“Hear our song, and when the words become familiar, sing along, for ours has too often been the silence that sustained and nurtured the background.” — Dr. amina wadud, Inside the Gender Jihad
Musawah’s research projects and partnerships with national activists have shown that Muslim women have borne the brunt of suffering in the name of religion: often being told that men are superior to women, that men have authority over women and women must obey her husband, that a man has a right to beat his wife, that the evidence of two women equals to one man, that the husband has a God-given right to take a second (and third and fourth) wife…
But there is hope yet—in many Muslim contexts today, it is women who are organising and at the forefront of our societies in pushing for change in how we understand and practice our religion. There has been a trajectory towards equality and justice taking place over the past several decades: in the new feminist scholarship being produced and popularised to create an alternative discourse on Islam and women’s rights, in law reform efforts to recognise women’s rights and uphold those Qur’anic principles, in artistic and cultural pursuits that showcase Muslim women’s voices and experiences.
Our Islam & Gender Equality and Justice course (I-nGEJ, pronounced ‘I engage’), aims to give women and human rights defenders the knowledge, strategies, and courage to do just that—engage with discriminatory systems and actors, and become a public voice to demand for equality and justice instead.
Nobody does this work of advocacy alone. We are uplifted by the courage, will, and perseverance of our sisters who came before us, and the possibilities for those who will come after, as together we build an understanding of Islam that recognises the urgent necessity that women be treated as human beings of equal worth and dignity. Muslim women find ways of living, negotiating, and reconciling their realities every day—and we are inspired by them.
This knowledge building research initiative aims to help build and promote an understanding of marriage as a partnership of equals through studies engaging with Islamic textual tradition and history, contemporary Muslim family laws, human rights standards, and, most of all, Muslims’ lived realities in diverse contexts.
This transformational Musawah course I-nGEJ (pronounced ‘I engage’) helps to build the knowledge and courage of participants to critically speak out on the impacts of laws, policies, and practices justified in the name of Islam, and their impact in particular on women’s rights and fundamental liberties.
The Qur’an is the heart of our faith-based advocacy, and our efforts towards reform are guided in part by the Qur’anic ethical injunction to stand for justice and equality among all human beings.
We explore how art can be a vehicle to infuse energy and creativity into advocacy and activism, to reach new audiences, and to create conversations that advance social justice issues.