A Day in Karamah

Fatma Emam's picture

When the American embassy sent me the schedule of the trip to the US, I was very excited to know that I will go to Karamah ( Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights).

I know Karamah since 2007, when I was writing my thesis on Islamic Feminism in Egypt, I used many of the online articles of Dr Azizah el Hibri, the founder and director of Karamah, she writes intensively on women issues in the Islamic jurisprudence and she is an icon when talking about the Islamic feminism school of thought. And I really appreciate that Karamah is offering huge amount of knowledge online for free, few do this and that help many people and inspire them as well.

I have to say that, I am lucky  because my heroes , whom I have been reading to are not just great inspiring women but also they are kind souls , that I always enjoyed knowing them in person as well.

Dr el Hibri introduced Karamah to us and she said that they started in 1993, in the decade on women adopted by the UN , in that time there was huge attack on the situation of women in Islam and el Hibri with others thought that Muslim women have to be heard .They established Karamah to offer alternative explanation to the issues of women in Islam and they offered legal assistance or experts opinion to the American courts . Karamah is considered to be a bridge between the Islamic jurisprudence and the American legal system.

Dr el Hibri stated a very clear point that is deemed to be the essence of Islamic feminism and it as follows" we are calling for the implementation of fundamentals of Islam, and the traditional voices want to include the patriarchal discourse which contradicts Islam".

Dr el Hibri was not the only person that inspired me in Karamah, Nevine Abdallah , a young Islamic scholar impressed me, not only by her intensive knowledge on the Islam as a religion and a legal system but also but her humbleness. Nevine is a product of the prestigious Islamic education system in Egypt (even if I do not agree with how things go in it ) , both the religious in el Azhar and the civil in Dar el Olum the house of sciences in Cairo university and she also shows the effect of the personal tuition of Islamic heritage, she is a student of Sheikh Mohemed Bakr Ismail.

May be me and Nevine did not share the same point of view in the women Imams, but I am really proud to see such woman Fiqh and maybe I so proud because she is Egyptian, she reraised the question that always irritates me, does the Islamic feminist have to be religiously educated or adequate knowledge is enough, I still did not find an answer for that question.

Nevine  just affirmed my belief in young women, I have to admit that young women keep my faith that a change can happen, may be because I share the same challenges with them, I feel them and they always show perseverance in their struggle even within the feminist movement.

We tackled issues related to family disputes like Mahr, custody, access to divorce and khul' , in sha allah i will write on these discussion on a post later on.

in the photo, Dr Azizah el Hibri

(Posted at Brownie)

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