“A New Hajar Paradigm: Motherhood and Family” by Amina Wadud from Inside the Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam

As I read, I absorbed and generally took what Wadud was saying to be true, with minor questions on the issues of her argument showing up here and there. I want to be open, and to try to understand and embrace the arguments. However, when I read Wadud’s argument about “sameness,” in which she explained that she believes women and men are different fundamentally, and that successful families are built upon a proactive celebration of their respective differences – upon gender rules – it was difficult for me to embrace. As a drastically “feminine” human, in that I ascribe to historical and societal norms and inclinations that constitute the accepted definition of “femininity,” and as simultaneously an idealist and human rights activist, I agree that that there are differences between men and women that should be recognized and celebrated, but that this definition of family based on gender roles ignores the gender spectrum – there are not only “men” and “women,” and, further, those who identify with one gender can embody the societally subscribed character of the other – and the ability for humanity to successfully and lovingly coexist in family units without traditional “ideal” maternal and paternal figures.

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