sister-hood is an award-winning digital magazine spotlighting the diverse voices of women of Muslim heritage.

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Inspirations

Inspirations is a regular series featuring remarkable women and girls of Muslim heritage throughout history – from folklore to politics, from poetry to sport. Controversial and courageous,  creative and charismatic, these are not women who can be ignored. Through recognising the accomplishments of women and girls, we challenge the myth that women are passive creatures, and provide a source of inspiration to a new generation of women and girls.
Inspirations

Taj al-Saltana (1884-1936)

Of mankind’s great misfortunes one is this; that one must take a wife or husband according to the wishes of one’s parents. Taj al-Saltana, one of the daughters of one of the Qajar kings of Iran, is best known for…

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Inspirations

Layla Baalbaki 1938-

I would like to say to my father, my mother, my neighbours in our small neighbourhood, and all I see, or pass by me: I live. Feminist novelist Layla Baalbaki, known as ‘the Françoise Sagan of the Arabs’, is noted…

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Inspirations

Begum Rokeya (1880-1932)

‘I have been crying for the lowliest creature in India for the last twenty years. Do you know who the lowliest creature in India is? It is the Indian woman’ – Begum Rokeya Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain was a pioneering…

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Inspirations

Fahrelnissa Zeid (1901-1991)

[A] lady of the Turkish feudal nobility who has thrown her yashmak over the nearest windmill and set her heart, Allah knows why, on becoming the first woman painter of her country. – Princess Fahrelnissa Zeid   Fahrelnissa (a name…

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Inspirations

Noor Inayat Khan (1914-1944)

‘Liberté!’ Born in Russia to Indian and American parents, and largely raised in France, the Sufi princess, musician and children’s storywriter, Noor Inayat Khan is best known for her wartime work as a spy. She worked for Britain in occupied…

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Inspirations

Umm Kulthum 1898 – 1975

Over a career spanning fifty years, which included two world wars, the Egyptian Revolutions of 1919 and 1952, and the Great Depression, Umm Kulhtum became recognised as one of the most influential Arab musicians in history, noted for the power…

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Inspirations

Shirin Ebadi 1947-

‘A quest for new means and ideas to enable the countries of the South, too, to enjoy human rights and democracy, while maintaining their political independence and the territorial integrity of their respective countries, must be given top priority by…

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Inspirations

Leda Rafanelli (1880-1971)

‘Leda isn’t the type to ask for directions. She creates her own path for herself, and although it twists and turns, it can only be her path.’ Leda Rafanelli, marginal note. Writer, anarchist, publisher and convert to Islam, Leda Rafanelli…

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Inspirations

Shahrzaad (1946-)

After all these years / Awakening is my right / In Awakening, I am tired Poem by Shahrzaad, from Thirsty we age Fittingly for a woman who would, in her life, play many roles, Shahrzaad has many names. Her official…

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Inspirations

Meena 1957-1987

I’m the woman who has awoken I’ve found my path and will never return Poem by Meena   Meena was born into a middle class family in Kabul. Her grandparents had relocated from a rural region and in some ways,…

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Inspirations

Anbara Salam Khalidi (1897-1986)

I invite my readers to join me as I travel the thorny road travelled…by women of my generation who sought knowledge, dignity and self-respect. The above sentence appears in the Prologue of Anbara Salam Khalidi’s memoirs. Her autobiography concisely retells…

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Inspirations

Doria Shafik (1908-1975)

Doria Shafik grew up in a modest and traditional middle class family, as the third child of six, and the second daughter. Her life was dedicated to feminist activism in many forms, from poetry and writing to organisation building, and…

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Inspirations

Sediqeh Dowlatabadi 1882-1961

Described as the ‘founding mother’ of Iranian feminism, Sediqeh Dowlatabadi was born to an old and respected family in Esfahan in 1882. She studied in Teheran and married at just 15 years of age: but she was soon divorced. In…

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Inspirations

Nana Asma’u

Asma’u was five years old at the end of the eighteenth century, starting school, learning reading and writing through study of the Qur’an, in the Fulani compound headed by her father Usman dan Fodio. Her father (known as the Shehu)…

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Inspirations

The sister with seven brothers

Folktales are often violent and filled with sexual content. The pastel Princesses of early Disney films represent an art-form sanitised for Victorian sensitivities rather than the earthy concerns of its original creators. Folklore often has female creators who use the…

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