Founder of Muslim Women’s Association; Human Rights Activist
Hijri 1336-1426 (AH); Common Era 1917–2005 (CE)
In 1936, at the age of 18, Zaynab Al-Ghazali started the group Muslim Women's Association, which had the mission of encouraging Muslim women to sincerely incorporate Islam into their everyday lives. Al-Ghazali was also a staunch supporter of the Society of Muslim Brothers. Ms. Al-Ghazali strongly believed that Islam equipped Muslim women with a strong tradition of individual rights that facilitate women's inclusion in society. At the same time, she encouraged Muslim women to appreciate their distinctive roles as wives and mothers in a Islamic household. Similarly, she regarded Muslim men as having a significant part to play as support systems for their wives, rather than posing as obstacles in their fulfillment of goals outside the home. Although Ms. Al-Ghazali had initially supported the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, she grew increasingly disenchanted with what she perceived as their opposition to Islam and organized to support the orphans and widows of the member of the Society of Muslim Brothers, which had been sentenced to death. As the Egyptian government became increasingly suspicious of groups like Muslim Women’s Association and the Muslim Brothers, these groups were banned and their leaders imprisoned. In 1966 she was sentenced to hard labor for life, but was released in 1971.