Published on Raheel Raza.com, by Bhaskar Dasgupta, January 7, 2006.
Being a reformer in Islam is to flirt with ridicule, danger, vituperation and anger. It is not an easy job. It becomes doubly difficult when one goes public. It becomes even more problematic when one tries to overturn centuries old traditions.
It could even become dangerous when it is a woman who is trying to enter a male dominated patriarchal arena. It is frankly amazing when all this is happening in the “hot-house” atmosphere of immigrant societies.
This is a story of a Canadian lady Raheel Raza and her journey over the past five years as expressed in her recently published book …
… As an example I mention her column on honour killing.
While she gave an overview about the film and subsequent discussion about it, I would have liked to read a bit more about the Islamic point of view regarding this vile practice, specially that I wrote a column about that very same subject before (on piquancy.blogspot.com).
Another one would have been the column where she wrote about taking the veil and the resulting change in the people around her, like friends and co-workers. I would have liked to see more on the different Islamic points of view on the veil, how some schools of thought think that it is just to dress modestly while some schools of thought think that modesty means one man (or rather woman) tent like the Afghan niquab.
I also believe there are not just five major Islamic jurisprudence schools as she mentions, but eight, four in Sunni Islam (Hanbali, Shafi, Malki and Hanafi), two in Shia Islam (Jafari and Zaydi) and two others (Ibadi and Thahiri). The last two are not that well known, one has almost died out and both can actually be considered as sub-sets of the four Sunni schools.
But as I said before perhaps the depth I would have liked to see was not possible with the restrictions in word-limits set by the very nature of a column. Be that as it may, her columns still offer food for thought and provide a glance into the psyche and feelings of an activist Muslim feminist.
As a way to understand how Muslim women in the heartland of Western civilization think and react, you cannot go wrong reading this book.
All this to be taken with a grain of salt! (full long text).