“Wavering between that (and this), (belonging) neither to these nor to those” – Suruh Nisa 4:143
It’s not about the Burqa is a book that expresses the different experiences of 1st/2nd generation immigrant Muslim women of color in Britain. This anthology of 17 essays written by Muslim women aims at giving them an opportunity to have a voice and speak for themselves as they have always been spoken over or left out in conversations pertaining to their lives.
As a Muslim woman of color, a mother, a professional, a northern Nigerian and an African, this collection of essays represent diverse expressions of our story as Muslim women and how we go through our individual struggles in life with cultural expectations, religious expectations and societal presumptions of who we are and should be. It touches on the struggle of women to be seen, heard and understood especially in a society where others are telling our narrative when they have not walked in our shoes.
For the first time, I am reading stories which reveal the daily struggles of educated/professional Muslim women who are overwhelmed with the process of finding a fit in this myriad of the different parts of themselves and still go ahead to make a difference in their communities. . Being a Geoscientist, I am naturally adventurous and analytical and I would prefer to be seen and known as “ME”, I would like people to see me and other women like me beyond the way we dress. To acknowledge that we are all the same in many ways and different in ways that we may never be able to comprehend but try to have empathy and throw our assumptions and judgements to the wind. To know that these women are heroines in their own rights and need to be seen and heard as such.
These stories do not only bother on Muslim women but on anyone who is going through life’s challenges and fighting the fight to overcome. My favorites in the collection are: The Clothes of My Faith, Life was Before I was Woke, A Woman of Substance, Hijabi (R)evolution, Feminism Needs to Die and There’s No such thing as a Depressed Muslim.
This is a powerful book on self awareness, acceptance and making a positive difference in people’s lives. I rate it 4 stars and highly recommend it to everyone.
“Writing is dangerous because we are afraid of what the writing reveals: the fears, the angers, the strengths of a woman under a triple or quadruple oppression. Yet in that very act lies our survival because a woman who writes has power. And a woman with power is feared.1”
Published: February 2019 by Picador
Genre: Anthology (Non-Fiction)
Author: Mariam Khan is an intersectional feminist, diversity-in-books pusher and freelance writer. She is the editor of It’s Not About the Burqa, an anthology of essays by Muslim women.
Purchase: www.amazon.com/it’s not about the burqa
or on instagram from @rovingheights (Roving Heights Bookstore)
Guest Contributor: Aisha Musa
Aisha is a devout Nigerian Muslim, Geoscientist and mother. She loves reading both fiction and non-fiction books in her spare time, going on field expeditions and interacting with like – minds. She is an emerging voice for women’s development and empowerment especially in third world countries and strives to be a dependable role model to career women and mothers alike. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria with her family.