Muslim Women: Past and Present

Recommend a Muslim Woman

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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Sumbul Ali-Karamali

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).

photo of Sumbul Ali-Karamali

Known For: Lawyer; Writer; Shura Council Member
Country: United States

About

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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This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women alphabetically by their first names. Many Muslim names have alternative spellings once rendered into English so if you cannot find the name you are looking for, please try the general search tab where you can enter keywords of your choice.
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This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women chronologically by the Common Era century. We are actively building the archive of Muslim women leaders from the past, as well as from today, and we would welcome your recommendations of women to feature. Please complete our “Recommend Muslim Women” form and check the site again in the near future as we actively expand this section of the portal with your suggestions.
This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women by their Country. We are actively building the archive of Muslim women leaders from the past, as well as from today, and we would welcome your recommendations of women to feature. Please complete our “Recommend Muslim Women” form and check the site again in the near future as we actively expand this section of the portal with your suggestions.
This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women leaders by entering the keyword(s) of your choice. If you cannot find a particular woman that you are looking for, please let us know by completing our “Recommend Muslim Women” form and check the site again in the near future as we actively expand this section of the portal with your suggestions.