical of Islam written by Irshad Manji, in which she writes: The Trouble with Islam is an open letter from me, a Muslim voice of reform... Fatema Mernissi is a contemporary Moroccan feminist writer. ... Ebrahim E.I. Moosa is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Religion and Director of the Center for Study of Muslim Networks at Duke University. ... Duke University is a private coeducational research university located in Durham, North Carolina, USA. Duke was founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, moved to Durham in 1892. ... Shirin Neshat (born 1957, Qazvin, Iran) is a contemporary visual artist who lives in New York. ... Asra Nomani on Book TV Asra Q. Nomani is an Indian-American Muslim journalist, author, and feminist, known as an activist in the Muslim reform and Islamic feminist movements. ... Hoda Shaarawi (left) & Safia Zaghloul (right) Hoda Saarawi (Arabic: هدى شعراوى ) (June 22, 1879 - 12 December 1947) was an Egyptian feminist leader and nationalist. ... Shamima Shaikh (September 14, 1960 - January 8, 1998) is South Africas most well-known Muslim womens rights activist. ... Amina Wadud is an Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia. ...

See also

Three women in Herat, Afghanistan. ... Islam considers men and women to be equal by nature. ... Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... Sisters in Islam is an organization of Malay female professionals which seeks to articulate womens rights in Islam by emphasising the need to interpret the Quran and the hadith in their proper historical and cultural contexts. ... The role of women in religion has only recently become a topic of research. ... The Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in the Bedroom is a list of rights for Islamic women in the bedroom written by Muslim author and feminist Asra Nomani. ... The Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in the Mosque is a list of rights for Islamic women in the mosque written by Muslim author and feminist Asra Nomani. ... The History of Feminism is the history of the Feminist movement, as well as its origins. ...


  1. ^ http://www.feminismeislamic.org/eng/index.htm
  2. ^ http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2002/569/cu1.htm
  3. ^ "Islamic feminism: what's in a name?" by Margot Badran, Al-Ahram, January 17–23, 2002
  4. ^ "Exploring Islamic Feminism" by Margot Badran, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, November 30, 2000
  5. ^ Humphreys, R. Stephen: "Between Memory and Desire - The Middle East in a Troubled Age", University of California Press, 2005
  6. ^ [1]SAFRA Project Essay on Islam and Sexuality
  7. ^ See the works of Asra Nomani for more details
  8. ^ [2]SAFRA Project Essay on Islam and sexuality

Further reading

  Results from FactBites:
The debate proper on Islamic feminism may be said to have begun in February 1994, when Afsaneh Najmabadi gave a talk at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in which she described Islamic feminism as a reform movement that also opens up a dialogue between religious and secular feminists.
In general, the detractors of Islamic feminism refuse to concede the few successes that Islamic feminists have made in overturning some discriminatory policies, mainly in the areas of employment and education, that were adopted in the early years of Islamization.
For if feminism has always been contested, if feminists should be defined by their praxis rather than by a strict ideology, and if a feminist politics is shaped by its specific historical, political, and cultural contexts, then it should be possible to identify Islamic feminism as one feminism among many.
  More results at FactBites »



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