Religion

Yasmin Mogahed

The most common search term that brings people to this site is Yasmin Mogahed. That amazed me. I only wrote about her once in a response to a post on The Nomad Universe about feminism in Islam. She is against feminism as it is described in the U.S. because she says that the goal is to make make women more like men by sacrificing their femininity.

I looked up some of her other writings and they all seem to have the same theme. The most recent onces decried a woman leading prayers at a Friday service in March. This was bad because for 1400 years women haven’t led Friday prayers and if the prophet wanted women to do things then he would have had his wives do them first. I don’t like the fundamentalist position that tradition is the end all and be all standard of what is proper behavior. I went to a church like that growing up. They couldn’t articulate why they did something other than to say that it was the way it had always been. The idea that maybe it had always been wrong apparently never occured to them.

Addition:

Apparently I irritated some people with this post. I’ve had a request by the author to post the whole article. I guess she thinks I am misreporting her position. So in the fine tradition of Fox News’ “We report – You decide” here’s the whole article.


A Woman’s Reflection on Leading Prayer
by Yasmin Mogahed
(Friday 25 March 2005)

“Given my privilege as a woman, I only degrade myself by trying to be something I’m not–and in all honesty–don’t want to be: a man. As women, we will never reach true liberation until we stop trying to mimic men, and value the beauty in our own God-given distinctiveness.”

On March 18, 2005 Amina Wadud led the first female-led Jumuah (Friday) prayer. On that day women took a huge step towards being more like men. But, did we come closer to actualizing our God-given liberation?

I don’t think so.

What we so often forget is that God has honored the woman by giving her value in relation to God—not in relation to men. But as western feminism erases God from the scene, there is no standard left—but men. As a result the western feminist is forced to find her value in relation to a man. And in so doing she has accepted a faulty assumption. She has accepted that man is the standard, and thus a woman can never be a full human being until she becomes just like a man—the standard.

When a man cut his hair short, she wanted to cut her hair short. When a man joined the army, she wanted to join the army. She wanted these things for no other reason than because the “standard” had it.

What she didn’t recognize was that God dignifies both men and women in their distinctiveness–not their sameness. And on March 18, Muslim women made the very same mistake.

For 1400 years there has been a consensus of the scholars that men are to lead prayer. As a Muslim woman, why does this matter? The one who leads prayer is not spiritually superior in any way. Something is not better just because a man does it. And leading prayer is not better, just because it’s leading. Had it been the role of women or had it been more divine, why wouldn’t the Prophet have asked Ayesha or Khadija, or Fatima—the greatest women of all time—to lead? These women were promised heaven—and yet they never lead prayer.

But now for the first time in 1400 years, we look at a man leading prayer and we think, “That’s not fair.” We think so although God has given no special privilege to the one who leads. The imam is no higher in the eyes of God than the one who prays behind.

On the other hand, only a woman can be a mother. And God has given special privilege to a mother. The Prophet taught us that heaven lies at the feet of mothers. But no matter what a man does he can never be a mother. So why is that not unfair?

When asked who is most deserving of our kind treatment? The Prophet replied ‘your mother’ three times before saying ‘your father’ only once. Isn’t that sexist? No matter what a man does he will never be able to have the status of a mother.

And yet even when God honors us with something uniquely feminine, we are too busy trying to find our worth in reference to men, to value it—or even notice. We too have accepted men as the standard; so anything uniquely feminine is, by definition, inferior. Being sensitive is an insult, becoming a mother—a degradation. In the battle between stoic rationality (considered masculine) and self-less compassion (considered feminine), rationality reigns supreme.

As soon as we accept that everything a man has and does is better, all that follows is just a knee jerk reaction: if men have it—we want it too. If men pray in the front rows, we assume this is better, so we want to pray in the front rows too. If men lead prayer, we assume the imam is closer to God, so we want to lead prayer too. Somewhere along the line we’ve accepted the notion that having a position of worldly leadership is some indication of one’s position with God.

A Muslim woman does not need to degrade herself in this way. She has God as a standard. She has God to give her value; she doesn’t need a man.

In fact, in our crusade to follow men, we, as women, never even stopped to examine the possibility that what we have is better for us. In some cases we even gave up what was higher only to be like men.

Fifty years ago, society told us that men were superior because they left the home to work in factories. We were mothers. And yet, we were told that it was women’s liberation to abandon the raising of another human being in order to work on a machine. We accepted that working in a factory was superior to raising the foundation of society—just because a man did it.

Then after working, we were expected to be superhuman—the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect homemaker—and have the perfect career. And while there is nothing wrong, by definition, with a woman having a career, we soon came to realize what we had sacrificed by blindly mimicking men. We watched as our children became strangers and soon recognized the privilege we’d given up.

And so only now—given the choice—women in the West are choosing to stay home to raise their children. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, only 31 percent of mothers with babies, and 18 percent of mothers with two or more children, are working full-time. And of those working mothers, a survey conducted by Parenting Magazine in 2000, found that 93% of them say they would rather be home with their kids, but are compelled to work due to ‘financial obligations’. These ‘obligations’ are imposed on women by the gender sameness of the modern West, and removed from women by the gender distinctiveness of Islam.

It took women in the West almost a century of experimentation to realize a privilege given to Muslim women 1400 years ago.

Given my privilege as a woman, I only degrade myself by trying to be something I’m not–and in all honesty–don’t want to be: a man. As women, we will never reach true liberation until we stop trying to mimic men, and value the beauty in our own God-given distinctiveness.

If given a choice between stoic justice and compassion, I choose compassion. And if given a choice between worldly leadership and heaven at my feet—I choose heaven.

21 Comments

  • Samera

    I agree with what the author is saying. We do value men more and therefore what they do must be better. It is a problem with society and how it values women. If a boy said his dream was to grow up and be a stay at home dad, he would be made fun of because he was trying to be a woman, which insinuates that being a woman is a less honorable position. We have to change this idea and give women, mothers and sisters the respect and value they deserve. Stop saying things like “you throw like a girl,” and don’t be such a girl” etc. These all give children the idea that being a girl is negative and undesirable.

  • Abass

    Sister Amina, we are really proud of you and it was great reading that article. Says it all that despite the Blogger’s negative criticism, MOST of the responses here have being positive and understanding so far, isn’t it? To ALL those who don’t understand, go and learn about Islam. Go to reliable Islamic websites and learn about Islam. I have seen MOST of the people in the west have their own version of Islam, created in their mind by beings that remain mysterious to me, that has absolutely nothing to do with the true Islam.

  • Juber Rahman

    Muslim service led by woman in UK draws protests!!

    OXFORD, England: A handful of protesters demonstrated Friday against a woman leading a Muslim prayer service for both men and women — the first time such a service has been held publicly in Britain.

    U.S. scholar Amina Wadud led about a dozen male and female worshippers in prayer at a conference hall in Oxford. The service took place before a university conference on women and Islam.

    Critics said Wadud should not have led the service, because she is a woman and because men and women attended. Muslim practice holds only men should lead services in which men are present.

    “We believe women are equal in Islam,” countered Taj Hargey, the chairman of Muslim Education Center of Oxford. The group sponsored the event.

    Wadud, an author and scholar at a seminary in Berkeley, California, received death threats for conducting a similar service at a church in New York three years ago.

    “The purpose of prayer is a relationship with God, and it has been politicized by people who see it as a power dynamic,” Wadud said after the service. “It is important that British women take up the mantle, and feel able to take the lead in prayer.”

    Muslim leaders in Oxford urged people not to demonstrate publicly Friday, saying that doing so would give Wadud publicity. Though only a few protesters turned out, several people voiced their opposition to Wadud’s actions in interviews.

    “When prayers are offered by Muslims and other religious people, we believe they should be offered in the divine way he (God) has prescribed,” said Mokhtar Badri, vice president of the Muslim Association of Great Britain. “As far as we know — in all our scripts, in all our mosques, in all the different continents where Muslims exist, women do not lead the prayer.”

    He pointed out that other religions, including Catholicism, also give men and women different roles.

    Wadud has her defenders, including Hargey.

    “There was a specific example during the life of the prophet himself where he let a woman lead a mixed-congregation prayer,” Hargey said. “The lady was Umm Waraqah. She was also one of the first women who memorized the entire Quran. Certainly she was a woman who was learned, erudite in religion and a devoted follower. The Prophet Muhammad allowed her to lead the prayers in her neighborhood. ”

    To learn the truth about this hadith, read here: http://www.bakkah.net/articles/muslim-women-leading-prayers4.htm

  • Ray

    Amina Wadud Repeats Stunt in Masonic Hall – Written by Husain Al-Qadi Following the 2005 media stunt in New York where Amina Wadud led a tiny group of men and women in what they described as “Friday prayers”, a barrage of worldwide criticism was levelled at the organisers. Among the charges, two points in particular really got under their thick skins.

    Firstly, there was the irrefutable evidence that the whole event was a media stunt; it was clear for all to see in the published photographs. There were more journalists in attendance than “worshippers”.

    The second point was that the stunt was a leap so far removed from Islam that the only venue they could find was a place of worship beyond the fold of Islam – a Christian cathedral!

    Understandably, the organiser who invited Amina Wadud to the UK to repeat the stunt yesterday, Taj Hargey, would have been keen to avoid repeating the same mistake by conducting the stunt in his own usual “Friday prayers” venue – a church hall at the corner of Portland Road and Banbury Road in Oxford. So he opted for an alternative, and the best he could come up with was the Masonic Hall at 333 Banbury Road. Before we go any further, it is interesting to note the thoughts of the head of the Church of England on Freemasonry.

    Although his own father was a member, according to the current Archbishop of Canterbury Christianity and Freemasonry are “incompatible”. It is public knowledge that he refused to appoint clergymen to senior posts because they were members of the Masonic Brotherhood. In 1992, Dr Rowan Williams told The Independent newspaper that he is not in favour of ministers being Masons because it is a “secret organisation” whose views are questionable. He also voiced doubts in a letter to Hugh Sinclair, who has been investigating the Brotherhood: “I have real misgivings about the compatibility of Masonry and the Christian profession … I have resisted the appointment of known Masons to certain senior posts.” The Rev Gregory Cameron, chaplain to Dr Williams, said: “He questions whether it’s appropriate for Christian ministers to belong to secret organisations. He also had some anxiety about the spiritual content of Masonry.”

    A spokesman for the Archbishop had said that he was “worried about the ritual elements in Freemasonry – which some have seen as possibly Satanically inspired – and how that sits uneasily with Christian belief”.

    If Christianity, a religion that has undergone several waves of reformations and re-reformations, remains doubtful about Masonic activity, it beggars belief that anyone would assume that a woman leading a Friday sermon and prayer in a Masonic hall would strike a cord with the Muslims of Oxford, or Muslims anywhere for that matter. This has turned out to be a classic case of “from the frying pan into the fire”.

    Despite attempts by the organisers to whip up controversy with the help of the local (Oxford Mail) and national media (The Times), the event was a total flop – hardly anyone attended. An evening news report broadcast on the ITV Thames Valley programme (17.10.08) commented on “the media far outnumbering the congregation” and “the historic moment being underwhelmed by the turnout from both sides of the debate, with the majority of Muslims in Oxford having simply decided to ignore the event”.

    There are, of course, some intriguing questions that remain unanswered, such as why it was not held at Wolfson College, Oxford, where the MECO conference following the service was to be held. It would have been much easier and there would have been no danger of running out of space. Even several members from Taj Hargey’s tiny band of happy-clappers had declared in advance that they would not be attending.

    Amina Wadud leading prayer in Oxford

    In the end there were only 7 men and 7 women in the congregation – though not, of course, if one looks at the picture (above) on the BBC website which is taken from an angle to give the impression of a large presence at a historic event. If one looks at the video shot (below), it is clear that those in the frame were the only people there – totalling no more than 15 including Aminah Wadud. However, Fran Bradsley of the local Oxford Mail insists that there were about 20 people in attendance. This comes as no surprise as the turn-out must have been disappointing for the Oxford Mail since it had published two articles leading up to the event and had kept a large picture of Amina Wadud on the main page of its website all day on Thursday. Not to mention that this newspaper has a history of playing a major role in exaggerating the importance of Taj Hargey and his organisation, MECO.

    The Venue

    Although anyone in Oxford who saw the posters for the event would have recognised the address (333 Banbury Road) as the headquarters of the Masonic Brotherhood in Oxford, the “reliable” BBC online report says: “The protesters had ignored a plea from a local Muslim leader not to picket the mosque as it would give the event more publicity”; and “The move has angered many Muslims and a small group of protesters gathered outside Wolfson College to voice their opposition.”

    UmmahPulse reporters went to Oxford on Friday and we can confirm that the BBC is either mistaken or wilfully trying play down the Masonic Hall connection. There were no visits to mosques nor were there any protests in front of Wolfson College. The event and the protest took place at 333 Banbury Road, Oxford.

    Even if one gives the benefit of the doubt to the BBC reporter who may have been from out of town and had not realised that it was the Masonic Hall located some 2 miles away from the University, the Oxford Mail reporter cannot claim such ignorance. Fran Bradsley, however, managed to set a new record for dodgy reporting when she wrote: “Protesters demonstrated outside a Muslim centre in North Oxford to object to a woman leading an Islamic prayer meeting. Today’s prayers, at the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, in Banbury Road, were thought to be the first time a woman has led a mixed congregation of Muslims in this country.” So much for objective journalism.

    The Organiser

    UmmahPulse has learnt from speaking to acquaintances of Taj Hargey that in the run up to the event, upon realising that no-one might show up for this “historic” moment, he made frantic, panic-stricken phone calls to encourage people to attend.

    One person quoted him as saying, “Get anyone to come and I don’t care who, we expect both worshippers and protesters”. When people explained to him that this is not the kind of event they would wish to attend, his response was, “That is because you are from a different background… If you had not come from, for example, Pakistan or Egypt, you would not be so reluctant. It’s your background that is influencing you.”

    Upon learning of these conversations, I decided to ask the obvious question: What is Taj Hargey’s background? Who is he? What makes him so loved by the media and some government institutions and why is he being promoted as a pioneer when all he can muster is a handful of lost souls for his most heavily publicised event?

    I am afraid that the answer – and brace yourselves – is more revealing than everything I have written above. My sources in South Africa, where Taj Hargey spent much of his life, tell me that he is from a family in Cape Town well-known for their Qadiani faith (Qadianis are a heretical sect).

    Taj Hargey has, I understand, told some people in the UK that he is not a Qadiani and has threatened to sue the Muslim Weekly for claiming such an affiliation. When this was put to my sources in Cape Town, they told me that it may well be that he has left the family faith, but in the 1980s there were a series of high profile court cases in South Africa between Qadianis and Muslims. During that period, Taj Hargey owned a shop in Cape Town where literature on Qadiani beliefs was being sold continuously. This does not tally with the claim of not being a Qadiani.

    It is easy for one to change one’s faith – all it takes is a pronouncement – and it may well be that Taj Hargey never accepted the family label of Qadiani, but that does not detract from the fact that when it comes to the influence of background upon a person’s attitude, outlook and aspirations, there is something to be said about family religion. This is especially so in Taj Hargey’s case, when he is so keen to delve into the background of his critics and use their background to trivialise legitimate concerns.

    So what can we see in Taj that is indicative of the Hargey Qadiani family connection or background? The list is too long for this short article, but see if you can spot the similarities. It may help to understand the utterly weird combination of an American female convert performing a party piece in a Masonic Hall described by journalists as a mosque. A hundred years ago, when the British were in India, the situation was no less bizarre.

    In the 1880s, a previously unknown author named Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani published a four volume critique of the ulama (Islamic scholars), titled Bahrain e Ahmadiyya, in which he declared:

    “I have been commissioned by God as a reformer of the age and I resemble Jesus”; “The Divine communication will never cease because it is an evidence of the vitality of a religion”; “I am a Ma’mur, commissioned by God to establish the truth of Islam and to bring reforms to the society. My mission is similar to that of Jesus, the son of Mary”; and “The English Government is a boon for the Muslims in the Subcontinent and my family being loyalist, devoted itself to the service of the English”.

    In a later publication, he explained that he was an amulet and a citadel to protect the English Government from afflictions. God had given him the glad tidings that He would not chastise the English as long as he (Ghulam Ahmad) was in their midst. (Nur al-Haq 1894, p.34).

    What everyone needs to understand is that Islam is not a religion that can be manipulated through whispers and intrigue. It is a global faith with nearly two billion followers. For anyone to assume that they have a magic formula to deconstruct 1400 years of received wisdom is a sign of gross arrogance and delusion. Yes, they may manage to create tiny groups of heretical adherents with Muslim names but these will never have the strength or ability to change what Muslims all over the world believe in: a faith protected by God. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is a case in point.

    “We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).” (God Almighty in the Quran 15:9)

  • Fi_Sabilillah

    Asalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakathuhu,

    Al Hamdulillah, I really enjoyed reading your article! Made sense.. Its fair enough to say, if Amina Wadud wants to lead prayer, let her, at the same time, she should expect a backlash.. I mean if she had to pray in a Church, that just says it all really.. The West doesn’t want us propagating Islam, unless its “moderate” but its ok for them to shove any version of Islam that they see fit down our throats!!

    Its the same as they see the logic where a women can be forced to wear the veil…but do not see their own arrogance when they FORCE women to take it off through threats and coercion..

    Jazakhallahu khairan.

    Wasalam

    Umar ibn Al Khattab Said, ‘ Good Interaction With People Is Half Of Intelligence, Good Questioning Is Half Of Knowledge, & Good Planning Is Half Of Subsistence’

  • Manzurul Haque

    ASAK
    Through this mail, may I have the honor of requesting you to write something for BaKhabar, the monthly magazine of Bihar Anjuman? You can check the magazine at the link below.
    http://www.biharanjuman.org/newsletter.htm

    We believe that the Muslim community is required to make up for a time lag of centuries and the most cost-effective way of doing it is through internet based “communication process”. BaKhabar is a small in effort of Bihar Anjuman in that direction. Here we discuss some serious issues concerning the lives of Muslims in the modern world.
    Thanks
    Manzurul Haque, Patna

  • hossain

    jp said:

    “For me this is the important issue; people making choices about what is best for them and their families – free from restrictive and artificial gender roles.”

    where you fail to see the point is that in the opinion of islam the gender roles are natural and not artificial. we believe that by following the guidlines of Allah we reach perfection. God knows what is better for our soul more than we do. people are free to choose but some thigns are better for them.

    i dont not agree with everything that yasmin said ie rationality versus justice. i agree with you that there is no conflict and there shouldnt be.

  • nazia

    I believe you have to be a Muslim women to understand the article that sister Ysasmin wrote. Is like a nun leading the role in church with no man just imagine that? Also looking back at the century of America how did women play the role model? They were the house wife more than treated equal to man. In ISLAM women and man are treated equal is just i believe in the west Muslim women try to fallow the western culture than following the ISLAM path of life. I support Sister Yasmin and agree with her 100%. Thanks

  • AJ Ali

    I do not see how you translate what Yasmin said as muslim woman wants to look like men, maybe this might explain Yasmin point of view on this subject.

    by Yasmin Mogahed

    “With my veil I put my faith on display-rather than my beauty. My value as a human is defined by my relationship with God, not by my looks. So I cover the irrelevant. And when you look at me, you don’t see a body. You view me only for what I am: a servant of my Creator.”

    Growing up, you read me the Ugly Duckling. And for years I believed that was me. I am a woman-that ugly duckling among men. For so long you taught me I was nothing more than a bad copy of the standard. I couldn’t run as fast or lift as much. I didn’t make the same money and I cried too often. I grew up in a man’s world where I didn’t belong.

    And when I
    couldn’t be him, I wanted only to please him. I put on your make-up and wore your short skirts. I gave my life, my body, my dignity, for the cause of being pretty. I knew that no matter what I did, I was worthy only to the degree that I could please and be beautiful for my master. And so I spent my life on the cover of Cosmo and gave my body for you to sell.

    I was a slave, but you taught me I was free. I was your object, but you swore it was success. You taught me that my purpose in life was to be on display, to attract, and be beautiful for men. You had me believe that my body was created to market your cars. And you raised me to think
    I was an ugly duckling.

    But you lied. Islam tells me, I’m a swan. I’m different-it’s meant to be that way. And my body, my soul, was created for something more. God says in the Quran: “O mankind, We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another (not that you may despise each other). Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of God is the one who is most righteous” (Quran
    49:13).

    So I am honored. But it is not by my relationship to men. My value as a woman is not measured by the size of my waist or the number of men who like me. My worth as a human being is measured on a higher scale: a scale of righteousness and piety. And my purpose in life-despite what the fashion magazines say-is something more sublime than just looking good for men.

    And so God tells me to cover myself, to hide my beauty and to tell the world that I’m not here to please men with my body; I’m here to please God. God elevates the dignity of a woman’s body by commanding that it be respected and covered, shown only to the deserving-only to the man I marry.

    So to those who wish to ‘liberate’ me, I have only one thing to say: Thanks, but no thanks.
    I’m not here to be on display. And my body is not for public consumption. I will not be reduced to an object, or a pair of legs to sell shoes. I’m a soul, a mind, a servant of God. My worth is defined by the beauty of my soul, my heart, my moral character. So, I won’t worship your beauty standards, and I don’t submit to your fashion sense. My submission is to something higher.

    With my veil I put my faith on display-rather than my beauty. My value as a human is defined by my relationship with God, not by my looks. So I cover the irrelevant. And when you look at me, you don’t see a body. You view me only for what I am: a servant of my Creator. So you see, as a Muslim woman, I’ve been liberated from a silent kind of bondage. I don’t answer to the slaves of God on earth. I answer to their King.

  • Alaeddine Atmani

    One of the best articles I have ever read. I noticed that many of those who criticize Yasmin Mogahed do not have anything to back it up but emotional statements. Unfortunately, pure emotion will not take us anywhere.

    “a new reader” mentions that ” Sometimes it comes as a surprise to me that some people still believe in the Separate but equal policy.” I would like to ask this person, if he was ever in need of surgury, would he allow a lawyer without any medical experience to practice on him? Would the law permit a lawyer (not a doctor) to operate on individuals of that society? If not, are you suggesting that doctors are better than lawyers? or would it be more rational to say they both are respected individuals of that society that happen to have SEPARATE roles?

  • Ahmad Samir

    I agree completey with Sister Yasmin, women calling for equality do not really appericiate their GOD given gift,If God wanted us all to be of the same gender, couldn’t he? of course he could!

  • J P

    Response to Yasmin Mogahed’s “Woman’s Reflection on Leading Prayer”

    As a ‘western feminist’ I felt compelled to respond to ‘Woman’s Reflection on Leading Prayer’. You state that the western feminist is ‘forced to find value in relation to man’. I can see some validity in this point. Women and men do need to critically examine the goals that they strive towards. However, I disagree with your conclusion that people should therefore accept rigid gender roles. I would argue that women’s traditional role is not valued in many societies around the world, and instead of trying to fit women into roles and structures designed by and for men, we need to make institutions, such as work places, more suited to women.

    In your reflection you argue that women are copying men when they cut their hair short and join the army. I think this is highly presumptuous. Has it occurred to you that perhaps some women like short hair and want a military career, in the same way that some men choose to grow their hair long and choose traditionally female careers like nursing. For me this is the important issue; people making choices about what is best for them and their families – free from restrictive and artificial gender roles.

    I would also emphasis that your argument is flawed even if it is accepted that God “dignifies both men and women in their distinctiveness”, and that “God has given no special privilege to the one who leads”. You state that “for 1400 years there has been a consensus of ‘the scholars’ that men are to lead prayer”. The fact that you make no mention of God or the Qur’an stipulating that women cannot lead prayer, indicates that this is not a matter of God’s will, but instead a very human convention of cultural, rather than divine descent. I would also pose the question, who are these scholars? Is it merely a coincidence that they are overwhelming men? If women’s restriction from leading prayer cannot be clearly traced to God or reason, it is only defended by tradition.

    The point that those that lead prayer are not spiritually superior may be true, but I would like to turn your attention to the situation here on earth. The imam may not be closer to God, but he does enjoy a position of power and influence in the community, making decisions that, more than likely affect women. If a woman wants to have more influence in her community and has the ability to do so, why should she not fulfil this role?

    If mothers were truly valued within Islam they would have more influence and power within their families and communities. As I am sure you are aware, being a mother is not only about changing nappies and preparing food, but also about participating in making long-term decisions that will impact on their children and future generations.

    Your comparison between women not being able to lead Friday prayers and men not being able to give birth, is ridiculous given that one is due to a man-made tradition, while the other is a biological difference.

    You end by saying “if given a choice between worldly leadership and heaven at my feet – I choose heaven”. Why is it that men are able to have both worldy leadership and heaven? Your statement suggests that for women the choice is mutually exclusive. Is this a view that comes from God and expressed in the Qur’an, or is it another construction made by ‘scholars’?

    For me feminism is about respecting everyone’s choices regardless of traditional gender roles. This includes women and men who choose to lead and women and men who choose to stay at home with their kids. Therefore I respect your choice to choose heaven over worldly leadership, but also Amina Wadud choice to lead the Jumuah prayer. Do you think it is impossible for these different roles for women to co-exist within Islam?

    The calibre of your argument demonstrates how important it is for women to be educated and to become more acquainted with reasoned argument – these are not male attributes. You can be both rational and compassionate, in fact I would argue that reason and compassion complement each other. I would implore you to demonstrate some ‘feminine compassion’ towards Amina Wadud and allow her to make her own choices. If you disapprove of women leading prayer, exercise your choice not to attend, and respect those who choose otherwise.

  • From the other side of the world

    Hello,

    It is very interesting to read that some of us are still thinking that whatever happens in America mirrors its influence throughout the world. Feminism in America shouldn’t be treated as the absolute as I’m in the opinion that there are different views to the concept. Yasmin wrote a very good article (minus the weird symbols found in this blog). It may be that one may not have a clear understanding of one’s religion but that doesn’t gives the right for creating a new version of one’s religion to suit every nation in this world. But of course, that is what I would think be called ‘culture’. Religion is not a culture. Culture dwells in religions. Maybe that’s how churches got seperated in the first place.

  • A New Reader

    Hi,
    I tried to leave a comment yesterday, but for some reasons it wouldn’t display. I am a new reader of your blog. It was nice of you to post the whole article. Isn’t it your personal blog, after all? Anyway, after reading the whole article, I am even more convinced that just as we can’t comprehend how and why Muslim women can accept their roles, she doesn’t understand the true core, goal, and spirit of Western feminism. It comes as a surprise to me sometimes that people still believe in the “separate but equal” policy. If it’s “separate”, how can it be “equal”??!?

  • A New Reader

    Hi,
    I just ran into your blog, and just want to say hi. It was nice of you to post the whole article. After reading it, I am even more convinced that just as we probably don’t understand the Muslim women’s role (and especially tigerwhy they accept it), she doesn’t understand the true core and goals of feminism in America. Sometimes it comes as a surprise to me that some people still believe in the “Separate but equal” policy.

  • yasmin mogahed

    I’m glad to hear that I’ve made your blog famous. But you know, if you’re so sure that you’re right and I’m wrong, why don’t you post what I ACTUALLY said and let people decide for themselves? Wouldn’t that be more honest? Instead of dishonestly twisting what I said in your own words and not letting people read what I ACTUALLY wrote?? If you’re interested in being fair, what I actually wrote can be found at: http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/13883/
    But, for some reason I don’t really think that you are.

  • Gistabalta

    This country was founded on the beliefs of, among others, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state, concepts Yasmin has never known. I doubt that she understands the modern American women’s achievements and goals either, after reading your post.

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