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Are Islam and Feminism mutually exclusive?

By November 19, 2019Muslim Parenting


Discussion with Nour Goda exploring whether islam and feminism are mutually exclusive and it’s detrimental affects on the identity of Muslim women. Listen to the podcast here

Nour Goda

Is a Muslim Arab American and native of New York. She is of Palestinian and Syrian descent. Nour writes and speaks about the topics of ,faith crises, feminism, race politics, from an Islamically-informed perspective. Nour has delivered lectures at numerous American universities and Islamic conferences including the recent conference “Fortifying the Muslim Mind” You can listen to her talks via her website

In 2015, Nour reverted after having left the fold of Islam for nearly a decade. Recognising that her experience is not unique and that there is a dire need among Arabs and Muslims to address highly sensitive and controversial matters, such as atheism.Nour decided to develop a multimedia initiative dedicated to candid, intracommunity dialogue. Thus, she launched the Between Arabs Project, a podcast and blog. Working alongside lay Muslim Americans. The podcast covered topics such as faith crises, sexuality, polygamy, feminism, race politics, and more.

In 2017, Nour decided to discontinue the Between Arabs Project in order to refocus her energy and work.Today, Nour writes and speaks about many of the same topics from a more Islamically-informed perspective. She is currently pursuing the Islamic Essentials program with Darul Qasm.

Below are some of the questions we discuss

What is Feminism?

“Let’s go ahead and define feminism. I find when I’m having these conversations with fellow Muslims is we have competing definitions of what feminism actually is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter which definition you’re subscribing to all versions of feminism boil down to two things. The first one is there’s this patriarchy of the bad guys, the men. And, this patriarchy thesis claims that there’s a social structure that’s designed and perpetuated by men since the beginning of time to subjugate and oppress women.

And, there are feminists who even with the Muslim community who would even go so far to say that God Himself is a part of this design.The second important thing to recognize about the definition of feminism again, irrespective of which definition you subscribe to is that feminism is designed to be a countermovement to the patriarchy. And, that, feminism itself therefore cannot exist without the patriarchy thesis.

So, if you identify as a feminist or you subscribe to its tenets, you necessarily believe in this concept of a patriarchy that has existed since the beginning of time that is designed to subjugate and oppress women.

Can you explain what form of Feminism is predominant in 2019. 

How does it manifest in the lives of Muslim women in particular? As a mum, Auntie and a teacher ,I used to teach at  a girls high school that had a large number of Muslim students. I very recently became interested in  wanting to understand feminism better because I have noticed the rise of feminist ideas being adopted amongst young Muslim women. 

For example I wanted to understand why so many Muslim teenagers and women were choosing to wear hijab but “on their own terms” rather than on Quran and sunnah terms. I was hearing the slogan “hijab my choice”  I think a lot of Muslim mothers who wear hijab because they understand it is an obligation find it difficult to understand why their daughters/nieces are saying it’s not an obligation or are wearing hijab in a extremley fashionable and provocative way. 

You recently wrote an article that explored the issue of the modest fashion industry. Raze Your Gaze: The Modest Fashion Industry & Muslims’ Desperation for Mainstream Representation.So how do you think Feminist/Liberal ideas have affected the way young muslim women view wearing khimar and jilbab?

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