It’s always ironic when homophobic academic-activists think their homophobic interpretations of Islam are so important for everyone to know that they worry that those with a more egalitarian interpretation of Islam might not be exposing their students to the “true Islamic” (in their opinion) view on homosexuality – i.e., homophobic views.
Category Archives: let’s talk privilege
Book Review: Olfa Youssef’s The Perplexity of a Muslim Woman: Over Inheritance, Marriage, and Homosexuality
The Perplexity of a Muslim Woman: Over Inheritance, Marriage, and Homosexuality
Translated from the Arabic by Lamia Benyoussef
Lexington Books, 2017. 156 pages. $80
A shorter version of this review is published in the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences
Olfa Youssef’s The Perplexity of a Muslim Woman: Over Inheritance, Marriage, and Homosexuality—translated by Lamia Benyoussef from the Arabic Ḥayratu Muslima—addresses some of the practical and conceptual inconsistences in traditional, male-centric historical interpretations of inheritance, marriage, and homosexuality. Youssef devotes a chapter to each of these topics and discusses in depth relevant questions, assumptions, and sub-themes in each chapter. A brief Introduction introduces common claims that the book responds to, claims that are treated as truths but which Youssef states have nothing truthful about them (21). She emphasizes that her intention is not to proclaim a final truth, for only God knows the true meaning of the Qur’an, but to merely point out the various inconsistences—the philosophical perplexities—that historical, traditional interpretations of these topics have raised. The underlying argument is that while the Qur’an repeatedly claims that “none knows its interpretation but God” (3:7), male scholars have feigned knowledge of the divine to the detriment of women as well as lesbian and gay individuals.
Can Muslim Women Marry Non-Muslims?: A Qur’anic Response
Pre-post: This is for those who believe that Muslim men are allowed to marry People of the Book while women are prohibited; because that means that the whole “shirk” of the People of the Book becomes relevant only when we’re talking about women but not when we’re talking about men (I address this below). If you believe it’s prohibited for BOTH genders, this isn’t for you.
According to most (Sunni) Muslims, and to the historical Islamic tradition, Muslim men are allowed to marry Christians and Jews, and according to all Muslim sects and schools, Muslim women are prohibited from marrying any non-Muslim. The Qur’an has a few verses that prohibit marriage to the mushrikeen (polytheists, generally), and since there’s little disagreement on this and since this prohibition applies to both genders, I’m not concerned with it. I’m interested in the claim that it’s “haram” for women to marry Christians and Jews.
Muslims popularly believe—and Muslim scholars/teachers of Islam falsely promote the claim—that the Qur’an explicitly prohibits women’s marriage to People of the Book. So I’ve been doing some research on this, and it turns out that the Qur’an actually does not prohibit women’s marriage to People of the Book at all. It merely allows men explicitly to marry them. So here’s some interesting stuff that I think people should know, especially Muslim women who are shamed and guilted for marrying People of the Book.
re the myth that male sex drive is uncontrollable and stronger than female sex drive
This may get a little … vulgar? uncomfortable? immodest? etc. And very long. But here’s the idea: 1) there’s a popular myth going around that male sexuality is uncontrollable, and that’s why they get to do the things they wanna do (i.e., “nature” is exploited just to validate male irresponsibility), 2) this myth has powerful and destructive consequences for women and society at large, 3) this myth is linked to the way we study science, humans, nature, etc., and – and this is very important – 4) if a woman doesn’t wanna have sex with you, it’s most likely because you’re not doing it right (because discomfort doesn’t just come out of nowhere) – but, yes, yes it might also be because she isn’t ready to or interested in having sex with anyone right now. Or ever.
a song for Afghan refugees in Pakistan: Pekhawara Afghanan che khapa na krre by Naghma
With Pakistan evicting some 600,000 Afghan refugees by the end of this year alone, this song, sung by Naghma in 2011 (I think?), is so real and relevant it’s heartbreaking. Song is at the bottom of the lyrics. The Pashto is in Green (one of my favorite colors, yay!). Immense thanks to T. A. S. for helping with translation of a couple of lines/words I was struggling with.
how not to respond when women point out an #allmale panel
The latest case of blatant patriarchy (that I know of) in the Muslim American community is this image to the right. Accessible also through this link.
Apparently, over 30 “Muslim American scholars” gathered at some “impromptu” event, and the person who shared this picture, someone taken a little more seriously than he should be in my very professional and humble opinion, with immense pride, so pleased with himself like he was doing us all a favor or something.
And they met to talk about “major issues.” I’m so curious to know what these “major issues” must have been that could be discussed only by men – and I’m curious to know what their definition of “major issues” even is. Obviously, all-male panels aren’t among them. Even though, as documented here, all-male Muslim panels are a disturbingly common reality.
If you were a Muslim woman and didn’t have any faith in your own community, you’d think this was all intentional or something. But we can all just go back to our back seats of invisibility and, at best, marginality and relax and calm down and chill and all because it turns out, this was “just an impromptu” event. #sighofrelief.
Why are women so picky when it comes to marriage/relationships?
This is disturbing, so don’t read further if you will be triggered.
Menstruation, Ramadhan, and the Muslim Woman: beyond the whole “it’s a break from prayer/fasting!”
This post was inspired in part by a vibrant discussion on Facebook at this FITNA group. (FITNA = Feminist Islamic Troublemakers of North America). Both the discussion and the group are public intentionally, and we invite readers and participants in the group from all over the world.
If it were mere exemption, if it were a mercy, if it were a break, you would still have that option to OPT OUT of the exemption if you wanted; you’d have the option to say, “Aww, I really appreciate this! But, hey, since it’s Ramadhan, and Ramadhan comes only once a year, I’m going to go ahead and continue praying and fasting and everything. But I’ll take you up on the exemption thingie when it’s not Ramadhan, especially during the first couple of days of my period. Those days are the worst, ugh. I’m totally willing to just chill in my bed, wrapping my body around myself while I’m suffering from pain, thanking God that I don’t have to get up and do wudhu and pray. Although, come to think of it, the more merciful thing to do here would be to NOT declare my prayer invalid while I’m menstruating.”
On the Orlando Mass Shooting – and a note to Muslims who condemn homosexuality
Like everyone else, I’m thinking about the mass shooting at the Orlando club, and I can’t put any words together. There’s hurt, there’s anger, there’s confusion – I will never understand, and I hope I never understand, why and how anyone can take another person’s life, let alone the lives of over 50 people. May God grant them all eternal Peace, may God be their Companion, aameen. For their families and friends and other loved ones, I can’t … I can’t think of what consoling words to share with them. I’m heartbroken that they have lost people they loved. I wish them strength and peace as they cope with these unbearable losses. God be with them, too, aameen.
There are several major issues that are deeply connected to this massacre. I wish I had the time to go into a lot of detail about each one, but I want to at least introduce them here. Maybe I’ll discuss them each in more detail another time, inshaAllah.
The Patriarchy of Not Taking Women’s (Menstrual) Pain Seriously
“Woman is a pain that never goes away.” – Menander
Ramadhan mubarak, everyone! ❤ I wish everyone a beautiful month that inspires compassion, love, and gratitude in all of us. I’ll be writing more Ramadhan-related posts this month – or I’ll try anyway, inshaAllah – but this particular topic has been bothering me for some time now and it’s been long over-due – and it keeps coming up in conversations with my women friends – so here it goes.