This is a very diverse group of individuals, representing numerous countries, cultures, and periods of history. They have their religion in common, but as you'll see, that is hardly their single defining characteristic. They come from all sorts of backgrounds and work in a wide range of different industries. And as you can see, they're capable of inspiring you in all sorts of directions.
If you are a Muslim woman reading this, then use today to exercise your own unique, inspiring voice. If you're not, then, like me, educate yourself. Read something written by a Muslim woman, or learn about the multitude of ways that Muslim women have added to society. Elevating and appreciating marginalized groups is the best way to fix the problem of marginalization, so this work is necessary now more than ever.
1. Rab'ia al-Adawiyya
Rab'ia al-Adawiyya was a poet and a saint, so it's no surprise that her work is full of the sort of quotes that can still be meaningful, even a millennium after she wrote them down. This one is only scratching the surface:
2. Shirin Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi is an important voice for women everywhere, and her life is a textbook example of how people can reach great heights against all obstacles. Once a Chief Justice in Iran, the 1979 Revolution took her out of that position. Instead of backing down, she continued fighting for equality and human rights and eventually won a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in 2003. Did I mention that she was the first Muslim woman to do that? Her quote is one that the world would be better of for remembering.
3. Daisy Khan
Daisy Khan, an Indian immigrant to New York City, has become a faith leader in the local community and spokesperson for Islam across the country. She has a lot to say about how her faith drives her and what it's motivated her to accomplish in her life, but she's also said a lot of things that can be applicable just as general life lessons.
Warshan Shire, a Somali-British poet who stole at least part of the show on Beyoncé's Lemonade, is responsible for the quote above. She's everything — female, feminist, Muslim, creative, pro-refugee. She's the current Young Poet Laureate for London (and the first one, to boot), and she's only 25. Start getting to know her now.
Its not my responsibility to be beautiful,I'm not alive for that purpose.My existence is not about how desirable you find me.
Feeling inspired yet? I definitely am — and that's only seven quotes in. This is the beauty of Muslim Women's Day — it brings voices to the table of women who you definitely should have heard of before, and everyone's better off for it.