Thursday, April 26, 2007

Voices behind the veil

So I found it. The book my mom was reading about Islam.

Last night because I needed to do some shopping (stressing "needed") at Wal-mart, I decided to have dinner with my parents, and they weren't busy so we went to an Applebee's down in Fuquay-Varina. Yeaahhh... I got all the nasty looks, "what's one uh their kind doin' here?" but I met my parents at their house, not the restaraunt, since I had some mail to pick up and my mom hadn't gotten home yet. Before we left to go eat I prayed 'asr in one of the back bedrooms. And just glancing at the bookshelf after the salat I saw it... this book. My brother's girlfriend had discovered it a while ago and thought it prudent to inform me of the fact since she seemed to think it maybe wasn't the best book for her to read. And indeed not, at the time I tried to find it and more about it, but not being sure of the title I couldn't know definitely what she was reading.

Well, now I've found it, and this is it. Voices behind the veil. It's a collection of writings (should I say "stories?" for you Southerners who know that other meaning) from Christian women about Muslim women. Edited by Ergun Caner--a man for whom I have very little respect, as I've seen him provide false information to evangelical Christians in a number of his books, and who lacks a sufficient understanding of Islam to properly represent it to Christians in the first place. Being Muslim, and converting to Christianity in high school, does not make one an expert on Islam. Just like I wouldn't take as authority on Christianity the stories of Muslims who converted to Islam, not unless they've done serious research. I tend to think Mr. Caner has not done such, as he's made a number of very basic errors in some of his books.

But anyway, the book is not so much his writing as that of some women. To give you an idea of why it bothers me, I'm going to read off the Table of Contents. It's available on amazon on the "search inside" feature, but let me just quote it here to save the trouble.

  1. Testimonies Behind the Veil - Former Muslim Women Share How they Found Christ
  2. Khadijah's Cadre - The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad (saws-my addition)
  3. Aishah's Daughters - Significant Women in the History of Islam
  4. The Qur'an, the Hadith, and Women
  5. The Essence of the Veil - The Veil as a Metaphor for Islamic Women
  6. Islamic Practices in the Real World - Daily Life in Specific Islamic Countries
  7. Cherished Commodity - Daughters in Islam
  8. Protected Property - Wives in Islam
  9. The Crescent and the Cradle - The Mother and Child in Islam
  10. Working in Vain in the Impossible Task - Teaching the Worker to Weep
  11. Praying for Islamic Women
  12. Love Unveiled - Witnessing to Muslim Women with a Heart of Love
Each subtitle an insult. When are Muslimahs "Muslim women" and when are they "Islamic women?" I'm considering swiping this book from my mom's library for a little while to read it, and elaborate further on my complaints against it. Also, to prepare myself to defend any accusations I may hear later in life stemming from the portrayals of Muslim women on this book. Should I start with the references to women as non-human nouns? Sometimes subtle, sometimes not. Believe it or not, most Muslim men I know don't think of women as "objects" but rather as human beings with a tremendous amount of respect. Why? Because their mothers are women.

The purpose of the book is for Christian women specifically to acquire enough knowledge and prejudice against Islam and confidence in their own faith to, without any sort of academic scholarship present a case against Islam and for Christianity to Muslim women who are so (sarcasm on) horribly oppressed.(sarcasm off)

Here's an ambitious project... although I'm neither a writer nor scholar of Islam, passion is something I have, and a passion to clarify such nonsense as this book. Voices behind the veil should be voices of Muslim women. Wouldn't a great idea be to write another book with a similar title "Voices Behind the Veil - The World of Islam through the Eyes of Muslim Women" (the only change is the addition of the word Muslim) clarifying the many different roles of women in Islam. And starting off with convert stories! Who'd'athunk! But then the real admiration for the Sahabiyyat, the meaning of modesty and hijab, practices of Islam from the perspective of someone who actually practicies them (what a novel idea!), the role of a mother through the eyes of a mother, the role of a daughter through the eyes of a daughter, and the role of a wife through the eyes of a wife.

Who's with me?


Anonymous said...

you go, girl!

Holly said...

Amy I think YOU should write the book and publish it. An all American girl, American face, name...I say go for it I'll buy it and back it.

Amy said...

Oh, Holly, you know you'll be the first person I come after inshaAllah to help me writing it! Seeing as how you have experience and all!!!!

Anonymous said...

Not much support there Amy Go visit Saudi Arabia before writing if you want the real life picture. Also read the Qur'an right through. Then the Hadith. Your an idealist wishing the truth about Muslim women were otherwise. than what it really is. They are forced into submission by their men, but have to pretend otherwise to the kafir, that's you dear. Among many other dictates it say's in their holy book that the wife must submit to her husband at alltimes & in all ways

Amy said...

Well Anonymous I have not been to Saudi Arabia, so you've got me there. Have you? I have read the Quran all the way through though--in English and also in Arabic, which I've had the privilege to learn.

I won't deny that women might sometimes be forced or even abused by their muslim husbands--but that happens everywhere, regardless of religion.

I have been to another muslim country, though, Pakistan. And I count among my acquaintance women in Pakistan, here in the USA from there, and from many other countries. And they aren't forced into submission.

Neither am I a kafir, what you called me. Maybe you don't know what it means. But I converted to Islam almost 10 years ago and have been happily married for five.

Thanks for reading my blog.