Artist Giulia Marchi describes her project, “Call Her Fatimah — Musilin,” as being at the intersection of gender, religion and ethnicity. And she’s right, her niche photography series centers on the female muslim population in China, a group of individuals that challenges most onlookers’ perceptions of what it means to be a woman and religious outside of Western culture.
I wrote this extremely personal Ramadan reflection. I shared it on facebook and many of my friends asked me to post it publicly. Scurred.
Lastly, Boko Haram claims to be reviving the legacy of Uthman Dan Fodio. This is outrageous, in actuality Boko Haram like British imperialists of the past are actively working to destroy his legacy. The dogmatic belief that all western education is forbidden halts one’s ability to spread knowledge which is obligatory in Islam. It should be noted that the son of Uthman Dan Fodio, Sultan Mohammed was an avid reader of Euclid’s text on mathematics and other Greek classics despite them coming from outside the Muslim World. Uthman Dan Fodio’s daughter, Nana Asmau encouraged the women of her society to actively seek knowledge writing, “In Islam, it is a religious duty to seek knowledge. Women may leave their homes freely for this.” Yet in Nigeria today, women leaving their homes to pursue their studies can result in brutal kidnapping by a senseless group ironically claiming that they want to revive her father’s legacy!
Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love
I read this book when it first came out and it was the kind of book that made you feel at peace with the world for at least a week. Coming across this passage again makes me feel that same feeling.
"I have cerebral palsy. I shake all the time," Maysoon Zayid announces at the beginning of this exhilarating, hilarious talk. (Really, it’s hilarious.) "I’m like Shakira meets Muhammad Ali." With grace and wit, the Arab-American comedian takes us on a whistle-stop tour of her adventures as an actress, stand-up comic, philanthropist and advocate for the disabled.
Writer, actor, comedian, Maysoon Zayid is the co-founder of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival. Full bio »
Incredibly interesting paper.
What, then, does the term ‘privacy’ mean when used in reference to Islamic law? In modern American legal and philosophical writings privacy has emerged as a sweeping and multifaceted concept encompassing (among other things) the right to be left alone, limited access to oneself, freedom of thought, solitude in one’s home, control over information about oneself, freedom from surveillance, protection of one’s reputation, and protection from unwarranted searches. In contrast, the dominant classical Islamic notion of privacy, as reflected in legal and exegetical writings, is modest in its scope. In the early classical period (about the first two centuries of Islam) scholars viewed the private sphere as a realm within which a a person, and more importantly his family, should be protected from public humiliation. Within this sphere, scholars enabled people to conceal information about themselves that society considered degrading, such as information about immoral behavior, illegal acts, intimate body parts, etc. The early Islamic conception of privacy thus encompassed a limited set of freedoms and protections, and the sphere of privacy was relatively narrow in scope.
Between the third/ninth and ninth/fifteenth centuries, however, the notion of privacy underwent a significant transformation. It was extended beyond the limited realm of protecting one’s reputation to encompass more general control of personal information and limited access to all personal matters. In this period the private sphere was defined by the desires of individuals, so that jurists put forward laws to safeguard those matters that a person would want to conceal from others.
Despite the expansion of the private sphere between the early and late classical periods, however, the understanding of Muslim scholars of the purpose of privacy did not change. With the very few exceptions, most Muslim scholars throughout the classical period viewed privacy as a means of protecting and preserving other values they considered important,such as a person’s reputation, healthy social relations, and household stability, and not as an individual’s intrinsic right. Accordingly, the jurists’ privacy-related promulgations were aimed at protecting those values.
In this article I argue that, just like other privacy-creating and privacy-enforcing laws, modesty regulations delineate a private sphere whose purpose is to safeguard other values that Muslim jurists considered important. Specifically, I maintain that, by regulating physical and visual access to women’s bodies and by restricting the flow of sensitive information about them, Islamic law allowed people (primarily the male members of a woman’s family) to protect and control their social image and public reputation.