I-nGEJ

“Very educational, interesting and informative. I really gained a lot. I have learnt strategies at all levels and have equally learned many skills. This course has literally changed me forever.”

Islam & Gender Equality and Justice (I-nGEJ)

The transformational Musawah course Islam & Gender Equality and Justice (I-nGEJ, pronounced ‘I engage’) is designed for women and human rights activists working in Muslim contexts throughout the world.

It addresses the knowledge gap of participants who have no formal or traditional education on Islam, and who are keen to understand the differences and diversity of Qur’anic interpretations and juristic opinions, and the conceptual tools that exist within the tradition that makes reform possible in Islam.

I-nGEJ 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.

It creates a public voice of women leaders demanding alternative understandings of Islam that recognise equality and justice in the context of changing times and circumstances.

Course format and participants

The I-nGEJ is run in a seminar format and consists of lectures, presentations, and group discussions. Readings are assigned before arrival, with time allotted for additional reading and consultations with resource persons. The course is designed for a maximum of 30 participants, and a minimum of two resource persons and two facilitators, one from the local context. A needs analysis will be conducted to shape the final design of the course to meet the needs and priorities of participants.

By the end of the course, Musawah hopes that participants will be able to come to an understanding of the ‘traditional’ and ‘patriarchal’ modes of knowledge production in the Islamic legal tradition; be introduced to egalitarian, reformist modes of knowledge production; and develop arguments and strategies to advance a rights-based approach in their own contexts that is also grounded in Islam.

Sample seminars and resource persons

Feminism as a knowledge project: Women’s herstories – Ziba Mir Hosseini
Qur’an and ideology of revelation – amina wadud
The science of hadith – Khalid Masud & Zahia Jouirou
The social construction of fiqh – Khalid Masud & Zahia Jouirou
Reform methodologies in classical and modern Islamic thought – Khalid Masud & Zahia Jouirou
The Tawhidic paradigm for reform – amina wadud
Qiwamah and verse 4:34 – Omaima Abou-Bakr

How I-nGEJ started

The 2-week Short Course – Understanding Islam from a Rights Perspective – was developed by Sisters in Islam (SIS) in Malaysia as a result of many years of its engagement with activists globally who expressed an urgent need to better understand Islam. Together, they sought to critically address the rising challenge of religious conservatism and extremism, and their adverse impact on human rights and women’s rights, in particular, campaigns for law reform.

The first Short Course in 2006 brought together 14 Muslim women activists from 11 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Gambia, Nigeria, Palestine, Philippines, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand and Yemen. The second short course in 2009 brought together 24 participants from 17 countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Gambia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan and the United Kingdom. A special three-day course was designed for the Egyptian Network of NGOs in 2010.

Given the increasing demand for the SIS Short Course, Musawah has developed a new curriculum and has taken to organising subsequent courses.

Interested in an I-nGEJ?

If you and your network of women’s and human rights activists and practitioners are interested in hosting a training course by Musawah resource persons on Islam, gender equality, and justice, please write to ingej@musawah.org detailing your interest.

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