. “Our stories are universal,” says Cadar. “So we want to create an international community where we can have real talks and be inspired by one another”. She stressed that as Africans, black women inherited the art of storytelling from their ancestors, so the digital sisterhood is tapping into the incredible power of storytelling to change lives.
According to the photographer, she had a number of attendants and was dressed extremely finely in a “robe of rich Turkish tissue of silk and gold”. Her dress covered most of her face, with only her hand visible. The purpose of the visit had been to impress upon the young queen the advantages of becoming a French colony. But she vehemently resisted.
The burqa existed long before the Taliban, worn by Pashtun women to mark “the symbolic separation of men’s and women’s domains.” Although it could be argued that this reinforces patriarchal ideas of women belonging at home, we must remember that many saw the burqa as a “liberating invention”.
Many men rejected the verses in Wallada’s poems because they were not “womanly” but this pushed her to write even more. She was a woman who took criticism as a tool to come back stronger, making her poems passionately vivid and influential.
I’ve grown a lot as a single woman. Had I married earlier, I wouldn’t have been as patient or kind. At the same time, I had little understanding of my rights so it’d be easier for me to be taken advantage of.
Aleppo’s diplomatic position was never as strong as it was under the rule of Queen Dhayfa Khatun. Besides her diplomatic strength, however, Dhayfa took a special interest in architecture and sponsored learning in Aleppo where she founded two schools.
As a queen, Al-Khayzuran improved the condition of women. She was committed to removing the harmful structures that prevented women from living their full lives. She was also very charitable, especially to women.
Society tells women a million ways, how to avoid being harassed, how to dress modestly, how not to walk alone at night, how to be extra careful, how to be a nun practically and live in the forest or disappear. No one preaches hard to men to refrain or endeavour to look away as enjoined in the Qur’an. It’s really not about dressing. It’s about power dynamics and zero consequences.”
I acknowledge that once upon a time, our “aunties” were once Muslim girls, who unfortunately were subjected to the same experiences bedevilling young Muslim women of today. Due to the sexist structures put in place to uphold their oppression, they were unable to adequately navigate and dismantle their predicaments.
The knowledge that once upon an Islamic empire, in a golden city of wisdom, walked a woman who wove law and algebra together with utmost perfection that her history couldn’t be completely obliterated gives us hope that what once was, could definitely be again, and perhaps has started to become.