Lana Abu Ayyash
A Jordanian woman leader reflects on her path to Islamic feminism, including how she founded Sister Power, the online social network for Muslim women.
I have always been interested in women’s rights. I remember reading hardcore feminist literature at 12 years old and writing about women’s rights at 17.
I cannot say it’s entirely because I was opposed to how women were treated in our society. Nor can I claim that I was brought up in a traditional Islamic household and that did it for me. This interest or passion, if you will, was always just there as part of who I am.
Early on, I rebelled against my traditions, religion, and everything else I could think of. Looking back to those years I can see that I did everything except read and educate myself about the very same tradition and religion that I declared war against.
In the year 2000, I was living in Canada and attending women’s studies classes at the University Of Western Ontario. As much as I loved it, I felt somehow foreign. The material we discussed was something I couldn’t relate to entirely – even though at the time I considered myself a secular agnostic. I felt that my roots and my traditions were calling to me.
I began a crusade to understand who I was, where I came from, what I want, what is Islam, and who was Muhammad. I wanted to understand the issue of women in Islam—a subject that has always provoked me. I began to read the Quran—something I never did when I was advocating against the Quran.
After several years I became convinced that Islam was what I was looking for. It is who I am and it is the “type” of feminism that I understand and can relate to.
I found my calling.
I began a study of Islamic law and philosophy. I became a full time researcher on women’s rights in Islam. I started meeting with women several times a week, giving lectures at times, and writing articles. The more deeply I dug into our tradition the more I was saddened by the bad reputation the tradition has.
In 2008, I started a social network for Muslim women called SisterPower.net. It is a place where, as Muslim women, we can interact, share ideas, express our feelings, and voice our concerns.
I am a feminist, and will always be. But now I realize that feminism, freedom, and liberty have many faces and comes in many different and rich colors.
To learn more about Islamic feminism, go to these sites:
- Muslim Again (peacexpeace.org)
- Egypt`s 21st Century Revolution and the Woman Question (peacexpeace.org)
- 5 more fresh articles...
Saturday, 26 March 2011
Islamic Feminism: The Feminism I Relate To | Peace X Peace