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

Sayyida al Hurra c. 1493-after 1542

Lalla Aicha (or Fatima) bint Ali ibn Rashid al-Alami, best known as Sayyida al Hurra, was the governor of Tétouan in Morocco. She is the only woman in the history of that country to have ruled directly in her own…

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Inspirations

Kartini (1879-1904)

I have so longed to make the acquaintance of a ‘modern girl’, the proud, independent girl whom I so much admire, who confidently steps through life, cheerfully and in high spirits, full of enthusiasm and commitment, working not just for…

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Inspirations

Halide Edib Adivar (1884-1964)

I who had dreamed of a nationalism which will create a happy land of beauty, understanding, and love, I have seen nothing but mutual massacre and mutual hatred; I have seen nothing but ideals used as instruments for creating human…

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Inspirations

Ismat Chughtai (1911- 1991)

When I wrote, I imagined my readers sitting before me. I talked and they listened. Some agreed with me. Some didn’t. Some smiled while others got angry, and some felt jealous. Even now, I experience the same feelings. I narrate…

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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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