There are echoes of Islam and feminism in each other; though Islam is about submission to God, an important facet of that is submission to what’s just.

PHOTO: AFP/FILE

People, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, often tell me that I can’t be both a Muslim and a feminist.

At a recent book reading in Oregon, for example, a male audience member asked me, “How does that even work?”. These questions demonstrate some of the rigid misconceptions individuals have about Islam and feminism; many people think that they’re mutually exclusive categories. In fact, as a Muslim feminist, I have found them to have more in common than people realise, especially when it comes to social justice.

Ethos – the fundamental spirit that guides my faith– is more important to me than edicts, or strict dogma, and so when religious questions arise, I defer to big-picture themes. One of Islam’s major themes is that of equity and justice. The Quran details equitable divorce proceedings, fair treatment of orphans and just conduct when it comes to prisoners of war — situations that differ in details and circumstances in our modern times, but which are often fraught with unfairness and injustice. When I read the Holy Book, the themes of justice and dignity for humanity stand out to me. [read more here

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