why the “aunties” article is dishonest and terrible writing – or, why men shouldn’t pit younger women against older women

I was just telling Nahida (The Fatal Feminist) that there needs to be a word for when patriarchy pits younger women against older women to make a statement about, oh I don’t know, how younger women supposedly think they know better than older women and nonsense like that. This is a special kind of misogyny. And what makes it even more distinctive is that it’s men who do it, men causing and promoting a divide between generations of women. Which is what this ridiculous article I had the misfortune to come across does. (I decided recently to be more compassionate when I’m critiquing something, especially something academic, but then when it’s men writing about women who write/talk about women, or men being patriarchal and dismissive and horrible researchers, that doesn’t deserve my compassion.)

You see, when men write about “aunties,” taking young women’s experiences with the older generation of Desi women apparently now called “aunties,” what you get is a very special kind of patriarchy. While doing this, while trying to redeem and save the aunty from her daughters and granddaughters and other young women of her community, the male writer of color does precisely what he criticizes white men for doing: serving and presenting themselves as saviors of women. Uh, listen, men, we don’t need you to save us or our mothers and aunties and grandmothers. We got this. But also … it’s not just any kind of aunty they want to save: it has to be the one in their imagination, who apparently cannot save, protect, defend herself. The ideal type of aunty who need saving by men like the author of this article don’t include feminist aunties, for example. Which is another reason the article is so ironic: in an effort to claim that we younger desi women caricature the Aunty, the author himself caricatures her by pretending like there’s only one type of aunty. How sad that he has no idea what he’s talking about, that he has no access to the aunties we have access to he’s missing out – and failing at his research.

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actually, Islam DOES allow women to lead mixed-gender prayers.

God says: Say not, of any false thing that your tongues may put forth, “This is lawful, and this is forbidden,” ascribing false things to God. For those who ascribe false things to God will never prosper. (Qur’an, 16:116)

Pre-post: People, calm the hell down about the title of this post. There’s nothing “Islamic” about your claims, your hate against female-led prayers. Your threats to those who support female-led prayers and your decisions that those of us who support it are outside the fold of Islam. Remember that the nonsense you’re saying about those supporting such prayers applies to all the scholars of the past, the revered beloved scholars you take seriously in pretty much all other matters, who supported female-led prayers. The death threats women get for leading prayers, the insults they get, the accusations, the other attacks, would you do the same to the men who support female-led prayers? Because, bruh, among the historical scholars who supported female-led prayers *of mixed congregations* are Abu Thawr (d. 854), al-Muzani (d. 877), al-Zahiri (d. 883), Tabari (d. 923), and Ibn al-Arabi (d. 1240). This is a reminder to those who think “all the scholars” agree that such prayers are prohibited. And to those claiming that no woman ever led a prayer, 1) so if you find out that a woman DID in fact lead such a prayer in the past, will you then support female-led prayers? If no, then what’re you doing exactly? whass your point? 2) we don’t have a record of every single thing in Islamic history, so it’s very possible that you don’t know about someone who led such a prayer, and it’s not okay to make prohibitions based on assumptions and a lack of information, and 3) actually, we do got women in the past doing this. But at any rate, which past are we talking about? When would a woman have to have led a prayer for you to accept it as legit? If during the Prophet’s time, then if the prohibition itself isn’t from the Prophet (because it’s not), why do you accept the prohibition as valid but claim that you’ll accept an example from the Prophet’s time as sufficiently valid?… am I confusing you yet? No shit. And here we were, thinking Islam was all clear and simple and stuff.

Okay, so.

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Guest post: We Object to Performative, Anti-Black Misuses of the Terms “Intersectionality” and “White Feminism” in the Non-Black Muslim Community

This brilliance was first published over at Nahida Nisa’s blog, The Fatal Feminist. I’m pasting it verbatim with Nahida’s permission.

by Inas Hyatt and TFF

Non-black Muslims often (mis)appropriate the terms “intersectionality” and “white feminism” to the detriment of black Muslim women. This appropriation ranges from coopting the theory of intersectionality to defend Muslim men who threaten or deflect from Muslim women accusing them of assault, to sidetracking from the migrant slave trade by introducing the subject of western imperialism (or white feminism) in Arab nations.

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Stop treating women like collateral beneficiaries.

On comparing oppressions and treating Islamophobia as more urgent than patriarchal oppressions.

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Dear Muslim men: we don’t appreciate your conditional support for #MeToo.

I’m so deeply grateful to the thoughtful ways that Muslim women deal with problems in our community. I’m so grateful to be among them, and I’m grateful that I’m in conversation with them. Thank you all ❤ I’m blessed to call you my sisters.

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why male academics get emotional and defensive when called out on their patriarchy

In the last month, there have been several conversations on Facebook on the patriarchy (and racism too but just patriarchy for now) of male academics. Each time it happens, I want to blog about it, and then I’m too tired from the violence of the male academics who participate in those conversations defensively, arrogantly, and emotionally. So here goes it at last.

In a recently conversation on my Facebook on male fragility in academia, a friend commented, “But why are these academics so thin-skinned? None of the ones I know are!”

I responded that most academics I know are thin-skinned–and almost are of the thin-skinned ones are men.

My friend: “Ohhh, I’m thinking about my female academic friends! I don’t know any male academics.”

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on mosques excluding women from Eid prayer

Okay, so, basically, a “mosque” in Massachusetts, very ironically called Masjid al-Rahma, decided that they won’t let women do the Eid prayer tomorrow because of limited space. So they’ll only accommodate men, the default human species. People picked up on it and condemned it, and so the Comfort Inn where they were gonna pray canceled on them.

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why Muslim men feel offended and threatened by Muslim women’s interfaith marriage

So, less than a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post where I showed that the Qur’an never prohibits Muslim women from marrying the People of the Book. I was surprised by it was so widely shared–over 2,000 shares on FB, not all of which I have access to. The “shares” I do have access to, I was interested in following to see how people were engaging with it and with those who shared it. I followed its reception out of interest but mainly to see if there was any pattern in the response was, and if there were any differences in how Muslim men or Muslim women were engaging with it. It turns out, the engagement with it has been indeed gendered: the rejection came almost exclusively from Muslim men, whereas Muslim women either “meh”‘d it or were receptive towards it. Only men (and I repeat: ONLY men) messaged me to tell me to tell me they did not like it, did not agree with it, and were troubled by it in other ways. Of course, I’m certain a lot of women did not like it and did not agree with it, but what I’m struck by is that the “rebuttals” came exclusively from men, while it received most support among Muslim women.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about why it is that Muslim men responded the way they did. Discussing this response with friends, we decided it’d be good to write about it more openly because of these uncomfortable realizations – that we always knew about, but I didn’t want to believe.
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the Qur’an does not prohibit women’s marriage to people of the book – and other facts about interfaith marriage in Islam

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.

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Posted in being human, Death to patriarchy, feminism, forbidden things, I can't believe this needs to be said out loud, Islamic feminism, let's talk privilege, Muslim things, why we need feminism, your face is haraam | Tagged | 16 Comments

the liberating difference between sharia and fiqh

Okay, so, too many people–Muslim and non-Muslim–use the words “sharia” like everyone knows what it is, like it’s some piece of literature confined to some bound book that anyone (or at least the “scholars”) can consult about different issues. A Muslim dude once even asked me, in a conversation where we disagreed on some topic, “Have you even read the Sharia???” I told him yes. He believed me ❤

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