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Aesthetic Interpretation of Islam

If you educate a woman, you educate a nation

The sun sets on the screen and the red-orange hues of the projector screen frame my face in light. My mind flickers to the future, a premonition that has not yet come to pass. I am the carefree mommy in a park, pushing my daughter high on a swing. I am the frustrated mom in a grocery store, shoving carrot sticks into her round, pink lips to quiet her squeals. I am the patient mother, helping my girl with her statistics homework and the guiding matriarch leading my children to the right-hand-side of God.

Brown legs outstretched under a chestnut tree, I imagine cradling my child. I imagine sitting with her underneath the shade of these branches, her small frame gilded in light between my brown legs. I will be describing the paths that are open to her as she enters womanhood as though I were telling her that the sky is blue. I will tell her that she may not be educated in the ways of the world, or she may be educated for the sole purpose of passing on her knowledge and gifts to the men who enter her life. These men are the nation-builders and shapers who will decide where she and her children will worship, present, and work. I imagine educating my daughter in all of these things and justifying it with words written by the hands of men.

I do not educate my daughter. I reveal things to her. There’s nothing I can teach my daughter in a world where wars are won and lines of nations are drawn upon her outstretched mind; where the words of the Divine have been interpreted to subject her for so long, they are now considered sacred.

Instead, I will whisper my affirmation in private. I will unveil the pervasive prejudices and subjugation of women like us by muttering through our flaws interpretations of our sacred text. I will give her knowing looks with knowing eyes and smile affirming smiles when she begins to dismantle the structures I am so afraid to openly question. I will look at her in the mirror and all at once realize that my face has become my mother’s face, my eyes her knowing eyes.

If you educate a woman, you educate a nation

   My eyes flicker back to the screen, now dark. I am full of the weight of myself and my daughter, and her daughter, and the daughters to come. My hand flickers in the hair for a moment that is once again folded into my lap. I don’t have to say a word; they do not need my education more than the nation’s inside me do.

I know my mind to be true: If you educate a woman, you educate a woman.



This post utilizes the art form of prose to explore the role of women in Islam more fully. We explored the role of women in Islam and self-definition in Week 10 of the course.  This prose also explores a quote utilized in our first film screening in the course and quite often about the role of women in society. I have engaged in a lot of self-exploration of how my status as a woman identifier influences my experience with religion in a social context. This prose also serves as a critique of the way religion has been connected to a conception of nationhood and the way religious roles have been translated to political roles and societal roles in certain contexts. I was fascinated with the intersection of religion and gender we explored in this class and the way women are utilized to uphold the foundation of religious doctrine.