This is a curious blog-post which TBS chucked over to me. We have our differences over these three ladies that the post mentions, Asra, Ayaan and Irshad. I have written about Asra Nomani. Well, the post refers to two other women, namely, Ingrid Mattson and second is Zarqa Nawaz. I have heard of those two ladies definitely. But I think there are few questions came to mind.
- Why do Muslim Women need spokesmen (pun intended)? (Compare to Hindu or Jewish or Christian women). I dont know much about the Christian or Jewish role models or spokespersons of today but thinking about it, I have never heard of anybody who is a purely Hindu female spokesperson. We have had spokespersons who spoke for Hindu Women like Raja Ram Mohon Roy. We have had Hindu Females who were leaders ranging from Indira Gandhi to Mayawati, but I never got the feeling that they were speaking purely for women. I have to admit that I dont know much about this area so am willing to be corrected, but boy, oh! boy, as soon as you talk about Muslim women, there are absolutely legions and battalions of men and women who form up to speak on their behalf. Curious, no?
- How do we decide on who speaks for whom? See my previous post on who is the best judge.
- Do you need to be outside the fold to speak about the fold or inside the fold? (abused women - do they escape the abusive household first or do they stay inside and try to reform the bad husband)
- Who are the other ladies in the west that are being followed? I mean, if Asra, Ayman and Irshad are on the far left of the scale, Ingrid and Zarqa are sort of in the middle, who is on the right? Yvonne Ridley? I have to admit that I find Yvonne Ridley a bit of a clown, but hey, she wears a hijab and says all the right things I guess that all Muslims like to hear, no? But she still does not have a following (i hope she doesnt!) How about Farhat Hashmi? Or Raheel Raza? (See my book review here. And and and?
- Looking at the comment given below, you can see immediately how two identities are colliding. Women generally look at these 3 ladies as ladies first and all women as women first. Obviously, the author of the post looks at herself and others as Muslims first and women second.
- All reformers face resistance. So the fact that these 3 women's are feeling resistance is not a problem at all. I mean, look at Jesus, how many Jews took up his call? Christ, they even helped to crucify him (just kidding and punning!). Or talking about meeting resistance, even Prophet Mohammad met resistance all through his life. Very few followed him for a very long period of time, no?
- At end of the day, what seems to be the problem is if somebody gets money and/or publicity which seems to be a problem. I am not very sure why that is a problem. I mean, this criticism seems to be driven more by jealousy than anything that is logical. For example, what exactly is wrong with earning money? It is not like we do not have examples of preachers and mullah's who do exactly the same thing for money, going on TV, banging on and on about how to be a good Muslim and earning quite a lot of dosh for that (see the above example of Farhat Hashmi). Nothing wrong with getting publicity or getting money is there? Until and unless you are a socialist or an introvert, in which case, the problem is economic philosophical or emotional, neither of which applies in this case.
- And at end of the day, I am curious why people rush to judgement to that extent specially when it comes from a religiously mandated angle. I mean, if it is indeed religiously driven, then should not they believe in "Narrated Umar Ibn Al-Khattab: "Allah's Apostle said, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intention and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended." And its even in Bukhari Volume 5, Book 58, Number 238!. So this judging of niyaat is curious to say the least. (On a separate basis, this bloody publishing of Hadith's for the same author has to be fixed, somebody says that Hadith is Book 1, number 1, somebody says its 5, 58, 238, somebody says 86, 85, someone says, 1, 2, 51. etc. Go ahead, search the net.
Still, some strange questions indeed.