Contrary to popular and societal belief, Muslim women everywhere have made history and have become revolutionary game changers and leaders.
Some (ignorant) people might say, “Whaaaa? So you’re saying that Muslim Women AREN’T the silenced and oppressed powerless women hidden in the burqas like I think they are?”
Yes, ignorant person, that is exactly what I’m telling you.
The broken image that people see of Muslim women is not what basic facts and history reflections show you. So, in honor of Women’s History Month, I present to you some Muslim women who made history – from centuries ago to today – and they did not let anyone belittle or silence them.
1. Khadijah b. Khuwaylid (550 AD – 620 AD)
Yes, I’m bringing it this way back. Islam didn’t just give Women rights, Islam ALWAYS gave Women rights. Women in Islam have been game changers since the beginning, and Khadijah (RA) is proof of that. Not only was she just the Prophet’s wife, but she was an extremely important figure before her marriage to him. She was an extremely successful business woman/merchant, very well known in Mecca. She was the first Muslim and created such strong support for the Prophet, their bond was unbelievable.
So, Next time someone claims that Islam has always been sexist and hateful towards woman, let them know about the revolutionary woman that is Khadijah (RA).
2. Anousheh Ansari
“I hope to inspire everyone – especially the youth, women, and girls all over and in the Middle Eastern countries that do not provide women with the same opportunities as men; to not give up their dreams and pursue them. It may seem impossible to them at times, but I believe they can realize their dreams if they keep it in their hearts, nurture it, and look for opportunities happen.”
That quote says it all, people. #WeCanDoIt
3. Maryam Al-Mansouri
Al-Mansouri is an Emirati female fighter pilot (Yes, you read the correctly) whos contributing to the change in the way people see Muslim Women. She’s largely known for her F-16 flight leading the United Arab Emirate’s strikes against the ISIS. Al-Mansouri believes that men and women and women should be free to work in the area of their choosing. (Ameen.)
4. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
If you were watching the Oscars, you will recognize this groundbreaking woman. Her win was such a breakthrough in the South Asian community, as well in the Muslim community.baid-Chinoy is a Pakistani-born journalist and film-maker. She creates films that highlight aspects on the Muslim world and the status of women. Her oscar was given for her A Girl in the River: Price of Forgiveness, a documentary about the Honor Killings in Pakistan. In her Oscar speech she says, “This week, the Pakistani prime minister has said that he will change the law on honor killing after watching this film, THAT is the power of film.” and THAT is the power of amazing women like you, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy.
5.Dr. Nafis Sadik
Sadik is known for being Special Advisor to UN Secretary General, with the rank of Under-Secretary General and UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific. (Talk about being a busy woman.) She finished her medical studies at Dow Medical College and John Hopkins University, and she’s using her knowledge to broaden healthcare needs for underprivileged women. She is known for her strength in guiding an importance on the field of maternal/child health, reproductive/sexual health, and advocacy to be more educated on the prevention of HIV/AIDS. In communities where healthcare is belittled to women, what Sadik is doing is revolutionary.
6. Hana Tajima
Tajima is a Muslim British-Japanese blogger and designer that is completely changing the face of fashion around the globe. Having a professional background in fashion, She eventually started blogging and creating her own clothing. Recently, she has collaborated with Uniqlo releasing a spring/summer collection, that is now available in the US. She says:
“For Muslim women there was almost a sense of being recognized for the first time, Then, more generally, to have a different sort of voice, another kind of aesthetic available, was really refreshing.” –
7. Ibtihaj Muhammad
Muhammad is a nationally ranked US Fencer. Growing up, she was always discomforted by the revealing uniforms most women had to wear in sports. One day as her mother and her came upon fencing, which requires covering in head to toe protection, they thought it would be an ideal fit for Ibtihaj, as it offers competitive opportunities and balances out with her religion.Since then, she has greatly succeeded at the sport, eventually winning gold at the 2009 USA Fencing National Championships. She is a 3-time United States National Champion.
Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge, and a humans rights activist. In 2003, she became the first Muslim Woman to recieve the Noble Peace Prize, because of her extraordinary efforts for democracy and human’s rights. Not only was she the first Muslim Woman to receive the prize, but also the first Iranian.
“An interpretation of Islam that is in harmony with equality and democracy is an authentic expression of faith. It is not religion that binds women, but the selective dictates of those who wish them cloistered.”
She’s encountered many controversial cases, and has taken very risky situations, but nonethless continued on her fight for rights for women, children, and refugees all in general. in 2014, she was listed on Forbe’s magazine’s “100 most powerful women in the world,”
9. Dalia Mogahed
Mogahed is an American scholar, director of Insititue for Social Policy & Understanding, and she is also president + CEO (Goals.) of Mogahed Consulting. ( a coaching firm specialized in Middle eastern and Muslim societies.) Mogahed definitely has alot to her plate.
Oh, and not to mention she was chosen by Barack Obama himself to be an advisor on the White House office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood partnerships.
Mogahed is creating a huge awareness to the discrimination of Muslim communities, and raising the voices of those who deserve to be heard. She’s written a book, given a TED Talk, and has made many appearances on TV (including the Daily Show), and with every appearance she proves even more to how much of a revolutionary woman she truly is.
So, let me ask you a question, Do these women look oppressed to you?
It’s time to show the media the opposite of their stereotypes, and that we, Muslim women, along with this generation and past generations, can be ambitious, and we’re ready to raise our voices. Through our opinions and our beliefs, we’re not letting anyone oppress us or quiet us down.