GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY IN QATAR (Oct. 5, 2022) The "FIF/MSA Lecture: Women in Islamic History" was an event hosted by Future is Female (FIF) in collaboration with the Muslim Students Association (MSA), in which they invited Sozan Zaghmout to speak on the prominent female figures in Islam.
The guest host, Sozhan Zaghmout, is a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a degree in Family Science and Psychology and is currently completing her education at the College of Islamic Studies. Her knowledge, experience, and expertise all contributed to the liveliness of the lecture and there was not a second of silence as the guests expressed their enthusiasm in engaging with such a knowledgeable individual.
“The event was another opportunity for students of GU-Q to get together, build upon their community values and get closer to their religion, or simply learn more about another religion,” FIF Pres. Anam Fatima says, “It also acted as a platform for all students and organizers alike to learn from our wonderful speaker on a topic which is often sidelined in religious studies, values to derive from prominent female figures who contributed to Islam.”
Indeed, as Zaghmout led the discussion, the audience was given the opportunity to expand their knowledge about Islam’s contribution to women’s rights as well as important women and their contributions to their community. Significant women such as Maryam, who has a surah dedicated to how her dedication to worshiping God contributed to her esteemed status at the beginning of the story of Islamic history; Asiya, who was able to convince her husband, an Egyptian king, to venerate God due to her unwavering demeanor to her beliefs; Hajar, who survived in the blistering heat of the desert while caring for her son, Ismail – even running in between two mountains seven times in order to collect water for her child; Khadija, who was a wealthy trader chosen by God to marry Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) because of her wisdom; Aisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, who was a scholar that memorized around 2,200 hadiths and would share her knowledge with her students; and Fatema, who succeeded her father, the Prophet (PBUB), after his death.
“It’s beautiful to be strong,” Zaghmout says about the examples that these revered women have embossed in Islamic history. She also expands on the contributions that Islam made to the advancement of women’s rights in the scopes of financial independence and inheritance, education ( Zaghmout noted that a woman built the first university), divorce, and the right to choose who to marry. Zaghmout also points out the gap between religious and cultural practice especially highlighting the difference between the religious basis of protection compared to the cultural practice – which a number of guests agreed with her on, even sharing their personal experiences and observations in their own communities.
FIF Pres. Fatima adds, “The lecture expanded on important female figures in Islam thus furthering our main focus of empowering women through the lives, actions, and ideologies of prominent female figures who have contributed to the religion, literature, and culture.” Truly, the conversation brought so much to the table in the recognition of female contributions throughout history in the development of society. Besides this, the lecture granted an opportunity to the student community to expand their knowledge on the minimized parts of history and incited a dialogue that facilitated and nurtured this knowledge, integrated into the GU-Q student values.