Throughout the ages, from the earliest days of Islam to contemporary times today, Muslim women have been and continue to be active leaders in their communities and countries across the world. This directory is a growing archive of leading Muslim women scholars, activists, writers, politicians, artists, religious and spiritual leaders, civil society leaders and more. Please contribute to this archive by suggesting Muslim women to be featured through our recommendation form.
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If Islam so greatly raised the status of women fourteen centuries ago, when women’s rights were inconceivable and implementation of them was an Herculean task, then the message of Islam itself must be feminist….Could a doctrine that provided such freedom for women in the seventh century really have meant to comparatively stifle their freedom in the twenty-first? I cannot believe it.
– from The Muslim Next Door: the Qur’an, the Media and that Veil Thing (White Cloud Press: Ashland, 2008).
Known For: Lawyer; Writer; Shura Council Member
Country: United States
Sumbul Ali-Karamali grew up in California in a South Asian Muslim family. She earned her bachelor’s degree (BA) in English from Stanford University, with Distinction. After working as an editor in a small publishing company, she earned her law degree (JD) from the University of California at Davis. She practiced as a corporate lawyer for several years and then attended the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), from which she earned her masters degree (LLM) in Islamic Law, with Distinction. She worked as a teaching assistant at SOAS, as well as a research associate at the Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law.
While at home raising her two children, Sumbul published several articles, both in legal journals and mainstream publications, and worked with a local civil rights advocacy group. She also served on the board of an educational institution promoting environmental education and multicultural education, which led to her receiving an Asian American Hero Award for her work in fostering cross-cultural understanding and education.
In this period, Sumbul also wrote her first book, The Muslim Next Door: the Qur’an, the Media, and that Veil Thing, which explains Islam and Islamic law for the lay reader, while combining a conversational, memoir-type, anecdotal, narrative style with academic discussions on issues ranging from the elementary to the complex.
She is currently lecturing and writing on Islam, as well as promoting her new book and continuing her involvement with organizations advocating social justice issues.
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- United States