When I started this blog, I wasn't sure whether it should be a general blog about my life and thoughts, or about a specific topic. After a few posts, I realized I love posting about Islam and specifically about women and Islam. I've been a practicing Muslim since April 2008, and before then the biggest thing that stopped me from becoming a practicing Muslim is the issue of women in Islam. Of course, the bad image Islam has globally is partly a result of racism and ignorance on the part of the West, but it is also due to 1) ignorance of the majority of Muslims, and 2) misinterpretation and abuse of power by those that have the power in Islam.
Anyway, I began reading in depth about the topic, and found a lot of authors who really helped me understand the issue better. Leila Ahmed, Karen Armstrong and Fatima Mernissi especially put a lot of things into perspective regarding the veil, polygamy, divorce and the beating of women. The Qur'an itself also cleared up a lot, naturally. All of this research helped me reach the decision to begin practicing Islam.
Until today, I still have a lot of reservations and questions re. the issue of women and Islam. I am definitely a feminist and I am also definitely a Muslim, and I believe the 2 can be reconciled. However, this takes some work due to the patriarchal societies most Muslims live in. Also, the blurring between religion and culture has contributed to the suffering of many Muslim women unnecessarily.
To conclude, I believe that we can better the status of women by using Islam, the Qur'an, and the example of the Prophet. I am not so sure about the Hadith, since there are many that are responsible for negative treatment of women, and it is important to trace each Hadith back to see whether it is a strong or weak one.
So from now on the blog will mainly be about things I've read/seen/heard/thought about Islam, and probably usually they'll involve women, gender, or feminism. I think writing about these issues will help me order and clarify my own thinking on the subject, and this will help me become a better Muslim and a better feminist.