A Conversation with Imam Feisal Rauf, Daisy Khan,
and Kabir and Camille Helminski

Threshold Society Annual Fall East Coast Gathering, 2009
Garrison Institute, Garrison, New York

Transcribed by Elizabeth Bolton

Kabir: It’s a great pleasure to welcome Feisal and Daisy here. Beloved friends, not only beloved friends, but people whose work inspires us and that has a huge impact on societies around the world. We are here this afternoon, like in a living room gathering, to reflect on anything, of course, but our main interest is the spiritual journey that we are on. I can say that these friends have a lot to contribute to illuminating our understanding of Islam and Sufism, Feisal’s work, especially, has influenced us over the years. And I can say that my own grasp and appreciation of Islamic law has been affected by my friendship with Feisal. Just this morning we were talking about one of the main purposes of the revelation and our application of the revelation as containing the circumstances for human dignity in the world.

So maybe an interesting place to begin would be with the subject of “shar’iah,” which is understood and misunderstood in so many ways. From the point of view of a spiritual seeker and from the point of view of a spiritual community what should we understand about the term “shar’iah”? What can it contribute to our spiritual journey and our spiritual life and what are the elements that are worth mentioning concerning establishing the optimal conditions for human dignity in this life, and for our souls in everyday life?

Feisal: First let me reciprocate by thanking you and greeting you, my beloved brother, Kabir, and sister, Camille, whom we have known for many years, and also many members here whom I have known I think from the last century sometime. It’s good to be with fellow lovers of God and fellow travelers on the path. It is also a pleasure to be here in this wonderful space, Garrison Institute, which is very special for us in a number of ways. Especially because we got to meet Jonathan Rose and his wife, Deanna, as they were establishing this, and John Bennett who was involved in the beginning with establishing this space. In fact we had one or two of our first conferences here, for the “Muslim leaders of tomorrow,” when Garrison first opened up, 4 or 5 years ago. So it’s wonderful to be in this space with friends, and with close friends.

You know that the “shar’iah” is at its core a continuation of a tradition of God’s commands. To many Christian audiences I say that when Jesus Christ, whom Muslims also regard as one of our Prophets, was asked what was the greatest commandment, he said that the greatest commandment was to love the lord thy God with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your strength and, I think in another Gospel, it’s “all of your soul.” So if you combine the two quotations from two different Gospels it’s to love the lord our God with all of our soul, our heart, our mind, and our strength.

From the point of view of the Sufi tradition, our Sufi masters and teachers tell us that we as human beings have four dimensions: our physical reality, which is our strength; our minds, which represents all of our mind; our psychic presence, which our brother Kabir speaks of a lot, our loves, our emotions. Some Sufis speak of the heart, separating the heart from the soul, the heart being the emotional self, the loves, the hates that feed greed and lust, jealousy and envy, those types of things, and the soul as our spirit, the eternal part of our being. And then Jesus goes on to the second commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Many Christians know this but they forget what he said immediately after that, which was that upon these two commandments hang all of the law and all of the prophets. Islamic law is based on these two commandments. In fact all of law, in Islamic law, is divided in one of a number of ways. One category is the “laws pertaining to acts of worship” and that is the first commandment, and that involves prayer, ritual purity, fasting, Hajj, all the ritual acts which we are commanded to do, and the do’s and don’ts and points of validity and reasons for being excused and all those little details in terms of the actual code, like the IRS code or a legal code. All those laws are part of that first commandment, pertaining to loving God and then loving our neighbor, which is not just our physical neighbor, but really all of creation, human beings and all of creation.

This was divided into the other categories of law, in which, actually all, even pre-Islamic codes, are included, and which even Western law, secular law, divides into criminal law–laws pertaining to business, or contract law, as we call it, in western law; personal status law, marriage, divorce, custody, those types of things; and later on they also developed law pertaining to governance and what they might call international law, constitutional law. International law, laws of nations, it was called at that time, laws governing people, let’s say, who were not Muslims, and how do you deal with them. Then of course laws pertaining to the environment, to our responsibility as stewards of earth, which is again a concept mentioned in the Bible, that we are stewards of this earth, so let’s say we are prohibited from poisoning wells, destroying trees, which you might say was the beginning of laws pertaining to the environment. And making sure we take care of the environment.

So shar’iah involves all of these things, the do’s and don’ts of these things. So we think of Jesus Christ as emphasizing the spirit; he said, “I came to perfect the law and to complete it, not to abolish the law.” And this is part of the point of the Islamic tradition, really to emphasize this aspect. And part of what we are about, what brother Kabir was asking me, the issue of “The Living Tradition,” many of you are familiar with the saying that Sufism was once a reality without a name, and it has become a name without a reality. In the beginning people did not give names to these things, it was really about loving God and worshipping God. But we have given ourselves names and then we get attached to the names, and then we give those names realities, and we lose sight of the fundamental dynamic which is to love God and love our fellow human beings and to love creation but with a love that is more than just a kind of a sentiment, because loving with our mind is a different act, not necessarily the same act, as loving with our soul.

Loving with our heart, loving with our strength, what does that mean? As I very often ask people in my audience, “When you say, ‘I love my wife,’ ‘I love mathematics,’ ‘I love lamb chops,’ you are talking about love, using the same word, while you are describing different kinds of actions. When you say, “I love Mozart,” do you love Mozart the individual, or do you love his music? So when we say we love Mozart, we are saying, “My sense of hearing loves listening to Mozart’s music.” When we say, “I love mathematics,” it is the love of the mind, enjoying the intellectual act of mathematics. The love of prayer, the love of acts of worship, is the love of the soul to be engaged in acts of worship involving our body and our concentration as well. Loving lamb chops means cooking and eating and so loving lamb chops is a physical enjoyment. Loving one’s wife or one’s husband is a different kind of an act, so we cannot just project the act of loving lamb chops towards loving one’s spouse. It’s kind of ridiculous, but we do this when we project our understandings and definitions of love in one respect to love in another dimension. And of course all of this was a means of introduction to, “What do we mean when we say we love God?”

What do we mean when we say we love God? And to love God with all of our hearts and minds and to love our fellow human beings? It involves different actions and different time and different context. It also involves responsibilities that we have. The love of a father towards a son, may manifest differently in some situations than love of a mother towards the son, or towards the child. And how do we express our love, both in terms of protection, education, discipline, all of those dimensions are part of our obligation in terms of people who are creatures of the Creator, who were created from a portion of the divine breath.

The Qur’an describes the creation of Adam. God announces to the angels, ”When I have finished the forming of Adam from clay, when I have breathed into him of my Spirit,” (these are the very words of the Qur’an), “then fall in prostration to Adam.” So we learn from this a number of things, one of which is that the primary definition of a human being is not our physical self; the primary definition is our spiritual self. The angels are not commanded to prostrate to the physical being of Adam, but rather to the breath of the divine spirit which is embedded in the physical envelope. That is what they are prostrating to. This is the Islamic version of the Biblical idea that we are created in the Divine image. And it is that breath of the Divine within us which is what we, in our zikr and our meditation, try to strengthen and amplify and make that to be the dominant motive of our lives. It is in that space that we find, that I personally believe, that we can contact the essence of what we are looking to and talking about, “The Living Tradition,” with a capital L and a capital T. But it is this complex of responsibilities that we have, and how do we manage them, that is what the Law, the shar’iah, is all about. It’s about God’s law, Divine law, and, by the way, this is what the Declaration of Independence, is about. “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by the creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” So we consider these rights to be divinely given to us as human beings and the notion that they are inalienable is because they inhere in the very fact of being human. So even the constitutional philosophy of this nation is based upon the fact that we are creatures of the divine and from a point of view that we have one Creator and that we are one humanity—that is why we are all equal. And that is where the fundamental sense of human dignity comes from. So if you look at our Constitutional law in terms of its fundamental philosophy, even it is based upon the concept of a covenantal relationship between the being and the Creator. Our obligation is to create a form of society with mutual obligations and responsibilities that reflect this type of an existential world view. Which is very much in sync with the Islamic view-point of a Creator and what the shar’iah is all about. I could keep on talking but I thought I would just pause at this point. (general laughter)
You have a question?

Fusun: This is a very sensitive question and I am trying to put it as diplomatically as possible. Where did the notion that the women in the Middle East were second grade citizens come into the shar’iah? Where did the notion that the women had to be covered; that the women had to be separated in the back of the mosque; where the woman had to be at home—where did all that start? And how did that evolve in the law?

Feisal: Part of the idea of any revelation is that whatever God intends to reveal, the Qur’an is explicit on this, is sent in the cultural setting of the revelation. So God says, to every people we have revealed a prophet or a messenger, and we have not sent a messenger except in the language of his people. So, although we recognize, and this is why we need to recalibrate and reboot our understanding, “Islam” means “surrender” and we should not think of it as we tend to think of it, as we tend to think of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, as the religions of Mohammed, Jesus Christ and Moses. In reality Islam is a religion of God. And you will not find in the Qur’an, the terms Judaism, Christianity, you will not find the word al shar’ia, to refer to the totality of God’s law. These are concepts which we developed later. The Qur’an speaks of Jews, of Christians, but not of Judaism, not of Christianity. It speaks of the religion of Truth and of God’s sending the message to different communities in the different languages with different acts of worship, but always recognizing the cultural context. What has happened is that in every society, in every community there is always an active engagement between a community and the divine commandments as originally received and as they are transmitted. This is where people begin to make errors. So we have to recognize that this is why there are differences of opinion in every faith tradition, even in Islam. There is an old Jewish joke, ask 2 Rabbis a question and you get 5 answers. It is actually the reality of Islamic law. There are 5 major schools of law, four Sunni and one Shi’a. And actually there are many more schools of law, in both Sunni and Shiite traditions. There are eight which probably cover the vast majority, maybe 97% of them. But these differences in opinion are because people have sincere opinions as to what is right and what is wrong. The notion of women’s roles or position has come from 2 factors, in my own judgment and study. One, from the traditional roles in which both men and women played, men being hunters and so forth and women being child bearers and taking care of children and therefore concerned with the domestic situation. So this role differentiation was part of the “on the ground” reality. So that became part of the natural differentiation of gender functions and gender roles. And then, also, the social norms which grew out of that, for example, part of the role of men in a society, which at the time of the Prophet, who did not have standing armies, there were no police, no law enforcement like we have today. So travel was very risky, there were highway-men, so the laws about women not traveling alone was a question of protection, having a man who was her husband, her brother, her father, was a personal security issue. It was driven by those things, certain things which were normal in a society, culturally normative, became part of the law. Also there is a principle in Islamic jurisprudence that, apart from the divine commandments and prohibitions themselves (thou shalt, thou shalt not), any cultural law which was normative to that society, which did not contradict the Qur’an, or the teachings of the Prophet, was considered shar’iah, meaning, legal. It is like saying, for example, we have our Constitution in the United States; we have our Congress which enacts laws constantly. They may enact a law, but it does not mean it’s in the Constitution, but if it violates the Constitution, it is deemed unconstitutional. If it does not violate it, it is constitutional. It does not mean that it is in the Constitution.

Now, maybe what happened is that, given the varieties of the communities, from Morocco to Indonesia, becoming Muslim, accepting the faith of Islam, they had their own cultural norms, their own legal norms, before they became Muslims. If it did not contradict it, it was deemed shar’ia, meaning acceptable, constitutional. Many people think that it is itself shar’ia, which is part of the areas of misunderstanding that people have about shar’ia. Shar’ia proper is really about 500 verses in the Qur’an, which are called the verses of judgment—those verses, and about 1200 sayings of the Prophet, which are considered to have legal import. And even in the analysis of those, by the great scholars of Islamic law, the record recognizes that some of the decisions of the Prophet, which were context driven, may change if the context changes. And also many people do not recognize, for example, many people are unaware, that the dress code of women was not as uniform as people think it is. There was a tradition at the time of the Prophet that the high-class women did not breast-feed their children. They would hire a wet nurse to breast-feed their children. It was not uncommon for women to breast-feed in public. But they are not the high-class women; it was the wet nurses who were generally Bedouin women who would breast-feed their children. In that culture, in that climate, there was a cultural code, not only in Arabia, but in some of the neighboring countries of what is now, today, Iraq, where the members of royalty could not be seen by normal people. Even, I think, in some Japanese societies, to look upon the king was considered a sin. The king was considered semi-divine. So a lot of these old cultural norms continued and resulted in these differences, which is why, if you read the book on Islamic law, you find three interpretations on what is considered an acceptable part of the woman’s body to be exposed. Because the Bedouin women were breast-feeding and slave women were also working, you have an opinion that (women should be covered) from the navel to the knee. Why, because the women were breast-feeding in public. Even the Prophet saw women breast-feeding. There is a famous Hadith of the Prophet where there is a woman looking for her child and then she protected it and took her breast and gave it, and the Prophet said, “See, that love of a mother towards its child? God loves a human being more than this mother loves her child, protecting him from getting too close to the fire.” He didn’t comment, “Women cover your breasts,” so therefore this in an example of what is considered a tacit approval. So, because the Prophet did not say, “This is wrong for you to do that,” it was considered acceptable. But, again, the cultural code of a society became part of the law of that community.

What is happening today . . . in the last century . . . ? I grew up in a time in our village in Egypt, where I would see women breast-feeding in public; it was considered normal. It is not done today. Why? Because, in a shrinking world there has come to be a sense that there should be one right interpretation, and that other things are not. That is what we have become gripped by within the last century, especially in the last half century. That is part of the insufficiency of understanding within our own Muslim faith community that needs to be broadcast.

However, the Qur’an, just one final point, is against the idea of women dressing provocatively—both men and women, dressing provocatively, that is the real issue. Rather than the issue of what should be revealed, what should not be revealed. Yes, Camille . . .

Camille: I was just going to say, this is a beautiful entrée for Daisy to share a bit about the WISE initiative, as part of the unfolding of the Living Tradition, and how things are able to change and reconnect with that original impulse.

Daisy Khan: Thank you very much and welcome everyone. I know some of you, but not all of you. I am really pleased to be at Garrison because much of my own activism really began here. I am humbled because just less than 10 years ago I used to sit in the company of Kabir and Camille and my husband (Feisal Rauf) and I was just a novice student, sitting on the other side, listening to them and in constant awe of all the knowledge that they have. But 9/11 forced me to the forefront, as so many of us have gotten involved in the various aspects of our community. I have always been very enamored with a verse in the Qur’an which said the condition of the people will not change unless they change themselves. I think this is the crux of what we do in the Sufi tradition: we first try to perfect ourselves as human beings, and then to invite others to that path. But I took it a step further because I didn’t have time to sit there for years and years and years and perfect myself, because there was so much chaos around me. I had a little bit of an activist streak anyway, so I felt like I can’t afford to sit for the next 20-30 years to go on top of the mountain and do my own work while the fires are burning. I have to do actual self-examination beyond myself. Is there a problem out there? If there is the perception, and the question you just asked, why the condition of Muslim women is so terrible, then I, as a Muslim woman, living in America, have an obligation and, as someone who comes from a faith tradition, a Muslim household, to do something about it. I have had examples, in my own life, of a grandmother who was a Sufi teacher. She would sit in a circle like this, with men and women, literally, sitting at her feet, and learning from her. She was held with such a high regard that when she would walk outside in public there would be people walking behind her, just like they would be behind a Shaikh—that was the stature. Hence the image I have of a Muslim woman, living in a traditional society, playing that role. Then, fast-forward, I come to America and I see these images of women being shot and killed in soccer fields, and the kinds of things we all see. Right? And I am deeply disturbed, so fortunately, I have an Imam whom I can always consult with and always take out my anger on him, and say, “Why, why; show me where,”—and all that. So, in 2006, I left my regular cushy job and dedicated myself to really looking at our community and seeing what needs to be done. And then I realized that there were other people just like me; of course, I already had Camille in front of my eyes as a person who has been so actively engaged in a community as a leader and so many others that I had come across. I said, let’s bring them all together and showcase them and see what will come out of this meeting. Anytime people come together, hearts and minds come together, ideas percolate, a certain kind of energy . . . you put your energy out there. And in 2006 we brought together about 175 women, from 27 different countries. I wanted to ensure that it had at its core a little bit of the Sufi impulse. I can’t impose Sufism on people, they are not always ready for it, but it had to have something of the nature of the teachings that I had learned over the years while I was a novice at studying Sufism. Number one—it was going to be extremely inclusive—I don’t care how you define yourself as a Muslim, the saying of Rumi, “Come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, worshipper . . . .” Well, whoever you are, as long as you are trying to create a change and whatever path of activism you have chosen, you are invited, because you are all change-makers in your own way. And the other thing was that we wanted to be seen as wise women, not as rebellious, angry people. We love God and we were going to recognize that. And we were then going to spread that love to anybody who was ready for that love. So we gave ourselves the name WISE, and then we found a way of creating the right kind of acronym for it, so it was Women’s Islamic initiative in Spirituality and Equality; it was perfect. I wanted to give it that gravitas that we were wise women who have a solution. We were not angry; we were not here to tell you how to . . . we were just inviting you to have a conversation. Now, wonderful ideas emerged out of that.

I remember that there was a room full of about 200 women and it was very clear that we came from very, very different ideologies and different ways of thinking. So we had everything from secular women to deeply traditional women who probably had never interacted with one another or even trusted one another. It was clear to us that the kind of diversity that my husband just talked about, that exists within the Muslim community, that cultural diversity, which gets translated into how people behave, how people dress, and how people think, is a reality of our community. The truth is, we are a very diverse bunch. We think very differently and we are also very democratic. We all have an opinion and we all think that, “Mine is the best way.” This is it. As Sufis we could tolerate that, we can handle it. So we created the space where everyone could feel that they could have a voice. We also realized, by looking at the Jewish and Christian communities in America, that women’s history is common history. Women have seldom been given the appropriate respect and regard due them in history, generally speaking. They have made great contributions from the earliest of times and their names have never been recorded properly. Unless women create their own institutions, the other institutions that have already been created over the years will speak for them. If you look at the landscape of the Muslim world there are more than 500 million Muslim women around the world and there was not a single institution that spoke for us. So, if we are not at the table, who is going to speak for us? The boys.

Now, we have nice boys here. These men we can trust ourselves with (laughter). Okay? But there are many boys out there I don’t think I can trust myself with. And there are plenty of them out there.

Feisal: In positions of power.

Daisy: Yes, in positions of power, who actually have the institutional power behind them. So, I said to my husband, “If I create this council where is the opening?” Because we didn’t want to do anything rebellious, we didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t allowed. So what is allowed within shar’ia? Please tell me, give me the opening. He said, Daisy you can create an ‘Ijmaa, which means a consensus, which is allowed within Islamic law. You know, when it is not in the Qur’an, it’s not in the Hadith, then you can create a consensus, a majority; it’s totally allowed. I said, “That’s what we are going to do. We are going to create a council of Muslim women who will sit on a religious council, who will debate their own issues and who will even come up with opinions of their own.” So we had this bold idea—we created a Muslim women’s Shura council. It has already been formed. We have done it. We have not received any death threats; nobody has said anything negative against us. Some people say, “What do you think you are doing, do you really think you will create a change?” Long-term we know that we will have a significant impact.
Then people said, “Well, you know, the other problem is that everybody speaks for us, right? The media speaks for us, everybody tells us who we are, how we are and how oppressed we are and this, that, and the other.” I said, “Well, since we don’t have the money to create our own television station, let’s use new media.” So we have just launched a new web site, called www.wisemuslimwomen.org. Now, you can go in there and you can have fun. We have from Khadijah to (maybe some of you will be in there) . . . Camille is, of course, there. Camille is one of our spiritual leaders. They are all catalogued according to their profession. You can see the Hadith scholars, you can see the warriors, you can see the queens, and you can see all of the women who have contributed significantly to Islamic history. Did anybody ever tell us this? I didn’t know half of these women. I am reading about these women. I can’t believe these women existed. So this is our way of sharing and creating a change by going back into history, because sometimes you have to borrow from history to create a better future for yourself. I am sure there is a Sufi saying of something to that effect. This is my humble way of describing it.

So then the other exciting thing is, I don’t want to take up too much time because there is so much wealth of information here, but the Shura council is a temporary vehicle for weighing in. We asked, “What is the biggest problem we have right now?” Some people said, “Well, it’s domestic violence.” Then the Shura council came together and said, “No, it’s extremism. It is ripping our societies apart. As women we have an obligation to step into something that is a societal issue and not just a gender specific issue. We are concerned about children, we are concerned about society, and we are concerned about community. If we are the glue that holds the family together, the glue that holds the community together and the glue that ultimately holds society together, then we, as women, we should step into an arena that is mostly being driven by the boys. And to step into that arena and say ‘enough is enough’.” So, we came up with a bold statement and endeavor called “Jihad against Violence.” This is our way of struggling for peace, by saying we are rejecting violence and this is a campaign that we just launched in 2009, in Malaysia, where Camille was our spiritual leader. She led many of our prayers; she was wonderful.

Women signed on to this, 90% of the women there took a pledge that they will eliminate violence within their own families and spread the word. So this is going to be a global campaign—you will see it on the web site. One other thing we did was that we took some polls there, and we asked some women, “What do you think is the biggest barrier to the advancement of Muslim women?” We had 5 or 6 things up there, random things. We thought it was lack of money, we thought it was something else. Well, guess what it was? Number one was distorted religious interpretation. That is what destroys us; every time they come out and issue a fatwa, that fatwa spreads so fast, and they think they have the permission to do this. Now I know—I come from a tradition; it’s not like I just learned it in books. I know who my grandmother was; I know my history. I have a teacher right next to me. He is writing about shar’ia. I know that gender equality is an intrinsic part of the Islamic tradition. Nobody has to convince me of that. I am convinced right here. The only way you can fight this problem is to have Muslim women be interpreters in the future. Because when a woman looks at the same exact scripture, she may see it differently. Sometimes a woman’s perspective is not there—I love my husband very much, but honestly, if I am not there sometimes to say, “Have you looked at it this way?” it is possible that that perspective will not be brought to the table. And it is not like it is something different; it is really complementary. Women think differently. We think more holistically. We ask, can we make this a little broader, can we include something . . . so the perspective that is missing right now is the feminine perspective. That sweetness. That is why we have wars raging everywhere. So we said, “How do we do this?” We decided to create a Muslim women’s muftiyyah program—the first ever. Once again, nothing rebellious, it’s allowed. So we are going to create a modern day Muslim women’s muftiyyah, who, when she walks into the room people will, hopefully, bow to her because she will be so knowledgeable, she will be so equipped, she will be so globalized, she will be so internationalized, she will have studied all the subjects that one needs to study to be relevant in the 21st century. So these are all the various plans that we have and with Camille’s help and with the support of men like this (Feisal and Kabir)— honestly, if it was not for the men that are in this room who have been my spiritual teachers, I just know . . . they are constantly pushing me and saying, “Go, you’re allowed, you have the permission, and by the way, here is some knowledge you might need to make your point.” So I think we have a bright future. I am hopeful that with taking the baby steps, that we will create a big change. Thank you.

Question: What is a muftiyyah?

Daisy: A mufti is a jurist, a Muslim woman jurist would be a muftiyyah. You know—when they talk about the shar’ia and how you interpret law, the mufti issues a fatwa and it becomes binding. It’s a legal opinion that people have to take seriously. So these women will be dealing with all of the issues of contemporary society. The current muftiyyah who are studying, are studying only the classical curriculum. For instance, they do not study ecumenical studies, they do not study or compare what Jewish women do, what Christian women do. They do not study human rights. When we say, well, it’s against human rights, there is an outright rejection, “Oh, this is Western law.” So they will compare that, too. They will study globalization. The world is a globalized world and we travel in the Muslim world and everybody is interacting with everybody, and so she will be, also. She will also study spirituality, by the way. This is a requirement. I said, “If I am creating this curriculum, spirituality is a requirement.” If you don’t, if you only have law and you don’t have compassion, you have an imbalance. You have to have a compassionate heart and then you have justice balancing it. Because this is what the ultimate balance is.

Question: If I remember correctly, from the website, they are going to teach the muftiyyah at one of the seminaries in Manhattan?

Daisy: Yes, actually Union Theological Seminary has decided to house it for us. Part of the education is going to be in the Muslim world and part of the education is going to be here, in the U.S.. They will have to study traditional studies abroad; we don’t want to bring professors here. They should go study in that environment anyway, it’s good for them to interact with people in the wider Muslim world.

Camille: This is very much in harmony with the early days of the tradition. For instance, the great granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him), Lady Nafisa, was very well-versed in law and all the hadith. Actually, Imam Shafi’i, one of the main founders of the schools of law that Feisal was referring to, used to come and sit at her feet, to understand more deeply.
Daisy: And 8000 women scholars have contributed to hadith scholarship, the Prophetic sayings. Women were the ones collecting a lot of these. Men were out there; women were safeguarding it. Yes, 8000 women scholars. Much of the tradition has been recorded by women, yet, they have not been given their rightful due. We are not into taking credit for the past, but we are wanting to create a better future for ourselves and give these bright, intelligent women their rightful place, where they belong. Thank you.

Question: How can one join?

Daisy: We will send a link to Camille and she will send an e-mail to all of you and hopefully you will spread the word. Spread the web site address to as many people as you can. It’s meant for public consumption; it’s an outreach. It is a way for you to tell many American friends, “Look what Islamic history had in it and look at these women who are out there doing the amazing work that they are doing.” We also want to change perception through the web site.
Kabir: Thank you.

For further information, please visit www.wisemuslimwomen.org