Published: November 15, 2021
Many people may not realize this, but Muslim women have influenced the world in many different ways. This list of 10 books looks into what they have achieved, how they achieved these goals, and how they continue to fight.
This list includes incredibly powerful stories of women that resist power no matter the dangers they face. I found all of them inspirational, and I hope you also do. Feel free to let me know and give me suggestions for other books.
Written by: Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
Malala Yousafzai is a truly inspiring woman. She is the youngest person to ever win a Nobel Peace Prize, an activist for girls' education, and truly inspiring in every way. At just 15 years old, she was shot by Taliban forces in Pakistan for speaking up against their oppression of women's rights.
Despite being shot in the head and neck on October 9th, 2012, Malala fought through her injury as well as pressure from her community to stay silent about equality - even after nearly dying from complications related to her injuries.
In this book, she shares with readers what life is like for girls growing up in modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan under Taliban rule. This is an incredible book about Muslim women and their freedoms.
Written by: Shirin Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi was a prominent human rights activist and lawyer in Iran. She received the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her work as an advocate of democracy and human rights, especially women's rights. In this memoir, she shares some of the struggles of her life over the past three decades and how they shaped her into who she is today.
She has been arrested many times for speaking out against the injustice that she saw around her: unjust trials, lack of freedom to voice opinions, unfair treatment at school because she was female.
However, it wasn't until when democratic protests erupted across Iran that Shirin found herself on trial as well as being under constant surveillance. This book also includes what was done to her family and everyone she knew in Iran.
Written by: Sanam Maher
This book is an eye-opening account of the honor killing of one of the first female social media stars from Pakistan, Qandeel Baloch. Sanam Maher, who wrote this story, shares her harrowing journey through her country with us.
She tells it from the perspective of a journalist who has traveled to many different countries and seen firsthand what life is like there.
This is truly one of the great books about Muslim women because it is both insightful and informative. This is especially true for readers unfamiliar as Pakistan moves into the future and they continue to strive for equality.
Written by: Khalida Brohi
Khalida Brohi is an award-winning activist who was born in Pakistan and lived there for most of her life. While many girls were being married off as child brides, her father refused to let that happen to her. When she found out her cousin was murdered in an "honor killing" by her own uncle, she decided to fight back. Using social media, she became a powerful speaker for human rights.
She now educates people about honor killings, female genital mutilation, the Taliban's influence on Pakistani culture, and other important issues that affect both men and women through her organization.
Her autobiographical story is one of the best books about Muslim women and her story of resilience as well as love for her country, and her amazing culture, despite how difficult it can be for women to live there.
Written by: Malala Yousafzai
In this book, Malala Yousafzai writes about being a refugee from Pakistan to England as well as the many other times in her life where she has been displaced due to war or violence. She tells us how it feels to be uprooted from your home and what you can do to help those who are displaced today.
She also interviews other girls and women who have become displaced and have had to fight for their freedoms. Some of them have lost everything and continue to fight for equality and freedom for themselves and others.
This is one of the books about Muslim women that gives hope for those who have overcome so much despite all the hardships they have faced in their lifetime.
Written by: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war—a rare achievement for any Afghan woman—Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home.
When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own.
As the business grows and the power of her sisters, and others, how they can overcome the oppression being forced onto them simply because of their gender.
Written by: Jenny Nordberg
Jenny Nordberg's account in her recent book, The Underground Girls Of Kabul, shares the stories behind these Afghan women who live double lives. They must pretend to be boys during the day while attending school and working outside the home. These "bacha posh," as they are known, truly lead a double life.
Being that they are women, they live without any safety outside their homes or schools. This leaves them unable to pursue dreams and can oftentimes lead up dangerous situations due solely because they females to be outside on their own.
Written by: by Azar Nafisi
Azar Nafisi, a teacher, led a reading group at her home in Tehran every Wednesday night. The women that were a part of this group would meet since the Muslim fundamentalists had taken over the colleges, and women were basically unable to be educated.
When they met, they would discuss books such as topics ranging from politics to religion to history and more. They wanted to learn as much as possible regarding their world and the world outside of their country.
Nafisi's memoir shows that even under the worst of circumstances, one can find a way to educate themselves, learn about the world, and refuse to be accepting of others who try to control them. This is one of the books about Muslim women that are so unexpected and exciting.
Written by: Leila Ahmed
The veil is a garment that has been worn by Muslim women for centuries. It's also a symbol of modesty and privacy. In the past few years, the veil has seen an uptick in popularity. While some people may think this trend is due to Islamophobia or oppression from men, others say it's because Muslim women want control over how they present themselves to society.
Leila Ahmed takes readers through various perspectives, starting from centuries ago up and moving forward, on why there might be a resurgence in veiling, and it has and does, affect women's rights and freedoms.
Written by: Isobel Coleman
The book Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East by Isobel Coleman is an incredible read. The author takes us on a journey to explore how women in the Middle East are transforming their communities, economies, and politics in spite of obstacles put before them.
Through this book, we see that there may be hope for peace and equality in these regions after all. However, it depends on the women who stand strong against repression and their ability to be accepted and freedom.