on being deprived of women’s recitations of the Qur’an


Your face is ‘awrah. Iiii mean it.

I’ve been listening to a lot of female recitations of the Qur’an lately. They bring me so, so much joy and peace that it angers me that we’ve been deprived of their voice – literally of their voice – for so long. What a tragedy, what a horror, what a loss, what a fucking violence to God’s word that our male scholars decided our voice is awrah (literally genitals, y’all!) and based on that premise alone denied the entire universe of the miracle that is women’s recitation of God’s word.

This is why I trust no one, I trust no scholar (for anything, not just for gender-related interpretations of the Qur’an/sunnah) – and I forgive no one – who ever, ever has uttered, at any point in time, that a woman cannot recite the Qur’an publicly. Perverted ideas translating into law. I can’t believe anyone ever took you seriously. I hope you’re burning in hell, all of you. #deathto #allmalepanels #allmaleijmaa’ #manels #youdon’tspeakformyCreator

When I get up there, I’m going to tell on all these men. I’m going to tell my Creator about all the ways in which they manipulated God’s word to justify their own perverted ideas about women. Some of them tell us women have no sexual urges, that men’s sexual urges are higher than women’s, while others contradict those guys and tell us that women’s sexual urges are much stronger than men’s and that’s why women are “naturally” shy, modest, etc.

I can’t even. People ask me why I’m so “angry” all the time. Really? How are you NOT angry? I can’t trust people who’re not angry. I can’t trust people who see no reason to be angry about all the ways women have been violated. dismissed. ignored. deprived.

Resist. Defy tradition when it hurts.

In my classes, I have made it a point to always, always show my students a recitation by a woman whenever we’re talking about Qur’anic verses. I’ll show a male recitation only when I can’t find a woman’s one (which was often until I learned that Maria Ulfa’s complete recitation of the Qur’an is available online!). And since looking for specific verses of women’s recitations is a lot of work – but looking up men’s recitations of those same verses and surahs is no work at all, just a youtube click away – I physically hurt and I apologize to my students that I’m showing them a verse that’s paradoxically about women and a woman’s concern being addressed by God in the Qur’an and we can’t hear that through a woman’s voice. Something feels so profoundly wrong and unacceptable and obviously very ironic about that.

Anyway, here are some recitations by women. Please. Listen to them. Resist the patriarchal nonsense than women’s voice is for their husbands and immediate male family members only while men’s voice is just the default, natural public thing, undesirable, etc. Really? Anyone who thinks men’s voice isn’t attractive clearly hasn’t yet heard Mishary al-Afasi. That guy is ultimate #MaleAwrah.

Maria Ulfa’s compelte recitation of the Qur’an
Faridah Mat Saman
Sharifa Khasif
Sumayya Eddeeb
Mazna Awang
Awa Diop
Maghfirah Hussain
Not sure who this one is, but it’s gorgeous too
Tahera Ahmed‘s recitation at ISNA (first public female recitation at ISNA!)
Hajar Boosuq
Aicha Diallo
Nor Azra Ayub
Farihah Zulkifili
Not sure about her name, but here’s another one

10 thoughts on “on being deprived of women’s recitations of the Qur’an

  1. Thank you for the links ! And once again, I agree with you. A topic rarely debated but which I deem more deserving of attention than veils …

    Also I checked out all the links and I was rather surprised by some of them : they start with a very much “wahhabi” looking Saudi sheikh presenting (organizing the event ?) the women reciters. My first reaction was “But aren’t they the first one going about women’s voices as awrah ?”. And here you have one of them listening to women reciters. Some hope in this world or am I missing something ? 😉


    • No, I know what you mean! I think it just shows that a person can appear conservative in a regard but their behavior suggests the opposite. There’s also one of a Yemeni woman inna niqab – coveted face and all – reciting the Quran gorgeously!

      I’m so glad these exist.


  2. Here is some more of women voices: Not Quran, but Dama dam mast Qalandar sung by the Noorani sisters. I love them – their boldness, their emotionality, their musicality. And I love Abida Parveen, too. Here, the Noorani sisters perform at a festival in Dhaka.


  3. Our voices are NOT AWRAH apparently Aisha bint Abu Bakr (ra) used to give Adhan and Iqamah for an ALL WOMEN’S CONGREGATION and she would lead them in prayer (according to Al-Hakim, Al-ustadrak `ala As-Sahihain, 1/320 and Mohammad Al-Azimabadi, Awn al-Ma’bud)

    Also I finally found a video of a female Quran reciter:
    (her voice is honestly so amazing)


  4. I came to this post just to comment. I think the post I had originally found was regarding Pashtun marriages to “Punjabis”/non-Pashtuns. I married a Pashtun and it’s not going to work out. Anyway, I’m just looking for a forum to discuss Pashtuns culture.

    Can you either point me to some place or reply back via email?


You're welcome to share your thoughts - but I don't accept bigotry and don't publish all comments <3

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