Books and Documents

Islam, Women and Feminism

Iran concert cancelled because of girl performers

SAUDI ARABIA: Women lawyers may soon be allowed in courtrooms

British woman killed in suicide bombing three months after husband killed by Taliban

Wearing burqa not an integral part of Islam: Election Commission

Muslim Women For Sale—Isn’t There a Name for This?

For Pakistani women, dupattas are more than a fashion statement

Only handful slow to accept caning against women: Jakim

UK Justice Secretary says he'd love if Muslim women wouldn't wear burqas in Britain

Skier is the first Iranian woman in Winter Games

Scholar Unveils Women's Role in Shaping Islamic Practice in West Africa

The Plight of Afghan Women in Prison

Nusaybah bint Ka`b: A Woman of Distinction

Photo: Mrs Pakistan World 2010 Tahmena Bokhari advocates Rivival of the Arts in the Muslim World.


I believe that Islamic feminism is, in a sense, the unwanted child of ‘political Islam’. It was ‘political Islam’ that actually politicized the whole issue of gender and Muslim women’s rights. The slogan ‘back to the Shariah’ so forcefully pressed by advocates of ‘political Islam’ in practice meant seeking to return to the classical texts on fiqh or Muslim jurisprudence and doing away with various laws advantageous to women that had no sanction in the Islamists’ literalist understanding of Islam. Translated into practice, law and public policy, this meant going back to pre-modern interpretations of Shariah, with all their restrictive laws about and for women. It was this that led, as a reaction, to the emergence of Islamic feminism, critiquing the Islamists for conflating Islam and the Shariah with undistilled patriarchy and for claiming that patriarchal rule was divinely mandated. -- Ziba Mir Hosseini


For Clinton, a bit of Wellesley in Saudi Arabia

Burka: the other view

Why I Support a Ban on Burqas

Brick Lane plan for hijab gates angers residents

Women-only national transport system proposed

Beneath the Burqa: Islam, Secularism and Liberty

Woman tortured by ‘pir’ hospitalised

Pakistani Bishop to Help Prosecute Muslim Jurist for Murder of Catholic Girl

Missing North Portland girl found

Spanish town joins Europe veil debate

Is politics driving ban on burqa?

Under the Shadow of Shariah Law, Transsexuals Take to Beauty Contest

Man of war, master of politics, lover of women

Should France ban the full Muslim veil?

A Niqabi Living in the Bastion of Secularism!

Muslim women should be allowed to wear the burqa – but how many really want to?

To Saudi Arabia’s Women: Valentine’s Day is Also for You

MIDEAST:  Gaza's Female Scribes Face Worse Than Discrimination

Woman suspect in lawyer’s murder case killed

Photo: Saudi women work at a website designing company in Jeddah.

Koranic traditions must be taken seriously, but it is also necessary to ask questions about their contemporaneity too. Following the Friday prayers led by Dr Amina Wadud in New York on 18th March and the emotional public debate to which that event led, I have repeatedly been asked for my view on the matter. I believe the issue may seem simple, but is more complicated than it appears. So I'd like to contribute a few ideas to the discussion, rather than put forward a clear opinion. --Halima Krausen

The women of my family influenced me by invoking the spirit of Islam which allows an individual to practise religion according to her own light.

In the context of my upbringing, when I examine the Supreme Court's observation on the burqa and voter ID cards, I find there is nothing inimical in it to the Quranic injunctions about a dress code for Muslim women...

In the Quran there are three references to dress code and none of them refers to the naqab, or veil...

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the great translator, commentator and interpreter of the Quran, has asked the reader again and again to look for meanings by going to the fountainhead (Siraj-eMunir) -- that is, the Quran itself -- instead of blindly following diktats of self-proclaimed experts. Because, he writes, Din is easy; it has been made complicated by centuries of facile erudition. That being the case there is nothing in the Quran and therefore Islam which mandates veiling; the choice to do it is entirely an individual choice. Therefore to attribute this to Islam is to negate its true spirit. -- Syeda Saiyidain Hameed

Veil ban would harm Christians in Muslim countries, French church warns

Muslim women can be snapped without burqa: Cleric

Feminism means women are seen and heard

Two out of three Brits want ban on burkhas

Baghdad Bombing Kills Shiites at Women’s Checkpoint (Update2)

We must respect Muslim rights if we want Islamic countries to respect our rights, warns French Catholic Church as it speaks against burka ban

Women who dared

Niqab wearers lift veil on Egyptian dispute

Now, Germany mulls burqa ban

Burqa ban wrong

What do Leicester's Muslim women think of the face veil, or niqab?

Muslim Women In 2010

Hijab... American Experience

Photo: Demonstrators against the French ban on religious dress in state schools, enacted in 2004


Were there women in Islamic history?

Photo-shy Muslim women should not vote: SC

Ban Muslim face veils, France told

Stay away from book on Muslim women, Muslims advised

Step out & contest polls, Jamaat tells Muslim women, hundreds turn up

A Muslim in Bristol: Confident women are viewed with suspicion

Moro women leaders oppose warlordism, want role in peace process

What’s in a headscarf: France mulls ban

India denies visa to British Muslim woman for meeting: Report

PM called on to consider ban on burqa

New Study Looks at Challenges Faced by Germany's Muslims

Majority of Britons want burqa ban: Poll

Muslim feminists deserve to be heard

Al-Qaeda Woman? Putting Aafia Siddiqui on Trial

AMERICAN MUSLIMS: Women behaving badly in mosques

Frontline Females- Unlocking the World of Afghan Women

Status of face-covering veils Muslim around Europe

Women in Pakistan forge ahead against bias in politics

Indonesian Women Come Into Their Own

France Moves toward Ban of Full Muslim Veil

Burqa Unwelcome in Denmark: PM

Muslim women take on peace advocacy roles

Compiled by Aman Quadre

Photo: ‘Unveiling the Ideal’ explores the role of women in Islam


Arab journalist seeks polyandry for women:

Why only men are allowed to practice polygamy in Islam but not women?

A Saudi woman demands Polyandry

Saudi Feminists and Polyandry

Polyandry call is 'akin to blasphemy'

Female polygamy - might improve a Muslim woman's lot - article sparks row in Egypt

Does Polygany Degrade Womanhood?

Polygany (Ta'ad-dud)

Awakening: A Story of Polygyny

Photo: Saudis gather by a fast food restaurant in a Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, shopping mall. A Saudi writer has caused a row in Egypt with her controversial article that urges religious scholars to issue a fatwa allowing women to marry four men simultaneously.

East Lancashire Muslim ladies in the TV driving seat

Islam's angry women, angry at their religion

Despite ban, French Muslim women will not betray tradition: Shada Islam

Muslim women embrace sorority without abandoning their faith and values

Alimony aid for Muslim women caught in divorce wrangles

RM15mil allocation for Muslim women who don’t get support

It will be a great help, says struggling single mother

Karzai praised for 3 women in Cabinet

Student backs Muslim women

'Only three women in Denmark wear burqa'

Photo: Female Imams: Searching for American “nu ahongs”


Alimony aid for Muslim women caught in divorce wrangles

Arab women Diaspora writers under study at the University of Manchester

America’s first Islamic-based sorority allows participation without abandoning faith and values

No veiled threat - France mulls fines for wearing a burqa in public

Women's role in Islam found in Quran

Should Muslim Women be Fined or Arrested for the Way They Dress?

Banning the burqa unveils some nasty traits in us

French PM Francois Fillon wants anti-burqa measures

Compiled by Aman Quadri

Photo: Bihar girl makes it to UN calendar


German Lingerie Ad Lifts the Veil on Muslim Women

Women should be wary of romanticising Islam

Transportation Security Administration Targets Women Wearing Hijabs?


Compiled by Aman Quadre

Photo: A woman wears a burka in Roncin, northern France. The proposed legislation to ban the veil in public would protect the 'dignity' of women


Violence against Arab women in Gaza increases?

Indonesia's religious police on hemline frontline:

Citizens stopped for wearing "un-Islamic" clothes

Female Afghan police: good sign of progress

Saudi women at the forefront in all fields: Expat educationist

Hamas encourages Gaza women to follow Islamic code

Iraqi women: A story of injustice through decades

Israeli feminist issue or excuse for anti-Zionism?

The caged and the saved: finding feminism in the Islamic world

Monash: Muslim girl power in the gym

SAUDI ARABIA: 'Polygamy for women' article sparks public row in Egypt, Muslim world

Compiled by Aman Quadri

Photo: Hatem Moussa -- member of PFLP in Gaza (A.P)


To add to this is the fear that taking up Muslim women’s concerns might invite the opposition of conservative Ulema or Muslim clerics and stoke inter-communal controversy. This sidelining by ‘secular’ women’s groups of Muslim women’s concerns has been compounded by the tendency, boosted by the state, conservative Muslim leaders and the Hindu Right, to perceive Muslims solely in religious terms. Because of this, often ‘secular’ women’s groups interventions with regard to Muslim women focus simply on issues related to their religious identity (especially, certain aspects of Muslim Personal Law that are seen to militate against women), rather than on their manifold social, economic, and educational problems and concerns. -- Yoginder Sikand

Egypt University to appeal niqab ruling: Supreme Court Allows female students to don the full face veil on campus dormitories

Indonesia: Will women still be bargaining chips?

Photo: Cairo University students wear the niqab

It is agreed that in a diverse country like ours Muslims are not a monolithic community. There are Urdu speaking Muslims, just as there are Tamil Muslims and Bengali Muslims. There are Sunnis, Shias, low castes and OBCs. And then there are men, women and the youth including girls and boys. Apart from faith there is another common factor that has acquired a huge importance in recent times. It is about how they are perceived by the larger world as a community: “Muslims are dirty; Muslims are backward; Muslims are not patriotic; Muslims are terrorists.”

While the challenges faced by the community are of Herculean proportions, the fractured Muslim leadership neither has the commitment nor the competence to address these problems. They are obsessed with non-substantive and seemingly emotive issues. Unfortunately, it suits various Governments that no real demands are made for education, jobs, financial assistance, health facilities, security, etc. All that the latter have to do is to pander to these dubious elements and thus “take care” of almost 15% of the Indian population. The community has paid a huge price because of this. -- Zakia Soman

It is generally thought that movement for women’s rights began with western educated people and in 19th century. But very few people know about Maulavi Mumtaz Ali Khan, a traditional ‘alim, product of Darul ‘Uloom Deoband who was very enthusiastic supporters of gender equality. There are two things to be noted here: one, he was a traditional ‘alim and was not under the influence of western thought and two, he was advocating gender equality purely on the basis of Islamic traditional sources i.e. Qur’an and hadith.

The Maulavi was enthusiastic supporter of women’s rights and was one of the colleagues of Sir Syed. However, Sir Syed had lot of trouble on his hand due to his campaign for a modern educational institution for north Indian Muslims. He was facing stiff resistance from orthodox ‘ulama and did not want more trouble and so he advised Mumtaz Ali Khan not to publish his book Huququn Niswan the manuscript of which he showed to the Syed. However, the Maulavi was very enthusiastic about women’s rights and wanted to educate Muslim men and women and went ahead with its publication.

 Huququn Niswan, I dare say without any exaggeration, is like charter of rights for Muslim women. Mumtaz Ali Khan proves from Qur’an through his interpretations of relevant Qur’anic verses that men and women have equal rights and that women have no authority over women, as believed by Muslim men. This book, because of its advocacy of women’s rights, soon went into oblivion and was not available. -- Asghar Ali Engineer

 [Huququn Niswan is currently being serialized in New Age Islam, courtesy: Daily Sahafat, Mumbai.]


Based in New Delhi, Zakia Nizami Soman is one of the founder members of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan(BMMA), a movement of Muslim women across India struggling for their citizenship rights.  In this interview with Yoginder Sikand, she talks about the BMMA's work and reflects on the daunting challenges facing Muslim women in India today.

Philippines massacre: women thought they were safe. They were wrong

Progressive Women Protest Billboard for 7th Day Regardless of Male Bullies

Overly hairy woman charges job descrimination in lawsuit

'Gender Jihad' in the Service of Women's Rights

How a Muslim became a \'co-worker\' of Blessed Teresa

A Woman's Act...Brief Report on the VIII Women Playwrights Conference, Mumbai 2009

Multicultural Crime Blotter: Male Medics, Police Touch Muslim Women

The Hajj and Women's Dress

Muslim women seek even playing field in football

KARACHI: Women police station opened

Hazrat Hajira in tradition

Alex Scott launches Muslim women’s sport project

Book Review: Position of women under Islamic Law

Trouser woman: I may not return to Sudan

Report: Women Face Rampant Abuse

Photo: Indian film actress Katrina Kaif on her recent and previous visit to Ajmer


Mosques and burqas stir opposition in Europe

Malaysian woman tries to reverse Muslim conversion

Malaysian ‘Muslim’ woman battles to be declared Hindu

French foreign minister praises courage of Sudan’s trouser journalist

Muslim woman faces hate in US over Fort Hood shooting

Plea over Saudi 'witchcraft' case

Hindu woman fights claim that she converted to Islam

SAAYA holds program to create awareness among Muslim women about govt. welfare schemes

Philippine 'monsters' murdered pregnant women: relative

Fair share of women at Afghan pavilion

Photo: Natasha Fatah at the King Fahd mosque in Buenos Aires. Not her usual attire.

Millions of Saudis, of course, still adhere to the strict religious and social conservatism that dates to the 18th century pact made between Mohammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab, a puritanical preacher, and the founder of the Saud dynasty Mohammed ibn Saud. And many conservatives resent the social changes the King is pushing. "Those around King Abdullah use his peaceful positions to impose secular values," says conservative cleric Mohsen al-Awajy. "But Saudi society is a special, tribal society, and neither King Abdullah or anyone else can impose his own interpretation of Islam. They can do nothing without Islam. There is no Saudi Arabia without Islam. There is no royal family without Islam." (Read: "Pope Benedict's Latest Take on Islam."). There's evidence, too, that many women don't want radical change. A government poll in 2006 — one of the few attempts to gauge women's opinions — found that 86% thought women shouldn't work in a mixed environment, and 89% agreed women shouldn't drive. Iman al-Alqeel, the editor of Hayat, a conservative magazine for girls, says most of her readers find the thought of working or studying around boys and men intimidating. -- Andrew Lee Butters



While identifying the paarts of a woman’s body which should be covered, the Qur’an also gives us evidence to refute the claim of those who associate "Niqab" (Veils, face covers) as an ingredient of a woman’s dress code ordained by Allah. THE EXAMPLE OF MARY the mother of Jesus (p) is mentioned in the Qur'an as the woman chosen and purified above all the women of all the worlds. "And when the angels said: O Mary! Surely Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of all the worlds." (3:42). She has been acalled as an example for the believers and her conduct is called to exemplify: "And Allah sets forth an example to those who believe . . . Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity, so we breathed into her of Our inspiration and she accepted the truth of the words of her Sustainer and His books, and she was of, the obedient ones. (66:11-12). -- Ahlul Bait News Agencya


Row over hijab for MPs divides Kuwait: The issue of female ministers and MPs not wearing hijabs in the national assembly has grated with Islamists ever since women received full political rights in 2005.

Burka denies equality to women

Women wore trousers and no headscarf

BHUBANESWAR: Muslim women rally for Hindu victims

In service of Muslim women

Life after talaq: Orissa women want to be included in BPL list

Photo: Female MPs Salwa al Jassar, left; Rola Dashti, centre; Massuma al Mubarak, right; and Aseel al Awadhi, top; at a parliament session in Kuwait City. Yasser al Zayyat

Women Never Forced to Wear ‘Niqab’: Grand Mufti of Dubai

Burka should be woman's choice

Lucknow, India:  Muslim Women Workout At Gyms

Indian Muslim women for empowerment

Lucknow: More women in Muslim body sparks row

Azerbaijan gave voting right to women in 1918: conference

Malaysian women: Islam, secularism, ethnicity debates continue

Afghan Women's Freedom In Jeopardy


No covering up Egypt's niqab row: There have been demonstrations by women students in Cairo after a leading cleric backed moves to ban the wearing of full women's veils, known as the niqab, in classrooms or dormitories.

Women Choosing Full-Face Veil Has Egyptian Authorities Worried

Italy Wants to Prosecute Burqa Women

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