We live in a world where we can fly spaceships to other planets, where cars can drive by themselves and where women’s rights still have to be debated. Every time I think about it, it baffles me that we live in the 21st century, yet we still have to discuss simple things such as human rights. As a feminist I believe in equal rights and opportunities for both men and women. To me this sounds like common sense, but when I tell people I’m a feminist I always get mixed reactions. Especially when they know I’m a Muslim. That’s why I decided to write a piece to get rid of the stereotypes for once and for all, and to do this I also asked different people on social media to tell me about their experiences. So before shrugging and clicking away, try to be a little open-minded and read what feminism is actually about.
Personally I think feminism is about people being able to make choices for themselves without getting judged. You want to wear the veil? Fine! You want to wear short skirts? That’s fine too! It’s not up to me to go up to people and tell them what is wrong and what is right. The only person I have to control is myself. Obviously feminism goes way further than just the way you dress. But the most important thing is that there are equal human rights for men and women. These aren’t crazy ideas right? Yet there are always people who judge others for being feminists. Some Muslim men think I’m just a little girl whining because I don’t want to do the dishes. Others think I am some kind of Ayaan Hirsi Ali supporter. But there are also some non-Muslim people who have these stereotypes that really bother me. Ideas such as having to free me from my beliefs because I am oppressed. Listen to me, we are far from oppressed. Islam was the first religion but also the first system to give women the right to have education, the right to vote, etc. “Yeah but the Quran says-..” Excuse me but have you actually read the Quran? Have you actually put everything in its context or are you just trying to make your point and make me look like I’m oppressed?
Being a Muslim and a feminist is possible and here I am to prove that. I don’t feel any connection towards Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who seems to only bash Islam and I don’t feel any connection to Femen either who seem to only want to ‘free’ women by tearing their clothes off. I do feel a connection to women who stand up for each other, who support each other whatever their belief or background might be. That’s what I believe in.
What you’ve just read was about me and my experiences, but I didn’t want this to revolve around me only. There are some other people who wanted to share their ideas and experiences. These people are Muslims with different backgrounds, from different countries, who want to show you that being Muslim and a feminist is perfectly possible.
Soraya H. , 20 years old. Belgium
According to me, every woman should be a feminist, because feminism doesn’t believe in the superiority of women but in equality. Women aren’t superior to man nor the same but they are equal. This idea fits Islam perfectly. Islam says that daughters are a blessing to fathers, women complete half of their husband’s deen and that Paradise lies at the feet of your mother.
So it’s more the macho-culture that oppresses women for no reason. As a Muslim and a feminist I advocate against this macho-culture. This macho-culture that does not only exist in Arab countries but also in countries in the West. Women are still paid less than men for doing the exact same job, this happens in the ‘Oh so enlightened West’.
As stated before I do not believe in superiority. I believe in equality on a social, socio- cultural and economic level. This is not contradictory with Islam. It is not because some ‘scholars’ take away our rights, that we actually don’t have any. Because we do. Women are independent beings who have knowledge , and knowledge is power.
Helga, 18 years old. Germany.
I am a Muslim feminist because Islam is against misogyny and for gender equality. And we need to get our rights back as Muslim women.
Islam gave us our rights and society has taken them away.
The only people that have a problem with me being a Muslim and a feminist are not informed enough about feminism or about Islam.
Hossein A. , 24 years old. Belgium
Personally I think feminism is a necessity. It’s a phenomenon created on a belief of equality. Growing up, I have always been around women, my dad worked most of the time so my upbringing was in hands of my leading lady at the time, Mommy. My father, a first generation Moroccan, always surprised me when it came to his idea about women. Even though their tribe is known for their stubbornness, he was very clear about life. About women. Muslims should follow the ideals written down in the Quran. And when it comes to women, men tend to forget that. My father always underlined one mind-set:
“Islam was the first belief to give women heritance right, the right to own their own property and so on. Women are equal to men. There is no superiority. Period.”
The idea of Islam oppressing women is one big misunderstanding. A misunderstanding that finds his roots in culture. The fact that a woman should stay home, cook, bear children and clean the house is outdated and hostile. And unfortunately very popular among certain kinds of men.
Tanis, 20 years old. Canada.
I would say that we, on a large scale, have been sold the narrative that Islam equals oppression and especially the oppression of women. But if you read the Qu’ran you know that this is not true. The truth is that the Qu’ran over and over again speaks to the equality of men and women. Islam did not “give women rights”, but the Qu’ran declares Allah swt intention of equality between all human kind. Feminism advocates for equal social, political and economic rights for men and women. I can call myself a feminist and a Muslim because this is exactly what was revealed in the Qu’ran 1500 years ago.
And last but not least some people who tweeted me with the hashtag #muslimandfeminist
My main purpose with this article was to kill some stereotypes about feminism. It’s not about superiority nor is it about bashing Islam, nor do we need to be freed from our belief. Feminists are people who believe in the idea that women and men are equal and that people should be able to make choices for themselves. So instead of ridiculing feminist ideas, try educating yourselves.