What European Ideals Took from Muslim Women

What European Ideals Took from Muslim Women

This video must be watched by all, Muslims and non-Muslims.

This video is for all those non-Muslims who think Islam oppresses women.

This video is for the feminist, Muslim and non-Muslim. 

This video is for all of those Muslim men who think women are housemaids.

This video is for all those Muslim women who need to claim their rights and their religion.

Tamara Gray: American Muslim convert. Yes, it is 39 + minutes, but I have included a run-down of what you need to watch:

@ 2:35 – Declaration of Sentiments signed in 1848: The beginning of Feminism

@ 3:50 – Muslim Women in pre-colonial period benefited from Islam. Women had political, social, economic, educational, and religious power.

@7:15 – When Europeans began to rule Muslim lands, The European attitudes toward women as property and servants to men infiltrated Muslim societies. 

 @ 9:20 – In the face of deterioration of the rights of woman, Feminism took root. But became synonymous with anti-Islam or the non-religious woman.

@ 12:00 – Islam does indeed deal with the issue of the feminist movement.

@ 12:30 – Islam does not need Western Feminism, but Muslims could use a jolt of Western Feminism.

@ 13:50 – Striping colonialism from our thinking, getting back to women’s right in Islam is the only cure. Women at the time of the Prophet (Peace and Blessings Upon Him- PBUH) did not sit back and wait to be asked to participate. Women were integral in public, political, economic, civil, and educational roles AND were paid equally for it.

@ 17:00 – Hijab was/and is the ultimate way for women to be recognized as powerful and as someone who is to be respected.

@ 25:00 – What Muslim men are doing wrong according to Islam. A bit of retribution.

@ 27:00 – Men have a share in work at home. The Prophet would work at home, not help, but work.  Housework is NOT the Islamic duty of a woman.

@ 30:00 – Support, encouragement, and celebration of women’s accomplishments is the tradition of the Prophet (PBUH). 


liberation through education

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43 thoughts on “What European Ideals Took from Muslim Women

  1. Muslims must learn Islam religion TRUE Islamic and Publish the teachings of religion to the others, whether Muslims or non-Muslims The life of the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him and his wives ,
    companions sahaba ,followers al tab’een .To respond to the accusations against Islam and muslims

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  2. So basically the point that hijab is a means for women to be more powerful and respected… Means those Muslim women who don’t wear it are less respected and less powerful? Disturbing and typical attitudes non hijab wearers have to listen and now we have a influential woman endorsing it? Last time I checked we are all equals in eyes of Allah. Clearly something is not right here!!

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    1. Sister, It is not that women will/should be less respected and powerful when not wearing hijab. As I am sure you know, there are many women who have great power and respect without wearing hijab. But hijab is a way for all women, no matter her social, economical or political status, to have access to this power and respect. Something all women should receive (but rarely do) without having to climb the economic ladder, without having to run for office and become a political figure, without being born royalty, or curing cancer, without having to fight to prove herself worthy …

      Yes, you are correct, in the eyes of Allah we are equal in terms of our gender or our weight or height or financial status. But we are not all equal in the eyes of Allah in terms of our deeds. This is not to say that a hijabi is better than a non-hijabi or vice versa. It is up to Allah to judge us because we do not know the deeds of others.

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      1. Well, I have spoken to revered scholars and they totally disagree to this statement “hijab is a way for all women, no matter her social, economical or political status, to have access to this power and respect.” Hijab is not the ladder up the success in any walk of live, personal or professional and it sickens me that people continue to argue this as a discriminatory tool against non- hijab wearers. But yes, in the end its Allah who will judge us unlike all the judgment that non hijab wearers have to deal with all the hijab wearing women, hijab promoting and forcing Muslim men, clerics and cultures.

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      2. I would encourage women to climb whatever ladder they chose, but I think that wearing the hijab can help level the playing field (more on this topic in reply to your comment about harassment). And my purpose of saying what I have said about hijab is not to use it as a way to discriminate. It is sad that people use what some find a protection as a tool to discriminate. It is pathetic even, because most people feel invalidated and even threatened when they meet someone who disagrees with them. This is weak. If one feels compelled to do something such as wear hijab they should be satisfied with their own convictions enough to not seek approval from everyone else or discriminate against those who do not agree. And it is sad because there can be so much to gain by accepting a variety of people with different perspectives.

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  3. Yes I saw it.
    Unfortuntely, I don’t agree to the part where it says establishment of hijab and the post’s narrative phrase “Hijab is the ultimate way for women to be recognized as powerful and as someone who is to be respected.” Its shows respect, recognition comes at a price i.e hijab a concept which is similar to many other traditions followed in name of Islam.

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    1. We can sit around all day and talk about how the world should be. How men should respect women, full stop. And yes, it should be this way. But the majority of men don’t respect every woman they meet, especially if you are a stranger to them. Sure you can sit down with a man and convince him not to think of you as an object and so on. But that seems like a lot more work than wearing hijab. Islam functions in reality. And yes respect as a woman is not just offered up without a price (have you ever experienced such a thing? Tell me how and where to go to get said respect).

      I am not going to debate the validity of hijab in Islam. The sister quoted the Qura’nic verse in the video. But other than that, I have found in my life that it has garnered me some measure of respect and deterred the sexual harassment I use to experience on a regular basis. I respect your opinion about hijab and don’t wish to change your mind. It is your life to live, and I hope the best for you in it.

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      1. Its indeed wonderful to hear that you have found a refuge in hijab against the sexual harassment and patriarchal hostility. Infact your experience is quite incredible because when I think to Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Morocco and elsewhere in the Muslim world the statistics of “HIJAB WEARING WOMEN” facing sexual harassment, rape and other violences are quite appallingly high and downright pathetic and anti-women friendly. Just for the record, I have worked in most of these countries and have done countless stories of hijab wearing women that are also rusting inside the jails for they reported the rape, harassment faced by them and the anti-women Sharia Laws charged them into adultery and threw them into jails as criminals without charging those animal Muslim men that committed those crimes.
        Most of my hijab wearing colleagues face daily harassment while commuting in public, and many women prostitutes within Islamic countries use hijab also to hide their identities for what so ever forced reasons they have had to sell sex for survival.
        This ideology that hijab saves women from harassment is disturbing, and clearly does not hold true in others parts of the world, but probably you live in a very safe environment and I am very glad for you. At the end of the day, it makes me happy to hear that there are places where my sisters like yourself can lead their lives in a comfortable and cultured societies.
        I would also suggest if you have time and are interested to please read this post which is my published article in a newspaper within Pakistan at http://saadiahaq.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/harrasement-hijab-and-honor-a-male-perspective/
        And I truly hope we can continue to have our discourses in future too, I really like your work and I respect your views and more ever, your work is giving me broader horizons to reflect upon.

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      2. I have read your thought provoking article. It is well written and I appreciate the research behind it.
        With that being said, it is SICK!!!! that living in a non-Muslim country -as I do- is safer for a Muslim woman.
        I have heard stories like these before about going overseas to “Muslim” countries and being harassed while wearing niqab!!! I have lost sleep over it, and over the sisters who are assaulted or raped and punished for being victims. It is unfathomable to me. I cannot even wrap my brain around how this could be called Islam. I think the first step is teaching the backward and ignorant “sheikhs” that rape is not zena. Zena requires consent. Or maybe showing them the difference as they well deserve to know how it feels. I can’t even … I … it infuriates.

        All of this CRAP is a sign that the ummah is in its death throws. But I will argue that the ignorance and sickness of the people does not prove that hijab is passe. I will also state that, to my mind, hijab is not the end all be all for a woman’s faith, nor does the lack of it justify her becoming a victim (as I have heard happens). Victim blaming, hijab shaming are tantamount to victimizing. If you are on the side of the predator, you might as well help hold the victim down. People are so twisted. I feel that it is the product of Muslims putting culture before Islam. And I wish there were some way I could help make change in the way people treat women. Might I suggest providing tasers to each and every women and allow them to tase their harassers and predators. If theses “men” are shocked when they act like animals, logic follows that they will cultivate a pavlovian response to their misdeeds. Will you help me hand out tasers?

        Thank you for sharing your insight and I am flattered that you like my work. I greatly respect you and you work and also hope to continue discourse in the future.

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      3. Do also see the situation of South Asia where two big Muslim nations reside, Pakistan and Bangladesh and the requirement of tasers will become more imminenthttp://saadiahaq.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/south-asias-struggle-against-sexual-harassment/

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      4. I agree with you, many women do carry some sort of pepper spray, small kitchen knife etc but frankly you never know if she injures a man and then makes a run on the road only to find other men ca-hooting with the harasser and become more angry unitedly. I think your getting my point…
        But its time for tasers, electric bras and what not!!!

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      5. You see, why I told you yesterday that I’m so glad your not living in a Muslim country, where there are laws that can protect you. Never the less– things as grim as they are — are one side of the coin. Pakistan does have another lighter side of moderates, normal and pretty amazing humanitarians, groups that continue to pave path for women. In 2013, we finally got the sexual harrasment law and this is a huge victory for women. While many women are not lucky, those who are, make sure we fight for our rights and you know men, make half of the feminists forces we have. I try to bring both the dark and light side of issues as I totally dislike Islamophobia and anti Pakistani propaganda. We have problems and let’s not pretend we are perfect but talk about them. For Allah’s sake!!

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      6. And rape is treated as Zina in Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and many other countries and it breaks my heart to see rape victims scared to report the crime because they are throiwn into jails on charges of Zina. Take a look at http://summit.sfu.ca/item/9496
        And I think you can imagine the kind of fight we are facing in Muslim countries, where also so many Muslim women are kinda trying to flee the country because they are fed up and totally exhausted with the crimes done to them in name of Islam and because if a Muslim woman reverts her religion, the punishment is death in these countries. OUR FIGHTS ARE UGLY AND SO SCARY, but we have no choice but to continue despite these problems.
        We must continue our discourses and some time in coming months I will request you to be featured on my blog with an interview possibly 🙂

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      7. I am reading the paper as I write (multitasking: a gift only women are blessed with). This is a topic that makes me curse … a lot… SOoooo I am trying to control myself. I really didn’t know the depth of the problem until I started reading this paper. Holy CRAP!!! What can I do to help? What is it going to take? We need so many tasers.

        And I would love to have an interview with you for your blog. I would be honored in fact.

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      8. Indeed multi-tasking our blessing 🙂
        Equally boiling on this side of the globe, you know you can start promoting some issues of this side on your blog too, because you have an excellent grasp of Islamic references on issues related to women, why not speak about Zina and Rape and also I can share some stories with you etc. You and I might be bankrupted because population of Pakistan is in billions but I am thinking in terms of another way to go about it. There is such a huge Pakistani community in the USA, have you come across any 1 or some of them in your area? Why not use your excellent knowledge, revered position to also hold talks with Pakistani women for collaborating to speak at their community gatherings? I don’t want to push you to do something crazy and will not ask you to push your life on the line, but probably your informative lectures can serve as a eye opener. Don’t even think about it if you don’t feel comfortable, but I can tell you the reception from Pakistani women sisters will be positive as they are the ones left to deal with these problems and forced to stay silent on them and bear them.

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      9. I will promote these issues on my blog now that I know more about them. I would love to give talks about distinguishing between true Islamic rights of women and the rights men want us to believe we have (none). There are many Pakistanis that I have met and befriended through the years. However the Islamic community in my city is small (10-15 families) and I am not sure that anyone would listen to me as I am not a scholar. Just a writer willing to study and think globally and objectively. If you know of anyone looking for someone to speak about these issues, I am willing to travel.

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      10. For your interview, I will actually sit over the weekend and draft some ideas. I know my readers would totally love to hear your opinions 😀

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      11. Ok, so if a women doesn’t have 4 witnesses to prove she was raped (a requirement of zina not rape) she is convicted of committing zina, a crime for which she did not have enough witnesses to prove!!! How does this stand! Does Pakistan seek to become a rapist factory? And this witness thing, it was my understanding that it only applied to witnessing of a contract not a crime!

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      12. No dear, this is the lovely SHARIA LAW imported from Saudia Arabia in 1980s thanks to USA-Saudia-Pakistan partnership for creation fo Mujahideen now TALIBAN for chucking out SOVIETS from Afghanistan. This special law of zina is rape exists in almost all the Muslim countries including Pakistan and women rights groups have been fighting to get it removed but under the pressure of religious parties and factions, none of our governments have abolished it. I have done live stories of rape victims who stood saying they were raped by so and so, but without witnesses and were thrown inside jails. Some more unlucky ones that got pregnant as result of the rape gave birth inside jails and this drama continues in most Muslim countries. This witness thing according to them stands for crimes in particular rape, assault of women. To my knowledge thousands of Muslim women that were raped are rusting inside jails in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, etc etc.

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      13. Yes!!!!! We are with you, whatever info you need in coming time or specific details you just write me an email and I’ll make sure to send it your way. I’ll appreciate your support in awareness raising!!!

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      14. It is infuriating to have ones belief hijacked and twisted for the profit of the sick and sadistic. We need to react to those who mutilate Islam into something unrecognizable. It is a requirement to react! I admire your bravery for speaking out.

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      15. Yes we must not let Islam be hijacked, I am just simply trying but I’ll be honest it can have consequences. But I cannot stay silent, I’ve seen too many broken spirits of women and much as it breaks my heart, I will use my pain to raise voice. Its good to have solidarity with sisters globally because this will help the cause.

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      16. You are really a role model! I am so glad that sisters like you are fighting against oppression. May Allah grant you protection and success. I am going to raise my voice to make people aware of what these people are doing with our religion and hope I can be of serve to the cause.

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      17. Thank you so much, I feel humbled to be complimented truly. We need to fight against oppression of women in particular because its distorted with patriarchy and religion. Also, count me in with you in this mission, if you need any information/ updates feel free to contact me!!! Its great to have solidarity and we both can utilize our privileged positions for this mission. All the best.

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      18. No, Thank you for opening my eyes to what our sister are going through. I had a glimpse but was not fully aware. I have already dedicated next week’s post to a new contributor, but after that I will begin my campaign to fight against women being oppressed in the name of Islam. I have my husband on board (he said he would apologize for men but he doesn’t like them either. lol) and we are brain storming, thinking about a hashtag to gain some kind of traction on social media. InshaAllah Allah will grant us success. “… and be afraid of the curse of an oppressed person because there is no screen between his invocation and Allah.” Sahih Bukhari. I will certainly be in touch if I need some info you may have. And do not hesitate to contact me if you have an idea or need something from me. islamwich@yahoo.com

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      19. Well, you see the things are getting worse day by day in many Islamic countries and its time we Muslim women get united despite our diversities. InshAllah, you will have success in this and am very glad that your hubby is on board, always good to have men with us, my brother is also on board!!! Yes sure and I have noted your email, I can send you some reports related to GENDER disparities in Pakistan, Iran and other Muslim countries if you want!

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  4. Now can you imagine my plight at what we have to go through in Muslim countries and why we get so upset that hijab is used as a political tool over us, wear it and avoid rape when it clearly is doing the opposite.
    In my work, I travel in far flung and very traditional villages and regions and you know what I do wear the Pakistani version of hijab that is similar to the Persian chadoor. WHY? Because I have deep respect for tradition, culture and also religion and if by wearing a accepted garment is going to help me access within communities for my work, I will wear it day and night. Hell I have even worn hijab when going to interview religious leaders and you know what, I still get grappled into crowds and some man gets away with touching me even while wearing it, and this is the reality of majority women within many Muslim countries. You must also feel free to put your comments on the articles as you see them.
    Yes, I can help in that 😀

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    1. I love it!!! The Pakistani women I have met have all been super educated and fierce. I used to be a Physician’s assistant to a Lady, Paki, Muslim Dr. who ran her own clinic. She is a great role model like you. Muslims in general are portrayed as subhuman. And it needs to stop! It creates fear of Muslim in Western cultures. And hate crimes against Muslims in the US. Hence the blog.

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      1. Thanks so much, I thought you might like it hence sent it your way. Oh really??? Oh God, we have another great connection now, I hope you enjoyed working with her considering you are so amazing yourself as well if I may take the liberty of adding, similar to us Southerners from Asia!:-D
        Yes agreed, this is why I have been doing writings about FEMEN, portrayal of Muslim women and so on as I work and travel abroad a lot and its gets to me how western countries fear us. I’m just so glad that I found your blog!!!!! Keep writing 🙂

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      2. I want to interject my opinion, after having read your back-and-forth. Women who convert in the West convert based on their knowledge and understanding of the true Islam….the one that gives women protection and rights. I believe women who convert in the *East* do so often under coercion. I also find the ladies I meet who converted outside of the US and Europe are misinformed about the true Islam……that they’re living cultural Islam based on where they converted, especially if they’re not heavily-inclined to study and learn for themselves. They are the ones who are mistreated by men in the name of religion (I’m talking about converts here, mind you). They struggle with the idea of being Muslim in the West due to the same propaganda that has people fearing being non-Muslim in the East. Truly, I believe women who convert in the East are more inclined to leave Islam when the leave their current settings because it leaves a sour taste. I also believe that a lot of women who converted in the West might not have done so had they not been in the West when they did.

        Overall, what I am insinuating is converted women in the West often have no idea about what goes on in the East outside of media representation. My suggestion? Visit these countries and see what life is like. But come armed with your own personal affirmation of what is and what is not Islam……because if you don’t, you are leaving your religious practices wide open for cultural bias to swoop in and intercept your understanding.

        It is not only one time I have found myself saying, “I don’t believe that. And I’m not _____________ (insert whatever country you’d like that isn’t American, which I am), so I don’t feel the need to ________________ (insert any random culturally-based practice that has no bearings in Islam).”

        Some Muslims feel American Muslims are usurping “their” religion. They say there is no such thing as “American” Islam. What I believe is we are all Muslims who should get back to the Quran and hadith, leaving the matthabs (denominations) aside. However, Pakistani, Indian, American, Egyptian, ad infinitum cultural affiliation are just identities. They are flavors we bring to our lives’ experiences……customs, traditions, expectations……they should not be the basis for our religious interpretation.

        One ummah, one deen. Millions of cultures, billions of identities.

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